Thursday, August 26, 2010

The Story of the Roma : BBC News - Sarkozy vows to continue expulsions of Roma from France

The story of the Roma, in 11 short points:

1. The French government have taken a decision to get rid of the Roma. Nobody really knows why, they just want to.

2. Their argument is that the Roma are harmful, lawless and dangerous, detrimental to the proper functioning of the state. They've cited a few one-off incidents and pronounced all the Roma guilty.

3. We know the Roma are not harmful or lawless. A few one-off incidents and circumstances cannot be used to pass judgement like this, besides, a little closer investigation into the actual facts shows a different reality than that being portrayed by the government. There is clearly no intent among the Roma to cause any harm or harassment to the French State or its people.

4. The Roma are just a bit different from the mainstream population. They are gypsies - nomadic; they don't own property and live a down-to-earth lifestyle and their way of life gives them have a slight repulsion to authority and conformity. This aspect may have made them different from the regular French citizens.

5. This difference has been misused by the French administration and they have played up these differences.

6. Several human rights activists and groups are campaigning to bridge this divide, to make the mainstream understand things as they are from the Roma's perspective, to inform them of the facts.

7. However, the Government is winning out. This is because there isn't a proper communication going on between the mainstream and the Roma.

8. Because of breakdown in communication, and reluctance to understand someone so different than them, the French people are committing a colossal mistake - they are assuming whatever their government is telling them as truth, without checking the facts and without caring to hear out the other side. Their fear-of-the-other has given the government license to do what it wants.

9. And so the Roma are facing forced eviction from the places they were staying in, despite never having caused any real harm. To add to injury, their name is being tarnished and their dignity is being taken away from them.

10. The Roma are suffering because of a breakdown in effective communication and understanding. If the French people could just step out of their comfort zones, invest some of their time and energy and see the other side, all this needless eviction and trauma could easily be avoided.

11. Even after the last of the Roma have been evicted from France, their plight and their story will live on in the hearts of the activists who spoke for them. As more people hear about it, more will join their cause. And even if 3 or more months pass by, this matter will not have truly been settled until the truth is out, justice is done and the dignity of the Roma restored.

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