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I’ll be on BBC1 TV tomorrow morning – on Sunday Morning Live (presented by Samira Ahmed)- debating the issue highlighted above. I always like to think through my arguments in advance so here is as good a place as any!

In the first instance, I prefer to call them gypsies, not Roma. I know the politically correct use Roma but the fact is that they are gypsies and they are quite happy to refer to themselves as gypsies when it suits (See under my Big Fat Gypsy Wedding…)

Secondly, I don’t they they ARE unfairly stigmatised. I DO think that some of them stigmatise their own community though and I would point out three simple but nonetheless appalling examples of it.

1. In the past week, there have been several stories in the media concerning alleged child abductions involving gypsy families. A few (in Ireland as covered in these pages) have been proven false alarms but this one hasn’t.

Maria has been placed in temporary care since last week after authorities raided a Roma settlement in central Greece and later discovered that girl was not the child of a Greek Roma couple she was living with. The couple has been arrested, and who have been charged for allegedly abducting Maria and document fraud.

The BBC no less reports that…

Criminal organisations bring hundreds of children from the Balkans to Greece, where they are subjected to forced labour, sex-trafficking or sold to couples, in Greece or abroad, in illegal adoption schemes. “There are currently 3,000 children transited through Greece by child-trafficking rings. The children originate mainly from Bulgaria, Romania and other Balkan countries,” says Lambros Kanellopoulos, the president of the UN children’s agency Unicef in Greece. Mr Kanellopoulos says traffickers often use Roma communities

Willing accomplices in horrendous child trafficking then.

2. Human slavery.  Some gypsy families in the UK have been shown to have engaged in modern day slavery.

In south Wales. three more suspects were arrested today in a dawn raid aimed at smashing a shocking human slavery ring run at a gypsy and traveller site. Six men aged 66, 42, 36 53, 38 and 20, and a 42-year-old women are all being questioned in relation to the ring that has rocked the Newport and Cardiff area.

In England , An ex jailbird yesterday revealed he was sold as a £10,000 slave by travellers who traded people “like cars”. Andy Williamson claims he was recruited as a slave after leaving prison – homeless and vulnerable – with the offer of a bed, food and cigarettes. He ended up working for gypsy families for five years, being traded like a possession, and threatened with beatings. Andy spoke out after reports that emaciated slaves had been found in filthy conditions on a caravan site five days ago.

Modern day slave owners.

3. When we see the likes of the Dale Farm incident, where Irish travellers caused much grief to an English council costing the rate payer MILLIONS through the illegal occupation of a site, we see a total lack of respect for the property rights of land owners.

I rather agree with Harry Phibbs when he states..

It is not racist to state that gypsy camps frequently cause an increase in crime and mess. It is a statement of fact. This is not to say that all gypsies are the same – there appears to be an elaborate calibrated class structure with Romany gypsies looking down on Irish Tinkers who in turn have little time for New Age travellers. Nor do I suggest that all gypsies are criminal or that none of them work for a living.

There is an old fashioned romance to gypsies which can still exist in reality sometimes. There are still brightly coloured gypsy wagons drawn by ponies. Their occupants are similarly brightly dressed, sometimes with the big silver earrings and ancient pots and pans, who undertake honest temporary work for local farmers.

But there are many other gypsies who are a complete menace to those in proximity to them. Rather than insulting those who warn of the problems, the Government and local authorities should start addressing their concerns.

That’s the bottom line. It is wrong to stigmatise an entire community because of the actions of a minority but to be frank if anyone is guilty of stigmatising gypsies it is the child trafficking, human slavery engaging criminal element to this community and if you are at the receiving end I dare say that feeling disgruntled would be very understandable.

Final question – who would like to have gypsies move in as their neighbours?

Anyway, for those who can, tune in to BBC1 Sunday Morning live tomorrow to watch the debate!

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30 thoughts on “ARE THE ROMA PEOPLE UNFAIRLY STIGMATISED?

  1. ARE THE ROMA PEOPLE UNFAIRLY STIGMATISED?

    Not in my view, the Irish Pikeys are the scum of the earth, they are lawless thieving scumbags.

