Ra ra, ah ah ah, roma, roma-ma, GaGa, oh la-la, don't want your Bad Roma
July 29, 2010 8:33 AM   Subscribe

In the wake of a deadly clash between Roma (better known as Gypsies) and police in the Loire Valley region of France, French President Sarkozy order the French government to “systematically evacuate” Roma illegal immigrants and dismantle their camps, citing "reasons of public order".

Roma, often referred to pejoratively as Gypsies or Travelers, are typically itinerant people from Bulgaria, Romania and other Eastern European countries. Three hundred troops have been sent to patrol the typically quiet village of Saint-Aignan in the Loire Valley following an ongoing riot by Roma. The rioting was triggered by the death of a Roma man who was shot by police on Thursday during a chase when he failed to stop at a checkpoint.

Roma attacked the village police station with hatchets, iron bars and other improvised weapons. They also toppled traffic lights and road signs, burned three cars and hacked down trees. "It was a settling of scores between the Travelers and the gendarmerie*," said the village mayor, Jean-Michel Billon.

President Sarkozy and his administration have been fielding claims of racist motivation for the policy change. Interior Minister Brice Hortefeux defended the measures, claiming that they "are not meant to stigmatize any community, regardless of who they are, but to punish illegal behavior."

*A military body charged with police duties among civilian populations.
posted by 2bucksplus (167 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

 
You know who else, etc.
posted by Sys Rq at 8:35 AM on July 29, 2010 [5 favorites]


I guess it's comforting to know that some things will never change.
posted by Think_Long at 8:36 AM on July 29, 2010 [3 favorites]


All hail Sarkozy! Vive la patrie! Après moi le deluge, etc., etc.
posted by blucevalo at 8:38 AM on July 29, 2010


Tasteful title, by the way.
posted by le morte de bea arthur at 8:40 AM on July 29, 2010 [34 favorites]


Isn't this directly in conflict with some of the EU freedom of movement directives?

I'm not an expert, or even an EU resident, so I'm happy to be enlightened if it turns out France has some legal basis for expulsion (no matter how ill-advised.)
posted by stevis23 at 8:48 AM on July 29, 2010


So now France is the new Arizona, but worse. Got it.
posted by komara at 8:55 AM on July 29, 2010 [2 favorites]


hey listen - he's just living up to his own hungarian heritage.
posted by JPD at 8:56 AM on July 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


Yeah I love when the French preach to us about our racist society and how they are so tolerant and color blind. (Or maybe I should say preach to me....cuz it happens...a lot)
posted by spicynuts at 8:56 AM on July 29, 2010 [4 favorites]


.
posted by MexicanYenta at 9:00 AM on July 29, 2010


From the first article: "Romania and Bulgaria are members of the European Union, and their citizens can enter France without a visa, but they must get work permits to work here or residency permits to settle long term." Of course, Roma live (as far as I know) in almost all European countries, but they might also have ambiguously defined citizenship in some of them.

Does anyone know what the status of Roma within the EU has been as a minority group? Or more broadly, does anyone have any idea what the history of the Roma has been within the new landscape of intra-European immigration? I've been under the impression that within the former Eastern Bloc there's been a large resurgence of anti-Roma sentiment. The CBS articles makes it sound as if all of the Roma are from Romania and Bulgaria, which might mean that they are actually Romanians and Bulgarians and this riot has to do with seasonal labor as much as anything else. But then, who ever expected clarity in an article about Roma people?
posted by goodglovin77 at 9:00 AM on July 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


From the CBS link:
Community leaders contend the very principle of the meeting — which singled out an ethnic group in a country that is officially blind to ethnic origins — is racist and warn of grave consequences if their side isn't heard. France's government does not count how many of its citizens are of a certain ethnicity; everyone is simply considered French.
Sure they are.
posted by zarq at 9:03 AM on July 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


I saw this cartoon put up in Paris last week, which seems appropriate.
posted by ouke at 9:03 AM on July 29, 2010 [6 favorites]


Italy was fingerprinting them in 2008. There are credible allegations that Roma from outside the EU are more likely to be provided with “duldung” status rather than a more durable status, compared with non-Roma third country nationals.
posted by dabitch at 9:04 AM on July 29, 2010


... to hell with your double standards, we coming rougher every time ...
posted by filthy light thief at 9:07 AM on July 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


"Access to citizenship and personal documents" from the European Roma Rights Center's website. There's not a synthesis, just a list of articles, but even a skim of the article titles gives an idea about some of the issues around the legal status of Roma populations in Europe.

Tasteful title, by the way.

Seriously. Ugh.
posted by EvaDestruction at 9:16 AM on July 29, 2010


So now France is the new Arizona, but worse. Got it.

Yeah, US authorities would show so much more restraint if squatters with questionable immigration status attacked cops and then trashed public spaces.
posted by Mayor Curley at 9:17 AM on July 29, 2010 [4 favorites]


Checkpoint?
posted by Stonestock Relentless at 9:26 AM on July 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


Once, when I was sixteen, in Tours, I sat on a stoop and shared several big cans of lager (for which I paid) with a very pierced, very scruffy young man. He could do really impressive tricks with a sort of largish bobbin and a pair of sticks joined with twine. He also had a pet goat on a leash, to whom we gave occasional measures of lager in a battered metal bowl. We talked for a long time in French and English, and got quite drunk.

At one point, I asked him where he lived (in hopes that he'd take me there and fuck me). "All over," he said--I don't remember if it was English or French.

"What do you mean?" I asked

"Well, you know what I am." But I didn't, and gave him a confused look. He acted like I was nuts, as if it should be as obvious. I insisted that I had no idea, and as he stood up and stumbled off he muttered, "Gypsy."

I don't remember his name, but I hope he got a fistful of gendarme teeth. And I hope his goat ate a patrol car.
posted by Netzapper at 9:30 AM on July 29, 2010 [10 favorites]


Checkpoint?

I was intrigued by that too but was unable to find out more information. Apparently the man who was shot drove through one checkpoint without stopping, only to be killed at a second checkpoint while attempting the same maneuver.

Why there are checkpoints I have no idea.
posted by 2bucksplus at 9:31 AM on July 29, 2010


Goddamn Sarkozy. Every time I think he's finally gone as low as he can go, he outdoes himself.

Oh, and the gendarmerie is the police force which has jurisdiction over small towns in France, there's nothing sinister about them. They are nominally part of the French military but they are under the ministry of the interior.

Finally, uprisings have a different political significance in France than in other Western nations. The current state is borne out of the Revolution and its legitimacy is tied up in that event. Therefore riots are often looked at as expressions of political will. Therefore, Mayor Billon's statement that this was a "settling of scores" is an effort to cast this as a criminal act without any kind of political agenda, i.e. that the Roma wish to be treated fairly by the French State.
posted by Kattullus at 9:33 AM on July 29, 2010 [9 favorites]


Does anyone know what the status of Roma within the EU has been as a minority group?

Subhuman, mostly.
posted by jokeefe at 9:36 AM on July 29, 2010


I guess "liberté, égalité, fraternité" is neither free, nor equal, nor friendly.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 9:44 AM on July 29, 2010


Don't you mean brotherly? Also, I thought we established during the last administration that freedom was indeed not free.
posted by spicynuts at 9:46 AM on July 29, 2010


Not to be pedantic, but there's a big difference between the Roma as a distinct ethnic group with a shared culture, language, and a long historical lineage, and UK/European Travellers.
posted by jokeefe at 9:46 AM on July 29, 2010 [3 favorites]


Some background on who the Roma are.

From the European Roma Rights Center:

The Roma: Between a Myth and the Future

From the Freakonomics blog:

The Economics of Gypsies

And one of the studies cited in the Freakonomics piece - more of an anthropological discussion of Roma culture:

Gypsies*

In the ERRC piece, the author notes, "Some Romani activists have opposed the reference to a 'Roma problem' and consider the very phrase to be based on racist premises. Indeed, from the point of view of the Roma themselves, Roma are not a “problem”; the gadje racist society is."
posted by etherist at 9:47 AM on July 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


Roma, often referred to pejoratively as Gypsies or Travelers, are typically itinerant people from Bulgaria, Romania and other Eastern European countries. Three hundred troops have been sent to patrol the typically quiet village of Saint-Aignan in the Loire Valley following an ongoing riot by Roma.

In France the collective term for these people is Tsiganes which encompasses Gitans, Manouches, Gens du Voyage etc etc. Gens du Voyage or Traveller is not pejorative and is taken to mean a french citizen of Roma origin. When you say Roms you are usually referring to immigrants from Romania and Bulgaria. Part of the problem is Sarkozy is mixing up the two.

Also, since 2000 there is a law in France which makes it mandatory for any city with more than 5000 inhabitants to build spaces for Gens du Voyage (trailer parks, basically). So, any illegal camp that Sarkozy wants to destroy is there because the cities are not complying with the law.


Checkpoint?

It's fairly normal for police in rural areas anywhere in Europe to put up checkpoints to control for driver's licenses and alcohol.
posted by lucia__is__dada at 9:48 AM on July 29, 2010


I have had limited contact with some kind of "gypsies" (I think they are Roma/Romany[?]) and have always been curious about them. When I was in Europe a few years ago I was taken aback by the viciousness of the racism directed towards them I encountered there. It was weird trying to square my stereotypes of Europeans with reality. As bad as racism can be in my home state (this was right about the same time as a couple of extreme examples here in East Texas), seeing much older prejudice in action can be ugly.

