Romani Solidarity

When one of us bleeds we all do!

“When the Union's inspiration through the People's Blood shall run” would be the first line of the rewritten workers' song “Solidarity Forever”, to suit the Romani struggle, the refrain, the chorus, however, remaining the same, e.g. “Solidarity Forever” and it is this solidarity that we will have to learn, methinks, or relearn, to be more precise.

In truth, there was once a time when we seem to have had something of this solidarity, though never, it would appear, for the entire People. If we want to get anywhere in this world as a People, as a Nation proper, then this must change and we must find it in our hearts to have solidarity with our fellow Rom wherever on this planet that may be. If they hurt and are being attacked or discriminated against the n so is and should every one of us feel that hurt and we should fell righteous anger to speak out against such abuses, etc. But most of us, nowadays, just sit on our butts and hands and do nothing. The formula seems to be “I am all right Jack, what do I care”.

Or was this solidarity of the Romani People of old and the community spirit and the helping all Rom in need just something that everyone has imagined and is it but a myth. From what I am seeing in the last 20-30 years or so I must say it could appear to have been just so.

I do know that in fact that this solidarity did exist but that was before envy end jealousy began to rule our hearts and minds. It was, strangely enough, at a time when life was harder and money scarce and in very short supply often that the Rom shared with any Rom in need. Today, however, sadly, we are worse in that respect than the Gadsche.

We must, however, concentrate with this solidarity on our People, the Romani People and not support the wrong causes, such as illegal encampments by Irish Travellers, for instance, who in other instances will not hesitate to use even the force of arms to push Romanichal residents from official council Gypsy sites and then take those over, forcing the Rom to take to the drom again and then illegal encamp. No Irish Traveller has ever, as far as I know, come to the aid of a Romani family that was forced with eviction. Misplaced solidarity will not reciprocated.

Romani are Romani, as I have said before elsewhere, and Irish Travellers are Irish Travellers and while there are some Romani in Ireland, North and South, the majority of Irish Travellers are not Romani and do not share the same Culture and values. While they may lead a similar life to that what the Romani used to, and some still, do live that is about where the similarities end. While the Rom are a Race the Irish Travellers are nothing but Gohja in trailers, and let's not get fooled in believing the stories about them being an ancient pre-Celtic nomadic people of Eire. Those Irish Travellers that are in trailers (and in kennas) in Eire and in the UK (and those that went to the USA and elsewhere from Great Britain and Ireland) are no older as a travelling people than the potato famine and the great majority in the UK especially only came here during the wars and especially after World War II, the men first as laborers on the road build projects who then later brought their families over, having discovered that the British welfare state would give them anything they wanted without much of a question being asked unlike Ireland where no welfare state existed at that time. Am i being unfair? I do not think so.

When it comes to solidarity it is, as said, our race that comes first and must come first and all of us should feel and express a righteous indignation if but one member of our People is being discriminated against. Alas, however, this does not seem to be the case. Rather, it would appear, most are too busy hiding their ethnicity from the Gohja, who know anyway (I shall say again that no one will ever believe that Giovanni Mettbach is an Italian name), rather than standing up for our brothers and sisters so that they may see this solidarity and, should anyone else of us be in trouble, they are inspired to do the same for us.

One for all and all for one, so, apparently, was the motto of the French Musketeers and this is a motto that we, the Rom, in today's world, would do well to adopt.

© M V Smith, June 2007