So keres, Europa?! (So what, Europe?!)
Cluj-Napoca, Romania – Conference Day #4
Day 4 started with reflection groups meeting in the conference hall at 10:00 am. After the reflection the around 300 delegates were getting ready to make a noise in the city by starting the 48-hours-action movement.
Before the kick-off for the 48-hours-actions the participants were shown a clip of a 2010 incident which happened in the host city of the conference, Cluj-Napoca. 76 families were forcibly evicted from their homes in the heart of Cluj and they were sent to Pata Rat, a ghetto placed nearby a landfill on the outskirts of the city. One of the victims of this 2010 tragedy gave testimony of her personal story which was touching but inspiring at the same time and made the participants more enthusiastic to be Changemakers and do their best to make this movement successful. The victim further said that Roma are the most persecuted minority. Being forcibly evicted from their own homes they were deprived the very basic rights of security and protection. She demanded that Roma should enjoy same rights as everyone else and that incidents like this should not happen in Europe.
After hearing the first-hand account of the plights of the Roma community in Pata Rat the delegates were given a question to ponder about: ‘Should EU intervene when governments don’t do anything?’ They were then invited to take part in the Changemakers movement and they went back to their chosen workshops to continue their work for the 48-hours-actions.
The group attending the “Roma Holocaust Workshop” lively discussed ideas to do further planning for their challenge. The aim of this activity is to give participants as well as the broader public a historical perspective on the persecution of Roma in Europe. The workshop particularly focused on the Holocaust as the worst chapter in history by exploring the bad effects of the past on today’s realities and identities.
A lot of creativity and improvisation was at the core of the “Rhythm through Difference Workshop”. The great idea behind this workshop is to use garbage and make recycled objects from it to create music which is quite unique in its nature and very amusing at the same time.
All workshops were led by facilitators whowere full of praise for their respective groups. The facilitators of the “Go Free 48 H Workshop”, Catalina Matasaru and Mari Ghiorghita, commented that they have the “best participants” in their workshop as all of them “have a very positive outlook, they are open to accept and respect each other’s opinions and they have a very positive influence on each other.” On day 4, this workshop was conducted in the very flexible and relaxing atmosphere of a public cafe.
Catalina also explained that today the workshop reached its third stage when the group focused on editing and finalising their work for the ‘Go Free Magazine’. The group was given the challenge to work together to develop a magazine which would express Roma culture and would highlight the need for Roma and non-Roma people work together. The workshop offers an opportunity to a journalistic experience and gives a hand-on introduction to civic journalism. The idea of civic journalism is that anyone can write about a topic regardless of social, economic, cultural and educational background. The facilitators hoped that at the end of the workshop the participants would be well equipped to continue to be Civic Journalists to raise awareness on topics concerning the Roma communities.
Though the day was busy and filled with many more workshop activities than the three mentioned above, the delegates showed true activist spirit as they finished the day staying up very late to paint T-shirts for Friday’s solidarity March in support of the Roma of Pata Rat.
Sheeba Kiran currently reports from Cluj-Napaco, Romania. She is the Law graduate from Strathclyde University, Glasgow. She is also Global Minorities Alliance’s Director of Women Empowerment. She can be reached on Twitter @sheebakiran7