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Reader feedback: No easy answer

Re: Roma leaders warn of another exodus, News Shorts, Nov 18-23, Vol 9, No 44

I will be very curious to hear how the Roma assimilate in Britain. Based on [Isabel Fonseca's account of the development of Roma culture] Bury Me Standing, I don't have high hopes, but perhaps I will be pleasantly surprised. I think that expecting them to assimilate, at least in the first generation or two, could be a bit naive. Also, it could be difficult to preserve Roma culture when some traditions might be at odds with societal norms. I would like to think there is a place for Roma in UK society (and in Slovak society), but as the world becomes increasingly homogenized, fast-paced, and pro-big business, it's hard to see what that place might be. According to period documents presented in Bury Me Standing, in the not too recent past, the Roma were bought and sold as slaves, and hunted as sport in Central Europe, to name some of the more extreme forms of persecution they suffered.Whenever you enslave people, and ensure that they don't benefit from the fruits of their own labour (not to mention breaking up family units by force), society as a whole suffers the repercussions for generations to come.

Expecting the oppressed minority to adopt the worldview and priorities of the majority over the space of a few generations is a bit unrealistic.

Amy, Baltimore,

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