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Bury Me Standing: The Gypsies and their Journey [Format Kindle]

Isabel Fonseca

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They travel endlessly and seem to appear almost everywhere, yet they are the world's most mysterious people: Gypsies. Isabel Fonseca has done the impossible, entering into their world, living and traveling with Gypsies during several long trips to Eastern Europe, and she has brought back an insightful, highly personal, and very readable account of who the Gypsies are and how they live. The Gypsies have a legendary aversion to "gadje," or outsiders, but Fonseca has lifted the curtain and written gracefully about their lives on the edge of society.

From Publishers Weekly

In numerous visits to east central Europe, London-based journalist Fonseca has produced an intriguing and affecting portrait of the continent's largest minority. Her first-person narrative meanders, but not inappropriately: the Gypsies are homeless, and they lie zestfully, challenging the author, who remains skeptical despite her sympathy for her subjects. After recounting a summer in the Gypsy quarter of Tirana, Albania, she explores Gypsy history, then profiles women in the deracinated Bulgarian Gypsy culture. The book acquires urgency when Fonseca shows how antipathy toward, and violence against, Gypsies has escalated since the revolutions of 1989; the raw hatred she records is chilling. Meanwhile, western European countries implement harsh policies regarding refugees and "settling" the nomadic Gypsies. Unlike Jews, the Gypsies "have made an art of forgetting" their persecution (in the Holocaust, etc.); Fonseca sees a glimmer of hope in the fact that Gypsies are beginning to acquire a new collective identity as "Roma." This book gives a vital voice to a group long persecuted and misunderstood. Photos.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Détails sur le produit

  • Format : Format Kindle
  • Taille du fichier : 1934 KB
  • Nombre de pages de l'édition imprimée : 352 pages
  • Editeur : Vintage Digital; Édition : New Ed (31 janvier 2011)
  • Vendu par : Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Langue : Anglais
  • ASIN: B004I8WL8E
  • Synthèse vocale : Activée
  • X-Ray :
  • Word Wise: Non activé
  • Composition améliorée: Non activé
  • Classement des meilleures ventes d'Amazon: n°312.099 dans la Boutique Kindle (Voir le Top 100 dans la Boutique Kindle)

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Amazon.com: 4.1 étoiles sur 5  117 commentaires
126 internautes sur 134 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 Good description for Muslim Roma, but not all Roma 11 mars 2000
Par Un client - Publié sur Amazon.com
My husband and myself are from one of the largest Rom villages in the former Yugoslavia. While we found Isabel Fonseca's book entertaining, some the information was inadequate. Most of the rituals and superstions she describes are not adheared to in our village at all. American Rom sometimes cling to these beliefs because they do not want to become assimilated into society. In our country that will never be the case. We will never be seen as equals, or as Slovenes,nor would we be treated as Slovenes. Our village is known for its celebration of Rom culture and its independence. We have our own stores, bars, disco, drama club, folklore dance group and are members of the International Romani Union. We speak only Romani in the home. While we do not adhear to the stringent codes of behavior that Fonseca's Rom subscibe to, we still remain a separate minority in society - and we are proud to be Roma!
131 internautes sur 141 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Beyond stereotypes 23 décembre 2001
Par Alyssa A. Lappen - Publié sur Amazon.com
This book opens with a chapter on the great Romany poet, Papusza (born as Bronislawa Wajs), which appeared earlier in The New Yorker. As Fonseca tells us, Papusza wrote a long autobiographical ballad about hiding in the forests during World War II--"Bloody Tears: What We Went Through Under the Germans in Volhynia in the Years 43 and 44." Discovered by the Polish poet Jerzy Ficowski in 1949, Papusza also wrote of the Jewish experience and "the vague threat of the gadjikane" (non-Gypsy) world." But her 1987 death in Poland, where she had lived most of her life, went unnoticed.
That is an appropriate beginning, for this book is not academic anthropology--and it more than admirably explains, from the Roma point of view, what it means to live in a world that remains largely threatening to the Roma. The book is not uniformly complimentary. But Fonseca lived for a period with Roma families, learned their separate and distinct Romany language, traveled across Eastern Europe with them, observed the poverty-stricken ghettos and mud hovels in which the poorest made their beds. And one finds in her closeness to them a sympathy altogether lacking in many other works.
Fonseca writes of her own extensive experience, of course, but also refers to more than 140 scholars, including the fine work of Rom professor Ian Hancock and Jan Yoors. The latter likewise lived among Roma, albeit during the pre-war and World War II eras. She recounts the likely path that the Roma traveled from India to Europe, their centuries of enslavement, their high rate of illiteracy (and cultural reasons for it), their experience during the Holocaust, which the Roma appropriately term the Devouring--and the new generation of Rom leaders who hope to lead their people to a more productive and accepted role in European and world society.
For anyone who has ever wondered about the Rom--especially those wanting a portrait that moves beyond the stereotypes of literature and music like Carmen--this is a fine place to begin. Alyssa A. Lappen
52 internautes sur 56 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Human Rights for Gypsies 11 mai 2010
Par C. J. Singh - Publié sur Amazon.com
Reviewed by C J Singh (Berkeley, California, USA)

