the book reviews
They have many names. Thousands of books have been written about them. Their impact on the planet is inestimable. Their contribution to music is permanent. Deep within the psyche of any non-gypsy, there is a vestige of a personal encounter. When a person recalls this fleeting image, they might feel a strong desire to learn about gypsies. If this happens to you, go to the library, or to a book shop and find the book, The Rom: Walking in the Paths of the Gypsies. There are many books written about gypsies, but much of their content is conjecture, or worse, it is romantic fluff. When I was ten years old, I lived in Louisiana. My father knew a family of gypsies. He took me to stay with them for several days. There was a dancing bear, a boy my age, and an older girl, whose eyes haunt me to this day. Like the memory of a shooting star. We posed for a photograph. The gypsy, my father, the bear, me, and the boy. The tip of the gypsy's cigar touched the bear's fur; and a little cloud of smoke rose up. The gypsy's wife was a kind and energetic woman. She gave blue bath-towels to the boy and I. We dressed in the towels and began to play Superman. She warned that we might break our legs, when she saw us leap from the roof. We spent the day leaping from the roof. We did not break our legs, and we were delighted to have proven our prowess. Their small dwelling contained a big colorful hammock, hanging from the ceiling. It was bulging with cartons of cigarettes, cans of food, shoes, and other items that the children had stolen. During the remainder of the visit, I suffered unrequited love for the gypsy's beautiful daughter. She possessed the beauty and grace of a female ocelot. Thirty years after this visit, I became obsessed with the Rom. I read books for a year. I used the knowledge gained from each book, to choose the next book. During this time, I saw a movie, Latcho Drom. It was a wonderful film and it enriched my study. I discovered a cafe with gypsy music, a short walk from my apartment. I began to develop gypsy radar. I became aware of them in my city, like a silent tidal wave. A tidal wave that has been noticed by irate shopkeepers, since the old days. I started to see patterans on the side of alleyways. Marks that are placed by the first gypsies to arrive at a town to guide the others who follow. I read academic books that contained socio-economic models. There were other wonderful books, written by men who had been adopted by the gypsies. These authors were in love with the gypsy soul, and their books are valuable to a student of gypsy culture. These books contain wonderful descriptions of the Rom and many European legends. I recommend a book written by Bercovi. I noticed that all of the books were vague on several important questions. It became apparent that some authors had invented answers. Others admitted that they could not answer these questions. My curiosity was intense. I realized that no book had the answers. I began to study another subject. Many months later, at the bookshop, I saw Roger Moreau's book, The Rom. I immediately purchased it. "I have read the book twice with growing emotion. I felt like I had been there with my ancestors, one thousand years ago. I laughed and cried. I bled with them, as they started the longest migration in history. I believe this reconstruction of events is closer to our essential truth than any theory. It will remain for a very long time, maybe for ever."-Bibi Anisa, the Secretary General of the West European Romany Kris Since the time that the three tribes, Lohar, Banjara, and Kanjar were transformed into the Rom, they have been misunderstood. Their genesis is a thing of conjecture. Roger Moreau had read all of the books available and he had asked all of the pertinent questions. He was unsatisfied with the answers. He decided to find the truth. From his journey came his book. Roger's book is more valid than many other books about gypsies. Roger employed a unique and effective method of overcoming obstacles on his journey to discover the truth of the gypsy people. He went to India and then he traveled the route of the original exodus of the gypsies. The events that occurred on this route, represent the unanswered questions that I mentioned earlier. Roger's method of research would be perfectly understood by a gypsy. But a scientist would laugh. Roger was guided by his spirit. I think that luck smiled upon Roger, because his heart was pure. Roger's intuitive exploration was rewarded with physical evidence! The world owes a debt to the Rom. Roger has begun to pay it. I define a gypsy as a human that is not domesticated. We need the gypsy, to remind us, of our own essential nature. To remind us, of who we were, before we were tamed. Before we chose safety. The language of the Rom reveals a different reality. Different from the reality of people, who choose to congregate in herds and to hoard. An American said, "Anyone who trades liberty for security, deserves neither." The Rom have never had the benefit of security. It is important to know that liberty is bought with blood and sweat. I wish you good luck on your gypsy quest. If you tune your heart, you will hear their music and feel their magic everywhere.
Copyright © 2019 by Michael A. Hawes. All Rights Reserved.
Michael Hawes was born in Texas, raised in Louisiana and lives in British Columbia.