  2. The gypsies are vagabonds. They are nomads that have engaged in illicit activities for centuries.

    They are not stigmatized they are recognized for the truth of a culture that although has adapted with the progression of time to use modern systems of the outside world, internally they have kept their culture. That culture has always involved the trafficking of illegal goods whether it’s people, drugs, or sex, and they have always been thieves. In the past they would extort money from smaller towns not to rob too much.

    This culture has not changed, they were another group almost wiped out by Hitler and the SS. The fact that they have flourished since WWII in their eyes is testament to the strength of their culture.

    They choose to be criminals and nomads. This whole stigmatized issue to them is another scam that they will play to gain a benefit.

    So it can’t be unfair.

  3. Real discrimination is wrong and should be eradicated. However, I think that the Roma and the Tinkers are well versed in the trendy use of the language and politics of discrimination claims, and often use it (and its overly sympathetic advocates) to further their schemes, obtain benefits, avoid jail and run circles around common sense.

    It is a shame because false cries of discrimination drown out and undermine actual discrimination when it occurs.

  4. Although they truly suffered when Cher sang about them in “Gypsies Tramps and Thieves.” That was a crime against humanity.

  5. It is wrong to stigmatise an entire community because of the actions of a minority but to be frank if anyone is guilty of stigmatising gypsies it is the child trafficking, human slavery engaging criminal element to this community

    Exactly.

  6. I also pretty much agree with David.

    That said while there are a lot of aspects of Romany and Irish Traveller culture that I don’t like, I do find the history of the groups to be fascinating. The Roma for example left India some time in the middle of the first century, yet still maintain a distinctive culture within Europe all these generations later which is remarkable.

    Some genetic studies of the Irish travellers place their origins as a distinct community back almost a thousand years- yet they’ve maintained a separate identity for all those years.

  7. The only ‘culture’ the Irish Gippos have now is ‘If it aint welded or nailed down’ they will steal it, ‘Irish Culture’ my arse.

    They will defraud the last brass penny from the frail and weak given half a chance .. low-life inbred thieving frauds and liars.

    a distinct community back almost a thousand years- yet they’ve maintained a separate identity for all those years.

    FFS, you are telling me they maintain a ‘seperate identity’ they are lawless and could not give a shit about anyone they steal from.

  8. That said while there are a lot of aspects of Romany and Irish Traveller culture that I don’t like, I do find the history of the groups to be fascinating. The Roma for example left India some time in the middle of the first century, yet still maintain a distinctive culture within Europe all these generations later which is remarkable.

    Some genetic studies of the Irish travellers place their origins as a distinct community back almost a thousand years- yet they’ve maintained a separate identity for all those years.

    To be honest my flabber is well and truly ghasted, I do believe I have not read anything ever in my entire life which is a total load of bollocks.

  9. Ross, on October 26th, 2013 at 9:33 PM Said:
    Are you retarded? Seriously.

    If anyone is retarded numbnuts it’s you posting that load of PC waffle

    Get a grip man

    You really are a halfwit.

  10. Ross, on October 26th, 2013 at 10:09 PM Said:
    A simple “yes” would have sufficed.

    No it wouldn’t, you simpleton.

  11. Ross, on October 26th, 2013 at 5:59 PM Said:
    Some genetic studies of the Irish travellers place their origins as a distinct community back almost a thousand years- yet they’ve maintained a separate identity for all those years.

    Ross – I infer from your comment above that you view the genetic distinctiveness of the Irish travellers in a positive light. Would you consider the genetic distinctiveness of the people of the British Isles equally positively?

  12. Allan- you presume wrong. I find it fascinating that a community can remain distinct for so long, I don’t think that it is a good thing. It disproves the idea that integration of different groups is some kind of inevitable process and despite Harri’s foolish assumption I don’t hold traveler culture to be particularly worth preserving.

  13. Ross gypsies are a culture that hasn’t changed their core for centuries. They are the nomads of the western world. The float through all of our nations and remain a viable distinct cultural tribe because they have clung to the traditions of exploitation, corruption, and graft as part of their societal identity.

