Sunday, October 27, 2013

The Roma - Just like ourselves

 There are approximately 12,000,000 Roma in Europe, mostly in Romania (where they were used as slaves until the 19th Century) and Bulgaria, descendants of emigrants from India in the Middle Ages.

The popular image is that they are lazy, thieving, begging, drunks. There are relatively few Roma in France, just an estimated 17,000 of almost 70 million.

“... life is much worse in Romania,"Sever Covaciu  says. "In France, the children can go to school for free. They can eat at school for free. In Romania, we must pay for school. In Romania, our children die of hunger. In Romania, Roma children die every day."

 The French interior minister, Manuel Valls  he says, they are "different from us", incapable of integrating in French society. Their fate, if Valls has his way, is to be return to Eastern Europe.

Roselyne Mabille, a campaigner for the homeless in Le Havre explains “There are some Roma who beg and steal, but you can't smear a whole people the way Valls does. Most of the Roma are doing what you or I would do and what immigrants have always done. They are looking for a better life."

Madelin Miron, 21, a young Roma man with two children, insists that he too wants to stand on his own feet. "I want to work. I want to make a life for my children," he said. "I don't beg. I don't steal."

Aurélie, a head of the parents' association at the local school "All I can say is that the Roma kids always come to school on time. They are always well turned out. They study hard. They get on fine with the other kids."

The Independent says “The real problem, the unspoken fear, may be that the Roma, if not actively discouraged, could be perfectly capable of integration.”

1 comment:

ajohnstone said...

Well worth a read