Moving forward with the lessons learned from the past
Moving forward with the lessons learned from the past, that is the only way that we can advance. It does not help us one bit to remain buried in nostalgia about the good ol' days of the grai and the wooden vardo. They weren't all that good days really, if we all be honest with one another. Yes, they may have been days of some kind of freedom of being able to move as and when... and the days of when you could pull onto the common without anyone bothering you... but... does anyone now living in a kenna really want to be out in a vardo in winter in real frost (we haven't had frost proper in this country for years now) and deep snow, especially as chavies with bare feet and but rags for clothes? Surely not. Anyone who is trying to claim thus, I am afraid, must think us all dinlos.
Anyone who tells me that he or she is harking back to the time of the vardo and the grai is, I am afraid to say, not be able to convince me.
While we must learn from the past, especially as regards to combating racism against us, and while the lessons of the martyrs of the Holocaust must teach us to beware of the rising tide of Anti-Gypsy-ism and neo-Nazism again, we must move forward for the betterment of the Romani-Gypsy in the world. This is not to say that we should assimilate to the style of life of the Gohja and live like they do, with djuks and matchkas ano kher, and the like, nor should we give up our old beliefs and practices. Nay, in fact the latter we should reinstitute and even add some new cultural celebrations to them, but we must not get stuck in the past. That also means that we must, in some things, adapt. Be this with regards to having (some of) our folks be working “proper” jobs, so to speak, even in law enforcement and medicine. Yes, I am aware that the so-called Rechtssprecher will now scream blue murder. So be it. Those truth-speakers who also keep women downtrodden in a way that was never the way of the People. Truth-speakers indeed. The same “truth-speakers” who will keep women down forever, given the chance, claiming that women must be subject to the men. Dordi! Dordi! What a load of trash that is. Those “leaders” of the People have no knowledge of the way our People used to work, it would appear. We never were patriarchal. Matriarchal rather, we were, though giving outwardly an appearance to the Gohja, in countries where the man ruled, that the men were in charge. That too shows how much those “leaders” know. The women, too, must be allowed to lead the way they always were involved.
Therefore, let us move forward together with the lessons learned from the past to a new future for the Romani Race. Forward to a new dawn of the Romani.
© M Veshengro Smith, June 2007