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Az "Amerika Hangja" - Voice of America - A ciganyokrol,
szarmazasukrol, eletukrol, sorsukrol.
(Elnezest az esetleges kisbetukert, de az eredeti szoveg csupa
nagybetuvel volt irva, amit at kellett cserelnem.)

Buchwald Amy


     title=the gypsies: their tragedy and their achievements
    byline=Judith Latham
    editor=Tom Slinkard

content= // inserts in audio services //

anncr:   The Voice of America presents focus!

Tape b:  cut one -- Gypsy music (establish 12 seconds, fade at
         end of intro)

Intro:   Throughout their thousand-year history, the Romani
         people -- known to most of the rest of the world as
         "Gypsies" -- have suffered from discrimination and
         persecution. Despite enslavement in Europe from the 14th
         to the 19th century, extermination in death camps in the
         mid-20th century, violent attacks since the collapse of
         communism in Eastern Europe, and continuing hostility
         nearly everywhere, the Roma have contributed much to
         world culture. International attention has recently
         focused on the Roma [rom-ah, sounds like cd-rom, but
         with a slightly trilled "r"]. In May, there were
         conferences in both Budapest and Seville.  In this
         focus, _______ reports on the tragic history of the
         Romani people, their current political activities, and
         some new revelations about the holocaust.

Text:    Ian Hancock, a professor of linguistics at the
         University of Texas, is the United Nations
         representative for the International Romani Union. The
         International Romani Union coordinates the activities of
         Romani organizations in about 30 countries. Professor
         Hancock says the an-cestors of the Roma, or European
         Gypsies, were a non-Aryan people from Northern India who
         began to migrate westward in the early  11th century.
         They swept across the Caucasus and into the Byzantine
         empire. In the Balkans, the Roma provided artisan
         skills, especially in metal working and the manufacture
         of weapons. By the early 14th century, laws began to be
         introduced making these workers the property of their
         employers, so necessary were their skills. In Moldavia
         and Wallachia, part of present-day Romania, Roma were
         held as slaves until the mid-19th century, professor
         Hancock says.

Tape a:  cut one -- Hancock (0:26)

         "This slavery was abolished in the middle of the 1800's,
         finally being abolished by 1864. But, the attitudes,
         much like the attitudes in the United States, where
         slavery was abolished about the same time, the attitudes
         toward former slaves continues to be very, very negative
         and very prejudiced, even today over 100 years after

Text:    Gypsies throughout the world today speak a variety of
         dialects of Romani, an Indic language related to ancient
         Sanskrit. It is closest to the Hindi language of India.
         There are Roma living in all the countries of Europe as
         well as in Canada, the United States, Cuba, Argentina,
         Morocco, Ghana, Kenya, Singapore, and Eastern China. The
         word "Gypsy" comes from "Egyptian," a misnomer which
         arose because people in Europe did not know where the
         Romani population came from. The Roma are still a
         non-territorial people, professor Hancock says, and are
         universally regarded as "outsiders." They lack
         political, military, and economic strength. They have
         not been educated in a western fashion, and they've
         traditionally had no means of legal redress. In every
         country, the professor says, the Romani people have been
         blamed for their own condition. Those who despise or
         mistreat Roma typically justify their behavior by
         claiming that Gypsies are thieves, or they're dirty,
         promiscuous, itinerant, uneducated, or uncivilized.
         William Lockwood, a professor of anthropology at the
         University of Michigan, agrees that such stereotypes are

Tape a:  cut two -- Lockwood (0:19)

         "Roma were perceived as a social problem in the West and
         in the East. That's not altogether wrong. That doesn't
         mean they're a social problem of their own making.
         Nevertheless, they're undereducated, they're
         underskilled in the labor force. They are poor, and
         something needs to be done. The strategy in Eastern
         Europe was forced assimilation."

Text:    However, professor Lockwood says, the assimilation
         process failed virtually everywhere. And, he explains
         that a thousand years of  pariah status will do strange
         things to a culture. In Britain, for example, where
         professor Hancock grew up, discrimination often gave
         Roma no alternative but to steal.

