IRU OFFERS SYSTEM FOR
By Grattan Puxon
May I introduce Nin, the systems architect who
is working behind the scenes with the IRU to
perfect a computer model for use in the Democratic
Transition; essentially an Electronic Voting platform
for the Romani movement.
A systems architect defines and refines the design,
using all the software and hardware available, to
produce a humanly functional and aesthetically
pleasing product. That's the job description.
After months of dedication, working with almost
no backup, Nin has now completed this task to a
level where it will be possible to build a data bank
of Roma - Roma activists - who believe democracy
is a crucial element for the creation of an effective.
Political representation fit for purpose in the
current global environment.
When will this happen? Nin made a pitch through
a personal presentation at the 10th World Romani
Congress, organized by the IRU in Skopje earlier
this year. As a result the D.T. Programme was
adopted as a major plank in the programme of
the IRU, headed by president Zoran Dimov and his
team around Europe.
Nin says the system is freely available to all
groups and organizations, with the expectation
that in future everyone so wishing will be able
to network and participate. In a word democracy
is for everyone.
Among the first to use electronic voting is the
Gypsy Council (Romano Ekipe) in the UK which
this year celebrates its 50th Jubilee. GC members
have taken part in a "test-run" of the system
and will be utilizing it in elections during 2017.
Depending on the acceptance of this concept,
it is hoped that by the time of the scheduled
11th World Romani Congress in 2020 a voter
base of between 50,000 and 100,00 will have
been set-up, with built-in security.
In agreeing to chair the D.T. Commission my
belief has been that together it will be possible
to bring a fresh legitimacy to our collective
representation. In future an elected IRU could
enjoy a voter mandate from people around the
globe, bringing both increased political
punch and accountability.
This must strengthen the fight against
anti-Gypsy racism and violence. There will be
a new capacity to co-ordinate and organize
mass mobilizations when such is necessary.
Speaking as an individual I can see
at a yet more fundamental level, the
coming into existence through IT technology
of a recognizable, popular mandate which
will raise in a powerful manner questions that
have long been keep out of view.
Why characterize an emerging
nation of 12m as minority within Europe?
There will be raised a collective voice calling,
irresistible, for recognition of the Roma Nation
- as defined at the start of this century by the
5th. Congress in Prague.
Respect and acknowledgment of a people's
collective ownership of inalienable sovereignty
will put us on the true path towards integration as
equals; whether within a state or federal political
framework, such might obtain in a reformed
European Union or a re-modelled United Nations.
The necessary elements of creating a nation are centered more around community, connection, and shared interests, rather than the actual physical manifestation of land or geography. As long as there is a governing organization that accepts responsibility for its people, it is possible to create a nation that extends beyond borders. This nation will have to compromise and work with other governments in order to make sure that laws and principles of host countries are not broken or infringed upon.
For thousands of years, nomadic tribes, with no ties to a land or region, would have their own cultural codes of conduct and laws, just as established nations with land as their foundation do. Such tribes have been considered nations, since the Babylonian and Sumerian empires occupied the early nomadic Hebrew and Kurd tribes of the Middle East, thousands of years ago. Many indigenous nations existed in the western hemisphere, prior to European colonization, that were not rooted to the land. Before colonization and the reservation system, many tribes moved freely about the North American continent. A nation can exist without land, but it cannot without intelligent living beings working in cooperation. Sometimes, the word "nation", which does not require land, gets confused with that of "empire", which is land-based in its establishment of permanent occupation.
The Roma are without a land or country but they still constitute a nation. A nation is usually defined as a 'people who share a common language, descent, history' and this is clearly the case with the Roma. Furthermore, there are other cases in history and today of nations without countries. For example, historically the Jews were considered a nation even though they had no country. Today the Afrikaner people in southern Africa are considered a nation even though there is no Afrikaner country.
Land is a mighty thing when it comes to tribes, religions, and cultures. But it is not required to have a nation. People from different cultures move all the time and bring their beliefs, way of living, food, language and celebrations with them. These "nations" can be almost anywhere and still take place outside of their original region. I see no reason that there can't be a Roma nation with no Roma land.
While making a nation without any land would be a difficult, near impossible task, it could be done. The main way in which a nation becomes such is by being recognized by other nations as a nation. The United States became a nation when it declared itself independent from the United Kingdom, and managed to get other nations to accept that declaration. Of course the United States had land on which it existed, so its plight was much simpler, but the concept is the same nonetheless. If you can manage to be recognized as a nation by other nations, then you can exist as a nation without any land.
When we talk about being a great nation, we're really talking about the people and the government. Therefore a Roma nation can exist regardless if they have land to claim as their own. It's all about people, not geography.
The Roma may be able to retain access to their distinctive modes of living amidst the forces of globalization; and, one may say, more power to those of them who hew to the many wonderful traditions in their heritage. But to call them a nation, rather than an ethnicity, may be inappropriate. The term "nation" is commonly understood to refer to a community that not only accepts a shared set of political arrangements, but that exercises control over a designated range of territory. In making this distinction, there is no necessary implication that nationhood is superior to itinerant modes of living, but the distinction seems important for conceptual clarity.
Even though there is no Roma land, there is a Roma nation. This nation exists because it is a nation of people with a common heritage, cultural and social history, language, and reason for existence. To deny the existence of this nation would be to ignore the meaning of an entire societal group that has been among us for generations as a clear and distinct society.
A nation is defined as a group of people sharing the same ethnic background or the same ideals or the same beliefs. Just because the Roma people are spread out all across Europe, does not mean that they aren't a nation. It will, however, be very difficult for a Roma state to exist. A state, of course, being an internationally recognized sovereign country with an autonomous government. The nation will last as long as the people do, but a state will be hard to come by.
No, a Roma nation cannot exist without Roma land, because there cannot be two different governing units in one space. A nation is defined by its land. Without room to call its own, a group of people cannot call themselves a nation, just like the Jewish people were not a nation until they were given the land of Israel.
A nation is not an idea, but a physical parcel of land occupied by a government. Without land, a nation cannot have a body of citizens and without citizens there is no one to govern with a government. A nation cannot exist just in the minds of a few people.
The gypsies, like the Jews, are an ancient culture, scattered worldwide. The Jews acquired a nation, a piece of geographic real estate, Israel, in the twentieth century, but could not have been designated a "nation" before that time. The Roma people, still lacking any formally delineated piece of land, cannot accurately be called a "nation".
All the four components are equally important in the making of a nation or a state so much so that even the lack of one component (as given in this debate question) i.e. the lack of Roma Land would make the possibility of a state as just Null and Void. As there are four pillars in the making of a building and if one pillar is gone, the building can't survive, similarly, without the existence of land, it is impossible that a nation or state can come into being.
The concept of a Roma nation is an appealing one but ultimately one that cannot exist. The problem is that a nation by definition must be a contract between a group of people that will then form a governmental body which in turn rules and provides services to its people. These services range from police and fire services to public works and a military. None of these are possible without a designated land. It's also not possible for there to be a government without a capitol for it to meet in, which once again requires some Roma land.
The concept of a nation implies that a group of people have sovereign authority over a specific area. If the Roma do not have their own land, they don't have sovereign authority over their own affairs. Thus they do not have a nation.