Zoran Dimov - Mli kolumna

Column by Zoran Dimov: A people without its own cultural institutions is a dead nation!

It is generally known that the Roma are one of the oldest peoples in this area. Their culture, tradition, language and colorful folklore have been well known to the outside world for centuries. It contains elements of history, tradition and everyday life of the Roma. Roma have been and will be the motive of non-Roma and through the film, music, the literary word and many other works. But how much are the Roma valued to be able to present their rich history, culture, tradition, language through cultural events. I can say that the Roma are not appreciated at all and at least helped to present their cultural values.
But why? As much as it is the fault of the state institutions, it is also the fault of ourselves! While in the past (three - four decades ago), that cultural phenomenon of the Roma was more or less present, one gets the impression that today that phenomenon simply does not exist. What would people say like "The Last Mohawks" are making some efforts to preserve that cultural identity of the Roma through the last functional manifestations lpk organized by for example the Romano Ilo Association from Skopje, the Ensemble Rushid Shakir from Kumanovo, SP BTR Production Filstno Z and after a theatrical performance, etc.
At the beginning I said that due to the lack of interest of the state, which is now reduced to a minimum by the Roma cultural activists themselves. The state does not care that due to the application of projects of the Ministry of Culture or the Film Fund of Macedonia and to request real funds for activities, they from the total demand will respond to barely 10-15% of the applications, and with 30% allocated funds from requested.
And with those means the cultural identity of a nation should be maintained. How? Hard!
One or two years ago, a National Action Plan for the development of Roma culture was made, at the initiative of Roma cultural workers, which was handed over to the then Minister without portfolio Muzafer Bajram and his cabinet associates to prepare. Unfortunately, after several meetings, that plan was made by those assistants from the Cabinet of the Minister without portfolio, but there was no budget item in the preparation of that plan, and as such it should have been handed over to the Ministry of Culture, which did not was handed over for a simple reason - because there was no budget amount of funds needed, and so due to the incompetence of that cabinet and its assistants that plan remained only on paper without any realization. And who will now have to take responsibility for that. As a reward for that engagement, they were rewarded with new and better positions in the state administration.
And as the old saying goes, "Until the baby cries, the mother will not even breastfeed him." So it is with us. That is why I am of the opinion that now, with the start of 2021, we need to "wake up" and ask for what is due to us in a cultural way in the name of Roma culture. And this is a new action plan and strategy for the development of Roma culture, but with a specific budget, with specific requirements and with specific activities and potential requirements. No one can be included in those plans, and who for years "did not move" a finger for the Roma culture can now suddenly be favored. It is known in these areas who were and who are the main promoters of Roma Culture. I can mention as an example that about 15 years ago I made a successful attempt to promote the magazines for children and youth "Cirikli" and "Vilo" which was read in primary schools among Roma children and was distributed free of charge. I have been doing that enthusiasm for over 15 years with minimal funds. Today, many "Roma intellectuals" have taken funds to publish Romani grammars, textbooks and manuals in Romani, but where are those books? Are they usable and functional at all, or have they just completed their "episodically profitable role" and that's it! As far as I know, children are educated only with the vocabulary and grammar of the late Dr. Trajko Petrovski.
It is time for people with potential, knowledge, experience in that area to "roll up their sleeves" and take the right steps. There should be no people "improvisers" and episodic cultural promoters.
It means an activity with more specific goals, which are: Preservation and promotion of Roma folklore and tradition, publishing and literature in Romani language and support of Roma authors, theater, music, Roma, art, film, and one of The main goals - Increasing the number of Roma and their Roma representatives in state bodies, bodies and commissions, inclusion of Roma representatives in the Council of Culture, as well as Roma representatives in the commission for adopting the annual program of the Ministry of Culture.
Also, a very important moment is to actualize the question of what further and in what way can and should function the Museum of Art and Music of Esma and Stevo Teodosievski, which is currently stuck in the court labyrinths. I am here and I can help here as well.

Only in this way can we take a step further in preserving the Roma culture and tradition. Nothing is done with passivity. The danger is here before us because - A people without a cultural tradition and its own cultural institution, is a dead people! And for the start of the activities in the above-mentioned spheres of Roma culture, in my opinion, 1,000,000 euros per year are enough.

