Thursday, June 19, 2003

Blog of the day (so far) is Ohrada News, by another Prague-based expat, Jesse Lynch. He's most recently been following the story about a bunch of Roma families who were evicted from their house in Slany for not paying rent. No big story there, but it appears that at least a few of them had indeed paid their rent, while another had made a concerted effort to pay the debt in installments. The mayor dismisses both claims, although Lidove Noviny appears to corroborate the latter one.

Frankly, I wouldn't know who to believe. Most of my knowledge about Romany culture comes from Isabel Fonseca's Bury Me Standing, an excellent portrayal of the Gypsies/Roma of Eastern Europe. Despite being highly sympathetic in her account of Romany culture, Fonseca doesn't shy away from pointing out that an integral part of that culture consists of lying, whenever possible, to gadjo, or non-Roma. You can partially explain this by pointing out the centuries of persecution the Roma have endured -- and continue to endure -- at the hands of gadjo, but at the end of the day, you're left with the simple fact that the Roma have a profound aversion to assimilation, an aversion which comes at a tremendous human cost, and an aversion which you do not generally find among other persecuted ethnic minorities.

Jesse is also one of the few people that agree with my take on the Cesky Sen hypermarket hoax.

The Pragueblogosphere reponds to this post here and here.


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