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Italians Outraged Over Indifferent Gypsy Drowning Pictures

Italians Outraged Over Indifference to Drowned Girls' Bodies

Photographs published yesterday showing Italian sunbathers going about their sun soaking despite the nearby corpses of two drowned Roma children are causing a splash across all of Italy. The two girls, both younger than 15, drowned Saturday in strong currents despite rescue efforts, and the bodies were laid in the sun awaiting emergency services.

One of the ambulance drivers said, "we picked up the bodies amid total indifference." An Italian newspaper says, "while the lifeless bodies of the girls were still on the sand, there were those who carried on sunbathing or having lunch just a few meters away." Lunch.

The incident is a graphic pictorial display of tension between the ethnic Romas (also called Gypsies), and other locals. Recent crackdowns on the population, combined with the controversy surrounding the current census, has led to a visit by a European human rights group who heard of the plan to fingerprint all Roma, including children. Some have compared this idea (which is on hold for now) to the Nazi treatment of the Jews.

What's behind the tension? To find out,


An estimated 150,000 Roma live in encampments on the edges of Italian cities. Though they're a distinct ethnic group with origins in northern India, just over 40 percent of modern Roma are legal Italians, possessing Italian passports. When Romania joined the EU last year, the population grew and questions regarding the new arrivals' lifestyle spark problems and hostility.

Many Italians are openly aggressive toward the population, accusing them of refusing to work in favor of stealing and shunning their seclusion in squalid, illegal camps. Pro-Roma critics say that Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has exploited anti-Roma feeling for political gain.

The situation Italy faces, depicted graphically in these photos, with the Roma sounds similar to other nations facing immigration struggles. Is there a Roma equivalent in most nations — do recent immigrants always face discrimination and exploitation? Or does behavior, rather than immigrant status, count more?


Join The Conversation
caryatid caryatid 9 years
about a billion years later - but i was talking about the tour guide wasn't charged with anything for breaking the kid's fingers.
jessie jessie 9 years
yikes meike...i really don't keep up with oversea news, so i had no clue
Great-Sommelier Great-Sommelier 9 years
What do you think he should be charged with? The guy just stole from him. Sheesh.
caryatid caryatid 9 years
i know a lot of people in italy view the romas as being almost less than people - which is probably what the article is trying to convey. in fact, a german tour guide who took my high school group through italy proudly told the group how a roma boy stole his wallet on the street and he chased him down and broke his fingers - saying that would end his life of crime. he mentioned the italian police pulling him away, but they did not detain him or charge him with anything, simply let him go. if that doesn't speak to the way the romas are treated in general, i don't know what does.
356UIK 356UIK 9 years
Idk, other than leaving after you've called the police, what are you supposed to do? Run around screaming and crying and wringing your hands in despair? If you dont know the people who died, then how exactly are you supposed to react. I dont know that this indicates or clearly depicts racial tension. A lot of people would probably just sit there horrified too, until they were taken away or forced to leave, how exactly can you assume that they werent affected by it?
gigill gigill 9 years
Meike: I just had a Roma family (woman with baby, her male relative/spouse playing an accordian) hop on the tube to do some begging both on the way to my desintation and they jumped on the same carriage as me on the way back! What strange luck. Anyways, it's not the first time I've seen the woman with a baby as leverge for begging trick before. As for this story: we don't know how the sunbathers reacted to the deaths, and I don't understand why they didn't shut down that part of the beach.
Meike Meike 9 years
Sorry to burst your bubble, Jessie, but Roma 'families' do not care about their own as well. I was in Rome, Italy last year where a Roma woman used her baby (almost a newborn) as leverage to 'beg' as a distraction for another Roma tried to mug my father. Fortunately, it was without success. However, some minutes later the same Roma lady with the baby was seen sprinting across the cobblestone at full speed. If the baby dies from the shaking, they most likely won't mourn for it. I'm in Germany right now and experienced a similar incident at Frankfurt's hub station with a Roma woman, again, using her baby as leverage to 'beg' for money. Obviously, I feel very bad for the child but I cannot feel any sympathy for the woman. European citizens have tried very hard to integrate Roma people into their society but they simply do not want to be part of it and chose instead to stir trouble and commit crimes. Roma are taught from childhood to lie, steal, and cheat. Overtime because of the number of offenses Roma people have committed, Europeans start looking at them with indifference. It's hard to care for people who lie to you and steal from you.
Mintie Mintie 9 years
Yes... that was indeed my point.
ashattack16 ashattack16 9 years
Minnie, Mintie .. haha, sorry.
ashattack16 ashattack16 9 years
Yeah, I think the point that Minnie was getting at is that the story is supposed to demonstrate the "cultural tension" between the Romas and the native Italians.
girlgreen girlgreen 9 years
I think the point someone above was trying to make was that they were Roma, and that's why no one cared.
Great-Sommelier Great-Sommelier 9 years
They could have been in complete shock. Just sitting there next to the bodies of kids. I don't understand the eating as much, maybe serious shock and just needing something to do. But the sitting there, I can understand that.
KrisSugar KrisSugar 9 years
yes, do tell!
MartiniLush MartiniLush 9 years
I second Torgleson's request, Mintie - care to share your thoughts?
jessie jessie 9 years
how sad for the familys of the two girls, my condolances to them. :(
True-Song True-Song 9 years
Care to enlighten?
Mintie Mintie 9 years
It appears everyone has missed the point of the story.
True-Song True-Song 9 years
i would have to leave just because i'd be grossed out.
MartiniLush MartiniLush 9 years
Great point, Le Etiana! The ambulance drivers obviously felt that the people on the beach were indifferent and they are Italian, so....I guess they would be a pretty good judge of what their culture would consider "appropriate" for the dead.
Jude-C Jude-C 9 years
That is a really good point, Le E. This is disturbing.
KrisSugar KrisSugar 9 years
Well that's something I didn't think of Le Etiana. The beach ought to have been shut down, at least until the young girls were taken away.
outofhere outofhere 9 years
It's true that we have no way of knowing how people were feeling. However, their actions do seem to indicate indifference and the ambulance drivers alluded to this. I know we're dealing with a different culture but I'm actually surprised the beach wasn't shut down.
ali0420 ali0420 9 years
Roarman - actually in the Hartford incident, several people called 911 to report the accident and it appears that at least one of the people in the video who walked over to look at the man was on the phone with 911 at the time reporting the incident.
KrisSugar KrisSugar 9 years
i just can't believe no one sat with the bodies.
Bksuga Bksuga 9 years
Sorry I mean wow thats sad..
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