On April 8, the world marks International Roma Day. The date is widely seen as an opportunity to celebrate Roma culture, but also to raise awareness of the issues concerning around 15 million Roma people worldwide and to highlight the discrimination that the community faces in different areas of life.
In Kosovo, it marks one of the rare days during the year when politicians mention or address the Roma community living in the country. Progressive laws, papers and documents are presented and declared as success stories of institutional engagement.
But scenes of Roma neighborhoods with vivid pictures of extreme poverty, marginalization and social and economic outcasting call into question how much of these grand speeches is in reality translated into inclusiveness, acceptance and fighting racism.
There is still no justice done to commemorate the fight for the recognition of Roma culture, history and rights — the core of International Roma Day. The rich culture, being one of the most important features of the Roma community, is usually reduced to the music that audiences appreciate from time to time.
In our latest Let’s Talk participative discussion, we ask: Has International Roma Day lost its meaning in Kosovo? Is an appropriation of Roma culture taking place in Kosovar society? Is wider society only consuming Roma culture, particularly the music, while allowing the people to whom this culture belongs to be treated as second class citizens? How can we hold relevant institutions accountable for not addressing the issues that Roma citizens face socially, politically and economically?
Join us at 18:00 on Thursday, April 4 at K2.0’s space for an open and participative discussion, where we will tackle all these questions and more. We’ve invited a few people along to help get the conversation started:
- Denis Galushi – Journalist and activist
- Avni Mustafa – Executive Director at Roma Vesitas Kosovo
- Habit Hajredini – Director of the Office for Good Governance
- Sakibe Jashari – Anthropologist/ Program Officer of ROMACTED at Council of Europe
The discussion will be moderated by K2.0’s Dafina Halili.K
*Translation available (Romani/English/Albanian)
Feature Image: Atdhe Mulla / K2.0.
This K2.0 Let’s talk Edition is funded by the National Endowment for Democracy.