Sunday, September 5, 2010

Voice From the Heart of Roma UPDATED

Ledoux St. Public Art, Taos
I spent most of yesterday with the son of one of India's greatest drummers. He is on a brief visit to US. I know it's hard to rate or compare maestros like this, since India has produced so many extraordinary artists, known and unknown, magical beings, gandharvas, Goddess-gifted servants of the sundara (beauty). This gentleman's father, Chatur Lal, was the first tabla-giant master to come to the West in the '50s, chosen to accompany the great ambassadors of Raga music on their first sacred missions to America and Europe. I mention this only because of what our conversation seemed to always fall back on: the immense kindness, humanity, generosity, humility, joy, and divine grace always exhibited by these masters. And also our extreme good fortune to have known them and been in their presence. (Of course there was also talk of compositions, lineages, technique, gigs, etc, too.) But, really, my very life depends on a continuity of my practice and the frequency of these kinds of encounters, both of them equally. Both are the 'food' of my soul. My life in this incarnation would have very less meaning without them. Actually, I would probably not still be around. All of the aforementioned adjectives apply equally to all of my teachers and mentors and their entire families.
Of these I must mention late Allah Rakha and son Zakir Hussain, Amarnath Mishra, Shankar Ghosh, Chhatrapati Singh, Pannalal Upadhya, Dagar family, Mallik family, Padma Dehury, Satchidananda Das. Thanks and praises. All blessings to their wives, siblings and children who have revealed the greatness and the highest qualities of humanity to me and our guru-bhais. It is a tragedy of immense proportions that their godly qualities, and those of many other equally stellar individuals,  remain unknown to most human beings. As we all know, the good true humans are kept down and invisible to the masses by the corrupt educational and media complexes. It's the way it is, for now.

I read today of the death of a young master Native American totem carver in the Pacific Northwest at the hands of police. He was holding a 3-inch knife and a piece of wood. What is even more disturbing was the huge number of hateful comments about "no-good, drunken Indians".
Two other recent articles that came to my attention concern the Roma ('gypsy') people. The first relates the story of six members of a Roma family in Slovakia gunned down: LINK. The second, from the UK Independent, "Why Sarkozy Went to War on the Roma", had, again, a huge number of vile, hateful comments about "lazy, thieving, dirty, un-contributing gypsies" who 'need' to "go back to where they came from". The article itself had nothing of note.
However, below the article there is an extended post of extraordinary truthfulness and heartfulness from a Roma-American woman, which completely blew me away both in its wisdom and compassion, and its thorough spanking of the ignorant haters. I am reprinting her post in its entirety, since seldom do we hear the side articulated here in any media. What she offers so eloquently could be spoken by any member of any tribe of dispossessed, marginalized, scapegoated 'minorities' in any industrialized country today, but she speaks in defense of her people currently under siege in both Eastern and Western Europe.

Rome Prepares to Demolish 200 Illegal Gypsy Camps - 9/5/10
Europe Accuses Sarkozy of Roma Gypsy 'Witch-hunt' - 9/7/10
Romanian Gypsy Leader Compares Sarkozy to Nazis - 9/8/10

Travelers' Double Rainbow
A response to the hateful accusations alluded to above (with her permission)
by Tamara Demetro:

"I wish blessings to your family as well murro phrales, (my brother). Of course as a tribal born and unbiased Rromani I do not agree with you. You know as a woman who knows thousands of our own people this is so heartbreaking. It is of course even closer and emotional then when I witness discrimination and racial ignorance effecting even close friends whom are of another minority, simply because of the fact that the Rromani are my race. Yet; it does not prevent me from acting as strong to stand up for what in my heart I know is fundamentally unfair and inhumane, for anyone who might be going through similar or worse fates, human or any living creature. No matter what is said here my brother I can tell you from my own witness....this is so wrong what has been done to us. This is so wrong and what some of us now do to them (as a result of course) is just as wrong...

Yet, how can I not share the truth without bias and report; most do so for sheer survival. I do not know how to get across to our non Rromani relations, to you ;......Do not believe this about us. Do not think in your wildest imagination that we as a whole do not love our fellow man at our root. Do not think for an instant that we do not wish to work, no more or less then anyone of conscious nature. Do not listen to the negative whispering of the subconscious negative thoughts we call " the demons" we "all" have. To believe that an entire race of people just was born to take over another's land, take everything for free and do not give or wish to give anything in return of equal value because we are "parasites"????? What good human being thinks that about an entire race?

Do not think we like to be going through what we are and whom do you think of us that would rather live like "this" then go to work? when there is this anywhere (as with any dysfunctional figures within any race) is by a vast majority awareness within our own race....a very small minority. A minority that "we" do not embrace ourselves! What child does not have dreams, does not wish to learn, grow and be with her piers of every color? What child wishes to beg or have the pressure of being placed in jail, never have a home worth being proud of, never having the "freedom" to live without hate always coming at you from almost every door? 

