by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

No, this time I am
not talking about those that pretend to be Romani, who pretend to be Gypsy, often with the stupid idea that they have been Gypsies in a previous life, or that they are a free spirit, or simply for wanting to play Gypsy on Renaissance Fairs. Nor am I talking about those that want to be Romani for some other strange reason.

What I am talking about this time is those Romani of different groups than Roma pretending to be Roma, describing themselves as Roma, and such like for a place amongst those Gypsies that are always touted by the experts as the be all and end all of all Gypsies.

Why do Romanichals want to be Roma?

We have this phenomenon with educated Romani academics who have their origin amongst the Romanichals of Britain and more so even amongst the ordinary ones.

The obvious reason for so many ordinary Romanichals having begun, in some places, to call themselves “Roma” is due to the “work” of some of those academics, and other who appear to be educated way beyond their capacity and capability, who pedal the notion that all Romani groups are but tribes and subgroups of the Roma.

The truth is that while all Roma are Romani not all Romani are Roma and I, for one, would rather be called a Gypsy in English or a Zigeuner, Tsigan, Gitan, etc. in other vernacular languages than to be regarded as a member of the Roma.

As far as I have learned from many Rom of different groups, that is to say those from the Romanichals, from the Manush, the Sinti per se, and also those that are not Roma from Eastern Europe, they too would rather be called anything but Roma. While many of the Sinti in Germany, for instance, do not want to be called Zigeuner, again because some people have made this word, falsely, into a “bad word”, but they do not want to be called Roma. Others in other countries are quite happily using the vernacular equivalents to the English “Gypsy” rather than Roma, but those with what appears to be a hidden agenda keep pedalling the false notion, that all Romani are Roma. Dordi!

If one could now but put the finger on the reason as to why this notion is being continued to be pedalled in this way we might be a lot wiser as to this and one could then educate the People and the world at large in a much better way. Alas, however, those pedalling those lies are hardly going to tell us why they do so.

All that can be said is that while those claim different the truth is that while all Roma are Romani not all Romani are Roma. Period! Dosta!

© M Smith (Veshengro), August 2008