Frontline World

Romania - My Old Haunts, October, 2002



THE STORY
Synopsis of "My Old Haunts"

INTERVIEW WITH ANDREI CODRESCU
On the Road in Romania

WITNESS TO HISTORY
Exclusive Article and Archival Diary

REPORTER'S NOTEBOOK
House of Tudor

TALES OF DRACULA
Examination, Interview and Quiz

DID YOU KNOW?
Facts and FAQs about Romania

LINKS & RESOURCES
The Revolution, "Gypsies," Background

MAP

REACT TO THIS STORY

   

Links and Resources
General Background
Romanian Revolution
Culture
Business
Information on the Roma, commonly called Gypsies
Media Resources

General Background

Romania
This general information site offers good access to Romanian chat and news groups and provides an online Romanian-English dictionary.

Romania Gateway
Heavy on news (financial, development and business), this is a comprehensive collection of stories on Romania from the Romanian and international press.

Romanian History Index
The index ranges from Romanian medieval history to current demographic statistics. It is a trove of useful information, but has some dead links. Many links are to sites only in Romanian.

Government of Romania
This is the place to go for the official government line. The site includes archives, press releases, speeches and photos.

Escape Artist
This site is a guide for would-be expats interested in moving to Romania, with details on contemporary life and a fine compilation of artists' Web sites.

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Romanian Revolution

Ceausescu
This site chronicles the spectacle of the dictator and his fall, with text, photos and reminiscences.

Ten Years After the Fall of Communism in East/Central Europe
Radio Free Europe's special compilation of articles about the fall of communism puts Romania's revolution into a larger context and addresses ongoing Romanian political issues, including the persistence of figures from the old regime.

Romania's Bloody Revolution
This thoughtful BBC article analyzes the 1989 revolution.

Timisoara
This site features excellent reporting and documentary audio footage of the revolution, including clips of the last moments of Ceauscescu's life.

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Culture

Dracula Land
Andrei Codrescu writes about Romania's proposed new haunt.

The Merry Cemetery in Sapinta
Tour the peasant graveyard that's home to more than 600 brightly painted crosses, each featuring an annotated portrait of the deceased: a child expiring dramatically in a car crash, a barber cutting hair, an alcoholic swigging from a bottle. The site also offers information on culture and folklore for travelers.

Museums in Romania
This site (not all in English) features offbeat Romanian museums, including the Museum of the Romanian Peasant, several military museums and Slobozia's venerable Agriculture Museum.

Tristan Tzara: Dada Founder
This is the site that points you to all other sites on Romanian artist Tristan Tarza, the founder of Dada.

A Guide for Beginners Written by Beginners: Dada
This site takes you into the true spirit of the Dada movement.

Eugene Ionesco
Read the biography and works of Eugene Ionesco, Romanian-born playwright and a key figure in the Theater of the Absurd.

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Business

Bucharest Business Week
This is the Web version of a Bucharest-based English-language business news weekly aimed at local elites and foreign investors.

Invest Romania: Business Daily
This American-owned and Romanian-reported newsletter features economic, financial and business news and resources for investors.

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Information on the Roma, commonly called Gypsies

Background on the Roma

There are between 7 million and 9 million people of Romani descent living in Europe today. The exact origins of the Roma, labeled by outsiders as Gypsies, have long been a subject of mystery and controversy. Most Roma agree they are descended from migrants who left Northern India more than seven centuries ago, but the exact paths of the diaspora are less clear.

Historically, the Roma have been a nomadic people, whether by choice or by force of circumstances. Today, deteriorating conditions in Eastern Europe have prompted many Roma, especially those from Romania, Bulgaria and the former Yugoslavia, to settle in Western Europe.

Patrin Web Journal: Roma Culture and History
This comprehensive site chronicles the origins of the Roma people, their migration through history and their culture.

World Bank: Roma
According to the World Bank, poverty among the Roma is one of the most challenging development issues facing Central and Eastern Europe. This site has in-depth reports on conditions for Roma people in different countries and briefings about World Bank projects involving Roma issues.

Roma Bibliography
The Forced Migration Project of the Soros Foundation has compiled this scholarly annotated bibliography on books and journals examining the Roma and their migrations.

Roma Photo Exhibition
This online photo exhibit from the Open Society Institute beautifully depicts Roma people living in Central and Eastern Europe, featuring a photo essay of a Roma settlement in the polluted "black city" of Copsa Mica, Transylvania, Romania.

The Roma in Romania

The 1991 Romanian census counted more than 400,000 Roma living in Romania, but Romani groups and other sources estimate the actual number to be between 1.4 million and 2.5 million -- making the Roma one of the largest minority groups in Romania and one of the largest Roma populations in Europe.

