Cheers gave way to jeers, when the 'Material Girl' hitmaker paused midway before a sell-out crowd of about 60,000 in Bucharest during her song, part of her ongoing 'Sticky and Sweet' world tour, and touched on the plight of Roma people, showing the deeply entrenched prejudice against Roma in Europe, reports the Daily Express.
She said: "I've never been to Romania before and I am happy to be here. But I found out that there is a lot of discrimination against gypsies in eastern Europe and that makes me very sad, especially because we believe in acceptance, gypsies, homosexuals, people that are different. It makes me very sad. Everyone must be treated the same, don't forget that."
However, Hindu and Jewish leaders in her native America have come out in support of the singer. In a joint statement, Hindu statesman Rajan Zed and Rabbi Jonathan B. Freirich have praised Madonna for at least trying to get a message across. It reads, "Romania and Europe should apologise for the blatant show of prejudice shown towards Roma brothers and sisters when Madonna spoke against Roma discrimination during her concert in Bucharest.
"The alarming condition of Roma people is a social blight for Europe and the rest of the world as these people face social exclusion, racism, substandard education, hostility, joblessness, rampant illness, inadequate housing, lower life expectancy, unrest, living on desperate margins, language barriers, stereotypes, mistrust, rights violations, discrimination, marginalisation, appalling living conditions, prejudice, human rights abuse and racist slogans. "
"It's like an undeclared apartheid... The Roma issue should be one of the highest priorities of the human rights agenda of Europe and (the) world," they added. Zed and Rabbi Freirich have urged other Hollywood and entertainment celebrities of the world not to stay apathetic and silent spectators and use their status to highlight the apartheid conditions faced by about 15-million Roma people of Europe.