... A REVOLUTION OF LOVE"
"WE NEED A REVOLUTION........
In this edition of KASKADA MAGAZINE we are doing something different. This edition is not so much about the ministry of the Roma Bible Union but rather, are articles and interviews written by Roma Bible Union workers who are themselves Roma. This edition will be the first to be translated into other languages and then distributed in the various communities in Central Europe. It is hard for us who live in the Western World to enter into the daily battles that our Roma brothers and sisters have to struggle with. That is why in this edition they will talk about what it means to have Access DENIED to the things in life that many of us take for granted.
We hope you will enjoy, or rather be touched, as you read through these various articles.
Our love and greetings to you
Most of the writers in this edition are Roma. Andrijana Nikolic writes a lot of free flow poetry and stream of consciousness prose. She shares Loving God in the Midst of Despair which transitions to a lovely Blog by Janneke, who gives her observations of the UNA FESTIVAL. Misha shares with us a heartbreaking story of his being beaten by a group of racist thugs in his Mother India story. Nancy gives us a Creative Poem but in a special form.
One of the great misconceptions about the Roma is that there is a lack of both Class and Education. Natasha and Elvira break that stereotype in Elvira's Interview with Natasha .
We revisit our regular feature of Picture Frames in TAKE A CLICK and see some collections of the summer Decade of the Book work in the villages.
Misha writes a harrowing testimony of Begging in Leskovac and how seeing Beggars disturbed him.
We then see a dreadful and moving testimony of the Roma killed in Auschwitz and then read a moving and challenging piece by Andrijana Media Stereotypes of Roma.
Finally, we have the first of Alika's Roma Recipes from around the world.
Table of Contents
Kim Thompson is the US Director of The Roma Bible Union which is a Non Profit 501C3 organization in the United States.
If you would like to know more about The Roma Bible Union please visit our website at:
"BUT I KNOW WHOM
I HAVE BELIEVED IN
AND I KNOW
HE HAS THE POWER TO
SAVE ME, KEEP ME
AND GIVE ME STRENGTH
TO LIVE AND PEACE
Pain, betrayal, hardship, sadness, disappointment and ill-treatment,
Teasing, exploitation, abuse, tragedy, loneliness.
These are our constant companions
In this kind of world these companions seek us out.
Wherever we try to hide they come for us,
They find us
Every day a battle stares us in the face
But there is a way of conquest
A Place to overcome
The crush of the battle causes an uprising within us
As we are not alone
Someone made a promise to join our suffering every day
Someone who loves us
Someone who care for us
This love is beyond just a knowing with the mind
You Jesus, alone can and do love us
By Janneke Huisman
We did Una Bible Club in two villages: Three days in Bistrinci and three days in Darda. What a wonderful way to work together as a team! Everybody played a role. There were a few organizers, translators, drivers, workers with the art, story tellers, food and water buyers and givers, photographers (as we did not use our mobile phones), and family and friends following us and praying, making this work doable. Thank you all very much! What a privilege.
It was a week full of new impressions, and just to sit and reflect a bit gave it more depth. Lila responded to me in an e-mail later this week and wrote:
I loved getting to know you (and your family through our conversations ) and really enjoyed discussing ministry, family, homeschooling, writing, hardships, and life with you! It was such a blessing to meet a kindred spirit on another side of the world! It was so refreshing meeting a woman and family devoted to their Heavenly Father’s vision for reaching the nations while prioritizing their own family, as well.
But, do not think that everything went smoothly! We faced challenges: border issues, problems with the car, a change of schedule. We had to adapt, be creative, be flexible. But, after all, we all had a new experience, and I think we all agreed that it was a good one.
Just as a body, though one, has many parts,
but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ.
LIGHT IN TWO ROMA VILLAGES
Biljana did a lot of the organisation this week. An amazing job!