Yes; it is true we do not like to live by the wars and insanity we see most of you as well complain about. We do not agree that this world is based on sanity, Creator's teachings to us. We do not believe us as a whole human race is living right side up but rather upside down from the way nature and spirit intended. We do not believe in many of the root of societies reasoning and "millions" of other individuals of "every color and hue in between" feel this, not only us. Yet we are not so naive to think we do not have to contribute or that we are not apart of our world's relations. We do not think we are the ones hating and wishing to harm you but in fact the other way around.

We do not sit upon a throne and judge you, we just wish to preserve and assist our race, culture and heritage to evolve while we "with respect and equal rights" be apart of the world to which we live in; work, play and other wise. It is not us refusing them jobs but the other way around. It is not us but them who keep us out of their businesses. It is not us who refuse them work that forces them to beg borrow and steal but it is them whom do this to us. It is not us who create schools and leave them in the basement of our childrens day cares or segregated and or "special needs" not us but Look at the merry go round; The people say "I keep them out of my place of business because they are a nuisance and come and beg my customers or are dirty". The Rroma say; " I went into the place of business to beg because I was "starving" and could not get anyone to give me work for months, (many times years and or "ever"). I was dirty because I have not been given the kindness of a place to shower, and could not afford my own home because no one will give me work". Not to mention that this example does not explain all the refusal and dark treatment thousands of us who do "not" steal beg or cheat experience by the very same people.

If the non Rromani sees them laughing, playing, seemingly not having a care in the world, they do not see what is really happening. they see the Rroma "coping" in the only way he knows smile, laugh, sing, be with good spirit,,God. Yes; there are many Rroma who do not like the "Gyjey" but honestly if this was your race and family treated this way..would you? This is not a one day negative affair with us as some of you may have experienced; this is "1000" years of it "EVERYDAY!!! How can they possibly judge something that is so far away from whatever they have ever had to experience! What benefits do you speak of, the benefits of a card board home or ghetto? the benefits of free money that is not enough to feed our families and no decent jobs to take us off of it? The medical where we are subjected to without education to be sterilized or fooled into it because we can not read?

This is one of those situations where what it appears is not what it truly is; can you not see?? This scenario that I just shared is more about present day Rromani European poverty stricken people. This is not how it was for hundreds of years prior. For hundreds of years it is clearly documented (and known inter tribally throughout the world) that it had nothing to do with theft, for many Countries had us as slaves. In older days it was a crime not to "kill us" if someone saw us! How do you not understand how this can play a "huge" role in the mental and emotional make up of your fellow human beings? How can you not see how generations upon generations have been affected by this? What are the majority of Rromani do we see in these situations, how wealthy of thieves could they possibly be? Look at their living conditions, look at their children! Every race has those who take advantage, got greedy, are uncaring and selfish....we do not claim we are the exception to this (do you?) but we are not all or most of us "like them"! What we say is that from what we know about the worse of our race inter tribally; they came from families whom were so persecuted and or lost family members due to this unfounded hatred; that they became like Scarlet in Gone with the wind; "I shall never go hungry again" and now like many of any people that have become embitter from factual reasoning to why they would, is behaving unreasonable in return . How many people in this world are unethical, steal from their own, Corporate greed, Government politics. How many White people do we see on the news and how many Rroma do we see in comparison? How long did it take for the vast majority of human beings to see the error in their ways about other minorities and look until still goes on for them as well.

When the Europeans that hate stop hating and treat all people as their "equal". When they offer us the same opportunity to "exist" as human beings...then they shall see the truth about the Rromani work ethic, cleanliness ethic and benefit from the beauty and talent, intelligence and love millions of us have to offer and always have. You know; in the beginning (it has been passed down many generations) that when the Rromani witnessed man killing one another, the earth and its creatures...the first Rroma said "na asba ley, na den duma lensa", moondaen ech avestard, bistar da aye shukar pou amarey dai, ty bistardar khon si ley aved nanulya ki si po poua", mardimai ley; nasfaley ley. Do not go near them, they kill one another, the earth and other living creatures, they are ill forbidden . A thousand years ago this was said but this does not mean that we in our present generations still partake in this belief, even if we might still agree. We know we are apart of our human race and not above it. We know that if allowed we can participate in the day to day living of being sustainable for ourselves while not participating in some of the "insanity" we see our relations non Rromani "still" living with today. As you may not wish to participate in some of our social cultural beliefs. That is what being a diverse open minded human being can offer each of us...the freedom to choose without hating one another or losing the beliefs we care about individually.

This is a monumental misunderstanding that occurred only God knows truly when and it just has gotten to the point of hysteria and down right evil. I disagree that it is said that Rroma have not wish to integrate with the rest of the world, this is an untrue accusation as if we look to other Countries that have embraced Rromani race "and" culture (like Macedonia for only one example) we would see a Country that thrives from their Rromani community as the Rroma does from them; why is it different for us there? Rromani have "never been" against integration, respectful fair integration. The Rromani have been against "assimilation" in past years. The same way "all" minorities have been. The Native American did not want you to cut his hair and make him speak only your language...neither do we. The African American did not wish for you to call him the "N" word and take a way their African heritage and culture. They only did so when absolutely forced and till today they live less then what they by the laws of what is "truth" universal as human beings are given birth right to experience and know.

