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INTRODUCTION WITH THESIS
Culture exists in every society. Though difficult, changing culture can be done through choice or obligation. The Romani culture, for example, is a very unique culture that suffers a great deal of persecution. Due to their tendency to frequently move, the Romany people have repeatedly been called the degrading name, gypsies. Their nomadic lifestyle and unusual characteristics have caused a great deal of distrust with other cultures. Roma misfortune can be attributed to the vicious cycle of poverty that paralyzes so many minorities situated in an unforgiving society. This cycle of poverty began and still exists today due to the discrimination that the Roma face because of, among other things, their skin color and unorthodox ways of making a living.
PARA 1 - GEOGRAPHICAL LOCATION
Location -http://www.imninalu.net/Roma.htm ---Any people allegedly related to Roma, namely Dom, Luri, Gaduliya Lohar, Lambadi, Banjara, etc. have indeed no connection at all with Roma, and not even common origins. (((((The only apparent similarity is the nomadic life and professions typical of any nomadic tribe, of any ethnic extraction. All these idle results are the natural consequence of a research done according to wrong patterns: they ignore the essence of Roma's culture, that is, the spiritual heritage, which is incompatible with any Indian people.((((do not cite this portion)))))))
Dispersed population in Europe; parts of Asia, North, Central and South America, Australia, New Zealand, North and South Africa, the Middle East, and elsewhere. The Roma people originated in India. By the eleventh centuryADthey were located in the area called Gurjara, in what was then the Rajput Confederacy. A group calledDombelonged to the aboriginal peoples of India but had adopted the Hindu religion and an Indo-Aryan language derived from Sanskrit. Some groups ofDomwere nomadic entertainers and artisans.
Since the fifteenth century, Roma have been a dispersed ethnic population in Europe. Roma in the Romanian-speaking principalities, later including Transylvania, were once enslaved and are known as Vlach Roma (the "ch" in Vlach is pronounced askor aschin Scottishloch). After their emancipation in 1864, many made their way into Central and Western Europe and the Balkans, eventually reaching North, Central, and South America by the 1890s. Today the Vlach Roma are the most numerous and most widespread group of Roma.
It is made clear that they have no affiliation with the country of Romania or the city of Rome rather they are their own distinct and unrelated entity.
PARA 2 - ECONOMY
Gypsies were known for their skill as metalworkers, tinsmiths, woodworkers, carpenters, blacksmiths, horse traders and trainers, and in associated occupations. Many Gypsies, especially in Central Asia, work as drovers for collective herds. Many Kalderari still work as tinsmiths, bringing work home to the small settlements near the cities where they live. Work is usually contracted for an entire group (vortachi) and the profits shared.
During the Russian civil war (1918-1921) Gypsies supplied the Red Army with cavalry horses and in the spring of 1925 formed the first Gypsy collective farm, Khutor Krikunovo, near Rostov. In 1926 the party decreed that the Union republics should set aside land for Gypsies who wanted to farm. Numerous collectives were set up all around the country over the next decade. In addition, many small Gypsy artels, or manufacturing collectives, were set up in the cities; an example of these collectives are the Tsygpishcheprom (Gypsy food industries) in Moscow. Most of these were eliminated as national cartels in the late 1930s, and there are now no all-Gypsy collective farms. There are, however, Gypsy cooperatives that make and sell shirts and jewelry. Some women work as fortune-tellers or as street merchants.
Many Gypsies work at the same kinds of jobs as do other people-in offices, factories, and construction and as store managers and gardeners. There are also several doctors, at least one surgeon, several teachers, and lawyers and academics. (((http://www.everyculture.com/Russia-Eurasia-China/Gypsies-Economy.html)))
PARA 3 - RELIGION
Religion - http://www.religioustolerance.org/roma2.htm ---- Marimé is a state of impurity brought on a person by the violation of a purity taboo. It also means a"sentence of expulsion imposed for violation of purity rules or any behavior disruptive to the Roma community."
Roma religious beliefs are rooted in Hinduism. Roma believe in a universal balance, calledkuntari. Everything must have its natural place: birds fly and fish swim. Thus hens, which do not fly, are considered to be out of balance (and therefore bad luck), as are frogs, which can go into the water and also walk on land. For this reason, Roma traditionally do not eat hens' eggs and avoid frogs. The Roma also believe it is possible to become polluted in a variety of ways, including breaking taboos involving the upper and lower halves of the body. A Roma who becomes polluted is considered out of balance and must be restored to purity through a trial before the Roma tribunal of elders. If declared guilty, he or she is usually given a period of isolation away from other Roma and then reinstated. In severe cases of pollution, a Roma can be outlawed from the group forever, but this is rare today. Children are exempt from these rules and from pollution taboos until they reach puberty.
