Friday, August 20th, 2010

Child of Wandering European Immigrants To Forcefully Deal With Gypsy Problem

!!!I'm probably not the only one whose heart gets all fluttery when he sees the words "Gypsies" and "illegal camps" and "deportation" and "repatriation" in the same story, right? (Maybe that is just because I recently re-read Bruce Sterling's "Black Swan" last night, in which Nicolas Sarkozy is Nicolas the Rat, evil criminal.) Anyway, yeah. The Gypsies! Since we didn't manage to sterilize all of them in the 80s, I guess Sarkozy can send them out of France and back to Olde Europa. (Which is what? Moldavia?) Just don't let them near Sweden or Denmark. Or Germany. Or Italy. Or the Czech Republic. Or Hungary. Or Bulgaria.

50 Comments / Post A Comment

pavlovswife (#761)

When they came for Stevie Nicks, I said nothing…

Clio (#3,719)

I first visited Prague back in the summer of '92 to see my college roommate who had moved there after graduation. I'm biracial (black/white) and a Jewish friend of mine who also has an indeterminate ethnic look and a head full of curly hair warned me to act as self-consciously American as I could without being obnoxious. One night going back to her friend's apartment some neighbors thought she was Roma and there was a lot of trouble–nearly violent trouble–about her coming into the building until they produced her passport and proved she was American.

I managed to avoid that kind of trouble, but not the attitudes of even some of the ex-pats I met toward the Roma. Two American guys my former roommate knew were working a summer camp in Slovakia (this was before the country split) and there was a rash of petty thefts. The other kids suspected the one Roma kid, and when it later turned out he had been behind it the Americans shook their heads and said something about reverting to type. And I said something about having lived in West Philly for a year, with its panopticon grocery stores and bulletproof windows at the KFC, and understandintg that when everyone around you thinks you're a thief anyway it kinda makes you want to steal things, especially when you're like, 11 and what you stole was a pen.

Pop Socket (#187)

Every group tour I have been on in Europe has included warnings by the local guides about the Roma. It's good to know something unites Europeans.

Lockheed Ventura (#5,536)

There is a good reason for that. There is an ingrained criminal culture among the Roma.

Also the blacks, you know! It's a criminal culture. That's why we lock them up.

Lockheed Ventura (#5,536)

I never said lock them up, but the Roma do target tourists for pickpocketing. I am not saying all pickpockets are Roma, but come on, if as an American tourist your are approached by a Roma or even their children, best to watch your wallet just to be on the safe side.

DoctorDisaster (#1,970)

By saying "the Roma do target tourists for pickpocketing," you are saying either that all Roma are pickpockets or all pickpockets are Roma. Because, y'know, it's pickpockets that target tourists for pickpocketing. Everywhere. If you are going to pick someone's pocket, a tourist is a great target! They won't be here long; they aren't familiar with the laws; they might not even speak the language. If you can't tell the difference between "watch out for pickpockets" and "watch out for the Roma," that's a problem.

Mindpowered (#948)

Once again, you treat people like dirt based on skin colour, disdain their lifestyle, and shut them out of economic opportunity and we are shocked. SHOCKED! when they turn to criminal activity to support themselves.

deepomega (#1,720)

Hey, mindpowered, if the roma didn't want to be discriminated against, maybe they shouldn't be so DOWNTRODDEN.

Mindpowered (#948)

Totally their own fault that they are poverty stricken. Why if they had any can-do gumption they would have banded together and ethnically cleansed some piece of land and taken it for themselves.

Bob Brown (#7,510)

How is it you know so much about this?

Lockheed Ventura (#5,536)

Democratic countries have the right to control their borders. If France permitted unlimited immigration, its standard of living would plummet to third world standards over night.

The Roma are entitled to live in accordance with their culture, just not in France, please.

Maybe everyone should have thought about this further before joining the EU. It's fine, the Roma are just the old standby of the anti-A8 racism in England pretty much. Those horrible jobless Slovenians and Slovakians!

kneetoe (#1,881)

Yes, Lockheed, and the reverse is also true–that democratic countries must keep all production within their borders to make sure that no one makes money off all that cheap third world labor. Right?

I don't disagree that border control is important, but it's a bit complicated as well. My air here is to be as overly broad as you on the matter.

cherrispryte (#444)

@Choire – I have not read the article, so I don't know if you're referencing something there, but Slovenia had, for awhile, the best economy in all of Eastern/Southeastern Europe. So not so jobless!

jfruh (#713)

It turns out from reading this that I don't actually understand the EU freedom of movement laws? I thought that basically any EU citizen (which the Roma are!) could live anywhere in the EU, but apparently you can still be kicked out of a country if you aren't working?

It's complicated by the fact that the Romania and Bulgaria (which are the homes of some but not all of the Roma France wants to kick out) are in some kind of transitional phase right now where there isn't freedom of movement for their citizens, and further complicated by the fact that some countries (including maybe France?) implemented the freedom of movement rules for them earlier.

