Saturday, September 15, 2012

Roma in Cathar country? Networks for Sustenance: France

In contrast to the wealth reported for some Romanian Roma in Buzescu, who call themselves not Roma but Gypsies or Tsigani, see National Geographic Magazine, September 2012, at 128ff, others could use whatever sustenance assistance for themselves and their animals as are consistent with autonomy and pride. 

In France recently, for example, we noted a family at the ticket booth of a known but run-down Cathar castle, Puivert, with living quarters behind.  A child, father in the booth collecting the Euro, then a woman walking up the hill, heavy-laden.  To an outsider's eye, the context would be consistent with Roma.  Small carts were nearby, and several thin horses sought some shade in the castle wall.

Castle yard, Puivert Chateau.  Jousting exhibition course.

The heat was driving.  Few tourists were there, as the parking is a distance down the hill, but manageable. 

This chateau is overshadowed by the glitz and money at nearby Chalabre:  a commercial venture that we could not even enter because it did not open until noon.  But, from our research and walking around, there is little contemplative there, see  Chalabre is a theme park in itself, activities, carefully winnowed education included in the tourist bits that glorify crusaders.  This goes on apparently without analysis of cause, means, issues of a military-political church, disconnected from the principles of its Founder, an institution killing off the opposition. The Albigensian Crusade was more and worse than another adventure in history, where some won, some lost. We all lost with the Albigensians, who were Christian, and fostered tolerance and egality.  Leave each to his or her own beliefs and practices, as we understand it.

 See Chalabre among other exploited Cathar castles at

Point here:  We found a family working to make a living, horses in need of more feed than they can find, a castle that offers more in authenticity and imagination than Chalabre. See Puivert at  How to focus assistance with dignity, if they want it.  Perhaps I misread.

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