In February 2015, Channel 4 – a UK based TV station – broadcasted a new 3-part series called, The Romanians are Coming.
When I heard about the TV show, I thought that it was going to be aimed at showing the benefits of Romanian migrants living in the UK and other EU countries, sadly I was disappointed.
The only thought I could take away from this short-unfinished TV series was that they have just made Romania to look like a ridiculously poor, extremely underdeveloped country full of people living a massively sub-standard quality of life when in fact, that’s not the case.
It focused on the areas of Romania that even in Romanian standards are considered extremely unhealthy and at no stage did it focus any of the attention on the majority of the country that is more developed and similar to western european standards.
I’m living in Cluj-Napoca, Cluj, Romania which was the starting point of the series. Just to give you an idea of what was displayed in this series representing Cluj, here’s a couple of images to compare.
So, I think by looking at these images.. you can see very clearly that this was not the best side of Romania to show to millions of UK viewers who already have a clouded judgement view of Romanians and their backgrounds.. much thanks to the media and shows like these.
As I mentioned, they did highlight the fact that in the UK, finding jobs isn’t always as easy as it seems and it sure isn’t always as glamorous as one might think.. the phrase we use is, ” The grass is always greener on the other side”, meaning things always look brighter and more appealing when you’re looking at it from afar.
Fact is, the UK freaked out over the fears of Romanian immigrants coming to “steal” people’s jobs… I must say, I don’t know if you’ve had the chance to look recently.. but there’s plenty of unemployment in the UK that can be filled by the majority that are claiming income support and other benefits, simply to not work.
Anyway, I’m not here to discuss the UK’s employment issues.. I’m here to try and start a bit of an adventure into changing the mentality of those who have a bit of a sour taste in their mouthes about Romania and also to hopefully shed some more light on the cultural differences in Romania too.
One of the topics discussed in the TV show was the racism around Romani People living in Romania and how this also affects outside impressions of Romania as a whole.
Unfortunately, yes, there’s a degree of racism towards the Roma population in Romania.. one thing to note however, Roma and Romanian are two different cultures and lifestyles. You cannot generalise an entire population of a country… just look at the cultural differences in the UK.
I want to help educate people between the differences of populations in Romania and to not focus on the negative areas of these groups of people but to instead highlight their strengths. Did you know that the Transylvania area of Romania has a large Hungarian population… how many people living outside of Romania have a clouded view of Hungary? Not many I’m sure.. yet they live here and work here just like anyone else, including me.
I have a genuine curiosity regarding the Romani population in Romania, I want to genuinely understand more about their culture, traditions and lifestyle because I find it very hard to believe all the stories I have heard about “the gypsies are bad” and I want to shine a bit of light on this dark image of Romania to bring a better understanding and respect to those who are obviously very ill-informed. As I said, before.. you cannot judge everyone by one bad experience or what you hear in the news.. if that was the case, my first girlfriend would have clouded my view of women forever and I would be a single depressed man for the rest of my life!… – but that would be a stupid assumption, one bad experience means all are bad.. right?
So yes, it’s time to focus on expanding Channel 4’s series and finishing what I feel was a TV show that left everyone wanting to know more.. I really thought that they would have shown the upside of Romania and the beauty that this country holds, but no. 3 episodes in and the TV show is over.
After speaking with Alex, who narrated and starred in the TV show, even he said that others who lived in Pata Rat were wondering whether there will be a follow up.. but I really don’t think there are any intentions to do this so why not take matters into our own hands?
So, if you are interested in knowing more or helping me out with this project, let me know. I’m looking to work with experienced documentary film-makers and enthusiastic people with an open mind.
I’ll also be looking for people living in Cluj-Napoca and surrounding areas who have moved here from outside of Romania for some possible interviews which will be shown in the series.
Give me a shout: +40 757 355 883 / firstname.lastname@example.org
or add me on Facebook: www.facebook.com/aaronlroberts.ro