Mister Ronald Lee, a native Romani speaker, living in Canada, wrote in his book Das duma Romanes, at the page 218, the old tradition of gypsies regarding the Rom wich does not know the Romani language:
Rom bi shibako nai Rrom- A Rom without tongue is not a Rom (i.e. a Rom who doesn`t speak Romani is not a Rom)
The gypsies wich dont speak the Romani language are called Kashtale:
Wo si Rrom kashtalo- he is a wooden one (unable to speak Romani).
Nai chache Rroma, Kashtale si- They are not real Rroma. They are wooden ones. Rrom Kahstalo would be Rrom bi-shibako. (Ronald Lee, page 164)
Can be found online in the same book of Mister Ronald Lee.
This old gypsy tradition is very disturbing. It seems that is a very racist belief. It is universally known that many gypsies have forgotten the Romani language. Can they be considered Roms? According to our tradition, no! The Romanians call all gypsies tsigani, a greek word. But not all gypsies agree that this exonym is correct. The rudar/baiash/laiash gypsies are saying when are enquired that they are not tsigani: “Eu nu sunt țigan, pentru că nu știu țigănește! Nimeni dintre strămoșii mei, niciodată nu au știut limba!” (i.e.” I am not a gypsy because i dont know the language! Nobody amongst my ancestors never dont knew the language!”). It is a strange, comic and tragic situation. It is clear that the forefathers of the Kashtale knew very well this old tradition, otherwise it would not have been passed down to their children. Nobody can convince a Kashtalo that he is a tsigan. He knows very well that this is the first rule taught from his parents. All the kashtale from around the world know this statement. But, the gypsies call themselves Roma (plural), and their language Romani. In this case who is the tsigan? All the Romanians knew untill 20 years ago that all gypsies are called tsigani. After the 1989 Revolution, some kashtale wanted to be Roms in order to steal the money sent by UE. Some of them were well intentioned, and were deceived by the first. But the kashtale stole also the identity of the true Roms speakers of the Romani language. Suddenly, the gypsy NGOs forced the Romanian Government to call all gypsies oficially Rom. The native Romanians were very angry, because al the UE confounded them with the gypsy thieves and believed that the name of the Romanian country originates in the name of Roma nation. Twenty years have passed and nobody amongst the gypsies cannot answer why they are calling themselves Roma. The fighting for identity amongst Roma and Romanians is still in vogue in Romania.
In this paper i will try to bring to the attention of the reader a very bold statement of Nicolae Gheorghe, the founder of the Kashtale NGOs. In an interwiev he declares that is a Tsigan, not a Rom. This declaration is very painfull for all the Kashtale who recognized themselves as Roms. Simply, the founder of the gypsy NGOs dissolved them after 20 years of lie!
The following quotes of Nicolae Gheorghe (N.G.) are very clear:
N.G.: Şi dacă poţi avea acces la resurse jucând cartea romilor e bine, pentru că la un moment dat toţi suntem romi. (Rom sau Tigan, pag 336)
N.G.: And if you can have acces to resources(i.e.,money) by pretending to be a rom is good, because all we are roms somehow.
The resources about Nicolae Gheorghe is speaking, are the money stolen by the NGOs. Because they stole those money, now many Roms are very poor and forced to steal, the gypsy childern are begging and the gypsy girls engaged in prostitution. All these sins will be on the heads of fake roms. Nicolae Gheorghe was a baptized christian! Baptized by the auto-proclaimed gypsy king Cioabă himself!