I'm at work, but anyone who wants internet funtime can track down the shared history of Jewish and Roma musicians during the Nazi era in German Europe. Apparently, since both peoples were being persecuted there was some interesting fusion in their musical cultures.
posted by SkinnerSan at 9:50 AM on July 29, 2010 [2 favorites]


Finally, uprisings have a different political significance in France than in other Western nations. The current state is borne out of the Revolution and its legitimacy is tied up in that event. Therefore riots are often looked at as expressions of political will.

You are aware that the current French state is called the Fifth Republic because there have been 4 previous systems as well as an nacent empire and failed vestigial monarchy or two since the actual French Revolution to which I infer you referencing.

I don't necessarily blame Sarkozy for this, to echo Mayor Curley I don't see many governments period reacting to a riot like that any better than France is doing.
posted by BobbyDigital at 9:50 AM on July 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


Does anyone know what the status of Roma within the EU has been as a minority group?

Status free humsn trash, in the main. It's absolutely disgusting. It's also the one bloody thing mostly everyone agrees is alright.
posted by shinybaum at 9:51 AM on July 29, 2010


He could do really impressive tricks with a sort of largish bobbin and a pair of sticks joined with twine.

That is a diablo (sometimes spelled diabolo). The yo-yo is a more recent cousin. Lots of fun to play with.
posted by Babblesort at 9:51 AM on July 29, 2010


Also, since 2000 there is a law in France which makes it mandatory for any city with more than 5000 inhabitants to build spaces for Gens du Voyage (trailer parks, basically). So, any illegal camp that Sarkozy wants to destroy is there because the cities are not complying with the law.

I'm not sure that follows.
posted by I_pity_the_fool at 9:53 AM on July 29, 2010


BobbyDigital: You are aware that the current French state is called the Fifth Republic because there have been 4 previous systems as well as an nacent empire and failed vestigial monarchy or two since the actual French Revolution to which I infer you referencing.

Eh... yes. But the current French State still seeks legitimacy by claiming to uphold the perceived values of the Revolution (liberté, egalité, fraternité, etc.).
posted by Kattullus at 10:03 AM on July 29, 2010


France à propos de tout!
posted by Back to you, Jim. at 10:10 AM on July 29, 2010


Yes. US Americans judging measures in the EU again without knowing anything about the social problems that gave rise to the measures.

Let's suppose there's a strong correlation between a certain nomadic group and criminal behaviour (stealing, creating hard drugs, extreme violence against police, etc).
What do you do as a politician? You can't ignore it because it violates the rule of law. But still it's highly correlated with a certain ethnic group. So any measures you take smack of racism etc.

When you're on holiday in the south of France and you meet people who have been carjacked by gypsies. Do you say: "these gypsies need more space to express their culture."?

I wonder whether there are some social groups that have a culture of only feeling allegiance within their own tribe. That feel that all other citizens are just marks than can be exploited without moral inhibition.
If those people exist; what is a society supposed to do about these people?

I've started to wonder whether the universal rule of law is not a necessarily universal goal to strive for, but a western invention that's viewed by some with derision.
posted by joost de vries at 10:13 AM on July 29, 2010 [10 favorites]


Joost has it pegged. Thank you for that.
posted by L'OM at 10:22 AM on July 29, 2010


It's alright to be a racist scumbag if they really deserve it. Is that right?
posted by kmz at 10:23 AM on July 29, 2010 [7 favorites]


Joost has it pegged with weasel words and implied racism, sure.
posted by haveanicesummer at 10:23 AM on July 29, 2010 [19 favorites]


I was robbed by a Roma (Romany?) man in Prague and didn't report it - because I'd been working at the national library and eating my meals in the local courthouse for three months, watching Roma men get treated like absolute unhuman shit and nice liberal librarians blaming them for it. Same in Holland, same in Germany in my experience. The people I hang out with are all lefties, all chattering classes, all for social welfare and justice for all, none of them would raise an eyebrow at the way the Roma are treated.

Same in the UK when I worked nights on security while I was at university. There are certain groups of people I would never ever grass up for shoplifting, because you know the consequences to them are absolutely not universal applications of law. Prostitutes, Traveller kids and Gypsies. They were fucking welcome to it.
posted by shinybaum at 10:27 AM on July 29, 2010 [16 favorites]


Geezus, France. Could someone who has been there/lived there recently maybe give some insight as to whether there are really all of these fucked up racial undercurrents or are they just getting really bad press? A few years back there was that big mess with the headscarves, and now this. "We're all French!" really doesn't seem to be true, even if it is the party line. Is this a pervasive thing, or are these just media blips?

Also, apropos to the title: Bad Romans.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 10:28 AM on July 29, 2010 [2 favorites]


Now I don't have to be embarrassed being from Arizona. I can tell people, "Hey, at least I'm not French!" WHOO HOO!
posted by Saxon Kane at 10:29 AM on July 29, 2010 [2 favorites]


Yes. US Americans judging measures in the EU again without knowing anything about the social problems that gave rise to the measures.

Let's suppose there's a strong correlation between a certain nomadic group and criminal behaviour (stealing, creating hard drugs, extreme violence against police, etc).
What do you do as a politician? You can't ignore it because it violates the rule of law. But still it's highly correlated with a certain ethnic group. So any measures you take smack of racism etc.
Huh? You think we're unfamiliar with these problems in the U.S.? How have you missed out on our discussions of, for example, the AZ Immigration Law and Canadian (with a side conversation on the U.S.) racial profiling.
posted by Jahaza at 10:31 AM on July 29, 2010


Previous Metatalk from Sept 2009 re: "gypsy values"
posted by haveanicesummer at 10:31 AM on July 29, 2010


Let's suppose there's a strong correlation between a certain nomadic group and criminal behaviour (stealing, creating hard drugs, extreme violence against police, etc).

So you contend all Roma steal, create hard drugs, are violent against the police, etc?

When you're on holiday in the south of France and you meet people who have been carjacked by gypsies. Do you say: "these gypsies need more space to express their culture."?

Are carjackings only committed by Roma?

Joost has it pegged with weasel words and implied racism, sure.

I think you're being generous with "implied".
posted by kmz at 10:34 AM on July 29, 2010


This mostly saber-rattling from Sarkozy in order to steal back votes from the far-right. It should be noted that most of the Gypsies in France come from populations that came here in the 1400s. In that respect, they're more French than many current French people, though trying to maintain traditions outside the mainstream population has been tough. The new phenomenon has been the arrival of Roma populations since the early 1990s, whose visibility is unfortunately reduced to begging and petty crime.

Checkpoint: the victim and his friends had (allegedly) attacked someone at an ATM and the gendarmes had set up checkpoints on the roads in order to catch them. He got shot when he (allegedly again) tried to run down the officers.
posted by elgilito at 10:34 AM on July 29, 2010


Yes. US Americans judging measures in the EU again without knowing anything about the social problems that gave rise to the measures.

As an American, I'm very specifically trying not to point the finger at the French for being jerks because hey, we've got our own issues. I will totally admit that I don't know the social problems that exist in the EU w/r/t Roma/travelers, which is why I'm asking.

So, I hope what you're saying is that we should take time to educate ourselves before casting an opinion. If what you're getting at, however, is that Americans don't understand the complex social and political problems that can be caused by intermingling cultures... yeah, I'm going to have to just go with a flat out "No."
posted by grapefruitmoon at 10:36 AM on July 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


"social problems" should have been in quotes. My kingdom for the edit window.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 10:37 AM on July 29, 2010


I guess I was naive for trying to tell you US Americans something about the realities of living in Europe that you didn't know.
Feel free to judge me. You don't live here and your judgement carries no weight to me.
I'll leave it at that.
posted by joost de vries at 10:39 AM on July 29, 2010 [4 favorites]


grapefruitmoon, of course you have your complex social and political problems. I'm just trying to point out that these problems are not that simple. But the human need for judgement generally dislikes complexity and nuance.
posted by joost de vries at 10:41 AM on July 29, 2010


Let's suppose there's a strong correlation between a certain nomadic group and criminal behaviour (stealing, creating hard drugs, extreme violence against police, etc).
What do you do as a politician? You can't ignore it because it violates the rule of law. But still it's highly correlated with a certain ethnic group. So any measures you take smack of racism etc.


Is there any particular reason such illegal activity can't be dealt with on a case-by-case basis?
posted by Sys Rq at 10:42 AM on July 29, 2010


I was going to respond, but then I saw it was a Dutchman speaking. I'll just let him express his culture.
posted by brokkr at 10:43 AM on July 29, 2010 [2 favorites]


the gendarmerie is the police force which has jurisdiction over small towns in France, there's nothing sinister about them.

Not sure what amounts to sinister, but I've been told on several occasions that they are insanely aggressive mofos that you absolutely do not mess with.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 10:44 AM on July 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


I was going to respond, but then I saw it was a Dutchman speaking. I'll just let him express his culture.


Damn - and coming from someone in Bonn too.
posted by JPD at 10:44 AM on July 29, 2010


I bristle when N. Americans overlay their own values and experiences to European problems, but the way we treat our Roma populations isn't one of them. Absolutely, we're in the wrong here. If you count 'we' as the UK and the UK as Europe.

Is there any particular reason such illegal activity can't be dealt with on a case-by-case basis?

