VIDA’s list of Twenty ‘Gypsy’ Women You Should Be Reading

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Portrait of Papusza, the mother of Romani poetry

I’m so delighted to share my Twenty Gypsy Women You Should be Reading with everyone In honor of Roma and Traveller History Month,. Gypsy culture is vastly misunderstood and underrepresented, and literature is a beautiful way to discover it. You may not have heard of many of these writers before but they will astound you with their talent. Happy reading!

“And while I spend a lot of time on my soap box bellowing that Roma and Travellers are just human, as a storyteller and a poet, I will say that some of the most beautiful, dark, and hauntingly fantastic stories I’ve ever heard or read have been from Gypsies. It’s a MathildeVonThieleworld-view that outsiders would never be able to reach on their own, and I feel this poignantly as a not-quite-white looking girl who grew up knowing that, way back, her Gypsy ancestors sailed up and down the Danube from Germany to Hungary, working as dancers and fortune tellers in the riparian towns before the war tore everything to shreds. Their lives were not idyllic, but the stories my grandmother told were beautiful. I would hold them close to my chest when I was stoned at school, or given detention for “witchcraft and the evil eye” in a town where there were no Gypsies, where my mother and grandmother routinely referred to the Gypsy community (some abstract thing I imagined) as “they” instead of “we.” I worried about my “percentage of Gypsy” and whether or not it was enough to claim. The few practices my grandmother kept and passed down to me didn’t make sense until I began to research my own people when I was a teenager and realized that alienation is also inheritance. I found Papusza, the Mother of Romani poetry and an omen of exile and connection. I stepped into the river-mouth of my blood.”

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My great-great grandmother Mathilde as a young dancer

I found all of these gems of the Lolo Diklo Facebook page— “like” for more about current Romani news, activism, arts, and culture.

1. A Travelling girl’s story: the struggle against eviction and her kickstarter to fund her education. Her video shows what it’s like to be a Traveller girl in England trying to better herself in spite of the daily persecution that Travellers and Roma face.

http://www.gofundme.com/6tjh2o

2. Romedia Foundation led a summer camp workshop for young Roma from Szendrőlád (a small settlement in North-Western Hungary) in the summer of 2012, as part of the “Youth in Action: Strenghtening the Voice of Roma Youth” project. The summer camp was organized by the Bhim Rao Association. The workshop held by Romedia had as its aim to bring to life different film creations, developed and carried out entirely by the young Roma participants, numbering approximately 30 teenagers. The workshop held by Romedia had as its aim to bring to life different film creations, developed and carried out entirely by the young Roma participants, numbering approximately 30 Roma teenagers.
Copyrights: Romedia Foundation
http://romediafoundation.org/

3. Pablo Vega is a Spanish Romani film-maker. His love of cinematography grew in time and he eventually started his own production company called “DIKA” which in Romanes means “SEE”.
His first documentary is called “Romnia” in which he documented the life of four Roma women living in Huesca aiming to reflect another reality of Roma women, breaking the stereotypes so often present in society. Women who have struggled to get where they are trough education, women of different ages portraying similar realities.

See his impressive works’ showreel, followed by an exclusive interview for the Romedia Foundation

4. Spanish-Romani radio programs on an array of fascinating topics! Gitanos – Valencia, sede de la exposición’Vidas Gitanas’

http://www.rtve.es/alacarta/audios/gitanos/gitanos-valencia-sede-exposicionvidas-gitanas-22-03-14/2464295/

5. THE WRITTEN ROMANI LANGUAGE – NEVER SAY “NEVER”

“IN the light of the Romani situation in present day Europe, the history of the Romani language- Romanès, as we call it- may not seem like an especially important issue. Arguing about whether or not this language has a history of being written down might seem less important still. Yet the claim that the Romani language has never been written down until very recent times remains untrue, and this claim is dangerous for precisely the reasons that people assume it to be correct….”

by Damian Le Bas

for the rest of the fascinating article on the history of written Rromanes: http://romediafoundation.wordpress.com/2014/03/18/the-written-romani-language-never-say-never/

For more like this, “Like” Lolo Diklo: Romani against Racism on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/pages/Lolo-Diklo-Romani-Against-Racism/134328566635942

 

An array of fascinating videos, radio programs, and articles!