Holocaust Remembrance Day

holocaustlogoI’m reminded that Hitler and the Nazis had plans for when they invaded England. It’s an historical fact that all UK Romany Gypsy family names, including my Lovell’s were recorded by the Nazis along with UK Jewish family names to be rounded up and sent to the Death camps. It took only one Romani great grandparent to justify extermination, whereas two Jewish great grandparents qualified a Jew to the same fate.

The fact is we Roma survive and adapt in a world that often hates our race as the Nazi’s did during WWII to wipe us out. Yes, I’m proud of how my people, my Elders suffered great hardships and prejudice just for being Romany/Gypsies. We Roma, as a people have never, as far as I’m aware, become terrorists or made others suffer at our hand.

And yet, 74 years later we are fighting. We have much to do in the battle for ethnic rights for Romani/Gypsies in New Zealand. Okay, it looks like The Original Gypsy Fair (non-Rom/Gypsy) has removed the UK Rom Photos from advertising posters and marketing. But they are still trading and operating as Gypsies, aided by Tourist brochures and websites. The local newspapers give them whole pages on the fair and brands it with iconic prestige. This is absolute rubbish, of course.

Knowing the story of this fair and how it came into being is based on commercializing the Romantic stereotype of Gypsy life, the reasons, unfortunately very much alive in the minds and eyes of the mainstream culture. It is offensive and insulting. I ask the question; How long do we stand back and remain a hidden people, until we are no longer anything?

Genocide comes in many forms, not just gas chambers. We need to unite and fight with pen and paper, on computers and in social media. We must educate non-Rom that we are a true ethnic Romany/Gypsy people with same ethnic rights and human rights under UN charters granted to all other ethnic minorities.



Author: pushapencil

Frances Roberts Reilly is a Romani poet, harpist and filmmaker born into a Welsh Romany/English family and now living in Kitchener, Ontario, Canada.

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