Last summer, on the eigth anniversary of the June 13-15, 1990 coal miner’s massacre of Romanian anti-government protesters, a hunger strike was held at University Square in downtown Bucharest. The strikers staged their protest at the location of the bloodshed beneath the twenty-two story, luxury Intercontinental Hotel and across from the fountain colloquially known as Tianemen Square II. The idea was to draw attention to the government’s reluctance to prosecute those responsible for the three days of violence that killed 60 people and injured over a thousand.
This year's Roma Day on April 8th marked the twenty-year anniversary since the Gypsies of East Europe freely acknowledged their ethnicity. The day has been celebrated throughout the region in gypsy style with music and dance, skewered pork or lamb and plenty of drink as means of celebrating life. The day memorializes the roughly one million Roma exterminated by the Nazis in what has been commonly dubbed the forgotten holocaust, though which Roma scholars have termed Porrajmos, the devouring.
Romania is home to Europe's largest Roma population and is the setting for some of the most pervasive societal violence and discrimination against Roma. The Twentieth International Roma Day was celebrated in bittersweet events throughout Romania on April 8th. "This day offers the press the chance to reverse the usual negative stereotypes," says Roma journalist Rudolf Moca.