But in the long run, yes, if you don't want Roma living in your country, you probably shouldn't join the EU.

oudemia (#177)

@cherrispryte: Can't speak for what Choire meant, but "jobless, resource-draining" Slovenians and Slovakians (and Poles and anyone else) were a trope of racist, nationalist British political parties, like the BNP.

cherrispryte (#444)

Ah. That makes sense – except that, you know, those are the people that tend to come to Western Europe and do the work that no one else wants to do, but hey, expecting logic from xenophobic political parties is clearly entirely too much to ask for.

Niko Bellic (#1,312)

These people are EU citizens, not "third world". And even if they were not, shouldn't laws be enforced on individual bases, not wholesale on ethnic/racial? Finally, I don't even want to talk to you… when are we going to start on (individual) commenter executions around here anyway? I don't want the standard of commenting to plummet over night here.

Lockheed Ventura (#5,536)

Why don't you make a list of acceptable political positions?

Niko Bellic (#1,312)

You need to brush up on reading comprehension and basic logic first. You'd be surprised how political positions tend to correct themselves after that.

WellThen (#1,251)

"Democratic countries have the right to control their borders." Can we look at this paragraph from the article though?

"French president Nicholas Sarkozy was this week accused of pursuing a "xenophobic" and "discriminatory" crackdown on the country's 400,000 Travelers, Gypsies and Roma – most of whom have French citizenship."

That last part. I really would like some more information on that, because it is distressing. Best I can tell, this crack-down is not really distinguishing between travellers with French nationality and illegal Roma, and is really worsening the persecution of both. Also, as others have pointed out, they are disregarding the EU's rules on freedom of travel. Also worth mentioning, France has been disregarding its own law regarding providing adequate accomodations for travellers (part of the Besson law of 2000), which has led to the establishment of illegal encampments.

@jfruh: I'm trying to find more specifics on the freedom of movement laws as they apply to Roma and travellers, and I did find this, anyway. link The paragraph on "Right of residence for more than six months" is helpful. Also found this article: "Bulgaria and Romania joined the European Union in 2007, enshrining free movement of people. But citizens from Bulgaria and Romania are subject to transitional provisions in France, requiring them to obtain a permit in order to work in certain professions. " That may be an extra hurdle for them to satisfy the work requirements. Not that the rampant discrimination and inadequate housing weren't bad enough.

WellThen (#1,251)

Wow, that was a bit tl;dr, wasn't it?

Lockheed Ventura (#5,536)

The article discusses the deportation of a grand total of 80 Roma who were living in France illegally. France has every right to deport them under French and EU law.

Just for perspective, the United States deports over 700 Mexican nationals daily, DAILY, and yet the legal deportation of 80 Roma by the French government is being discussed as if it is Kristallnacht.

Niko Bellic (#1,312)

The guy who labels an entire ethnic group as pickpockets is calling on the rest of us for getting out of line.

Mr. Racial Profiling failed, so we are going to listen to Mr. Legal Expert now? I'm wondering about you motives on this sudden "legal move" of yours… hmmmm. Oddly enough, that's exactly what the article is talking about.

WellThen (#1,251)

Well, I'm unable to read past the first few paragraphs of the Wall Street Journal article. (I believe I need a subscription to read the full thing?) As a result, I was looking more at the last article Choire linked to. (This one.) I don't think most people are reacting to the 80 people being deported in and of itself. It's that this is just part of a systemic xenophobia and discrimination against Roma. France really isn't following the EU's and its own laws with regards to its treatment of travellers and Roma, and Europe in general is creating a really unlivable environment for them. Maybe you can help me out by letting me know what's qualifying the people being deported as living there illegally, because all I can find is just that they're staying in illegal encampments, which is happening because France is not following their laws with regards to housing for nomads. (A little info on that law here.)

Comparing it to Mexican illegal immigration doesn't seem entirely appropriate to me, since there you're talking about people who entered a country illegally to start with as opposed to people who had a legal right to enter France.

Niko Bellic (#1,312)

"I believe I need a subscription to read the full thing"

Google the entire title of the article and click on the link that shows up in your results. This is how everyone reads every WSJ article for free.

WellThen (#1,251)

Thanks, Niko. The more you knowww. *shooting star*

Lockheed Ventura (#5,536)

Romania and Bulgaria are not a full members of the EU. While Romanians and Bulgarians may move to France, they must be able to prove employment within 90 days of moving to France. Since many Roma cannot obtain employment or are employed in the "black market", they cannot meet this requirement and thus are deported.

The French government is not obligated to house Roma who are living in the country illegally. Also, and this will cause me to be condemned, many Roma do not want to live in permanent housing, but prefer to live in caravans which is consistent with their nomadic culture. (Bring the hate, but I speak the truth.)

