The Roms: immersion in a hated community

The Roms: immersion in a hated community | 90' Enquêtes | TMC

There are only 17,000 of them in France yet they are the source of a huge number of fantasies. This 90’ documentary tells the stories of Ioniz, Slavi, Darius and others. Ioniz was born 3 days ago and he is starting life in a shantytown. His father, Viorel, 20 and sporting tattoos, is already proud of his son. However, for his wife and him, as for their family, some fifteen Roms from Bucharest in Rumania, the joys of birth don’t last long. The camp where they have lived for just a year in Aulnay-sous-Bois in Seine-Saint-Denis is going to be cleared in a few days. Slavi is 8. He lives some dozen kilometers from Ioniz and Viorel. He is one of the children from the so-called “model” Coquetiers camp at Bobigny. A few weeks ago his life changed: he went to school. He entered the Elementary 3rd grade class. He’s learning French, plays with his schoolmates and is dreaming of a future where he might become a policeman. But he too is walking a tightrope: last April, the Bobigny city hall, after twenty years of Communist administration, fell to the Right. Slavi’s camp, the one with the highest school attendance in France, also runs the risk of being pulled down. Darius is 17. His features, distorted by blows, made the headlines all over the European media. One June evening, his life changed at Pierrefitte sur Seine. A case of burglary, revenge by youths from the housing projects, and his battered body was found in a shopping cart at the side of Highway 1. One month in a coma, two months in hospital before Darius could rejoin his family, taking refuge in Aubervilliers. Who is he? What happened that night in June? The mayor of Aulnay-sous-Bois gives the answer: “poverty competition”, when Rom camps are set up next to the worst projects in France. They are 5, 7, 12 years old. They still live in Rumania. In the country from which a major part of the Roms in France come. Why do they come here? “Because French garbage cans are better than Rumanian ones,” is their constant response. The country is one of contrasts. In the flashier neighborhoods, Roms show off their gold jewelry, large houses and limousines. Where does the money come from, in a community with a bad reputation for slavery, exploiting the difficulties of obtaining employment? Not far away, in a few ghettos, anti-Rom segregation is even “physical”. In Baia Mare a wall separates the 3000 Roms from the rest of the population. How do you live, dumped without water or electricity? What arguments do the local authorities put forward by?