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Namen fotografske razstave, »Spomini izpod pepela« avtorja Harisa Tahirovića, je ohranitev zgodovinskega spomina na usode žrtev nacističnih koncentracijskih taborišč med II. svetovno vojno, zlasti Romov. Ker je današnje zavedanje o zgodovini šibko še posebej med mlajšimi, so poleg obiska muzejskih in drugih obeležij na krajih spominjanja oblikovali tudi svoje videnje tega zgodovinskega obdobja preko priprave samega gradiva fotografske razstave.
Preko projekta smo mladim iz različnih etničnih skupnosti omogočili počastitev spomina na žrtve holokavsta in tudi intenzivno spoznavanje zgodb ljudi, ki so preživeli grozote. V okviru razstave smo se v društvu RIC Anglunipe posvetili preučevanju in spominjanju na grozote holokavsta nad Romi iz tega obdobja, saj so te žrtve v veliki meri pozabljene ali celo ignorirane s strani večinskega prebivalstva, malo pa je zavedanja o teh žrtvah tudi med romsko populacijo.

LJUBLJANA; marec 2014                

Vsako leto okrog 21. marca mreža UNITED koordinira vseevropski akcijski teden proti rasizmu in poziva mednarodno skupnost k odpravi rasizma, diskriminacije in nestrpnosti. Letos se je Zavod Voluntariat pridružil kampanji z obravnavo vprašanja o diskriminaciji Romov v Sloveniji in opravil razgovor s g. Harisom Tahirovićem, predsednikom in vodjo Romskega Informacijskega Centra Anglunipe (RIC), s sedežem v Ljubljani. RIC se trenutno razvija kot pomembno informacijsko, socialno, izobraževalno in kulturno središče za zadovoljevanje potreb romske skupnosti v Ljubljani in okolici. Cilj razgovora je bil reševanje  očitno spornega vprašanja in hkrati izvedeti več o bogati in dolgo spregledani kulturi in  zgodovini Romov, ker smo trdno prepričani, da sta znanje in empatija ključna za odpravo vseh oblik rasizma.

 

                V tem članku poročamo o pogledu g. Harisa Tahirovića na to tematiko in glavne težave, s katerimi se Romi soočajo v Sloveniji, glede na njegove izkušnje kot vodje Informacijskega Centra Anglunipe in aktivnosti, ki se tam opravljajo. Pomembno je poudariti, da Tahirović sam ne želi podajati obtožb proti komerkoli, temveč ponuja zgodovinski in sociološki pregled položaja Romov iz njihovega vidika, povzema glavna vprašanja, ki jih tarejo in teme, s katerimi se njihova skupnost sooča.

Po podatkih Urada Republike Slovenije za narodnostne manjšine naj bi v letu 2004 6.448 članov romske skupnosti živelo v Slovenij, medtem ko je 3834 ljudi navedlo romski jezik kot njihov materni jezik. Kljub uradnim podatkom se ocenjuje, da med 7.000 in 10.000 Romov živi v Republiki

Sloveniji, večino od njih v Prekmurju, na Dolenjskem, v Posavju in v Beli krajini. Po podatkih RIC-a so številke še višje, saj naj bi 12.000 Romov živelo v 121 naseljih v Sloveniji. Uradni podatki kažejo, da približno polovica romske populacije živi v zidanih stanovanjskih hišah, medtem ko drugi živijo v zakloniščih, kabinah, prikolicah in zabojnikih. Življenjski standard, izobraževanje in zaposlovanje so področja največjih težav Romov, saj je nezaposlenost okoli 98-odstotna. Brez dvoma sta brezposelnost in diskriminacija povezana dejavnika, ki prispevata k težkemu položaju Romov v Sloveniji.

Tahirović izpostavlja dejstvo, da je diskriminacija glavni problem za romsko skupnost, in kar je še pomembneje, da ima svoje korenine globoko v preteklosti. Od druge svetovne vojne in v času nacističnega genocida, je bila udeležba Romov na dogodkih vedno prezrta od "uradne" različice zgodbe. V zvezi s tem vprašanjem je zelo pomembna dejavnost Informacijskega Centra zbiranje imen in izkušenj Romov, ki so se borili, ki so umrli in ki so bili deportirani v nacističnih koncentracijskih taboriščih med vojno, z namenom, da bi opozorili na ta del žrtev, ki jih večina zgodovine ignorira.

