Bewildering Stories

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by Thomas R.

This small nation had been created after WWII. However notions of creating a Gypsy or, preferably, Romany homeland stretched back to movements in 19th-century France. These efforts had been limited by dissension among the Romany and confusion of where the homeland should be.

However the militantly nationalist states that took over Russia and Romania during the Depression heightened the issue. The Iron Guard of Romania developed an especially intense hatred of the Romany. The Russian Nationalist Party divided its attention with anti-Armenian and Anti-Semitic sentiments being almost as important to them. Jewish males had been castrated and females enslaved. They sent Armenians to Siberia to die. However even they focused extermination efforts on the Romany.

This united them, and Britain, being a leading opponent of these regimes further aided their cause. They began claiming more often that their homeland had been in what had become British India. The evidence even seemed to support this so the British experimented with a Romany homeland in North India. Many other nations sent, or exiled, their Romany communities to this homeland.

After the war ended, and the extent of the genocide by the ultra nationalist Orthodox Priest called simply “Father Joe” became known, the homeland gained momentum. Despite that it seemed certain that in the partition it would be overwhelmed by either India or Pakistan. That this did not happen is sometimes viewed as a miracle by the Romany. However the explanation had been a simple combination of British military support and that the land they had been given lacked much value.

Since then they have acted as an arbiter in the various wars between the two. This role has had somewhat mixed success, but their efforts in calming the nuclear stalemate have won praise. More successful, and perhaps surprising, has been their efforts to help the rights of indigenous peoples. They have been given partial credit for reviving the Ainu language and giving the Champa a small autonomous region.

Politically their nation has been generally stable. A brief Communist takeover in the 1960’s had been overthrown by the military. This dictatorship lasted only until 1973 when elections had been renewed. Since then the economy has grown rapidly through tourism, banking, and more recently computer businesses. However, although richer than its South Asian neighbors, it is still generally a Third World economy. The downturn in the tech economy has also made its future uncertain and is blamed for its growing role in the heroin trade. Still it remains the “Costa Rica” of South Asia.

Copyright © 2003 by Thomas R.