ROMA GYPSIES/ SPINNING THE GLOBE

Program 0225
June 18, 2002

This text has been professionally transcribed. However, for timely distribution, it has not been edited or proofread against the tape.


KEITH PORTER: This week on Common Ground, the plight of Hungary’s Roma minority. And taking
a spin around the globe.

KRISTIN MCHUGH: Common Ground is a program on world affairs and the people who
shape events. It’s produced by the Stanley Foundation. I’m Kristin McHugh.

PORTER: And I’m Keith Porter. The
nearly six million gypsies, or Roma, who live in the countries of East Central
Europe, face poverty, unemployment, and oftentimes intense discrimination. Over
a decade after the fall of communism, the region’s governments have slowly
begun to address the needs of their Roma minority populations.

MCHUGH: And as Common Ground’s Drew Leifheit reports,
sometimes a bit of encouragement from the international community can help push
things forward.

[sound of people talking, with vehicle traffic in
the background]

DREW LEIFHEIT: Cars and trucks roar by a
dumpster overflowing with garbage on a muddy driveway leading to the place Anika Dorogi calls home. The
walls are dingy and crumbling inside the hallway leading to the small apartment
she shares with her husband and five kids.

[a baby cries and screams]

ANIKA DOROGI: [via a translator] This place
isn’t very hygienic. It has to be cleaned every day so the children don’t get
an infection. With the iron works so nearby we live in the middle of an
industrial zone and we can’t do much about it. Three of my kids are terminally
ill from this, and they picked it up right here at home.

LEIFHEIT: As members of Hungary’s Roma minority, about
500,000 of the total Hungarian population of ten million, Dorogi
feels discrimination is partly to blame for her family’s precarious living
situation. Even though the district government placed them in this building on Budapest’s Csepel Island, no one told the family—nor
anyone else living in the building—that it had been sold to a private company
about four years ago.

DOROGI: [via a translator] If
Hungarians lived here they would have been transferred to a nice place a long
time ago. But because we’re gypsies, they let us rot. They don’t pay any
attention to the fact that they provided us with this place. We didn’t just
move in here. They gave all of us one of these apartments, and the end result
is we’ll be on the street eventually if the authorities don’t come up with some
decision.

LEIFHEIT: Even though this family has
always paid the rent and utility bills on time, they and others could be
removed from their homes at any time in accordance with the so-called “Eviction
Law,” passed last year by the Hungarian Parliament. Because the eviction law
predominantly affects the mostly poor Roma population, it and housing
discrimination in general are problems that need to be addressed in Hungary, according to Claude Cahn, publications officer at the European Roma Rights Center in Budapest.

CLAUDE CAHN: We now have the prospect
that city officials evict on the basis of, of various criteria, some of them
very arbitrary. The police implement the eviction. A court may, one or one and
a half years later, rule that the eviction itself was illegal and that the
person should not have been evicted. However, they will have been homeless or,
or—I mean, they may have been homeless for a year and a half since then—one to
one and a half years is average court backlog in Hungary. And as a result, we
are seeing a dramatic rise in homelessness, Romany and non-Romany homelessness.
But most of the reports are that it is disproportionately falling against Roma,
and that in many of the cases what is defined as illegal tenancy is very, very
shaky.

LEIFHEIT: Aladar Horvah, Director of the Roma Citizen Foundation, says
his organization has done everything in its power to try and defeat the
eviction law, which he considers antisocial because it puts the financial
interests of property owners above the rights of tenants.

ALADAR HORVAH: [via a translator] There
are so many disputes with the landlords that if they’re decided subjectively,
by the notary and not the courts, families who have no means of defense can end
up on the streets. Sometimes they are living there illegally, but maybe they’ve
been deceived. People in bad straits are pushed into an even worse situation.

LEIFHEIT: Horvah
says a number of civic groups drafted a letter to parliament protesting the
law.

