International ROMA Day 2021 – 50 years of International Unity
PRE-EUROPEAN HISTORY: “FIRST MIGRATION” FROM CENTRAL INDIA TO BYZANTIUM
The Indian origin and the “road to Europe” via Persia, Armenia and Asia Minor as part of the Byzantine empire is undisputed, primarily because of linguistic evidence. Due to the lack of documents and “hard facts” and the importance of origin in any emancipation process, this is a field of discussions ranging from scientifically based theories to weird speculations.
EARLY EUROPEAN HISTORY & FIRST DISCRIMINATION
This second period in Romani history covers the time from the “Arrival in Europe” in the 15th century and the situation of the Roma in various European regions in the 16th and 17thcenturies: their situation in the Ottoman Empire and Central Europe, bondage and slavery in Wallachia and Moldavia, marginalisation and persecution in Western Europe.
STATE POLICIES: INTEGRATION, FORCED ASSIMILATION, DEPORTATION
In the 18th century, the “Age of Enlightenment” in European history, Roma were exposed to “new methods” of discrimination: internment in Spain and forced assimilation laws in the Austro-Hungarian Empire; methods which are opposed by the treatment as – in principal – equal subjects with the respective full civil rights in the Russian Empire.
“SECOND MIGRATION” & INTENSIFIED DISCRIMINATION
In the second half of the 19th century, a second migratory movement took place: Romani groups from Central and South-Eastern Europe moved to all other regions of Europe, some of them even overseas. Political processes and changes around the brink of the century (19/20) also affected the Roma. These changes are exemplified by the intensified discrimination in a former Austro-Hungarian region and the treatment of Roma as separate people but an integral part of society in the early Soviet Union.
Again, the last point of the listing demonstrates the organisation of the content as an open list. It only consists of one article which outlines the recent east-west migrations and offers the possibility to include sub-articles dealing with de-tails of this global development. The Nazi genocide stands as caesura in recent Romani history. It has been the negative climax of centuries of discrimination, stigmatisation and persecution. Many groups have not overcome the Holocaust until today. The Holocaust can’t be treated as past, it is still an integral part of the life of the Roma and therefore non-Roma have to be made aware of this phase of Romani history as well. Maybe this chapter shows best the preliminary and open character of the factsheets.
PROLONGED DISCRIMINATION & STRUGGLE FOR HUMAN RIGHTS
After WW II Romani concentration camp survivors were refused help and compensation and for many of them the recognition as victims came too late. Stigmatisation and discrimination did not come to an end after the Holocaust. Roma always have been and still are marginalised in Euro-pean society. This situation finally led to self-organisation for emancipation and the struggle for human rights at an international level.
“THIRD MIGRATION” & EMANCIPATION PROCESS
The recent east-west migration of the Roma started in the course of the working migrations from South-East Europe to Western Europe and intensified with the collapse of the Soviet Union and its satellites and the breakup of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. Processes that also resulted in armed conflicts, which hit Roma, multiply: as victims of war, as marginalised ethnic group, branded as “only” economic refugees in the target countries, etc.