Saturday, February 17, 2007

House of Lords hears child’s poignant Gypsy poem asking for ‘racism to be dead’

A poignant poem written by a 10-year-old Traveller describing the persecution of Gypsies throughout history – and today – was read out at the House of Lords this week.
Lord Avebury, MP Julie Morgan and Councillor Richard Bennett of the Local Government Authority were among those listening to the poem at an event celebrating the voluntary work of Gypsies and Travellers, as part of the Year of the Volunteer.
Bridie Jones, a Traveller based in Canterbury, read out the poem, written by her grandson Blue, saying: “A lot of Gypsy and Traveller children are angry because they don’t realise why they are treated differently, even though they are wearing the same school uniform as other children.”

The poem begins with Travellers almost being wiped out by Hitler, confronts local councils and police who ‘put them through hell’, and ends in the future when Tony Robinson’s great grandson discovers a gold ear-ring, and realises that Gypsies have survived.

But people hated them, from far and near;

‘Don’t worry’ said one man, ‘I am here‘

I will build gas chambers so high in the sky,

Where thousands of them will surely die

I rid this world of man, woman and child,

Not one of this race will be left behind.’

But God was good, he saved a few,

And sent them out to spread a seed or two

In no time at all, the world was full,

With beautiful Gypsies tall and small

Their laughter and music was heard all over the land

This upset people, so began

their new plan

To get rid of travellers and Gypsies too

‘Let’s call up the council to see what they can do!’

Bridie, who volunteers in local schools, said the poem had been written because she encourages children to channel their anger into being creative. The poem ends:

“The moral of this poem, as you have read,

Is Gypsies will survive, and racism will be dead.”

Gypsies and Travellers who volunteer in health, education and with the police were presented with awards for their work by Lord Avebury, Secretary of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Traveller Law Reform.
Lord Avebury said that the positive message of the event, part of Citizenship and Community Month for the Year of the Volunteer, was a reply to the ‘steady drip, drip of racist media coverage’ against Gypsies and Travellers.

“There is a false stereotype of Gypsies and Travellers as rural invaders or outlaws, but we see today that they are active for the benefit of other people. I hope that the wider community will hear about this and perhaps acknowledge that there are positive aspects to Gypsy and Traveller life – which would be even greater if they were free from prejudice.”

Joe Jones, Blue’s grandfather, who volunteers to improve Traveller education, said: “We’re not like people think we are, because people haven’t got close enough to see what we are really like. So we’re just asking people to come up and shake our hand, perhaps have a cup of tea with us, and they’ll find out what we’re really like.”

Councillor Richard Bennett, Chairman of the LGA Gypsy and Traveller Task Group, said:
“Today’s event is not about what people are doing for themselves, but what you are doing for other people, and the world needs to know about it.

“We are going to make sure that the Gypsies and Travellers are treated in the same way as the settled community. I would like to think that a line has been drawn in the sand between the past and the future. I don’t want to look back at how it was – I know how it was and I don’t like it. We are all travelling together and only when we can do that with mutual respect can we call ourselves a civilised community.”

Andrew Ryder, policy worker for the Gypsy and Traveller Law Reform Coalition, organisers of the event, said that it was extremely important that the LGA were aware of the voluntary work of Gypsies and Travellers.

“It was good for Richard to hear about the great work that Gypsies and Travellers do, and how they want to be part of the community, because I’m sure that will increase his resolve. After all the attacks on travellers earlier this year, I think a consensus is now being formed across the parties to want to address a lot of problematic issues, so I welcome that very much.”

Andrew added: “Many Travellers are facing eviction, some are living on the side of the road, but they still find time to try and make the world a better place for others. I think that’s quite exceptional. I think it will surprise some people that so many Travellers volunteer, but I hope it will change their perceptions of the community when they find out.”
The Year of the Volunteer is backed by the Home Office and led by CSV and the Volunteering England Consortium.

For further information please contact Chris Pitt, Year of the Volunteer Press Officer on 0207 812 0036, or Martin Walford on 0207 812 0033, .
Notes for editors
1 Another excerpt from the poem:

So in a few years they will be no more,

Gypsies selling heather at your door

We’ll keep those Gypsies away from good people like you

The law is with us, there’s nothing they can do.

So don’t worry dear Madam, all is well!

If you see any Gypsies, please ring me and tell.

I’ll send out the council and bailiffs as well,

To move them on, to where I can’t tell

Then all their land will belong to you and me,

To build houses as far as the eye can see.

Poem excerpts copyright B and J Jones.


Blogger Rough Diamond said...

Pesha my sweetheart
I hope your in the pink
That was great to read and what a great poem
It's all about communication and tolerance after all isn't it ?
I hope people do start to see the Romany people in their true light at long last
It's long over due if you ask me
Finbar xxx

February 18, 2007 at 1:59:00 PM GMT  
Blogger PIX said...

