Saints' Street


Strada Sfintilor that is Saints' Street! A street in old Bucharest, close to its historic Jewish Quarter. A short alley behind a XVIII century Romanian Orthodox church currently under renovation. A cluster of crumbling XIX century courtyards minutes away from the University Square - the city's middle point and its civic focal center. Seven Roma families have been forcefully and ilegally removed in the midst of winter. About 40 people, including children! They have been, some renting and some squatting, in these buildings for over twenty years. A few NGOs and local activists have stepped-in to help them find legal protection, accomodation and provide them with a tent and material to protect their belongings in the cold rain and slowly melting dirty snow. There is little they can do without the actual involvement of the local authorities. The Roma are a litmus test for the Romanian society. Addressing the lasting, structural discrimination and prejudice against them will be a lengthy process. One that for now keeps them at the margins of society. Sometimes falling off the edge. Socio-economic and ethnic inclusion will be a measure of how the Romanian society comes together in addressing social justice. In Europe's poorest country this remains a gapping wound.