Tape a:  cut three -- Hancock (0:46)

         "Stores will say, 'we do not serve Gypsies.' How do you
         feed your children if you cannot buy food, if people
         won't sell to you? What do you do? You don't stand there
         and watch your children die. So, yes, it's true, people
         may steal food, and then they will be called 'thieves.'
         People may turn to alcohol to escape the burden of
         unemployment, all the distress that comes with lack of
         equal opportunity in housing, in schooling, and then you
         are labeled 'alcoholic,' 'lazy,' 'immoral.' If you look
         at Romani culture, you will see that it is extremely
         rigidly structured, it is extremely moral. But, people
         don't know this of Romani culture."

Text:    In Germany, for example, where many Roma fled as
         refugees after the collapse of communism in Eastern
         Europe, the government placed Romani families in
         multi-story dwellings, professor Hancock says.

Tape a:  cut four -- Hancock (1:12)

         "The Germans complained and said, 'look at these filthy
         Gypsies. They don't know how to use a kitchen, they
         don't know how to use a bathroom. Everything we thought
         about them is true.'  If the government had realized
         that, for example, you cannot in Romani culture, have a
         toilet near a kitchen, so people came outside. You
         cannot cook in that kind of environment. (Begin opt)
         people cooked outside. You cannot have people who are in
         a state of pollution above you, which is to say, in one
         of the stories in a multi-story building above you. All
         of these things are taboo for certain Romani groups.
         (End opt) if the German government had realized this and
         had provided single-story prefabs or tents, had provided
         outdoor communal kitchens or outdoor latrines, all of
         this would have been avoided. (Begin opt) it would have
         accommodated the culture and the people, and it wouldn't
         have cost any more, (end opt) and the German public
         wouldn't have had its preconceptions, its prejudices,
         reconfirmed -- through a misunderstanding of Romani

Text:    Paul Polansky of the Czech Historical Research Center in
         Stillwell, Iowa, made a recent discovery that shows just
         how far European hatred for Gypsies extended. He
         examined more than 40,000 uncatalogued documents from
         the so-called "Gypsy work camp" at Lety [let-tee], a
         small village in South Bohemia, part of the former

Tape a:  cut five -- Polansky (0:15)

         "It took me some time to go through the records, but it
         became apparent very early on that Lety was really a
         death camp. Gypsies were taken there from all over
         Bohemia and Moravia and were either killed in Lety or
         were sent to Auschwitz [in Poland]."

Text:    Mr. Polansky says there were at least 10 more Gypsy
         death camps in Bohemia, but Lety is unique because there
         is so much documentation on Romani prisoners -- more, he
         believes, than from any other camp in Europe.

Tape a:  cut six -- Polansky (0:13)

         (begin opt) "I think it's quite horrifying to think that
         these camps were systematically set up with the sole
         purpose of eliminating an entire race. And then, to come
         across this documentation, I can't emphasize that
         enough." (End opt)

Text:    The enslavement of the Romani population in Eastern
         Europe from the 14th to the 19th century and their
         extermination in the mid-20th century are part of a long
         history of oppression, according to Livia Plaks of the
         project on ethnic relations. Financed by the Carnegie
         Foundation, the project on ethnic relations was founded
         in 1991 to encourage the peaceful resolution of conflict
         in the new European democracies. A specialist in Russian
         and East European studies, Ms. Plaks says that prejudice
         and discrimination against the Roma have increased in
         Eastern Europe since the fall of communism.

Tape a:  cut seven -- Plaks (0:56)

         (begin opt) "The situation of the Roma today is very
         difficult.  It's a combination of ethnic and social
         discrimination. And, it has been a feature of the life
         of the Roma throughout most of Europe.  All accounts
         describe a widespead perception by mainstream population
         that the Roma people are a despised, marginal social
         problem. (End opt) There have been violent clashes in
         many countries of Central and Eastern Europe, and this
         is very much a feature of the changing societies, the
         post-communist societies in that area, with trying to
         rebuild economies that have collapsed and the Roma being
         the first to suffer from these extreme changes in the

Text:    Ms. Plaks says there has been increasing violence in the
         Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Hungary, and especially in
         Romania where 80 percent of the Romani population is
         unemployed. In February, the  project on ethnic
         relations organized a special mission of experts to 11
         Romanian villages and cities where anti-Roma mob
         violence had occurred during the past four years.

