Extensively promoted in the media, the end of the world also mobilized some Roma

By • on January 14, 2013

“There were supposed to be several ends of the world, none of which I believed in, but this time I am really afraid that it can come because of some natural disaster. So I will be as prepared as I can,” says the 40 year old Jozef, a Roma from the Czech town of Mladá Boleslav in the Republic. He lives in a block of flats and he has stocked up on candles, matches, drinkable water and some instant food. He still needs to get some replacement for gas and electricity as it is impossible to cook or heat up without such commodities in these flats. “If the world is about to end, nothing will help us anyway. But if some natural catastrophe arrives like many scientists predict, one should be prepared for anything, and try to simply survive that period somehow,” says Jozef.

The internet, television and radio bombarded us with an avalanche of apocalyptic prognosis for 21st December. Instead of getting into the Christmas atmosphere, many have prepared themselves for the worst. According to the words of a 53-year-old Slovak woman living in Mladá Boleslav, she had been buying ready-made meals and water instead of Christmas presents. “Nobody knows if we are going to make it until Christmas this year, and if yes, it is better to be prepared and stock up. I cannot even look at the horrifying stuff on the TV, my stomach clenches,” states the woman.

I must say that I did not react to any previous predictions about the end of the world. This time I have been respectful because the forecast came from many specialists, scientists and also Mayans, one of the oldest recognized civilizations. So I though that I might also stock up – mainly because of my little daughter. Who knows what will happen on 21.12.2012, I told myself. Maybe we will all just laugh about it, but if the prognosis comes true, there will be no laughter. Some just grinned, others prepared themselves by filling up their pantries, mostly because they have small children too. The main concerns were outages of gas, water and electricity.

Out of all reactions, the strategy of Roma from east Slovakia impressed me the most. Already on the 20th December, several Romani families from the towns of Vranov nad Topľou and Humenné moved closer to the villages where their relatives lived. The reason is simple: they can use wood for their fireplaces and slow combustion stoves or stoves using gas bombs for cooking, and burn candles or use auto batteries instead of electricity. “It is easier to survive in a village if something really happens. The whole family will be together,” says a young Roma girl called Luba from Humenné. She ponders on: “I cannot even imagine a week-long darkness, not to mention the cold winter. But that will be nothing comparing to the end of our planet and extinction of our civilization! Look, the dinosaurs are also extinct. Let’s not be so proud and admit that nature has its cycles and its own laws. And what are we? Just a small fraction of a cosmic process. I do not want us to vanish and not exist anymore. But even according to the Bible, there will be the end of the world. It’s just that nobody knows the year, day and hour. That means that not even old Mayans could have been able to calculate it. Maybe they just prepared a calendar ending on 21.12.2012 and did not have time to prepare the new one because their civilization was going extinct? I want to believe that nothing bad will happen,” hopes the young Romani girl.

As the D-day approached, all our hopes were for survival, for a laugh later on and an enjoyable Christmas in the spirit of love. This should teach us to appreciate each other more, to appreciate our planet more and to better look after it. This should also make us become more human and kind hearted because not only a real catastrophe can change human hearts for better: the threat should be enough.