Roma in Italy

16 Jul

The more things change… I’ve watched the news out of Italy on the heightened persecution of the Roma (Gypsies) with great dismay. Guardian article here: The rounding up and extermination of the Roma during WWII, though often overlooked in discussions of the Holocaust, is still within living memory…

I have a heart connection to Romany culture– one of my dearest friends from Australia is Romany (and a singer whose voice could melt your bones). And as a young musician I traveled to Macedonia with my partner who had studied Macedonian bagpipes (gaida) and befriended some Roma musicians. We visited them in Berovo (near the border of Bulgaria) in a lovely mountain village and played music night and day. I remember the hospitality and dignity of these people very well–notable how the poorest people are often the most generous with the little they have. They were also astonishing musicians (brass band a la Kusturica’s film Underground; also zurna and tapan band).

Whenever things get bad for immigrants, whenever right-wing populist politics raises its ugly bloodstained head and talk-back mouth, things get bad for the Roma in the countries they’re dispersed in. It’s true of the Balkans too as my friends there attest.


2 Responses to “Roma in Italy”

  1. Darryl Warren July 17, 2008 at 1:41 am #


    Thanks for the blog. It is a sad state of affairs and thanks for brining it to my attention. I had never thought of the Roma as a measurement of the level of racism in Europe, I think you are correct. I just found another article on the Roma as well over at

    I’m glad that there are many of us who are not Roma who are also concerned.


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