HORVAH: [via a translator] Their
answers didn’t address our concerns. They basically said, parliament accepted
this law and it’s democratic, that only the constitutional court can change it
or kill it. Furthermore, they claim the government’s housing agenda will give
the poor opportunities to work honestly and buy an apartment. It was a cynical
reply and we’ve asked our ombudsman to turn to the constitutional court.

LEIFHEIT: In addition to contending
the law is unconstitutional, Horvah believes the
eviction law, which oftentimes separates parents from their children, actually
costs the state much more money than it does to let Roma stay in their
sometimes squalid surroundings. The fuzzy nature of the eviction law and its
implementation created an international controversy in the Hungarian
countryside earlier this year. The mayor of the Hungarian town of Zamoly, who had previously
expressed his intentions to rid the community of gypsies, capitalized on a
natural disaster in the town. When a weather storm badly damaged a building
inhabited primarily by Roma, the mayor declared it unsafe for them to live
there. The Roma Press Center’s Gabo rMiklossy has been following the story.

GABOR
MIKLOSSY:

The families were moved into the cultural center of the village. But, of
course, the whole situation was very, very strange. And the public
administration of the county decided, or ruled, about a year later that the
mayor’s decision to demolish the houses was completely against the law. But
that, then of course, it was too late. There were many conflicts with the
villagers because they were living in the cultural center without any hope of
ever being able to have their own houses again. Then the national gypsy government,
the national Roma self-government, intervened. And they decided to buy the Roma
construction lots and to built them wooden houses.

LEIFHEIT: The controversy didn’t end
there, but erupted into violence as youths from a neighboring village attacked
some of the Roma community, and one of the attackers was killed. Following the
violence about eight Roma families traveled to Strasbourg, France, to seek political asylum.
And nine of the individuals actually received it. Miklossy
says politicians treated the incident as a betrayal of Hungary, insinuating that the Roma
were actually criminals who had fooled France into granting them
political asylum.

[sound of Roma music]

LEIFHEIT: A few hours west of Hungary, in the Romanian city of Cluj, a group of young Roma
dressed in flowery costumes sing traditional tunes, one of the songs about the
Roma Holocaust during the Second World War. While such a Roma folk group might
be typical in other parts of Europe, it’s a rarity in Romania, a precariously poor
country with two million Roma, the largest Roma population on the continent.
Twenty-nine-year-old Don Doghi is one of the
performers and also a Roma activist in Romania. He describes the group.

DON DOGHI: It’s not only about singing
and dancing; this is only a part of this. We have to organize weekly
intercultural evenings in which to invite other young non-Roma and Roma to
discuss and share about their culture. I, we believe that it’s very important.
We want to organize a theater section, which means that a few of Roma which
have this talent could manifest and express themselves within this section. We
want to just develop some kind of multicultural center.

LEIFHEIT: By the end of the year, Doghi hopes the group will become an integral part of Cluj’s cultural scene. Doghi, who
is also a program coordinator at a Roma community resource center, says he
became involved in organizing Roma activities when, in the mid-nineties he saw
other groups misrepresenting his interests as a Roma.

DOGHI: There was a Roma Party in Cluj. At that time, the so-called leaders of that party
were people without any kind of education, part illiterate. But this, this
wasn’t the main problem. The main problem was that they were evolved in other
activities that are, are not moral. I, I was angry on this because I knew that
there are many other Roma who could represent in a better way Roma interests.
So I, I decided to, to get into this political structure just to, to see how it
works. And I spent one month, let’s say. And immediately after that I’ve heard
that there is a new opportunity to open a branch of another party.

LEIFHEIT: Following a training
conference, Doghi set up a nongovernmental
organization called Amareh Praleh,
or “Our Brothers.” Being a Roma activist, according to Doghi,
means being involved in NGOs and learning how to write grant proposals to
international foundations. Still, he says it’s difficult to acquire funding for
some of the seemingly most important activities for Roma—things like a legal
defense fund.

DOGHI: So we are still waiting for
somebody who might be interested on this, and to give us enough money to start
the activity of monitoring human rights in Roma communities and abuses and
discrimination and other such cases. But we tried for the last three or four
years to obtain financial support. But they, they were not so interested on, on
this because they said that they could provide funds only for non-Roma.

