Entry from my diary I write to keep myself sane
A am amazed
I am amazed with these non Roma people swimming in privileges absolutely unjustly acquired life opportunities based just on the contingent factors of their birth who causally sit there on the events related to Roma issues and just untouched by the realities of the lives of the Roma whose lives they get a lot of money to make supposedly better.
They sit there and whip off any, even the most simple demands for the justification of their programs which would show any sign of real effects on the lives of the worse off Roma people. They use this language of “let me make assure you”, “let me put your mind at ease” and then they claim they have something, some magic wand which solves the problem, which we will never see, not then, not even for 15 more years, not ever probably, but let them make us assure that they do have it. It is in their highly white, rich, nicely groomed hands.
And they just sit there and send you all the non-verbal language signs of the leaders of the pack, these representatives of some big organizations dealing with poverty, or hunger, or housing, or whatever, one more token of their God given right to be trusted.
I am amazed how after 15 years we need to sit and listen how internships will help Roma employment, how scholarships and training programs will help Roma employment, even though, by the way, we do not really have data to support this, and we do not know what they actually do.
I cannot believe that I am there after 15 years I need to listen how “decent” jobs for Roma will be made, by not really explained, fabulous, magical ways, which are “not solving the issue”, and we “do not actually have a way of measuring effects”, but believe them, “it will help”. I cannot fuckin believe.
The only thing these programs do, I would say, is that in essence they provide better off people with nice paid jobs which pay for their expensive life style and their children’s good schools and ensure their dominant social positions in nice white organizations in which there are no Roma for decades, or ..ever… by the way, and there is not even a slightest chance to see any kind of change in their employment policy to include them. That’s the only thing they are good for.
These sellers of the “magical dust” sit there and so self-assured do not feel they need to justify anything. They do not need to explain anything. Neither who they are, what they do, how they do it, why they do it, is there actually any meaningful effect of their work, they do not ask themselves is there any person in the audience that should be having answers to these questions, nothing, God damn nothing. Hey, its even rude to ask them such things.
The magic culture
Seriously, Roma activists and academics all together built fabulous culture of respect for the “sellers of magic dust by all knowing and all mighty Gandalf-like policy and human rights magicians” and their ensuring talk about their local projects and their local success and their never-ending reports of how Roma lack education and even their stories of “matching” of the “groom” of the employers, private businessmen, who in reality could not care less about the value of human life, and the “bride”, uneducated Roma.
As we after 15 years still listen the same story of unresolved issues of child marriages by Roma activists who for last 15 years did not bother to have much of a learning from experience and improve their ways, since it was just too comfortable to change last year project proposals, for which they will anyway get the money, and who so obnoxiously still think that they can with some authority speak on the issues they were the ones to move from the dead point, there, these other non Roma “match makers” are telling us how their positions are needed in society also, by us, Roma and by business people.
And there, we, naïve Roma not knowing our lives, we would even think there are so many of these employers, God help us, it’s just the matter of our education, and our manners, and I guess not knowing how to “dress for success” really. We are just simply in need of better packages to be more competitive on that market, God damn it. Even we, with our MAs. Even we, must be uninformed and it must be we just do not know where to find information, otherwise the world would just treat us differently, and hay, we would be the same even. The same, sitting there, just like these well employed and well taken care of people, bursting from the privileges of the decades of the good life they did not deserve, who will live longer since it was given to them.
The case of conflictual beliefs
It’s almost like there is this knowledge , beliefs, that Roma have some problems, you know, there is this need to have some special programs for their type on unemployment. We are not sure why is this special, but, believe them, it is special, and they know how it is special, not that they will now show that they know, they do not need to know or to show anything to anybody, of course, these professional “sellers of the magic dust or Roma salvation”.
So there is this knowledge, but somehow it’s like they at the same time believe their job positions can somehow be equally available to Roma and how there is some equality, so that they just never need to justify anything regarding their position, not really. Not even their competences, let alone their non Roma involvement into Roma lives in so many normative ways.
So there, I am amazed how in their world view there is nothing giving them any hint of the need to think about their own positions in any way, these professionals with long CVs and the names of international organizations and European Union bodies in them.
My take is that they can live in relative terms so unjustly comfortable lives mainly since the class was never the major issue for Roma activists, class for themselves, who can also sit with these people and feel in need of “saving the civility, law and order” in this absolutely unfairly set public sphere, and protect these respected Gadjo “dilers” who do not bother to follow any eistemically just criteria in dialogue, any epistemic rationally, any need to take other people and their claims seriously under epistemic consideration, nothing, these “hustlers” of reason, or real inquiries, and save them, save them from any what so ever intrusion of Roma reality.
To save them, if nothing, than from this reality of the last 15 years of the lives of Roma who continue to live in shit and worse than ever. Also from Roma reality of educated ones, who also paradoxically go hungry to bed now, as much as their uneducated parents in the houses of mud, whose stench they now well, with whom they maybe even had to struggle to get educated, and who also lost their teeth’s and their general health for educating their children, with whom together now, as so many people, they live much, much worse than in communist times.
My mother told me recently she feels sorry, sorry that I was not born then, when they, the poor Roma who worked on fairs and as cleaning people in state factories, were also poor, were having more decent and dignified lives when some of them could actually get work and live with their salary and when there was no Roma activism as it exist now.
And they save them now, these Roma activists, they save these non Roma experts and bureaucrats smelling on expensiveness and comfort from follow up questions and disagreements and simple demands for clarification and justification of the work done by these “Gods on Earths”, like they indeed need saving.