The media are arses?
posted by shinybaum at 10:45 AM on July 29, 2010 [3 favorites]


Argh. You Germans and your dismissive tolerance. :-)
posted by joost de vries at 10:46 AM on July 29, 2010


Racism? In France?! :o
posted by chunking express at 10:46 AM on July 29, 2010


I guess I was naive for trying to tell you US Americans something about the realities of living in Europe that you didn't know.
Feel free to judge me. You don't live here and your judgement carries no weight to me.
I'll leave it at that.
posted by joost de vries


What realities? That "gypsies" are bad people by default? Your naivete comes from believing that it has anything to do with us being from the United States. I think you're wrong because I'm a humanist and think that there's no such thing as a bad race or culture and that people who think otherwise are basing their assumptions on sketchy anecdotal evidence with a heavy racial component. We don't live there, but we're citizens of the world, and when we see people being treated horribly and others saying they deserve it? We're supposed to what... not have opinions because we're not from there?
posted by haveanicesummer at 10:47 AM on July 29, 2010 [2 favorites]


But the human need for judgement generally dislikes complexity and nuance.

The irony, it burns!
posted by kmz at 10:48 AM on July 29, 2010 [4 favorites]


I wonder whether there are some social groups that have a culture of only feeling allegiance within their own tribe. That feel that all other citizens are just marks than can be exploited without moral inhibition. If those people exist; what is a society supposed to do about these people?

To be hard-nosed about this, yes, absolutely such groups exist. It's a problem. But you fail, if you stop you analysis at this point. You must ask why have these groups developed such a dynamic. At which point you realize that severe discrimination that's been ongoing for generations has warped the cultures and the social dynamic within these groups - their behavior is both pathological and adaptive. When nobody gives you a job, and you are treated like a criminal just on principle, what do you do? You can just sit down under a tree and starve to death, along with your family. Or you can steal that loaf of bread - thus perpetuating the image of "criminal" and outcast, which in turn re-inforces the discriminatory practices. We see this dynamic of social and cultural pathologies developing in such groups all over the world - including here in the U.S. (just look over the crime stats by race). Well, we do know that pathology is not an inborn characteristic of any ethnic group. The solution lies in the larger society, but it will take time and effort and there will be a period of adjustment. Meanwhile, perpetrating the old tropes and prejudices is only going to keep the pathology alive - and I hope you understand what I mean, when I say that stopping the analysis too soon, as you did it, is part of the problem.
posted by VikingSword at 10:55 AM on July 29, 2010 [19 favorites]


I guess I was naive for trying to tell you US Americans something about the realities of living in Europe that you didn't know.

Replace "gypsy" with a certain slang term for "negro" and see how it comes across. Go ahead.
posted by aramaic at 10:59 AM on July 29, 2010 [6 favorites]


The media are arses?

The media handed down this order?

(Although, yes, "systematic evacuation" is best left to arses.)
posted by Sys Rq at 11:00 AM on July 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


Yes. US Americans judging measures in the EU again without knowing anything about the social problems that gave rise to the measures.

Thanks, Joost; you just precisely made my point for me.
posted by spicynuts at 11:00 AM on July 29, 2010


I guess I was naive for trying to tell you US Americans something about the realities of living in Europe that you didn't know.
Feel free to judge me. You don't live here and your judgement carries no weight to me.
I'll leave it at that.


Great! I look forward to the reciprocal respectful silence from across the pond the next time our armed forces cluster-bomb an Afghani village into the ground, or Smilin' Joe Arpaio starts his own concentration camp composed entirely of Mexican immigrants he rounded up in a flatbed. Because, y'know, y'all just don't understand.
posted by Mayor West at 11:01 AM on July 29, 2010 [16 favorites]


A few years back there was that big mess with the headscarves, and now this. "We're all French!" really doesn't seem to be true

I haven't seen much reason to not buy the French headscarves argument - that enough citizens were being denied the freedom to not wear a headscarf, that the ban would increase the freedoms of many, even while reducing the freedoms of those who were in a position of genuine freedom to choose.

It's a thorny issue, I don't see that it can be held as a point against "We're all French".

It actually reminds me of an animal sex scandal in my area a few years ago - it's kind of like how the bestiality proponents were arguing that some animals want to have sex with their owners, so it's their consensual free choice, while the opponents countered that this was not a genuine free choice because animal had been raised by the owner - there was a power differential, and in some cases, the animal had been groomed into the role.
posted by -harlequin- at 11:07 AM on July 29, 2010


It actually reminds me of an animal sex scandal in my area a few years ago....

It does??
posted by Floydd at 11:10 AM on July 29, 2010 [2 favorites]


On reading my comment, I guess the analogy I just made could be inflammatory, but I don't think it has to be - there are genuine issues surrounding what constitutes freedom when none of us grow up in a bubble, and our actions have consequences.
posted by -harlequin- at 11:10 AM on July 29, 2010


The media handed down this order?

I don't read enough French press to know about France, but in the UK the media and their racist scaremongering/pandering to the fears of middle Britain, pretty much yes. The government are also arses, obviously.

It's more nuanced than that, locals don't tend to like Travellers to begin with and there are real problems surrounding the issue, but the media are definitely arses about it.
posted by shinybaum at 11:12 AM on July 29, 2010


Prejudice against Roma is, at least here in Finland, ubiquitous and socially acceptable. The will of the Roma people to maintain their own culture has created a sort of self-reinforcing loop, where the general populace views the Roma as a bunch of work-shy thieves and the Roma on the other hand embrace this as a way of rebelling against encroaching cultural values. Europe and the Roma got off on a wrong foot and the relationship has gotten only marginally better. Most employers would not hire a Roma who follows ethnic traditions of clothing, speech and manners. Therefore a Roma who wants to find work has to forsake these (and I'm sure a lot of them do) but that carries with it the price of leaving behind your own culture. And that's not right. When your people are expected to be thieves, it's no wonder that is what you will become. Even the school systems are set up in such a way as to try to fit Roma children into the same mold as children from majority cultures, which leads to disenfranchisement from an early age.

The question is how to separate the individual act of crime from the ethnicity of the individual in the mind of the general people. As usual. The people and governments of Europe need to learn how to include the Roma.

Writing this I realize how strong my own prejudices are as well as I keep assuming that most Roma do not even want to support themselves by working, which is actually false.


Also, like others have mentioned there are actually two separate issues. Pretty much all European countries have their native Roma population but since the expansion of the EU eastwards, there has been a great influx of Eastern European, particularly Romanian Roma into western Europe. The vast difference in wealth between western Europeans and the poorest people of Romania has created predictable consequences.
posted by Authorized User at 11:12 AM on July 29, 2010 [7 favorites]


I guess I was naive for trying to tell you US Americans something about the realities of living in Europe that you didn't know.

there's a million romani in the u s
now you were saying?
posted by pyramid termite at 11:13 AM on July 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


there are real problems surrounding the issue

Sorry, shinybaum, but I have learned from Mefi that any such "problem" is in your mind, and to phrase it as such only reveals your intrinsic bias.

Rioting and mayhem cannot be a "problem" because we are speaking of a historically disadvantaged population with legitimate grievances. You will have to find another word. That will fix things.
posted by etherist at 11:19 AM on July 29, 2010


I guess I was naive for trying to tell you US Americans something about the realities of living in Europe that you didn't know.

No, actually, you weren't. You were telling us that we can't understand the realities of living in Europe. You were not explaining anything or enlightening us as to the broader political discourse involved. Trump it up with "Oh, I tried to tell those Americans, but they just don't listen" if that makes you feel better, but being as you're not French and this is a matter happening in France, you look just as foolish in your defense as an American would making an attack.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 11:22 AM on July 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


Full disclosure: I was the victim of a scam perpetrated by a "Gypsy" although I have no idea what ethnic group they identified themselves with.

I'm sure that had I caught up with this person after I figured out I had been cheated, I would have had many interesting questions to ask them about their language, mores, upbringing, and whether they thought it was OK to cheat me just because I was "gadje".

Sadly, I never got the chance to participate in such a rapprochement between our cultures.

It was "only" a few hundred dollars that I could ill afford to lose to an auto repair scheme. Still rankles, fifteen years later.
posted by etherist at 11:22 AM on July 29, 2010


Vikingsword, interesting point. You're totally right that for some groups criminal behaviour is almost a rational choice.
You do have to realise though that when you're a politician it's hard to say to somebody whose house has been robbed. "Ah well, yes, it's from the Roma camp around the corner. But you know, it's their right. Because they've been treated so badly"
I don't have an easy answer for all of this. But my point is that just harping on the counter measures as 'racism' just contributes to the rise of the extreme right.
Law abiding citizens are not always the affluent white straight priviliged few that metafilter likes to think they are. Sometimes they're the opposite and struggling hard to get by within the law.
These people feel a huge resentment when others are given a pass on those same laws.
These people are the feeding ground of the extreme right.

Personally I think that the rule of univeral law is what will save us. Nobody should be disadvantaged because of a certain ethnic background. But at the same time the dogma of the screed of 'racism' shouldn't create a free pass for unlawful behaviour.

So the reason I'm fighting this uphill battle on Metafilter is that I think that your collective dogma is creating a breeding ground for the extreme right.