Roma Fact Sheet
The European Roma Rights Center prepared this report on employment and housing conditions for the Roma in Romania, with information on incidents of violence and police brutality against the Roma.

Resource Center for Roma Communities
The center, part of the Soros Open Network, supports efforts to improve the living conditions of Roma communities in Romania, enhance communication between Roma and non-Roma people, and encourage Roma cultural identity. The center supports the development of a network of nongovernmental Roma groups capable of developing concrete solutions to civil, economic and social problems facing their communities.

The National Office for Roma
In 2001, the Romanian government, with financial backing from the European Commission, set up an office to respond to the needs of the Roma community. This is the official government site, with links to reports on the situation of the Roma in Romania.

Human Rights and the Roma

For centuries, the Roma were scorned and persecuted across Europe. In 1504, Louis XII kept the Roma from entering France; in 1496, the German parliament labeled the Roma as traitors to Christianity; and from the 15th century until as late as the mid-19th century, the Roma in Romania lived as slaves. Throughout the 17th century, common sanctions against the Roma included restrictions upon trade and shelter, prohibition from wearing traditional dress and speaking the Romani language, and restrictions on the size of Roma gatherings. Penalties were often severe, including death or corporal punishment.

It's estimated that during the Holocaust of World War II up to a half-million people of Romani descent were murdered alongside Jews in the Porrajmos, a Romani word that means "the devouring." In more recent conflicts in Bosnia, Kosovo and Macedonia, several hundred thousand Roma have been displaced to live in refugee camps in utter poverty.

The fall of communism and the political changes in Eastern Europe in 1989 brought new optimism and opportunities to the Romani community, in what one scholar describes as a "new Roma awakening." But today the Roma continue to be deprived of their fundamental rights. A new wave of anti-Roma sentiment and hate violence has surged in recent years, and discrimination in education, employment, housing and health care is pervasive in many societies. Roma children are often segregated into special schools for the learning disabled and fall into a vicious cycle of poverty, teenage pregnancy, petty crime and substance abuse.

The European Roma Rights Center
The European Roma Rights Center is an international public interest law organization that monitors human rights abuses of the Roma and provides legal defense. The Web site includes status reports on the situation of Roma in different countries, and a list of Roma cases heard by the European Court of Human Rights dealing with police abuse, expulsion and asylum, discrimination in housing, and defamation issues.

Project on Ethnic Relations -- Roma
Founded in 1991, the Project on Ethnic Relations conducts programs dedicated to reducing interethnic conflict in Central and Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. This site presents issue papers on anti-Roma violence, electoral disenfranchisement and the media's role in perpetuating anti-Roma stereotypes.

A History of Intolerance
This historical timeline shows the persecution of the Roma in Europe, dating back to witch hunts during the late Middle Ages and the Renaissance.

Holocaust Learning Center
This Web site describes Marzahn, the first internment camp for people of Roma descent, and the forced labor, massacre and deportation of hundreds of thousands of Roma during the Third Reich. The material includes archival photographs, historical film footage and personal stories.

Minority Protection
The European Union Accession Monitoring Program provides documents, news and original articles about minority rights in the states of Central and Eastern Europe.

International Romani Union
(Note: Click on the Great Britain flag on the left-hand side to access the English-language version of Web site.) The main body representing the Roma people in Europe was founded in London in 1971 and has had United Nations advisory status since 1993. The IRU held its fifth World Congress in 2000 and called for nonterritorial nation status for the Roma people. The IRU's agenda in recent years has focused on the migration of Roma to the West, the plight of Roma in Kosovo and the rise in hate violence against Roma.

Roma Media

Romani World
This online newspaper on Romani issues is published by the European Committee on Romani Emancipation.

RomNews
This Roma information service features chat boards for registered users.

Roma Rights Quarterly
The quarterly newsletter of the European Roma Rights Center has news roundups from across Europe, including field reports, editorials and testimonies on issues related to the civil and human rights of the Roma.

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Media Resources

Washington Post
This site collects the Washington Post's articles on Romania and also links to other resources.

Romania Today
This is an extensive Romanian news source, in English.

Mediafax
This independent news agency offers a pro-Western, pro-business slant on news from Romania, in both English and Romanian.

Ziare
Ziare is a clearinghouse that offers a comprehensive catalogue of the Romanian press online, in Romanian.

Romania Libera
This paper was punished under Ceausescu's dictatorship for its opposition views. It rose again in the 1990s to criticize the government for harboring former Communists.

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