Column by Zoran Dimov: Bulgaria is "mature and baked" to answer before the European Court of Discrimination against Roma, by introducing a Roma ombudsman - Contact Point!

We all know that the Republic of Bulgaria is one of the economically weakest members of the EU, along with Romania. It "hurts" a lot when you know that you are part of the European family, and yet at the bottom from an economic point of view. That is why Bulgaria is a country that makes efforts for its citizens to stay in the country, and not to emigrate to Western European countries. And that is why the frustration of keeping his citizen in his country is even greater. This makes the main "culprits" for those conditions to be found immediately. And how according to some of their logic - the "culprit on duty" for all those situations are always - the Roma! Here, too, the car is already moving unstoppably "downhill". Segregation, discrimination, isolation, distancing, violation of basic human principles in all spheres of Bulgarian society are a daily occurrence in that country. The "trouble" is even greater if we have, say, elections and a struggle for power among the Bulgarian political factors, there is always a patriotic rhetoric - anti-Roma discourse. Because if the Roma are "sorted out", Bulgaria will immediately stand on its feet and from tomorrow it will be a wonderful place to live! To make matters worse, while everyone outside Bulgaria is "pointing the finger" as a state that in every way violates the basic rights of Roma, inside Bulgaria most of the organizations (including the Bulgarian Roma NGOs) are somehow "blinking "And are very quiet in their reactions to those conditions. They know whether the state is trying in some way to silence him with "financial" infusions or something else.
And that is why I in this column as President of the International Roma Union - IRU, and above all as a Roma man, who reacted regularly, sent protest notes and reactions to both Bulgarian and European institutions due to visible discriminatory acts by Bulgaria to Those Roma, I feel the need to put an end to those injustices against the Roma people in Bulgaria, but also for the Roma everywhere in Europe.
That area is actually a remedy - an instrument that can be very useful. The therapy is called - Roma Ombudsman - Contact Point!
It is the Roma Ombudsman and his team at the European level who should play the main role in preventing that - a growing anti-Roma campaign!
From a European point of view, the matter is crystal clear: a wall around ethnically defined Roma settlements is a clear case of ghettoization, regardless of how the majority of the population or the authorities argue. Segregation of Roma children in Ulliptipa, discrimination in the workplace, up to special health regimes and protocols only in Roma settlements during the Pandemic with Covid 19 are crystal clear directions, which that team of the Roma Ombudsman - Contact Point will have as a fact and proof of who to work on.
And the "self-righteousness" of Bulgaria is even more visible now when it vetoes my country where I live - Macedonia, for the start of negotiations with the EU for its entry. It disputes the history, language, people, culture of a nation that everyone knows is peaceful without any pretensions to foreign territories and geostrategic goals.
Imagine the opposite situation, if for example Macedonia and Serbia were in the EU, and Bulgaria was waiting to join the EU, how would Bulgaria feel if Macedonia and Serbia "combed" a bit after Bulgaria's past during World War II when parts of Macedonia and Serbia were under the protectorate of Bulgaria as an ally then Germany's main power? Then the guarantor would have asked for "forgiveness" for past historical mistakes, and they would not have hit each other so hard on their "Bulgarian identity".
All in all, my conclusion is that Bulgaria is "mature and baked" to answer before the European Court of Discrimination against Roma and the IRU will insist on finding a solution and making the Roma Ombudsman work - Contact Point! The time is ahead of us!

Column by Zoran Dimov: The new law on undocumented people, a result of the fruitful cooperation between the NGO sector and state institutions