But feel free to ignore the opportunity to learn something new and adhere to your righteous judgement.
posted by joost de vries at 11:26 AM on July 29, 2010 [2 favorites]


.
posted by etherist at 11:27 AM on July 29, 2010


It's sad that people don't understand what racism or prejudice is. I lived in inner city Washington, DC for years. I was often the only light-skinned individual on the buses I took.

When I did have a car, it was stolen. It ended up abandoned in Anacostia, which is probably 95% black. Even if my car was stolen by black individuals, it gives me no right to judge other blacks. As a group they are definable by the color of the skin (among other means). They are not a conspiracy or cabal. There is nothing, zero, nothing that the car thief(ves) did that I can pin on others who didn't steal my car. Any further animosity I might hold is my problem, not theirs.

I'll guess my car was stolen by males. Most car thieves are males. But most males are not car thieves. It would be equally ridiculous to blame half the human race for the car theft as blaming blacks.

For what it's worth, the same car was stolen again (in Los Angeles). This time the perpetrator was caught. (white male)

If a gypsy (Roma) commits a crime, there are things called laws. To round up others in the group for the action of someone else is a hate crime.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 11:27 AM on July 29, 2010 [6 favorites]


Rioting and mayhem cannot be a "problem" because we are speaking of a historically disadvantaged population with legitimate grievances. You will have to find another word. That will fix things.

I appreciate the snarkasm but as the main 'real' problems are caused by institutionally racist government agencies and media, I agree with added irony.

I also appreciate being robbed by a member of an ethnic group means someone might hold it against that entire ethnic group. This is not helpful or particularly logical.

Personally I think that the rule of univeral law is what will save us

Me too, but it is absolutely not what we have right now. With the shoplifters I felt like it was a Leonard Peltier thing - I didn't care if they were guilty and they probably were, but the unfair trial aspect gets right on my tits.
posted by shinybaum at 11:31 AM on July 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


One more anecdote about the car theft in Washington. When I went to retrieve my car where the police had towed it, I was brought there in a police car along with another victim who had his car stolen. He was a young black male. When we got to the car lot the police asked the black man for his driver's license before he turned over the car. Stupidly, the black man hadn't brought his license and, with reasonable justification, he was not allowed to retrieve his car.
The police never asked me for my license.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 11:36 AM on July 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


To round up others in the group for the action of someone else is a hate crime.
So what if the Roma camp is a breeding ground of unlawful behaviour?

Basically what you're saying is that a group can't have a counter-lawful culture. Because that would be a 'hate crime'.
I question that.
posted by joost de vries at 11:36 AM on July 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


If a gypsy (Roma) commits a crime, there are things called laws. To round up others in the group for the action of someone else is a hate crime.

This, a million times this. Collective punishment is a program of ethnic cleansing, pure and simple.

Ethnic cleansing doesn't start with concentration camps and pogroms and massacres. It starts with forced deportation of innocent people in the name of public order. The state then ramps up the violence from there.

This is a favorite tactic of right-wing governments - waging ethnic war to distract from political difficulties, appealing to the most bestial part of their constituents' nature in the name of political power.
posted by Slap*Happy at 11:41 AM on July 29, 2010 [5 favorites]


So the reason I'm fighting this uphill battle on Metafilter is that I think that your collective dogma is creating a breeding ground for the extreme right.

Disagreement with racist policies and an opposition to right-wing demagoguery and racisms breeds more extreme rightism? I've been doing it the wrong way this entire time! I thought defending historically oppressed and genocides groups from racists policies was helpful but actually it causes...

...wait what?

Well, you are probably a whitey so what do you know about the issues of another ethnic group? I am asking the question rhetorically of course. So, can you explain how I can understand the racist oppression of a whole group of people in a way that makes it acceptable to force a whole group of historically oppressed people out of a country? This seems very similar to the illegal immigration circle-jerk in America.

Did you know that if you educate people and provide for their general welfare, the rates at which commit crimes decreases. This could potentially 'solve' this 'problem', although I don't think the problem really is crime, I think the problem is that these immigrants are diluting the consecrated essence of the nation, which is more important than humanity itself.
posted by fuq at 11:46 AM on July 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


Reading this thread, I have so much running through my mind: images of Native American children being taken forcibly from their families and sent off to reeducation camps boarding schools... news reports from the middle east of neighborhoods being bulldozed because someone thinks a mortar may have come from one of the buildings... monasteries in regions of China being destroyed and the monks slaughtered...

Seems that there are always groups who are being targeted for destruction because of who they are and the perceived threat that creates for those who are not like them. And it makes me sad.
posted by hippybear at 11:47 AM on July 29, 2010 [2 favorites]


So what if the Roma camp is a breeding ground of unlawful behaviour?

Breeding ground? Seriously? What next, we should round up their kids because nits make lice? Maybe send them all to camps where work will make them free?
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 11:48 AM on July 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


Hey fuq, you do realise that our social welfare is much better than the one in the US, right? And universal healthcare of course.
So calling me a whitey doesn't solve anything. Calling me 'whitey' is shorthand for 'hate, hate, hate'.
Which is fine. Have fun in the echo chamber metafiler.
posted by joost de vries at 11:54 AM on July 29, 2010


To round up others in the group for the action of someone else is a hate crime.
So what if the Roma camp is a breeding ground of unlawful behaviour?


Same issue (unlawful behavior), different context. See if you can spot the problem.

My parents live in a town with a drug problem. It's so bad, that's it's almost like the town sprang up around the drugs themselves. Even if you want to contain it to specific areas within the town, I happen to know for a fact that there are at least four houses within three blocks of my parents wherein you could buy cocaine and/or heroin if you were so inclined. Probably a lot more, I'm only citing the ones I know beyond a shadow of a doubt.

Should the entire neighborhood be rounded up for unlawful behavior?
posted by grapefruitmoon at 11:55 AM on July 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


Hey fuq, you do realise that our social welfare is much better than the one in the US, right? And universal healthcare of course.

Wait, what? Having universal healthcare makes having racist policies ok? If that's true, maybe we don't want it after all.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 11:56 AM on July 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


Yeah I love when the French preach to us about our racist society and how they are so tolerant and color blind. (Or maybe I should say preach to me....cuz it happens...a lot)

Eh, it goes both ways. The French and American cultures are arrogant enough to challenge each other in areas where neither one has a spotless history. I think it's because each considered itself the dominant "world" culture, at least for a time.
posted by krinklyfig at 11:56 AM on July 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


"Quoi? Après Augustus, nous avons Augustule!" -Victor Hugo, Les Châtiments.
posted by jeffburdges at 11:58 AM on July 29, 2010


Well, you are probably a whitey

*raises hand*

I'm white. I'm also Jewish. Would you like to tell me that I also don't know anything about oppression because of my skin color?

Give me a fucking break. Let's cut the racist bullshit all around, shall we?
posted by zarq at 11:58 AM on July 29, 2010


I wonder what they (French Government) would do if all the Romas were deported and the crime rate didn't drop?
posted by Mastercheddaar at 12:06 PM on July 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


Sodom and Gomorrah says yes!
posted by KingoftheWhales at 12:11 PM on July 29, 2010


Since it hasn't been mentioned yet, in France, all towns above 5000 inhabitants are required by law to set aside places for them to camp on, while smaller towns need only designate a place for short-term (48h) stops.

The article talks about illegal camps.
posted by Fruny at 12:12 PM on July 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


I think fuq was being sarcastic with that "whitey" line. Contrasting it with joost's "Americans can't comment on Europe" theory.
posted by haveanicesummer at 12:14 PM on July 29, 2010


Eh, it goes both ways. The French and American cultures are arrogant enough to challenge each other in areas where neither one has a spotless history. I think it's because each considered itself the dominant "world" culture, at least for a time.


Oh that is is utter bullshit when it comes to this particular issue. 99% of Americans will acknowledge we have had issues with the way we have treated minorities in the past, and probably 80% of Americans will acknowledge those problems exist today. The French seem to be oblivious to their behavior.

I'm not saying that Americans aren't generally blind to their own failings, but when it comes the issues like this Europeans love to lecture from incredibly shaky ground.
posted by JPD at 12:16 PM on July 29, 2010


I wonder what they (French Government) would do if all the Romas were deported and the crime rate didn't drop?

Well, it's because they didn't round up those Turks while they were at it, or the Algerians - and Alsatian Germans, too, and...

The fun of this is that with some creativity, you never run out of scapegoats.
posted by Slap*Happy at 12:17 PM on July 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


joost de vries, ugh, please let it drop.

According to this Le Monde article, the laws don't add much to existing ones, but that's probably because the "existing" ones were created by Sarkozy. Everyone I know here (in France) who voted for him is regretting it, but then, I don't know any extreme right-wing people, who seem to be his target audience. This guy is compared to George W. Bush by French people all the time, so do keep that in mind.

As for what led to the shooting, according to this Le Monde article:
"Selon la police, un homme avait sorti une arme de poing et tiré en direction des forces de l'ordre, qui avaient alors ouvert le feu pour disperser la foule . Une soixantaine de voitures avaient été brûlées.

"Karim Boudouda, 27 ans, déjà condamné trois fois aux assises pour vol à main armée, est mort dans la nuit de jeudi à vendredi lors d'une course-poursuite après sa fuite du casino d'Uriage-les-Bains, près de Grenoble. Avec son complice, toujours recherché, il s'était fait remettre, sous la menace d'armes lourdes, le contenu de la caisse."