    The are western so they do not shun the advancements of the societies that they feed from. They are truly a unique sect of people of delightful contradictions. The only Nomad group of Europeans to survive 1000 yrs of modernization.

  14. Allan- you presume wrong. I find it fascinating that a community can remain distinct for so long, I don’t think that it is a good thing.

    Ross – you are opposed to ‘diversity’?

  15. Ross – you are opposed to ‘diversity’?

    I’d say yes although that is a bit of simplification.

    Essentially there is little or no evidence that ethnic diversity brings any particular benefits and some evidence that it makes societies less cohesive.

  16. //there is little or no evidence that ethnic diversity brings any particular benefits //

    Almost all societies that were/are successful in the sciences, arts, politics and government etc. are ethnically diverse.

    On the other hand, places like Mongolia and New Caledonia are ethnically quite homogenous.

    And you say there’s no evidence.

  17. There are no more homogeneous modern societies than South Korea and Japan and they are very successful in basically everything that they decide to do.

    Despite Japan’s economic hiccups over the past decade, their society works well. They live well.

    And Korean accomplishments, considering where they started from, are astonishing. Look it up on your Samsung tablet or smartphone

  18. Actually, I had originally written “All societies” until I thought of Japan.

    Still, even Japan hasn’t given the world anything like the inventions, discoveries and the arts that very diverse societies like France, Britain or Italy have.
    Korea has produced mountains of high-tech.

    In my opinion, one of the reasons Europe and North America have been so successful in every field is because they are ethnically so heterogenous. Not only that, Britain and France reached real greatness just at the time when they became most ethnically diverse (late Middle Ages), while on the other hand Spain started its long slide downhill at the same time, when it kicked out its Muslims and Jews.

    That should be enough evidence for Ross to be going on with.

  19. Almost all societies that were/are successful in the sciences, arts, politics and government etc. are ethnically diverse.

    As Phantom says Korea and Japan aren’t very diverse. It certainly isn’t essential.

    Letting in highly skilled minorities isn’t a problem and letting in groups who will integrate in the medium term also isn’t a long term problem but having groups that will remain separate for generations is not beneficial to a society. Diversity leads to less trust among communities and is a fault line that can be exploited by demagogues even after generations of peace to cause trouble.

  20. Noel- we might not be thinking of the same thing when we talk of diversity- I mean communities that are distinct over generations.

    Britain benefitted a lot from groups like the Lombards and Hugonauts in the middle ages but there didn’t remain a distinct Lombard and Hugonaut community for long.

  21. //Korea and Japan aren’t very diverse.//

    Let’s keep Japan and Korea in perspective. Do more French/British/Italian people read their books, enjoy their inventions, look at their art, listen to their music, consider their philosophy, etc, or vice versa?

    And as for political and social progress, just remember that you guys had to use atomic bombs just to force Japan into the age of democracy.

  22. Japan is a fine, clean, organized, advanced country where everything works ( other than the nuclear reactor cleanup )

    When I was there, I was impressed with their kindness to visitors.

    In real life, they’re a lot more laid back than you may think.

    If I were them, I wouldn’t change my society so as to have more foreigners read their books. They should do what’s right for them.

  23. Phantom, on October 28th, 2013 at 8:07 PM Said:
    Japan gave us sushi and Ichiro Suzuki

    That equals everything the French, British and Italians ever invented.

    The British invented the donut Phantom, all the Americans have ever done to donuts, is eat them, lots and lots of them 😉

    You should be thanking us, your police should be even more thankfull 🙂

    Doughnuts are a British invention according to historians who have unearthed they were invented by the English upper classes•Until recently the earliest known doughnut recipe dated from 1847

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2475513/Doughnuts-British-invention-according-historians-unearthed-invented-English-upper-classes.html

  24. Do more French/British/Italian people read their books, enjoy their inventions, look at their art, listen to their music, consider their philosophy, etc, or vice versa?

    No but on the other hand Malaysia, Nigeria and Guyana are very diverse and few people outside those countries look at their cultural and scientific output either.

  25. When I was there, I was impressed with their kindness to visitors.

    Ah, you have met the Geisha then.

    Did you get a ‘raffle ticket’ from your business host when you got to the hotel !

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