Europe’s Gypsies, Are They a Nation?
The striving of countries in Central Europe to enter the European Union may offer an unprecedented chance to the continent’s Gypsies (or Roman) to be recognized as a nation, albeit one without a defined territory. And if they were to achieve that they might even seek some kind of formal place—at least a total population outnumbers that of many of the Union’s present and future countries. Some experts put the figure at 4m-plus; some proponents of Gypsy rights go as high as 15m.
Unlike Jews, Gypsies have had no known ancestral land to hark back to. Though their language is related to Hindi, their territorial origins are misty. Romanian peasants held them to be born on the moon. Other Europeans (wrongly) thought them migrant Egyptians, hence the derivative Gypsy. Most probably they were itinerant metal workers and entertainers who drifted west from India in the 7th century.
However, since communism in Central Europe collapsed a decade ago, the notion of Romanestan as a landless nation founded on Gypsy culture has gained ground. The International Romany Union, which says it stands for 10m Gypsies in more than 30 countries, is fostering the idea of “self-rallying”. It is trying to promote a standard and written form of the language; it waves a Gypsy flag (green with a wheel) when it lobbies in such places as the United Bations; and in July it held a congress in Prague, The Czech capital. Where President Vaclav Havel said that Gypsies in his own country and elsewhere should have a better deal.
At the congress a Slovak-born lawyer, Emil Scuka, was elected president of the International Tomany Union. Later this month a group of elected Gypsy politicians, including members of parliament, mayors and local councilors from all over Europe (OSCE), to discuss how to persuade more Gypsies to get involved in politics.
The International Romany Union is probably the most representative of the outfits that speak for Gypsies, but that is not saying a lot. Of the several hundred delegates who gathered at its congress, few were democratically elected; oddly, none came from Hungary, whose Gypsies are perhaps the world’s best organized, with some 450 Gypsy bodies advising local councils there. The union did, however, announce its ambition to set up a parliament, but how it would actually be elected was left undecided.
So far, the European Commission is wary of encouraging Gypsies to present themselves as a nation. The might, it is feared, open a Pandora’s box already containing Basques, Corsicans and other awkward peoples. Besides, acknowledging Gypsies as a nation might backfire, just when several countries, particularly Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic, are beginning to treat them better, in order to qualify for EU membership. “The EU’s whole premise is to overcome differences, not to highlight them,” says a nervous Eurocrat.
But the idea that the Gypsies should win some kind of special recognition as Europe’s largest continent wide minority, and one with a terrible history of persecution, is catching on . Gypsies have suffered many pogroms over the centuries. In Romania, the country that still has the largest number of them (more than 1m), in the 19th century they were actually enslaved. Hitler tried to wipe them out, along with the Jews.
“Gypsies deserve some space within European structures,” says Jan Marinus Wiersma, a Dutchman in the European Parliament who suggests that one of the current commissioners should be responsible for Gypsy affairs. Some prominent Gypsies say they should be more directly represented, perhaps with a quota in the European Parliament. That, they argue, might give them a boost. There are moves afoot to help them to get money for, among other things, a Gypsy university.
One big snag is that Europe’s Gypsies are, in fact, extremely heterogeneous. They belong to many different, and often antagonistic, clans and tribes, with no common language or religion, Their self-proclaimed leaders have often proved quarrelsome and corrupt. Still, says, Dimitrina Petrova, head of the European Roma Rights Center in Budapest, Gypsies’ shared experience of suffering entitles them to talk of one nation; their potential unity, she says, stems from “being regarded as sub-human by most majorities in Europe.”
And they have begun to be a bit more pragmatic. In Slovakia and Bulgaria, for instance, Gypsy political parties are trying to form electoral blocks that could win seats in parliament. In Macedonia, a Gypsy party already has some—and even runs a municipality. Nicholas Gheorge, an expert on Gypsy affairs at the OSCE, reckons that, spread over Central Europe, there are now about 20 Gypsy MPS and mayors, 400-odd local councilors, and a growing number of businessmen and intellectuals.
That is far from saying that they have the people or the cash to forge a nation. But, with the Gypsy question on the EU’s agenda in Central Europe, they are making ground.
1. The Best Title of this passage is
[A]. Gypsies Want to Form a Nation. [B]. Are They a Nation.
[C]. EU Is Afraid of Their Growth. [C]. They Are a Tribe
2. Where are the most probable Gypsy territory origins?
[A]. Most probably they drifted west from India in the 7th century.
[B]. They are scattered everywhere in the world.
[C]. Probably, they stemmed from Central Europe.
