People: Shadi Zatara

At Minority Voices we asked some of our participants to share their thoughts and reflections on the things they experienced during the week. These are Shadi’s thoughts after his visit to Romedia Foundation in Budapest.

‘A Palestinian’s reflections on the Roma

On 25 April 2013, a Thursday, I went with a great group of human rights activists and journalists from the Minority Voices study session to visit an NGO in Budapest called ROMEDIA FOUNDATION. The objective of our meeting with the director of the organisation was to understand how NGOs in Hungary work with and in media to support the rights of Roma people.

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We had the chance to watch an interesting documentary movie showing the reality of Roma children and families who used to live in Germany and some of them were repatriated to Kosovo. Another movie was about successful Romani women, which was produced for a campaign to raise awareness and to support Romani Women’s rights in Europe and highlight success stories.

We work with minorities, and defend their rights. But, my questions is: how much are we involved in their realities? Or aware of how they live? Or what they really suffer because of people in general or governments?

For me as a Palestinian, I feel Roma people and Palestinians have many similarities in their realities. They both suffer injustice, oppression, less opportunities, and the problem of being not recognised. I even thought for a while, that Palestinians are like Roma people in a way, just in different regions and states.
Unfortunately; governments in this world still indirectly promote discrimination against Roma people. Maybe they pretend that they support human rights for them, but the reality reflects the truth.

The Managing Director of the organization, Katalin Barsony, who is a confidant and successful Romani woman from Hungary, talked to us about the challenges they face to work in such topics about minority in Hungary or other European countries and also about the positive impact by their media work. Working with a minority and especially advocating for the rights of Roma people by using media tools and methods is not easy work as it needs a lot of efforts, expertise, and funding.

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The work I have seen done by this organization is very impressive and it leads to a better reality for Roma people in Hungary and the region. However, Roma people would not enjoy their rights fully unless stereotyping them stopps, people in the communities include them fully, and governments support them as any other citizens.’

By: Shadi Zatara, Photo by: Martin Hanzel, Ringier Axel Springer Slovakia

Shadi Zatara is a Palestinian from Jerusalem. He works as a Youth Worker & Trainer in EuroMed region to increase participation of youth and minorities in social and political fields. You can contact Shadi at shadizatara@gmail.com.

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