GYPSIES, the long-lost children of India, number about 16 million
worldwide. In Europe, the 12 million Gypsies constitute its largest
minority. Films like Tony Gatlif's "Latcho Drom: A Musical History
of the Gypsies from India to Spain" (1994) and books like Isabel Fonseca's
"Bury Me Standing: The Gypsies and their Journey" will help ensure
that the Gypsies do not again disappear -- outside the world's

"Bury Me Standing" -- the title comes from the Gypsy saying, "Bury me
standing, I've been on my knees all my life"-- is a compassionate book
about a marginalized and much-maligned people. Nonetheless, over the past
seven centuries, the Gypsies have made many contributions to European folk
music, dance, and lore. An outstanding example of these contributions
--Flamenco-- highlights the Cannes award-winning "Latcho Drom ."

When Isabel Fonseca, an American journalist and former assistant editor of
the Times Literary Supplement, set out to write this book in 1991, she
"had in mind that the Gypsies were 'the New Jews of Eastern Europe.'"
After four years of field work that included living with Gypsy families in
many European countries and researching library documents, she concluded
that the Gypsies "alongside with the Jews are ancient scapegoats."

Traditionally, Gypsies did not keep any written records. The research on their origin
began with a philological analysis of their language, Romani, which has been firmly
established as a Sanskritic language. Words like dand, (tooth), mun,
(mouth), lon, (salt), akha (eyes), khel (play) are identical with those in
Punjabi spoken in northwest India. Fonseca does not comment on the obvious
resemblance with Punjabi, presumably because of her unfamiliarity with it
or any other modern Indian language. She is also puzzled by the Gypsy
habit of shaking head side-to-side to signify yes. This distinctive
gesture alone suffices to pinpoint their India origin -- rendering all
linguistic evidence redundant! If confirmation were needed, it would be
readily provided by the Gypsy music's use of the Indian ragas such as
Bairavi, Mulkausa, and Kalyani as well as the bol (the rhythmic syllables
-- tak, dhin, dha -- imitating drum beats).

Fonseca seems to think that the current scholarly consensus is that the
Gypsies are from the Dom group of tribes, still extant in India, making
their living as wandering musicians, smiths, metalworkers, scavengers, and
basketmakers. They migrated first from northwest India to Persia in 950
A.D. at the invitation of Shah Behram Gur. As recorded by the contemporary
Persian historian Hamza, the Shah "out of solicitude for his subjects,
imported 12,000 musicians for their listening pleasure."
Fonseca errs in stating that the Gypsy designation for themsleves as Roma
is derived from Dom, one of the outcaste tirbes in India.

Roma is a variation of "ramante," a Punjabi word meaning moving, wandering. T
This etymology is cogently discussed in W.R. Rishi's book "ROMA: The Panjabi
Emigrants in Europe, second edition," published in 1996 by Punjabi
University Press, Patiala, Punjab, India. Rishi traces the origin of the Roma to
the 500, 000 prisoners of war taken by Muhamad Ghaznvi in 1001 from the
Punjab to Afghanistan and subjected to Islamic conversion by the sword.
Many of them resisted by escaping westward to the Christian lands of
Armenia and Greece. To this day, the Roma use the word Gajo, derived from
Ghazi-- the Koranic title of infidel-killing Muslims-- as a disparaging
term. The Roma are from the warrior castes of the Punjab.

