For a Gypsy authors' society

     16.05.2002 / The time has come to bring the literature written by Roma as a respected part of world literature. For this cause a big step was taken in 19th of November in Köln, where we undersigned a statement about establishing a Roma Authors Association. Deutsche Welle acted as the primal sponsor of this international seminar.
   Roma literature has been written invisibly for a long time. The problem has been the lack of respect from the majority which has prevented our own voice to come up in publicity and to big publishers. For centuries the picture of us has been written by everybody else than Roma themselves. Although, literature is very important to the identity of Roma because by writing we can move our tradition from one generation to another. No ethnic group can survive without its own documentation of its culture, literature, art and science. Authors are the interpreters of their people. The voice of the authors can help to improve the situation of Roma all over the world.
   The object of the association is to protect the interest of Roma authors and to bring their literary work, irrespective of the language in which it is written, to public attention. We wish to contribute to strengthening the awareness of Roma culture by our own community, to promote literary creativity and to establish Romanès with its numerous variants as a modern literary language. In order to encourage young Roma authors, we intend to promote the development of grants, scholarships and awards.
   In Köln we established a working group, which is planning the Roma Authors Association.
   The establishing of this Association will take place in Finland 19. - 21.7.2002. I suggested Finland for this historical event because our policy is so positive towards the Roma as expressed in statements by our President and our Prime minister. Finnish Authors Association will
officially invite the Roma authors to Finland and act as the mental sponsor. We are co-operating with Finnish Cultural- , Education- and Foreign Ministries. The Günther Grass - foundation, University of Rene Descartes, the Roma Research Centre, University of Hertforshire Press, Publishers Drava and Wallada, are also involved.

Veijo Baltzar