The Techno-Witch. A Poem for the Future.
The actress Mihaela Drăgan explores a future in which Roma women are free.
By Mihaela Drăgan
Illustration by Renata Mihaly
Translated by Ioanida Costache, Laura Rusu and Elena Limbosu
15 December 2021
Mihaela Drăgan is an actress and playwright. In 2014, together with actress Zita Moldovan she co-founded the Roma feminist theater company Giuvlipen. This poem was written for Mihaela’s experimental film, The Future is a Safe Place Hidden in My Braids, a work that lays the foundation for Roma-futurism, aiming to put Roma history and culture at the heart of any efforts to build the future. The poem imagines a future in which Roma women are free from racial oppression.
This poem is part of a project called The Way of the Land, a journalistic initiative documenting the impact of 500 years of Roma slavery on relationships between Romanians and Roma today.
The girl asked me to read her fortune in the cards, she wanted to see the future.
I saw the memory of her pain, for both of us, the past was flowing through our veins
faster than the rivers that used to drown our ancestors, killed by their masters.
I read her fortune in cards and I saw our future.
More real than reality itself, I was shown those who came before me.
The past galloped in our bodies to make room for what was to come.
We sought our future deep in the roots to understand our mission.
I saw myself in the girl’s eyes reflected like in a mirror. We were one.
And I was shown: a heavy rain that shall be cast upon us with drops of fire which will sweep the earth, and nothing will like it was before.
What had once seemed to stand still will become ephemeral. What had once seemed strong will be weak.
What were once sparks will become tongues of fire. And later ashes. I saw.
The waters of the rivers and the seas will not drown us as they did during slavery
The power that we have gained in all these years of oppression
Will not let us sink into the depths of the seas.
We will create a new world from the dust we collected on our wandering feet on our long journey to freedom.
We are the movement, we are the wave that swallows, the fire that annihilates, the roars of the persecuted whom we never forget.
We never truly died when they thought they had killed us.
We never truly burned when they thought we were ashes.
The water never truly swallowed us when they thought they had drowned us.
We are the mission.
Chaje, I read your fortune to dispel your worries, the enemy shall not win
When the power of the darkness of your skin defeats him, then you will know that you are not alone.
When his white skin will be worthless, you will know you are the Warrior
Tear down the forces that hold you back from your destiny of rebellion.
You are the Revolution. You were born from the ashes of your burned sisters, not to imitate life but to create life itself.
You are the Creator.
You are lit by the thousands of flames kept ablaze for you by those who came before you.
You are their dream – buried with those from before in their earthy graves
Your name is liberation.
Go and show them the way, you are the Leader. Together with our sisters, you shall control our destiny, our story shall not be erased.
Hide witchcraft in the locks of your braids, and when the wind blows, let it carry the strands of your hair as far as possible. They will be the seeds that will blossom into the Techno-Witches. We will proliferate through the power of our magic. We will multiply through the means of our technology. Our people will not die. We will be many and we will have a place in this world. It is time.
The time has come to show the world the beauty of Mother Kali’s people
Understand the help of the darkness. There will be peace
You are never alone, you are part of a greater plan, bigger than all of us
You are the Techno-Witch.
The future belongs to you. Use the gifts they left us. We are not a cursed people like the white man’s lies made us believe.
We are the bringers of change.
Use the darkness that lives inside you to be a witch. You are the vision.
What seems infinite becomes the end.
Do not fear the brutal words within your fragile heart, use your rage to create the future.
I look at you and I see survival. I read of your power in the Tarot. You are the Liberator
It is time to let our ancestors rest in peace. I saw romi baxtale in the future. It is time to reach the next level.
We are with you. And we are many. The future is ours.
This poem was also published in print in DoR #46, as part of a series curated by Margareta (Magda) Matache, the director of the Roma Program at Harvard and a Roma rights activist. Because healing the wounds of the past has to start with recognition and reconciliation.
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The history of my family isn’t complete without a past that includes slavery and the Holocaust, but also stories of resistance and survival.
To heal on a societal level is to recognize and repent, so that we can begin to imagine a future in which no one has to feel the painful effects of racism.