I should have made this post ages ago since it’s halfway through the month, but, hooray! I’ve been adventuring a lot, first in Ireland, then Mexico, then the Florida Keys. But now I’m back, and this is month is dedicated to celebrating Romani and Traveller culture and remembering history. It feels like the best way to honor the month is to post a small pastiche of articles that touch on the subject from around the web. I’ll keep the posts coming, this is just a starter, and I have a few articles coming out on the topic soon too. The hashtag I’ve been using on Twitter is #RomaTravellerHistoryMonth and my handle is @JSReidy, if you want to follow. There’s also https://www.facebook.com/endromaniexploitation to consider.
1. Settela Steinbach’s image was used as the haunting symbol of the Jewish Holocaust for a long time before it was discovered that Settela was a Sinti Romani girl. Read about her life, journey, and remember her in Romedia’s post, SETTELA STEINBACH, A NEARLY-FORGOTTEN SINTI-ROMA STORY FROM WWII
Still from the “Westerbork film” showing Settela peeking outside through the crack. Courtesy of the WWII Image Bank- National Institute for War Documentation.
2. http://www.imninalu.net/ has an interesting list of past and present “Famous Gypsies”
3. The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) published, “Teaching of the Roma and Sinti genocide is crucial to addressing discrimination, say participants at OSCE meeting,”
The Romani Library Project aims to promote and make available across Europe modern literature of the Roma culture. Its origins lie in a collaboration between expert academic institutions, European publishers with an intercultural perspective, Roma cultural organisations and Non-Governmental Organisations with experience in Romani publishing.
Arts and Culture:
1. Opre Roma – Roma, Stand up! A feature documentary film about Roma rappers and an emerging underground Roma hip hop scene in the Balkans.
2. Flamenco is a Gitano dance, and this performance charts its Indian roots to its Spanish birth.
3. Gypsy Fever, the London-based Balkan Romani music and Manouche Jazz fusion group tears it up with a swing-rock beat.
4. Gypsy artist Lita Cabellut “The Starcatchers” opening night at Opera Gallery Seoul with fashion designer Lie Sang Bong
Tania Leontieff just became Israel’s first Romani police officer.
Articles on ethnicity and culture:
Filip Borev, author of the blog Pipopotamus, writes in “What is in a word? ‘Gypsy’: pride or prejudice” about why he identifies as Gypsy, not a Rom, and why that’s ok. In another post, “International Romani Day: and why this year will be my last,” he explains the problems with a “Roma nation” and the trouble with the Romani Rights movement being led by people outside of the culture.
Are you familiar with those travel blogs that tell you “how to spot a Gypsy” and continue on with a bunch of racist nonsense under the guise of “educating” tourists? If not, lucky you. I wrote a satirical guide in that vein for Bathshebas called “American Gypsies Travelling in Europe: how to recognize white people.” Hold onto your babies!