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KEITH PORTER: This week on Common Ground, the plight of
KRISTIN MCHUGH: Common Ground is a program on world affairs and the people who shape events. It’s produced by the Stanley Foundation. I’m Kristin McHugh.
PORTER: And I’m Keith Porter. The nearly six million gypsies, or Roma, who live in the countries of East Central Europe, face poverty, unemployment, and oftentimes intense discrimination. Over a decade after the fall of communism, the region’s governments have slowly begun to address the needs of their Roma minority populations.
MCHUGH: And as Common Ground’s Drew Leifheit reports, sometimes a bit of encouragement from the international community can help push things forward.
[sound of people talking, with vehicle traffic in the background]
DREW LEIFHEIT: Cars and trucks roar by a dumpster overflowing with garbage on a muddy driveway leading to the place AnikaDorogi calls home. The walls are dingy and crumbling inside the hallway leading to the small apartment she shares with her husband and five kids.
[a baby cries and screams]
ANIKA DOROGI: [via a translator] This place isn’t very hygienic. It has to be cleaned every day so the children don’t get an infection. With the iron works so nearby we live in the middle of an industrial zone and we can’t do much about it. Three of my kids are terminally ill from this, and they picked it up right here at home.
LEIFHEIT: As members of
DOROGI: [via a translator] If Hungarians lived here they would have been transferred to a nice place a long time ago. But because we’re gypsies, they let us rot. They don’t pay any attention to the fact that they provided us with this place. We didn’t just move in here. They gave all of us one of these apartments, and the end result is we’ll be on the street eventually if the authorities don’t come up with some decision.
LEIFHEIT: Even though this family has
always paid the rent and utility bills on time, they and others could be
removed from their homes at any time in accordance with the so-called “Eviction
Law,” passed last year by the Hungarian Parliament. Because the eviction law
predominantly affects the mostly poor Roma population, it and housing
discrimination in general are problems that need to be addressed in
CLAUDE CAHN: We now have the prospect that city officials evict on the basis of, of various criteria, some of them very arbitrary. The police implement the eviction. A court may, one or one and a half years later, rule that the eviction itself was illegal and that the person should not have been evicted. However, they will have been homeless or, or—I mean, they may have been homeless for a year and a half since then—one to one and a half years is average court backlog in Hungary. And as a result, we are seeing a dramatic rise in homelessness, Romany and non-Romany homelessness. But most of the reports are that it is disproportionately falling against Roma, and that in many of the cases what is defined as illegal tenancy is very, very shaky.
LEIFHEIT:AladarHorvah, Director of the Roma Citizen Foundation, says his organization has done everything in its power to try and defeat the eviction law, which he considers antisocial because it puts the financial interests of property owners above the rights of tenants.
ALADAR HORVAH: [via a translator] There are so many disputes with the landlords that if they’re decided subjectively, by the notary and not the courts, families who have no means of defense can end up on the streets. Sometimes they are living there illegally, but maybe they’ve been deceived. People in bad straits are pushed into an even worse situation.
LEIFHEIT:Horvah says a number of civic groups drafted a letter to parliament protesting the law.
HORVAH: [via a translator] Their answers didn’t address our concerns. They basically said, parliament accepted this law and it’s democratic, that only the constitutional court can change it or kill it. Furthermore, they claim the government’s housing agenda will give the poor opportunities to work honestly and buy an apartment. It was a cynical reply and we’ve asked our ombudsman to turn to the constitutional court.
LEIFHEIT: In addition to contending
the law is unconstitutional, Horvah believes the
eviction law, which oftentimes separates parents from their children, actually
costs the state much more money than it does to let Roma stay in their
sometimes squalid surroundings. The fuzzy nature of the eviction law and its
implementation created an international controversy in the Hungarian
countryside earlier this year. The mayor of the Hungarian town of
GABOR MIKLOSSY: The families were moved into the cultural center of the village. But, of course, the whole situation was very, very strange. And the public administration of the county decided, or ruled, about a year later that the mayor’s decision to demolish the houses was completely against the law. But that, then of course, it was too late. There were many conflicts with the villagers because they were living in the cultural center without any hope of ever being able to have their own houses again. Then the national gypsy government, the national Roma self-government, intervened. And they decided to buy the Roma construction lots and to built them wooden houses.
