Skip to comments.Rome's gypsies fight resettlement
Posted on 04/05/2010 11:04:45 PM PDT by bruinbirdman
"We would die rather than move," says Hasco Rustic, proudly showing guests into the metal container in which he lives.
Mr Rustic is a spokesman for the 350 Bosnian gypsies in the Tor De Cenci camp that they share with a small group of Macedonians on Rome's southern fringes. Tor De Cenci stands in the way of a planned race track for Rome's first grand prix, scheduled for 2013. It is also one of many settlements that Gianni Alemanno, mayor, aims to close under a grand scheme to group some 6,000 foreign gypsies in a dozen "villages of solidarity" outside the city.
"We have been here for 15 years and are well adjusted in the community. Our children go to school here and we have all we need - cooker, TV, shower," Mr Rustic says.
In February, amid media fanfare, Mr Alemanno took the first step in his 28m ($38m, £25m) Nomad Plan by sealing the gates of Casilino 900, Europe's largest illegal gypsy settlement. "Today is historic," he declared. "We have erased this disgrace with the co-operation of the gypsies and the borough committees."
The plan has been driven by public outrage at the murder of a local woman by a Romanian gypsy. The event was instrumental in Mr Alemanno's election victory of 2008 and closing Casilino was a key element of the centre-right's campaign in last month's regional polls.
Although the national government of Silvio Berlusconi, prime minister, declared a nationwide "nomad emergency" in 2008, it delegated local authorities to find solutions. Unlike other cities, such as Milan, which are evicting gypsies without providing alternatives, Rome is seeking mediated pacts in big camps while forcibly closing smaller ones.
But, under the eyes of the international community, Tor De Cenci is resisting transfer to a desolate site 10km away.
Its residents are worried they will be further cut off from neighbourhood integration, especially as children will face problems attending school. Another common fear is being forced to mix with communities with long-standing enmities. Mr Rustic's nephew, Began, 27, recalls how one of his relatives was killed in a fight in a previous camp. "Now they want us to move back with them. No way," he says.
Gypsies being transferred are screened for, among other things, criminal records. Police fingerprint over-14s and issue photo-IDs. "This will allow us to distinguish between bad and good apples," says Sveva Belviso, city councillor for social policy, who wants "decorum and legality" restored to Rome. "We are not willing to welcome law offenders in camps paid for with public money," she says.
Amnesty International wants forced evictions to stop and is urging Rome to reconsider its resettlement plan, saying the new camps are inadequate and impose segregation.
Navanethem Pillay, high commissioner for human rights at the UN, visited a camp this month and said Italy had to do more to promote integration. "Moving the Roma from illegal camps to authorised ones is not an adequate solution," she said.
But Rome rules out public housing. Ms Belviso says, "willing or not", Tor De Cenci must move as the borough cannot afford it. "Besides," she adds "Mayor Alemanno has firm plans for the development of that land for Formula One."
There are 50 empty containers among 200 waiting for the new arrivals in Castel Romano, a camp built six years ago. It has no drinking water and no trees for shade. Bosnians already there complain of having to fill water tanks 8km away.
Ms Belviso concedes that major improvements will only start after all the gypsies are resettled. She sees Castel Romano becoming a "laboratory of productivity", with job training and placement. But as no funds exist for this, Rome is seeking EU support.
Having had promises broken before, the Tor De Cenci gypsies are sceptical and have hired a lawyer to fight eviction.
According to a Red Cross census, Rome has 7,200 gypsies, although they are widely believed to number thousands more.
An important development allows gypsies from the former Yugoslavia to apply for humanitarian protection to regularise their status. Many of the estimated 3,500 in Rome do not have legal status - itself a crime. So far, nearly 500 have applied.
Thomas Hammarberg, the Council of Europe's commissioner for human rights, is particularly urging resolution of the fate of stateless children in Italy. The European Roma Rights Centre, an NGO, said providing humanitarian protection to stateless gypsies was "a step in the right direction". But it also expressed concern over lack of transparency and the threat of expulsion hanging over those with pending applications.
Officials decline to disclose how many have been expelled so far.
Meanwhile, about 800 gypsies, mostly Romanians, have yielded to economic and political pressure by accepting bus tickets "home" paid for by the municipality.
After two years living under Palmiro Togliatti highway, Marinella says she reached breaking-point seeing her son playing football with a dead rat in the mud. Her shack was leaking, her back breaking from carrying water. Begging was the only way to survive. They returned to her mother's farm in Craiova.
They want to stay in Rome where the good pickings are.
I was doing some research about gypsies in Hungary — there was a thread about a “law and order” party in Hungary being labeled as Nazi.
It turns out gypsies in all Eastern European countries are responsible for a substantial fraction of the crimes:
“Incidence of Crime
Crimes against both people and property soared during the 1980s. Violent crime, which also increased dramatically, was disproportionately committed by Gypsies (see Minority Groups , ch. 2). Gypsies made up about 4.7 percent of the population, but they numbered 54 percent of those persons convicted of murder and rape and 49 percent of those convicted of robbery.”
They’ve been in Italy for a very long time, having come from near there.
Another story on FT says F1 racing wants them out/moved for the big race coming up.
Gypsies really aren’t all there.
If the Roma authorities want them kicked out........they will kick them out.
Being resettled (they should be deported and not allowed to return) beats being sent to concentration camps, as the Nazis did 70 years ago with the gypsies of Europe. Oh well, I guess beggars can be somewhat choosers in dying, socialist Europe. At least the Italians are attempting to exhibit some “stones” between their legs.
Blacks commit 40%+ crimes in the US while being only 13% of the population.
They are a Source of crime, suffering, and misery for their host population, who have a right to control the blight in their midst.
That's my point...we aren't.
(I wasn't trying to be contentious. I know it sounded that way)
It’s all good; I know we’re on the same side.
Story is a month old.
I wonder if Roma’s gotten the trash named after it out of sight yet?
I figure with what’s going on in Europe the Gypsies better start looking for a way to bounce or they’re going to be hurting.There is only so much goddamn patience you have with them.
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