NEW YORK TIMES
Slovakia Struggles to Desegregate Its Schools
SARISSKE MICHALANY, Slovakia — Gazing out his window during morning recess on his first day at work, the principal of an elementary school here, Jaroslav Valastiak, was caught up short: all the children playing in the asphalt-covered yard were white, a strikingly monochromatic scene at a school where a majority of pupils are dark-skinned Roma.
The Roma children, he then discovered, had all been shepherded into a separate, Roma-only playground.
Lunchtime brought another shock. The school canteen served only white children, with Roma pupils left outside with bagged rations, instead of hot food. Classes were also divided, officially on the basis of academic aptitude, but in a manner that ended up grouping students along rigid ethnic lines.
“The segregation here was as obvious as fireworks,” Mr. Valastiak said.
Partying with the Gypsies in the Camargue, The Guardian
Every May, Gypsies flock to the French seaside town of Saintes-Maries, for a festival in honour of a black Madonna – the Gitan Pilgrimage
Here they come now, two rows of men on white stallions, wearing black hats and carrying lances, providing a guard of honour for a squat statuette wrapped in gold cloth. Surrounding the horsemen are thousands of people, many cheering and chanting "Vive Sainte Sara!" Musicians play bursts of flamenco guitar or squeeze Hungarian melodies out of accordions. The horsemen and the crowd head towards the sea, seeming to move as one, suggesting a mix of religious procession and party. And that is exactly what this Felliniesque scene represents.
Every 24 May the small seaside town of Les Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer hosts the Gitan Pilgrimage. This legend of St Sara accompanying St Marie-Jacobé and St Marie-Salomé when they arrived here from Palestine (so giving this former fishing town its name) dates back to the 16th century and the pilgrimage is a unique opportunity for Europe's Gypsies – largely drawn from French- and Catalan-speaking communities – to come together and affirm their faith and culture. And party hard.