Talk:Anton Pann

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Title Spitalul[edit]

Spitalul Amorului sau Cântatorul Dorului. There is a scan available on google books. Although partly in cyrillic, I think it is readable. And the title of the book seems to be "Spitalul Amorului sau Cântatorul Dorului". I also disagree with translation and would suggest "Hospital of Love or the Singer of Longing". I feel "lust" is not literal enough a translation for "dor", see dex online. Should we change it in the article? By the way, title seems wrong in all languages of wikipedia. Will suggest changes in Romanian and German, too, but not today MauriceM3 (talk) 04:35, 14 October 2010 (UTC)

Hiding the Romani identity[edit]

It looks like I got into another problem with the Romanian users and in another mirroring of the discrimination and racism from Romania. I told to the user who suggested Category:Romanian Romani people that I use to stay out of anything involving Roma and Romanians, including the very racist and innacurate article Roma minority in Romania, because most of the time it determines verbal violence from some of the Romanian users and revert wars. It did not last long and it appeared the first problem involving the Romanian Romani people. And, as usually, the Gypsy is guilty.

Here the issue on stake is that Anton Pann is the composer of the Romanian national anthem's music, plus an appreciated writer in the Romanian language. Of course, this did not match the Gypsy image and and many Romanians' racist dream of a pure European culture, so, until recently, his ethnicity was presented as Romanian or not named, to be assumed as Romanian. It is something usual in Romania that most of the positive things regarding the Romani people to be appropriated as Romanian or Hungarian, while many negative issues of the Romanians or Hungarians to be presented as Gypsy. The vicious circle of hiding the good things about the Romani people and branding them as backwards is mirrored in a very low number of Roma declaring the true identity (2.5% in the last census, while the estimations of the reality are of 10-12%). Recently, after it began to come out that Anton Pann was in fact Rom, it appeared also a theory that he was not the actual composer of the national anthem (allegedly, because he published it later, when the song was already popular) but the one who merely published a popular song. [1]. I consider that it is the time to recognize that we have also a contribution to the culture of Romania, that the work of Anton Pann is part of the Romani culture and, if you can accept his real ethnicity, also of the Romanian culture.

Now, coming back to the evolution of this issue at Wikipedia, after the insertion of Category:Romanian Romani people and other Romani categories, the user Bogdangiusca made an edit putting on a second plan the Romani ethnicity and the fact that he was born outside Romania, in the Ottoman Empire. Then, when I corrected the due importance of these two issues, he reverted and added an info coming out of nowhere about a Greek mother. This is the first time I learn about a supposed Greek mother, while the obvius reason for this was to dilute the Romani ethnicity, by putting as first the Category:Greek Romanians (the Greeks being considered more acceptable, as they are Europeans). A google search "Anton Pann + Greek", or in Romanian "Anton Pann + grecoiaca", "Anton Pann + greaca", "Anton Pann + grec", although it gives enough results, it doesn't say anything about a Greek mother. Everytime it is presented the Romani ethnicity or the alleged Romanian ethnicity. Even if the mother was Romni coming from a Greek speaking area (as the father is many times named as Romanian too, because he was from the Kalderash caste, a Romani caste crystallized in Romania) or even ethnic Greek, this has less importance, because, in the Kalderash tradition, she married young and after marriange she became part of her husband's caste, accepted as Kalderash Romni, spending most of her life identifying as Kalderash and rigurously respecting the Kalderash purity rules.

