August 6, 2012
Joakim Eskildsen - The Roma Journeys
Most of visitors of this blog are from US. From there, Europe may seem a country of relative prosperity and social equality, and liberals or even socialists may imagine there's not the poverty and misery that is so often considered to be endemic in the US. Above all, Europe may have the (false) image to treat people with more respect and less violence than in America. Probably the crisis and the situations of mediterranean and eastern countries may alter this idealized vision but there's surely something of this in some, it's what we understood viewing the iddylic portrait of France that Michael Moore did some years ago. But Europe has its damned. They are called Roma, and they have nothing to do with the capital of Italy but are a minority initially from India who have spreaded all over Europe in the previous centuries and most often have been rejected by local populations anywhere they went. They were quite numbered in Romania but with segregation and misery in this country, and when communism collapsed, they have migrated in nordic and western countries where they are often forced to live in camp with awful hygienic conditions. They are regularly evicted and in France neither right or left wing really care the way this is done and what will happen to these elders, adults and children. This is not far to be similar to South Africa apartheid but happens in complete silence, everyone being mre occupied to cry on the misery in far away countries than at their door. Everyday, I see Roma trying to survive on my way to work and I feel shit to accept this situation. Today, the new minister of police (let's call him this way) has decided to pursue the politics of Roma hunting of his right wing predecessor. So, in a sort of artistic protest, I post this fantastic series by finnish photographer Joakim Eskildsen (born in 1971). He went throughout Europe to meet and photograph Roma from 2000 to 2006 and provided a wonderful gallery of iconic images. Similar to Alessandra Sanguinetti with her argentina family portraits, he belongs to the species of photograph who are neither dictators nor robbers. As we can see, the way of life and social situation of Roma are dramatically different according to countries (rather good in Finland it seems, and awful in India or Romania but not really better in France). I didn't specify where each shot was taken. It's not a sociologic wort but an artistic. His site here.