There are many out there, I am aware of that, who accuse O Nevo Drom and, certainly, I know that for a fact, Romani First - and we have just seen that in a comment on the Romani First Blog - of being racist because we put the Romani People first and foremost, and we say by Romani for Romani, and exempting non-Romani Travellers, such as the Irish Travellers.
Let me state categorically that we do so unashamedly, e.g. putting our Romani People first and foremost, above all others, and this has nothing whatsoever to do with racism. It has, however, everything to do with Pride in our Race. While other races do exactly that, namely excluding others that are NOT of their ethnicity, why are we, the Romani, being accused of racism every time when we attempt to do the same, be that in organizations or in publications? We are Romani and work for Romani and our concern is ONLY for the Romani People.
The Irish Travellers have enough Gohja running around in circles helping them and even some of the Romani groups too who think that that will benefit them, the Romani, if they do. Nothing could be further from the truth. We must adhere to the old adage “Rom Romensa Gadje Gadjensa”, and it is in that spirit that we maintain O Nevo Drom and especially Romani First, magazine and foundation.
I do know that there are some Travellers that are mixed Romani Blood with Irish Traveller or other Traveller blood and it is obvious that those are torn in their loyalty and therefore try to have a foot in both camps, even trying, which just cannot be, to unite Romani and Irish in fighting for the same rights. The Irish and the Romani, I am sorry, are different and as I do have said before when people ask me what the difference is between Gypsy and Traveller, in that “not all Gypsy are Traveller and not all Traveller are Gypsy”. This is something, it would appear that also the general media and many authorities do not seem to understand.
The term Gypsy rightfully belongs to the Romani and to the Romani only and while some Romani, some Gypsy, may still be Travellers, in that they may travel from time to time, Travellers, whether they travel or not are NOT Gypsy, as they are, in the main, not Romani.
But I am aware that this is all very difficult to understand for those politicos in the “Gypsy Industry” who are hellbent to make the Irish Travellers into Gypsy, for instance, and like the European bodies that insist in now calling the (Irish) Travellers the term “Roma”. Dordi! Firstly not even all Romani are Roma and should therefore not be called thus but to add other groups of non-Romani itinerants, such as the Irish Travellers, and others, into the term “Roma”, really tops it.
Another reason why Romani First exists. Namely to educate the rest of the world to the truth as to how things really are as regards the Gypsy, the Romani, and other groups.
The European bodies too need to be educated in that for they now have included the Irish Travellers in the term “Roma”.
I sometimes wonder whether we are fighting a losing battle here and those people have such a well hidden agenda that it is not a case that they do not understand but a case that they do not want to accept this simple because it does not fit their design.
This is becoming visible in Britain now, in many counties, where the local powers that be have decided that only those that travel, regardless whether they are Romani or not, are ethnic Gypsies, and any Romani that have moved permanently onto sites or into houses are, because they have become sedentary, are no longer ethnic Gypsy. So, according to their wisdom (what wisdom, I know...), when is a Gypsy not a Gypsy... when he has become settled. The “funny” part is though that the travelling with trailer permanently is no longer possible due to all the nice laws against Gypsies in Britain. So,, how do you save an ethnic problem. Declare that only Gypsies that travel are ethnic Gypsies, then outlaw the travelling lifestyle and force them into houses, and, voila, no more ethnic Gypsies.
It should therefore by now becoming blatantly obvious to any but the blind what the European institutions are up to with the issue of making everyone “Roma”. We soon will solve that ethnic problem too in Europe. In Germany now the term “members of a mobile ethnic minority” is being used in legalese for “Sinti and Roma”. But what if those members are not mobile, e.g. they live permanently in a house?
© Michael Smith (Veshengro), December 2007