Antiziganism represents the hostility, pre-judgement or racism targeted to gypsies, who were considered thieves, deceivers, lazy, dirty, uneducated etc. Because of their semi-nomadic lifestyle, language, fine language and culture differences, it was born and generalized a mistrust and rejection feelings towards Romani population in countries, where they have migrated long time ago. These feelings were been kept by major population even after their conversion to Christianity or Islam. Due to their culture based on oral history, their history is less-known than one of any other group. Yehuda Bauer says: “lack of information can be related to Romani’s mistrust and suspicion”. Check out these 10 anti-gypsy countries where they face a lot of hatred:
Donald Niewyk and Frances Nicosia said a number of dead people were at least 130 000 from about one million Romani people who lived in Europe controlled by Nazi. Michael Berenbaum writes researchers estimates are from 90 000 to 220 000. A detailed research of Sybil Milton, ex-historian at USHMM, counted from 220 000 to 500 000 victims. Poland is among the most anti-gypsy countries. Ian Hancock, the manager of Romani Research Program and Romani Documents Center Archive at Texas University from Austin, said the number of victims is higher than 1 million. Hancock writes: “the number of dead is higher than the number of Jews killed at Auschwitz”.
Before to be sent to concentration camp, the victims were crowded into ghettos, as happened to hundreds of thousands of people at Warsaw ghetto. Einsatzgruppen teams have searched the Romani camps and killed trace less many of the people. Romani people were the targeted also by puppet regimes which collaborated with Nazi, like Croatian Ustaše regime which killed a huge number of Romani at Jasenovac concentration camp.
The Romani situation isn’t any better since, this country too is among the most anti-gypsy countries. In 1942, the general Antonescu ordered the deportation of 24.617 Romanians of Roma ethnicity to Transnistria, among which more than 11000 were missing and only half of them succeed to return to Romania. The entire community was labeled as nomad and “dangerous for public order”. The deportation was executed by Romanian Gendarmerie under the order of generals Constantin (Piki) Vasiliu and Constantin Tobescu and was carried out in two parts: 11441 nomad gypsies evacuated between June 1st and 15th August 1942,and 13 176 stable gypsies and dangerous for public order, evacuated between 12th-20th September 1942.
One of the Romanian researchers, Viorel Achim talks in his lectures about the conditions which lead to the extermination of this community, such as hunger, coldness, epidemics etc.
In 2011 in Bulgaria, the general antiziganism completed in anti-Roma demonstrations in response to the killing of Angel Petrov on the orders of Kiril Rashkov, a Roma head in the village of Katunitsa. In the following case, the killer, Simeon Yosifov, was condemned to 17 years in jail. As of May 2012, an application was under way.
Demonstrations continued on 1 October in Sofia, with 2000 Bulgarians marching against the Romani and what they observed to be the “impunity and the crime” of the political elite in the country. Volen Siderov, the head of the far-right Ataka electorate and presidential aspirant, spoke to a meet at the Presidential Palace in Sofia, asking for the death penalty to be returned as well as Romani ghettos to be destroyed.
Many of the planned demonstrations were followed by ethnic disputes and racist violence against Romani. The demonstrators shouted racist mottoes like “Gypsies into soap” and “Slaughter the Turks!” Many demonstrators were jailed for public order attacks. The news media named the protests as anti-Romani Murders.
Moreover, in 2009, Bulgarian Prime Minister Borisov mentioned to Roma as “bad human bodies” making it pretty clear that the country is among anti-gypsy countries. The vice-president of the Party of European Socialists, Jan Marinus Wiersma claimed that he “has already passed the invisible border between right-wing populism and extremism”.
France has appeared under blame for its treatment of Roma. In the summer of 2010, French authorities destroyed at least 51 illegal Roma campsites and began the process of repatriating their occupants to their mother countries. The French government has been blamed for committing these actions to proceed with its political agenda. In 2013, Jean-Marie Le Pen, a very uncertain far-right politician and founder of the Front national, had an action filed against him by the European Roma and Travellers Forum, SOS Racisme and the French Union of Travellers Association after he openly declared France’s Roma community “smelly” and “rash-inducing”, claiming his remarks violated French law on instigating racial hatred.
In 2008 Marioara Rostas, an adolescent Roma girl was kidnapped in Dublin city market, reportedly by members of a famous local crime group. Over the next week, she was raped many times, injured, including having her teeth removed, and murdered. Her body was found in the Wicklow Mountains four years later in a crime that astounds the Irish Garda Representative Association (GRA) on detachment to the crime within Irish society and why had there been no “outpourings of hatred that such depravity could be done here”.
The lack of public complaint in Ireland led journalist Cormac O’Keeffe of the Irish Examiner to write: “Kidnapped, gang raped, tortured, shot and dumped, but no one cares” in March 2012. There were feelings of anti-Roma sentiment made in the comments section of the newspaper’s website and some follow-up article commenting on the country’s position on east European Roma immigration. Succeeding articles called “We must fight Irish prejudice” highlighting an insinuation of racism in Ireland. The Integration Centre in Dublin stated that Roma people were “routinely demonized and dehumanized.” It is possible that this dehumanization was a factor in the crime of the girl. The Irish Travellers’ March said they would send out a “strong message that no one deserves to die so young and in such a horrific brutal way”. Alan Wilson was accused of her killing on 5 April 2012, but in 2014 was found not guilty of the killing.
