A large percentage of Rom have lost their maternal language

A large percentage of Rom have lost their maternal language and their ethnic identity as a result of oppression and forced assimilation. While some speak openly about their ethnicity, many don’t. It is important for traditional Rom to accept the diversity of the Romani People worldwide. If so, we will get more cohesive and even encourage Romani individuals who hide their identity to embrace their roots.

The loss of the maternal language is, in most cases, not something that was done by choice but something that came about by force from the outside in that, as in Britain, Spain and also in Hungary, it was a capital offense to speak Romanes, or as it was referred to in Elizabethan England, the Egyptian Tongue, and the language ended up either bastardized or was lost altogether.

The loss of ethnic identity, on the other hand, was and is very often a matter of choice, in some respect, in an attempt to hide from persecution (not that that really worked) resulting in the loss of their ancestral roots.

While there are many “activists” who promote the notion that Amari Chib be our strength among the Gadje is in in reality our Culture and all that which goes with it really is our strength and for that very reason, it would appear, we are being encouraged to ditch as much as possible of it.

The churches play their part in this too, and even and especially the Gypsy Churches, in furthering this “loss of ethnic identity” by helping to destroy Amari Kultura and our Customs, but then they are but agents of the doshman and doing his bidding, some without realizing it, we may assume.

All too often, and this too, all too often, is aided and abetted by some “activists”, those that no longer rokker Amari Chib are being classed as second class Rom or even not at all as Rom, as one particular “activists” does as regards the Romanichals in the UK who he claims are nothing but Travellers. I would like him try that with the Romungrie.

The Romanichals in the British Isles and hailing from those shores in other parts of the world, whether the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, etc., are not the only ones who have lost the “pure” Romanes but there are a great many others too that have. They include the Gitanos of Spain, the Ciganos of Portugal and with that also the Calon of Brazil, the Romungrie of Hungary and some other Romani groups in Hungary as well as some in Romania, and other parts.

However, a great many of them, and that includes the Romanichals, have still retained much more of the Culture and are living it and the Calon are one of the best examples of living it openly as much as possible right in front of the eyes of the Gadje. That is why I am saying again that it is our Culture, our Customs and our Traditions, lived, that are much more important though, however nice it is, Amari Chib spoken and understood. Not that we could all even communicate in the Chib as there are so many different versions of it.

We must not permit ourselves to be divided by Language or lack of it and neither by the fact that some have Customs and Traditions that others no longer have, having been lost or abandoned for various reasons, and vice versa. Neither must we exclude those of ours who do not hail from the Dadeske Vast of lineage and neither those that have been adopted out. If but one drop of Romani Rat flows in someone’s veins we should, nay must, embrace them as ours and especially if they have the Culture, part of it, or are willing to learn, embrace it and live it.

Michael Smith
Tatchipen Media