February 17th, 2007
|cherani_baxtali||11:00 am - Romani History|
This is a very informative site on Romani history. There are drop-down menus at the top where you can continue through different parts of their journeys, and a flash animation at the end. I thought this quote was particularly interesting, "the Roma are the only people in Europe that never led a war on its own, thus the most peaceful people in Europe."
Click the banner below to read more..
|cherani_baxtali||10:06 am - Welcome!|
I am an American-born Romani. For those of you thinking, 'who?', Romani is an ethnic background, like Spanish, Italian, or Swedish. There are many different groups, or 'nations' that fall under the name 'Romani', such as Roma, Kale, and Sinti to name a few. I am just beginning to become more familiar with my heritage, and the many diverse groups that tie into it. From what I've been told, I am descendent of the Sinti nation.
A few things that people often say when I am asked about my background are, "so you're Romanian/Italian/etc?" The answer is no. Roma, Romani and Romania are all separate terms used to describe different groups of people, and Rome, though it sounds a lot like Roma, isn't the same thing. When people ask me for a more familiar reference point, I explain that the Romani people are also called "Gypsies", (though in some parts of the world, and even here in America, this word can be offensive and should be used only when you know the individual preference of the people involved - is probably safest to use 'Romani', or if you know their particular nation's name, that is generally preferred as well). There is a misconception, both here in America and in other parts of the world, that a 'Gypsy' is a free-spirited, fortune-telling, crystal-ball gazing circus performer, and there is also the misconception that anyone who lives a nomadic lifestyle would fall under that name. It seems that the word 'Gypsy' is more often used these days as a descriptive term for a certain lifestyle, when in fact, the Romani are a living, breathing race of people, not a fairytale in a Disney story.
In other parts of the world, (and from what I understand, even some places here in America) the Romani people are treated very badly, some being denied even basic human rights. In most parts of America, with all of our laws in place to prevent these situations, it is difficult to imagine a sign on a market or pub exclaiming "NO DOGS or ASIANS", etc, but in some places, replace the word 'Asians' with 'Gypsies', and you will see a small example of the way the Romani are treated in other places throughout the world. It is dire enough in some places that they are reluctant to admit to their heritage at all. I have personally never experienced any sort of racial backlash, but in looking at me, it isn't necessarily easy to pick out my heritage, and in those who have inquired, I have not experienced any sort of offensive reaction.
Please do not join if you are looking for magic tricks, spells or other such nonsense. This community has a serious focus and a desire for knowledge about our past experiences as a people, and what our future holds, here and around the globe. If you are Romani and would like to join, or would like to offer suggestions, corrections, or just want to say hello, please do. This is my journey as much as it is yours, and I welcome any information, assistance and criticism from those who undoubtedly know more than I.
With that, welcome to Rromani!