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Racism against the Romani

My news access is kind of weird these days, so I have no idea whether I should expect people to have heard of the blonde Roma girls taken from their families by police. One 'Maria' in Greece, which turns out to be an unregistered adoption; last I know her parents are still in jail for an abduction that never happened; and one in Ireland, who turned out to be the biological child of her parents and has been returned. It's been a good stimulus to (re)learn about how bad racism against the Romany is in Europe.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slavery_in_Romania tells us that they were enslaved in Romania up until 1856. Not serfs, full blown slaves. They were also targeted by the Holocaust; Germany acknowleded this in 1982, which I'm guessing is way after they acknowledged guilt about the Jews. It kind of pre-dates the Nazis, too:

"Roma in the Weimar Republic were forbidden from entering public swimming pools, parks, and other recreational areas, and depicted throughout Germany and Europe as criminals and spies.[13] By 1926, this ‘racial panic’ was transmitted into law. The Law for the Fight Against Gypsies, Vagrants and the Workshy was enforced in Bavaria. It stipulated that groups identified as ‘Gypsies’ avoid all travel to the region."

In a sense, being Romany has been like being black (American) *and* Jewish in all the worst treatment of each. But it gets better!

Czechoslovakia forced sterilizations from the 1970s on http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/6409699.stm
And then people kept on doing it, if unofficially http://www.csmonitor.com/2006/0906/p07s02-woeu.html much like a recent scandal about coercive sterilization of poor mothers in the US.

Slovakia's started ghettoizing Romany http://www.csmonitor.com/2003/0103/p04s02-woeu.html ghetto as in "Nazi ghettos of Jews"

Neapolitans burned down a Roma camp in 2008 http://www.i-italy.org/bloggers/1907/mob-violence-against-gypsies-naples
French burn one in 2012. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-19756468

Romania in 2010 tried to change the name for Romany to something meaning 'untouchable'. http://content.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,2035862,00.html?iid=tsmodule

EU accession could make things worse for a while: EU members are considered too democratic to generate refugees, but the new members wouldn't enjoy freedom of movement for 5-10 years. So the Romany would be unable to escape as refugees or as EU citizens[1] even as xenophobia ramps up. http://www.theguardian.com/uk/2002/oct/24/immigration.immigrationandpublicservices
[1] Not to mention the hazy citizenship of some of them, with the moving around.

And it's so much fun to be a Romany child waiting for adoption. http://www.radio.cz/en/section/curraffrs/what-is-keeping-children-in-orphanages-when-so-many-people-want-to-adopt

"British social workers who have travelled to Central Europe told us school teachers they met there viewed Roma children as "mentally diseased"." http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-20770420

Hungary, which has already zoomed into fascism in many respects, naturally has paramilitaries attacking the Roma as well. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-19439679

As for Maria, the early articles talked a lot about her "being made to beg", based on some video of her dancing hesitantly. "The inference has prompted fury across the Roma community - the footage was taken after a baptism and a religious celebration."

Finally, I question the "only several thousand live in camps" here (especially since the France article says 15,000 were living in camps in France), but there's mention of nasty racism a woman spoke in San Francisco: http://ideas.time.com/2013/10/23/roma-writer-actually-stealing-children-isnt-our-favorite-pastime/
"More accurately, that a Gypsy cannot integrate into society, because Gypsies are a subhuman category incapable of more evolved reasoning. ... as she told us that Gypsies have been genetically engineered by nature to have children at 9 years old and that most of the girls died at about 14."


Terminology: going by Wikipedia, Romani is the broader term, for the whole language group; Roma are the biggest subgroup. I've used Roma when articles do, but I figure all the Romani are in for it.

I know jack about how child interventions work, but I suspect that these cases of merely vaguely suspected shenanigans, without any signs of abuse or flight risk, did not actually require taking the child out of the home while DNA testing and other investigation happened.

See the comment count unavailable DW comments at http://mindstalk.dreamwidth.org/379272.html#comments



( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
Oct. 26th, 2013 06:52 pm (UTC)
we have Gypsies in Oregon, and they used to buy and sell cars (cash only) but the state passed a law that if you sold more than a few cars a year, you needed a business license to do it.
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )


Damien Sullivan

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