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ITALIANO

 

 

I Rom Italiani (di Alexian Santino Spinelli)

I Rom di antico insediamento, con cittadinanza italiana sono circa 45.000 e rappresentano uno dei primissimi gruppi rom arrivati in Italia e grazie alla lunga permanenza sono relativamente più inseriti nel contesto sociale ed economico della società maggioritaria rispetto ad altri gruppi di recente immigrazione. In passato le attività principalmente esercitate erano quelle che lasciavano spazio all'essere e alla creatività e quelle che facilitavano i rapporti umani. Da qui l'attività di musicisti, di fabbri calderari, di commercianti di cavalli, di lavoratori di metalli. Il progresso tecnologico, il boom economico, lo sviluppo delle attività industriali hanno soppiantato le attività tradizionali e la maggioranza dei Rom ha dovuto operare una riconversione economica, ma il modo di porsi di fronte alla vita e di interiorizzarla e soprattutto la struttura sociale dei Rom e rimasta nei secoli pressoché immutata. L'istituzione fondamentale su cui si regge la società romanès e la famiglia, intesa nel senso più ampio, come gruppo cioè che si riconosce nella discendenza da un antenato comune. Da sempre oggetto di violenza i Rom hanno rafforzato i rapporti endogamici e i vincoli di solidarietà familiare, mantenendo invece verso l'esterno un atteggiamento di resistenza. Vi è in questo un profondo senso di sfiducia e un'intima esigenza di difesa. Il sistema sociale e vissuto nelle profonde componenti umane, basato essenzialmente sul severo rispetto delle norme etico-morali che regolano e disciplinano la comunità romanès per garantire ai singoli individui la piena integrazione. Essi tutelano la dignità e l'onore del Rom. Non esistono classi o gerarchie sociali se si esclude quella semplicistica di ricchi e poveri, cosicché anche il più ricco e in relazione con il più povero e viceversa in base ad un principio di eguaglianza che riflette una ottica di vita di tipo orizzontale. In questo contesto il Rom italiano si sente parte di una totalità singolare che lo porta a differenziarsi sia dai caggé (non rom) sia dagli altri gruppi rom (Rom stranieri, Sinti, Kalé, Manouches, Romanichals), ciò si traduce in un proprio stile di vita con modi propri di esprimersi e di comportarsi. Chi vuole avere una buona reputazione ed intende essere rispettato dagli altri Rom si adegua al rispetto delle norme morali che regolano la vita sociale all'interno della comunità. Un Rom si sente perfettamente sicuro in seno alla sua comunità, costituita dall'insieme di tanti singoli gruppi parentelari dove non esistono né regine né tantomeno re come invece tende a far credere il sensazionalismo giornalistico che copre con la fantasia e l'immaginazione le proprie carenze informative. Il mondo romanó vien perciò presentato o in termini mitologici o in termini criminalizzanti, l'una e l'altra forma sono delle distorsioni che alterano il mondo rom producendo stereotipi negativi e pregiudizi, oltre che segregazione razziale di cui i Rom restano vittime. La sicurezza del Rom deriva dalla tradizione che lo pone sicuro di fronte al futuro e dalla coesione, che lo pone sicuro davanti all'imprevedibile. Tutto ciò si traduce in un forte equilibrio psicologico. Le relazioni ben strette fra educazione, coesione ed equilibrio psicologico sono minacciate dai contatti conflittuali esterni. Il cardine della struttura sociale dei Rom e la famiglia patriarcale, dove il vecchio, considerato saggio, ne é rappresentante riconosciuto. Ci sono Rom che vengono esclusi per le loro pessime qualità morali, sono considerati "gavalé" e sono derisi e scherniti.
L'arrivo in Italia
L'origine indiana dei Rom si è scoperta nel XVIII secolo attraverso lo studio della lingua romaní. Con lo studio filologico si è potuto ricostruire l'itinerario seguito dalla popolazione romaní nel suo lungo cammino in quanto essa prendeva a prestito parole dai popoli con cui veniva a contatto. Dall'India del Nord sono arrivati in Europa attraverso la Persia, l'Armenia e l'Impero Bizantino. Dai Balcani si sono diramati in tutta Europa, arrivando anche in Russia e, con le deportazioni, nelle Americhe, in Africa e in Australia. Oggi sono presenti in tutti i continenti e in tutti i Paesi d'Europa con oltre 12 milioni di persone. In Italia ci sono circa 35.000 Sinti di antico insediamento (cittadini italiani) e circa 40.000 rom stranieri di recente immigrazione per un totale di circa 120.000 individui.
Il primo documento certo che segnala l'arrivo dei Rom in Italia è quello del 18 luglio 1422, un'anonima cronaca bolognese contenuta nella Rerum Italicarum Scriptores di Ludovico Antonio Muratori.


