Racism against the Roma

Submitted by martin on 22 September, 2010 - 8:26 Author: Sinead Ash

In which British newspaper did the following defence of French president Nicolas Sarkozy's decision to deport Roma travellers from Eastern Europe appear?

"... They are parasites on a state of civilisation, material and cultural, they have done nothing to build and could not reproduce...

"Deportation could well produce an eternally revolving population as deportees try to make their way back. But should French tax-payers have to pay for schools and services and training to yank Roma families up to minimally acceptable French living standards?"

In a BNP or UKIP publication? In the habitually and shamelessly chauvinist and racist Daily Express?

Well, yes. It appeared in the Express under the big headline: "Sarkozy is quite right to deport the Roma from France".

But the Daily Express reprinted it. It first appeared in The Independent, one of Britain's self-proclaimed progressive and liberal broadsheets! The article was signed by Mary Dejevsky.

The word "racism" is, these days, often thrown about too loosely, and as a result has had much of its meaning and force blurred. But surely this is racism!

The article oozes chauvinism against the people abused as "parasites" who are in their nature antagonistic to "our" "civilisation".

They have "done nothing to build" our civilisation and culture, says Dejevsky. You are to understand: "unlike us". Our forebears built the civilisation and culture being attacked by these parasites.

The Roma, or their descendants, can do nothing valuable for the future, either: they could not "reproduce" "our" civilisation and culture.

They have no possible contribution to make, either as workers or as the bearers of elements of civilisation that could enrich the places they come. They are vicious, congenitively degenerate anti-social parasites.

Their forebears were that, and their descendants will be too. So? Drive them out of Western Europe!

The Nazis used similar idea about the Roma to justify mass murder. They put them in concentration camps and killed maybe a quarter of a million of them, a quarter or more of the entire Roma population of Europe at the time.

Ms Dejevsky is too busy spewing hate to notice that she contradicts her basic case when she rhetorically asks: should French taxpayers pay to educate the incomers?

So, where necessary, the Roma can be integrated in that way? Here she buttresses her racist depiction and condemnation of the Roma with exclusivist chauvinism: why should the settled French - or the British - taxpayers pay for their education?

In hard times like ours are shaping up to be, minorities come in hand to the ruling class and their press for channelling frustration with the capitalist system onto scapegoats. "Outsiders" by their often (not invariably) nomadic way of life, the Roma (and the non-Roma Irish "travellers") are easy targets for hate and vilification.

Problems and frictions inevitable in their interactions with old-settled neighbouring communities are treated not as a problem to sort out, but as justification for bulldozing their settlements, beating them up, driving them out (often by vigilantes) - and occasionally for the chanting of hate even by a mainstream bourgeois "liberal" paper like The Independent.

For what this frequently leads to on the ground, see the picture accompanying this article of a recent legal levelling of a traveller encampment in Basildon.

Add new comment

This website uses cookies, you can find out more and set your preferences here.
By continuing to use this website, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms & Conditions.