Joakim Eskildsen: Roma Journeys (Roma from Hungary, Greece, Romania France, Russia, Finland and India)

*the thing I most appreciate about Eskildsen’s series is the abundant camaraderie and strength of the women.

** Romani are widely known in the English-speaking world by the exonym “Gypsies”, but Roma or Romani are their proper name. Although still debated, it is generally thought that they migrated from India and to Europe roughly 800 years ago. However, the “Roma” are not a single, homogeneous group of people. The Indian origin and affiliation of the Roma is most obvious linguistically by the language still spoken by many members of this heterogeneous ethnicity. But the Roma consist of various groups, which are labelled with different ethnonymes – self designations as well as external designations: Arlije, Calé, Gurbet, Kaale, Kalderaš, Lovara, Manuš, Sepečides, Sinti, Ursari, etc.; many groups also use the self-designation Roma.

In some Eastern European countries, such as Romania and Bulgaria, they form up to 12 percent of the total population. The Roma are also numerous in Turkey, which has about 2.75 million Romani. Other European countries with large Roma populations include Russia, Slovakia, Hungary, Serbia, Spain and France. Though concentrated in Europe, there are also Romani populations on every occupied continent — about 1 million live in the United States, and roughly 800,000 in Brazil.

Despite centuries of racism, forced assimilation, slavery, and even genocide (via the holocaust), the Romani people have survived in part by developing their own highly insular subculture, with its own largely unique customs, social structure, professions, mores, and spiritual beliefs. Today they still suffer many of the same political and cultural repressions and social stigmas they have for centuries, yet still maintain their cultural traditions and way of life.

Read more here: opensocietyfoundations

Best film on the Romani ever: Latcho Drom