The recent large Conference of the European Commission gathered on 2nd and 3rd of October over 400 people from 30 countries in Brussels to discuss the ROMACT program.
I am a supporter of the idea at the core of the program. The way it is implemented is another matter.
The discussion if such conferences are worth the enormous amounts of money spent is not the purpose here. It is true , based on my experience the cost of just one conference like this one can keep out of the streets of Bucharest 300 children for 5 years. Enough to make a difference between criminality/drug addiction and “successful social inclusion” (to use the mighty Eurotalk) for hundreds of people. Sure thing there will be some of those responsible for organizing the conference that can come up with amazing rationalizations of why the conference was a great achievement.
The speakers at the conference received scarfs and ties. Emanuel Ungaro scarfs. One of the most luxurious and most overpriced scarfs in the world. The conference was about some of the poorest people in Europe. Most of the Roma mediators present at the conference receive less per month than the average cost of an Ungaro scarf. Indeed, just a tiny fraction of them were speakers. Most of the speakers were, comparatively, rather rich –probably aware of the luxurious gift.
I was taken for a fool -many times.
By my relatives, by my colleagues, by people I loved or by people I met just briefly. Some of the children in the ghetto stole things from me or tried to get away with stealing. Many of them told me lies wishing to get something they did not deserve. Some of their parents tried the same. Drug addicts, business people, diplomats, celebrities, politicians all tried to take me for a fool at one moment or the other. Most of the times I ignored it and moved on.
I was a fool. Many times. I did things I ended up being ashamed of doing. Acknowledging them was never easy. It still remains hard as it goes against my instinct.
What happens nowadays in the case of Roma in Brussels is beyond being taken for a fool. It is an enormous waste of public money. The fact that it continues to happen without serious protests, penalties and reforms makes a fool of everybody that genuinely cares about social issues in Europe. It takes advantage of everybody that pays taxes in Europe. Makes also a mockery of what might be the best thing happened to Europe – the European Union.
Send those gifts back. You were taken for a fool.