Nevednost in molk o Romih sta privedla do dojemanja, da, glede na Tahiroviće besede, "so [druge narodnosti] žrtve, ne oni [Romi]" in dve deli sta nastali leta 2011, da bi osvetlili fenomen (čeprav je bil objavljen samo prvi del): "Tudi bog je umaknil svoj pogled Ciganov / Romov" in " Kraintike Sinti estraiharia", obe je napisal Rinaldo Diricchardi Muzga. Ti dve deli, poudarja Tahirović, sta pomembni, da se dokaže, da niso Romi le sodeloval v konfliktu, ampak da so bili tudi žrtve in si zaslužijo, da se jih spominja, toliko kot katero koli drugo žrtev.

Čeprav je danes diskriminacija še vedno prisotna, je romska skupnost v Sloveniji priznana kot posebna skupnost ali manjšina s posebnimi etničnimi značilnostmi, kot so lasten jezik, kultura in druge etnične posebnosti. Urad za narodnosti ocenjuje tudi, da so razmere med Romi, ki živijo v severovzhodnem delu Slovenije bistveno boljše kot tiste v južnem delu, ampak na splošno, po mnenju Informacijskega Centra za Rome, osnovni življenjski pogoji, kot sta voda in elektrika, v the naseljih niso izpolnjeni. Številni Romi živijo v izoliranih, pogosto nelegalnih naseljih, daleč stran od vasi in drugih skupnosti. Integracija z lokalnim prebivalstvom seveda ni tako enostavna, v resnici se v mnogih primerih zdi, da lokalno prebivalstvo lažje sprejme eno samo romsko družino kot večje romske skupnosti. Vendar pa se lahko težave vedno pojavijo med lokalnim prebivalstvom in romsko skupnostjo, ki včasih vodijo do lokalnihodborov, ustanovljenih z namenom izpodbijati prisotnost Romov v svojem mestu, tako kot v primeru prisilne izselitve v Novem mestu leta 2004 in več nedavnih dogodkov v Mariboru[1]. Na eni strani se romske družine bojijo soočenja z lokalnim prebivalstvom uničenja njihovih hiš: vsaka stran v polemiki obtožuje drugo za premik drugam in se hkrati boji maščevanja od nasprotnika. To se dogaja predvsem v majhnih mestih in vaseh, medtem ko je v Ljubljani diskriminacija manj zaznavna, zaradi prisotnosti številnih ljudi iz različnih kultur.

Vendar pa je v času gospodarske krize situacija Romov še slabša, kot pravi Tahirović, zaradi težav pri iskanju zaposlitve: če je za lokalno prebivalstvo z ustrezno stopnjo izobrazbe težko najti zaposlitev, je to za Rome postalo nemogoče. Kot prvo jim primanjkuje zadostna raven izobrazbe in zahtevane kvalifikacij, kot drugo pa trpijo zaradi diskriminacije v družbi na splošno. Poleg tega pravne in praktične ovire zaradi nedobljenega državljanstva preprečujejo nekaterim Romom dostop do zaposlitve ali socialnih storitev. Predsodki in diskriminacija so ključnega pomena in se izmenjujejo v tej dinamiki: lokalno prebivalstvo verjame, da Romi izkoriščajo socialne pomoči in iz tega razloga ne iščejo zaposlitve, hkrati pa delodajalci ne ponudijo nobenega dela, ko izvedo, da je kandidat romske narodnosti. Toda kaj je vloga institucij v tej situaciji?

