I am currently reading a novel titled Dosha: Flight of the Russian Gypsies. The author, Sonia Meyer, has written this novel based on her experience growing up in Germany during the Nazi regime and her relationships and encounters with Gypsies and her acceptance into a Gypsy camp. I happen to know someone who knows the author very closely and brought in the book for me to read, telling me, “You have to read this.” You see, my friend and I have many conversations about the current condition of the world and the inhabitants. So, I knew the book was going to have heavy topics. I have avoided reading it for a few weeks before I picked it up. But now that I have picked it up, I NEED to finish it.
As I read this piece of literary magic, I feel a connection to the characters. I am given a bit of history about Gypsy culture and life during and after the Nazi regime, Stalin reign, etc. I am sadden while I read and in turn, I am reading at a much slower pace than normal. The story is beautiful but I cannot seem to get past the historic undertone laid out as the story is being told.
It’s supposed to be a love story. I am only half way through the book so I am not doubting this fact but I can’t erase the fact that I am also getting a history lesson. I am so wrapped up, like most, in my own struggle. I know that others suffer but some times the amount of suffering amass passed my ability to comprehend beyond my own experience. When you think about the holocaust, who’s suffering come to mind? Jewish people. But we never speak about the suffering of the people caught in the middle of a war. For example, as an American, the first thought of those who have suffered as part of the war on Iraq are other Americans; 9/11 victims and soldiers send to the warzone. But what about the innocent Iraqi people? What about the subcultures of people living in Iraq? I have read, seen movies, etc., about Gypsy culture but you rarely hear about the part they played in any wars or the suffering they felt. Where is that history? What is the current status of their situation?
Part of the problem with our lost world is the lack of interest in knowledge. How can we rise above and have empathy and care for others when we are unaware of the others out there? Knowledge is either ignored or withheld from us, leading us down a road of ignorance and blind followers of the ones who keep us in the dark. We are left unaware because we do not seek knowledge but solely absorb what is given to us and thus we have created a generation of privileged individuals who are too lazy or have the mindset that the world or the universe owes and provides what they need so there is no reason to seek.
You never really understand another person’s suffering until you have walked a mile in their shoes but if you’re honest with yourself, I’m sure you wouldn’t want to. You can come close to understanding others if you were to listen to their story… I mean really listen. Seeking understanding of another’s difference and being empathetic is what will help us become better people. This leads to a celebration of difference and a world with less suffering.
Imagine if we embraced each other and didn’t try and make everyone the same. There is a good chance that the forced relocation, encampment and forced labor, etc., would have been avoided by Africans, Native Americans, Jewish people, Gypsies, and the list goes on.
We should make sure to always be aware of ourselves and actions. What happens when you appreciate a work of art but misuse/abuse the artist who created the art? The artist may no longer create and we lose the beauty that once was. There is always something to love about every country, every culture, every individual. Appreciate the individuals who inspire and create the culture and gives meaning to their country, which improves the world for all.
I want a world flowing free with difference so that I may always have something new to appreciate… don’t you?