Translation (mine, I did this quickly so pardon any awkwardness): "According to the police, a man had taken out a hand weapon and shot in the direction of police officers, who then opened fire to disperse the crowd. 60-odd cars were burned.

"Karim Boudouda, age 27, who had been found guilty of armed robbery three times in the past, died during the night of Thursday-Friday during a car chase after he fled the casino in Uriage-les-Bains, near Grenoble. Along wIth his partner, who the police are still looking for, he had forcibly — with heavy weaponry — demanded and been given the contents of the cash register."


I get pretty damned tired of stories being tweaked from "armed robbery by a thrice-convicted criminal followed by a car chase during which the robber was killed" and twisted into "killed after failing to stop at a checkpoint." Cripes. Could the press get any more dishonest? (Note that I didn't specify which press. I see this sort of cruddy reframing done everywhere.)
posted by fraula at 12:18 PM on July 29, 2010


I think illegal camps come about when local authorities fail to provide enough legal ones. What else are people supposed to do except move into permanent housing, which may or may not be available or even wanted. I doubt anyone actively wants to live in an illegal camp, or to be in a country with no papers and no support other than the rest of the camp's inhabitants.

I do get that France and other countries feel put upon and as if they're expected to bear the burden of migration from poorer European countries, but surely this is not the way to deal with it.
posted by shinybaum at 12:21 PM on July 29, 2010


I understand racism and injustice, and I sympathize with those who face oppression on a daily basis. When those same oppressed people then victimize others, is it allowed to sympathize with their victims?

Or must we forgive every crime by a member of a disadvantaged group because "You can't understand their circumstances and their culture and the hurdles they have to overcome ..."?

For USians: Imagine that an encampment of homeless persons springs up near your house, and that a month later it is clear that property crimes in your neighborhood have dramatically increased. Should the police break up that encampment?

Do you simply put up with the crime because you can't catch most of the perpetrators, and breaking up the encampment would be collective punishment?

Not an exact parallel, but maybe close enough.

I think it's possible to do both - work toward the betterment of the oppressed, while holding them to certain cultural norms.
posted by etherist at 12:22 PM on July 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


also, personally, I think this whole deportation and demanteling of "illegal camps" thing is wrong. My previous post was only meant to add some facts that aren't easily found by non-French speakers. Furthermore, if I were to add more anecdotal data, none of the French people I know think very well of the police's or Sarkozy's handling of it all; while they don't necessarily have the most open minds about Roma, they think Roma should have the freedom due to them. As well as responsibility for following laws, for those individuals who choose to commit crimes. "Individuals". Not the group, see.
posted by fraula at 12:24 PM on July 29, 2010 [2 favorites]


work toward the betterment of the oppressed, while holding them to certain cultural norms.

If you add 'while giving them access to the things that make it possible to take advantage of cultural norms'.

Access to education = unequal, access to work = unequal, access to benefits = unequal, access to avenues of citizenship = unequal, but they're supposed to take on the responsibilities associated with good citizenship? How, exactly? Why, exactly?
posted by shinybaum at 12:26 PM on July 29, 2010 [7 favorites]


Imagine that an encampment of homeless persons springs up near your house, and that a month later it is clear that property crimes in your neighborhood have dramatically increased. Should the police break up that encampment?


That analogy misses the point - you arrest the criminals not everyone who looks like the criminals
posted by JPD at 12:26 PM on July 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


I think it's possible to do both - work toward the betterment of the oppressed, while holding them to certain cultural norms.
I wholeheartedly support that etherist.
posted by joost de vries at 12:29 PM on July 29, 2010


For USians:
posted by etherist


Protip- when attempting to engage people in a productive conversation, using a pejorative is not recommended.
posted by haveanicesummer at 12:30 PM on July 29, 2010 [4 favorites]


I think fuq was being sarcastic with that "whitey" line. Contrasting it with joost's "Americans can't comment on Europe" theory.

Oh. Sorry fuq.
posted by zarq at 12:32 PM on July 29, 2010


Mastercheddaar: I wonder what they (French Government) would do if all the Romas were deported and the crime rate didn't drop?

Take it from the minority who TV preachers tried to blame 9/11 on -- there will always be enough scapegoats to go around.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 12:32 PM on July 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


shinybaum - you're right, of course - the European union countries should give the Roma access to education, work, benefits, and citizenship.

What crimes are acceptable if they do not?

Are property crimes OK, but not bodily harm?
posted by etherist at 12:32 PM on July 29, 2010


haveanicesummer: I am a USian. Didn't mean to be offensive, just shorthand.
posted by etherist at 12:33 PM on July 29, 2010


I wonder whether there are some social groups that have a culture of only feeling allegiance within their own tribe. That feel that all other citizens are just marks than can be exploited without moral inhibition[...]I've started to wonder whether the universal rule of law is not a necessarily universal goal to strive for[...]If those people exist; what is a society supposed to do about these people?

I'm sure if you thought really hard you could come up with a solution to solve the problem. Perhaps there are examples from recent European history where others who felt like this came up with one?
posted by Justinian at 12:36 PM on July 29, 2010


Justinian - I see what you did there.

But Nazi Germany was already invoked in post #1 - you're a little late.
posted by etherist at 12:38 PM on July 29, 2010


Etherist, I believe people have already mentioned the short sightedness I think is happening with that POV so I'd just be repeating it and getting frustrated. Possibly you'd like to explain what normal law abiding Roma should do to avoid being rounded up with their naughty brethren.
posted by shinybaum at 12:38 PM on July 29, 2010


I'm not so sure the Europeans are lecturing from shaky ground JPD. France has particular immigration issues for which history must be considered just like American racial issues, but many other European countries are still inviting to a fault. Europe would rightly be accused of moving backwards if they simply copied all American immigration laws.

Roma are however quite separate from usual racial and immigration issues, vaguely like American indians, except they don't predate whitey and they neither avoid fraud not organize existing fraud into casinos whose employes at least pay taxes. Yes, the Roma got fucked by nationalism. So did Brittany, Alsace, Catalonia, Bavaria, Poland, etc. Fine, that's history, get over it. Only Yugoslavians are entitled to still bitch about nationalism.
posted by jeffburdges at 12:42 PM on July 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


If an encampment of homeless people were in my neighbourhood, I would take it as a sign we need more affordable housing, and maybe designated camping areas for those who don't wish to sleep indoors.

Wait -- we did have an encampment of homeless people blocks from my house. And power to them.
posted by jb at 12:44 PM on July 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


No one is saying "rounded up".

They are saying "illegal encampment dispersed" as far as I can tell.

That doesn't mean "slippery slope to gas chamber".
posted by etherist at 12:44 PM on July 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


many other European countries are still inviting to a fault.

Which ones? I was married to a European citizen (Icelandic) and even on the basis of marriage, I had a harder time trying to get residence (and in the end I couldn't) than my spouse did getting a green card. I call shenanigans on this.

And no one, not even Americans, should copy our immigration laws. There's a strawman the size of Arizona right there.

Also, I'm not sure what you're getting at with the Native Americans and fraud/casinos... but um... what?
posted by grapefruitmoon at 12:47 PM on July 29, 2010


I think fuq was being sarcastic with that "whitey" line. Contrasting it with joost's "Americans can't comment on Europe" theory.

Thanks, I was being sarcastic. I have a problem with "You're not ________ so you can't understand!/You're not _______ so you can't comment!" Obviously, if you are white, it is possible to empathize with non-whites; same as I can comment on a policy to remove an ethnic group from a country. Actually, I think this French government v. Roma has many similarities with the US government vs Hispanics. Also, the US, I believe, is more heterogeneous than the Netherlands, so I could just as easily sarcastically said that joost de vries can't speak about multiculturalism because he isn't from New York City. So anyway, I know I'm a terrible asshole, and that I use spurious, emotional, inflammatory, and poorly written/thought out arguments; let's both agree on that. I just happen to think that collective punishment of an ethnic group is wrong, and I think the French government is advancing a dangerous, racist policy.

Tell me how it isn't racist to remove an entire ethnic group based on the criminal actions of a certain segment of that group (criminal actions I assume ethnically French people also commit at times too) that includes people who have not committed any criminal actions other than being born a Roma. Also, if you think it is a good idea to make people into refugees, where do you suggest the Roma being removed go? An entire group of people won't just disappear no matter how much sedentary land-hoarders want them to.

Imagine that an encampment of homeless persons springs up near your house, and that a month later it is clear that property crimes in your neighborhood have dramatically increased. Should the police break up that encampment?

I would say to investigate and arrest the criminals that did the crime. You seem to think that homeless=criminal.
posted by fuq at 12:50 PM on July 29, 2010 [2 favorites]


I'm not so sure the Europeans are lecturing from shaky ground JPD

So Europeans don't lecture Americans about racism while having huge race issues of their own? Ok. You think that.

I'm the first American born generation on my Dad's side - with the bulk of my family being (drumroll) in France. I also for work travel extensively in Europe - I am a Europhile. I can't begin to tell you the number of times someone has made derisive comments about some local minority and ten minutes later making some comment about American racism.