LEIFHEIT: The controversy didn’t end
there, but erupted into violence as youths from a neighboring village attacked
some of the Roma community, and one of the attackers was killed. Following the
violence about eight Roma families traveled to
[sound of Roma music]
LEIFHEIT: A few hours west of
DON DOGHI: It’s not only about singing and dancing; this is only a part of this. We have to organize weekly intercultural evenings in which to invite other young non-Roma and Roma to discuss and share about their culture. I, we believe that it’s very important. We want to organize a theater section, which means that a few of Roma which have this talent could manifest and express themselves within this section. We want to just develop some kind of multicultural center.
LEIFHEIT: By the end of the year, Doghi hopes the group will become an integral part of Cluj’s cultural scene. Doghi, who is also a program coordinator at a Roma community resource center, says he became involved in organizing Roma activities when, in the mid-nineties he saw other groups misrepresenting his interests as a Roma.
DOGHI: There was a Roma Party in Cluj. At that time, the so-called leaders of that party were people without any kind of education, part illiterate. But this, this wasn’t the main problem. The main problem was that they were evolved in other activities that are, are not moral. I, I was angry on this because I knew that there are many other Roma who could represent in a better way Roma interests. So I, I decided to, to get into this political structure just to, to see how it works. And I spent one month, let’s say. And immediately after that I’ve heard that there is a new opportunity to open a branch of another party.
LEIFHEIT: Following a training conference, Doghi set up a nongovernmental organization called AmarehPraleh, or “Our Brothers.” Being a Roma activist, according to Doghi, means being involved in NGOs and learning how to write grant proposals to international foundations. Still, he says it’s difficult to acquire funding for some of the seemingly most important activities for Roma—things like a legal defense fund.
DOGHI: So we are still waiting for somebody who might be interested on this, and to give us enough money to start the activity of monitoring human rights in Roma communities and abuses and discrimination and other such cases. But we tried for the last three or four years to obtain financial support. But they, they were not so interested on, on this because they said that they could provide funds only for non-Roma.
LEIFHEIT: Young Romanian Roma like Don Doghi are a sign of the future. The Executive Director of the Roma Resource Center in Cluj, Florin Moisa, says the empowerment of Roma in Romania is about developing the younger generation because of the poverty and isolation most of the minority population faces.
LEIFHEIT: By selecting young Roma
with leadership qualities, the
MOISA: We selected a group of 34 young Roma with the aim of going to 30 disadvantaged Roma communities and making their information available on how to vote correctly, what they are voting for, what is the parliament, what is the president doing, how to understand the electoral process, and to motivate them to go to vote. And the project was called “Show You Care About Your Life,” you know. ‘Cause if you care about your life you’ll go to vote.
LEIFHEIT:Moisa says the activists exceeded expectations, distributing information about the elections to 67 Roma communities. Quite a feat in a population with limited knowledge of the political process.
MOISA: They can be subject to influence, a very easy influence from different parties or for different candidates. There were cases last year when they sold their votes, in fact, for one kilo of sugar and one kilo of rice, for something that was given from a party or another, or a candidate. They didn’t feel very well the connection between the vote and their future life.
notes that the Romanian government has made recent strides regarding the Roma,
adopting a legal framework to protect them from discrimination and an
affirmative action-like program to hire Roma in social service agencies. Still,
progress in countries like
CLAUDE CAHN: The publics of these countries badly want to be members of the European Union and so we look to European Union recommendations as absolutely fundamental to changing the situation of Roma in central and eastern Europe.
adds that although international criticism can be embarrassing, without the
outside pressure the governmental policies of east central
MCHUGH: Spinning the globe, next on Common Ground.
MCHUGH: Printed transcripts and audio cassettes of this program are available. Listen at the end of the broadcast for details, or visit our Web site at commongroundradio.org. Common Ground is a service of the Stanley Foundation, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that conducts a wide range of programs designed to provoke thought and encourage dialogue on world affairs.
