In May 1942, Romania’s Antonescu ordered the deportation of ‘nomad, idle and criminal Gypsies’ (Roma) in order to ‘cleanse villages and cities of poor or dangerous people.’
In August, 2012, French officials justified the dismantling and forced expulsion of Roma from France on the basis that conditions in the “illegal” camps were “unsanitary” and that “tensions” with the local population had become “untenable” because of a soaring “crime rate”.
After 70 years rhetoric doesn’t seem to have changed very much, does it?
Governments, seemingly complicit to one another laud human rights and integration in the same breath they sign forced eviction notices and build walls and fences to coral us in regions outside of their upper-class neighbourhoods. They pack us in disused barracks, factories, and waste dumps and don’t think we’ll notice the similarities to history. They bank on us remaining too hungry to be educated; they play their cards so that we’re forced with our backs to the wall and as soon as we snap and beg or steal or get angry their rallying cries of “see?!!” echo throughout our slums.
Ambassadors say we’re “inbred” and “inadaptable” and are patted warmly on the back, dismissing our arguments like a horse flicking lazily at mosquitoes.
Scholars say we dug our own hole and should be responsible for clawing our own way out; they say atrocities of the past were committed against us for a reason and we deserved it.
“Objective” news reports paint us as secretive liars – who will steal anything we have the chance to, including your house and your kids.
… and they argue against the asylum-seekers saying that Hungary is “safe”. Politicians obviously able to ignore the conditions and treatment Roma receive. Obviously able to ignore the rising threat of neo-Nazi right wing groups like Jobbik and the Magyar Garda (supposedly “officially” banned, but still able to hold rallies against the Roma). Obviously able to ignore the violence against us – which is often ignored or incited by those supposed to protect us (the police and other security forces).
It scares me that currently news servers seem quiet. A search for “Roma” or “Gypsy” brings up silence. Nothing. I don’t think that’s ever happened in the years I’ve been running my blogs.
I feel like we’re waiting for something… and it’s not going to be good.
For example, a recent headline from Romea.cz: Czech tabloid’s skewed reporting almost launches anti-Romani protests – not the first such case in the Czech Republic.
In 2011, the Jobbik party released a statement blaming the “Gipsy people” for crime and violence in the country and stating that an alleged attack by Roma on non-Roma with machetes, was in fact “partially with samurai swords”. Not only that, but “members of the Gipsy minority are becoming more and more frequently responsible for killing innocent, lonely elderly people in the countryside, brutally murdered for a minimal amount of money or – as it was the case recently – for a bottle of wine”, accusations that have never been proven. In fact, most allegations against the Roma are unsubstantiated or later proven false.
The upsetting thing to me, is that I have received emails from many Hungarian young people telling me that I don’t “know” the reality of life for a Hungarian non-Roma – it is one of fear! They then proceed to spout the exact rhetoric above…
and I don’t know about you, but that terrifies me.