Italian Rom (by Alexian Santino Spinelli)

There are about 45,000 Roms historically settled and with Italian citizenship, who form one of the earliest Rom groups to have reached Italy and whose many years on the territory have led to a relative integration in the social and economic context of mainstream society if compared to other, more recently arrived groups. In the past, the most usual activities undertaken were any that left space for oneself and for creativity, as well as those that smoothed the progress of human interaction. Consequently Roms were musicians, blacksmiths and tinsmiths, horse merchants. Technological progress, the economic boom, industrial development, all replaced traditional activities and most Roms were forced to apply economic reconversion, but their manner of dealing with life and interiorizing it, and above all the social structure, have not changed much over the centuries. The fundamental underpinning of Romanès society is the family, taken in its broadest sense, which is to say as a group that can be identified through its descent from a shared ancestor. Roms have always been targets for violence and they have reinforced endogamous relationships and family support, whilst their hostility towards outsiders has grown. This is rooted in a deep sense of mistrust and an inner need for defence. The social system is experienced in the deepest of human components, based essentially on keen respect for ethical and moral codes that govern the Romanès community, ensuring total integration for each individual. The codes protect Rom dignity and honour. There are no social classes or hierarchies except the simplistic rich-poor differentiation, so that the richest relates to the poorest, and vice versa, on the basis of a principle of equality that reflects a horizontal perspective of life. In this context, the Italian Roms feel they are part of a unique whole that sets them apart from caggé (non Roms) and from other Rom groups (foreign Roms, Sinti, Kalé, Manouches, Romanichals), which translates into a personal lifestyle with self-expression and conduct. Anyone who wants to have a good reputation and wants to be respected by other Roms will live by the moral code that governs the social existence within the community. Roms feel perfectly secure within their community, made up of many small related groups where there are neither queens nor kings, unlike the image propagated by sensationalist journalism that fills the gaps in its knowledge with sheer fantasy and fiction. Consequently, the Romanó world is presented in mythological terms or is criminalized, both forms being distortions that alter the Rom world and produce negative stereotypes and prejudices, as well as racial segregation of which the Rom is a victim. Rom confidence is rooted in the tradition that sees them confident with respect to the future and with respect to cohesion, confident with respect to the unforeseen. All this becomes a strong psychological equilibrium. Relationships strongly entwined in upbringing, cohesion and psychological equilibrium are threatened by conflicting contact with the outside world. The bedrock of Rom social structure is the patriarchal family, where the elder is considered wise and is an acknowledged representative. There are Roms who are ostracised for their poor morality, and being considered gavalé, are mocked and taunted.
The arrival in Italy
Research into the Romaní language in the eighteenth century brought to light the fact that the Roms were of Indian origin. Philological studies reconstructed the route taken by the Romaní population in its lengthy evolution, since the language has borrowed from the peoples with whom the Roms came into contact. From northern India they arrived in Europe through Persia, Armenia and the Byzantine Empire. From the Balkans they branched out across all of Europe, arriving as far as Russia and, following deportations, the Americas, Africa and Australia. Nowadays there are a total of 12 million Roms present in every continent and in all European countries. In Italy there are about 35,000 Sinti of historic settlement (Italian citizens) and about 40,000 foreign Roms who have arrived with recent waves of immigration, for a total of about 120,000 people.
The first document that mentions the arrival of Roms in Italy is dated 18 July 1422 and is an anonymous Bolognese chronicle that can be found in Ludovico Antonio Muratori's Rerum Italicarum Scriptores.
The language
Rom language is called Romanès or Romaní ©hib and is a close relation of neo-Indian languages, continuing to use faithfully a large number of words of Indian origin. The language spoken by the Italian Roms has borrowed from Persiani, Armenian, Greek, Serbo-Croat, as well as having several German words and dialect elements from central-southern Italy, testifying to the route taken by the Italian Roms in their long journey that began in North West India, heading west. Despite ten centuries of toil and continued repression inflicted by host countries, with no written tradition available and subject to the influences of external languages, the tongue of the historically settled Italian Roms has survived in the most extraordinary manner, although it has been greatly weakened. The language spoken by the Roms is essentially practical but extremely dynamic.
Romanès is the real mirror of the history and culture of this ancient population, its extension underscoring the diversity that characterises the Romanó world and independence with which Roms absorb words from other languages, transforming them, remodelling and adapting them. It is the Romanès way of keeping up to date and living in harmony with surroundings.

