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Italy Cracks Down on Immigrants, Roma Population

Italian authorities arrested hundreds of alleged illegal immigrants yesterday, in a crackdown that included a raid on a Roma (Gypsies) housing camp. Earlier this week, many Roma living in Naples fled the city, after their homes were set on fire by residents. Immigration authorities target the Roma population, a group that carries the perception of criminality.

The Roma people, Europe's largest minority, are often stateless — meaning they are without citizenship documents from any country. Their ancestors migrated from modern day India at the beginning of the second millennium. They have their own language and distinct cultural traditions. You may know them as the people who suspiciously linger around Europe's tourist attractions. Since their migration, those who have not successfully assimilated have been the victims of enslavement, forced sterilization, genocide, discrimination, and overall marginalization.

Fortunately, increased attention given to the Roma population by international organizations has decreased human rights violations. Of course, more can be done.

Do you think the arrests in Italy are an appropriate law enforcement response, or are the authorities giving into a hostile and prejudice majority? Do immigration solutions become more complicated when there is nowhere to send undocumented residents?


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Jasper68 Jasper68 8 years
Hello all I've been reading the thread about the Roma people in Naples and how they have been expelled from their homes in Naples / arrested etc. I have experienced Roma people at first hand in Slovakia and other Eastern European countries. I have also seen the Roma people resplendent in their costumes dancing and singing to Flamenca in the caves of Andalucia in Spain (they brought Flamenco dancing to Spain and it is based on Indian Classical dance). I must admit that I am slightly shocked by the way people on this thread have simply glossed over the actions of the local authorities, who seem to have almost condoned what the local population has done in firebombing an entire community based on the activities of a few people in that community. Tens of millions of Italians left their home country for most parts of the world when Italy was a nation of net migration, most notably they arrived in USA. They were considered to be an undesirable immigrant minority and were for a long time labelled as "criminals" en masse by the local inhabitants. What we are seeing here is the influx of a first generation of immigrants into Italy who do not fit into the local homogenous Italian culture and why should they? They did not come into Italy because they wanted to see the Vatican or eat Pizza, they came because they need to survive and they see Italy as a rich nation where they can make money however they can whether that be through criminality or legitimate means....just like the Italians and the Irish did in the States and elsewhere. So tell me, why is anybody surprised that these people do not fit in? Also tell me why is anybody surprised that they do not fit into the norms of Italian society? In view of the above, do you still think that the response to this problem is justified?
Meike Meike 8 years
Yeah, I completely agree with making an effort to speak the language of any country I visit. On topic...I've visited Italy. I don't know what to say about the Roma except that they tried to steal my dad's wallet. I understand that they're trying to maintain a culture but that culture is infringing on the rights of people outside their group. No one, rich or poor, wants to have their belongings stolen. Furthermore, I have seen these women use an infant as a tool/ploy to gain sympathy from unsuspecting tourist. They work in pairs where one plays the distraction and the other plays the thief. My most memorable recollection of a Roma gypsy is one who was sprinting down a street to her getaway with a newborn in her arms. All I could think of at the time was the 'shaking baby' syndrome or if she tripped and fell. *shudders*
KrisSugar KrisSugar 8 years
Natalie, it happens I guess. :) That made me sad though! I am over it now. I hope you have a lovely day in Italia domani! :)
--Natalie-- --Natalie-- 8 years
i think that peachy didn't undertstand what you said. There was a misanderstanding.
KrisSugar KrisSugar 8 years
"It's only you that would have that mentality." PeachyKeen, you don't even know me! I think that was HORRIBLY rude of you! You made some assumptions about me that are completely wrong. Every country I visit, I make an effort to speak their language and learn their culture at least a little. I think THAT is a respectful thing to do. I don't expect everyone who comes to America to speak English, although I do think they ought to learn it eventually. Where in the world did you get that idea about me?
KrisSugar KrisSugar 8 years
it's rude of me? huh? i'm saying it's rude to go to italy and think "oh hell, their language is enough like spanish, i'll speak that to them and not bother to try italian." each country's language is special, distinct, and deserves respect. I was only coming from the perpective of friends who go to Italy and think, "oh, i'll just speak Spanish to those Italians, it's just as good." Plenty of Italians may speak Spanish, French, or anything else. I just think it's rude to walk up and ask for directions in Spanish, just as it would be rude to walk up and expect them to speak English. You totally misinterpreted me.
syako syako 8 years
I don't think what Kris said was rude at all. I think you took it the wrong way.
PeachyKeen19 PeachyKeen19 8 years
KrisSugar- I think it's rude of you to say that it would be rude to speak Spanish in Italy. In Europe if I spoke Portuguese, Spanish, French, Italian or Romanian that is perfectly respectable. I feel you're coming from that American perspective that ppl must speak English when in the US (y'all like to cite the whole "when in rome, do as the romans") Well, my friends all speak most of the languages that I mentioned (except the last) and we wouldn't think anything of speaking them in each others countries. Of course, the prominent language of choice will be the country's language because we are practicing it or whatever. BUt mostly we think of each other as linguistic brothers and sisters...not like English at all. It's only you that would have that mentality.
KrisSugar KrisSugar 8 years
i have not seen that movie NYF, but it sounds interesting.
--Natalie-- --Natalie-- 8 years
I do mnot think that home is a problem. i think that rob it is! If tehey do not want to be citizen, it's nota problem. I just want them to respect other as they want to be respected.