Now this I like OH MUCHO BIENO
Now being as part of this blog is in French this may explain my feeling of Deja vu
I am sure this is not new as in news
would I be right in thinking that
but if I am all I can say is I would have liked it then and i STIL like it cos its KUSHTI
Well done Blue Jones for being such poet he will go far
And Pesha as to FRIDAY all I can say is that was mistro
I nearly forgot

February 18, 2007 at 2:17:00 PM GMT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have seen that before
Its from yonks ago
What you posting that for Pesha
Laura girl

February 18, 2007 at 3:11:00 PM GMT  
Blogger Sissy & Frank Doherty said...

Tee hee Laura girl you are right it is from yonks ago but I think its because THE OLD GIRL is going a bit forgetful in her twilght years teeee heeeeee
Thats what happens to them old ones they remember all sorts from the mists of time but they aint got a clue what they did in the last few days
Which can make life very interesting for um as they meet NEW PEEPLE every day teee heee and the other thing is that they get mixed up as to who peeple are so I think its only kind to say this
That old man Pesha its your husand Mike I know hes very old and that but even so He AINT the Pope
(Ooh bless her she do get confused )
EEEkkks did I say Bless her? forget that bit she will thinking its the Pope again
Laura girl give my goos wishes to your mother is your grandma over her op I was thinking about her only yesterday after I was talking to your Auntie Nation but I forgot to ask
love to everyone

February 18, 2007 at 3:39:00 PM GMT  
Blogger Pesha_Tshaya ( Leshya'e Romanes) said...

Kushti sarla Phrals & Phenas
PIX & Laura Girl you are both quite right, this is from quite a long while the time I didnt have a blog ..I found it again yesterday and thought it would be a nice addition to the blog..simply because it's a positive posting,..and it's only fair to post good news..and to demonstate when we do get good publicity..Whilst I know many of you will have seen it..there are many who will not have..I also posted it to show the work of a very talented young boy..whose family should be jusifiably proud of
Sissy phena :-) THE OLD GIRL is very compus mentis thank you lol
and you will need to be up very early of a morning to get one over on me lol
50 I may well be..but just you remember phena Sissy I have learned a trick or 3 in my half centuary lol
and yes I DO meet many many new people..but I NEVER forget anyone ;-);-)....if you follow my drift ;-)
Ashlen devlesa
Pesha xx

February 18, 2007 at 4:59:00 PM GMT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

my mother sends her best to you as well Sissy an me gran is like a button and good as new
do you know my oldest is 13 now and a real little woman shes so pretty so the yogger is loaded by the jigger keep the the little mushes from her
Laura girl

February 18, 2007 at 11:23:00 PM GMT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Si Tatcho.And don't we all know it.About time the settled gypsies helped the travelling ones whenever they come across them.Once worked for a job agency and got the Rom a lot of work as I am part Rom myself and proud of it. The Roma are the only race its ok to make racist remarks about in THIS day and age.Being part Irish part Roma I have heard a lot of crap and it's time it stopped.
Kushti Baxt to all. Cat

February 19, 2007 at 8:31:00 AM GMT  
Blogger Pesha_Tshaya ( Leshya'e Romanes) said...

Kushti dives Cat
Nais tuke & pala soste
You are so right phena about the freedom to make racist comments about the Roma.
In The Autumn edition of "The Hub" ( The Gypsy Councils quarterly mag) it was reported ( I think by Daniel Baker) that he had watched a comedy program on BBC ..he was enjoying this program when suddenly a fictional charachter being interviewed reminisced about the good old days when Gypsy hunting was an anual event
it was said
" we used to get up on our horses, go off with the dogs, and they would rip a Gypsy apart..and we would smear their blood and entrails over our foreheads"...and the skit continued along those lines
When a complaint was made to the BBC ( and my understanding is that it took 3 letters to get a reply! ) it was suggested that the complainant was being " over sensitive" and that humour was the aim........If this "humour had been directed at any other ethnic group would never have been allowed past the program editor...
Mr Baker concluded that he felt that Gypsies were still fair game at the BBC...and who can form any other opinion..
It makes me laterally draw the conclusion that things have not changed much ..if at all.. since Hitler's Genocide of our was claimed that the murder of the Gypsies was not genocide because it was nothing to do with race..but was infact a cleansing of an "asocial" people...Just read the likes of the Sun, The Mirror and the daily Mail..and things have not moved on at all from that veiw..and the gutter press feel safe in their campiagn against our people..because they know full well that it is socially acceptable in "multicultural" Britain to do so..Our people are forever the unwelcome visitor..and forever the victims of the spurious and unfounded rantings of the press.
The simple fact is that Roma children need the benefit of and Education in order fight challenge what has been written and to write " our own story"...but how do they do so when there are no safe stopping places?..when there are not enough suitable sites?..or sites at all?..
I agree Cat..the Settled Roma maybe could do more..a good step is to Join the Gypsy Council...where much is done to promote the Roma and Travelling people in a positive light..and to promote our culture
We should not be content with a " multi cultural Britan"..that means simply that it is a land where many cultures dwell...we must all be pushing for and "INTER- CULTURAL" Britain..which hopefully through interaction and understanding ..all cultures can live in harmony whilst maintaining their own very unique and precious cultural identity
Ashlen Devlesa

February 19, 2007 at 5:14:00 PM GMT  
Blogger M Woods said...

