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PostSubject: Another Roma ghetto to be demolished   Thu Jul 15, 2010 9:39 am

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[size=85:gg9nqmyo]Sofia echo 15 July 2010

Another Roma ghetto to be demolished

Another Roma ghetto in Bulgaria is facing demolition. Sofia authorities have warned the inhabitants of the Malinova Dolina borough ghetto that they have 30 days (August 15) to clear out or be driven out, Bulgarian television channel bTV said on July 14 2010.

The Roma will be evicted by force and their shelters will be flattened,"
bTV said.

The campsite is on a meadow under a bridge that passes over the Sofia Ring Road. It is near to people who live in Berkovitsa, Lom, and Loukovit while the entire area is now full of roaming stray dogs because of the campsite.

Last week, a nine-year-old child was taken to Pirogov hospital in Sofia and is still in critical condition after it was viciously attacked by a pack of stray dogs, which have been associated with the Roma campsite, the report said.

What are you doing here, where do you work,"
a bTV reporter asked one of the Roma people at the site.

At the rubbish bins"

How could you bring a six-month-old child to such squalor?"

It will grow up,"
said the Roma, who was not identified in the report.

So how do you imagine your life here then?"

Just like that."

In April 2010, a Roma ghetto in the Sofia borough of Vrubnitsa was razed as part of a "
spring clean-up operation"
in the capital.

The ghetto, consisting of barracks, sheds and other illegal constructions, is on municipal land. Residents of Vrubnitsa signed a petition in January 2010 demanding that the Roma be expelled from the site. The ghetto was flattened at the cost of 40 000 leva, paid from the public purse.

On January 14 2010, Bourgas municipality ordered a Roma ghetto in the city's Slaveikov borough demolished.

The Roma site, which at the time consisted of about 20 shacks and other "
, was near a major railway junction. Bulldozers arrived and flattened the buildings in the perimeter while the Roma were expelled.

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PostSubject: Re: Another Roma ghetto to be demolished   Wed Apr 20, 2011 8:16 am

[size=55:2heigfpp]Sofia echo

Through the eyes of the Roma

I stood at the front of the classroom with 15 Roma faces staring at me. "
What’s your favourite sport?"
I asked, tossing out the question as a casual ice-breaker. Predictably, the answer was "

It seems that every Bulgarian’s favourite sport is soccer,"
I innocently remarked, not realising my mistake. A young boy in the back row responded bitterly in broken English, "
We’re not Bulgarians. We’re gypsies. Filthy, useless gypsies."
I did not know what to say.

Having spent all 17 years of my life in Bulgaria, I am not a stranger to racial issues. I have travelled all over the country and have seen how the Roma are oppressed and forced to live off the very trash that society thinks they are. Every day they endure a continuous and pervasive discrimination that debases their humanity and strips them of their personal value.

A few weeks before my senior year began, I contacted my friend Katie, a Peace Corps Volunteer in Samokov. Together we hatched the idea of beginning a photography club at the Roma school where she works. Considering that the illiteracy rate of Bulgaria’s Roma exceeds 60 per cent and is significantly higher in Samokov, taking photos offered the students a unique opportunity to communicate something about themselves. Using a camera as their pen, the capture of a meaningful shot could be as eloquent as reading a well-written essay.

For a final project, we equipped each student with a disposable camera. Their assignment was to capture nine scenes that made them smile, that made them sad, and that they found to be beautiful. With these pictures, the Roma students could simply, yet effectively, express themselves and their world. I also wanted them to be able to hold something in their hands that they had created;
to see little pieces of beauty and happiness in their lives and, ultimately, to be reminded of their own value.

Notebook open and pen in hand, I sat in the classroom ready to interview my first student. The pictures were spread across a nearby table-top crowded by eager faces. Since I developed them a few days earlier, I had already had the pleasure of leisurely looking through the stack of more than 100 photographs. The first one that caught my attention was a pig. "
Her name is Maia,"
Andre told me. "
She belongs to me and I love her and care for her."
Andre took this picture to describe what makes him happy. Alongside his pig, his mother and father were the most precious things in the world to him. "
My mom Katia works at home. My dad, Ivailo, works in construction."
Andre’s father loves him and intentionally makes time to play with him and do things together. Andre says that when he grows up, he wants to be like his dad.

He was not the only one to take pictures of loved ones. Zdravka, Ellie and Zhivka expressed their value of friendship through their photos as well. "
We are the best of friends,"
Ellie explained. "
We hang out all the time, outside, at each other’s homes;
it doesn’t matter where – the important part is that we are together."
Zdravka said, "
the most important thing is friends. With them you can share stuff and be together."
But Zdravka’s relationships were not limited to her girlfriends. "
I love my brother, Stoyan, who is three years old. I fight a lot with my sister, but Stoyan and I get along very well. I also love my boyfriend, Yanko, and I hope we’ll be together forever."

Statistics show that Roma dropout rates are excessively high. Marriage is one of many reasons that Roma fail to complete their primary education. Asked about their futures, the girls all responded differently. "
I want to be a praise leader at church,"
Ellie said with a smile on her face. Her friend Zhivka dreams of becoming a pop singer and Zdrvaka simply said that she does not know.