LEIFHEIT: Young Romanian Roma like
Don Doghi are a sign of the future. The Executive
Director of the Roma Resource Center in Cluj, Florin Moisa, says the empowerment of Roma in Romania is about
developing the younger generation because of the poverty and isolation most of
the minority population faces.

FLORIN MOISA: The majority is a mixture of tradition and other life. And this is not
very constructive in this moment. So they have to chose what they want to be. Romania and the other countries in Europe, they don’t need a Roma
population which is not integrated, which is not able to preserve their
language and traditions and traditional trades. We want, in fact, a Roma
community that is able to keep the traditions, to keep the cultural identity,
but to still to be well integrated; to have a job, to pay taxes, to have social
security, and to be fully participating citizens. Now, we’ll see that this is
not happening. A lot of Roma are outside of the system.

LEIFHEIT: By selecting young Roma
with leadership qualities, the Resource Center engages in training and
outreach activities, helping bridge the gap between educated Roma and those
living on the fringes of society. One of the center’s highest profile
activities, according to Moisa, was prior to last
year’s Romanian parliamentary elections.

MOISA: We selected a group of 34
young Roma with the aim of going to 30 disadvantaged Roma communities and
making their information available on how to vote correctly, what they are
voting for, what is the parliament, what is the president doing, how to
understand the electoral process, and to motivate them to go to vote. And the
project was called “Show You Care About Your Life,” you know. ‘Cause if you
care about your life you’ll go to vote.

LEIFHEIT: Moisa
says the activists exceeded expectations, distributing information about the
elections to 67 Roma communities. Quite a feat in a population with limited
knowledge of the political process.

MOISA: They can be subject to
influence, a very easy influence from different parties or for different
candidates. There were cases last year when they sold their votes, in fact, for
one kilo of sugar and one kilo of rice, for something that was given from a
party or another, or a candidate. They didn’t feel very well the connection
between the vote and their future life.

LEIFHEIT: Moisa
notes that the Romanian government has made recent strides regarding the Roma,
adopting a legal framework to protect them from discrimination and an
affirmative action-like program to hire Roma in social service agencies. Still,
progress in countries like Romania and Hungary has everything to do with
implementation. The Roma Rights Center’s Claude Cahn says that for this, European monitoring is crucial.

CLAUDE CAHN: The publics of these
countries badly want to be members of the European Union and so we look to
European Union recommendations as absolutely fundamental to changing the
situation of Roma in central and eastern Europe.

LEIFHEIT: Cahn
adds that although international criticism can be embarrassing, without the
outside pressure the governmental policies of east central Europe are unlikely to change. For
Common Ground, I’m Drew Leifheit.

MCHUGH: Spinning the globe, next on
Common Ground.

MCHUGH: Printed transcripts and
audio cassettes of this program are available. Listen at the end of the
broadcast for details, or visit our Web site at commongroundradio.org. Common Ground is a service of the
Stanley Foundation, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that conducts a wide
range of programs designed to provoke thought and encourage dialogue on world
affairs.

MCHUGH: The Upper East Side of
Manhattan is one of the most elite neighborhoods in America. At the corner of 72nd Street and Madison Avenue, a Ralph
Lauren store sells $800 barn jackets and $7,000 fox fur bedspreads. Right next
door is the George Glazer Gallery, America’s leading dealer in antique globes
and maps.

PORTER: When Kristin and I arrived
at the Glazer Gallery I expected oak walls, plush carpets, and soft lighting.
What we found instead looks more like the overcrowded attic of an ancient
geographer. As we walked up the steps to the small third-floor space, George
Glazer himself met us at the top of the stairs.

GEORGE GLAZER: Maybe we should get some
stuff out of the way so it doesn’t sound like when I’m doing it, I’m fumbling
around.

