BELGRADERS
Belgrade, 1 February - 1 March 2001
REX- B92 Cultural Centre

The project "BELGRADERS - Romany in Belgrade from the beginning of the twentieth century to the present" was carried out in Belgrade from 1 February until 1 March 2001.

We chose the topic bearing in mind that the Romany are the third largest ethnic group in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia after the Serbs and the Albanians, and yet they are socially, economically, and politically disenfranchised. Belgrade Romany could be regarded as autochthonous inhabitants of the city - the first mention of the Romany, i.e. Gypsies in Belgrade is found in the first Turkish land registry of Belgrade and the surrounding area made in 1536. Since then, the Romany have always lived in Belgrade and their number grew or diminished depending on the political situation.

With this project REX wanted to remind the inhabitants of Belgrade that people belonging to different social and economic classes, nationalities, and having different skin colour live in our city. We should not forget that they are repressed and that we do have responsibilities towards each other, especially towards the Romany. Through the project about the life of the Romany in Belgrade during the twentieth century, REX wanted to contribute to abolishing racism and the stereotypes present in our society and show the facts about the life of the Romany in Belgrade in all its complexity. It was aimed at promoting the basic conditions necessary for leading lives of dignity in multicultural communities (mutual understanding between different ethnic and social groups, establishing tolerance towards "difference").

We raised awareness of the general public about the difficult life in Romany communities so that people are confronted with that aspect of reality which they still refuse to see, contributed to the education of both groups (Romany and non-Romany), made a clear distinction between the lifestyle chosen by the Romany and the one imposed on them by the society and highlighted the role of state policy in the process of integration of the Romany in the society as a whole. We improved the independence and know-how of the Romany involved in the project, especially Romany youth.