The Roma appeared in Europe first in 1300 A.D., fleeing from forcible
Islamic conversions by the Turks. In Europe, ironically, they were accused
of being advance spies for the Turks, and persecuted again. They were also
mistaken as Egyptians, whence the folklore origin of the term Gypsy.

The history of the Roma in Europe, gleaned, for the most part, from court-
and church-records and from rare academic publications, is a
horror--Europe's heart of darkness. One of the examples Fonseca cites is
the 1783 dissertation published by Heinrich Grellman of Gottingen
University. In his book, Grellman describes an event of the previous year
in Hont county, Hungary: "The case involved more than 150 Gypsies,
forty-one of whom were tortured into confessions of cannibalism. Fifteen
men were hanged, six broken on the wheel, two quartered, and eighteen
women beheaded -- before an investigation ordered by the Hapsburg monarch
Joseph II revealed that all of the supposed victims were still alive."

During World War II, the Nazis exterminated 1.5 million Gypsies. At the
Nuremberg trials, the Nazis' lawyers argued that the killing of the
Gypsies was justified since they had been punished as criminals, not as a
race. There was no one to speak for the Gypsies, and the international
tribunal accepted this as exonerating defense! Ah, humanity.

Although tyrants, bigots, and the misinformed have often stereotyped the
Gypsies as congenital criminals, sociological studies show that the
Gypsies commit crimes no more than others. A large-scale study cited by
Fonseca: In Romania, which has the largest Gypsy population of any
country, out of all criminal convictions that of the Gypsies total 11
percent. Their population in the country? Exactly 11 percent.

In recent decades, a Gypsy intelligentsia has begun to emerge. Fonseca
presents detailed profiles of several. Dr. Ian Hancock, an American Gypsy,
and the author of "The Pariah Syndrome," was instrumental in bringing about,
in April 1994, the first-ever Congressional hearing in Washington, D.C.,
on the human-rights abuses of the Gypsies. After prolonged efforts,
Hancock also succeeded in the Gypsy inclusion in the United States
Holocaust Memorial Museum. Gypsy inclusion had long been opposed by Elie
Wiesel, the Nobel Peace Prize winner! It was only after Wiesel's
resignation, writes Fonseca, herself an American Jew, that one Gypsy was
allowed onto the museum's 65-member council. (The council comprised more
than thirty Jews as well as Poles, Ukrainians, and Russians among others
but not a single Gypsy.)

Saip Jusuf is the author of one of the first Romani grammars and a
principal leader in Skopje, Macedonia, which has the largest Gypsy
settlement anywhere. Jusuf helped organize the first world Romany Congress
in 1971 in London. The conference was financed in part by the Government
of India, and at its urging the U.N. agreed first to recognize the Rom as
a distinct ethnic group and several years later accorded voting rights to
the International Romani Union.

In an interview with Fonseca, Jusuf, having converted from Islam to his
ancestral Hinduism, joyously displayed his new icon collection of Ganesha,
Parvati, and Durga . Ramche Mustupha, a poet, showed his passport. Under
"citizenship," it recorded Yugoslav; under "nationality," Hindu. The lost
children of India, having found their ancestral land, are very proud of
its ancient civilization -- the oldest continuous civilization in the
world -- "Amaro Baro Thanh" (Romani for "our big land"). Fonseca observes:
"Many of the young women, fed up with the baggy-bottomed Turkish trousers
they were supposed to wear, have begun to wear saris."

Unlike other beleaguered and marginalized minorities, the Roma are not
seeking a homeland of their own, a Romanistan, in or outside India. The
Roma are resisting, as they always have, to maintain the freedom for a
life-style of their choosing. "To allow this to the Gypsies," Vaclav
Havel, in Prague, said, "is the litmus test of a civil society." However,
Havel's is a lonely voice. All over Central and East Europe "Death to the
Gypsies" graffiti can be observed. Since the Velvet Revolution in
Czechoslavakia, twenty-eight Gypsies have been murdered.