By any measure, France is much more generous to immigrants than the United States. For Americans to portray the deportation of illegal migrants by France as an act of hate is hypocritical.

I assure you Mexicans deported by the United States are treated much worse by ICE than those deported by France, and the US does not pay each deported Mexicans $500 in deportation expenses.

WellThen (#1,251)

When you say Bulgaria and Romania aren't full members of the EU I assume you're talking about the labor restrictions? Looking into that more I see it's true, those restrictions aren't required to be lifted until 2014. (Aparently people are "eligible for fast-track work permits if they apply for any of a list of 62 jobs where recruitment is a problem. These include restaurant services, industrial maintenance, construction, public works and health." I dunno how easy it is for them to actually get these jobs and meet the employment requirement.) Is their not meeting the employment requirement the problem? I haven't seen anything at all where Sarkozy or his people address that. I just see article after article where they focus on these HORRIBLE ILLEGAL CAMPS.

Part of what I'm finding troubling about this is the dismantling of these camps, which I really should be discussing a bit more separately from the issue of "repatriation" and deportation, since it effects French citizens as well as immigrants.

I don't know about anybody else, but I'm not going to hate on you for saying that there are Roma who would rather live in caravans than in permanent housing. That's true. But the current law in France requires camp site accomodations to be provided for "travellers," ie nomadic people in cities with over 5,000 inhabitants. France isn't enforcing this law. (At least not effectively. Cities get little slap-on-the-wrist fines for not complying.)

(300 Euros is only $385.) I wasn't making any reference to the treatment of the people being deported, more to the legality of the deportation in the first place. I'm not at all saying that I'm okay with America's immigration policy. I really just don't think it quite works to compare the two since there is no legal agreement between Mexico and the U.S. allowing free movement between the two countries. (Funnily enough, it seems many of the people being expelled from France will be fully allowed under EU rules to go right back, which is one of the other reasons people are criticizing this move.)

oudemia (#177)

Do they still call them rafles? Gather everyone up at the Vel d'Hiv?

katiebakes (#32)

The Hunchback of Notre Dame was criminally underrated as a Disney flick.

I've witnessed some shockingly racist remarks made about the Roma, and when I've called people up on them, the response has always been along the lines of "oh no, you don't understand- these people are really like this."

oudemia (#177)

I think you should add a "Psmith."

ComradePsmith (#4,477)

Do you?

oudemia (#177)

The game has changed! Bravo, sir.

I have some wonderful friends who usually pipe up around then to inform whoever that "actually, did you know Vivien is part-gypsy?"
I then stare pointedly at their handbags or pockets until they shift uncomfortably.

erikonymous (#3,231)

"these people are really like this."

They probably think it's ok to say things like that because they have gypsy friends!

Bittersweet (#765)

@Vivien: doubtless these are the same enlightened Europeans who talk about how racist Americans are. That got old really fast when I was living in Switzerland.

hman (#53)

Let's rename them the San Marzano.

Why can't they all just be roguishly rcharming, like Brad Pitt and Jason Flemyng?

DoctorDisaster (#1,970)

No, they all really are like that! Roguish thieving jobless charming pickpockets with an ingrained criminal culture. And they're terribly partial to the periwinkle blue.

And if they're Frenchy, then Johnny Depp!

deepomega (#1,720)

They're also really good at dancing and fighting and sportsing – so good that I sometimes worry about letting them compete with whites.

Niko Bellic (#1,312)

Ha, ha. Oh, yeah. The Roma are pickpockets, but you know what? The French (and the Germans) are fucking racist pigs (and so are we Serbians). You Americans are the worst of all however, since you have lousy taste in food and clothing, so you don't even have the basics right, let alone these other more complicated things!

Seriously though, shit like this is exactly the reason why I came to work in US and not an EU country. It makes this country seem like a fucking super-humanity utopia (even with Arizona and all).

Wait, we have terrible taste in food and clothing as compare to THE BRITS?

@NB–ok, so when speaking to European people (thoughtful, gentle people) about the Roma, I get super confused. Like, these nice, thoughtful, openminded people have no problem justifying making wide negative generalizations about this group of people. I am told I just do not understand if I bring up mexican/african-american comparisons. I am told that this is just how they are, that their culture is completely different. And then they cite things that do seem really weird. As the first european I have encountered with this stance, please explain somehow…

Niko Bellic (#1,312)

If "thoughtful" means someone willing to think (as opposed to someone who's done a lot of thinking (or reading) in the past), it shouldn't be difficult for them to separate Roma persons from "Roma culture" (outcast mentality, really) even if some given Roma person has not done so themselves (largely as a result of not being given the same chances, of course). If they are having a difficulty with doing that, then they are not really "thoughtful", even if they are "full of thoughts", which is not the same thing.

Niko Bellic (#1,312)

I guess I didn't answer your question: I get into this crap with my Euro friends almost as often as I get into arguing about film or foreign policy with Americans. Choices of focus are different.

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