We're also violent and warlike - or a German guy said to me once "Why do Americans like war so much. Us Germans could never be like that"
posted by JPD at 12:50 PM on July 29, 2010 [3 favorites]


Routed out then. Whatever. Illegal camp means whatever a country wants it to mean, fail to provide enough legal space and people will inevitably become illegal. The legality or not of a camp probably does impact the crime rates because people can't access legal ways to make money due to discrimination or migration status. So make the existing camps legal (not 48 hr halting stops) and try to change the atmosphere, is that not an equally logical method of dealing with it?
posted by shinybaum at 12:51 PM on July 29, 2010 [2 favorites]


Right now, this minute, Roma children in the Czech Republic are being sent to special ed whether they should be or not. They are citizens, but they are being denied an education just as much as black children in the segregated south were -- perhaps even more so, since black schools lacked money, but still had teachers who cared and set expectations and the kids had access to historically black colleges. Roma are being denied the priviledges of citizenship and being systematically denied the ability to fully participate in society, based on their race. They have a right to bitch.

Now, elsewhere -- France, the UK, they "just" face pervasive racism. Can't say that I blame a few for not being so civically minded regarding a society that wants to keep them out of its benefits.

If you want to deal with Roma and crime -- deal with poverty and social exclusion. Find a balance between traditional values and the skills needed in a modern economy -- and stop the racist nonsense already.
posted by jb at 12:53 PM on July 29, 2010 [5 favorites]


I would say to investigate and arrest the criminals that did the crime. You seem to think that homeless=criminal.

It was an "analogy". I chose homeless persons, not because they are especially criminal, but because they are low-status and transitory.
posted by etherist at 12:56 PM on July 29, 2010


If you want to deal with Roma and crime -- deal with poverty and social exclusion. Find a balance between traditional values and the skills needed in a modern economy

I completely agree. But which traditional values?
posted by etherist at 12:57 PM on July 29, 2010


Have you been to Rome in the past few years? Note anything about the beggars?

No, Roma aren't beggars - the poorest of them are simply denied the same social safety net that keeps other Italians from begging in the streets.

But the narrative is the same - Gypsies are lazy, Gypsies are dangerous, Gypsies are thieves and pickpockets - and this from our tourguide.

As an American, I think I'm a little more in tune with what ethnic discrimination looks like, and the excuses made for it. It's all over our history books, and in the mouths of relatives who should know better - and the excuses are always the same. Irish are dangerous, lazy drunkards and sly theives. Indians are dangerous drunkards and sly theives. Blacks are dangerous, stupid and lazy, and sly thieves. Mexicans are dangerous, dirty and lazy and sly thieves. If they weren't all so dangerous and lazy and sly, they would have no problem at all in our welcoming, egalitarian society! But it's their nature, so round 'em up, and run 'em out of town.

Don't let the sun set on you here, Blackie I mean Chinaman I mean Gypsie.

Heard it a million times, for every ethnicity imaginable. Italians, Jews, Japanese, Lebanese, French Canadians, Peurto Ricans, Samoans, oh, christ, it doesn't end. It's always the same - minority is a haven for lawlessness, so let's outlaw the minority!

It's a huge, steaming pile of racist bullshit, and yes, it's not just an American thing.
posted by Slap*Happy at 12:58 PM on July 29, 2010 [12 favorites]


It was an "analogy". I chose homeless persons, not because they are especially criminal, but because they are low-status and transitory.

Myyyyyyyyyyyyyyy bunx! I'll fix it:

I would say to investigate and arrest the criminals that did the crime. You seem to think that low-status and transitory=criminal.

Actually, that's personally insulting to me, you think I am a criminal. I think you're a jerk!
posted by fuq at 1:01 PM on July 29, 2010


But Nazi Germany was already invoked in post #1 - you're a little late.

The Godwin didn't take. Maybe it was too early.
posted by Justinian at 1:02 PM on July 29, 2010


Or must we forgive every crime by a member of a disadvantaged group because "You can't understand their circumstances and their culture and the hurdles they have to overcome ..."?

By this logic, in the US we "forgive the crimes" committed by black people because we merely arrest and imprison them with terrifying efficiency when they commit crimes (and sometimes when they don't) instead of rounding up all the black people and driving them away.

Irish are dangerous, lazy drunkards and sly theives. Indians are dangerous drunkards and sly theives. Blacks are dangerous, stupid and lazy, and sly thieves. Mexicans are dangerous, dirty and lazy and sly thieves.

Don't forget that they want to steal our decent God-fearing white women with their suave Lothario ways. Query: is that particular slur also applied to Roma men?
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 1:03 PM on July 29, 2010


um.... Slap*Happy.... I hate to tell you this....
posted by le morte de bea arthur at 1:05 PM on July 29, 2010


Y'know, it's possible for the French government to be absurdly racist in its treatment of the Roma, and for Roma culture to be destructive to a pluralistic society.
posted by kafziel at 1:09 PM on July 29, 2010 [4 favorites]


Both at the same time, I mean.
posted by kafziel at 1:09 PM on July 29, 2010


by "forgive the crimes" I mean what shinybaum means - not report crimes or prosecute the perpetrators.
posted by etherist at 1:09 PM on July 29, 2010


um.... Slap*Happy.... I hate to tell you this....

You're going to have to, because I have no idea what you're trying to say.
posted by Justinian at 1:09 PM on July 29, 2010


Y'know, it's possible for the French government to be absurdly racist in its treatment of the Roma, and for Roma culture to be destructive to a pluralistic society.

exactly.
posted by etherist at 1:10 PM on July 29, 2010


I wonder whether there are some social groups that have a culture of only feeling allegiance within their own tribe. That feel that all other citizens are just marks than can be exploited without moral inhibition.

This is very nearly every social group.
posted by Pope Guilty at 1:16 PM on July 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


Y'know, it's possible for the French government to be absurdly racist in its treatment of the Roma, and for Roma culture to be destructive to a pluralistic society.

I asked this in a deleted thread about the Bedouin, but can somebody please explain to me (genuinely) how living outside cultural norms destroys the main culture when the stronger culture is so very very established?

I'm not talking about crime here, I believe if you solve other issues that would be resolved. I'm talking about actual nomadic or semi-nomadic cultures actively being bad for society.

by "forgive the crimes" I mean what shinybaum means - not report crimes or prosecute the perpetrators.

I didn't forgive it, I just didn't report it because I don't believe having the shit beat out of you and imprisoned for ridiculously unequal amounts of time is a justifiable punishment for thieving my mobile phone, passport and a hundred quid. If I had the slightest confidence they'd get fair punishment I'd totally be up for rule of law.
posted by shinybaum at 1:16 PM on July 29, 2010


But seriously, there's been Roma related challenges here in Helsinki as well.

As a side note, its been disconcerting how familiar they look to me in their looks and features (I'd never seen Gypsies before moving to Europe) until I discovered,

The Romani (also Romany, Romanies, Romanis, Roma or Roms; exonym: Gypsies; Romani: Romane or Rromane, depending on the dialect) are an ethnic group living mostly in Europe, who trace their origins to medieval India.

The Romani are widely dispersed with their largest concentrated populations in Europe, especially the Roma of Central and Eastern Europe and Anatolia, followed by the Iberian Kale in Southwestern Europe and Southern France, with more recent diaspora populations in the Americas and, to a lesser extent, in other parts of the world.

posted by infini at 1:19 PM on July 29, 2010


The Gypsies in history and today, Europe's "public enemy"

This article is about the Gypsies, also called the Roma, Romani, and Sinti, who populate Eastern Europe. They are easily the most unique minority in Europe, and one of its oldest immigrant/nomadic identities. Popularly reviled by most Europeans, they are perceived as a tremendous source of social plight, theft, prostitution, drug trafficking, disease and petty crime. Growing human rights concerns are greatly conflicting with inextricable inter-ethnic conflict that has endured for centuries. Included are some of my personal observations, interviews, and photos from Gypsy history from Romania, Bulgaria, and Auschwitz.

NOTE: the European Heritage Library does NOT intend in this article to depict the Roma in racially-offensive or discriminatory terms. Negative perceptions and hatred for the Roma are virtually universal among Europeans. This article seeks to analyze their position and the difficult social conflict between natives and Roma in history and today.



The Banjara, or "root gypsies"

They are the largest gypsy group in India and are known as the root gypsies of the earth. Gypsies began traveling from India to different regions of Europe hundreds of years ago, and differing dialects evolved in the regions in which each group settled. The Banjara's name is derived from the word bajika, which means trade or business, and from banji, meaning peddlers pack. Many consider them descended from Jews who were exiled to Egypt, as they came to India from Egypt and Persia. Some believe they were expelled from their homeland by Muslim invaders. They are now located in over fifty percent of the Districts of India. From the Joshua Project
posted by infini at 1:27 PM on July 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


Has anyone bothered to try to discover what the police were responding to, that initiated the retaliation? Or do we just say: minority attacks so they must be right. At the very leaast find out how it began and then perhaps you mayh or may not be justified in the comments.
posted by Postroad at 1:33 PM on July 29, 2010


"This mostly saber-rattling from Sarkozy in order to steal back votes from the far-right. It should be noted that most of the Gypsies in France come from populations that came here in the 1400s. In that respect, they're more French than many current French people."

This. The french government is unpopular right now - so they do what they usually do in this case, create a diversion and blame the immigrants. rom a are practically the only group it's still acceptable to be publicly racist about.

Also note that many of these illegal settlements issues come from the fact that most cities don't fulfill their obligations to have a proper area to welcome rom, gypsies and travelers populations.
posted by motdiem2 at 1:39 PM on July 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


Has anyone bothered to try to discover what the police were responding to, that initiated the retaliation?