[sound of Glazer fumbling around his shop]

PORTER: Glazer spent years as an
antique furniture dealer in one of Manhattan’s prestigious auction
houses. While there he fell in love with globes, particularly American-made
globes. Nine years ago he opened this gallery, and despite its cluttered nature
the collection is impressive.

GLAZER: Globes have so many things
that are interesting about them. They have world geography, of course. They
relate to astronomy. They relate to world politics. And they have interesting
decorative art stands that are a product of the art period in which they were
created.

PORTER: Do you see globes mostly as
scientific instruments? Or are they decorative arts?

GLAZER: Well, the interesting thing
about globes is that they are part and parcel of a few different things. They
are decorative arts, and so they are decorative objects. They are also partly
map. ‘Cause, and they have something called globe gores, which is the engraved
map that is created in a certain way so it’s laid on the sphere. And then they
are also scientific instruments because you could do scientific calculations
with them. You could figure out world time, aspects of astronomy, aspects of
the zodiac, things like that. So they’re really a combination of all three.
Which is one of the reasons why they’re, they’re fairly esoteric. They don’t fit
into one definite category. So typically for collectors or dealers they are a
side thing. If a map dealer might have a few globes, or a scientific
instruments dealer might have a few globes, or a furniture dealer might have a
few globes. But because they are a part of all of those different areas none of
them specialize in them as such. And that’s one of the things that I decided to
do. ‘Cause I thought, that ultimately a globe is the most interesting
collectible, the most interesting decorative arts object you could buy because
it does combine all of those things.

PORTER: When were globes first
produced, in what we would think of today as America?

GLAZER: Well, the first actual
production of globes where they were manufactured, as opposed to maybe a one-off
thing where somebody just drew a globe, would be by James Wilson, who’s
considered America’s first globe maker. Wilson was a Vermont farmer and blacksmith, and
he was determined to create a globe in the United States that would be on a par with
British globes. The reason being that British globes he thought were—for one
thing they were too expensive to buy in the United States. And for another thing they
didn’t show the American West and the development of the American West in any
sort of accurate detail. Then he learned all of that and he, it was a true
American production. He made his own globes. And these globes are still around.
They’re rare, but they’re not overly expensive.

PORTER: Do you have a Wilson globe here?

GLAZER: This is a James Wilson globe
and you could find something called the “cartouche” on it, which is on a lot of
globes, and that is the maker’s name and insignia. Here it’s called a “New
American 13-inch Terrestrial Globe,” it says, “Exhibiting the
greatest—exhibiting with the greatest possible accuracy the positions of the
principle known places of the earth, etc.” He also talks about the fact that in
the cartouche that it has the tracks of the various circumnavigators and new
discoveries down to the period 1828. And it’s signed by “J. Wilson & Sons, Albany Street, New York.” See, a lot of the globes
from the period were showing the new discoveries that were still being made or
that had recently been made in the late 18th century. Captain Cook and in the
mid-18th century, Admiral Anston were doing
explorations. And a lot of times on American globes, still in the 19th century,
you’ll see the paths or the tracks of their expeditions.

PORTER: For our radio listeners,
can you give us sort of an overall description of this globe we’re looking at
right now?

GLAZER: Well, it’s a 13-inch
sphere. It’s got paper gores, which are—a gore is just a technical name for the
engraved paper that is placed on the sphere and it has to be cut in a certain
way. Then it’s set within a brass ring called the meridian and it’s on a nice
turned wooden stand. And the varnish has yellowed so it has that old world
parchment look to it. And then some of the tones of the greens on the globe
have oxidized—that’s what happens to green over time. So, it has an antique look
to it. Here in the United States you see that most of the
West is just called “internal provinces,” really relating to Mexico. And in the Northwest, up
where Washington state and Oregon would be now, it’s just
called “Missouri Territory,” the Missouri, named after the Missouri River. It goes all the way out
there.

PORTER: Just roughly, what would
you expect to pay for a globe in this shape, from this era?

