We, the membership of the International Romani Guild, along with those many other Romani of integrity, wish to state and make quite clear the following.
Notwithstanding earlier and ongoing efforts within some sectors of the European and international political arenas to enforce and establish the term "Roma" as a generic reference for all of the collective peoples recognised as belonging to the ethnic group correctly styled as "Romani", (Romany in the English setting), and otherwise known as "Gypsy", it should be made quite clear that we strenuously object to the use of the term "Roma", (sometimes set as "Rroma"), for it is quite inappropriate, even offensive, when applied to any Romani that is not of the Roma Nation-Tribe, such as those that are of the Sinti (Cinti) or the Kalé (Calé), including the many that prefer to style themselves "Romanichal".
It appears, to us, to be remarkable that bodies of authority, such as the Council of Europe and the European Union, whilst purporting to be reluctant to use the term "Gypsy", (Or its equivalent in other languages?), due to a risk of offering offence, can then condone or instigate the use of the term "Roma", as a blanket-term for all Romani, given that it is widely known and recognised that in many countries of Europe, Rumania for instance, to address someone as "Roma" can be considered quite offensive and even lead to violent, physical retaliation
Whilst the Sinti and the Kalé will invariably recognise the Roma as being 'Romani', many among the Roma do not recognise the Sinti or Kalé as being Romani, even to the extent of referring, directly to their face, to the Sinti or Kalé as "Gadžé", or the equivalent in the dialect used.
Given this 'lack of acceptance' on the part of the Roma themselves, and joined with the almost universal objection by mainstream Sinti and Kalé, we hold that the continued and deliberate misuse of "Roma" as a generic reference to all Romani is nothing less than "racism", pure and simple. This hypocritical action has been and is being pursued by organisations and bodies that are, themselves, declared to be determined to eradicate racism and racial inequality?
We are intrigued to be informed, by offices that have their sourcing in the EEC and/or the Council of Europe that 'the term "Roma" has been internationally accepted for all Romani People and includes all Travellers'. This begs the question; "By what authority and whose intelligence?"
Those among us that strive to improve the social and welfare standing of the Romani, and are active in the political field, not motivated by fame and personal profit, are well aware of the influences effected by certain "Academics & Gypsy Experts" (sic), working hand in glove with ill-informed and ill-advised politicians, who are often aided and abetted by self-seeking "Roma Emperors or Kings", (Unrecognized by a vast majority of Romani Fohki), along with, (largely self-appointed), 'Baros' and/or 'Gypsy leaders'. Such persons are generally considered to be Gohja doshmane, (Non-Romani enemies), or simply traitors to their race, as the case may be. However evil their intent; however innocent their goal; however selfish their ambition, these individuals and groups have great influence upon the Gohja powers that be.
We demand answers to the following:
1. Who exactly decided that such term of reference was "Internationally acceptable" and on what intelligence?
2. Were the people concerned, such as the Sinti and Kalé, who - definitely at grassroots level - do NOT wish to be called "Roma", ever consulted?
3. Which individual or group is responsible for attempting to include 'Travellers' in the same ethnic category as "Romani"?
Though some Romani, particularly in the UK, may sometimes use the term 'Traveller' in self-ascription, (even when the family has lived for generations in normal housing), they will never, consciously, use the term as a mode of reference with regard to any 'traveller' that is not of Romani (Gypsy) ethnicity, without adding a qualifying prefix such as; "Irish", "New-age", etc.
We have already seen the effects of the widespread, though mostly covert, campaign to have the meaning of "Gypsy" changed from being synonymous with 'Romany' to one of wider embrace that will have no regard for ethnicity but will include all and any that follow a travelling lifestyle, such as Irish travellers, 'Newagers', etc. the majority of whom share not one drop of Romani Rat but are, purely and simply, Gohja that have dropped out of the housed society. This change of definition, if achieved, will mean, however, that those Romany that have adopted or been born to a 'settled' lifestyle, be that in normal housing or 'stationary' mobile-home (?), will no longer be able to claim "Gypsy" status and the legislative protection that such status, theoretically affords, though very rarely gives? (As the Commission for Racial Equality response to the 'Firle bonfire incident' clearly demonstrates?)
The cynics among us strongly suspect that, apart from the potential for personal exploitation and gain, (As aptly demonstrated already with the misappropriation of millions of Euro allocated funds?), there exists an extreme danger, to we Romani, of a similar loss of human rights via the attempted change to "Roma" as a generic term for all Romany. We've already seen how the Sinti, for example, are, increasingly becoming lost, in the Roma smokescreen that is covering historical references to, and reparations from, the Gohja inspired Holocaust that spread from Germany through much of Europe. Now, apparently, only the Roma are to be mentioned in this connection?
To paraphrase the words of wisdom by George Orwell, in his book "1984": 'He that controls the present, controls the past, and so controls the future.'
Tom O. (Romanichal)
Press & Media Officer - IRG