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Thammuz's avatar

Thoughts on France's recent policy towards Romanian and Bulgarian Gypsies: Where do you stand and why?

Asked by Thammuz (8570 points ) August 24th, 2010

BBC Article

I honestly don’t know where to stand on this issue.

Living in italy i have seen “Romas” (called “Rom” here) begging, enforcing unofficial tolls in station toilets, a friend of mine had one of their camps in an illegally occupied terrain next to his house and, the day they left, all the food he stored in his basement suddenly disappeared, so i can’t help but think there had to be some sort of connection.

Furthermore all the suggestions like “what if we gave them places to live and jobs” seem moot because their culture embraced nomad behaviour long ago and they don’t seem to want to leave it behind any time soon. This rises all sorts of problems with civil behaviour, them being untraceable and therefore unprosecutable.

From whatever angle you slice it they’re a problem, if not because they do commit crimes, simply because they can’t be prosecuted if they do.

And yet i can’t honestly say this is a good idea. Firstly because it’s ineffectual, they travel constantly, what’s deporting them gonna do? Secondly because no matter how justified it may be it’s still a brutal generalization and an uneven treatement of the same crimes.

Beggars, thieves and prostitutes exist everywhere, and even the ones that are immigrants aren’t necessarily romas, yet they’re subject to a rougher treatement to say the least.

But then, how can a sedentary society, whose entire security system leans on its citizens being traceable, accept a people that stubbornly refuses to conform to this very base premise?

I have no answers, and i’d like to see yours.

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19 Answers

LuckyGuy's avatar

It is a tough problem but by their very nature they do not intend to contribute to the society in which they live – no matter how temporary. If they move to a region and rely solely upon begging the local citizens can refuse to contribute. Consider it tough love. No work no food.
We have illegal Mexican immigrants who stand outside of Home Depot looking for day labor. They work hard and contribute to the economy. What do Gypsies excpect fo the moeny? For example if they enforce toll in station toilets, do they keep the toilets clean? Do they provide any service at all?
If the residents of the community do not want them there they need to stop “feeding” them.

marinelife's avatar

It is a difficult problem. While I support deporting those who engage in criminal conduct, I am not sure that begging is criminal conduct. But the fact that the men exploit the women and children is very troubling to me.

Thammuz's avatar

@worriedguy For example if they enforce toll in station toilets, do they keep the toilets clean?
No, and the police ususally kick them out faster than light if you tell them about it.

If the residents of the community do not want them there they need to stop “feeding” them.
The problem is precisely that they don’t rely only on begging, but no matter how i force myself to, i can’t find legal occupations that would hire them.

Regularly hiring them, here in italy, is out of the question because the paperwork would drown a small nation, because they don’t necessarily have a work permit or valid documents; which means they are hired under the table and their payments don’t figure in the books, so they don’t pay taxes, but what’s worse is that those who hire them don’t have to pay for their pensions and health care, making them preferrable to people who want to be hired officially.

This, in a nation that is already strangled by the mafia, is a huge problem, that makes the whole thing even less acceptable.

So doing as you suggest (No work, no food), doesn’t really work. Those who do work, work for slave-like wages without regular documents, making them a failsafe way to cheat on your taxes, adding to the already sky-high tax evasion in my country, and those who don’t work beg, or worse.

One more thing i thought about is this: in most european countries school is both a duty and a right: Not sending your kids to school is considered criminal conduct, which can lead to losing the custody of your children, but in this case it is never applied, for some reason, even though it’s a blatant violation of the law. Yet another conflict to add to the list.

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Keysha's avatar

@Thammuz My husband used to be on this site. If you wish, here is a link to one of his blogs, with others on the sidebar, pointing out the issues in Europe and other issues pertinant to this situation Blog This one is Italy. My husband is tired. He is Roma, and he has been following this issue. He has been watching his people be persecuted and exterminated for so long, he no longer can fight. The blogs are old and out of date, but there is a lot of info in them to help answer your questions. Please feel free to browse around. If you wish to talk to him, PM me and I’ll pass along his email. He no longer visits this site.

janbb's avatar

@Keysha Please tell him I’ve thought about him while hearing of this issue and send him my best regards.

