Ever since France began expelling the Roma migrants, Europe has had to confront once again its unspoken antipathy towards ethnic minorities. The Roma or Romani peoples been recorded and acknowledged, the equally shameful secret of Europe is the genocide of the Romas. But this to date has not been fully acknowledged in the same measure and is as dark an event as the other one in European history. Indeed, if the Romas are now found mainly in central and eastern Europe, it is because those who lived in western Europe were subjected to mass murder by the Nazis, not without silent support from the local population.
It is France's decision to evict the 2,000+ Roma migrants back to Romania that has attracted attention, but other countries in west Europe have not behaved differently. Denmark, Sweden and Germany have all implemented eviction policies targeted at the Romas. Italy had earlier come down on the Romas.
The justification in all cases is that the Romas, who have recently migrated from cen-tral and eastern Europe - mainly from Bulgaria, Hungary and Romania - after the expansion of the European Union and consequent removal of immigration controls, come with very low edu-cation, negligible skills and live socially, economically and geographically apart in their new countries of residence. This, it is claimed, pushes them to beggary and petty crime. France, for instance, blames the Government of Romania for not assimilating the Romas, which leaves them unprepared for a "settled and pro-ductive life" in their new homes. The link between the Romas and crime is, of course, not proven anywhere and if the Romas re indeed pushed to petty crime, the hostility of local societies towards them cannot be any less of a contributory factor.
There is always an immediate cynical rea-son for the targeting of the Romas. French president Nicolas Sarkozy is known to embrace symbolic actions whenever he needs to boost his popularity among his natural base of right wing conservatives. For the blighted Romas, it is Sarkozy in France who has picked on them. Two years ago it was Silvio Berlusconi of Italy who went after them.
The Romas suffer from very high rates of poverty even in their home countries (where discrimination is just as prevalent), levels of education are extremely low and the most common occupation seems to be low-level recycling of scrap. These distinctive features of the Romas make them easily typecast as the unwelcome "other". Of course that the poorest among them turn to begging on the streets of the cities of some of the richest countries of the world offends the fine west European sensibilities.
It is easy to say that education will lead to lower poverty and that education will also lead to the creation of a settled middle-class of Romas which would, in turn, lead to assimilation with mainstream European society. But "civilised" Europe is expected to respect difference and afford those who do not wish to be integrated with the larger "other" the same rights as the mainstream.
- What is the most appropriate title for the passage ?
- Europe and the Romas
- The poor Romas
- Discrimination against the Romas
- A tryst with the Romas
- The unheard cries of the teeming mil-lions
- A. Romas, being poor and illiterate deserve to be prejudiced.
- B. The government of Romania should be blamed for not assimilating the Romas.
- Romas had an Indian origin.
- Romas of western Europe were exter-minated.
- Nicolas Sarkozy has a feeling of empathy towards the Romas.
- The link between the Romas and crime has not been proven.
- Education can improve the condition of the Romas.
- The discrimination against the Romas is the result of European prejudice.
- The Romas are illiterate and beg on the streets of the cities of some of the richest countries of the world.
- Europe is responsible for the current plight of the Romas.
- Romas have always been targeted for cynical reasons.
- Romas have always been discriminated against - because their skin colour is different and they have lived akin to nomads.
- Europe has been apathetic towards the "other".
- Nicolas Sarkozy , the French president , is cynical.
- Romas are considered at par with the other people in their home countries.
- Romas are involved in many heinous crimes.
- None of the above
- Discrimination ceased to exist due to the death of the oppressed.
- Discrimination became perennial.
- Discrimination entered a vicious phase.
- Discrimination ceased to exist due to the death of the discriminator.
- The problem was solved.