GLAZER: This Wilson globe is about $8,000. So
they’re fairly expensive. On the other hand, if you think of it in terms of the
importance of the globe, that it’s America’s first globe maker and
that it’s relatively rare, I think that it’s actually a fair price for it. But
globes can—if somebody is interesting in collecting globes they can have globes
from the 1920s or pre-World War II period for far less money, for $100 or $200;
and then globes after World War II are really inexpensive. It has a lot to do
with how common they are.

PORTER: If we were to look at a
British globe from the same time period what would be, what would we see
differently out here in the western part of the United States at least?

GLAZER: Well, the British globes
were much slower to follow on the American West, especially in the early
period. Although really in later, in the mid-to-late 19th century the British
did catch up. Indeed, a lot of American globes in the mid-to-late 19th century
were made by W. & A.K. Johnston, which was a British maker. But there are
some funny things that you can see sometimes. I’ve seen an early 19th-century
globe that calls the American, the east coast, the colonies, the British
colonies, even though we had won our independence long before that in the 18th
century. The British globes also might tend more to show the British, the British Empire. And here’s a globe
from—this is jumping up a hundred years now—but a globe that I’m pointing to
now is from the 1930s. This globe has in its cartouche, it says “The Commonwealth of nations in red.” And this was a
time when they were showing the extent of the British Empire. And subsequently in the
1960s and ‘70s, even actually in the post-World War II, right around the time
of, of divisions that were being made after World War II as part of the various
treaties, a lot of these nations received independence, or achieved independence.
And so now the British Empire as such would look a lot different.

PORTER: The old saying about “the
sun never sets on the British Empire,” this globe would prove
that point?

GLAZER: Well, at this time that was
so. But now with, you know, even to recently with Hong Kong receiving independence from
Britain, this is, this is a concept
that was really more of a mid-19th to, I would say World War I, pre-World War
II concept. And it’s not one that seems applicable in the world today.

PORTER: George, let’s turn around
this way and look at some of these other examples you’ve set out for us here.

GLAZER: Well, this globe is called
“News of the World,” which is applicable to your program. I’m told that “News
of the World” was a, was and is a newspaper in Britain. This is a British globe.
It’s called the “News of the World Business Globe,” from the 1930s. It’s
showing steamship routes around the world. So as you get into the 20th century
there’s an attention paid on globes to aspects of transportation, travel,
international communications. Frequently you’ll see famous airplane flights
like Lindbergh’s cross-Atlantic flight in 1927. Or the flights of the Graf Zeppelin, things like that. You’ll
see steamship routes, which were important for international commerce. And
you’ll also see airplane routes as international—national and international—air
travel developed starting in the ‘40s.

PORTER: I think that we hear so
much here at the start of the 21st century about globalization. But you see a
globe like this and you, you recognize it as a concept that really has deep
roots.

GLAZER: Yes. I think people thought
of a lot of these things earlier. The concepts of internationalization of the
world, globalization. And they were excited in the 1920s and the ‘30s with the
idea of the shrinking world and how it all would become accessible. Because
that was a new concept at the time. It has different aspects today with
Internet and mass communication that have taken on different types of meaning
or are advanced concepts of that. But these globes relate to, as I said, to
transportation and also to communications. You’ll see the Atlantic cable. And
these were exciting—which was in the 19th century, they built the, they put a
cable between Europe and the Northeast for communications. And these were very exciting
concepts at the time—that you could communicate with Europe relatively quickly. And
they were new concepts. Now we take a lot of these for granted.

PORTER: George, one of the things I
really like here is this little globe. At the bottom it says, “World Bank.” Now
we know what the World Bank is today, but I don’t think that’s what they meant
at the time.

GLAZER: Right. This is just a world bank, not the World Bank. And globes could be objects, because they are a
sphere and a lot of things—utilitarian objects—are in the form of sphere. You
can make them serve two purposes. This is an American globe from about 1880 by
the Shedler’s, who were German immigrants to the United States. And the globe gores are on
a hollow iron sphere with a little slot and you put money in it. It’s a little
coin bank. And they called it the—it says right on it—they called it the “World
Bank.” Again, there are early concepts of international commerce involved
there. It’s not pure coincidence that they selected that idea.

