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To many of us the term Gypsy congers a romantic image of spiritual travellers quietly moving from town to town, across lush green countryside in brightly decorated vardo's. We imagine campfires surrounded by music and dance, and many happy children. We imagine town's people seeking spiritual guidance from the 'Gypsy Fortune Tellers' and natural healing therapies, and we even hold romantic notions of being 'conned' by the worldly Gypsies.

  Sadly, the reality of the life of many Gypsies or Rroma, which is the correct terminology, is very different from our romantic image. The term Gypsy is regarded as an insult and offensive to many Romani people. The reality for many Romani people or Rroma today is life in internment and refugee camps, because even in the twenty first century, and after more than a millennia or persecution, Europe's nomads, the Romani people remain unwelcome and unwanted.
  It would seem that Europe, even with the easing of national borders remains too small to accommodate the Rroma.

Following the move into Europe hundreds of years ago, many Romani have settled down and moved into society, inter-marrying with Europeans, and losing their cultural identity in the process. However, Romani blood courses strong in the veins of some Europeans of Romani descent. I cannot say why some Europeans of Romani descent feel the call of the road, nor can I say why not all Europeans of Romani descent feel the call of the road. However, I feel the call of the road, and I have cousins who feel the call of the road, but many in my family are content to settle down.

  I have long known that I was of Romani decent, and I have always felt the call of the road, having began wondering off by myself from the age of three. However, for most of my life I did not understand why I was unable to become settled, and I did not understand why I have only been able to remain settled for a period of time before being drawn to move on in some form or another. Occasionally I have needed to ride the call of the road out, but the call of the road has always returned until I answered the call.

That the Romani blood is strong in my veins, and that I can easily and without second thought travel across the world, alone and without notice is essential for my role and my task.

  However, this page is not about me or my task. This page exists because I am drawn to use this website to assist to raise the awareness of the world to the truth in respect to those of Romani decent, for a variety of reasons.
  Tsúnyöta Köhe't

Gypsies-By Any Other Name.


As a result of centuries of hatred, racism and persecution, the term Gypsy is to many Rroma derogatory, and offensive. Europeans incorrectly believed that the Rroma had their origin in Egypt, and derived the term Gypsy.

  The Romani people, are called by many names such as Cigano, Gypsies, Gipsies, Rom, Roma, Romani, Tsigani, Tzigane, Zigeuner, and others. Most Roma identify themselves either by their tribal name or by one of the names beginning with the prefix "Rom". Frequently, a prefix with a double "R" is used, as in "Rrom". The Council of Europe has approved the use of "Rroma (Gypsies)" in its official documents.

The Rroma Flag.


The Rroma flag is dark blue on top (representing the heavens) and green below (representing the earth) with the red wheel image represents a sixteen-spoked chakra in the centre (in recognition of the Indian origin of the Rroma), representing movement and the burst of fire from which all creation emerged at the beginning of time. This flag was approved at the First World Romani Congress in 1971 at London, England.

Rroma flag

Unwelcome and Unwanted: A Brief History of the Romani People.

  Before 400AD A small group of exiles from the middle east settle in middle India, with an insignificant tribe. The descendants of the this mixed race are to become the Romani people. The early Rroma became nomadic craftsmen and entertainers moving through middle and northern India.

This brief history has been extracted from the Patrin Web Journal. (© 1996-2000 All Rights Reserved). If you would like to learn more about the Romani people, a link the Patrin Web Journal has been provided below.

  There have been several great migrations, or Diaspora, in Romani history. The first was the initial dispersal from India about a thousand years ago. Some scholars suggest there may have been several migrations from India. The second great migration, known as the Aresajipe, was from southwest Asia into Europe in the 14th century. The third migration was from Europe to the Americas in the 19th and early 20th centuries after the abolition of Romani slavery in Europe in 1856-1864. Some scholars contend there is a great migration occurring today since the fall of the Iron Curtain in Eastern Europe.

