As if we were divided by gray glass

Author: Martina Hudeckova/Zbynek Andrst
Location: Doubravka
Zbynek told me his story one evening in the club room after a Romani youth meeting.
"When I was a kid I was interested in other cultures. I read lots of adventure and travel books. Most of all I was interested the Indians, and longed to meet them. When I got older I wanted to go to America.
But that wasn’t possible under Communism, so I traveled to the Balkans, to Rumania and Yugoslavia. And I met Roms. They lived the way Roms do here, but you could also see nomadic Roms.
They attracted me so much that when I got back I started to be interested in Czech Roms – and soon found out that I hadn’t known anything about them. I had walked past them; it was as if we were divided by gray glass. I had only known that they shout, that they don’t want to work, and that they have a bad reputation.
But the Roms I met personally were very friendly and nice. When you show an interest in them as persons, you can make good friendships.
I learned the Romani language from Dr. Milena Hubschmannova. And I got to know the Slepcik family near where I live: Honza and Magda are still my friends. We visited each other, and I learned to play the guitar and sing Romani songs.
And as time went on, my interest grew. As soon as summer came around, I would go to Romani villages in Slovakia for my holiday and whenever I had a few days off to collect Romani songs and make new friends. These friendships have lasted.
Mostly I go to Spisa, Zehra and Bystrany, where I have many friends. I also have a very good friend at Spissky Stvrtek.
I get most from Romani music. Feelings and experiences of many generations are in these songs. Romani life has been hard, but you can feel in the music that they managed to keep their joy of life. Romani music has two poles, joy and sorrow. And it lets you switch back and forth between one and the other. When the music is joyous, you can’t sit still listening – it gets to you. But the same thing happens when it’s sorrowful.
I also like Romani fairy tales – because I like the Romani language. Czech has developed so that what could be said easily and precisely is said indirectly, even so as not to be understood. Journalists and politicians are the most responsible. They’ve made Czech a kind of meta-language. But Romani has kept its conciseness and clarity.”

One Response to “As if we were divided by gray glass”

  1. I totally agree with you. the Romany language is very interesting…. and very romantic! I met a lot of Roms in Greece and of coarse they had a bad reputation… but if you give them a chance they are very friendly.

  2. I am a gypsy nice story fag big din burkes

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