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Thursday 18 June 2009

Belfast: Roma not Romanians

Well, the truth is out. It transpires that the “Romanians” reported as having been attacked in Belfast in recent days are something very different: Roma, or gypsies as we have traditionally known them. The omission of their ethnic identity from initial reports is significant, for the presence of a large group of Roma would (owing to their negative cultural traditions, if they may be euphemistically termed as such) excite rather more discontent than a similarly-sized group of Romanians. Whereas the latter would in all likelihood fall into the category of employment-seeking migrants, the former most probably would not, if we exclude the traditional ‘occupations’ in which Roma specialise. Most Romanians themselves would not feel very happy about being confused with Roma.

The anger amongst local Belfast people may therefore have very tangible and justifiable roots if a number of these Roma have been engaging in their traditional ‘occupations’. This does not of course justify the use of violence against the Roma incomers, but it does go a long way to explaining why it has arisen. As James Delingpole in the Telegraph notes, this is typical of the misleading politically correct reporting that has long brought the BBC into disrepute. The ethnic rather than the civic (I use this term in the most formal of senses with respect to the Roma of course, for it is difficult to think of an ethnic group less respectful of the wider societies in which they reside) identity of these people is likely to be central to the significance of this story, and should therefore have been highlighted from the outset.

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  1. Oh dear. First, if these Roma came from Romania, then they are Romanians. That is the citizenship they hold, the passport they carry; and it is attached to that citizenship that they have the right to be in Northern Ireland. Where would you have them go? There is no Roma state, just as for two millennia there was no Jewish state and still is no Palestinian state. I personally think it was a mistake to start creating states for every ethnic group that wanted one (Woodrow Wilson was wrong), but it still seems to be the trend. What next, the splitting off of Cornwall? What's the bloody point? Especially since we have quite rightly decided to recognise that we are all, for better or worse, part of something bigger than our historic 19th century nation-states. We call it Europe though what we mean (what I hope we mean) is something like The United States of Europe; of course, the admission of Turkey, when it happens, will make that a silly name. Still, we have no other, and names don't count for much.
    Second. Since the Roma have every right to be in Northern Ireland, we had better make them welcome. Protect their rights. Prosecute their abusers and tormentors. Not blame the victims. This nonsense about traditional occupations is a load of bigoted bollocks. I lived in Poland for 5 years, met a number of Roma, and was intrigued that about all that made them different was their different appearance and their own language (both the result of their extraordinary history -- they migrated more than a millennium ago from Northern India and Persia; their language is related to Hindi). They are extremely hard working when they are allowed to be, but because of prejudice they rarely find jobs with their neighbours. Like the Jews, with whom Hitler and Himmler lumped them, they tend to deal in cash businesses with high profit margins, such as dealing in precious metals and gemstones, changing money, that sort of thing. They live apart from the dominant community for two reasons. 1. They aren't welcome in it, 2. They desire to preserve their language and traditions.
    This is exactly what multiculturalism is about. It isn't about people showing up here and suddenly become your (or anyone else's) idea of British. It is about enriching British life through the admixture of different peoples with different languages, different cultures, different religions.
    Fortunately the era of Enoch Powell is long past. It is now impossible to say who is British and who isn't, except by reference to a passport. Just like the Romanians.

  2. "This is exactly what multiculturalism is about. It isn't about people showing up here and suddenly become your (or anyone else's) idea of British. It is about enriching British life through the admixture of different peoples with different languages, different cultures, different religions."

    What if the British people who find these people in their midst don't want their lives enriched? Too bad for them? So much for democracy. As long as nice middle class liberals decide that enrichment is the cause that will get them brownie points from fellow nice middle class liberals immigration will continue like a tsunami.

    We shouldn't be surprised - most immigrants settle in working class areas and the British poor has been shafted so long and so hard by middle class exploiters that any fresh attempt to weaken and dilute working class solidarity by the establishment is simply par for the course.

    Well done Andrew. Give yourself a pat on the back and try to ignore the rotten stench of class hatred that drifts from your mouth. Try and ignore the contradictions that Roma want to preserve their their language and culture so should be allowed to move into existing communities and prevent their new neighbours preserving their own. Or is it only ethnic minorities who have rights in your middle class world? Fool.

  3. Anonymous, thank you for clearing things up for our little trustafarian visitor named Andrew. Earlier this week the BBC had a momentary lapse and almost managed to publish something honest about the Roma problem, but then of course spoilt it all by falling back into the formulaic portrayal of Roma as innocent victims, etc, etc. Take a look at the following item entitled "How Gypsy gangs use child thieves"


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