To se je zdelo Tahiroviću najbolj pereč problem: odsotnost tistih institucij, ki naj bi se neposredno ukvarjale z diskriminacijo Romov, ravno nasprotno, izkaže se, da so včasih bolj diskriminatorne kot drugi subjekti, namesto da bi zagotavljale neko obliko varstva osnovnih pravic Romov. Na nacionalni ravni je zagotovo treba izvrševati zakonodajo: na osnovni pravni ravni se položaj in posebne pravice romske etnične skupnosti razglasi z zakonom, v prihodnosti se pričakuje tudi temeljni akt o romski skupnosti, vendar je še vedno v pripravljalni fazi. Nacionalne institucije, kot so ministri in uradi za priseljevanje, ter tudi mednarodne organizacije, kot je Evropska unija, imajo nekaj skupnega, ko gre za ukvarjanje s položajem  Romov: veliko besed in obljub, in le malo konkretnih ukrepov za konkretno pomoč Romom. Tahirović pojasnjuje, da je generalna napaka v tem, kako so projekti na splošno odobreni na evropski ravni in da to vpliva ne le na romske organizacije: EU zagotavlja sredstva za  organizacije, vendar pa ne spremlja rezultatov in dejanskega vpliva ukrepov in pobud. Torej ko organizacije, ki se ukvarjajo z romskimi vprašanji, potrebujejo pomoč, prejmejo sredstva, vendar se splošno stanje in življenjske razmere Romov neposredno ne spremenijo: uradna poročila kažejo, da so boljši rezultati običajno doseženi na področju izobraževanja, socialnega varstva, kulture dejavnosti in informacijskih storitev Romov, medtem ko je na področju stanovanjskih razmer, zaposlovanja in ekonomskega položaja, situacija še vedno slaba. Nobenega pomembnega premika ni bilo narejenega za reševanje konkretnih problemov Romov, kot so življenjski pogoji in socialna integracija.

Če povzamemo, Tahirović nam je dal opis splošnega položaja Romov v Sloveniji in pogled o tem, kaj je še treba storiti za njegovo izboljšanje. Zdel se je pesimističen glede dejstva, da bodo nekatere spremembe izvirale iz družbe kot celote, ne zaradi slovenske družbe same po sebi, ampak zato, ker morajo posamezniki najprej spremeniti svoj odnos. Ker uradne institucije še vedno ne pomagajo dovolj v tem smislu, se mora sprememba nekako začeti od znotraj, s tem da izve več o drugih kulturah in z bojevanjem proti predsodkom, in to je razlog, zakaj organizacije, kot je Informacijskega center Romov, še naprej delujejo.

            

United Against Racism

 

Every year around 21st March, the UNITED network coordinates the European-wide Action Week against Racism and calls upon the international community to bring an end to racism, discrimination and intolerance. This year, Zavod Voluntariat joined the campaign by addressing the issue of the discrimination against Roma people in Slovenia and interviewed Haris Tahirović, the President and Head of the Roma Information Center Anglunipe (RIC), based in Ljubljana. RIC is currently developing as an important informational, social, educational and cultural centre for meeting the needs of the Roma community in Ljubljana and surroundings. Our aim with the interview was to tackle an evidently diviside issue and to find out more about the rich and for long-term ignored Roma culture and history, because we strongly believe that knowledge and empathy are the keys to undermine every form of racism.

In this article, we will report Haris Tahirovićs point of view on the subject and the main problems that Roma people are going through in Slovenia, according to his experience as Head of the Information Centre Anglunipe and the activities it is carrying on. It is important to underline that Tahirović himself does not want to make an accusation against anybody, but he provides an historical and sociological overview of Roma people situation from their perspective, the main issues they have to face and the subjects this community confronts.

According to the Slovenian Office for National Minorities, supposedly 6448 members of Roma Ethnic Community were living in Slovenia in 2004, while 3834 people stated Roma language was their mother tongue. Despite official data, it is estimated that between 7000 and 10000 Roma live in the Republic of Slovenia, the majority of them in Prekmurje, Dolenjska, Posavje and Bela Krajina. RIC provided even higher numbers, stating 12000 Roma people live in 121 settlements in Slovenia. Official data shows that around half of Roma population lives in brick houses, while the others live in shelters, cabins, caravans and containers. Living standards, education and employment are the areas of greatest problems for Roma people, with unemployment at about 98%.  For sure, unemployment and discrimination are intermingled factors that contribute to the difficult situation of Roma people in Slovenia.

Tahirović highlights the fact that discrimination is the main problem for the Roma community and, more importantly, it has its roots deep in the past. Since the Second World War and during the Nazi Genocide, the Roma participation to the events has always been ignored by the “official” version of the story. Concerning this issue, a very important activity of the Information Centre has been to collect names and experiences of Roma people who fought, died and were deported in Nazi concentration camps during the war, in order to draw

attention on that part of the victims that has been ignored by mainstream history. Ignorance and silence about Roma led to the  perception that, according to Tahirović words, they [other nationalities] are the victims, not us [Roma people]” and two works were born in 2011 to throw light on the phenomenon (although only the first one was published): “Tudi bog je umaknil svoj pogled od Ciganov/Romov” and “Kraintike Sinti estraiharia”, both written by Rinaldo Diricchardi Muzga. These works, Tahirović underlines, are important to prove that not only Roma people participated in the conflict, but that they were also victims and deserve to be remembered as much as any other victim.

