Media: RFI, 31-10-07 Calendar Topics Print

Roma in Paris forced to leave

Roma in Paris told to leave

Door Jan van der Made

Roma gypsies have been living in France for centuries. Originally from India ("Rom" is Sanskrite for "Man") they travelled to the west, where they were mistakenly seen as Egyptians and called "gypsies." With their cousins the Sinthi (called "gens voyageurs" - traveling people in France) they faced persecution and exermination in the hands of the Nazi's.

Suspicious of government bureaucracy and registration in a fixed place, they prefer to remain anonymous and avoid mixing with inhabitants of their host countries. Yet there's less and less place to run. Meet "Django" (not his real name), the leader of a Roma camp in the Parisian suburb of Saint-Denis; Semir Mile, spokesperson for the 'Voice of the Roma' that fights for Roma rights and Christina, a Roma girl who managed to integrate in French society and now studies at the Sorbonne.