Thammuz's avatar

@Keysha The link you posted is actually really troubling, i did know about the horrible treatement italians reserve to gypsies, roma or not, but seriously this left me at a loss for words.

And that rarely happens.

Reading this, i had to read my posts back and actually i think i found the core of the matter:

no matter how i force myself to, i can’t find legal occupations that would hire them.
Allow me to elaborate: i wasn’t kidding when i said this, i’m far from having researched the matter, but from my everyday knowledge, the only thing i really know is the bad rep.
I assume that has to be a minority because criminals are always a minority in any group, but in my whole day-to-day experience i’ve never met one who wasn’t a beggar at least.

My point being: prejudice causes insulation, insulation causes prejudice.

I don’t know what could be done about this, but i’m sure that IF something can be done, italy will do it last. Our populace is still completely backwards on pretty much any social issue (there still are lots of gay lynchings, to give you an idea) and is still racist as fuck, even internally (people from the north despise people from the south, and vice versa).

This morning i thougth i couldn’t hate my country more than i did already, tonight i’ve doubled my hate for it. Didn’t see that one coming.

Tell your husband that, for what’s worth, at least one italian is sorry.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

Yeah, France has really been off their rocket lately with the burqa ban and now this. I’m against what they’re doing.

Nullo's avatar

I feel that governments owe no favors to people who live in places illegally. Crime is crime, and criminals ought to expect to be prosecuted at some point.

Similarly, I reserve the right to encourage trespassers to leave my house, yard, etc.

Keysha's avatar

@Thammuz Thank you. I read what you said to him and he appreciates it and says thank you as well

—-@janbb Thank you. I told him that and he says thank you too.—

I think one of the biggest problems is that the Roma are one of, if not the only ethnicity with no homeland. They cannot ‘go back home’ because they don’t have one. And they are a small minority, which has no one to speak for them. Do as you want (like Kosovo where there are many Roma living on one of the worst toxic waste sites in the area, UN sanctioned), because not enough will fight for them. And because you cannot fight the UN or the heads of the countries. No one cares.

Blame all for what one does. In Italy, what sparked it, was one single murder by a Roma. In France, it is the President blaming them for all the ills in the country.

Aris’s blogs are old. He cannot write any more. His family are likely gone. His clan as well. He prays daily to die before they fire up the gas chambers for his people, again. His heart is broken over what happens. But his older blogs remain. Documenting the start of the new Holocaust. I wonder how long before they are removed, just as his people are being removed.

Trillian's avatar

Hello Keysha,
I thought of Aris as soon as I saw the question, and figured that I’d see a response from him here. I know he hasn’t posted lately, I just figured he took a break like seventh sense or dpworkin.
I hope the two of you are well, and please say hello rom me.
@Thammuz I don’t know where to stand. What to the Rom want? Do they really keep their children in ignorance? I’m willing to bet the those laws are not enforced because the system would have to remove the children and house them.
I do not approve of the toll thing, nor of stealing. I thought they did odd jobs for people. The children deserve to be educated. I also believe that people should contribute to the society in which they live. I don’t think that there is an easy answer.

Nullo's avatar

@Trillian Toilet tolls are fairly common in Italy, or at least they were. Most are even legit, as such things go.

Keysha's avatar

This blog about Roma and school. Freshly updated.

Thammuz's avatar

@Trillian I’m willing to bet the those laws are not enforced because the system would have to remove the children and house them.

Most likely, yeah.

Do they really keep their children in ignorance?
Actually i have reserves on that previous point. The state treats school as a duty/right, however it must recognise the school you go to.

So they may well be the most educated people in the world, but if the children don’t at least give the evaluation at the end of the year to see wether they’re on par with other children of the same class, they might as well be ignoramous extraordinaire as far as the state is concerned.

Mozart's avatar

I think I should bring up that France is only deporting illegal immigrants. They can’t deport any who came here legally, and France shouldn’t have to support people who went there illegally in the first place.

Keysha's avatar

@Mozart how is it illegal when they are part of the EU with an open border policy?

Thammuz's avatar

@Keysha Mozart is a professional troll

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