|Traditional gypsy caravan|
|Gypsies waiting to be executed|
Many of you ask, what is a Gypsy? Whilst starting this blog, I knew I would get criticized for 'commercializing gypsy culture and /or lifestyle'. I am not. Here is my answer. I do not want to bore you with facts or long historical evidence, these are just bullet points. And after - bit about me...
Gypsy (as taken from Wikipedia)
The Romani are an ethinic group living mostly in Europe, United States, Brazil and the UK who trace their origins to the Indian Subcontinent. Romani are widely known in the English-speaking world by the exonym
However, as a term 'gypsy' is considered derogatory by many members of the Roma community because of negative and stereotypical associations with the term. In North America, the word gypsy is commonly used as a referece to lifestyle or fashion, and not to the Romani ethnicity.
WHERE FROM GYPSY?
For a variety of reasons, many Romanies choose not to register their ethnic identity in official censuses. There are an estimated four miliion Romani people in Europe (as of 2002), although some high estimates by Romani organizations give numbers as high as 14 million. Linguistic and genetic evidence indicates the Romanies originated from the Indian subcontinent, emigrating from India towards the northwest no earlier than the 11th Century.
CONFLICTS WITH GYPSY
The persecution of the Romanies reached a peak during World War II in the Porajmos, the genocide perpetrated by the Nazis during the Holocaust. In 1935, the Nuremberg laws striped the Romani people living in Nazi Germany of their citizenship, after which they were subjected to violence, imprisonment in concentration camps and later genocide in extermination camps. Because no accurate pre-war census figures exist for the Romanis, it is impossible to accurately assess the actual number of victims. In Communist Eastern Europe, Romanies experienced assimilation schemes and restrictions on cultural freedom. Czechoslovakia carried out a policy of sterilization of Romani women, starting in 1973.
So to be put very simply, traditionally people believe gypsies to be travelers in mobile homes/caravans moving from place to place and earning money by performing or stealing. This, of course is a generalization. A stereotype can be made of any culture. On International Roma Day, which falls on April 8th, gypsies will have little to celebrate. Cultural tensions and, for some, deplorable living conditions.
Born into an all musical family in Moscow, Russia I have traveled performing with my family migrating to London and giving up for political asylum once communism collapsed in early 90's. I speak English & Russian. I am strongly influenced by Soul & Russian gypsy music. I don't care for term 'gypsy' being derogatory. It isn't to me.
Times have changed. I celebrate the word of having a 'gypsy soul', a nomadic existence and an out of the ordinary art & performer lifestyle. It's empowering! Welcome to the world of Modern day gypsy ... next post!
PERSONAL NOTE: I found it crazy that my mother passed on april 8th, International Roma Day. Rest in peace, mama.