By LISA GOODMAN
The President of France, Nicolas Sarkozy, has begun to deport (remove from the country) the Roma, an ethnic minority group better known as the Gypsies. Since late July 2010, over 1,000 Gypsies have been forced to leave France and return to the Eastern European countries of Romania and Bulgaria, where they face economic hardship.
Following France’s action, Milan, Italy has decided to close its own Gypsy settlement camps and deport the Gypsy people. According to the Washington Post, Milan’s vice mayor, Ricardo De Corato, said of the Gypsies, “These are dark-skinned people, not Europeans like you and me. Our final goal is to have zero Gypsy camps in Milan.”
Gypsy peoples have a long history of living on the outskirts of society and working as street performers and traveling merchants. During the Holocaust, anywhere from 250,000 to 500,000 Gypsies were killed just because of their ethnicity (cultural group). Viviane Reding, the Justice Commissioner of the European Union (EU), recently expressed publicly that “This is a situation I would have thought Europe would not have to witness again after the Second World War. “
With a declining economy, some people in Europe are blaming immigrants such as the Gypsies for the increased crime rate and loss of jobs. András Biró, founder of the Hungarian Foundation for Self-Reliance and long time supporter of the Roma, told Democracy Now!, “If acts of small theft or things like that have happened, this cannot put the blame on the entire community. And that’s what the French did.”
Roma/Gypsies: An ethnic group which migrated from Northern India to Europe almost 1,000 years ago.