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Underreported: Roma in Europe

Thursday, September 23, 2010

In recent weeks, France has been locked in a war of words with the European Union over its effort to expel the Roma living there. But the Roma in Italy have also been facing discriminatory policies and prejudice. On today's Underreported, Bernard Rorke, director of Roma Initiatives at the Open Society, discusses what’s behind these restrictive policies towards Roma.

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Bernard Rorke
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Comments [4]

JB from New York City

"Roma" comes from the word romanichel,another word for gypsy.

Mrs. Rorke doesn't obviously get the whole picture. There have always been romanichels in western Europe. People always co-habitated. However, from petty thieves the eastern European gypsies have become bank robbers, hijackers, etc. It happened to several of my friends in southern France to be robbed in their house at knife and gun point. This is new and the whole thing is domaging for the French gypsies/romas who have been living and travelling in the country for centuries.

Sarkozy is an opportunist who ran his election campaign "a la Giuliani" (law and order) and was elected because people were scared; including life-long Communist senior citizens who voted for him. So he is just trying to recapture his appeal.

The situation doesn't require preaching by yahoos like Madonna or intellectuals like Mr. Rorke. It requires action and FUNDING, A LOT OF FUNDING. Furthermore, it requires government's recapturing of people's trust.

Sep. 23 2010 02:11 PM

I think you need to describe how the Roma live in these different countries and how they relate to these societies. This discussion makes the Roma sound totally benign so the hatred seems to come out of nowhere. But in actual fact, the Roma live outside their host societies -- in their own communities abiding by their own laws and social mores. They resolutely do not assimilate. They are uneducated by choice, they have few advanced skills and they are often criminals. Having seen them in Romania, they are defiantly not part of the society. An excellent book about Romas/Gypsies came out a few years ago -- and an informative article/review in The New Yorker.

Sep. 23 2010 02:05 PM
Ken from Soho

Where did the designation "Roma" originate? Roma is the Italian name for the city of Rome.

Sep. 23 2010 01:52 PM
Ken from Soho

Where did the designation "Roma" originate? Roma is the Italian name for the city of Rome.

Sep. 23 2010 01:47 PM

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