I reverted back, asking for sources, but then Bogdangiusca put again his version, writing contemptuously "is it that hard to ask on the talk page instead of reverting me? please read Wikipedia:Assume good faith". Good faith is for the newbies and it certainly does not replace a need for sourcing such unknown allegation. I mention that this user is an old one, now with almost 30,000 edits, even an administrator. The previous edits and reverts were done without any edit summary, although it can be seen that, in other cases, he usually makes them. Together with the last comment they express the usual racist contempt and lack of desire for communication of may non-Roma from Romania. It is not the first time I have such problems with such users, every time I had to write such short essays to support the reality, and to defend it against disrespectful attacks. I ask the Romanian users who do not share the views of Bogdangiusca to do something for creating a sane debate and for allowing a normal presentation of the Romanian Roma on Wikipeida. Desiphral-देसीफ्राल 10:54, 18 May 2007 (UTC)

Hi. I think this is a thorny issue. If anything, his origin appears to be disputed. My search, which was by no means exhaustive, only gave one result for his Romani ethnicity (and it was a Romani activist site - not saying it is wrong, just that it is biased). Keeping an open mind, the notion that he is Romani was news to me: I have generally heard of him being considered an Aromanian etc. What I am suggesting here is referencing all alternative versions from credible sources, and simply leaving the issue open for debate if things are inconclusive.
This goes hand in hand with my other proposal, which is to create a supracategory for Category:Roma history in Romania or Category:Roma minority in Romania or something of that kind, which would have "Romanian Romani people" as a subcat (leaving the "Romanian Romania" one to include individuals, as per precedents - which means tarafs et al would go in the former, as would other topics). For precedents, see Category:Jewish Romanian history and Category:Romanian Jews (and there are countless other such models). In this context, Pann, who is related to Roma history in more ways than one, could be included in the more general category, and we get the context without the POV and edit war.
Please note that I am ready to admit that Pann was in fact in Romani, and that sources I have not accessed yet would lead to that conclusion. In this case, although I would still keep the two-level/two-categories system for the reasons indicated, I would accept Pann be kept in the narrower category. That said, gentlemen, to your sources! Dahn 11:21, 18 May 2007 (UTC)

Well, searching further, I found this issue of the Romanian-Hungarian cultural magazine Foaia Românească, which says that his mother was Greek, but that his father was "of uncertain ethnicity, working as a căldărar". Now: the fact that his mother was Greek is certainly to be noted, and he should be categorized [as well] as a Greek-Romanian or any such category. If I have to draw my own conclusion about his father, I would have to say that such intentionally vague descriptions do seem to give some credibility to the notion that Romanian sources avoid mentioning that he was Romani, and can be said to be willingly hiding this "embarrassing" fact - especially since căldărar is the Romanian word for "Kalderash" (and, generally, the job it refers to is almost universally associated with the Roma ethnic group. If that is the case, then, yes, it is a problem (certainly not one created or endorsed by Bogdan, but one of Romanian cultural discourse affecting sources). However, one would need to find clear third-party sources that specifically say Pann was a Roma, in order to avoid the issue of original research (as plausible and reasonable as that original research may be). Dahn 11:52, 18 May 2007 (UTC)

Hmm, this is not a particularly encyclopaedic source, but it is in English, and it does state that "His father was a Gypsy and his mother was Greek.". - Francis Tyers · 12:00, 18 May 2007 (UTC)

I added the Greek mother, but I think that she just might have been Greek Romani, the same as his father was named in many sources Romanian (because the Kalderash Roma crystallized in Romania) and because of the fewer sources remembering the mother's Greek hailing. But I kept as Kalderash Rom the actual ethnicity of Anton Pan, since in those times the father's ethnicity mattered in self-identification. And that is the way he is described too: as a Rom, with Romani father and (Romani?) Greek mother. Desiphral-देसीफ्राल 13:44, 18 May 2007 (UTC)

Ok, the thing closest to a reliable source that I was able to find is a summary of Romani textbook published by Editura Sigma in 2003, where Pann is cited as a Romani author [2]. While I find it rather problematic that no clear, scholarly third-party source has yet surfaced, I suppose this gives some sort of basis for further investigations (at least we know that the view is present outside the limited number of pages linking to Romanothan). Dahn 18:47, 18 May 2007 (UTC)

And backed by this article in Gazeta de Maramureş: [3]. Dahn 18:49, 18 May 2007 (UTC)

