Roaming Through the Conscience of Society


Gypsy myth…

Well, the Indian Summer was short-lived and despite bright skies I am digging deep into my wardrobe to retrieve my gloves which have to be somewhere. Summer’s End is nigh. With Liam Fox resigning as he did naughty stuff a secretary of state shouldn’t be doing and Nottingham police failing yet another woman who has been beaten to death by an ex-partner my faith in the police, government and democracy in general remains pretty low. Perhaps I should stop reading the papers and only indulge in Heat Magazine and Strictly instead, just being oblivious yet incredibly on top of celebs’ latest hairdos. But then oblivion is not the answer and in general celebs’ hairdos are difficult to translate to Dark Fairy hair. And then there is the Dale Farm Travellers site, that is being evicted as I am expressing this Dark Fairy thought and makes me wonder about Traveller and Gypsy culture in general. Travellers and Gypsies might experience discrimination and are the subject of informative and entertaining documentaries in these parts of the continent. In Central and Eastern Europe they are truly considered the scum of the earth and are almost completely separate from mainstream society. When it comes to Dale Farm I don’t really understand what the big deal is. In the first place it is rather ironic that a Traveller refuses to leave their permanent settlement, but that is probably a bit of a cheap point to make. Secondly, Basildon council deems settlement on the site for which ever reason illegal and appeals against the decision have been overturned. The council has stated that it will rehouse the people living on the site so I am not sure in what way human rights are being violated as is argued by those opposing eviction. For Gypsies and Travellers it has become very difficult to sustain their roaming lifestyle and distinct culture as it doesn’t fit well into modern society. As this is a free country in which pluralism is celebrated there should be room for cultures distinct from the mainstream. But to what extend is it healthy for a particular minority group and society as a whole for social entities to remain separate from the mainstream and not seeming willing to progress. Society has moved on and the vast majority acknowledge that values dead common 60-odd years ago regarding, for example, the role of women, attitudes towards Irish and non-white people and Britain as the motherland are considered pretty uncool in the 20teens. Traveller and Gypsy culture is linked to a sense of Romanticism: Roaming the land, looking after your own, separated from the rest of society doing things your own way occasionally dodging the law in the process. I don’t know any Travellers or Gypsies and if I do they keep their roots secret. Traveller and Gypsy culture is known for valuing family life and rites of passage like a christening or wedding are lavishly celebrated. Girls are groomed to be mothers and housewives, marry young and are held strict. They are not allowed to go about their business on their own and sex, drinking alcohol and smoking before marriage is frowned upon. It seems to me that Travellers and Gypsies want to have it both ways. They want to be accepted by yet remain separate from society. They want their human rights respected yet many take their girls out of school before the age of sixteen, don’t pay tax on their self-employed activities and condone domestic abuse. Now there are tax dodger, wife beaters and individuals against the progression of women in all layers and cultures of society. However, the acceptance of minorities and minority cultures starts and ends by being part of mainstream society to a certain extend. Remaining on the periphery and desperately keen on holding on to a culture that is seen as stagnant if not regressive by many isn’t doing anyone any favours.

…Traveller reality


About Lemba

Non-conformist Writing Soul and Language Geek from the Lowlands with a South London accent, currently living a nomadic, location- independent lifestyle. While executing the Big Fat Writing Plan I’m invading cyberspace with my views on 'expat living', travel and other lifestyle choices, current affairs and other randomness. Welcome to the Dark Fairy Zone.

2 responses »

  1. Well, Shamsul, there are always those that side with the (seemingly) marginalised and oppresses which I think is a good thing. When the police moved in to make it possible for the bailiffs to do their ‘work’ it were mainly outside protesters who were fighting with the police. The residents had either gone or just waited for the inevitable to happen. That sort of protest seems more protest for protest sake…

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