Because this is academia
Because this is academia. And we know how academia holds high freedoms and civility. It should also come with epistemic responsibilities, but apparently, even the last bastion falls into the banality.
What a degradation of the academic space as a space of reason. I cannot imagine the worst way to desecrate principle of reason but to bring “magicians of Roma lives” to academia to sell their “powder”. I cannot imagine worse insult for any rational being sitting in the audience, being aware of her life, but to allow these people again, and in spite of all these 15 years of evidence of nothingness and emptiness of their talks and projects, to spread their “magic powder” over our heads with such an ease. Like the first winter snow. It comes as natural. They do it naturally. It is naturalized.
And, at the end, what a silly role of our activists and academics, really, i mean just i dont know…sorry but, pitiful. The same ones who even after 15 years of education and investment in you in the fabulous Decade treated you as easily disregarded pathetic charity case on internships, who after you ask them about helping you with your employment never replied on your emails, and who come to you after you barely managed to collect some money to be there and use the opportunity of studding, as there is nothing they owe you or ever owed you more than this opportunity, not even to ask if you are alive for the last year and will you be able to use it actually this opportunity they indeed did manage to provide partly.
These ones think they can come and chit chat after these humiliating talks and ask even for explanations and information about your life now, and ask “so, how it’s going, are you happy to be here on university?” Like the fact that they left you to your own social and educational capital to live or die has nothing to do with it. But they also have the position to save, these, our Roma Gods, to jump in the defense of these non Roma comfort.
Anyway it’s all show for them together. We are just spectators in their theater of our miserable, precarious and wretched lives. Some pushing the wheels with cardboard and iron, some pushing our BAs and MAs, with the result which is hard to fit into the guides for the “dignified” jobs for Roma, like you with your diploma selling socks on the street with your uneducated mother.
I guess this is why no Roma manifesto will ever have the slightest weight where is should matter. Self-proclaiming yours WE is simply not good enough. I am afraid to say, but it looks like like another language performance, a magic trick which I do not really understand, and which I am not sure what is suppose to mean to me while I am aware how when I graduate using this fabulous opportunity they would not miss to point out they provided for me, what waits for me is what I already have experienced. Being back home, trying to survive with 100 eur per month, as many other Roma and non Roma. It means very little and even less to the ones in whose name you talk, the most exploited ones.
Possible worlds and cultures and communities
Whose lives you changed, I cannot tell. I know only that to influence my life when it mattered always meant sacrificing and giving up of time and money when i needed it the most, without expectation by other people. Without “we are not charity” approaches, without “we have no projects at this point”. It meant something which, I am ashamed to say, I was never able to get in Roma community, especially the better off Roma community of activists who laughably rather preferred not to deprive themselves from vacations, while I did not have where to sleep and what to eat, and who in complete unawareness of their privileges proudly bragged and posted their images on FB looking too much like a business class, like a proper rentier strata they are, (to which, dont get me wrong, one day I strongly but without much perspective how it looks right now wish to belong actually, of course, well, just to make sure first I have at least one roof over my head)
Maybe some old sociologists were right that revolutions always depend from the available epistemic and hermeneutical resources in the culture. You have to have this communal practice at least somewhere in your history. I never saw it, I never learned it, I never saw anybody else showing it, from “professional” Roma activists who supposedly have some competences in this field. They offered me much of “go along or get along” patriarchal shit, which means any dissent or criticism means you are unworkable with, complete disregard or simply charity. I only truly felt it from my poor, uneducated Roma mother really. But then again, she is my mother, and there are many issues also which come in this package.
And there it is, the case of alienating intellectual (so to speak)
After 15 years, I feel more represented by folk singers than Roma activists. After spending the deferred year due to sickness in dare poverty, which, if ever, these activists felt maybe long, long time ago, which apparently gives them credibility to claim their victimhood up to the eternity, and also without a job, I fail, I really, desperately, and regrettably fail to see the point of ever comfortable, superficial, repeating talks about the “proper concoction of the educational packages” for Roma in the era of the immense brute capitalist devastation and rushing fascism.
And I must say, I am ashamed by their “polite” discussions, which I guess they see as “critical”, so easily and professionally maneuvered by their interlocutors, oh, so much more skilled to sell what they sell anywhere, even on academia, or maybe we should say particularly on academia, which they learned also from their own parents and their grandparents.
Feeling of superiority and entitlemnt to be treated as epistemically credible on any terms is also, I guess, some kind of inheritable capital, you see, and the culture provides for these people also plenty of examples and role models I and so many other people did not have.
I did not feel this while I was younger and it is kind of strange to say it, but today I wish I was not Roma. I wish partly because of all of the Roma activists.
I wish especially I am not one of the many who are from uneducated bio-politically shattered and demolished mother, whose body was chewed and eaten by this society to pay for her decision of her parents to have children and her decision to have her own children, decision which many poor Roma women do not even have.
I wished today also I never have children, especially the ones who will call themselves Roma. I am ashamed for sharing this identity. I am ashamed I use the opportunity to gain my MA partly thanks to Roma activism. I wish I did have other options in life.
I am ashamed for Roma activists making sure I never have enough liberty to save dignity from them when it mattered, and for the fact that I felt the most humiliated by them actually.
I am ashamed also for their mischievous WE, false promises of community and solidarity and such a evidently feeble expertise in dealing with these “masters of magical mastery” and lack of integrity.
In front of myself I am ashamed for ever being stupid but mostly weak to reach for the belief in any of you, like you are real. None of you is real. That is the bottom line. Magic which operates by managing spectator’s attention works, its spectacular, but at the end, there is nothing in the activist’s hat. Not a one bloody thing. You better believe that, for your own good.