gypsies, roma, kosovo

Collateral Lives
The Exile of the Kosovo Roma 

Rom refugees in the Blace camp in  Macedonia

 This is the story of the greatest pogrom against the Rom people since the Second World War. A pogrom which is taking place here in Europe, but far from the media spotlight.  

However, it is also the story of a unique person whom I have the privilege of knowing. In this fierce world, Reska is a woman, she is Rom, an invalid, a Muslim and a Yugoslav.  She has lived through twenty-four dramatic years of adventure, at war with all the birds of prey who unceasingly hover over the heads of the Rom people.  

We generally come across lives like those of Reska and her family only in novels and films.  Reska however is real.  In the very simple sense of a person you can trust. 

I have more experience writing than she has, she was dragged away from school by her relatives when she was still a child. This is why I had to put together the pieces of her adventure. But never forget that this is her story, not mine.   

Roberto Giammanco carefully edited the text. Unlike many others, Roberto never boasts of the academic titles he has. Roberto has a unique combination of mind and heart, a vast sea of knowledge which lives together with strong feelings. And it was Roberto who got Italians to know something about other people whom history has hurt deeply: the American Blacks and the Palestinians.  

Theo Fründt let me use the terrible yet beautiful pictures he took in Kosovo. Theo, a professional in the field of humanitarian aid in the most exposed corners of the world, had been sent by the German government to help the Albanian refugees. When he discovered the pogrom against the Roma, the German government advised him that their tragedy was not politically interesting. So Theo burnt his bridges and started to fight alone for this people who are of no use to anyone.  

I too am involved. I grew up without a homeland, between Mexico, the USA and Italy. For fourteen years I was a full time militant in a cult. This means I had the full experience of the violence that human beings apply to each other, through lying, indifference, manipulation, the invention of myths and opportunism. In one word, power, something I not only underwent: I also exercised it. However, this experience also taught me that it is always right to fight against swindlers and oppressors and to stand next to authentic people. It may be risky at times, but it is worth while.   

I think this clearly explains why we deal with the Roma and those who persecute them in this site, which is also devoted to unmasking a quite different category of people: the defenders of transnational corporations which manipulate people - so-called "destructive cults". In other words, the apologists for manipulation and exploitation. Injustice and oppression are always basically the same, whatever mask they may wear 


I did not write this just for the pleasure of telling a story. Reska and her family - like thousands of other Rom families - need every possible friend. Determined and somewhat fiery friends who are ready to fight all the way for a good reason. Welcome on board, if you feel up to it.  

You can reproduce this text freely, on condition you publish it complete, and with a link to our site And please let us know if you do so!  

Miguel Martinez 

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