Sunday, November 29, 2015

ROMA | Sympathy for "Travelers" in Ireland (Updated July 22, 2016)

The Irish have a reputation for in-fighting over the centuries between the Catholics and the Protestants, but famously have elected a Jewish Mayor of Dublin.

However, Ireland has recently been in the spotlight for having "contempt" for Roma, whom they call "tinkers" or, more politely, "travelers".

My family lived for three years in Dalkey, not far from Carrickmines where a fire last month took the lives of ten people, including a pregnant woman. Sympathy for the travelers in the camp was apparently "short-lived" because they are so unpopular.

This is exactly the kind of cause you would have expected my mother to champion, and indeed she took up the cudgels on behalf of travelers in Ireland through her book Penengro, which means story-teller in the Romani language that she did some research on for her book.

My mother used to say – "If Hitler hated the gypsies so much, there must be something very good about them."

I can't vouch for her research (I don't know enough about traveler culture in Ireland), but the story she tells held my attention. It is about a boy named Rory who runs away from his adoptive family and goes to live among the Roma. It has elements of Mowgli and Romulus and Remus, but is much more credible and up to date

The book has six raters in Goodreads and three (none of whose names I recognize, and one of whom started out as a skeptic about the topic) on Amazon. Both ratings are 5 star (100%).

To find out more about the book, check it out here.

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