The surrounding host-culture religions are used for ceremonies like baptisms or funerals for which the Roma need a formal religious institution. Except for the elders who are the spiritual leaders, there are no Roma priests, churches, or bibles except among the Pentecostal Roma, who are a small and new minority. Despite a 1,000-year separation from India, Roma still practice Shaktism, the worship of a god through a female consort. Thus, while Roma worship the Christian God, they pray to Him through the Virgin Mary or Saint Ann.
PARA 4 - SERIOUS ISSUES TODAY
The main issue of the romani today is their living conditions due to poor poverty, being forced to live in other areas as well as being discriminated against.
Serious issues - http://intermultiracialissues.suite101.com/article.cfm/roma_among_worlds_most_persecuted_groups ---- In Marchevo, there is one water pipe for the 400 residents, no sewer system, and no garbage collection. The people live under blankets and plastic sheets draped over branches hacked from a nearby forest.
Describe the most serious issues they are facing today
The living conditions of Roma vary enormously, from the wealthier, technologically advanced countries like the United States and Canada to impoverished, third-world countries. In any society, Roma usually live at a somewhat lower standard than the non-Roma.
Roma adapt well to societies where there is a surplus of consumer goods that they can buy and sell, or where there is scrap they can collect to recycle. While many Roma are nomadic, especially in Europe, others are sedentary. They might settle in trailer camps, living in horse-drawn wagons or travel trailers, or in modern apartments. Others live in houses in Eastern European villages. Conditions are especially bad in Slovakia, where many Roma live in dilapidated shacks. Others live in shantytowns, orbidonvilles,in France and Spain, which are often bulldozed into oblivion by the town councils while the occupants are at a local feast. Many Roma in Western Europe are squatters, occupying condemned buildings while trying to find more suitable accommodations. In the United States, many Roma own their own homes or rent decent living accommodations. In Central and South America, many are still nomadic and live in tents. In Portugal, Roma travel with horses and wagons and sleep in tents.
Nomadic Roma are often healthier than those who lead sedentary lives. The Roma diet was evolved for a nomadic and active people, and when they settle down and still eat the same types of foods, they often become overweight and suffer from health problems. Women generally live longer than men, who often die in middle age from heart attacks. Roma life can be stressful because of constant problems arising from their lifestyle, which is often misunderstood by the law-enforcement agencies who move them on when they are traveling or, when they are sedentary, harass them over by-laws, work permits, and licenses. In Eastern Europe, there is a high mortality rate among Roma children and infants. Perhaps 80 percent of the orphans in Romania are Roma children suffering from diseases like AIDS (transmitted by infected medical syringes).
Except in rural areas of the less developed countries, most Roma use cars, trucks, and travel trailers. In countries like the United States, they fly to visit relatives or to attend weddings. In Europe, they travel by train, bus, or in their own cars and trailers. The Roma in the United States and other developed nations see the car as a status symbol and try to own an impressive vehicle. They often buy expensive jewelry, watches, home furnishings, and appliances as well as luxurious carpets. In Europe, Roma caravans are often full of expensive china dishes.
Until this century, a formal education was virtually unheard of in the Roma community. Even today, the illiteracy rate is high.
In Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Romania, and Hungary, Roma have become the target of prejudice and discrimination. There have been ethnically motivated killings of Roma in Slovakia and the Czech Republic, while in Romania, mobs have burned Roma homes and driven the Roma from villages. In some countries, the Roma are stereotyped as romantic misfits or backward savages who should be civilized and assimilated into the general population.
The Roma situation is a macrocosm for many of the concepts that are used in globalization today. Internal displacement, racial discrimination, poverty, and persecution are both historical and current issues. The situation of the Roma people has also inspired a new direction in anthropology. They are connected as they have a common language, blood, traditions, culture and religion.
Some cultures have thrived and died off and others have suffered and survived. The Roma people exemplify the latter of the previous sentence.
They have quite a diverse geographical and cultural history ranging from India to North America. They have shown themselves, their culture, to be quite adaptive. They have endured many hardships from extreme poverty to slavery and other social atrocities
Throughout the centuries, they have faced discrimination in many different forms, for a variety of reasons.