Please stop, please stop the argument and begin the understanding; for "everyone's sake". I know some of you have had bad experiences and I feel terrible for this but it is not the whole truth of what you say and your unforgiving nature about something that is not the whole truth will never solve the problem...and neither would genocide and continued discrimination and persecution upon us... it never will. Do you really want a solution that comes from love and not fear or do you just want to continue the hate with the belief that you must be all right?"

Then, following a few more rabid spewings about "criminal gypsies" from ignorant morons, Tamara continues:

"Wow amazing; again this is crazy! From what race is there not small and big time crime? All races have a criminal element. Most races do not have to beg in order to eat and survive! there is not a dispute that some of the Rroma steal and beg, the dispute is that they should not have to! You have your children placed in the basement of a daycare while the other European children are upstairs in the "nice"  "babies". You have your children needing medicine and food and not beg. You have your children live under streets and garbage heaps because the owners of the apartments and employers of the jobs hate you just because you are Rroma. You are speaking about a hatred that begun hundreds of years ago way before Rromani ever began stealing! There is employed Rromani hundreds and thousands of them throughout the world who no one knows because we can not say we are Rroma if we wish to work! For those of us that can not afford this luxury..what do they do? In history the Rroma were even hunted in the woods where they could happily get along..but we were not left alone in peace even then and there. How is it that Countries that do not discriminate against Rroma do not share these problems?

When I was in South Africa in the early eighties had I not known better I would have agreed with the White Afrikaner; the black African stole at every opportunity,the newspapers were filled with horrific black crime everyday and every time I went outdoors I was almost accosted by the heaps of children mauling me for money; "yet" I knew better. I knew that the people were living on mediums of grass in the middle of the richest at the time Country in the world with no chance for a "real" job. I knew that there was segregated demeaning of any self esteem schools, bathrooms, place of businesses and greed by the Apartheid Government to which is not seen in most Countries. I knew that the lack of education, opportunity "hate" and disgust that was taught to the white children from grade school gave them no opportunity for anything different. I knew that it was only what it seemed like if one was not properly "informed" of the whole matter....that these individuals were somehow not as "human" as the rest of us.....insane.

You know; no one likes to be stolen from, no one likes to have unsightly matters before their eyes...but to blame the victim of hate with no common sense behind it and then to blame then for sheer survival is equally...without validation and or one sided lazy opinion... highly judgmental. Yes there are big time criminal Rromani, greedy , wrong and should be accountable for their crime like any other criminal but if you look at the true facts of how they are in comparison to the numbers of Rroma that are not this is much smaller then most other races criminal element! How many times do you see White European and or American big time Crime compared to Rromani? If you were Rroma and had went through this for so many hundreds of years, could it not be possible (although I do not condone and nor does the majority of Rromani) the concept that there are some people who get so desperate to be on top, that they are willing to do anything to not be "touched" by this contempt? What are you all saying, that they are just no good lazy worthless people world wide and there should be a final solution to them? Do you not understand that the reality of this is that thousands of innocent already depressed, tired, cold hungry and emotionally and mentally drained people are being sent like cattle to Countries to which has done this to them to begin with? Do you not understand that they are going to no homes, no jobs and no school? Do you not look to see that in every case where some decent conditions were made, work training programs, schools, etc were provided; the Rromani children were the first ones to be there and the parents are the first ones to work? For God Sake; the Rromani have existed for 1000 years in unprecedented discrimination and the scape goats for Europe's problems for at least five hundred... With love and no hate do I plead with all of you......wake up!

You do not know what it is like to have always one person in your job hate you so much they do everything in their power to get you fired, even when your work is good and you keep your head down low. Only to have the next job you try to get be told "do not hire that one, she/he is a "gypsy" you know? You do not know what it is like to see your children pushed into the mud because they think of them worse then dogs rather then innocent children. You do not know what it is like to have the world only see you as some stereo typical clown there to entertain and then "disappear" so that you do not have to face the inhumane conditions upon any race of people. They are human beings with out a voice!
 Do not tell me they are not trying to do something about it. Do not tell me they are not hated for discriminatory reasons that have no basis of fact or common sense. One day as with all the other horror cost stories of discriminated minorities throughout history, the Rromani story will be told through its "younger" and educated children and good conscious human beings that are not Rromani but who can see truth universal. We will tell and tell this story while we survive yet again your unfounded fears, even at the cost yet again of our family, relatives, generations upon generations of dreams lost. You write of wrong human behavior as though the real people can not see your words, because to you we are not even real people.....amazing....and so very sad. The Rromani love you all and we will do our best in the vast majority of us; to forgive you."

Today's Keyboard Insect Visitor

My thanks to Ms Demetro for permission to reprint.

Ustad Ahmedjan Thirakwa - Greatest Tabla Legend of Last Century

1 comment:

Zoner said...

Thank you, kind sir, for pointing this situation out to us.

Yet another example of something that is flying waaay under the radar here in Nascar Nation.

Where are the real Humans? and what,exactly, are these creatures that spout such hate and ignorance?
It boggles the feeble mind...