Tape a: cut eight -- Plaks (0:17)

         "We shared those findings with the president of Romania,
         with the Romanian prosecutor general, the Romanian chief
         of police, the secretary-general of the government, and
         other authorities. We left behind specific practical
         recommendations for the improvement of police and
         justice procedures."

Text:    Ms. Plaks says that people of other nationalities
         frequently try to justify their hostility toward the
         Romani people by saying that the Gypsies themselves
         engage in anti-social behavior.

Tape a:  cut nine -- Plaks (0:45)

         (begin opt) "You cannot generalize a whole population
         based on the activities of a certain percentage of the
         population. Sure, there is crime within the Roma
         community, but (end opt) statistics show that actually
         the crime rate within the Roma population is not higher
         than within the general population. So, we have to be
         very careful not to stereotype a whole group of people
         for the activities of some. This has worked in the
         disfavor of minorities in the past. It has led to the
         holocaust, it has led to Jews and Gypsies being killed
         during the second World War."

Text:    Because the Roma are a substantial part of the
         population in all the countries of Central and Eastern
         Europe, Ms. Plaks says, it is in the interest of
         national leaders to improve their social and economic
         condition. And, that's because lack of stability within
         the Romani population also undermines stability and
         economic development in the region as a whole.

Tape a:  cut ten -- Plaks (0:26)

         "The project on ethnic relations has been trying to
         bring together leaders from the countries of Central and
         Eastern Europe and the Russian federation with Roma
         leaders to discuss how the lot of the Roma can be
         improved because, without tackling this enormous
         question, there will be no stability in the countries of
         the region, and they will not be able to develop viable

Text:    Professor Hancock, a member of the project's Romani
         advisory council, says European governments today need
         to acknowledge the racial and cultural heritage of their
         Romani minorities, if some of these fundamental problems
         are to solved.

Tape a:  cut eleven -- Hancock (0:57)

         "It's been easy to scapegoat the outsider population and
         to attack the population without fear of reprisal.
         That's all on the European side. And, on the Romani
         side, we're talking about a people who traditionally has
         had a very exclusive culture, (begin opt) exclusive in
         the true sense of the word, meaning excluding non-Romani
         people who are regarded as tainted or polluted. These
         are Indian traditions and have their roots in the caste
         system and so on, but it's a fundamental attitude
         amongst conservative Roma -- that the 'gadze,' or
         non-Romani people, can pollute you by association. (End
         opt) so, there is an effort on the Romani side to
         minimize socialization and contact with the non-Romani
         world. So, it's a two-sided problem."

Text:    Professor Hancock says that, if such social tensions are
         to be resolved,  governments in Central and Eastern
         Europe will need to address the educational inequalities
         that Romani children often face.

Tape a:  cut twelve -- Hancock (0:51)

         "For example, in Romania, in Hungary, in various
         countries where Romani children may go to school, they
         are put into remedial classes because they don't have
         very good language skills in the national languages.
         This isn't seen as a language learning problem. This is
         seen as a mental deficiency problem. (Begin opt) There
         aren't bilingual programs in Eastern Europe the way
         there are in this country, for example, for
         spanish-speaking american children. These things are
         gradually being recognized, but (end opt) the European
         governments, especially in the East, don't have the
         skills yet to deal with minority issues, human rights
         issues, and so on. This is all quite new to them, and
         the principal victims are the Roma, who number in the

Text:    In many countries, including the United States, there
         are laws that prevent Roma from staying anywhere. For
         example, some U.S. state laws require Gypsies to buy an
         annual license to be able to set up a home or a
         business. Some West European governments, professor
         Hancock says, still provide reservations for their
         Romani population. In the past 4 or 5 years, since the
         collapse of communism in Eastern Europe, life has grown
         more difficult for the Roma.