Here is a little movie to give an impression of this week. Light in the village
I had the privilege to do two writing workshops. We made the most out of this old part of Europe. The first writing class was in an old part of Pecs. I heard later that it has been a bathing place. After the workshop, we walked in silence to the square. It was deeply moving to see so many young people writing their own psalms next to the former mosque. Later in the week, we did another session. This time in the castle in Siklos, we just walked in the chapel and I think I found my dream job: Look at this setting!
“This week changed my perspective on missions forever!¨
was the reply from one of our guests last week.
We had a team of more than 30 people of quite a few nationalities: a lovely group of young Americans, a few Serbs, Croats, Roma, and us, the Dutch family.
These Are The Banjara People Who Are One Of The Original Groups That The Roma In Europe Came From.
THE ORIGINAL HOME OF THE ROMA
On Friday 24th of November 2017, I was brutally attacked and brutally beaten up by a group of racial hooligans. They were beating me all over my body and specially in the area of my face and mouth and as a consequence of the attack I was bruised all over my body and I had severe bleeding on my lips and mouth. That night I ended up in the hospital where I did all of the tests and praise God that none of my bones were broken and that my jaw remained whole, which is truly a miracle. A few days after it and here I am still bleeding and the most normal things in life such as eating and drinking are incredibly painful for me. This is such a stressful time not only to me but to my whole family who suffer, probably even more than I do. And the question I keep asking is why? Why? Why would somebody do something like this to me? Unfortunately, the answer is very simple, it is because I am Roma.
My desire in writing this is really not to present myself as a victim or victimize myself. I do not blame a whole nation for what has happened to me. I have many Serbian friends, who are almost like a family to me and who are wonderful people.
When the hooligans were done beating me, I turned my head toward the heaven. Then I looked at my attackers and with blood pouring out of my mouth I raise my voice toward the heaven. From the top of my voice I cried out WHY? Why have you done this to me? What did I do to you to deserve this? Why did you beat me?
For a moment there was a complete silence and they were really shocked that I asked this question. They walked away in silence. Totally broken in my body and in my spirit I turned away and came back to my house. Why? Why? Is this ever going to stop? Is somebody going to raise his voice and stop all of this hatred and prejudice? This question comes from the depth of our Roma soul, this is what I wanted to write about.
From the dawn of time, there is no other phrase that describes the pain in the Roma inner being, the pain of the Roma soul, the injustice that has been done to the Roma people through the centuries it is called - Mother India.
Whenever the Roma people would go through persecution, nationalistic and racial hatred, broken in their body, soul and spirit from hard and offensive words, gas chambers and guns in their foreheads as well as fists that would hit them all over their bodies, people would gather all the last atoms of their strength, would raise their hands to the sky and would cry out OH MOTHER INDIA. OH MOTHER INDIA! OH MOTHER INDIA!
"The reason why I'm writing this is because I want to write about a very deep soul-need that exists in every Roma person who cries out for justice and protection"
To Be Being
And there is nothing in the world that can describe the total brokenness, humiliation and rejection of the Roma. The cry OH MOTHER INDIA says it all. It is as if I can hear the voice my people who have walked through the corridors of history crying out OH MOTHER INDIA, we don't have our own land and where ever our feet walk, we are told that we do not belong there and that we are strangers in a strange land. OH MOTHER INDIA. The green trees and the leaves falling down whisper to us that the land that feeds us doesn't wants us.
OH MOTHER INDIA, we came out of you but we are not in you or with you. OH MOTHER INDIA. You have abandoned and left behind your children. OH MOTHER INDIA, Will you stretch out your hand and protect your little baby or give him into the mercies of others? OH MOTHER INDIA, can you see the tears running down from your child's face because his mother had abandoned him?
OH MOTHER INDIA, can you hear the scream of the motherless children while the history of humanity stamps upon them with hatred and prejudice?