[D]. They probably came from the International Romany Union.
3. What does the International Romany lobby for?
[A]. It lobbies for a demand to be accepted by such international organizations as EU and UN.
[B]. It lobbies for a post in any international Romany Union.
[C]. It lobbies for the right as a nation.
[D]. It lobbies for a place in such international organizations as the EU or UN.
4. Why is the Europe Commission wary of encouraging Gypsies to present themselves as a nation?
[A]. It may open a Pandora’s Box.
[B]. Encouragement may lead to some unexpected results.
[C]. It fears that the Basgnes, Corsicans and other nations seeking separation may raise the same demand.
[D]. Gyspsies’ demand may highlight the difference in the EU.
5. The big problem lies in the fact that
[A]. Gypsies belong to different and antagonistic clans and tribes without a common language or religion.
[B]. Their leaders prove corrupt.
[C]. Their potential unity stems from “being regarded as sub-human”.
[D]. They are a bit more pragmatic.
1. B. 他们是一个民族/国家吗?整篇文章环境这一点而写，文章一开始就提出中欧入欧盟的国家会给大陆吉普塞人一个机会，承认他们是一个民族——国家，虽然没有界定的领土(作为国家，应有领土)。吉普塞人的领袖人物也指出其人数超过欧盟中许多现在有的和将来要入盟的国家。他们至少要在欧盟中有一席之地。第二段提出，吉普塞和犹太人不同，他们没有可回归的祖居地。他们的语言属印欧语系。英国人认为他们来自埃及及移民。最可能的是七世纪时一些流浪的手工业工人和艺人从印度向西方流移。第三段涉及一种思想——以吉普塞文化为基础的无疆土的吉普塞民族应有个说话的地方—越来越为人接受。国际吉普塞人联盟声称代表30多个国家的吉普塞人，做了几件事：展开自我联合，提出语言标准和书面形式，在联合国进行游说活动时挥动吉普塞国旗，在布鲁塞尔设立办事处，六月在捷克首都布拉格召开会议。第四段集中讲到会上选出了联盟主席。一群选出吉普塞的政治家——国会议员，市长，地方政务委员再次在布拉格开会，会议由欧洲安全合作条约组织召集，来讨论如何动员更多的吉普塞人参政。第五段涉及联盟雄心勃勃的宣布要建立国会，但如何实际操作还未落实。后面主要是外界对吉普塞的态度。第六段描述欧盟委员会在吉普塞作为最大的大陆少数民族，历史上遭到残酷的迫害，应赢得特别承认。19世纪他们横遭奴役，希特勒企图把它们和犹太人一起消灭。第八段讲了欧洲会议中有人提出吉普塞在欧洲机构中应有一席之地，还提议一个常务委员负责吉普塞事务。还有行动筹建建立一所吉普塞大学。后面两段讲的是困难，第九段点出。最后一段指出，现在说他们有人有钱可以组成(国家)为时还早，可是吉普塞是欧盟中日程表上的一个问题，他们日益接近解决。从内部，外部情况分析都说明吉普塞是一个组成国家的民族。全文都是环绕它是不是，该不该承认为民族/国家而写，所以B项他们是不是民族是最佳标题。
1.A. 吉普塞要想组成一个国家(民族)。这只是文章涉及到的部分内容，中欧国家想加入欧盟一事可能产生的结果。 C. 欧盟害怕它们成长。 D. 他们是一个部落。
2. A. 最可能是在7世纪从印度流浪到西方。见第1题第二注释。
B. 他们分散在世界各地。 C. 可能他们源于中欧。 D. 他们可能来自国际吉普塞人联盟。
3. D. 它们在这些国际组织，如欧盟，联合国中进行活动游说要取得一席之地。见第1题第一段，三段注释。
A. 它们游说活动欧盟和联合国接受他们的要求。太抽象。 B. 它们活动游说在国际机构取得职位。 C. 他们游说作为民族的权利。
4. C. 它害怕巴斯克人，科西嘉人和其它要求分裂的民族会提出同样的要求。见难句译注11。
A. 它可能会打开潘多拉盒子。此盒子在文章中只是比喻。 B. 鼓励可能会导致某些意想不到的结果。 D. 吉普塞的要求会加深欧盟分歧。 B,D两项不够明确。
5. A. 吉普塞人属于不同的，而且常常是对抗的民族的部落，还没有共同的语言和宗教信仰。
B. 他们领袖很腐败。 C. 他们潜在的团结来自被人看作是低于人类(次等人)。 D. 他们有点太讲究实效， B,C, D 三项不是主要问题。主要问题是A. 项。