Pesha Bitti pena
well as I told you I was putting in me teeth
Waterloo ones at that pena
What your saying is right but you dont need me to tell you that
Things have to change and we have to have a better world for the next generation because at this rate our culture will be lost
Theres more to being a Romany than travelling but theres nothing more important to me than being a Romany
and long may our people continue
Latch drom

February 19, 2007 at 7:29:00 PM GMT  
Blogger M Woods said...

Pesha Bitti pena
well as I told you I was putting in me teeth
Waterloo ones at that pena
What your saying is right but you dont need me to tell you that
Things have to change and we have to have a better world for the next generation because at this rate our culture will be lost
Theres more to being a Romany than travelling but theres nothing more important to me than being a Romany
and long may our people continue
Latch drom

February 19, 2007 at 7:29:00 PM GMT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Are you a Fred Elliot there Mr Woods
I say
Are you doing a Fred Elliot ?

February 19, 2007 at 9:24:00 PM GMT  
Blogger That Bucket Woman said...

I hope you appreciate I made this name on Google just for you
I have been watching your blog for a while and I wondered just when you would tell it like it is
your last posting is brill
and Ohhhhhh but I'm proud of you
email me
phone me
or hey honee just whistle
sorry vino
your wasted when your not fighting for whats right

February 19, 2007 at 9:46:00 PM GMT  
Blogger Pesha_Tshaya ( Leshya'e Romanes) said...

Sastimos !
I receive a great many emails in relation to this blog as many people do not like to post comments but prefere to speak privately today I recieved this email from a lady called Kristine..and although it was sent privately Kristine has kindly agreed to let me post it so that you can all enjoy what she has to say..I think many of you will find this interesting
Nais Tuke Kristine Phena
Pesha xxxx

Hello Pesha!
Thank you for making your self available!
I think what you are doing is brave and true. I see what is going on in the world and how freedom was slowly taken from all of us. To have the soul of the gypsy is a blessed thing. In the long run , at the end of it all, after the ball is over, they shall see and understand this. When they become Kings of Nothing.......... that is when the gypsy way can resurface in peace and prosperity again.

I am a 54 year old grandmother married to the same man for 35 years now. I have a memory of ,in the 1950s ,being very small or little and sitting on a blanket in our back yard where we lived at that time. My mother was in the house, so I believe............ a dark haired woman came out from the bushes & sat with me on the blanket and put me on her lap and she talked with me. She held up a vest with coins on it. Coins that had holes in them and she cried telling me how it was now illegal to carry such on a person and that coins with holes in them were no longer legal tender. She cried and said it was the end of the gypsy way because of that......... my mother came out of the house then. The woman put me down and disappeared into the bushes. I never saw her again. I was too little to discuss anything with the woman but I heard and understood every word she said.

Later on in my teen years my grandma told me we were of gypsy descent. The Manouche of Alsace Lorraine area of France and Germany before they became countries. Her name was Zabel and her father's name was Schedel. The rest of our family scoffed at her " stories" and said none of it was true. So I will never know the truth of my so called heritage or not. But there are some things I remember; being told by my great grandmother things like;
*he who wishes to enslave you will never tell you the truth about your ancestors* and * wisdom often lies under a ragged coat!*
My grandmother had a second sight. Many things she predicted came true. She said things like to know the future look into a witched gazing ball because the past IS the future. That one took me a long time to understand! :-))

The more I delve into the gypsy way the more I come to understand the current way of the world has gone amiss............

There is one hope;

the french have another saying; the more things change the more they stay the same............. the wheel or maya will turn again soon my friend.

Just wanting to say hello and say what I had to say. I hope we can stay in touch

Kushti Bok!


February 20, 2007 at 10:03:00 PM GMT  
Blogger PIX said...

Sastimos Pesha,
Kristine's email was very interesting, and how rude of me
Sastimos Kristine also
Those old Roma sayings take me back afew years my own grandmother often rattled off those :-)
I couldn't help but wonder about the visitor to your garden Kristine???
Maybe an ancestor come to say hello ???
Sadly your family could have been denying their Roma roots to avoid persecution, it happened alot, and it STILL happens alot, if you live in USA or Austrailia, many of the Roma who went there didn't have any choice in the matter ;-)
I enjoyed your story very much Kristine, but it does have the hallmarks of a visit, which is wonderful that being the case

February 21, 2007 at 8:57:00 AM GMT  
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