This globe here is called “The Magnetic Air Race
Globe.” It was made by Replogle, which is an American
manufacturer that’s still in business, from the 1950s. And it has, it’s just a
tin globe with a very brightly colored blue oceans. And it has these little
airplanes that are magnetic so they stick to metal globe.

[sound of metal clinking on metal]

GLAZER: You can hear them sticking.
And there’s play money, and there’s little cards, and so this was for children
who were interested in world geography and in aviation.

PORTER: You mentioned the way the
globe changes after war. You mentioned World War I and World War II. I’m sure
many of us and many schools in America still have globes that were
created before the end of the Cold War as well.

GLAZER: Well, there are globes—of
course a lot of globes were made in the ‘60s and ‘70s, they were mass produced
in this period and they are still around and they show divisions in the—of
course they show the Soviet Union, which is now divided into different
countries. Things like that. Especially with the end of the Cold War. So they
would be antiquated in that sense, if they were before the breakup of the Soviet Union. And one of the ways you
can tell globes from the early 20th century is you look and see whether it
shows St. Petersburg. And if it shows St. Petersburg the globe was before 1914.
So that helps to identify it. And then if it shows Petrograd it’s about 1914 to 1924.
Thereafter it was Leningrad. And so then back in the
1990s it goes back to St. Petersburg again, as Russia becomes a separate country.

PORTER: All this talk about globes
may have gotten our listeners thinking about globes that they have in their
house or globes that they have in their attic or their parents’ attic. What are
the things that people could look for on a basic globe that would let them know
whether or not it was something of value, or just sort of a run-of-the-mill,
mass-produced kind of globe?

GLAZER: If you have an idea about
the value of antiques in general and you’re familiar with that you could use
your general knowledge of antiques and most of that would apply. Mostly globes
that were made after World War II are not terribly valuable. Of course there’s
going to be exceptions to everything. Mostly globes that were made in the 19th
century or earlier do have good value. Collecting depends upon a lot of
factors. It depends upon rarity; it depends upon the condition of the globe. In
order to begin to get an idea of what the globe might be, you would look for
the cartouche on the globe, to see who the maker’s name was and see if it was
dated. Unfortunately, in the 20th century they tended not to date globes, for whatever reason. So you might look at a
globe and say, “Well, I don’t really know whether this was made in the ‘20s or
the ‘40s or the ‘60s.” And so then what you would do is you’d look for certain
geographical aspects of the globe that would, would indicate to you when it was
made. For example, if you see Israel on it, it’s after World War
II. And you could look at the nations in Europe or Africa or whatever part of the
world you’re familiar with and see how the place names have changed. And for
that you would be able to figure out more or less when the globe was made.

Also, sometimes you might look on a globe and see
something, like for example Arizona, which wasn’t a state until
around 1911. But it will, it will show on a globe that was made before that
date. They just didn’t bother to say that it was a territory. So it can be a
little bit confusing. Oklahoma is Indian Territory, would be before 1907.
That’s another way to tell. Russian America for Alaska would be before 1869. Also,
if you knew who the maker was. Most makers were active in certain periods.
Also, the style of the stand would give you an idea of the dating of it. And
then once you have identified, then you try to look for similar ones on the
market. Sometimes what people can do is there’s a lot of Internet auctions now,
including Ebay, and a lot of more common globes, a
lot of globes from the 20th century that just happened to be sitting around
turn up on there. And you could go on there if you want to collect globes; it’s
a place to buy them. But the buyer has to beware because, you know, you have to
have knowledge of it if you’re going to be buying it at an auction. But you can
also look on there and see what other people are paying for them and get some
idea of the current price range, at least in the auction, at least in the
online auction market.

PORTER: To learn more about globes
and about George Glazer, visit him online at www.georgeglazer.com. Glazer is
spelled “G-l-a-z-e-r.” For Common Ground,
I’m Keith Porter.

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