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The Romani (gypsy) way of life is much misunderstood. It's firmly based upon three fundamental principles and a whole battery of laws, customs and traditions that follow on from them. We have our own "courts," "judgements" and our own fiercely held beliefs.
The core principles of our code, often referred to as the leis-prala (the law of the brothers) are freedom, health and love. We have a saying that without freedom there can be no health and without health, love cannot be fully enjoyed.
Our over-riding passion is for freedom. Even though nowadays most of amaro folki (our people) live in static homes rather than caravans or the old hand-painted vardos, we still feel the fire of freedom burning deep within us. Very few Roma work for other people, and if they do it's almost always a temporary job. We much prefer to work for ourselves and run our own businesses. The internet is full of Romanis offering their services and, of course, using it to make contact with ... Read more »
I'm a Romani (well, all right, I'm a posh-rat - a half-breed Romani - and I mean Romani as in gypsy NOT Romanian or Roman!
I'd like to share with you a couple of our legends and a true story about one of my family members who was saved from the Porajmos (what us gypsies call the Romani holocaust when Hitler murdered nearly a million of our people):
How music came among the Roma:
Once upon a time there was a beautiful young girl. Not only her looks but her great wealth should have drawn all the men towards her. All the same, some years passed and she remained single. The villagers began muttering among themselves.
She is bewitched, they declared. Why else is it that a girl as beautiful and rich as her still wants a husband?
The girl was desolate as no man came for her. She fell in love with a young farmer and tried everything she could to make him love her back. For all her efforts, the boy hardly noticed she existed.
... Read more »
The story of conservatism: Part One: Origins
Conservatism as a fully-fledged political philosophy was not consciously formulated until the seventeenth century. The same is true of its rival, liberalism. Both fascism and socialism, by contrast, have much more ancient roots and both philosophies can be found in, for instance, Plato.
The seventeenth century was one of the most turbulent times in human history and the English Civil War crystallised positions on both sides. Even so neither liberalism nor conservatism were constructed out of whole cloth. Arguments before the seventeenth century tended to be phrased in religious terms with thinkers like Augustine of Hippo (whose ‘City of God’ gave arguments to both sides), the conciliarist movements to limit the power of the Pope (particularly the arguments put forward by Nicholas of Cusa), the Lollards (Wycliffe was essentially a liberal while many of his disciples, such as John Ball for instance, were essentially s ... Read more »
There have always been fashions in poetry and 'schools' that to a greater or lesser extent dominate the poetry of an era..
It seems to me that over the last couple of years or so there's been an upsurge of what I call 'poetry lite' and I find that deeply depressing.
My own instinct is that the effects of texting and Twitter has led to a frame of mind where youngsters in particular find it hard to concentrate or develop any complexity of thought.
The result is that if they write poetry it's in the same style and spirit. There's no ambition in their work, no scope, no depth, no sense of surprise. What the Twitter versifiers produce is predictable, unexciting, unambitious, shallow and on the whole pretty tedious to read..
Instead of poems they give us text messages or at best tweets!
Now there's nothing wrong with brevity. A lot of great poets could usefully have pruned their work.
But when brevity becomes an en ... Read more »
Liberalism and libertarianism
I hope people won’t mind me posting a thread on this subject because I’m very conscious that I’m not only a new member but that my views are in a tiny minority here so I’d like to clarify them because I do sense a genuine misunderstanding both about what I’m saying and about the nature of these two philosophies. If no one minds I’d like to try and explain my position.
In the first place liberalism and libertarianism are related but not identical. Secondly there are subdivisions within each school and the nuances often get overlooked.
Where to begin? Well, let’s try and explain the similarities and differences. All liberals are libertarians but not all libertarians are liberals. In the same way all communists are socialists but not all socialists are communists, all Anglicans (Episcopalians) are Christians but not all Christians are Anglicans, all Mexicans speak Spanish but not all Spanish speakers are Mexican.
... Read more »
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