From up-thread:

"Translation (mine, I did this quickly so pardon any awkwardness): "According to the police, a man had taken out a hand weapon and shot in the direction of police officers, who then opened fire to disperse the crowd. 60-odd cars were burned.

"Karim Boudouda, age 27, who had been found guilty of armed robbery three times in the past, died during the night of Thursday-Friday during a car chase after he fled the casino in Uriage-les-Bains, near Grenoble. Along wIth his partner, who the police are still looking for, he had forcibly — with heavy weaponry — demanded and been given the contents of the cash register."

This appears to have been what incited the riot - the death of an armed robber.
posted by etherist at 2:20 PM on July 29, 2010


Sorry, alleged armed robber.
posted by etherist at 2:22 PM on July 29, 2010


I asked this in a deleted thread about the Bedouin, but can somebody please explain to me (genuinely) how living outside cultural norms destroys the main culture when the stronger culture is so very very established?

I'm not talking about crime here, I believe if you solve other issues that would be resolved. I'm talking about actual nomadic or semi-nomadic cultures actively being bad for society.


Look up what a "gadje" is. Look up what traditional Romani culture believes it is okay to do to gadje that it's not okay to do to Romani, and consider that especially in light of the fact that ethnic Romani who do not live according to the tenets of traditional Romani culture are considered to be gadje. Romani enclaves are not destructive because they're nomadic, they're destructive because they're actively antagonistic.

The statement "All Roma are thieves" is not true and not okay, but when one can accurately say "Romani culture teaches that it is a righteous and moral act to rob a non-Romani", then it's fair to say Romani culture is destructive to an environment where non-Romani don't want to be a victim class. The Roma that stole your phone, passport, and money didn't do so because of some moral failing or economic necessity - he did so because he's been raised to see you as literally nothing except a mark, and that stealing from you is a noble act.
posted by kafziel at 2:22 PM on July 29, 2010 [2 favorites]


Yes, the link I previously posted addresses this idea of the outsider, whom it is fair to mistreat.

http://www.peterleeson.com/Gypsies.pdf
posted by etherist at 2:25 PM on July 29, 2010


"I wonder whether there are some social groups that have a culture of only feeling allegiance within their own tribe. That feel that all other citizens are just marks than can be exploited without moral inhibition."

Bankers? Rich assholes? People who hold shares in Wal-Mart?
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 2:31 PM on July 29, 2010 [3 favorites]


But I know what a gadje is, and I know why Romani rob non-Romani and not other Romani. That seems like a sensible idea when you live in a closed or semi-closed culture. People on my estate don't ron other people on my estate, they rob the semi-wealthy people two estates over.

I said not crime. Do you think if that guy had a medical degree and a cushy job he'd have robbed me? or even if he could get regular work picking lettuces? Crime is not something most people do because they feel like it, especially when they have families. It is a difficult and dangerous road to take in countries that treat your ethnicity like it's a crime in itself.

So take crime out of it. Now why are they a danger to the fabric of society?
posted by shinybaum at 2:37 PM on July 29, 2010


An artistic insight into the Roma people.

I'm pretty sure I came across this link on MeFi but I can't attribute as I don't remember who posted it.
posted by Lleyam at 2:38 PM on July 29, 2010


I can guarantee you gadje is an urban myth... almost all crime is perpetrated against victims the criminal knows. Stuff like bank robbery and mugging strangers is immensely, vanishingly rare compared to garden variety robbery: burglary, strong-arming and petty theft.

I'll need to see a peer-reviewed study before I believe it's anything more than typical scapegoating nonsense. Note - myths Romany repeat because they've been told it so often they believe it's true of themselves doesn't count as a peer reviewed study.
posted by Slap*Happy at 2:57 PM on July 29, 2010


but many other European countries are still inviting to a fault. Europe would rightly be accused of moving backwards if they simply copied all American immigration laws.

For most leftist USians,* the chief fault of our immigration system is that it is insufficiently inviting. This sounds like you're saying that European immigration laws risk becoming too inviting. Is that what you're getting at?

*not a pejorative
posted by Marty Marx at 3:06 PM on July 29, 2010


but many other European countries are still inviting to a fault. Europe would rightly be accused of moving backwards if they simply copied all American immigration laws.

It isn't even really about laws as much as it is about how societies integrate immigrants. This is primarily a consequence of how a country sees itself.
If you believe that the "basis" of your country is a document expressing certain basic rights and establishing a republic, then logically anyone who completes the necessary legal formalities is more than just a legal citizen, they are also "one of you"
If, on the other hand, you conceptualise your country as the homeland of a certain dominant ethnic group, then you have people who are legally citizens but not members of the group. This creates a problem because the sets of legal citizens and "people who belong" are no longer coextensive.

It is easier to become an American than to become Dutch for the same reason that it is easier to join a religion than a race. Of course it's more complicated than that, the United States has a dominant ethnic group of its own - and the issue of "Real Americans" is brought up frequently as a right wing talking point.
posted by atrazine at 3:38 PM on July 29, 2010 [2 favorites]


I said not crime. Do you think if that guy had a medical degree and a cushy job he'd have robbed me? or even if he could get regular work picking lettuces? Crime is not something most people do because they feel like it, especially when they have families. It is a difficult and dangerous road to take in countries that treat your ethnicity like it's a crime in itself.

So take crime out of it. Now why are they a danger to the fabric of society?


If you think it's just a simple matter of sensibly going two estates over, then no, you dont' know why Romani rob non-Romani. Read etherist's link - gadje are seen as spiritually toxic, and contagious in their toxicity, and are deserving of every punishment that can come their way.

You can't take crime out of it, because the problems with the culture have to do with crime - and no, it's not just a matter of circumstances. This is a culture that, if you have "a medical degree and a cushy job", will kick you out and treat you as an outsider and a target. The culture in question strongly promotes crime and grift as the only acceptable methods of making money, and punishes those who seek a stable, non-criminal method of supporting themselves. To "take crime out of it", you have to cut out so many fundamental belief systems that there's no culture left.
posted by kafziel at 3:49 PM on July 29, 2010


atrazine, that's a great insight and articulation. thanks
posted by infini at 3:51 PM on July 29, 2010


but many other European countries are still inviting to a fault. Europe would rightly be accused of moving backwards if they simply copied all American immigration laws.

You either don't know much about European immigration laws or don't know much about American ones. I'm not sure which. Since the formation of the EU it's mostly easy to emigrate from one EU member to another, but that's about it and I hardly think a fair comparison. And it's a heck of a lot easier to become a U.S. citizen than a citizen of European countries; if you're born on US soil, you're a citizen. Period.
posted by Justinian at 3:53 PM on July 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


I disagree Justinian. We're talking about immigration. Citizenship by birth is an entirely seperate issue. Its the process of becoming a resident, a citizen or even a legally employed worker, when holiding a passport that is neither EU nor American that should be compared.
posted by infini at 3:55 PM on July 29, 2010


I can guarantee you gadje is an urban myth...

Slap*Happy: Guarantee? I would be happy to read any peer-reviewed studies you can provide that refute the idea that Romani believe it's OK to rob gadje.

Try the link I have provided above to the paper "Gypsies*". If you disagree with any of the material presented, then provide sources.
posted by etherist at 4:15 PM on July 29, 2010


Etherist: you (and we) only have the police version of events filtered through the media.

if people were pissed off about the circumstances of the death, pissed off enough to put on masks, riot, and attack the police, perhaps, just perhaps we might consider that there could be more to the story about how this went down than what the police reported.

just as a point of fact, when police kill, they always report the same thing. always. which is "we shot him because we thought the victim was trying to kill us and we were afraid for our lives." usually its "he went for a gun (or something that looked like a gun) and tried to kill us".

it doesn't matter whether you are Oscar Grant, Amadou Diallo, or Randy Weaver, the story the cops tell is always the same. nor is it a matter of opinion - whether you think police are a bunch of evil fascists (a point on which we might disagree). it is more about the fact that whoever you are, cop or not, this is what a person says when they shoot someone and don't want to get (g)locked up for it.

another fact which you may conveniently ignore is the relatively high percentage of armed criminals who actually surrender to police without busting off shots. it is significantly higher than 0%, a fact that will likely strain the hollywood-and-newsmedia addled imaginations of many of you.
posted by mano at 4:17 PM on July 29, 2010 [2 favorites]


The culture in question strongly promotes crime and grift as the only acceptable methods of making money, and punishes those who seek a stable, non-criminal method of supporting themselves. To "take crime out of it", you have to cut out so many fundamental belief systems that there's no culture left.

That's a complete load. Even if I didn't know any Romany, it still wouldn't pass the smell test. It sounds identical to the "Italian Code of Silence" bullshit (and "Sicillian Code of Silence", if you're already an Italian, looking for another nearby scapegoat) that implies all the local "wops" are in with the Mob.

The Romany in my apartment building worked their asses off, like any new immigrants - auto detailing and car stereo installation, mostly. Good neighbors, too, they once brought a big package adressed to me from the lobby, up an extra flight of stairs to my apartment door. The worst they ever did to me was cook some kind of spicy cabbage dish, like borscht. Man, could it stink up the place for =days=...
posted by Slap*Happy at 4:18 PM on July 29, 2010 [2 favorites]


To "take crime out of it", you have to cut out so many fundamental belief systems that there's no culture left.