Fonseca cites several specific cases of terrorism against the Gypsies
during the 90's. "In February 1995, in Oberwart, Austria, a town
seventy-five miles south of Vienna, four Gypsy men were murdered. A pipe
bomb had been concealed behind a sign that said, in Gothic tombstone
lettering, 'Gypsies go back to India'; the bomb exploded in their faces
when they tried to take it down. The first response of the Austrian police
was to search the victims' own settlement for weapons; 'Gypsies killed by
own bomb,' the papers reported." Oberwart, Austria, is in Burgenland,
where the Gypsies have been settled for three centuries.

The resurging repression of the Gypsies is Europe's continuing crime
against humanity. At the Nazi trials in Nuremberg, there was no one to
speak on behalf of the Gypsies. Now, the Gypsies have at least this
eloquent book exposing Europe's recrudescing genocidal threats to them. - C. J. Singh
63 internautes sur 69 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 Ambitious but unevenly focused & paced 6 juin 2005
Par John L Murphy - Publié sur Amazon.com
Fonseca writes intelligently, integrating many sources and personal observations, but this book remains rather too narrowly intent upon rather journalistic glimpses of Roma life throughout 1990s East-Central Europe. She combines her own interviews and reading with reflections upon how "gypsies" and Jews coexist and play off each other's stereotypes in the eyes of the dominant culture that illuminate from her own perspective (her mother's Jewish) how marginalized peoples have to survive often on the less respectable fringes of a world that both inflates and diminishes the power of "the Other." Especially revealing is her exploration of "the Devouring," the Roma cataclysm during WWII.

Others have commented on the fact that she only delves in-depth into one Albanian family, and I agree that this concentration lessens the impact of the rest of her book, which follows in a more general survey Roma in Bulgaria, Romania, Germany with glimpses in the Czech lands, Poland, and the Balkans. She refers to other "gypsies" in the West and India, and I realize that publication pressures may have limited her ability to give all the detail she may have wanted to, or, on the other hand, that she chose a few representative places and events to stand for the whole panorama.

But, I did feel that she sensed an exhaustion of the topic by the last chapter, a weary recounting of conferences and rather fruitless statements of purpose by "professional Gypsies" and the academic and public policy specialists who follow the Roma. She writes from an American identity but her prose uses Britishisms to arrive at an expat, mid-Atlantic style that makes her seem more detached from her subject than she may have meant. (Perhaps the influence of her now-partner, Martin Amis, in assistance when she worked on this book can partially account for this stylistic tic?) While Fonseca has done her reading and strives mightily at giving us an popularized introduction to the Roma, her chapters vary widely in interest and verve, and the book took me much longer to read as a result.

Lively depictions of a train trip from Poland to Germany vie with desultory recitals of conversations with countless individuals who have little of interest to relate. Careful crafting of her sentences collides with boilerplate renderings of findings reminiscent of anthropological term papers. This may have been Fonseca working as best she could with the interviews she had, but a more severe editor could've pushed her to do more with what she compiled, or to cut to the best portions for a much smaller but more energetic account.
26 internautes sur 29 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Gadjo dillo 31 mai 2006
Par Violet Black - Publié sur Amazon.com
Bury me Standing is one of my favourite books and the one that put me on to reading non-fiction. Unlike some of the other reviewers, I didn't feel that Fonseca was experiencing a case of gypsy-philia, nor was I led to despise Romanians or other non-gypsies. I found this to be an absorbing, intriguing and un-put-downable personal study of both the gypsies and the countries of Eastern Europe. In my ignorance, I was astounded to hear of the grinding poverty of some of these countries and it has engendered in me an on-going interest in Eastern Europe.

I think that Fonseca takles issues relating to gypsies in a fair-handed manner and documents her personal experiences and the people she met. I didn't feel that she condoned such practices as child brides but nor does she try to intrude on another culture and pretend she would know what is best for them. I found many fascinating insights from washing and bathing rituals to the pratice of cooking outside - even for those gypsies who had made money and built mansions.

Highly recommended- make up your own mind.
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