Tape a:  cut thirteen -- Hancock (0:32)

         (Begin opt) "Under communism, ethnic assertion was
         suppressed. The state came first, and any kind of
         identity beyond that was seen as counter-productive to
         being a citizen of the state. (End opt) Since the fall
         of communism, the prejudices which were suppressed have
         risen to the surface, and we've seen the results of that
         in the splitting up Czechoslovakia, the former
         Yugoslavia, the former Soviet Union into what are
         essentially ethnic subdivisions."

Text:    Unemployment among the Romani population is high.
         Professor Hancock says that in Romania and Slovakia
         there have been several recent incidents where Roma have
         been massacred and their homes burned down. But, reports
         on such atrocities often blame the victims for a life
         style that invites mistreatment.

 Tape a: cut fourteen -- Hancock (0:21)

         "The way Roma live today in Europe is not from choice.
         It's from circumstance. (Begin opt) These same laws
         which keep Romani people on the move have been
         reinterpreted in the literature and folklore of the
         establishment as some kind of romantic 'wanderlust'
         [irresistable impulse to travel] on the part of Romani
         people." (End opt)

text:    Because of the widespread prejudice against Gypsies,
         professor Hancock says, many people of Romani ancestry
         even in the United States do not acknowledge their

Tape a:  cut fifteen -- Hancock (1:07)

         "Because the United States is a country made up of
         immigrant groups of all different physical appearances
         and different complexions, it has been easier here for
         the Romani population to hide among other ethnic groups
         -- to present themselves outwardly as Mexican-Americans
         or native Americans or Italians or Greeks or whatever,
         anything rather than saying, 'i am a Gypsy.' In Europe
         for centuries, I would say until the 20th century, the
         Romani population has been the only people of color,
         (begin opt) and therefore easily identifiable -- not
         simply by physical appearance but also because of dress,
         way of life, certainly language, customs, and so on.
         (End opt) So, it's been very easy for Europeans to
         identify Gypsies in a way that Americans generally have
         not been able to and still are not able to."

Text:    In mid-May, two major international conferences were
         held on Romani issues. Professor Hancock says the
         meeting in Budapest was primarily cultural, and most
         presentations focused on literature. The meeting in
         Seville was even more significant.

Tape a:  cut sixteen -- Hancock (0:31)

         "It was much more concerned with human rights issues,
         political issues, legal issues, and there was a
         resolution that we be recognized as a non-territorial
         nation. (Begin opt) In every respect, we are like a
         country. We have a common genetic ancestry, we have our
         language, we have our culture. What we lack, really, is
         a territory. (End opt) this was an important meeting
         because the Queen of Spain spoke and opened it, and it
         got an awful lot of attention."

Text:    Despite centuries of persecution and prejudice,
         professor Hancock says, the Roma have made many
         contributions to world culture, especially in the arts.

Tape a:  cut seventeen -- Hancock (1:28)

         "A number of studies have appeared in recent years
         demonstrating that the classical musical tradition in
         Europe, the classical composers have not simply taken
         Romani music and elaborated upon it, but have taken the
         scale, the Romani musical scale, which is called the
         'bhairava' scale, a 12-note oriental chromatic scale,
         and incorporated it into their music -- Brahms, Liszt,
         and so on have done this. A study at the [hebrew]
         University of Jerusalem has shown that the 'klezmer'
         music, which is very popular, has its roots in Romani
         music. In the arts, Charlie Chaplin was of Romani
         descent, (begin opt) Yul Brynner,  Rita Hayworth, Bob
         Hoskins, Michael Caine, all of these people have
         contributed to the arts. It's rumored that Picasso was
         of Romani descent. In addition, Roma have contributed to
         the folklore tradition by transmitting folk tales from
         place to place in Europe. We introduced a number of
         things into Europe from further East, including playing
         cards, certain instruments, perhaps the violin,
         marionettes, puppets. (End opt) Certainly in an oblique
         way, we have contributed to the literary tradition,
         perhaps not in the way we'd like, but the number of
         literary works, plays, poems, operas with Romani

Text:    Shakespeare's plays, Victor Hugo's novel "The Hunchback
         of Notre Dame," and the much loved operas "Carmen" and
         "Il Trovatore" all have Gypsy characters.