This is, however, a scholarly confirmation that everything about his ethnicity is disputed, and that no mention should be taken for granted: "an incarnation of the Balkan "ethnic affinities", he was - according to one’s preferred sources - Bulgarian, Romanian, Vlach, or half-Greek (apparently, his mother was Greek)". Dahn 18:53, 18 May 2007 (UTC)

My conclusion[edit]

As we stand, I believe all matters involving his ethnicity should be discussed inside the article, with no category for them (for any of them). I think a cat for "Ottoman people" and "Romanian people", both indicative of his two citizenships, should be kept (the latter would be a stretch, but he happened to die during a very murky period, and other examples of people living in his situation in that period also tend to lead to "Romanians" categories - see Ienăchiţă Văcărescu). The mention of his ethnicity should also be dropped from the lead, and all variants should be discussed in the body of text, per WP:OR. In addition: I have noticed that he is referred to as "Romani" in other wiki articles; what I would recommend is either removing those mentions or indicating that they are theoretical, not certain. Dahn 19:01, 18 May 2007 (UTC)

It is really frustrating. The Romani sources name him as Romani, this is what the Romani children learn at school (personally, I didn't even know about a supposed Greek mother), while the non-Romani sources put in front a Greek mother and about the father express a clear embarassment, trying all the so-called "European" Balkanic ethnicities. Desiphral-देसीफ्राल 09:31, 19 May 2007 (UTC)
Frustrating as it may be, we still need to address the issue as it is presented. Personally, I am convinced that his father was a Rom, but what we are convinced of adds nothing to the issue of reliability. In parallel, the situation of conflicting references to ethnicity (as opposed to citizenship) is, alas, not by any means unprecedented (was John Hunyadi Hungarian or Romanian? was Sándor Petőfi Hungarian, Slovak, or Serbian? was Rigas Feraios Aromanian or Greek? etc.) The impact in education is equally conflicting: I'm not sure that Romanian textbooks classify Pann as a Rom, even if Romani Romanian textbooks do. In any case, in this situation, we simply cannot decide who is wrong and who is right (I suppose that is why the only scholarly reference we bumped into here chose to list all accounts). Dahn 09:47, 19 May 2007 (UTC)
From the point of view of the philosophy of history, this is a really interesting debate. Personally, I am all for the creation of a Romani history which seeks to challenge the normative discourse and articulate the role that Roma people have played as a constituent people of Romania. I am really looking forward to a time when Romania will acknowledge its past treatment of the Roma and when all Romanian children learn about the history of the Roma people. The same sort of thing is happening with LGBT history now, as happened with African American history in the past. I am particularly glad of the excellent work that Desiphral has done here in raising the profile of Romani subjects at Wikipedia.
From an objective perspective, however, all points of view are inevitably biased. The Romanian dominant discourse (or metanarrative, if you like) has sought to downplay Romani contributions to culture, and in particular the Romani ethnicity of prominent people, in order to validate nationalistic myth. Romani history is a history that has unfortunately been downplayed and erased throughout the ages. Now, Romani historians and cultural leaders are seeking to go back and, in one way or another, form a Romani metanarrative that is also mythical to an extent. Politically, I see this as a good sign against the dominant cultural discourse and a movement to be welcomed in the context of Roma rights. From a historical perspective, however, I would agree with Dahn in saying that blatantly stating that Pann was Rom (and defining him in the lead as ethnically a Kalderash Rom) is not particularly NPOV - rather, it is the point of view that Romani historiography has chosen to project onto the past. Similarly, removing his Romani heritage altogether is the view that Romanian historiography has projected onto the past. As "post-revisionists", we should seek to combine these two views. I will definitely be searching for sources to state that he was Rom, if only because up until this point I was actually convinced that he was a Rom (not growing up in Romania, I have tended to be affected by minority-rights narratives to a much greater extent than Romanian nationalist myth). Ronline 15:10, 19 May 2007 (UTC)
I couldn't have put it better myself. <3 - Francis Tyers · 16:15, 19 May 2007 (UTC)

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