Plain in the city

A plain Quaker folk singer with a Juris Doctorate in his back pocket, salt in his blood, and a set of currach oars in the closet, Ulleann Pipes under his arm, guitar on his back, Anglo Irish baggage, wandering through New York City ... in constant amaze. Statement of Faithfulness. As a member of the Quaker Bloggers Ad Hoc Committee I affirm that I will be faithful to the Book of Discipline of my Meeting 15th Street Monthly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Why The Roma Community Has No Dr. Martin Luther King

The recent discussion in the comments to the post of two days ago, of my frustration at the boundaries of care on the part of many Quakers, which focused on my own failings... I pose the following query about one unloved community who sought out my help ( not the other way around mind you...)

Why is there no Romany Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.?

Certainly it is not because there is not enough oppression... who needs to say more than that Romany people exist and people know the scope of oppression faced... the first breath of a "Gypsy" child is his first crime... breathing the air of this planet is a crime in most nations for Romany people.

Certainly it is not for lack of intellect, these people who brought such invention in metallurgy, music, poetry to the nations into which they were chased...

Certainly it is not for lack of spiritual commitment... anyone who spends time with Romany people knows the depth of their faith...

Certainly it is not for lack of talented oratory... my dear friend Jack Gorman will tell you about the "gift of gab..." most every Romany person can talk like "the Great Dan" (O'Connell).

I could go on and on, but I will cut to the chase... I have known Romany Dr. Kings, great souls who spoke for their people's rights, folks like Manus Romanoff, who said to a writer, who misunderstood the meaning of his words, "Bury me standing, I have lived on my knees my whole life". And I have know Innu Dr. Martin Luther Kings... folks like Mark Volant, like Yvette Michel...

Why are these names unknown to you? Because history awards the winner and forgets the looser... and the times make the leader. Why is it that there are so few names of Black leaders during the first centuries of Slavery? The mainstream overcomes it's apathy when it is in it's own interest. Dr. King, in 1830... most likely would be a man forgotten.

So I wont ask friends to forgive my frustration. The day you listen to the voices of Romany people, of native hunters, give as many tears to the thousands we are killing and humanize them to the extent our own causalities are humanized and mourned, then I will stop saying you are apathetic.

So, if you are annoyed by this, remember that a certain Rabbi called his co-religionists hypocrites, and considered himself in good standing with his faith and his God, and only lost his Jewish identity after death, when Paul the myth maker stole him away from his people he loved and for whom he died. And, yes, Quacarol... he, like many social activists, both with inspirational talents, like Dakinawidah or few social graces like my own poor self... start with their own personal issues... Jesus had a few issues over the circumstances of his birth at a time when that mattered quite a bit...

But, frankly, I like to believe that I am a social activist, not because my father abused me, the terrible legacy of being his son, but because that flawed bloke did not have a racist bone in his tormented body. I had Black friends when the schools in my town were still segregated. I remember not understanding the issue when White parents and kids were outraged at the desegregation of Jefferson School... I didn't understand, so I was really happy that my pal Charles Brookes was now in school with me... Feel free to psychoanalyze me, but frankly my frustration stems from the murder of my friends and the lack of caring from my community, and the root of my caring comes from the better part of my upbringing - I am rather sure.


At 9:46 AM, Anonymous Merrill Corsi said...

Happy Turkey Day!


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