OH MOTHER INDIA, Will you ever send us the Messiah, our Saviour who will save us and lead us into our promised land, the land of milk and honey? The land that will give water to the thirsty soul of the motherless children? The land, in which flows as a river of justice, that will bring healing through grace and justice? The land in which the trees fruit will heal the physical wounds of the body? The land in which the sky will the rain grace and will overflow the spirit and the soul of those who belong to nowhere? The land in which the dust in the rocks will tell us that we belong there and in which we may find our eternal peace?
Will we ever find our promised land? Is there a hope for a Roma soul? Is there hope for us...?
Elvira interviews Natasha
Natasha is a Bayash Roma, who is married and has one daughter and graduated from the University of Zagreb as a Nurse Practitioner. She has been active in Christian work as well as pursuing her medical career and also running for the National Parliament in Croatia. She is currently working on the translation of the Bible into the Western Croatia Bayash dialect. Her vision within The Roma Bible Union is to build a network of successful Christian Bayash young people to take leadership positions within the culture as a whole.
Interviewing her is Elvira Marginean who grew up in a Bayash village in Serbia. Elvira has just finished her undergraduate work at the University of Novi Sad in Business Leadership and is planning to do her Masters Degree and then PhD in Economics to create systemic economic models of change in Bayash Roma communities. Elvira also is working on Bible Translation in the West Serbian Bayash dialect as well as writing and assisting at several levels within The Roma Bible Union.
ROMA TO ROMA
CONVERSATIONS WITHIN THE FAMILY
Elvira - Can you share with us your early school experience? How was it to attend the school as a Roma?
Natasha - While I was in the elementary school from the first till the fourth grade, one Roma girl was with me in the first shift and then in the second shift there were two other Roma girls. There was not many of us in the elementary school, since it is a small place. I do not recall any negative situations or experiences during it, except that at one that time, the other children would not include us, in social games or common events. So we felt a bit rejected and we did feel that we were different, so we would always sit in the back. To be honest it was normal for the Roma to sit in the last rows. In 5th grade of elementary school, things changed significantly, because we showed that we are worthy, we are diligent and that we love to study. These teachers, as well as other children in the class noticed, so they completely accepted us. I remember when I was in the 7th grade at the primary school, other girls from the department would say that we are great, that we are completely the opposite from the Roma that they are used to. For them, this was a big and positive surprise. When I enrolled in high school, other children did not even know that I was Roma, they didn't notice either my appearance or speech.
Elvira - What kind of dreams did you have as a little girl, and why that dream?
Natasha - Well since I was a little girl, while I was still in the kindergarten, I dreamed of becoming a doctor. I've always loved to wear a white coat, to carry a stethoscope and toy needles with me and to act that I'm a doctor. It has always been my wish and somehow I just saw that in front of me. Why? Somehow I think that maybe because I simply loved to play with it as a little girl. What was interesting for me was that I always pretended to be curing sick children.
Elvira - As a Christian, how did faith help you to get to the place where you are right now?
Natasha - When I was 9 years old, my parents started to attend a Baptist church and as a child I went along with them. I was familiar with God and with the Bible, but I did not have any experience with Him by myself. My experience actually started when I was 2nd grade of High School. I experienced a personal encounter with God. In that period, everything changed significantly, it started with self confidence, I began to observe myself differently, of course, positively (laughter), I had more faith in myself, I had positive thoughts that I can and I will have one day my own job, my own money and and my own career. So I can say just by thinking about it that since I gave my life to God, I can endure more, I am tougher, and I can go even more and more forward in life.
Elvira - What about your faculty? Why did you decide to go for more, did you felt that it is necessary for your future?
Natasha - When I graduated from High School, I applied for the Entrance Exam at the medical faculty, unfortunately I did not manage to enroll in the faculty I wanted because of one subject that I missed. They told me that I could try in Rijeka (a city in Croatia), that I would surely succeed there, they even called me to come, they urged me to take the Entrance Exam at Rijeka, but somehow I felt that I should stay in Zagreb to try out another faculty. So, the next day, I came to the High Health Faculty and I took the entrance examination. In my heart I felt it was the right thing for me, that was it. So I ended up at the Health Care School, which is a three-year medical study for a medical nurse. I found my self in that, and I felt alright about it. I was not discouraged or disappointed because I didn't make to get in to the Pre-Med faculty that originally I intended.
