"Måla med ljus - Les Grands Moments"
Roma are the largest and most discriminated minority in Europe. Their level of education is lower than other Europeans. Their health is poorer, their unemployment rate is higher and their life expectancy are shorter than for other Europeans. The history of Roma in Europe is dark and through the ages they have been subjected to racial hatred and outright extermination.
The last two years Sweden and other rich countries in northern Europe has been subjected for a desperate migration from extremely poor Roma people from Bulgaria and Romania. They have no other solution than to go to Sweden hoping to find a work and get money to pay their debts and feed their hungry children. Within the European Union it's allowed for the citizens to stay up to 3 months in another EU country without work and up to 6 months if you have a work.
Although Roma people has been subjected to persecution and oppression for generations in Europe, they are a happy people as you can see in the slide-show. Despite all the difficulties they have been through, they are always close to a good laugh. Joy and music welds them together and it has become a way for them to escape from all the hatred and oppression that they are constantly subjected to.
The Roma mothers and fathers in the pictures came to Sweden with the hope of getting work. Most of them did not find work, and they had to beg on the streets to raise money for themselves and their children back in Romania. I didn't want to photograph them in the vulnerable position when they were begging on the streets. I decided to meet them in their camp. I wanted to get to know them and build relations with them in order to photograph them at their own terms. Therefore I have spent much time getting to know them at the place were they have set up their camp in Huskvarna. If possible I shall visit them in their villages in Romania and meet them and their children and grandchildren in their own environment.
The song in the slide-show is a traditional Gypsy song from Romania which is played by the Roma master musicians Catalin Vlad (guitar) and Stefanica Gheorghe (chello). The photos in the Slide Show has been taken by the Swedish Photojournalist and Social Reporter Mikael Good from Sweden and he has used a Leica M rangefinder camera for many of the pictures.
I Believe A Change Is Gonna Come - Opre Roma!
Text and Photo: Mikael Good
Ps: The daughter to one of my all time favorite documentary photographers saw the slide-show and she liked it! :)