Tape b:  cut two -- music: "Habanera" from "Carmen" (sneak up,
         establish 16 seconds, and fade under very gradually)

Text:    William Duna, who teaches a course on the "History of
         Gypsies and Their Music" at the University of St. Thomas
         in Minnesota, comes from a long line of musicians of
         Slovak and Hungarian Gypsy descent.

Tape a:  cut eighteen -- Duna (0:17)

         "We talk a lot about the folk music of Eastern Europe
         really being primarily Gypsy music and the fact that
         Gypsies have never really received credit for that. One
         of the reason these Gypsies never received credit for
         what they were doing is because many of the countries
         and states wanted to stamp out Gypsy culture."

Text:    For example, the patriotic Hungarian military march the
         "Rakoczy March," was composed by the Gypsy violinist
         Johannes Bihari [yoh-hahn-ess bi-hahr-ee], but the
         credit for it goes another composer.  Franz  Liszt,
         however, openly acknowledged that his "Hungarian
         Rhapsodies" were based on Gypsy melodies.

Tape b:  cut three -- music (Liszt's Hungarian Rhapsody no. 2
         (Sneak up, establish 8 seconds, fade, but hold to end of
         cut 19, tape a)

tape a:  cut nineteen -- Duna (0:23)

         "What Liszt used to do was to invite Gypsies to come to
         his home (begin opt) and they would sometimes carry the
         piano outside because they loved to play outside on warm
         evenings, and they would play until morning. (End opt)
         and Liszt would play with them -- and just loved it. In
         fact, Liszt wrote a book about the Gypsies, saying that
         the folk music of Hungary is really Gypsy music."

Text:    Johannes Brahms' "Hungarian Dances" and Georges Enesco's
         "Romanian Rhapsodies" were also based on Gypsy themes.
         And, the cimbalom [sim-bah-lum], a string instrument
         with a sound between a harp and a piano, was brought to
         Europe by the Gypsies. Professor Duna says that much
         Gypsy music is sad and poignant, reflecting the often
         tragic history of his people.

Tape b:  cut one (reprise) -- music (sneak up, establish 12
         seconds, fade, but hold to end of cut 20, tape a)

Text:    Professor Duna is the only Gypsy member of the 40-member
         United States holocaust council. The destruction of 80
         percent of the Romani population of Europe during the
         World War II period is a fact that is little known, he

Tape a:  cut twenty -- Duna (0:29)

         "My goal has always been to make sure there is
         information on what happened to Gypsies in the
         holocaust, accurate information. Gypsies were the first
         race singled out by the Nazis, not the Jews. When I came
         on the council, there was next to no information about
         Gypsies. In some of the schools that teach about the
         holocaust, they mention next to nothing about the
         Gypsies. Not only did they die in the concentration
         camps, but now they're eliminated from the pages of
         history. (Begin opt) This is a terrible thing, this is
         something that has to be known." (End opt)

Text:    Greek-born lawyer Elsa Stamatopopoulou
         [stah-mah-toh-pop-oo-loo] is chief of the New York
         office of the Center for Human Rights at the United
         Nations. She says that the cycle of violence against
         Roma, even today, is "quite alarming" and clearly
         demonstrates the "scourge of racism." The protection of
         Romani communities, she believes, is a purely
         humanitarian issue because the Roma, unlike other
         minority groups, threaten no national borders.

Tape a:  cut twenty-one -- Stamatopopoulou (0:08)

         "Unless we protect this particular minority, we have not
         proven that we care about the elimination of racism in

Text:    The treatment of minority groups is a major issue facing
         much of our world at the end of the 20th century.

Anncr:   You have been listening to focus on the Voice of
         America. Our report, on the Romani people, was written
         by Judith Latham. The show was directed by ___________
         and the producer was _________.

Tape b:  cut four -- music (Sarasate's "Zigeunerweisen" [Gypsies
         Airs], sneak up, establish 23 seconds, and fade.)

27-Jun-94 5:32 pm edt (2132 utc)

source: Voice of America