Elvira - Are the Roma accepted in their vocations?
Natasha - If you had asked me this question, my dear Elvira few years ago, while I was still studying, my answer would then be no. Now I can say that it is difficult to be accepted as a Roma in my profession. When I graduated from my faculty I was employed at the state hospital at the intensive care unit, everything was fine until the moment the information was received from the state commission through a a set of circumstances that I was a member of the commission to monitor the national strategy in the field of education and health Roma national minority, so they found out that I was a Roma.
I noticed that they began to behave differently towards me, more negativity in the sense that they would slowly reject me, trying to avoid me and try to keep their distance from me. At first, I didn’t know why they acted so, but I found out later. Slowly, they started to ask question about my nationality, I admitted to them that I was Roma, some colleagues accepted it greatly, some even praised me, while other colleagues began to avoid me no matter my expertise, my knowledge, my diligence they avoided me because of my nationality.
Elvira - As we mentioned your family, how did they react to your desire to get educated?
Natasha - My parents never stopped or pulled me away from being educated, on the contrary they actually supported me.
They were not like typical traditional Roma parents who, when their child finishes elementary school, especially the female child, if they do not want go to school further, there is no pressure for them, they don’t have to. My parents wanted me to get a proper education, they didn’t have any problems to convince or either force me because I wanted it, so they just supported me.
Elvira - When we speak about the Education, what does it mean to you?
Natasha - Education for me presents change. Change in worldview. I can say that a person mentally and physically can feel differently with education. Education helps us to make money for our lives but it would not be possible if we wouldn't have the necessary and proper education for it. We have to look beyond what we see in front of us. Specifically for the Roma people who are living in the Roma community, their main focus is on their circumstances, on the members of their families they live with, and they simply do not see it further than that. They do not have greater dreams or desires, "Well, if my neighbors are not working , I do not have to work either, or if they do not go to school, I do not have to go either." So I consider education the key element in a changed life.
KASKADA PHOTO FRAME features photo galleries of the life, ministry, and concepts of The Roma Bible Union.
TEACH US LORD TO LIVE IN PEACE WITH OUR ENEMIES
TAKE A CLICK
I was talking recently with Natasha, who Nancy and I have known since she was a young teenager. In fact she was one of the first Bayash that we made friends with.
I was telling Natasha that that I love a lot of people but sadly do not trust many people but Nancy and I, do trust her.
It made me think as one of the new disciplines I have been working on in my prayer times which is to make sure that I pray for my enemies as well as my friends. There is power when we we seek blessing on those who have harmed us, hurt us, misunderstood us or ill treated us.
I am convinced the same principle applies when it comes to injustice in the Roma communities. The level of injustice that exists today towards the Roma is stunning. Some of the stories in this edition share that. The truth is that each of these writers could tell much more painful stories than the ones they have.
The answer though in fighting injustice is not to destroy our enemies but to bring them into a place of peace. Sometimes when we fight injustice it gives us permission to pour out our anger and frustration and justify it. The truth is little is accomplished by seeking to destroy our enemies.
My own sense is that we need a Revolution of Love to break the power of injustice in the Roma community and that this kind of love...praying for our enemies...will change the world.
A REVOLUTION OF LOVE
A RAGING SLEEP
By Miša Bakić
Now I must share this because I really don't have anywhere else, in the hope that through the social network we raise awareness of sexual exploitation, pedophilia and begging.
Namely, the story is this. Last year, during the Leskovacke, Rostiljijade (a huge annual meat grilling festival) a whole group of beggars were present. However, the problem is even bigger than it seems. It is not the local Roma who are begging for bread but the organized gangs that have made begging a business and a lifestyle. I am Roma and I know the people who generally beg on the street of out town. I saw a pimp in the middle of the street and he was taking money from those who beg and forcing them to return to begging! Now, in these days we have girls, who are extremely young who serve as dancers between the tables while older men of 60 years pass them money inappropriately! And that's the shame of the city! While in any normal state, it would be seen as as sexual exploitation of a girl and even a possible pedophilia.
