My post about the Roma sparked a good debate and I think all of us, together, are much more aware of the realities surrounding this particular group of people (call it nation, tribes, whatever…) than many EU leaders. In order to show in images what I was talking about in the beginning of my first post, I followed Ruth’s suggestion and I ventured into the two Roma camps next to Cluj, together with Vlad and Sergiu, two photographers and friends.
You can see what came out at the end of the text. I filmed everything with my Canon PowerShot A710 camera. As you will see, the quality of the images is not the best. I added some clumsy subtitles using Windows Movie Maker (for the first time), to explain some of the images. Sometimes I’m speaking while recording, but it’s not that clear what I’m saying, so I added subtitles for that too. Also, especially in the end, I made a summary of the dialog rather than trying to translate each word.
There are two Roma camps next to Cluj. The first one is on Cantonului street and the second one is next to Pata Rat, the garbage dump. The camp at Pata Rat is better known, but the one on Cantonului is a bit more dangerous and gets less attention from the authorities. Pata Rat is a rather special case nowadays, because the EU - God bless its soul! - is forcing the local authorities to close the dump in 2010 and the authorities are now starting to find solutions to relocate the families. Many of them already left, especially if they were coming from somewhere else than Cluj. Those who are still there would like the dump to stay open, as you will see towards the end of the video.
Initially, I would have liked to talk more with people in the camps. However, it became quite dangerous right after we started filming and taking pictures. These people are fed up with the media. Journalists come there weekly and treat them as if they are some kind of exhibition items. One guy even told us “You’re making money on our backs…” These are the most recorded and photographed people in town, yet their lives didn’t change at all. However, I think we still managed to capture the essence of these places. Even if this meant running away from wild dogs, going on the roof of a 4 flours building (and almost up on a crane) or walking in mud up to our knees.
At the end of the video, there are awesome pictures taken by Vlad Gherman. It’s worth going through my clumsy video just to see those great pictures. Almost all the people appearing in the video can be seen in the pictures at the end. If you want to, I can upload the pictures separately in this post for better quality.