Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Review on Helbig

In class we learned about influences of roma people on Hungaria, Bulgarian, Macedonia, and other countries in the surrounding region. Notably, there is quite a difference in music/dance scenes before and after socialism/communism. And in this article by Adriana helbig, I read about how romani musicians, during soviet era were put under the stereotype as Gypsies therefore not equally represented as a culture in Ukraine and how the culture image of the Romani people were manipulated by the government for political purposes. . One top of that, there is a even more complicated problem that she talks about: The romani elites's prejudice against "Tsyhany" people who are the poorer population of the romani peoples. Described in the paper as"lazy, thieving, politically apathetic musicians, entertainers, and dark-skinned people who possess magical powers to frighten and manipulate the local non-Romani population". The romani elites considers them as a seperate entity because they think the Tsyhany lost their romani culture because of their poverty. Interesting, the Tsyhany also happen to be the more assimilated and not adhering to traditional forms of Romani cultural behavior.
The author obviously seem to side with the Tsyhany and try to argue that they should be included in the romani culture despite their economic state. I am curious about what the people themselves think of themselves? Since they are highly assimilated, regardless of being poor or rich, do they necessarily still want to stick to the romani culture? What are the romani elites afraid of? People from the outside world associate non-affluent Gypsies with them therefore disrespect their culture? or is there any other reasons?

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