I am proud to be Gypsy...

...declared Jacques Abardonado (29), who plays for the Nuremberg Football Club in Germany, who until recently was a player for O.G.C. Niece in France, whence he comes, in an interview.

Jacques Abardonado, also called “ Pancho”, the blond-headed Manouche, wants, with this declaration, to improve the image of the Romani People. “Gypsies”, 'Pancho' said, “are always seen by the public as people wanting a fight and as thieves and vagabonds. When we arrive at a place the shout immediately goes forth 'Watch out! The Gypsies are in town!' I have got a different image here and I can change the image of the People by doing this”.

This is a very refreshing thing, to have one of the likes of “Pancho” stand up publicly and declare that he is Rom, Gypsy, and proud to be one.

What is stopping you, and you, and yes, you there in the corner too, from doing the same and proclaiming openly that you are ethnic Gypsy and that you are proud to be thus?

Oh, what was that? You say that that is easy for him... he is a professional footballer. Well, he is also not the only professional footballer who is Rom and also not the fist to be open about it but, as far as I can see, he is probably the only one who has ever been that open about it.

All I can say is “good on you, mate!” to “Pancho” and hopefully many young Rom will take him as a role model and, aside from modelling themselves along his lines, so to speak, also follow his lead of publicly declaring membership of the People of the Rom.

© Michael Smith (Veshengro), February 2008