My attitude has always been that a man must work hard as long as he lives and that he is 'eating from the sweat of his whole being" and not to support himself by begging but yet I also know the desperate state of our country and the city in which I live. And I know there are individuals for whom this is the only way to provide food. But that is not the problem. This is the problem! I just can't believe that 500.000 people who pass through our annual BBQ Festival each year, seeing a mother with a baby in her hand begging, while the baby is constantly asleep and absolutely nobody does anything about it?! How is it that this baby she is constantly asleep!? Is this "Mother" on drugs, or sniffing, or has she drugged her child, or given it alcohol so that the little one is constantly in motionless sleep?
To make matters worse, as a concerned citizen, I called the police to report a case. It was 12:30 at night and the phone rang and rang. Finally, the Police picked it up and he was angry with me for calling so late in the night. I told him all and his answer was quote " So now you're calling me in the middle of the night. So what do you want me to do? Call your Roma parties and let them take care of it.” I kept trying to point to the seriousness of the situation pointing out the possibility of sexual exploitation, and organized crime and their response was "Then come tomorrow and report it to me!"
I'm sorry! I'm sorry for those children and their futures! I'm sorry for my town and its irresponsibility and the lack of compassion of the local police. I'm sorry for my country that closes its eyes to the needs and the capitalizing and exploitation of innocence and the innocent! I am Sorry. So, so sorry.
BUT WHO SEES IT?
Just imagine that in just the former Yugoslavia from Leskovac in Serbia to Čakovac in Croatia to Podgorica in Montenegro to Banja Luka in Bosnia; that if the Roma young Christian population could be radicalised for Jesus, then they would turn the region upside down and they would light a fire that would then go on to light up the skies that would be seen from Beijing to Baltimore.
But before we get too excited there is a warning. The same spirit from hell that took the Roma families in the 1940’s and turned them into piles of ashes is still at work today.
When the Croatian Football team returned after their spectacular World Cup tournament, 200,000 Croats came out to meet them on their return to Zagreb. Central to the celebrations was a concert performed with and for the football team by Marko Perković.
Marko Perković is well known for his songs that glorify the deeds of the Croatian Nazi’s in the Second World War and his songs stir up nationalistic extremes that can only go in one direction; anti-Roma, Anti-Serbian and Anti-Jewish feelings.
There is a battle that is going on today as much in the heavenly places as it is on earth. God has a plan for the Roma to speak to the Nations of the world…..Satan does not want this to happen and is and will do everything within his power to destroy both the Roma and the plan of God for them.
BY BOB HITCHING
On August 2, 1944 on a hot and muggy day in Central Poland 3,000 Roma women, children and men were quietly ordered to walk into the Gas Chambers of the world’s most industrialised killing machine. Within a short period of time their bodies, already naked were checked to see if any had gold teeth. If they did, they were separated to wait for someone to come with a large hammer to smash their dead faces until the gold teeth could be extracted. In some cases if the Roma had attractive tatoos a Nazi female guard would come and strip their skin to then turn their skin into lamp shades to decorate their Nazi bedrooms.
No one knows exactly how many Roma died in the Gas chambers between 1941 and 1945. It was probably about one million. Their crime? They were Roma.
The question that we have to ask ourselves is why did Satan want to destroy the Roma Nation? We need to ask the same question about the Jews. There are no two Nations of peoples that have been so consistently persecuted over the last 1,000 years than the Jews and the Roma,.
One theory is that the Roma are actually from one of the lost tribes of Israel. I have looked at this carefully and this may actually be true. Another theory, which I think is probably more realistic is that both the Jews and Roma have a significance that relates to what God is going to do on the earth and that Satan wants to stop them by whatever means he can.
