More From Alder's Ledge

June 17, 2013

No Shelter Here

Europe's Roma Find No Safety In West
(Roma in Europe series)

"If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich."

"...especially Roma gypsies, have suffered harassment at home. Ever thought there might be a reason for that?" ~ Richard Littleton of the Daily Mail

If you are not prone to using radicalized hate speech then you probably don't often expose yourself to it. Yet when you do hear it, you always know what it is. Mr. Littleton's statement is exactly that. The desire to single out an ethnic minority and pin all of England's problems to their backs exposes Littleton for what he is. Racist. 

This is the one of the largest problems that Romani people face upon fleeing oppression at the hands of political parties like Jobbik back in Eastern Europe. The sudden realization that the hate from which they fled in Romania, Bulgaria, Hungary, and the Czech Republic forces Roma to realize that upward mobility in the West is just as impossible as back home. With the hate filled zealots like Richard feeding fascist like the English Defense League (EDL) the Roma face homegrown radicalism in England. 

This same sense of gluttony when dealing with hate speech is not limited to swine like Richard alone however. In the American Conservative you can find the same sense of ethnocentric sludge that Mr. Littleton spews in the Daily Mail. With an American sense of bigotry, the writers at the American Conservative stop short of using N word in describing the Romani people. Instead they stick to the Romanian talking points by constantly referring to the Roma and Sinti people simply as "gypsies".

The persistent painting of the Roma people with a rather large brush is an attempt by bigots in the West to keep Roma on the outside of society. Their constant use of slurs shows an ingrained level of hatred that the Roma face in Western Europe. It is a form of bigotry that supports England's policy of keeping Roma on the road and France's policy of playing "human ping-pong".

When Roma who do suffer abuses and attacks back in Eastern Europe apply for asylum in the West they are granted little comfort in their new refuge. Children who have had swastikas carved in their skin by attackers are subjected to the new threat of being sent back to the East. As political and economic situations worsen in the West the Roma find themselves as the hot potato that nobody wants to be left holding when the economy turns back the other way.

Politicians in the West have promised to help Roma integrate into society for decades. In the Czech Republic the progress in this so called integration can be seen in the failures highlighted by Czech racism in the education process. Integration in the East can be seen by the official segregation that Roma face as Hungary and Romania enforce the existence of ghettos and unhealthy living conditions for Roma families. Yet people like Richard Littleton ignore this as they claim that absolutely no Roma actually attempts to integrate even when given the chance.

Officially all European Union countries are supposed to provide traveler stations and camp sites for all migrant communities. These are supposed to allow Roma and others the opportunity to have a place to stop along their journey out of oppressive conditions in the East. These stations are the first place that Western governments are given the opportunity to reach out to Roma families and offer paths out of an endless and painful cycle of poverty and desperation. Yet with people like Richard Littleton waiting there to slam the door shut... that never seems to really happen.

"If we could be confident that the new arrivals will contribute as much to our economy as some of their Eastern European neighbors, such as the Poles, we would have nothing to worry about."
~ Ricard Littleton's hate speech in the Daily Mail

Then on the other end of the spectrum we have people like Viktoria Mohácsi, a Roma woman who was recently an active EU politician, who have already proven Mr. Littleton wrong. By ascending to the top of her field in the EU parliament Mrs Mohácsi has shown that given the opportunity to compete with their fellow Europeans the Roma can accomplish amazing things. And yet at the same time Mrs Mohácsi shows Europe the hypocrisy in the bigoted stance that Europe takes with Romani people. For now that she has outlived her purpose in the EU government, Mrs Mohácsi faces deportation back to Hungary... where Jobbik extremist wait for her to return. 

With all this we, those of us who reject radicals like Littleton, must ask ourselves what it means to be an open society. If we can tolerate radical elements of our society keeping minority groups on the outside then we are never truly free. With the ability to decide who belongs and who must go we lose the essence of liberty. It is in this that we fail the ideals that built our sense of democracy. Through giving up even a little bit of freedom we risk losing them all. 

And as Abraham Lincoln said...

"Those who deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves."

Source Documents
(note: not all sources listed)

The American Conservative

Daily Mail UK


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