So an entire ethnic group are criminals, culturally. Improving their circumstances will not help with this, because they're raised to be criminals and it has nothing to do with the way they've been treated in Europe for centuries in addition to how they're treated right now. Roma have no culture other than crime, because to take crime away would leave nothing to write home about.

I absolutely do not believe any of that for a second, but I have heard it enough times to end my part of the conversation here.

Atrazine that was very insightful, thank you.
posted by shinybaum at 4:19 PM on July 29, 2010 [2 favorites]


mano:

You are right - the news media get things wrong all the time.

I'm sure there was a perfectly good reason for the mayhem and the torching of 60 cars. Exactly what this reason is has not yet been reported.

It is entirely possible that a 3-time convicted armed robber was shot in cold blood because he looked at police the wrong way. Or it could be because he tried to run a police roadblock/checkpoint. We will never know.

1) Yes, people need scapegoats. It appears to be "human nature", if you believe in such a thing.
2) Even perpetual historical scapegoats sometimes act badly.
3) Rinse. Lather. Repeat.
posted by etherist at 4:33 PM on July 29, 2010


So an entire ethnic group are criminals, culturally. Improving their circumstances will not help with this, because they're raised to be criminals and it has nothing to do with the way they've been treated in Europe for centuries in addition to how they're treated right now. Roma have no culture other than crime, because to take crime away would leave nothing to write home about.

The difference between an ethnic Roma and somebody living under the dictates of Romanipen is the difference between an African-American and a Crip. Conflating the two serves no purpose except to bolster a false sense of outrage.
posted by kafziel at 4:45 PM on July 29, 2010


Again, the American Experience helps us, here. The lies told about Romany are the same ones told about:

The Irish
The Itialians - The Sicilians - the Sardinians
The Portuguese - the Brazillians - the Cape Verdeans
The French Canadians
The Cantonese Speaking Chinese - the Mandarin speaking Chinese - the Hakka speaking Chinese
The Japanese - the Koreans
The Vietnamese - the Hmong - the Cambodians
Phillipino
Blacks - Dominicans - Haitians
Spanish-speaking Americans from the Southwest - Mexicans - Central Americans - Ecuadoreans
Russians - Georgians - Balkans - Greek-speaking Balkans - Greek-speaking Balkan Jews (Hello, Hope St in Providence!) - Armenians
Florida Cubans - Cuban Cubans - Puerto Ricans
Native Americans
Indians - Islamic Indians - Pakistanis - Bangladeshis
Lebanese - Arabian Arabs - North African Arabs
Jews
Jamaicans
Greeks - Cypriots

I, personally, have heard every one of these ethnicities called born criminals, born to a culture of crime. Every. One. (The dashes indicate, right to left, who did the accusing.) About the only ethnic community in the US not accused of being born thieves and murderers were the Romany, but I think that's only because they're a new and small immigrant community.

After a while, it gets silly and stupid. This is a perspective Europeans need desperately when dealing with "Romany Issues."
posted by Slap*Happy at 5:25 PM on July 29, 2010 [2 favorites]


I disagree Justinian. We're talking about immigration. Citizenship by birth is an entirely seperate issue. Its the process of becoming a resident, a citizen or even a legally employed worker, when holiding a passport that is neither EU nor American that should be compared.

That's fine. What makes you think it is easier to become a citizen of a European country than of the United States? Do you know what the immigration laws are like in, say, Switzerland?
posted by Justinian at 5:42 PM on July 29, 2010


It's caste racism, and the Romany are at the bottom of the hierarchy. Whether or not they consider the dominant majority to be gadje or "untouchable" or unsympathetic or what have you, they are not on the dangerous side of the power dynamic. If the Romani don't trust non-Roma it makes complete and utter sense. Non-Roma burn them out of their homes, lynch them, discriminate against them in every sphere of life, slaughter them wholesale, abuse their children, forcibly sterilize them, and have absolutely no sympathy for them. Who are the real brutes here? Who are the criminal class?

I'm sorry but I cannot buy that the peoples of Europe would embrace the Romani but those dastardly Romani just push their loving embrace away. I admit that I'm suspicious of anyone who is even arguing that somehow this ethnic cleansing is warranted because of some action on the part of the Romani. They don't have the power. They couldn't change anyone's mind no matter what they tried, because someone has to be the scapegoat, someone has to be kicked around, and it's been them for a very long time. I don't know why anyone would believe the police or government or any institution in a position of authority here when these institutions are used to violently maintain racist hierarchies TIME and TIME again.
posted by Danila at 6:39 PM on July 29, 2010 [8 favorites]


it's a heck of a lot easier to become a U.S. citizen than a citizen of European countries

This has not been my experience. The citizenship BS for me in the US is looking like it will take nearly 20 years (I'm about half way there), and this is with the kind of desirable qualities that would get me a much quicker path in some EU countries.

If I knew then what I know now... :-/
posted by -harlequin- at 7:17 PM on July 29, 2010


I'm not sure what's going on in Europe, but it seems the experience under the Third Reich has just not sunk in.

Switzerland has banned minarets ... not all tall rectangular towers that are attached to houses of worship singling out one religion.

France has voted to ban the burqa/niqab in public ... not all face coverings that show only the eyes, or even less ... and this too, under the laughable pretext of promoting liberté and égalité.

The European track record on the Romany people is a disgrace and makes a mockery of the European Convention of Human Rights, and other so-called Western or European ideals.

Stigmatizing one race or ethnicity does not lead to a healthier society. It alienates those who are already disciminated against. It divides people. I don't live in Europe, but it would seem to me that many Europeans, who otherwise believe they are liberal and pluralistic, want their societies divided and unhealthy. There is a constant lament against the greater brown/black masses that increasingly populate their continent. The Romany are not even recent arrivals, as someone pointed out above, and even they cannot be treated like other citizens.

Well, O ye Europeans who believe they truly belong there (and that includes immigrants who got their a few decades ago) get used to it ... the numbers of brownies and blackies will only increase, and at least you are not being decimated in the same manner that your forebears exterminated the native populations of North America, Australia, and parts of South America. This is the way human history goes: it is a story of migration and the mixing of peoples. Embrace it, and make the most of the inevitable. It will make the lives of you and your successive generations more peaceful and robust.
posted by Azaadistani at 10:37 PM on July 29, 2010 [2 favorites]


My understanding is that a lot of transient and semi-homeless people that are called Roma (or Gypsies, or whatever) aren't actually members of those groups, and many others are only peripherally associated - they hang out with them sometimes, or they have a relative within the group or whatever. Usually this distinction isn't important to anyone except sociologists: most people don't care how other people define themselves or how they see the world.

On the other hand, when people are complaining about criminals and squatters and so forth, you get people who are sure that the culprits are gypsies, sure that they were acting from religious or cultural motives, sure that there's this undeclared ethnic war against gadjos. When really, you know, the guy who stole your cell phone is probably just a junkie. And if he calls himself Roma he's probably just ... romancing the fact that he lives in a squat or out of a car. And I will lay dollars to doughnuts that he doesn't come home to a happy family who feel proud when they see the legitimate reward of his toils.

I see a similar sort of dynamic when people are talking about other minority groups. You suddenly get all these insider-terms for outsiders and pontificating about how "they" see other people. And it's all quite OK, because these complaints are out of a genuine desire to get "them" to be less racist!
posted by Joe in Australia at 12:07 AM on July 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


That's fine. What makes you think it is easier to become a citizen of a European country than of the United States? Do you know what the immigration laws are like in, say, Switzerland?

Personal experience of both immigration systems, albeit Finland not Switzerland.
posted by infini at 1:06 AM on July 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


Personal experience of both immigration systems, albeit Finland not Switzerland.

Obviously one can't argue with an anecdote. But in general the immigration laws in the USA are significantly more liberal than most places, including most if not all of Europe.
posted by Justinian at 1:33 AM on July 30, 2010


the European union countries should give the Roma access to education, work, benefits, and citizenship. What crimes are acceptable if they do not? Are property crimes OK, but not bodily harm?

It's not about certain crimes being "acceptable" based on the level of support provided to a community. It's more about the way that many (most?) Roma/Gypsy/traveller communities receive absolutely fuck all in terms of government support, how it's hard for them to find places to camp that aren't illegal, how they often find it hard to get their children into schools and their adults into work (for reasons related in some way to culture, yes, but largely because of the staggering level of prejudice against them), and how it's a little fucking hypocritical for a society to look at a community and wail, "You're taking from us!" when it's been made as hard as humanly possible for that community to give anything in the first place.

Not to mention that when you drop the law on a Gypsy it tends to be a lot heavier than the law that gets dropped on, say, a nice white British guy.

Also, what shinybaum said.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 5:37 AM on July 30, 2010 [4 favorites]


woah, thread moved hella on; should've refreshed. my excuse: flu.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 5:38 AM on July 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


EU turning blind eye to discrimination against Roma, say human rights groups
posted by homunculus at 4:39 PM on July 30, 2010


Dozens of Roma (Gypsies) have arrived back in Romania after being repatriated by France under a controversial policy backed by President Nicolas Sarkozy.
posted by homunculus at 11:06 AM on August 19, 2010


Homunculus: that's just extraordinary. I'm astonished that an EU country can get away with doing something like that.
posted by Joe in Australia at 4:36 PM on August 19, 2010


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