Gypsies gathered near London in Orpington on Thursday (8 April) for their World Romany Congress.?
LV INT Romany delegates from all over the world at table seated (2 shots)
GV Gypsy caravans on roadside at Orpington in Kent.
SV & CU Activity and debris around caravans (9 shots)
SV Children laying in dirt with dogs (5 shots)
CU PAN from sign Penalty for litter GBP10" to litter.
CU Romany women with babies.
SV Dogs and debris around caravans (5 shots)
SV Portable latrine.
CU Romany leader speaks SOF
LV & CU Romany leaders in Congress meeting (as in scene I)
CU European Romany leader speaks SOF.
SV & LV Activity around Gypsy caravans (5 shots)
Romany Leader: "Our difficulty was that an anti-gypsy action group was formed in this area a few weeks ago and they collected money to get rid of local families who had been trying to camp by the roadside here. And we felt that if they heard about the World Romany Congress, they would come down and make trouble for us, and put pressure on the people who have lent us the premises."
Reporter: "Just what are you hoping to achieve by this Congress today?"
Romany Leader: "There are two problems. A lot of gypsy people in Europe are looking for caravan sites, just as we are in England. And there is also the problem of education, and we're hoping to get more educational work done and to link up between ourselves in different countries. And eventually to obtain recognition for the gypsy people, for the Romany people, through the United Nations."
European Romany Leader: "In Europe the problem is first the problem to stay for the nomads. Much land does not give the right to the nomad to stay and to obtain a price. We can say absolutely that it is impossible to obtain a very good education for the gypsy. And it is sure that without education it is impossible to obtain a better life."
Initials JKP:16.46 JL/MR/CO/16.59
NB: SOUND COMMENTARY IS FOR GUIDANCE ONLY.
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Background: Gypsies gathered near London in Orpington on Thursday (8 April) for their World Romany Congress. One of the main concerns of the Congress is to try to set up a system of education for their children. In addition they hope to form an organisation by which they may be able to gain recognition from the United Nations. Although the form of travel may have been modernised, the nomadic life of the gypsies has changed little since the 14th century. It was then that the original gypsies entered Persia from India on a journey which brought them to England. The major problem of the gypsies, and one that never seems to change, is basically a question of civil rights. The gypsies and their children are continually subjected to hostility from those who do not agree with their life style. The exact location of Thursday's meeting was kept secret up until the actual event, because of a fear of possible violence by groups opposed to them.
SYNOPSIS: Gypsies from around the world net, on Thursday, near London for the World Romany Congress. The meeting was designed to unite all gypsies so that they might solve their common problems.
Although the form of travel may have been modernised, Gypsy life in 1971 has changed little since the fourteenth century when the original gypsies entered Persia from India on a journey which brought them to England. As then, their major problem concerns hostility shown them by those not agreeing with their life style. The exact location of the World Romany Congress meeting was kept secret until the last moment, because there were threats of violence from anti-gypsy groups. Caravans are often turned away from potential campsites, by landowners not sympathetic to their cause.
Children survive on conditions that might horrify a civilization bringing up its boys and girls by more conventional methods. Living among the dogs and chickens they are often no more than a four feet from the dangers the highways can afford. The children grow up in an atmosphere where their destiny is often controlled by the whim of a local authority or a sympathetic landowner. The life style plays havoc with any attempt to educate the children in a meaningful way. Many grow up without ever learning to read or write. Although the living conditions to some may appear squalid at best, the life is irritable to these nomads. One family in this caravan had spent nine years in a house, but in the end returned to the road. Still, the main concern is hostility from the general populace.
The congress is hopeful of forming an organisation that would be recognised by the United Nations, for gypsies around the world share common problems.
The 1968 Caravan Sites Act in England is designed to provide land for gypsy families, but so far the results have been not to promising. One gypsy said that it does not matter how many sites there are, you will never stop a gypsy from taking to the road.