Celebrations: betrothal and marriage
A typical Romanès celebration in the south is o bu©hvibbés – the serenade, or proposal of betrothal. It is one of the accepted ways of approaching a family with which there are no blood ties and with whom no friendship exists. The serenade by o ©havó tarnó (unmarried boy) officially asks for the hand of the ©hà tarní (unmarried girl). The Romaní serenade, whose origin is lost in the mists of time, was probably acquired by the Roms in the Neapolitan ambient but has endured to the present day, performed by a group of musicians paid for occasion, outside of the chosen girl's home, with no prior agreement between the parties, except for a forewarning made by messengers to a relative of the girl's parents. Three songs are dedicated to the girl and two to her close family, especially anyone who could express a favourable opinion or exercise positive influence on the parents. After serenading the chosen girl, the group proceeds to the members of the family, then returns to the girl and to avoid any misunderstanding, announces the name of the interested party in no uncertain terms. The celebration lasts all night, in the open air, with the involvement of the young suitor's friends and family. Early in the morning the boy's parents prepare a huge banquet in a room set aside for the purpose, with all kinds of confectionery and cakes, with coffee to drink, to welcome the courted girl and her family. In the meantime the messengers proceed to bear the honours due to the girl's parents. Their task is very delicate and consequently the persons chosen are the most suitable and above all influential, members of families who are in no way connected or involved with either of the other two families. Following the announcement of the suitor's intentions, the girl's father calls a family council to assess the proposal, also consults with his daughter and then goes to the banquet with the rest of the family to express his opinion. If the decision is negative, then the father will declare "I have no daughters to be married" or "My daughter does not wish to marry". If the decision is positive, however, the daughter is also called and she is introduced to the suitor, exchanging engagement rings. The engagement (ngustiasibbé) is then celebrated with a lively party, plenty of music and lots to drink. The messengers almost always become Khirivé tar ngustlì, witnesses at the wedding. After the period of engagement, in which the betrothed get to know one another, the wedding date is decided (xlosevibbé or prandilipé). If disagreements arise between the two families or between the fiancés, or more simply if the girl's father decides to break off the engagement during this period, he is obliged to reimburse the suitor's family for all the costs incurred: musicians, rings, clothing, banquet, travel etc. To prevent such things happening and to ensure the girl will encounter no future difficulties in finding another suitor, the fiancés are never left alone together. The girl's physical purity is a fundamental element and an absolute value in Romaní culture. The costs of the betrothal are shouldered by the groom's family whilst the wedding will be paid for by the bride's parents, unless different agreements are reached. In the past it was not unusual for couples to elope, precisely to avoid the great expense of the engagement and wedding, when the families could not afford it.
An Italian Rom wedding is a huge celebration, almost always with the couple travelling in a glittering carriage drawn by several pairs of horses. The wedding party, with sumptuous food and plenty to drink, is a special moment when the various family groups meet and it is also a ripe moment for encouraging new romances. The celebration is always hallmarked by deep human warmth and captivating liveliness, with lots of music and no lack of good wine.

I kriss: the Rom civil court
I kriss is a real Rom civil tribunal, composed of elders, called Rom phuré, to whom the opposing parties turn for resolution of disputes of a moral, matrimonial, economic, civil nature. Roms chosen to make up this tribunal are calledi Rom di Kriss or Rom pativalé and selected because they have special human and moral qualities, because of their reputation within the community, for their prestige and wisdom. The more respectable (pativaló) a Rom is, the more publicly worthy and intelligent he will appear in i kriss. I kriss is also the Rom juridical system used for safeguarding the patìve (honour) of each individual in the Romaní community. The sentence expressed by the Rom pativalé (men of honour) is final and is immediately applied. In the past, when Roms lived a long way from urban centres because they suffered harsh repression, if the offence was especially serious, the punishment consisted in being cast out of the group. This meant being alone and ostracised by the group and also ostracised from inhospitable and segregating ruling society.
O merribbé
Death (o merribbé) is a deeply-felt event for Roms. In a sincere sense of solidarity, all members of the family gather together to share the pain of death. A dying Rom is never left alone, till the last breath is drawn. Friends and relatives take turns at the bedside in a spirit of love and respect, even if the Rom is a true misfit. The coffin is almost always transported by a carriage, whilst the funeral cortege is accompanied by a group of musicians and an emotional cortege. Rom will travel for miles to a funeral. The closest to the grieving family bring the consolo, which is a meal of comfort, with enormous amounts of food so that after the wake, everyone can have some refreshment. The meal will not included dairy products, meat or eggs, which Roms in mourning (kalipé) refuse to eat for some time; the meal will comprise fish, starchy foods and vegetables. The mourning period, or kalipé, varies depending on how close the relationship of kin or friendship is: anything from six months to three years. Mourning includes dressing in black and forsaking any entertainment. So no parties, ceremonies or banquets can be attended, radio and TV cannot be used and it is not possible to enter public establishments like bars, discos, restaurants, taverns etc. Men do not shave and grow unkempt beards for several weeks. During mourning, women in particular do not leave the house and social contacts are limited to the family. Italian Roms have an outright cult of the dead, whom they call muluré, a diminutive form of extreme affection. The greatest insult a Rom could receive or proffer would be offending the dead.