NYFashionista NYFashionista 8 years
Kris- what you say about leaving one's family is really true. Have you ever seen the movie "Born into Brothels"? It's about the brothels in India (particularly in the infamous distric known as the Red Light district) where there are girls as young as 10/11 who are forced into prostitution. They grow up in that environment bc their mothers are already in it and they are raised to be prostitutes. The woman making the documentary attempts to take the children out of this situation (only after gaining their trust and convincing the parents) and put them in schools. Many of the children end up going back (mostly bc they miss their Mothers, can't deal with school which is a differnet lifestyle altogether, or bc their mothers guilt trip them into coming back). Some are so hungry for an education, are able to stay in school (but who knows for how long?). It's just depressing and frustrating.
NYFashionista NYFashionista 8 years
Very true Natalie- I most definitely agree with you. It's hard sitting back watching this happen especially when it affects you directly (i.e. through terrorist attacks, robberies, kidnappings etc). There ARE examples of people breaking out of this though and I think these people should be seen as role models for the community..the message sent to the children should be, you CAN break out, you CAN be successful you just need to TRY. There are people who are willing to sponser these kids. It's sad because there are just soo many of them and so many that are already too brain washed :(
KrisSugar KrisSugar 8 years
I agree with you Natalie. It would be hard for them to learn any other way of thinking. It would also be hard for them to leave their culture and assimilate, because they would leave their families behind. Since their families don't have a real home, they might never see them again.
--Natalie-- --Natalie-- 8 years
"wrong"..not wrom...hihihi!
--Natalie-- --Natalie-- 8 years
The sad part i think that i u grown up in a kind of mentality, you can not asily see that your culture is "wrom". Is like kids in sierra leone or in afganista for example where they grown with a gun in their hands..they are so accustomed to war that they will be grown with anger inside then..or like fanatic muslim( or fanatic catholic..) that are ducated to fanatic ideas since they are 3 years could these poor babies change all alone their destiny? It's hard.. But i believe in the progress of love and educationand help..not in forcing people to our culture or our form of democracy.
NYFashionista NYFashionista 8 years
Natalie- Your perspective is much appreciated! I am absolutely inlove with your country (and was planning another trip this summer, but bc of the exchange rate -eek!- cannot afford it as of now)...anyway my parents were victims of a gypsy attack once on vacation there so I know how scary it can be. Luckily, no one was injured and they disappeared as quickly as they appeared. That said, although I know that the gypsy community is a dangerous group of people (due to the crimes they commit), I do wonder if this mentality stems from the abuses they have incurred such as "enslavement, forced sterilization, genocide, discrimination, and overall marginalization"? In India (where my parents are from) we also have large groups of people (very similiar to the gypsies) who also use children to beg and rob. In some extreme cases the children and adults maim themselves in order to get even more sympathy. It's a truly horrific situation. You're right about one thing and that's many refuse to be educated. Instead of giving them money my parents often offer the children who beg, to send them to school and pay for their books and school tuition etc. They become shy and look down and shake their heads. It's truly heartbreaking. I wish more could be done to help these people. I feel as though they are caught in a cycle that they just cannot break out from. I don't condone their illegal actions at all, but wonder if more can be done by the community and especially the government (*yeah right*) to help these groups? Perhaps I'm a little more idealist than I should be...I just wish everyone could be given opportunities to break out of poverty and these types of dire situations...
--Natalie-- --Natalie-- 8 years
Well..! :)
KrisSugar KrisSugar 8 years
Natalie, thank you so much for the news links! they finally appeared. i will be busy reading for days! :)
caryatid caryatid 8 years
there was a show on italian mtv about a guy who went to spain and spoke italian... italospagnolo, i think it was called. though the languages are different, they are definitely mutually intelligable to a point! it's pretty cool, like one and a half languages for the price of one. ;) natalie, i miss italy everyday, i studied in pisa and rome for 3 months each and had a wonderful time learning about italian culture and language. i also have to say that i was terribly disgusted by a lot of the gypsy activity - blatantly trying to pick pocket, getting in your face while asking for money, using children to either distract you or try to tug at your heart strings. every time i saw a tourist give them money i felt like running up and yelling.
--Natalie-- --Natalie-- 8 years
BUt i have also to say that the bigest part of the accident was sdone not by police but b normal citizen..saddly.
--Natalie-- --Natalie-- 8 years
OH, I'd love to see Florence once again..but Rome is my favorite one. the most beautiful city i have ever seen ..till now! ;)
LibertySugar LibertySugar 8 years
Also, I wanted to use the story to focus in on the Roma population. Thanks for pointing out that the authorities targeted other immigrants and issues with the raid!
--Natalie-- --Natalie-- 8 years
hehe. You're right! But no one will never rude with you if you speack english here..the worst thing could happen to yu is that they will no understand you..hihi!
LibertySugar LibertySugar 8 years
Hey guys! I spent time studying in Florence and think about the experience and wonderful Italy pretty much every single day! Thank you all for sharing our perspectives on the situation!
KrisSugar KrisSugar 8 years
that's right, Cine! I try to learn a little wherever I am going. Just expecting them to speak English is really rude in my opinion, even in a tourist place. If you try just one sentence and mess up, they will be a whole lot nicer to you as well! I learned how to say "I would like a ..." in all the places I've gone. I would like a ticket/sandwich/water/hotel room, etc. Then they usually laugh at me and start speaking English. ha!
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