pasdelabas

writing from another someone not from where they are

Shame 

A young Roma man has appeared on a Czech/Slovak Got Talent programme and was very popular, cavorting on the table itself in front of the judges and getting through.  

He sung in English I was told by people in Sheffield who saw it on cable TV.  Roma singers often go on but usually the judges say: You are good but it only really appeals to Roma people. 

So this young man sung in English.  I heard a little of it and it was sort of Reggae English, Jamaican English.  

I know him.  I met him only once properly in a fairly formal setting of a network meeting in which he and I were, to some extent, in separate camps.  Not a very nice circumstance. I tried speaking to him and I got the tone wrong.  

I listened to him speaking but later tried to say some phrase in Romani.  I think I confused the verb ‘to see/look’ (te dihkel) and ‘to say/talk’ (te penel).  It was a confusion that I was making often at the time.  After I said a phrase he looked at me and asked in English of course which he speaks beautifully: Do you know what you are saying?

Yes, I replied.  Blustering.  I felt ashamed since that moment and run back and forth over it wishing I’d not blundered. 

So much that I do that is liked and then something small in a way that weighs heavily on my mind.  Shame.  The Italians say Shamo!  Idiot!  Fool!

Fool!  I’ll accept that thank you.  

Olympic Mirrors

A classical education even when only exhibited through an appreciation of Greek and Roman architecture is a powerful thing. That is it most elemental form . We experience it frequently in consumption of many artifacts of European heritage in both state and secular buildings. The English public school brought this into play through I suspect a particular fashion related to the learning of ancient Latin and Greek.
There is doubtless a very clear link to the rebirth of an Olympic games in the late 19th and early 20th century . The Olympic Games were born of British social will , a class based activity with particular ways of demonstrating prowess becoming institutionalized . The British chose the format of the games and to an extent also the conceptual field that recognizes such an event as having value.

 

it’s all those tools!

So. Looking at what appears to be quite a comprehensive graph on Wikipedia of demographic history over the last 12,000 years. Estimates stay stable of 4 up to 7 million until about 4000 BC and then start to move up plateauing somewhere around 170 million by 1000 A.D.

It’s all those tools that are doing it – keeping us at the 4 – 7 as well. Allowing us to embellish a sense of control. And making practically an impossibility of countering the power those tools give. So once they grow there’s no going back.

That’s been one of the historiographical inclusions: that the dark ages in Europe were not a going back or a losing but rather an intense period of reflection. We were returned to perhaps at times more unfettered and local power. But the great tools of classical civilisation continued to be forged. And what emerges out of it is not a period of stasis, not a dark age but one of massive intellectual light. Great feasting and drinking.

So there’s no going back except that with population there is a limit. It does require extraordinary organisation. The manipulation of all tools at our disposal.

I asked Kaius what he considered not to be human about himself. What of his actions could he identify that did not involve the use of tools. I’m afraid I remember my answer more than his but we agreed. Laughter. Tears. Eventually we moved towards the idea that levels of cognition which we associate with animals find their parity in the human animal behaviour by things that did not involve or apparently involve words. And if you strip away all the things that involve words and understanding them – at least to comply with an instruction or to do something you have conceptually required of yourself?

You look for balance in things while assuming there is always a constant balance in everything.

A balance that puts you entirely out of control but no more so than anybody else.

Thought like this doesn’t emerge just from luxury. It also emerges from its opposite.

World_population_growth_(lin-log_scale)

By Waldir – Own work, based on the data of File:Population curve.svg, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=9669777

Shocked

Well,  yesterday with KA canoeing along the Dordogne I was reminded of an event from our years in the Perigord.   We’d bought a house,  a little house that we called ‘Le Tournesol’  on the Rue du Calvaire in Le Bugue.   We’d loved the little cottage,  I’ll write about it another time.   Staying there until our darling Coco was born and then leaving to another place in St Cirq –  we’d managed to sell Le Tournesol to my sister and brother in law who had a daughter,  KA.   There was a cast iron bath with lion’s feet in the house that we had stolen from a unoccupied house in the village a few years before.   KA reminded me (as an element in an evidently ‘funny’  family story that I’d forgotten)  that when Melissa,  Mark and KA had come to take possession of the house –  the bath was gone.   We’d taken it up to our new house.   God this story has affected me.   It carries with it all the bitter sweet tastes of my time in the Dordogne.   Many rich and in some ways noble memories but such a sense of shame at many of them.   H and I were not,  I am afraid to say,  very mature nor considerate in our behaviour towards other people.   This is not a ‘culpa mea’  but quite simply shameful to recall.   Also confusing to think that I behaved in such a manner.   I’ll write it out in longer form –  best to recall the truth –  even bitter –  might let something else emerge.   

