Do not simply accept what is placed before you


Do not simply accept what is placed before you. Create a picture of the world through your own experiences and thoughts.

Do not allow yourself to be manipulated; not by the governments, the media, the so-called “leaders”, your peers or simply others.

Be informed, think about everything, and bring your own on a solid footing from the multitude of filtered “environmental” opinions around you. Above all learn to think for yourself. This way you can avoid being one more sheep.

More often than not, instead of creating our own “way” and/or pushing for our own input and a “nothing without us for us” attitude, we, as a People, stand by and let others place things before us and, more often than not, we accept what is being placed thus before us as “this is the best we can expect”.

We cannot and must not accept it. We must stand up and state clearly and unequivocally that it is either done to our needs or, better still, that we are empowered, by whichever ways and means, to create whatever we need ourselves for ourselves, be it housing, schools, and what have you. If other ethnicities are permitted, and even encouraged, to do so why not we, le Rom? Oh, I forgot, because we are Rom, Gypsy. And the Gadje, and our so-called “leaders”, believe we are to be treated like little children, that we need someone to speak for us and decide what is good for us, and we then need to be told to do as we are told by them.

Having said that it is not entirely the Gadje – and even the “leaders’” – fault, because it is exactly the way that a great majority of Amare Chel behave in that they act almost incapable of doing things for themselves and making decisions for themselves. Many will moan day in, day out, that someone needs to do this or that for them, be it fixing a leaky roof on a shack which often would just require nothing more than a bit of tar paper and some tar paper nails, bring some food or some firewood, and more often than not it is then a call for the government or some church or charity to do this. To think and act for themselves to some, to many, in fact appears to be an alien concept.

While, alas, to some extent this attitude is understandable with regards to the Romani community that lived for decades under socialism where a great many things were provided by the government to all people, Rom included, and often even without discrimination. Those times, however, are over and it is time we did things for ourselves. Then again, though, a similar attitude seems to prevail with many of Amare who never lived under conditions of socialism.

For some reason, while we claim to wanting to be independent, a great majority of Amare Chel, alas, seem to rather want and even demand that things are done for them be it from the sides of the government agencies or that of charities. Then they are surprised that what was is given to us or done for us, as a community, is not according to our Ways and our needs. It goes for schooling as much as for housing and everything else.

If we really want to have change then there are two requirements. One of them, and that is the hardest, means that we have to change ourselves – no, not into Gadje, although some are doing the damnedest to do just that, at least in their behavior – by changing especially the attitude on certain matters, though I am in no way referring to changes in Culture and Customs. We have to be the change in that we do things for ourselves and our community together with the community. Nothing can be done, nor should it be done, for the or a community without the involvement of the community from the very outset. When it comes to Culture, Customs and Traditions, on the other hand, we must return to many of the old Ways in order to actually make this all happen; that is why I said I am not talking about changes to those.

But when it is about not accepting the things placed before us it is also and especially the narrative as to who and what we, le Rom, are. The history of us being put before us and that many have gobbled up with rather large ladles has to be questioned like so many other things. The same goes for the claim that we never had a religion – or at least a spirituality – of our own. Most of what is placed before us and presented to us is not the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. It is theories that have never been proven.

The history presented to us – leaving aside the religion bit for a moment – states that we come from India. I accept that to an extent and that is to say that we came out of India for the language alone would indicate that, being based on ancient Sanskrit or could it even be that ancient Sanskrit is based on our ancient language? Never accept anything at face value but question everything.

We are also being told, in this so-called history, that we were untouchables in India. Now this is the greatest fallacy that one could ever perpetuate – but then it is needed to create the perpetual victim status that some have wanted to create – for no untouchable is permitted, according to my Hindu sources, to work, for instance iron, gold or silver. All three considered metals of the gods.

In the Indian caste system (even today) an untouchable would also not be able to manufacture things that would be used by higher castes for the users of such products would be rendered ritual unclean by just touching such a product.

Furthermore, an untouchable would do his utmost to rise up higher, given the chance, in the system. This is, however, something that we, le Rom, did not do and we see the Gadje more or less as untouchables, considering them ritually unclean. The reason for this is that we were – at least back then – as high as a man possible could get without becoming a god.

A great deal of the history about Amare Chel, that we are being presented with and which, as said before, many of Amare have gobbled up with rather large ladles, has been created in order to keep us, le Rom, down, and many Romani epidemics – erm, sorry, academics – are aiding and abetting this by perpetuating that version of history.

Our history was not written but orally transmitted and the only official documents from historical times – other than recent history – that exist about us were written by Gadje, either monks, town clerks or similar officials, or by travel writers and such, as well as “lorists”. A transient people such as we, le Rom, were do not leave much in the way of archaeological evidence behind; in fact nothing. Thus the history we are being presented with is not our history but a story or stories about us.

Michael Smith

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