Wednesday June 19, 2019

April 8 is International Roma Day

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The flag also contains a 16-spoke red chakra, or spoked wheel, in the centre, representing the itinerant tradition of the Romani people.

 

  • April 8 is celebrated as International Romani Day to raise awareness of the issues faced by the Romani culture
  • The Roma originated in India
  • There are about 12 million Roma population worldwide
  • Despite enjoying a rich and absorbing culture,the Romani remain an oppressed group

Hers is an update from Bulgaria.

SOFIA: Many cities and towns in Bulgaria will mark the International Roma Day with a series of events and initiatives putting a focus on the Roma minority in the capital of Bulgaria.

International Romani Day is celebrated on April 08. The International Romani Day is a day to celebrate Romani culture.The Day also draws attention to discrimination directed to Roma and Gypsy communities globally and calls for all human rights to be respected and observed. In 1990 the UN and the EU, at the proposal of the International Roma Union, declare April 8 the International Roma Day.

The United Sates government website HumanRights.gov adds:

“International Roma Day was declared in 1990 to celebrate Romani culture and raise awareness of the obstacles that continue to face the Romani people. The Roma are part of a heterogeneous ethnic group that has been a part of the European tapestry, with unique languages and culture, for hundreds of years. Roma have historically faced severe discrimination, including enslavement in the Romanian territories up to the 19th Century and systematic extermination at the hands of the Nazis during World War II. Today, the estimated 10-12 million Roma in Europe are working to build a better future for their families and communities despite continuing to suffer from prejudiced and discriminatory attitudes. As Secretary Kerry said on August 1, 2014, “Above all, we remember our common responsibility to stand strong against the cruel sting of biogotry and injustice. Racism against Roma persists even today, and racism anywhere is a threat to people everywhere. We must condemn all prejusdice wherever it springs up, because we know that words of hatred too often become acts of hatred.”

Who are the Roma?

The Romani are an ethnic group living mostly in Europe and Americas. Romani are widely known in the English-speaking world by the exonym “Gypsies” .The Romani language is divided into several dialects, which add up to an estimated number of speakers larger than two million. Many Romani are native speakers of the language current in their country of residence.

The Roma continue to practice “Shaktism”, a practice with origins in India, whereby a female consort is required for the worship of a god. As said above, the Roma have their ancestral roots from Rajastha and Punjab of India.

International Roma Day is significant as it commemorates the day on which the song “Gelem Gelem” was officially recognized as the national anthem of the Romani people.The International Roma day is observed worldwide to spread awareness about the rich and fascinating culture of the Romani population.

Report prepared by Yajush Gupta for NewsGram. Yajush is a student of journalism in Delhi.

 

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“Visit Strengthens Further Internal Cohesion and Unity”: Pope Francis Meets Leaders of North Macedonia

Ahead of his visit, Francis praised the mix of cultures, religions, and ethnicities in North Macedonia, and said he was traveling there to "sow these seeds" of solidarity.

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Pope Francis
Pope Francis greets the crowds in Skopje on May 7. RFERL

Pope Francis, who is on a historic first trip to North Macedonia, has met with the country’s leadership and held Mass in the main square of the capital, Skopje.

Francis was welcomed by the outgoing president, Gjorge Ivanov, and other government officials.

He has sought to encourage the country’s drive toward integration into the EU and NATO after its name change resolved a decades-long dispute with Greece last year.

Like neighboring Bulgaria — Francis’s first stop on his three-day Balkan tour — North Macedonia, a small Balkan country of 2.1 million, is mainly Orthodox Christian.

But the country has a large community of ethnic Albanian Muslims, who make about one-quarter of the population. North Macedonia is home to an estimated 15,000 Catholics.

In meetings with Ivanov and with Prime Minister Zoran Zaev at the presidential palace, Francis praised North Macedonia’s multiethnic and multifaith culture, calling it an example of peaceful coexistence and a bridge between East and West.

“These particular features are also highly significant for increased integration with the nations of Europe,” he said.

Christian
Like neighboring Bulgaria — Francis’s first stop on his three-day Balkan tour — North Macedonia, a small Balkan country of 2.1 million, is mainly Orthodox Christian. VOA

“It is my hope that this integration will develop in a way that is beneficial for the entire region of the Western Balkans, with unfailing respect for diversity and for fundamental rights.”

In his speech, President Ivanov complained about delays in accepting Macedonia in the Euro-Atlantic family.

“You come at a time when [North] Macedonian society is deeply divided, and the [North] Macedonian [nation] is heavily wounded by broken promises, unfulfilled expectations and faltering trust in the international community,” he said.

Viktor Dimovski, state secretary of North Macedonia’s Foreign Ministry, told the media on May 6 that the pope’s historic visit comes at a crucial moment as the country seeks entry into the European Union and NATO.

“The pope’s visit strengthens further internal cohesion and unity, and brings messages of reconciliation and solidarity,” he said.

The pope’s visit also included a prayer at the memorial of North Macedonia’s most famous native daughter, Mother Teresa, who was born Anjeze Gonxhe Bojaxhiu to Albanian parents in 1910 in Skopje when it was still part of the Ottoman Empire.

Francis was surrounded by Mother Teresa’s Sisters of Charity nuns in praying before the memorial. Mother Teresa was canonized by Francis in 2016.

Ahead of his visit, Francis praised the mix of cultures, religions, and ethnicities in North Macedonia, and said he was traveling there to “sow these seeds” of solidarity.

“Living together is not always easy, we know that,” the pope said in a video message. “But it’s worth struggling toward, because the most beautiful mosaics are the ones that are richest in colors.”

muslims
But the country has a large community of ethnic Albanian Muslims, who make about one-quarter of the population. Pixabay

With the name dispute with Greece now resolved, North Macedonia, which has been an EU aspirant since 2005, hopes to get a clear signal for the start of accession talks in June. Skopje also expects to become the 30th NATO member at the end of the year.

Also Read: Puppeteers Bring Message of Harmony, Love, Tolerance in Pakistan’s Karachi

Stevo Pendarovski, who was elected president in a runoff election on May 5, said he saw his victory as a “ticket for NATO and EU.”

Six Western Balkan countries — Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia, and Serbia — are in various stages of the accession process to join the EU. (RFERL)