display of Rom ethnicity in Shutka fosters a sense of cultural pride and worth. All these factors promote residents to realize the viability of their community to serve their interests and deal with their problems. Evidence that Shutka Roma have the confidence to act more globally occurred in March 1993 when PSER called for the establishment of "Romanistan." Asking for a Romany nation, perhaps more metaphoric than real, was done to underscore the plight of Roma as a people without a territory. PSER's letter to the United Nations with this request encouraged the United Nations to pay attention to the plight of Roma all over Eastern Europe.
Whereas it may be overly optimistic to label the situation of Macedonian Roma "a success story," the accomplishments of Macedonian Roma are notable in the areas of education, media, and politics. Even president Kiro Gligorov has shown sympathy for their plight. On the other hand, all class indicators point towards continued discrimination: they have the lowest standard of living of any ethnic group, and they are still the least educated, least healthy, and most socially and politically marginalized portion of the population. On the positive side, in Macedonia there has been no backlash against Roma and no incidents of violence ( Poulton 1993a:42), unlike other East European nations. For many Macedonians, the major ethnic question is about the rights of the Albanians, the largest minority, not the rights of Roma ( Poulton 1993b; Perry 1993). Ironically, the fact that the Roma have not aligned themselves with the Albanians may be a political plus; by distancing themselves from the perceived "Albanian threat," the Roma are viewed more sympathetically or more harmlessly in the eyes of many Macedonians. In the future, the fate of Kosovo Albanians will indirectly but profoundly influence Macedonian Roma vis a vis the Albanians of Macedonia.