Unusually, she manages to gain the trust of many of these people, and was accepted into their lives - although American, and have to communicate mostly through a translator. To truly understand the complexity of their culture this book needs to be read. She lived with various groups, had her own translators, learned much of the language, researched history and records the enslavement of Gypsies in Romania in particular was recorded in books not yet translated, in some cases. But I needed to use something, so I opted for the word with less inflammatory connotations. Their eruption into Europe turns out to have not been entirely voluntary; the aristocracy of Eastern Europe, including Vlad Tepes, or Dracul, had a lively slave trade in Rom for centuries. With the coming of the Seljuk Turks and the Ottoman Empire, many more moved north across Bosporus into Europe to wander among the peoples of the Balkans and even further north and west. Later I received a comment on my review to which I responded.
Material from this web site may not be posted on any other web site unless permission is first obtained from Shira. The records that do exist were created by majority European populations who filled them with the kinds of misinformation, fear and hatred one might find in Nazi-era anti-Semitic propaganda. She traveled with gypsies from Bulgaria, Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, the former Yugoslavia, Romania, and Albania. If suppression of past Gypsy suffering continues, contends the author, their fate in the faltering democracies of Eastern Europe may be bleak. I thought we had everything in common, and felt I had discovered a kindred spirit; only to realize later that they were telling me everything that I wanted to hear, when it was not entirely true.
To the caricature of dark, raggedy children begging and brightly-skirted women holding infants asking for money, Fonseca adds a much needed dose of historical and sociological context. She uses the more politically correct term Roma interchangeably with the word Gypsy, though she does discuss racist terms for the Gypsy people in other languages. In Bury Me Standing, alongside unforgettable portraits of individuals—the poet, the politician, the child prostitute—Fonseca offers sharp insights into the humor, language, wisdom, and taboos of the Roma. Indian cultures distributed work differently than Europeans did Pueblo men weave ; more than anything they did not comprehend the pathological obsessiveness of working for wages as the English laborer had not, a hundred years before when the Industrial Revolution created wage slavery. Petersburg Road Ways, Scotland Road Ways, Sicily Road Ways, , Slovenia Road Ways, Spain Road Ways, including Gibraltar, Sweden Road Ways, Switzerland Road Ways, Trieste Road Ways, Wales Road Ways;. She now works for Al-Jazeera and we smile.
People long to tell you what they imagine you want to hear. I found this a disheartening book to read. Organised violence, regularly resulting in murder and displacement by the people who live near the Gypsies regularly and systematically goes uninvestigated and unpunished there is a lot about this in the book, and many examples. When we were in a small town near to Teplice, two men driving an old fashioned Škoda saloon car first yelled something that sounded abusive, and then attempted to run over my wife and 3 year old daughter. She begins by dropping us into a Gypsy family in Albania. It really was an eye opener! Not only did they not read, they were unfamiliar with the essential concepts of literacy, chief among them the idea that a piece of paper can become extraordinarily powerful if the ink on it is distributed so and so.
And so we see that the term Rom, as in Romany, has nothing whatever to do with Romania, where, confusingly, the Gypsies have lived in great numbers for many centuries. I didn't know that Gypsies had been slaves in Romania for centuries. It reads like anthropological field work notes, yet apparently Fonseca didn't study anthropology. And Fonseca indeed points out the many similarities between the historical treatment of Jews and the Roma in Europe, although she is careful to delineate the independent path the history of the Roma has taken, including systematic and often state legislated persecution well into the 1990s. Stealing, for example, is a common accusation lobbed at the Roma. When we were in a small town near to Teplice, two men driving an old fashioned Škoda saloon car first yelled something that sounded abusive, and then attempted to run over my wife and 3 year old daughter. The press painted the Amis as a second-generation philanderer and Fonseca as a sultry American heiress because of her being a trustee to the J.
Still, Fonseca does a decent job of constructing at least a skeleton of the history of this nomadic people. It is a truly insightful book to this culture. She begins by traveling to Albania and spending the summer with the Dukas family. Everybody knows about the Gypsies. And the worst part is that I have met countless people who will defend this book with their last breath, yet have not once in their life spent any time with someone who is actually of Romani background.
So while it was interesting and I think I'm glad that I read this book, because there is not a lot of information available about the Roma or their culture. The writing style makes me care about these people. The Indians smelled different from us: fed on bison instead of sheep, done up in bear grease and aged leather instead of whale vomit, turtle oil, and vaseline; they were 'dirty. Just like the African slaves, the gypsy slaves were also torn from their families, raped, beaten, and maimed. Anyway, definitely worth a read if you want to learn about a world that is incredibly foreign! Fonseca spends a summer with Gypsies, a family called the Dukas, in Albania, where she observes daily life and their many superstitions and oddities at least they are oddities to us. . Fabled, feared, romanticized, and reviled, the Gypsies—or Roma—are among the least understood people on earth.
It makes me wonder whether the book provides a balanced view. When someone comes into sudden wealth, or even maintains a level of wealth, it is often assumed by outsiders that the funds or material goods were ill-gotten. Most interesting to me was her analasis of Romani group memory, or lack there of, that she attributes to a survival seize the day mentality. Isabel Fonseca spent several years among the Gypsies in Central and Eastern Europe, observing their way of life and listening to their stories about themselves. Instead, the book focuses on their struggle to survive in a world that is against them. One should always avoid stereotyping people, but there do appear to be traits sometimes exhibited by some Gypsies--superstition, stealing, filth outside their homes--which tend to cause observers to attribute such traits to all Gypsies.