MCHUGH: The Upper East Side of
Manhattan is one of the most elite neighborhoods in
PORTER: When Kristin and I arrived at the Glazer Gallery I expected oak walls, plush carpets, and soft lighting. What we found instead looks more like the overcrowded attic of an ancient geographer. As we walked up the steps to the small third-floor space, George Glazer himself met us at the top of the stairs.
GEORGE GLAZER: Maybe we should get some stuff out of the way so it doesn’t sound like when I’m doing it, I’m fumbling around.
[sound of Glazer fumbling around his shop]
PORTER: Glazer spent years as an
antique furniture dealer in one of
GLAZER: Globes have so many things that are interesting about them. They have world geography, of course. They relate to astronomy. They relate to world politics. And they have interesting decorative art stands that are a product of the art period in which they were created.
PORTER: Do you see globes mostly as scientific instruments? Or are they decorative arts?
GLAZER: Well, the interesting thing about globes is that they are part and parcel of a few different things. They are decorative arts, and so they are decorative objects. They are also partly map. ‘Cause, and they have something called globe gores, which is the engraved map that is created in a certain way so it’s laid on the sphere. And then they are also scientific instruments because you could do scientific calculations with them. You could figure out world time, aspects of astronomy, aspects of the zodiac, things like that. So they’re really a combination of all three. Which is one of the reasons why they’re, they’re fairly esoteric. They don’t fit into one definite category. So typically for collectors or dealers they are a side thing. If a map dealer might have a few globes, or a scientific instruments dealer might have a few globes, or a furniture dealer might have a few globes. But because they are a part of all of those different areas none of them specialize in them as such. And that’s one of the things that I decided to do. ‘Cause I thought, that ultimately a globe is the most interesting collectible, the most interesting decorative arts object you could buy because it does combine all of those things.
PORTER: When were globes first
produced, in what we would think of today as
GLAZER: Well, the first actual
production of globes where they were manufactured, as opposed to maybe a one-off
thing where somebody just drew a globe, would be by James Wilson, who’s
PORTER: Do you have a
GLAZER: This is a James Wilson globe
and you could find something called the “cartouche” on it, which is on a lot of
globes, and that is the maker’s name and insignia. Here it’s called a “New
American 13-inch Terrestrial Globe,” it says, “Exhibiting the
greatest—exhibiting with the greatest possible accuracy the positions of the
principle known places of the earth, etc.” He also talks about the fact that in
the cartouche that it has the tracks of the various circumnavigators and new
discoveries down to the period 1828. And it’s signed by “J. Wilson & Sons,
PORTER: For our radio listeners, can you give us sort of an overall description of this globe we’re looking at right now?
GLAZER: Well, it’s a 13-inch
sphere. It’s got paper gores, which are—a gore is just a technical name for the
engraved paper that is placed on the sphere and it has to be cut in a certain
way. Then it’s set within a brass ring called the meridian and it’s on a nice
turned wooden stand. And the varnish has yellowed so it has that old world
parchment look to it. And then some of the tones of the greens on the globe
have oxidized—that’s what happens to green over time. So, it has an antique look
to it. Here in the
PORTER: Just roughly, what would you expect to pay for a globe in this shape, from this era?
PORTER: If we were to look at a
British globe from the same time period what would be, what would we see
differently out here in the western part of the
GLAZER: Well, the British globes
were much slower to follow on the American West, especially in the early
period. Although really in later, in the mid-to-late 19th century the British
did catch up. Indeed, a lot of American globes in the mid-to-late 19th century
were made by W. & A.K. Johnston, which was a British maker. But there are
some funny things that you can see sometimes. I’ve seen an early 19th-century
globe that calls the American, the east coast, the colonies, the British
colonies, even though we had won our independence long before that in the 18th
century. The British globes also might tend more to show the British, the
PORTER: The old saying about “the
sun never sets on the
GLAZER: Well, at this time that was
so. But now with, you know, even to recently with
PORTER: George, let’s turn around this way and look at some of these other examples you’ve set out for us here.
