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Cablegate: Romanians Say "Madonna Don't Preach"

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RR RUEHAG RUEHAST RUEHDA RUEHDBU RUEHDF RUEHFL RUEHIK RUEHKW RUEHLA
RUEHLN RUEHLZ RUEHNP RUEHPOD RUEHROV RUEHSK RUEHSL RUEHSR RUEHVK
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DE RUEHBM #0598 2401350
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 281350Z AUG 09
FM AMEMBASSY BUCHAREST
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 9862
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS BUCHAREST 000598

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SENSITIVE

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E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PHUM RO
SUBJECT: ROMANIANS SAY "MADONNA DON'T PREACH"

REF: A. BUCHAREST 243
B. 2008 ROMANIA HUMAN RIGHTS REPORT

1. (U) Many in the crowd of 70,000 booed Madonna at her
August 26 concert in Bucharest after she unexpectedly paused
between songs to call on Romanians to "stop discriminating
against the Romany" (sic). The crowd had cheered Roma
musicians and dancers when they joined Madonna onstage. The
catcalls began when the singer announced she was saddened by
the anti-Roma sentiment in Eastern Europe and continued when
she called for equal treatment for homosexuals and other
groups.

2. (U) According to an Embassy officer who attended, the
booing was vociferous and widespread. Crowd demographics
weighted toward Romanians in their twenties and thirties but
included all generations. Perhaps somewhat heartening was
the fact that in some YouTube clips one could hear scattered
cheers mixed in with the more predominant boos. Media
reactions were mixed. One Roma leader was quoted as calling
the audience response "worrying and primitive," but more
common in the press were Romanians' criticisms of Madonna for
sticking her nose where, they felt, it didn't belong.

3. (SBU) Comment. The singer's preachy, even hectoring tone
(as seen on Youtube) undoubtedly irritated Romanians, who
tend not to like lectures about discrimination - or anything
else for that matter - from outsiders. The crowd reactions
reflected Romanian ambivalence toward the Roma: embraced as
musicians and performers, yet otherwise distrusted at best
and discriminated against at worst. While Madonna's comments
may not lead to much-needed national reflection about issues
of prejudice, they were at least a useful reminder for
Romanians of how many Westerners perceive them. End Comment.
GITENSTEIN

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