Who are the Roma? They have nothing to do with Rome and are not Roman. Roma, as the politically correct crowd calls them, are what history and tradition have called for generations, “gypsies.” The term “gypsy” is also incorrect since they were erroneously assumed to be nomadic tribes from Egypt. They are nomadic tribes from Northern India.
One theory connected them to a military caste in Northern India that moved west into the Byzantine Empire. Johann Christian Rüdiger connected in 1782 the Romani language to Hindustani, subsequent research supporting the hypothesis that Romani shared a common origin with the Indo-Aryan languages of Northern India. The Roma speak a New Indo-Aryan language (NIA).
Another theory suggested that Roma are related to the Dom people of Central Asia and the Banjara of India. A 1992 study showed serological similarities between Romani and the Jatt clan of Northern India and Pakistan, connecting the two genetically. The Roma did not originate from Eastern Europe as previously thought. Romani language bears no similarity to Latin languages.
The Roma or “gypsies,” have always balked at national integration because they prefer their nomadic and free lifestyle centered around a campfire. They love dance and music. They do not like to be tied down or follow the laws of civil society. In spite of efforts to educate them, the school dropout rate is the highest. They prefer to marry off their children very young. If they are given apartments, they strip them bare, sell the parts, and move into the courtyard in tents.
The Western Europeans treat their Roma better than Eastern Europeans. They receive RVs and other generous social benefits. They do not fear the law, on the contrary, the law fears them. We have been terrorized for twelve hours on the midnight train from Nice to Paris by a group of “gypsies” who frightened hundreds of passengers. Even the train police hid from them.
It goes without saying that civil society must treat minorities equally and fairly. Nobody has the right to ignore, mistreat, or abuse vulnerable groups. But they also have the right to live as they choose, according to their traditions.
I have seen the “gypsy” life and culture up close, integration in society is not part of their culture. Their work ethic is quite different than the average person’s work ethic. Every train station, bus station, or tourist attraction in Europe is besieged by “gypsy” pickpockets as young as five or perfectly healthy adults begging on street corners while cradling a baby or pretending to be handicapped.
Since Eastern European countries have become part of the EU, their “gypsy” problem became the problem of the EU. Countries like Italy have been sending Roma back to their original countries because the increased begging, the crime, and the theft were affecting tourism. But they keep coming back.
Some Roma groups have settled into communities of their own choosing where they have built gaudy palaces, mixing different styles of architecture with marble to mimic the palatial homes they’ve seen in their European travels. These palatial homes are often not attached to electricity or water.
The idea of permanence conflicts with their culture. I have asked many of them why they do not settle in one place, why wonder constantly. It is in their blood. A few do settle down in villages and work the land. Others settle on the outskirts of a town and send their kids to railroad crossings to wipe down windshields of stopped motorists in exchange for a few pennies instead of sending them to school.
To solve the problem of the migrating and inconvenient Roma, the European Commission approved the EU Framework for National Roma Integration Strategies up to 2020. (http://ec.europa.eu/justice/policies/discrimination/docs/com_2011_173_en.pdf)
EU governments are thereby asked to create plans to socially include and improve the well-being of their Romani citizens in hopes that the Roma will stay within the boundaries of their countries and not migrate to the western part of the EU.
One of the Open Society Foundations programs is called, “Making the Most of the EU Funds for Roma.” The Chairman of the Board, Kalman Mizsei, wrote an article on December 20, 2012, titled, “Robbing the Roma.” (http://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/the-growing-isolation-of-europe-s-roma-by-kalman-mizsei)
Kalman Mizsei stated that the Roma are suffering more because of the euro crisis and the intolerance, especially in countries with a larger population of Roma: Romania, Hungary, Bulgaria, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, and Greece.
Bulgaria, Hungary, and Romania are chastised for being “the most laggard spenders of EU funds, particularly from the European Social Fund.”
The most egregious, the Romanian government, has only spent 10 percent of the $5.9 billion received from the European Social Fund on improving the Roma poor living conditions, low life expectancy, and low rates of school attendance.
Nomadic people have always had low life expectancy and low rates of school attendance, they are on the road all the time, don’t go to doctors, it is their lifestyle choice. When they marry their daughters at the age of 12, with matrimonial contracts sometimes signed at birth, going to school is not a priority, they are groomed for marriage.
Can you change centuries of tradition by offering or withdrawing money as incentive? Since the EU suspended the money coming from European Social Fund, the Romanian government stopped reimbursing the non-governmental organizations (NGOs) who were running programs to help the Roma.
The EU bureaucrats blame the situation on the general population’s unjust view of the Roma that “they prefer stealing and damaging other’s property to working; that they receive disproportionate and undeserved social benefits; and that they produce children in order to qualify for more public assistance.” Having lived around Roma, I am not so sure that some of the views are so unjust.
I recently strolled down the street in my hometown where many Roma families live, incorporated since the communist regime. They never moved except for the occasional trip that the head of the family took to the Western EU to make money, returning home with suitcases full of goods, cash, and brand new automobiles. How they managed to buy a brand new car in such a short period of time is a mystery to me.
Aside from a few newer and cleaner houses, these Roma lived in dilapidated, smoked, dirty homes, with yards filled to the brim with trash. A brand-new automobile with Great Britain, Spain, France, Germany, or Italy license plate was parked in the street.
I photographed a lavish wedding on the same street a few days earlier – I counted 30 foreign made cars in the procession, decorated with flowers, accompanying the wedding entourage to the reception hall. Until then, everybody trudged through the pot-holed street, singing and dancing next to a fenced-in property with a burned home which had been turned into a make-shift trash dump. No amount of tickets from the city hall made the owners clean it up or dispose of the ruins. Twice a week, with total disregard for noise pollution and their neighbors, traditional Roma music blared from loudspeakers for hours across several streets.
“Physical exclusion” of the Roma is a dangerous trend, said Mizsei. “Under communism, significant efforts were made to assimilate Roma; they were given jobs, albeit at the bottom of the economic pyramid, and were assured housing.” It is true, Roma had meager jobs and meager apartments just like everybody else, but they destroyed their housing, having no appreciation for a permanent lifestyle and all responsibilities of a non-nomadic society.
Even former French President Nicholas Sarkozy is raked over the coals for having ordered in 2010 the expulsion of illegal Roma and the demolition of their temporary eyesore camps.
Where the Roma robbed? I have seen documents claiming that some Roma leaders were robbed of their gold coins and jewels during the communist regime under the guise of safe-keeping. Because of their migratory lifestyle, Roma tend to carry all of their wealth in gold and silver jewelry attached to their bodies or sewn into their clothes. I am not sure if they were reimbursed when the communist regime fell.
How do you integrate a group of people into a society at large when that group does not want to be integrated, the members of the group prefer to live by their rules in self-appointed ghettoes? Can you blame their neighbors for not relishing the idea of living next to such a temporary encampment?
It appears that the last bastion of hope for the Roma is the EU bureaucracy – they have the power and the money to force the other EU members into compliance – change centuries of nomadic traditions of the Roma and integrate them into society with the help of Romani NGO leaders who are tasked to change social policies. Problem solved, one step closer to global governance, fitting everyone into a predetermined template.