European Union gives blessing for Italy's Roma fingerprint scheme
by Michael Smith
The European Union has basically told the Berlusconi regime in Italy that their actions against the Roma (and Sinti), the Gypsies, in the camps in Italy is fine by them and Berlusconi states that he always was certain that the EU would clear his government's actions as regards the Gypsy menace.
A Commission spokesman said Brussels was satisified that in conducting a census of Roma gypsies in camps as part of its crackdown on street crime since coming to power in May, the Berlusconi Government was not seeking ''data based on ethnic origin or religion". The controversial fingerprinting programme had the sole aim of ''identifying persons who cannot be identified in any other way".
Well, did anyone think different? Yes, I know, the majority of the Rom in Europe and elsewhere had put their hopes in the EU and some, I guess, still do and I hate to say that I told you so, but I did. The European Union is the greatest danger befalling the Gypsy People in Europe since the Nazis.
This is making the fear that I have that this in Italy – and actions against Rom in other parts of the European Union – is a stalking horse as to what is in store for our People in Europe under the EU leadership at present.
The fingerprinting of minors was only being carried out ''in strictly necessary cases and as the ultimate possibility of identification,'' the statement from the Commission said. On press photos, however, that have been seen by this author and others the stains of the fingerprinting ink is clearly visible on the great majority of all children, including, so it would appear, toddlers.
Mr Berlusconi said the scheme was intended not only to stop gypsy children begging and stealing but also to help Roma people to integrate by drawing them into the Italian health and education systems. Mr Maroni said illegal Roma camps were being dismantled so that "those who have the right to stay here can live in decent conditions".
There are an estimated 160,000 Roma gipsies in Italy, nearly half of whom were born in Italy and have Italian citizenship. The rest are mainly illegal immigrants from the Balkans and Romania.
Obviously, because all of those actions by the new Duce's regime are so benign many Roma who are legal citizens of Italy have been forced to flee into Austria from the regions of South Tirol, for instance.
We are having a problem and no one wants to realize it and our problem as a People does not lie simply with one EU member state, in this case Italy, for it is not just in Italy that official anti-Gypsy actions are taking place. Our problem is with the European Union per se, as it would appear that those anti-Gypsy actions are the new policy coming our way.
I must say that I have been seeing this writing on the wall for a very long time and have written about it and issued warnings and everyone called me a scaremonger and worse even. What worries me most is that it would appear that my predictions have been right and in a way they are worse that what I thought.
The European Commission has now, basically, given the green light to all EU member states to enact their own anti-Gypsy measures under the various guises that they will be using. France is already playing with a number of ideas, as are the former Czechoslovakia and others.
Would this happen if those being the target of those measures would be Jews, whether or not involved in (small) criminal activities? It would not, of that we can all be more than certain. But, yet again, no one cares because the victims are but dirty Gyppos and as far as the great majority of EU member state citizens are concerned Gypsies are worth less than animals, even wild animals that might decimate flocks, such as wolves. While they will go to all lengths to protect such they are happy that Gypsies are being targeted by government and vigilante actions alike.
The fingerprinting and the other measures, such as the bulldozing of the “illegal” camps are 'not discriminatory' and the census is in line with European Union law, the EC said. Jesus wept! It is? What chance have our People got then for protection? None, let's face it.
We, the Rom, must learn to protect ourselves. But then again, the problem is that those in trouble there just could not possibly get off their butts to do anything themselves.
While I, in general, do not have much time for any of the churches it must be said though that, after initial silence, the Vatican seems to have found its voice.
The Vatican urged the EU to carry through on the public commitments they had made to safeguard ethnic minorities like Gypsies.
EU states should treat Gypsy communities as they would other institutions, Msgr Agostino Marchetto, head of the Vatican department that deals with migrant and traveler issues, told Vatican daily l'Osservatore Romano.
''This 'institutionalisation' brings with it the advantage of spurring EU states to become aware of the EU programmes that have been approved,'' Marchetto said at the end of the World Congress on the Pastoral Care of Gypsies in Freising, Germany.
While the Cardinal's statements are very heartening there is a problem with them and that is that the EU commitments are on paper only and they have no intention of honoring them as far as we, the Rom, the Gypsy, are concerned. In fact, everything points to just the opposite, namely that we are being targeted yet again for some assimilation program with which they hope to eliminate the “Gypsy menace”.
We would do well to remember that the police offices for the combating of the Gypsy menace still exist under a variety of guises in a number of European Union member police forces and also the over-regional and international units. Not much has changed in Europe for we, the Rom, since the time of German and Italian Fascism.
Time we did things ourselves.
AVA! Ame Shai!
© M Smith (Veshengro), September 2008