their own and those of their neighbors, all Roma ever wanted was to be
left alone. Instead of war they showed respect to the territories they
crossed, as well as the bigger animals that shared their living space.
They arrived into Western culture with a great variety of professions –
iron-forging, horse-dealing, basket weaving, lace-making etc., and of
course entertainment – music, dancing, traveling circuses with all kinds
of performing acts, fortune-telling.
So why the enduring hate? The reasons on the part of those who live a
settled life have been explained, examined, over and over again –
xenophobia, prejudice, misconceptions, the need to produce a scapegoat
to blame for their own times of trouble.
But what about the part of the Roma themselves? I personally believe, as
more and more open territory came under control, the professions the
Roma had travelled with for centuries became obsolete through
modernization, the Roma were forced into poverty and areas encircled by
the totalitarian law of Might is Right. By then, what had once been the
Romani way of survival was turning against them. Life in small,
traveling units, by then had resulted in division instead of unity, lack
of unity in turn made them vulnerable to attack, lack of opportunity for
work, forced them into petty crime (within their own culture, theft,
lying were considered high treason, and practically non-existent).
Instead of human rights, a Roma baby received brands that he or she
would never able to erase.
But I firmly believe a new day is dawning for the Roma people. I see,
that instead of withdrawing into invisibility at the onslaught of
persecution, as they have done in the past believing that only then they
could survive, Roma people are starting to unite. Modern type leaders
will start to emerge from their midst. They are starting to demand their
European birth rights, thereby exposing the hypocrisy of countries who
call themselves democratic. As they do so, idealistic non-Gypsies have
started to, and will increase in numbers, march along their sides in
'Opre Roma' (Roma Rise) is becoming a reality.