The Romani language is of Indo-Aryan origin and has many spoken dialects, but the root language is ancient Punjabi, or Hindi. The spoken Romani language is varied, but all dialects contain some common words in use by all Roma. Based on language, Roma are divided into three populations. They are the Domari of the Middle East and Eastern Europe (the Dom), the Lomarvren of Central Europe (the Lom), and the Romani of Western Europe (the Rom).

  There is no universal written Romani language in use by all Rroma. However, the codification of a constructed, standardized dialect is currently in progress by members of the Linguistic Commission of the International Romani Union.

There are four Rom "tribes", or nations (natsiya), of Rroma: the Kalderash, the Machavaya, the Lovari, and the Churari. Other groups include the Romanichal, the Gitanoes (Calé), the Sinti, the Rudari, the Manush, the Boyash, the Ungaritza, the Luri, the Bashaldé, the Romungro, and the Xoraxai. The first European descriptions of the Roma upon their entering Europe emphasized their dark skin and black hair. Through integration with Europeans over the centuries, Rroma today can also be found with light skin and hair.

  Romani culture is diverse and there is no universal culture per se, but there are attributes common to all Rroma: loyalty to family (extended and clan); belief in Del (God) and beng (the Devil); belief in predestiny; Romaniya, standards and norms, varying in degree from tribe to tribe; and adaptability to changing conditions. Integration of many Rroma into gajikané (non-Rroma, or foreign) culture due to settlement has diluted many Romani cultural values and beliefs. Not all tribes have the same definition of who and what is "Rroma." What may be accepted as "true-Rroma" by one group may be gadjé to another. Romani culture is diverse, with many traditions and customs, and all tribes around the world have their own individual beliefs and tenets. It would be invalid to generalize and oversimplify by giving concrete rules to all Rroma. Despite what some groups may believe, there is no one tribe that can call themselves the one, "true" Rroma.

There have been many large-scale, state-sponsored persecutions, or pogroms, against the Roma throughout European history. The Nazi terror of World War II is the most infamous and is responsible for the deaths of up to 1.5 million Roma in the Porrajmos (Holocaust). The recent collapse of the communist governments of Eastern Europe have rekindled anti-Rroma sentiment in Eastern and Western Europe. Violent attacks against Romani immigrants and refugees have been permitted to occur with little or no restraint from government authorities. The Romani people remain the least integrated and the most persecuted people of Europe. Almost everywhere, their fundamental civil rights are threatened. Racist violence targeting Rroma is on the rise after the fall of Communism. Discrimination against Rroma in employment, education, health care, administrative and other services is observed in most societies, and hate speech against them deepens the negative anti-Rroma stereotypes which are typical of European public opinion.

  Anti-Rroma attitudes also exist in the Americas to one extent or another. Misrepresentations of the Romani people in the popular press, books, films and television have contributed to negative stereotypes and characterisations. Special "Gypsy" units in some local police forces exist to warn the gadje population of "Gypsy" activities.

In the last few years, the Rroma issue has been addressed by various non-governmental organisations, national as well as international. Different approaches - economic, social, political, cultural, and others - have been applied in the hope of improving the living standards of the Rroma, of promoting a more just social policy, of strengthening Rroma cultural identity, or of encouraging Rroma political participation. Solutions have been sought in the context of the struggle against racism and nationalism, as well as in the context of enhancing cultural pluralism. These recent projects are fragments of a growing all-European Rroma movement that is now only in its formative stage. The shape of this movement is still amorphous and incomplete. There still exists no significant internationalised human rights strategy initiative to monitor the human rights situation of the Rroma and to provide legal defence in cases of human rights abuse.


The Patrin Web Journal Website has a time line which describes the history of the Romani people in more detail.

More information about the Romani people can be found on the Patrin Web Journal Website.

Romani Timeline
Patrin Web Journal
The Gypsy

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