More From Alder's Ledge

August 20, 2010

Fascist France

THE ROMA IN FRANCE - (an article from The Irish Times)
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ONE MEMBER of his own UMP party has compared President Sarkozy’s crackdown on illegal Roma camps to “rafles”, the roundups of Jews in Nazi-occupied France. Romania’s Foreign Minister Teodor Baconschi has cautioned against stigmatising an entire ethnic group and fomenting xenophobia, while a spokesman for the European Commission has warned that group expulsions may well be illegal.
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Following July riots sparked by the deaths of itinerant youths, Mr Sarkozy ordered the dismantling of 300 illegal Traveller and Roma camps as part of a broader campaign against crime. But the move has all the hallmarks of electoral grandstanding in the face of plummeting ratings. To date 51 camps have been dismantled, and Thursday saw the first charter flights taking 79 Roma back to Romania on a voluntary repatriation scheme. Some 700 of France’s estimated 15,000 Roma are to be expelled by the end of the month.
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The row brings to mind the Dublin 2007 deportations of 100 gypsies whose grim camp beside the M50 appalled everyone from rights groups to road safety campaigners. Threatened with compulsory exclusion they eventually took up the offer of a free flight home when it became clear staying was not an option.
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Since its 2007 accession Romanians have been allowed to move freely inside the EU, but most countries restrict the right to settle if not working. Free movement rights mean, however, that the French government can do little to prevent those deported – 10,000 to Romania and Bulgaria last year – from returning. According to the Council of Europe, about two-thirds of those sent back to Bucharest have done just that. It is also critical of France’s failure to enforce its own laws requiring local authorities to provide equipped sites for Travellers.
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The “illegal” Roma issue has become a difficult challenge in many member states. In Denmark and Sweden there have been moves to expel them. In Belgium, a caravan of 700 Roma has been chased out of Flanders and forced to set up camp in Wallonia. Italy, which in 2008 declared a state of emergency due to Roma and evicted thousands, is continuing to do so. Germany is set to deport 12,000 Roma back to Kosovo over the next years. Half are children and adolescents who grew up in Germany. In truth, however, while the economic conditions,prejudices and widespread discrimination which drives Roma to migrate remain in place, the expulsions will remain a largely pointless, though politically rewarding, exercise – those returned will simply be back.
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(Above is the article "The Roma in France" as written by 'The Irish Times')
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Nicolas Sarkozy continues to illegally dismantle Roma camps despite the French Law which states that French cities are supposed to have camps designated for the Roma population. His fascist party members continue to back him almost in entirety (regardless of the few that have seemingly grown spines).
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To this point it has taken a couple thousand harassed and deported Romas to finally get the European Union to get involved. The blatant resemblance to Nazi Europe has gone almost completely ignored. Yet here we have a story, from an actual European, finally pointing fingers.
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For some the name calling and tongue lashings will have come too late. Many have already had to suffer the indignity of French socialism at its finest. They have had to be paraded around by police and interrogated like common criminals simply because they happen to be Roma.
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Italy joined in with its policy of forcing Roma youth out of school till they were submitted to the "proper level" of police harassment. Like in France, the children of Roma travelers or sedimentary Roma populations are forced to give a verbal statement in which they give their name, place of birth, parents names, race, religion, and age. Their pictures are taken along with their fingerprints. Finally they are allowed into "public" schools... schools in which they are segregated at times from the common population.
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The next step will most likely be a symbol the Romas will have to wear or even have tattooed on a visible bit of flesh. That is unless the European Union finally flexes its muscle and steps in on the Romas' behalf. Otherwise the Romas will be quickly taking the same ride the Jews took back in World War Two.

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