Thursday, 22 September 2005
Reporter: Jodie van de Wetering
Presenter: Wayne Shearman
What do you know about Gypsies? Are they roving vagabonds, stealing horses, kidnapping children and telling dodgy fortunes?
That's the stereotype of the "Gypsy", and it's an image most Roma people find highly insulting.
The Roma are the minority ethnic group that migrated from India through the Middle East into Europe over the past thousand years.
Their exotic appearance led many Europeans to assume they came from Egypt - hence the word "gypsy".
Today, they are often referred to as Travellers, and many still embrace the traditional nomadic lifestyle.
Right here in Queensland, a group of people are keeping traditional Roma music and dance alive, and teaching the public the truth about this race.
Shuvani Romani Dance Kumpania is a performance group, playing re-creations of traditional Rom music and performing dances like those the 14th century Roma would have done.
Their co-ordinator, Margaret Cunningham, says it's a hard job piecing together a historically accurate picture of the Roma lifestyle.
"Over the centuries, these people haven't been very well liked or highly regarded," Ms Cunningham explains.
"Nobody thought to write anything down, or depict Roma people in paintings."
The troupe's costumes blend historical Indian, Persian and Spanish elements, and their dances combine primitive versions of Flamenco with Middle Eastern "belly dancing" moves.
Margaret Cunningham was drawn to the Roma re-enactment movement through her training in Eastern dance.
"Roma dance influenced a lot of Eastern dance styles, and it's a bit of a mystery in dance circles - what is Roma dance?"
Shuvani Romani takes their name from the Shuvani tribe, which inhabited southern Spain, Andalusia and Granada in the 15th century.
The troupe are predominantly entertainers, but some members do have Roma ancestry.
"We're primarily here to perform," Margaret says, "But we also educate."
"Sometimes people will come and see us, and tell their children 'be careful, they'll take you away or steal from you because they're Gypsies'
"We gently point out that every culture has had periods of high crime, it's hardly something unique to the Roma."
Original Internet Source (this should give everyone a good laugh)
I have reproduced the article above in full without editing it directly though it was very tempting…
I have rarely read as much bull dust as this article and this dance troupe is giving Gohja folks an entirely false perception - not that they need being helped in that - about the Romani (not Roma) People. There has never been, for instance, such as tribe as the Shuvani Tribe, and definitely not in Spain. The Romani (not Roma) of Spain, a.k.a. as Gitanos, are Cale and do not have such tribal names. This is all concocted bull dust and it is time such insults to the Romani People are stopped once and for all.
The in the initial statement it is being said: "What do you know about Gypsies? Are they roving vagabonds, stealing horses, kidnapping children and telling dodgy fortunes? That's the stereotype of the "Gypsy", and it's an image most Roma people find highly insulting". Here it must be pointed out, yet again, that not all Romani are Roma and that the Roma are but one group amongst the Romani People, and those that are not Roma find it also highly insulting to be referred to as Roma. In addition to that the stereotypes mentioned are not only an insult to our People; the bull dust that is being perpetuated by Gohja masquerading as Gypsy, and claiming to represent our People authentically, while they are not, that too is an insult and more so, maybe even, than stereotypes. Misrepresentation of our People by folks who claim to all and sundry to have researched the subject and that they are representing the truth is worth, in my view, than are the actual stereotypes. Like the SCA Gypsies of the Renaissance Fairs in the USA and elsewhere who live in "cloud cuckoo land" the Shuvani Romani Dance Kumpania dance troupe misinterprets our People in exactly the very same way. But then it is not really surprising when now even Romani organizations have gatherings that are nothing more than Ren Fairs where pretenders gather and play Gypsy in fancy dress and all that. They may, like some of the members of the Shuvani Romani Dance Kumpania claim "Roma" ancestry but with many of them, like with those of this dance troupe, I very much doubt it.