The Roma have been nomads for centuries. People have called them gypsies. Scattered across most of Europe, their unique way of life stands out amongst the countries where they live. In Greece, their numbers are estimated between 200-300.000, although they consider themselves to be more.
The Roma do not have a particular religion. Yet customs and traditions have kept them together in the course of their history. In general, they fall under two categories: those who have settled and those who still roam the lands as nomads. Most earn their living through trade, agriculture or performance, keeping constantly on the move and staying in the outskirts of the big cities, in self-governed settlements.
The Roma have to constantly fight off many negative stereotypes which are attributed to them, often intensifying their unwillingness to adjust. Many of them are organized in unions (Greek Confederation), with over 300,000 registered members, while in 2006 they formed a political party in Greece, called ”Rom Shield”. As complaints about the violation of their rights increase, the Roma people keep on struggling to survive and to keep their identity alive in a society that seems to have forgotten all about them. In the past years they have experienced a new wave of persecution initiated by the State, in countries such as France and Romania. Many have characterized these newly introduced displacements as pogroms.

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2 thoughts on “Forgotten – Roma in Greece

  1. I’m not sure about your use of the word ‘host’ in the following sentence “their unique way of life stands out amongst the countries who host them.” Now I’m not from Greece but I am a Romani and obviously enough I live in a country. Now as far as I’m concerned it’s as much my country and I am a citizen of it, I am not some mere parasite borrowing the land from my fellow, more worthy, citizens for my family and I have just as much of a right to *our* land as anyone else in the country. It has been over 500 years since we arrival here and we are considered part of the indigenous population (we’re often called ‘Indigenous Gypsies’ to distinguish us from new immigrant Roma).
    The same can be seen elsewhere. Different Roma groups have become associated with different areas, their countries have shaped them and they have shaped their countries.

    Now getting to the point why I am telling you this, I see the description of a country as ‘hosting’ it’s (indigenous or otherwise) Romani population as problematic because it represents the Romani once again as outsiders, a position that only legitimises our persecution and worsens our situation.

    Therefore I object to it on two grounds, firstly as a misnomer and secondly as harmful. Please take a moment to consider this.

    Otherwise, wonderful blog keep up the good work!

    • Thank you Samanta for your email. Indeed you are right. To be honest I should pay more attention on the text. This was not my intention. But I have made a change. Also thanks for follow me up on twitter. The documentary Our School, is a good material, I shall do some research and maybe soon post it here.

      Let´s keep in touch and have a great week-end.

      Marius

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