            Although discrimination today is still present, the Roma Community in Slovenia is recognized as a distinct community or a minority with special ethnic characteristics, such as its own language, culture and other ethnic specificities. The Office for National Minorities also assesses that the conditions among the Roma living in the northeast part of Slovenia are significantly better than those in the southern part but in general, according to the Roma Information Centre, basic living conditions do not seem to be satisfied, such as water and electricity in the settlements. Many Roma live in isolated, often illegal settlements, far away from villages and other communities.  Integration with the local population is not simple of course; in fact, in many cases, it seems easier for a single Roma family to be accepted within the local population than for a bigger Roma community. But issues can always arise between the local population and the Roma community, sometimes leading to the formation of local committeeswith the aim to challenge the presence of Roma people in their town, like in the cases of forced evictions in Novo Mesto in 2004 and the more recent events in Maribor[2]. On their side, Roma families are afraid of confronting the local population and to have their house destroyed: every side of the controversy has accusations to move to the other and, at the same time, fears retaliations from the opponent. This happens especially in small towns and villages, while in the capital Ljubljana the discrimination is less perceived, due to the presence of many people from many different cultures.

However, in times of economic crisis the situation for Roma people is even worse, Tahirović said, due to the difficulty in finding a job: if it is hard for local people with an adequate education level to be employed, for Roma people it becomes impossible. First, they lack the sufficient level of education and required qualification and second, they suffer from the discrimination in the society in general. Moreover, the legal and practical obstacles resulting from lack of citizenship prevent some Roma from accessing employment or social services. Prejudice and discrimination are crucial and interchangeable in this dynamic: the local population believes that Roma people take advantage of social aid and for that reason do not search for a job; at the same time, employers do not provide any job when they discover that the candidate is of Roma ethnicity. But what is the role of the institutions in this situation?

        This seemed the most important issue to tackle for Tahirović: the absence of those institutions that should deal directly with Roma discrimination and that, on the contrary, prove to be sometimes more discriminatory than other subjects, instead of providing some form of protection of Roma people’s rights. At national level, the legislation needs for sure to be implemented: at the basic legal level, the status and special rights of the Roma Ethnic Community is declared regulated by law and a basic act on Roma Community is expected in the future, but is still at the preparation stage. National institutions such as ministers and immigration offices, but also international organizations, such as the European Union, have something in common in dealing with the Roma situation: many words and promises but a few concrete actions to help concretely Roma people. Tahirović explains that this is a general flaw in the way projects are approved at the European level in general and that is affects not only Roma-related organizations: the EU provides money to the organizations but it does not monitor the results and the actual impact of actions and initiatives. So, when the organizations which deal with Roma issues need help, they receive funding but the overall situation and living conditions of Roma people is not directly tackled: official reports show that better results are usually achieved in the field of education, social security, cultural activities and information services of Roma, while in the field of residential conditions, employment and economic status, the situation is still poor. No important move is done to challenge Roma concrete problems, such as living conditions and social integration.

In conclusion, Tahirović gave us a description of the overall situation of Roma people in Slovenia and of what is still to be done to improve it. He seemed pessimistic about the fact that some change will come from the society as a whole, not because of the Slovenian society in itself, but because individuals have to change their attitude first. Since official institutions still do not help enough in this sense, the change must somehow start from within, by getting to know more about other cultures and by fighting prejudices, and this is why organizations such as the Roma Information Centre keep on working.

 


[1]  Odprtje prve romske restavracije v Sloveniji »Romani Kafenava«, v Mariboru, se srečuje z močnim političnim nasprotovanjem lokalnega prebivalstva že od samega začetka, tudi mestni svet je preprečil socialnemu podjetju najem bivše picerije za svojo dejavnost. Otvoritev bo predvidoma v aprilu 2014. Za več informacij: http://romani-kafenava.si/

 

[2]The future opening of the first Roma restaurant in Slovenia, ˝Romani Kafenava˝, in Maribor has met a strong political opposition on the part of the local population since the very beginning, with the town council preventing the social enterprise from renting a vacant pizza restaurant for its activity. The opening is expected in April 2014. For more information: http://romani-kafenava.si/

 

 

 

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