The Vatican and the Roma politicianIn an article in the Dzeno Association website yet again an author, in this instance Valeriu Nicolae, is trying to tell the world that the word "Gypsy" is basically a dirty and politically incorrect word for the Romani People, who he insists, like so many other professional Roma politicians, to lump together into "Roma", which they are not. While those outside the realm of the Roma, such as Sinti and others, wish not to be called Roma and rather, in some places, refer to themselves as Cygany, for instance, or as Gypsies, thereby making it acceptable terms. Why do some Roma politicians think that they have to lord it over the People with their paternalistic attitudes, not unlike the Holy See in Rome, and in many aspects even worse. Not all Romani are Roma; is that so difficult to understand and yes, and maybe the author has not noticed, in many parts of Western Europe, the Gypsy People, are still quite a mobile population.
While I rather do disagree with the term of the Vatican that states "Gypsies are also known as Roma…" because this, yet again, makes the false claims that all Gypsies, all Romani, are Roma, I do not disagree one bit with the use of the all-embracing title of "Gypsy" or "Gypsies" for our People. I also have to say that while I am not very keen on the idea of the Vatican and the Roman Church having a evangelization drive aimed at the Gypsy People in Europe, I rather have the Catholic Church involve themselves in such a manner than the holy roller kind of tent missions and the like who destroy the very Culture and fabric of our Society by targeting our People.
However, the reason our People fall prey to such missions is the fact that we have lost the cohesion of society amongst us and the mutual support "organizations" (though they never were organizations per se) and it is for those reasons more than anything that so many of our People fall into the trap of the so-called Christian faith and believe themselves to be saved and born-again.
How, by the way, dare Roma politicians, like the author of the article on the Dzeno Association website, entitled "International Herald Tribune and Vatican 's paternalistic blunder" to claim that the term Gypsy has a strong pejorative connotation for Roma and non-Roma and is considered as politically incorrect when he, I am sure, has never asked the People themselves, and definitely not those that tare NOT of the Roma how they feel about it. The older Romanichals have used Gypsy always and most Romani in the USA, except maybe some of the Kalderash and such, also refer to themselves, especially when dealing with outsiders and being truthful as "Gypsy". So does the author of this article and he does it with pride. The term Gypsy is neutral in the same way as is the term Zigeuner and many German Sinti have no problem either with the latter if they'd be honest. In fact the same can be said for the N-word that, as politically incorrect as it is supposedly, the author of the article in the Dzeno pages uses. The American Blacks use it to address each other with. It is amazing though that, as soon as it is used by someone else, it immediately becomes a racist slur. But that is neither here nor there. The fact is that many of the People have no problem being called, as long as it is not with racists or other kind of undertones, Gypsy or Zigeuner. Also the spurious claims of the word "Zigeuner" do not hold any water whatsoever, whatever new ideas some "exerts" in Romani Studies wish to come up with. While, yes, we do know, Gypsy is derived from Egyptians it does not make it a word like the "N-word" the writer of the article used. It has not been assumed that Gypsies can from Egypt; it has something to do with the fact that our People upon being noticed in Europe denoted as their origins, or better as the place whence they had come, regardless of whether they may have called it "Little Egypt". That is why in English they were called "Egyptians" and then "Gyptians" and later simply "Gypsies" and they themselves ascribed this mane to themselves when talking amongst others not of their own groups or when talking to outsiders, while amongst themselves they may have used "Kale" or being "Black Bloods" or indeed, whence the term "Romanichal" comes, "Romane Chave" which, when spoken, to the untrained ear, especially with the "e" in chave being often silent and the "v" becoming a "u" sound at times, with the word then, reading "chau", sounding like "Romanichal". However, when using the English language the words "Gypsy" invariable has been used, while some, after interference from some self-styled experts came to use the term "Traveller" for themselves. The vast majority of the Romani in the UK and those hailing from the British Isles do not have problems with the word Gypsy so, therefore, dear Roma politicians and "experts", do not tell the world that we have. None of us have elected or appointed any of you to be our representatives therefore do not claim to be thus. Given a chance I am rather sure that the People can speak for themselves and do not need people whose only interest has been and still is not the People but how much political mileage they can get out of the People.
It also must be said that it makes no difference what word is being used when used in the wrong attitude. We now see the use of "Sinti & Roma" more and more when news media and police reports deal with supposedly Gypsy perpetrators of crimes, real or imagined (not the crimes but the ethnicity of the perpetrators) with statements such as "an olive complexion, as found amongst the peoples of the Sinti and Roma", and such like. The tone makes the music and in more ways than one. The words are all neutral, whether they are Gypsy, Zigeuner, Sinti & Roma, but the way they are being used and the context in which they are used are not.
I am Gypsy and proud of it!
© M V Smith, March 2006