Friday, October 2, 2009


As per except from Policy Center for Roma and Minorities [Roma Daily News]:

“The Roma community’s leadership is weak. The Roma suffer from bitter infighting. Successful, integrated Roma are either afraid to admit that they are Roma or care little about the conditions less-fortunate, and more visible maligned Roma suffer.”

Part of the survival technique of Gypsies/Roma while still nomadic, was the wise choice of a leader. Leadership was not hereditary, but elected by the tribe. A leader had to be intelligent, a shrewd manipulator and tradesman, most of all he had to set the interest of his tribe high above his own. He took care of his people first and foremost. In certain tribes, like the Lovara, leadership at the top was divided between a male and an elder female leader. They brought different sets of insights to the art of survival. Roma leaders of today, and I am referring to Europe, are often lured by government agencies and NGO’s to step forward as spokesmen and leaders of their tribes to negotiate with the outside world. This usually brings to these chosen individuals advantages and privileges, i.e. easier access to work and money grants. Mostly such opportunities turn into self-interest, corrupting these chosen individuals from the start into offering lip service to the donors and leaving the neediest Gypsies more and more isolated to fend for themselves. Although in this world of shrinking living space Gypsies will have to adjust, they must return to some of the valuable qualities of their former way of life. Theirs was a beautiful, harmonious culture.

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