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Posted on Feb 20, 02:19PM | IBNS
Nevada, Feb 20 : A US based Hindu group said it wants European Union (EU) bigwigs to watch Berlin Film Festival Silver Bear winner "Iron Picker" to have a feel for the apartheid conditions faced by Roma (Gypsies) in Europe. Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada (USA), applauded International Jury headed by Hong Kong filmmaker Wong Kar Wai and including Oscar winner Tim Robbins, for highlighting the Roma apartheid issue by awarding Jury Grand Prix (Silver Bear) to "An Episode in the Life of an Iron Picker" and Best Actor prize to its lead Nazif Mujic, an unemployed Roma, at the 63rd Berlin International Film Festival on February 16. In this Bosnian film, made on a shoe-string budget, Mujic re-enacted his family's true-life tragic ordeal to get urgently needed essential medical treatment.
Directed by Oscar winner Danis Tanovic, this 75-minute drama from Bosnia-Herzegovina had its world premiere at the Festival.
Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, said that it was a "step in the right direction" for filmmakers to choose a real-life subject affecting about 15-million Roma in Europe and showing their maltreatment and for a renowned Film Festival to bring this to world's attention by honoring it with awards.
Zed urged Pope and other religious elite of Europe also to watch this film and be motivated to uplift the Roma from the maltreatment they suffered day after day as "religions told us to help the helpless".
"It was simply sin to watch them facing apartheid conditions and do nothing for improvement," Zed said and added that this film should also be shown in European classrooms so that the next generation became aware of the shameful European reality of continuous Roma maltreatment.
Alarming condition of Roma people was a social blight for Europe and the rest of the world as they reportedly regularly faced social exclusion, racism, substandard education, hostility, joblessness, rampant illness, inadequate housing, lower life expectancy, unrest, living on desperate margins, language barriers, stereotypes, mistrust, rights violations, discrimination, marginalization, appalling living conditions, prejudice, human rights abuse, racist slogans on Internet, etc., Zed pointed out.