GLAZER: Well, this globe is called
“News of the World,” which is applicable to your program. I’m told that “News
of the World” was a, was and is a newspaper in
PORTER: I think that we hear so much here at the start of the 21st century about globalization. But you see a globe like this and you, you recognize it as a concept that really has deep roots.
GLAZER: Yes. I think people thought
of a lot of these things earlier. The concepts of internationalization of the
world, globalization. And they were excited in the 1920s and the ‘30s with the
idea of the shrinking world and how it all would become accessible. Because
that was a new concept at the time. It has different aspects today with
Internet and mass communication that have taken on different types of meaning
or are advanced concepts of that. But these globes relate to, as I said, to
transportation and also to communications. You’ll see the Atlantic cable. And
these were exciting—which was in the 19th century, they built the, they put a
PORTER: George, one of the things I really like here is this little globe. At the bottom it says, “World Bank.” Now we know what the World Bank is today, but I don’t think that’s what they meant at the time.
GLAZER: Right. This is just a world bank, not the World Bank. And globes could be objects, because they are a
sphere and a lot of things—utilitarian objects—are in the form of sphere. You
can make them serve two purposes. This is an American globe from about 1880 by
the Shedler’s, who were German immigrants to the
This globe here is called “The Magnetic Air Race Globe.” It was made by Replogle, which is an American manufacturer that’s still in business, from the 1950s. And it has, it’s just a tin globe with a very brightly colored blue oceans. And it has these little airplanes that are magnetic so they stick to metal globe.
[sound of metal clinking on metal]
GLAZER: You can hear them sticking. And there’s play money, and there’s little cards, and so this was for children who were interested in world geography and in aviation.
PORTER: You mentioned the way the
globe changes after war. You mentioned World War I and World War II. I’m sure
many of us and many schools in
GLAZER: Well, there are globes—of
course a lot of globes were made in the ‘60s and ‘70s, they were mass produced
in this period and they are still around and they show divisions in the—of
course they show the Soviet Union, which is now divided into different
countries. Things like that. Especially with the end of the Cold War. So they
would be antiquated in that sense, if they were before the breakup of the
PORTER: All this talk about globes may have gotten our listeners thinking about globes that they have in their house or globes that they have in their attic or their parents’ attic. What are the things that people could look for on a basic globe that would let them know whether or not it was something of value, or just sort of a run-of-the-mill, mass-produced kind of globe?
GLAZER: If you have an idea about
the value of antiques in general and you’re familiar with that you could use
your general knowledge of antiques and most of that would apply. Mostly globes
that were made after World War II are not terribly valuable. Of course there’s
going to be exceptions to everything. Mostly globes that were made in the 19th
century or earlier do have good value. Collecting depends upon a lot of
factors. It depends upon rarity; it depends upon the condition of the globe. In
order to begin to get an idea of what the globe might be, you would look for
the cartouche on the globe, to see who the maker’s name was and see if it was
dated. Unfortunately, in the 20th century they tended not to date globes, for whatever reason. So you might look at a
globe and say, “Well, I don’t really know whether this was made in the ‘20s or
the ‘40s or the ‘60s.” And so then what you would do is you’d look for certain
geographical aspects of the globe that would, would indicate to you when it was
made. For example, if you see
Also, sometimes you might look on a globe and see
something, like for example
PORTER: To learn more about globes and about George Glazer, visit him online at www.georgeglazer.com. Glazer is spelled “G-l-a-z-e-r.” For Common Ground, I’m Keith Porter.
MCHUGH: And I’m Kristin McHugh.
Cassettes and transcripts of this program are available. The transcripts are
free; cassettes cost $5.00. To place an order or to share your thoughts about
the program, write to us at: The Stanley Foundation,
PORTER: Transcripts are also available on our Web site: commongroundradio.org. Commongroundradio is all one word. Our e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
MCHUGH: Cliff Brockman is our Associate Producer. B.J. Liederman created our theme music. Common Ground is produced and funded by the Stanley Foundation.
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