Roma Live In Ghetto’s With Invisible
Walls Created by The Media
A Roma student in Zagreb graduated with a degree in Medical Radiology Engineering.
No matter what the reason he was always rejected in employment applications, his weakness? Roma blood flowing through his veins.
Another student who graduated with a degree in special Education has been unemployed for twenty years.
According to some research, every ninth Roma Child graduates from elementary school, and high school. Of these 98% have no jobs and as a result are on welfare. We are forced to live in a society where the most important reality is the colour of your skin and origin of our blood.
According to a Roma Association in Serbia of the 500.000 Roma in that country, 300.000 of them live in unsanitary settlements. I am angry that many of my people live in conditions which are not suitable for animals let alone human beings created in the image of God!
Perhaps the greatest sin of this kind of discrimination is that in the end the Roma themselves begin to believe they are useless and unworthy.
The result is mutual hatred and bitterness between Roma and non Roma. Behind the veil of anger the majority of Roma are living with deep emotional wounds that come from self loathing and rejection. It is a level of pain that is hard to imagine for non Roma.
As a Christian Roma I must pray for my people. My prayer has to be for deep healing in my community. A community where one day little Roma boys and girls can walk down the streets with a powerful message in their hearts - If God be for us who can be against us?
In fact, the reporting is almost always sensational and almost always negative.
We read every day news about ourselves.
One Hundred Robberies in France carried out by Croatian Gypsy youth.
We must stop Gypsy Crime.
Gypsy children being thrown under cars and then the Gypsy families black mail the drivers.
Will we ever have peace from the Gypsies?
How Can We Get Rid Of The Gypsies?
These are just some of the headlines we see every day on various websites and news articles. It is important to understand that in Central Europe one is first a Roma and then a citizen. It starts very young as all Roma grow up knowing violence and rejection from their peers. In the end for most Roma, life within the society becomes simply intolerable.
I am angry when I think of the little boy who is afraid to go to school because he will be constantly humiliated and mocked for being who God has created him to be - Roma. However you look at it Gypsy Blood is considered bad blood.
Looking at the statistics in Croatia tell their own story. Three hundred and thirty Roma finished High School and twenty three have college education. Of the college educated Roma only two were able to find jobs. In Croatia we have affirmative action laws but they are simply ignored.
Andrijana Nikolic is a Roma trainee journalist with the Roma Bible Union mentoring ministry called KASKADA. She is also active as a youth and children's worker in many different areas in Central Europe among the Roma.
ALIKA'S ROMA RECIPES
from around the world
Lemon juice 2 tsp
Red Chili powder 1 tsp
Mustard Seeds 1 tsp
Sesame Seeds 1 tsp
Cumin seeds 1 tsp
Yogurt 1 cup
Salt as per taste
Coriander powder 1 tsp.
Tandoori Masala powder 1 tsp
Ginger garlic paste 1 tsp
Green Chilly powder 1 tsp
1. Cut the chicken into small cubes and marinate with lemon juice, salt and red chilly powder. Let them marinate for about 20 minutes
2. Dry roast with a little oil in a pan the sesame, mustard, cumin seeds.
3. Add the Yogurt, tandoori masala powder, coriander powder, The dry roasted seeds, ginger paste, garlic paste and green chilly powder
4. Add the already marinated Chicken cubes and then cook in a pre heated oven for 20 minutes at about 200 celcius.
5. Garnish with coriander leaves and serve hot
6. Serve with long grain rice and mixed chutney's
The Banjara Roma in India are some of the original Roma from whom we all descend from.
There are about 6 Million of them all over India. They have now seen a spiritual breakthrough with hundreds of churches planted among them.
They are so colourful as a people and bring lots of joy wherever they go.
Some of the spicy dishes are truly wonderful. Try and make a simple Banjara dish called Banjara Butter Chicken.
BANJARA BUTTER CHICKEN