So I think it’s time for me to learn the rudiments of Arabic and Urdu

“I hate the word integration”

“I hate the word integration”

 

These words were spoken by Michal, a thirty something Roma man from Prague.  Brought up in a city where acting like a Gadjo, or an ethnic white Czech, was the way to get on yet later being subject to an attack by an (obviously) violent neo-Nazi skinhead group Michal’s got a lot of experience of integration.  

 

The Roma have been in the Czech lands for over 600 years.  During that time they have seen persistent persecution most severely within the living memory of some at the hands of the Nazis and other groups during WWII.  The Roma had lived through slavery and effective indentured labour for generations before that fate befell them.  And still today violent anti-Roma groups abound across Europe.  

 

The Roma know alot, really alot about integration.

 

Michal came to the UK  to seek asylum and received a decent welcome here.  As he sat outside the court where he was waiting for his asylum hearing he started talking to a friendly man who listened to his tale of hospitals and recovery and flight.  In court he heard the same man wish him luck and grant him refugee status.  

 

Michal knows a lot about integration and he’s not alone.

 

You see the problem with integration is not with – in this instance – the Roma.  They know all about it.  They know where it can lead.  The Roma weren’t persecuted because they weren’t integrated but because, in a sense, they were.  Integrated into a violence and exclusion that included their destruction.  The issue for the Roma is not whether they will integrate but what is it that they are integrated into?  The question remains simple:  what will that mean for them?  Will they survive integration?   The Roma are integrated yet, as is clear from much public and private dialogue, it is considered that the Roma are not integrated.

 

Like Michal, I hate the word integration.  

3

The sadness of being alone when the lover has gone is finally knowing that the lover is there.

2

An idea, a system, an organisation or person has some sort of consistency. Either it experiences itself as consistent to some extent or it is experienced as discussed as if it were consistent.

Within that very consistency is the truth,  that it is always made up of an argument, some sort of struggle, emotional or ideological, physical.

So something might split off and no longer be the original thing. Call itself another idea, or maybe another style of music.

Maybe ideas are predominant. People don’t break into two. That’s just what we recognise as a madness. But ideas do. Emotions do. They really can change violently. And also they can then come back again later. And then the other bit is there. These are the things that carry the people so the human experience of something splitting off them is off themselves. That’s what they are.

1

When the one thing breaks away from another it is the first that experiences itself as finally alone.

“I hate the word integration”

“I hate the word integration”

 

These words were spoken by Michal, a thirty something Roma man from Prague.  Brought up in a city where acting like a Gadjo, or an ethnic white Czech, was the way to get on and later being subject to an attack by an (obviously) violent neo-Nazi skinhead group Michal’s got a lot of experience of integration.  

 

The Roma have been in the Czech lands for over 600 years.  During that time they have seen persistent persecution and at times, most severely within the living memory of some, at the hands of the Nazis and other groups during WWII.  The Roma had lived through slavery and effective indentured labour for generations before that fate befell them.  And still today violent anti-Roma groups abound across Europe.  The Roma know alot, really alot about integration.

 

Michal came to the UK  to seek asylum and received a decent welcome here.  As he sat outside the court where he was waiting for his asylum hearing he started talking to a friendly man who listened to his tale of hospitals and recovery and flight.  In court he heard the same man wish him luck grant him refugee status.  Michal knows alot about integration and he’s not alone.

 

You see the problem with integration is not with – in this instance – the Roma.  They know all about it.  They know where it can lead.  The Roma weren’t persecuted because they weren’t integrated but because, in a sense, they were.  Integrated into a violence and exclusion that included their destruction.  The issue for the Roma is not whether they will integrate but what is it that they are integrated into.  The question remains simple:  what will that mean for them?  Will they survive integration?   

 

The Roma are integrated or the word has no meaning and, as it clear from much public and private dialogue, that it is considered that the Roma are not integrated, like Michal, I hate integration.