Nothing Changes

Nov 21, 2012 by

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?

1940

2010

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.

6 Comments

  1. Vic

    Yeah, you’re right… nothing changes… 10 centuries gone, and maybe it’d take another 10 if a matter as serious & appalling as this is left to NGOs and human right activists to solve. That’s called charity, and it works in situations like that in Africa. We want people with the zeal of revolutionaries, not missionaries.

    No Roma ready to give up their personal dreams and ambitions to work for their people?
    Nobody ready to lead their own brothers and sisters out of this misery?
    Nobody ready to die?
    Has the Rajput blood dried in your veins?

    If I were given a chance, I won’t go around educating, feeding, and protecting the Roma population, I’d rather brainwash (or motivate) ONE — just 1 — Roma to stand up without arms and lead.

    I feel sad when I hear that a Roma child was kicked hard because he tried to steal a bread after going a week without food. Should I run and feed him?

    • Qristina

      Your comment… angered me somewhat. You think that there are no Roma fighting for their brothers and sisters? You are very wrong. Toma Nikolaev is a well-known Roma rights activist from Bulgaria. He is currently facing extradition from the UK for activism work. They will send him back to his home country – Bulgaria – where he will face harassment from the police and non-Roma alike. He fled to the UK after facing bomb threats and being attacked. He is currently (as far as I am aware) in prison for protesting against Bulgarian treatment of the Roma.

      There are many such cases as his. Many Roma who have been attacked (even Roma politicians – whom are very few indeed – have been attacked openly).

      Being Roma – as you know if you’ve read this blog – is not so easy. We are discriminated against, often violently, because of our ethnicity. You make it sound like we are lazy or just don’t want to help. You are very, VERY wrong. You are not Roma, therefore you have no right to comment on my blood and my actions. I am doing all I can to make a difference. I left Europe, I came to the US, I am fighting every chance I can get – as are hundreds of others.

      We are working hard, Vic… but it’s almost impossible with the situation the way it is in Europe. Roma need food and education in order to help themselves. There are many NGO’s and others run by Roma who are tirelessly working to improve the situation. However, for every Roma who is fighting, there are tens of thousands of non-Roma who are complicit by their ignorance and silence and lack of compassion. For every Roma teacher, doctor, or NGO there are ten or twenty non-Roma politicians drafting policies and programs and cutting aid and support and shuffling us further and further away.

      You make the assumption that I don’t want to help. That I am not able to help.

      That I AM NOT helping.

      How do you know I am not that Roma? How do you know that other Roma are not that Roma? How do you know there aren’t many Roma who are already helping their brothers and sisters?

      How do you know? You don’t. You do not know what I have already given up to be here – and to assume that I have not given up anything is ludicrous. I gave up my family; I gave up my home; I gave up my future…

      • you’ve not given up your future…you are diligently working towards it. for many more people than just yourself. thank you for all your hard work.

  2. On Tuesday, a German politician said, that Hungary was safe for Roma, and therefore asylum-seeking Roma had to go back there. I am wondering if this guy does not read a paper or watch television…
    Last time I forgot to ask: may I link to your blog, too? I am not sure yet if I am going to do so, as I am receiving some awful mail since I started writing about Roma. I do not really want these people to come after you, too. But on the other hand there is more useful information on your blog than I could ever provide.

    • Qristina

      There is a lot of that going on right now. Canada passed a bill recently (c-31 I believe) that gives their foreign minister power to state which countries are safe – since a large majority of their asylum seekers are from Hungary, I can bet which country will be “safe” first!

      You can certainly link to my blog, and don’t worry about people sending me hate mail or other comments – I get quite a few of them and have developed a relatively thick skin. If they come after me they won’t find much in the way of return here :)

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