Romani people, not to be confused with Romans or Romanians, are a nomadic tribe of people in Europe. They are also introduced to some of us (me included) through the unfortunate name of ‘Gypsy’, a term which carries historical baggage and is deemed deragotary. The name “Gypsy” came from the name “Egypt”, as it was once though that that was where they came from. Through tracing of their language however, it had been found that it is has Hindi roots, tracing their ancestry to India, where it is speculated that they migrated from, 1,500 years ago. The name the Romani chose for themselves on the other hand, simply means man, or people.
They may not be what most associate with a western world, but they are such an important part of the Europe that I feel like it will be amiss not to include them in this series. The flamenco dance in Spain originated from them as a cultural expression of their pain- a dance which has been adopted by the country, but even then, the Romas are still heavily discriminated against. Due to their nomadic lifestyle, different traditions and skin color, they have been the scapegoat of history, denied basic human rights, enslaved, targeted and when Hitler arrived, massacred. Things aren’t much better now, with them being pushed into the far margins of society and outwardly shunned, not granted citizenships, living in the slums with no access to electricity and clean water, with constant fear of eviction. How do you pull yourself out from a hole if people keep pushing you back in?