The more the merrier

BIld av kilolilo från Pixabay

En debattartikel beskriver skribentens egna åsikterna i texten.

Resandefolket har funnits i Skandinavien i minst 500 år och är en erkänd nationell minoritetsgrupp. I Sverige ingår folket administrativt i gruppen romer, i Norge utgör man en egen minoritetsgrupp med namnet romanifolket/taterne/de reisende.

I have always known that my ancestors belong to the Travelers, or, Romani people as they are called in the more official therm. But it was not before I was in my 50s I really started to look into my heritage, and started tracing ancestors and living relatives, or genealogy as it is called. This can be a very exciting hobby, and very rewarding as well. Newfound family members will in my opinion enrich our lives.

But I also discovered a sad fact when I started to “dive in to” all the information out there, which was the deeply tragic history about my ancestors. I had known about the stigma from the society since my parents and close relatives always had avoided talking about our heritage. It was just something they didn’t want to talk about. It was put a lid on.

And this stigma comes from one place, and one place only. And that is lack of information and understanding. And understanding can only be obtained by either being told or informed about it by someone, or one seek out the information ourselves. However, one cannot seek out information about something we don’t already know about. So, we are left with a group of stigmatized people who read about themselves. Except one or two genuinely interested people outside this group.

And it was when I did all this researching online I was surprised to find out it was just fairly recently (a few decades ago) my people had started to organize themselves in various groups and organizations, and then started to directly confront the state. A confrontation which included lawsuits, criticism, articles in mass media, etc. And finally, the politicians started to react to it and take it seriously.

The results are not only positive. The authorities have reacted, which is good. First with an official apologize to the groups being mistreated by the state. And then the creation of a committee to look closer at what happened to the groups the state and society “went after”. The not so positive is the fact the state only wanted to communicate with a small selection of the organizations. This was shocking to find out. We all have a right to be heard, no matter how few we are.

The result is evident, smaller groups and organizations started to disappear, by either just seized to exist or by being merged with a larger organization. And soon, we just have a couple of groups left. The number of people organized is decreasing, and fewer people talk. And this is not good since we like to avoid a monopoly of the truth.

These days, I believe we have only two “official” groups, with a total of 6-700 registered paying members between them. I say “official” since the state is only communicating with those two organizations. The leaders of these two organizations are now talking on behalf of more than 10 000 people who mostly are not even aware of this fact. The Monopoly has almost happened.

This can easily end up with the two organizations becoming one, with a single leader. And if this leader is charismatic enough, he/she can easily become a supreme leader, which in facto will be the dictator of the entire group of people.

And this is why I always say, more organizations, no matter how small they might be. This can only be better for a more democratic process and for the discussion about how to make things better, and a progression for the stigmatized groups in the society. Just as any political grouping in a democracy. The more the merrier.

Rgds, Kai (proud Traveler)

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