by Michael Smith (Veshengro)
Italian interior minister Roberto Maroni argues that the measure is designed to 'prevent phenomena such as begging'.
But critics believe, rightly so, one can only add, that the Gypsy minority is being unfairly targeted by the new, right-wing government led by Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.
On the other hand, as a Romani myself, I have to agree though that there is a problem with a number of Roma groups (and no, I am not having a go at the Roma again – only at laziness and such), in that the men idle doing nothing while the force the women and children to go out to beg and, also, dare I say, pickpocket, shoplift, etc. Though being Gypsy I cannot and will not ever condone such kind of behavior. I would only ever condone “theft” if it was for survival, and that then with reservations.
The European Commission has called for an investigation into the measures of the Italian government. So, I assume we shall hear from them in about four years time or so after millions of Euro have been wasted on such a study and report.
Meanwhile, the European Parliament has just adopted a resolution that asks the Italian government to halt its plans. Euro MPs say it is unacceptable "to violate Gypsies' fundamental rights and to criminalise them."
The Italian MEP Monica Frassoni of the Green Party believes the authorities have already begun creating files on Gypsies living in camps around major cities. She warns that this violates EU laws.
We all know, Miss Frassoni, that this violated EU law. What the Romani People would like to know is what actual steps of intervention – not just rhetoric – the European Union and its Commission and Parliament are actually going to take to stop this NOW.
"The point is that the Italian government has issued a decree obliging all people living in camps - so normally gypsies - to be filed and to say where they come from and what ethnic origin they have. Even which religion they have, which is absolutely forbidden normally by our laws.
It actually means you are creating a database based on ethnic origins. This is why we are putting so much focus on this: because there is a direct contradiction with European legislation."
How nice... we know that.
European Justice Commissioner Jacques Barrot stresses that Italy has promised to send a detailed report on its plans by the end of July.
"It's important for me that there is an extremely precise and clear investigation," he says. But the Commissioner also says he's been given assurances by minister Maroni that the United Nations children's agency, UNICEF, backs the controversial plan.
That's because fingerprinting should help to make sure that Roma children go to school and receive social welfare.
If this is true, that is to say that UNICEF, a United Nations body, backing this action then we, the Rom, must come to realize that the UN nor the EU will ever be on the side of the Romani and that, as I have predicted already a number of years ago, we, the Gypsy People, the Romani, are again the target of actions against us by government decree, and in this case from on very high (no, o Devel has nothing to do with that).
Senior Juan de Dios Ramírez-Heredia, president of the Romani Union of neighbouring Spain and first ever Romani who served as a Member of the European Parliament, however, says the measures are first and foremost linked to promises to crack down on crime.
Those promises were a key element, he said, of the campaign that swept Mr Berlusconi back into power earlier this year. The Prime Minister even made an explicit connection between rising crime rates and the large number of Roma living in Italy.
"He won by exploiting public fears about the growing insecurity in Italy. This fear was channelled towards Gypsies, because we are an invisible minority."
Mr Heredia added that society's weakest always "end up paying the price of an extreme anti-immigration policy."
Ms Frassoni says that it is now the EU's duty to act.
"I am not even sure that will be enough, but the EU is a community of rights and values and we must do this or be shown to be totally useless."
Dear Miss Frassoni, what are you proposing the EU is going to do for they will do nothing. And we, the Romani, must have come to realize this by now.
In fact, the way it would appear, the EU will not act against Italy (except with a few little words to show the rest of the world) because the EU has plans for the Gypsy. Plans similar, it would appear, to those that Germany under Hitler and even before already had for the Romani. I leave the reader to come to his or her own conclusions from the historical data available.
Time, amare Rom, to do our own thing. Time to come to realize that none of the “white” man's organizations will do anything for us. Time to stand up and be counted (no, not by the Carabinieri) and stand against this as a Nation, as a People.
A People United Can Never Be Defeated!
AVA! Ame Shai!
© M Smith (Veshengro), July 2008