N.G.:Dacă o să mor, dacă dialoghez cu moartea constant, aş vrea să mor, ca om, sau ca ţigan, dar n-o să pot să mor ca rom. (Rom sau Tigan, pag 328)
N.G.:If i wil die, if i talk constantly with the death, i want to die like a human being, or like a tsigan, but i will not can not die as a rom. (Rom sau Țigan, pag. 328)
N.G.:Adică nu sunt, nu mă calific ca rom şi atunci mă simt mai complet şi mai confortabil ca ţigan, în vernacularul românesc al termenului: vrând-nevrând, în felul în care am crescut, cuvântul ăsta e mai aproape de mine, precum zice o vorbă despre „cămaşa mai aproape de piele”. . (Rom sau Țigan, pag. 328)
N.G.:I mean that i am not, i do not qualify as a roma and then i feel myself more complet and comfortable as tsigan, in the romanian vernacular meaning of the word: willy-nilly, in the way as i was raised, this word is more familiar to me, as the romanian saying states that ”the shirt is closer to skin”. (Rom sau Țigan, pag. 328)
So, a Roma person is not a human being for Nicolae Gheorghe! From that moment of his upper declaration, all NGOs activists became again tsigani! Let`s go further in the depth of his new philospohy:
N.G.: Şi? Cine au reuşit: romii sau ţiganii? I.R.: Cred că de fapt ne prezentăm ca romi, nu poţi prezenta ca ţigani. Pentru că proiectul emancipator e acela de rom, proiectul emancipator nu e cel de ţigan. N.G.: Proiectul emancipator al cui? Cine e actorul politic care prezintă proiectul? I.R.: Activiştii romi. N.G.: Care sunt ţigani. Majoritatea provenim dintre ţigani, nu dintre romii „din neamuri”, tradiţionalii . I.R.: Se definesc romi, se re-brand-uiesc ca romi. N.G.: Asta vreau să spun, dar nu sunt neapărat recunoscuţi ca romi „legitimi” (Rom sau Tigan, pag 334)
N.G.: And? Who succeeded : the Roma or Gypsies ? I.R .: I think the fact that we present ourselves as Roma, you cannot present as tsigani. Because the emancipatory project is the Roma one , the emancipatory project is not the Gypsy one . N.G .: Whose emancipatory project? Who is the political actor wich is presenting the project? I.R.: The Roma activists. N.G.: Wich are ţigani.The majority originate from tsigani, not from traditional Roma. I.R.: The define themselves as roms, the label themselves as roms. N.G.: This is what i mean, but they are not necessarily recognized as true roms.
I ask him posthumously, when the Kashtale were Roms, 300 years ago?
I.R.: Cum am putea deveni din romi de serviciu simpli romi? N.G.: Poţi fi rom, aşa, spontan, de la mama-natură? Nu, spun eu, Nicolae Gheorghe, ca să te provoc pe tine şi pe alţi curioşi (în sens filosofic). Da, am încercat, încerc, am imitat, am jonglat, am „vrăjit“ (în sensul lui Max Weber) lumea din jur. Aşadar, esenţialmente, soluţia mea, în acest moment al vieţii mele, este: sau sunt om sau sunt ţigan. I.R.: Adică ţiganul nu poate fi om? N.G.: Ţiganul nu poate fi rom. Om, poate, da. Dar tolerat ca o specie, ca un fel de formă de sub-om, asta da! (Rom sau Tigan, pag 321)
I.R .: How can we become simple roms, since we are the directors of roms? N.G.: Can somebody be a rom spontaneously, naturally? I, Nicolae Gheorghe i say no, in order to challenge you and other curious (in a philosphic manner). Yes, i tried, i am trying, i juggled, i bewitched (in the manner of Max Weber) the people around me. So, essentially, the sollution in this moment of my life is: or i am a human being, or i am a tsigan . I.R.: This means that the tsigan cannot be a human being? N.G.: The tsigan cannot be a rom. Human, yes. But tolerated as sub-human form, yes!
The hate of kashtale toward Roms is taught at home, by their parents:
N.G.: Mama mea nu mă lăsa să mă amestec cu ţiganii lăieţi (aşa le spunea ea ţiganilor de cort) despre care zicea că sunt murdari şi „periculoşi”. Prima spaimă despre ţigani a venit de la mama mea şi mi-a inoculat-o profund, şi acum o trăiesc. (Rom sau Tigan, pag 321)
N.G.: My mother dont allowed me to mix myself with the tsiganii laetsi (this way she called the roms living in tents), about them she used to say that are dirty and dangerous. My first terror about gypsies came from my mother, and she innoculated it into me so deep, that yet now i feel it. (Rom sau Tigan, pag 321)
The Kashtale never recognized in front of the native romanians that they are Roms like us before the romanian Revolution , but after Revolution, they become roms…
More about Nicolae Gheorghe: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nicolae_Gheorghe
The book Rom sau Tigan was wrote with the aim to clarify the confuzion between the two words Rom (gypsy) and Român (native inhabitant of Romania). Can be downloaded from:
Author Cîrpaci Marian Nuțu, the Blacksmith, a native speaker of Romani language, from the Pakivale clan, Caransebeș city, Romania. My grandfather was Zurca, a Machwaya Rom, a well-known blacksmith.
Sastimos savore romenge!