Europe should open to Roms who do not want to live in this country

"New Roles for Roma in an Integrated Europe?”
Session III, ARTS OF TOLERANCEDiscussions, Workshops and Performances organized by the Stories Exchange Project in Terezin, formerly a Nazi concentration camp from which Jews were sent to Auschwitz
Mita Castle-KanerovaInternational Migration OrganizationPrague
We are running a program focused on voluntary returns to the Czech Republic by Roms who have emigrated to EU countries.
These returns should not be understood as a punishment, but as a beginning of something positive. So we look at the stories of families who decided to leave the Czech Republic and find their lives somewhere else.
Many of these people had very particular reasons for leaving the country, but immigration officers often do not believe or do not understand their stories. People who decide to leave their homeland have reasons for doing so, and these reasons should be taken seriously.
These personal stories are in conflict with the current European trend: EU countries are not open to the migrants and do not welcome the immigrants.
Many people who are leaving the Czech Republic believe that they will find tolerance and democracy in the rest of Europe, but when they arrive in the target countries many realize that Europe is afraid of them. Very often the Romany immigrants are criticized for being economic refugees, for just seeking social benefits.
That’s a question we all have to answer for ourselves. Migrating Roms are traveling for many reasons. But by his or her act of immigration each of them is showing that not everyone is equal – and not everyone is welcome.
We are here to help the returning Roms reintegrate into their own society, so to speak, and start living a normal life. That has been a problem with many of these returnees. The returning ex-emigrants are shocking elements for local communities. A local community considers emigration a kind of breaking of rules, and when these people decide to come back they are not welcome here either. It’s a case of misunderstanding on both sides: neither the local people nor the emigrants understand what is going on.
Those who decide to emigrate are leaving because they mistrust the government, because they are discriminated against, because they fear racism, because they are afraid that their children will have no future in this country. The white majority on the other hand is talking about the unwillingness of the Romany minority to integrate, to take responsibility, to live in peace with the rest of the country. The two parties do not understand each other, and there is really no dialogue.
Many of these families broke their ties by leaving, and very often they decided to leave because of hostile officials. When they return, they know they are returning to the same situation. It’s very often true that local governments do not want to help them: local governments tell them to take care of themselves and refuse to give them benefits. Again it’s a question of misunderstanding
Very often the people who are returning from exile know that they will have to help themselves. They are not expecting any help. But many of them do need help.
To make matters more confusing, many of these returnees are not planning to come back for good: they indicate that they are planning to leave again, to re-emigrate. They do not want to live in this country.
But since the asylum procedures in many European countries are not very friendly, voluntary returns are usually the only option for these people. If they do not volunteer to return, they will be deported. But when they return to the Czech Republic, they expect help from the EU country which would have deported them if they had not volunteered to return.
Roms who want to leave the Czech Republic for a second time are not solely the responsibility of the Czech Republic. They are also the responsibility of the countries where they first went to seek asylum. And this should be discussed: if Europe wants to open to the Czech Republic, it should also open to Roms who do not want to live in this country.
[see also in this menu of Stories and Responses, Being a Citizen: ” And we want to get into Europe?” and “Roma as a nation have a right to have our own representatives,” and in the menu Meeting Others “Are you surprised that some of us emigrate?”]
Jirka ( responds to this story:
A strange view. We should look at what Roma were leaving the country. How many and how many of them were really discriminated against? Only few of them.
It seems that you don’t know that they were selling flats that were owned by the state, that they didn’t work though they could, that they commited crimes and left only ruins behind them….And that they are coming back because they have found out that one has to work everywhere and crimes are punishedeverywhere. And they want their flats back, they want to work.
Why is that?
They pity themselves and use every opportunity to protest againstdiscrimination. They hate each other and they don’t trust even their ownleaders.
Everybody is asking: who voted for those Romany activists when nobody went to the elections? The voted for themselves, they voted for members of their families and they divided the posts.
How many of these so-called activists are decent and don’t abuse their power? You should read the news.
Even the TV announcer and his father who is also an activist.
I think that Roma should first look in their own lines and then criticize the society. I’m a Rom myself but I’m getting bored by this never-ending self pity. It is necesary to DO something and not only criticize.

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