Another student chose as his favourite picture a depressing scene that he passed by every day. His snapshot depicted a busy part of the mahala, dotted with puddles and layered in mud. "
I have to walk by it every day,"
Mitko sighed. "
With all the dirt and puddles it is impossible not to get dirty."
Mitko, along with many other Roma, is forced to face the same oppressive sights every day, not only in the physical environment in which he lives but also in terms of the grim hopes he has for the future. Yet, even in the midst of such bleakness and adversity, Mitko is able to look up and see beauty. "
I like the clouds because of the big shapes they form in the sky and how pretty they are."

All of these pictures, and many more, provided little windows into the lives of Roma youth. I enjoyed looking at every one of them and I noticed that these Roma "
reveal people that are just like everybody else. They value family and relationships. They notice and appreciate beauty.

John Howard Griffin, the author of Black Like Me, summarised the effects of racism: "
No one, not even a saint, can live without a sense of personal value. The white racist has masterfully defrauded the Negro of this sense. It is the least obvious but most heinous of all race crimes, for it kills the spirit and the will to live."
Though he was talking about the suffering of black people in America, the Roma are in a similar situation here. When a person loses their sense of intrinsic value, they stop feeling like a person. Even though the Roma’s sense of value is constantly undermined, they, like everyone else, strive to succeed. They rarely have that opportunity. They want to be heard but often do not have the chance;
they want to express themselves but no one will listen.

I did my project with the purpose of reminding the young Roma students that they are valuable. They have a family, a life and a voice like everyone else. The thing I love about is that it is a medium of communication that is universally understood. A person can express themselves in a simple, yet captivating way, through photos. The Roma hands that snapped these photographs penned a story of hope for a future that knows no shame or despair. May the words that they write be heartfelt shouts of hope and dignity.


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PostSubject: Re: Another Roma ghetto to be demolished   Wed Apr 20, 2011 9:25 am

Not forgetting......

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Having lived and seen the Yambol site.. I'd have to agree that it did need to come down and I agree with the Mayors stand on this. There is a process, there is a law, if all Bulgarians have to follow it then so should they.

The same with the situation in France. The immigration law is VERY clear, something the UK could do with. We all have freedom to travel within Europe, but each country is allowed to have its own settlement laws and those that were evicted broke them.

I've lived in Sweden where they too have very very strict settlement laws and ethnic integration works well, as everyone learns the language is educated in their system and is required to find work or show income.

In the Elena region there is a very high ethic population, Turkish, Roma, Russian, and now British, German, French. We all try to integrate. Even the Roma live in houses, some still move around during the summer for work on the land. Yes, there are some problems, but from the news we hear, it is still less than what you get in towns of similar sizes else where.

Maybe being so rural we only attract those that are willing to work, as there are few easy pickings. One very tiny site (about 6/7 huts) was removed last year, it was on municipality land, so the mayor was in his rights to have them removed and has no obligation to resettle them, that would be the same as saying that if you have squatters in your house then you have to re-home them before you can evict them!!

Illiterate does not mean stupid, the people, be they, Romanian, Bulgarian, British or other know what they are doing and what they risk when they set up camps on owned land and as in the UK... they had a very very clear plan that they were trying to implement.

In a world when the general freedom of the individual is being corroded daily, it is not possible to allow just one culture the privilege of living anywhere they choose for free, while the rest of us must pay to support their free lifestyle, whether we agree or disagree with how they live.
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PostSubject: Strasbourg Court stopped the demolition of Roma slums in Varna   Fri Aug 21, 2015 8:03 am

Strasbourg Court stopped the demolition of Roma slums in Varna

Report to the Government sent by the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg is the most likely reason for the premature termination of the share demolition of illegal Roma houses in Varna ghetto "Maksuda." This is clear from the fax sent to a lawyer Daniela Mihaylova, which is before the Court, a group of inhabitants of the ghetto, requested assistance from the court after municipal authorities in Varna announced that they intend to demolish their houses.

According to the text of a fax that Capital has, their written request for suspension of action arrived in Strasbourg on Wednesday after 18 hours, or about two hours after the end of the working day of the Court. For this reason, the demolition could not be prevented.

However, in his letter to the government, the chairman of the judicial department, undertook work on the case, has asked the office full information "about the measures taken for the accommodation and care for the elderly, people with disabilities and other vulnerable persons" whose homes were destroyed today. The letter also calls for information on whether those measures could lead to separation of children from their parents.

The Strasbourg Court has asked the Bulgarian Government to provide the requested information no later than 16 hours tomorrow, August 21.

The action on the demolition of illegal buildings in Varna ghetto "Maksuda" began shortly after 9:00 today. The exact date and time of its inception, however, were kept by the local administration in secret until late last night.

According to preliminary plans share the demolition of illegal constructions today have to cover 58 illegal houses in the ghetto "Maksuda." She was suddenly terminated in early afternoon, stopping as explained by the mayor of "Mladost" Hristo Hristov "large amount of waste that has accumulated since the beginning demolition and they need to be transported before proceeding."

The time of the suspension, however, coincides with that in which the fax according to the European Court of Human Rights for his reaction on the case was received by the Bulgarian government.

Speaking to reporters in Varna, Hristo Hristov announced that from early on to stop the stock were destroyed 46 houses. According to "Capital" ruined stood 23 or two times less than officially announced. This raises doubts that local authorities in Varna deliberately exaggerated the number of destroyed houses to gloss over the public gaffe by stopping the action.

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