In 2007 and 2008, following the brutal abduction and succeeding murder of a woman in Rome at the hands of a young man from a local Romani campsite, the Italian government began a crackdown on unauthorized Roma and Sinti campsites in the country.
In May 2008, Romani campsites in Naples were assaulted and set on fire by local residents. One month later, a high court in Italy overthrew the conviction of offenders who had openly asked the expulsion of Romanis from Verona in 2001 and reportedly commanded that “it is acceptable to discriminate against Roma on the territories that they are robbers”. One of those freed was Flavio Tosi, Verona’s magistrate and a director of the anti-immigrant Lega Nord. The decision arrived during a “nationwide clampdown” on Romanis by Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi. The preceding week, Berlusconi’s interior minister Roberto Maroni had announced that all Romanis in Italy, including children, would be fingerprinted.
Opposition party member Gianclaudio Brescia reacted by asserting that these actions “increasingly resemble those of an authoritarian regime”. In response to the fingerprinting program, three United Nations experts declared that “by exclusively targeting the Roma minority, this program can be unambiguously classified as discriminatory”. The European Parliament condemned the plan as “an open act of racial discrimination” and asked the Italian government not to proceed. Italy is among the most anti-gypsy countries on our planet.
According to the LGB rights association and charity Stonewall, antiziganism is widespread in the UK, with a difference made between Romani people and Irish Travellers (both of whom are generally identified by the exonym “gypsies” in the UK), and the so-called “travelers modern Gypsies.” In 2008, the media reported that Gypsies face a higher level of racism than any other group in the UK making the country among the top anti-gypsy countries. A Mori poll showed that a third of UK residents told openly to being discrimination against Gypsies.
Thousands of reflective planning approvals are granted in Britain in cases including non-Romani applicants each year, and that statistics confirmed that 90% of outlining applications by Romanis and travelers were initially rejected by local councils compared with a national average of 20% for other applicants, denying claims of special treatment favoring Romanis. Travelers argued that the source of the problem was that multiple traditional stopping-places had been blocked off and that law passed by the previous Conservative government had completely criminalized their community. For example, transferring local authorities’ responsibility to give sites leaves the travelers with no choice but to obtain unregistered new sites themselves.
From the end of the Kosovo War, about 80% of Kosovo’s Romanis were expelled, summing to approximately 100,000 expelled. For the 1999–2006 period, the European Roma Rights Centre reported numerous crimes committed by Kosovo’s ethnic Albanians with the plan to purge the region of its Romani population along with other non-Albanian ethnic populations. These crimes included murder, abduction and illegal detention, torture, rape, confiscation of houses and other assets and forced work. Whole Romani villages were burned to the ground by Albanians. Romanis remaining in Kosovo are published to be systematically denied fundamental human rights. They “live in an environment of pervasive fear” and are frequently threatened, verbally harassed and periodically assaulted on racist territories by Albanians. The Romani population of Kosovo is considered to be, for the most part, exterminated. The country ranks third in our list of anti-gypsy countries.
A Swiss right-wing magazine, Weltwoche, published a photograph of a gun-wielding Roma child on its cover in 2012, with the title “The Roma are appearing: Plundering in Switzerland”. They declared in a range of articles of an increasing trend in the country of “criminal tourism for which eastern European Roma clans are guilty”, with expert gangs specializing in robberies, thefts, organized begging and street prostitution. It isn’t particularly surprising since the country is among the most anti-gypsy countries. The publication quickly came under criticism for its links to the right-wing populist People’s Party (SVP), as being intentionally provocative and promoted racist regulating by linking ethnic origin and criminality. Switzerland’s Federal Commission against Racism is recognizing legal action after complaints in Switzerland, Austria and Germany that the cover violation anti-racism laws.
The Berlin publication Tagesspiegel examined the origins of the photograph taken in the slums of Gjakova, Kosovo, where Roma populations were removed during the Kosovo War to hovels constructed on a poisonous landfill. The Italian photographer, Livio Mancini, exposed the abuse of his photograph, which was first taken to manifest the difficulty of Roma families in Europe.
Despite claiming to be very progressive, Canada ranks number one among the anti-gypsy countries. When Romani emigrants were permitted into Canada in 1997, a demonstration was staged by 25 people, including neo-Nazis, in front of the motel where the emigrants were staying. The protesters carried signs that included, “Honk if you hate Gypsies”, “Canada is not a Trash Can,” and “G.S.T. – Gypsies Suck Tax.” (The last is a relating to Canada’s offensive Goods and Services Tax, also known as GST.) The protesters were charged with increasing hatred, and the case called R. v. Krymowski, led the Supreme Court of Canada in 2005.
In September 2012, famous Canadian conservative commentator Ezra Levant transmitted a commentary “The Jew vs. the Gypsies” on The Source in which he blamed the Romani people of being a group of criminals: “These are gypsies, a culture synonymous with thieves… Too many have arrived here as false refugees. And they come here to gyp us again and steal us hidden as they have done in Europe for so many times.… They’re gypsies. And one of the basic characteristics of that culture is that their main economy is theft and begging.”
Written by: A.C. Claudia