The decades-long problem with the so-called "phantoms" in the country seems to be coming to an end. The hard work of the NGO sector (especially the Roma) in cooperation with state institutions (MLSP, Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Interior, etc.) has brought a result. Towards the end is the finalization and adoption of the law and bylaws that will enroll 700 new people who have not yet had any documentation for personal identification.
Knowing the profile of those people, they certainly would not have exercised this right if the efforts (analytical, field, logistics, bureaucratic, etc.) had not contributed to those 16 NGOs, associations and associations. The economic factor as well as the social status of those people (mostly from the Roma community), were the main obstacle in the procedure itself. It must be noted that the recent legal provisions for acquiring and registering the rights of those people, as well as good cooperation and communication gave result for legal changes and optimal solutions to find a way out of those situations. The addition of bylaws is now underway, which when defined will actually facilitate the whole process. Naturally, the action and this law will continue to be valid for new cases, especially if new such people are found.
All previous barriers with the new proposed legal changes were literally eliminated and thus enabled these "phantom" people to obtain a document, which will then facilitate the whole procedure in acquiring constitutionally guaranteed rights such as: education , health, employment, housing, etc.
The goal was exactly that cooperation between the NGO sector and the state institutions to find an adequate solution. Now there is finishing and even easier implementation.
This is a proof that a solution can be found for everything, when there is good will from many sides. Let this law be an example and support for other similar problems that with joint cooperation and effort can be overcome and find a way out of any situation.
At the same time, my message to the political factor (especially the Roma). Let this be an example to them of how they should fight for their community and for each of their constituents. With this example, the Roma NGO sector proved that not everything is through the prism of "money and projects", but it takes effort and effort to successfully complete the work for the community you work for. It must be noted that with its activities the Network for Systemic and Sustainable Solutions composed of these 16 NGOs (most of them - Roma), will continue to work on this case, by closely monitoring all activities, as well as other important activities.

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Column by Zoran Dimov: Do the Roma have their own leader - political leader?

Since the independence of Macedonia from 1990 until today, several names with the prefix "Leaders of the Roma people", formulated through their political options, have paraded on the Roma political scene. "Roma leaders" were declared those who had a Roma political entity - a party with decent membership, but also "Roma leaders" were declared so-called. "Man Party". All those who had a "Roma" support in their political option was immediately appointed to a leadership position and appointed "Presidents for an indefinite period".
PCER, SRM, DSR, OPER, ROM, PDPR, DPR, PIR ... and a small bunch of other parties figured, (and still figure) on the Macedonian political scene, continuously following the trend, appearing in the period from 4 to 6 years mainly led by the election cycle of the country in which some Roma political parties were active in the election campaigns hoping to realize the interests of leaders who were mostly "man-party" and to employ their loved ones, and also some for maintaining their business through tender agreements.
Roma in the country according to the last census is almost 54,000 people, and 9 Roma political parties are in operation.
From that "struggle for power" and from just over 40,000 active Roma voters, all the votes have been scattered or "sold out" and the current result is - only one Roma representative in Parliament, a member of a non-Roma political party.
From that desolate struggle for power "I am the real Roma leader" brought the Roma people to this level.
Truth to be told, even if you look at the profiles of those "Roma leaders" - this is too much!
If until 10-20 years ago there might have been such names that could be said "Significant names on the Roma political scene" (Faik Abdi, Amdi Bajram, Nezdet Mustafa, Shaban Saliu ..), today unfortunately can be said with certainty that there is no such name.
After the deaths of Abdi Faik and Amdi Bajram, that vacuum called "Roma leaders" is now empty. The fact is that in PCER, even after the departure of Faik Abdi, a worthy replacement and a man with capacity have not yet been found. In the SRM, after the death of Amdi Bajram, it is time to elect a new president of the party, but is he going to fight for the status of Roma Leader, only the time will show.
In my opinion, the other "veterans" on the Roma political scene do not show any of their ambitions that they want to occupy that empty space.
It is noticeable that some civic initiatives, non-governmental organizations or informal movements want to impose themselves as a "potential" factor of the Roma people, but it is noticeable that they are also "active" only in periods of election campaign, division of functions, etc. In the "war" period, they are somehow not in the mood for field courtship among the Roma.
Maybe I am wrong, but as things are moving forward, the most probable variant is that slowly the Roma political block will continue to "grow" and will merge into the non-Roma political such as SDSM, VMRO-DPMNE, DUI and others.
It seems that it will be a long time before a new fresh young Roma political cadre comes on the scene who will be able to somehow "unite" the "Roma political voice" and represent someone - a Roma factor in the eyes of the Roma, but also in non-Roma coalition partners.
But we must still hope that there is always hope.
At the end I would say: Let us not lose the hope and we need to be awake, because "Hope is a dream - of the awake man"

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Од 5 Ноември 2022 достапен документарниот филм на СП БТР „Небо, Точак, Земја„ на Max TV и Max TV GO со пребарување –Видеотека

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