By Michael Smith
Now that the International Romani Union has shown its true face and has become – officially and publicly – the International Roma Union, it is, I believe, time for the non-Roma amongst the Romani People, such as Sinti, Romanichals, Rom Polska, Russka Rom, Cale, Romane Chave, and others, to form an organization of their own to represent us.
I know for a fact that there are some that think along the same line as myself and maybe there are still others out there that think like that but have been or are too afraid to say so because of fear of being laughed at or worse.
It has become obvious for some years now that all the IRU has been interested in have been the Roma and that they wanted everyone by force too accept also the term Roma, regardless of whether or not the people actually would ascribe to that title.
So-called “leaders” of the Sinti even went as far as to accept this and referring to the Sinti, for instance, as a tribe – or even sub-tribe – of the Roma. Romanichals in Britain and from Britain began the same, calling themselves, in the UK, for instance, British Roma. There are no British Roma, and there are also only a few Roma in Britain.
The point is that first of all the Roma will never accept Sinti and related groups as Romani even, always referring to us as “Gadje”; even in our presence some do this while others are more subtle with this. The fact remains that to the Roma, in the main, with one or two exceptions, Sinto, Romanichals, etc. are not Romani, are not Gypsy, regardless of the fact that we are and that we, probably, have been in Europe well before the Roma and are, in fact, the higher caste.
I am well aware that there will be attacks on me for writing this here – and elsewhere away from our eyes – and the misguided souls will call me – and those that stand with me on this – divisive and worse but the truth is that the Sinti and related are NOT Roma (which part of the word NOT do those people not understand?) and that there is no way that the Roma will ever accept the fact that Sinti are Romani like them but not Roma. To them, in the main, we will always be the “Gadje”.
Only with our own federation, like that of the Mohawk Nations, can we create a level playing field in Romani politics. Everything that is being done from the EU and other bodies is but aimed at the Eastern European Roma (in Eastern Europe) with those Romani People in the West not getting even a looking in. This is a form of discrimination that cannot be permitted to exist any longer.
I do not care which “leader” of which organization has declared that Sinti, Romanichals, etc. are Roma. They do not represent most of us for we were never given a voice in their choices nor in their claims of representation and this goes, as far as I am concerned, for all of them.
It is high time that all of us looked a little closer at those that claim to represent us and stopped following them blindly. Many were never meant to be judges and leaders. They assumed a mantle that does not fit and that they were never meant to wear.
There seem to be a lot of organizations out there that are rather self-serving and when then someone who once worked for them exposes them and their shenanigans they are upset and get riled and claim that the person has no right to say what they did. Same with the IRWN as it was when someone wrote about the shenanigans of the Roma Parliament and the Congress.
The truth hurts, I guess!
© M Smith (Veshengro), February 2009
P.S. You do not have to agree with me. If you don't don't flame. Flames will be most gleefully deleted. If you do agree with me you can comment anonymous, if you like, or you can write to me direct. Again flames per emails will be deleted and the sender blocked, LOL.