Last night was a wonderfully democratic exercise when the pan-European channel “Euro News” hosted a discussion with EU Commission Vice President Viviane Reding in which she answered questions from ordinary people.
Please don’t misunderstand me, Ms. Reding did an excellent job last night, especially considering that English is not her first language, and she showed once again that she is an extremely intelligent and well-informed woman, adroitly addressing topics from why the Central European Bank’s board of governors is all men to the recent nationalistic demagoguery coming out of Britain about the supposed “flood” of new immigrants from Romania and Bulgaria (turns out fewer than 100 people total in the first two weeks of 2014).
But when it comes to gypsies, Ms. Reding is just as racist and blind as Nigel Farage. You can watch the full 90 minutes at the link above but below is a clip from last night’s discussion, edited by me:
Is she really saying that gypsies don’t have normal lives right now?
I said it in The White Billionaire’s Burden, I said it in The Self-Hating Gyp and I said it in Black and Blue and in many other posts before that, but again I’m the one who’s always classified as the “racist” one when (as far as I know) I’m the only one in favor of leaving gypsies alone to live their lives as they see fit.
Once again though let me sum up my points, which seem self-evident to me but not to such folks as Ms. Reding:
1) Gypsies have their own leaders, from “kings” and “emperors” to politicians and political parties, not to mention their own court system so why not ask them what they need/want before you go around trying to “fix” them?
2) Mandatory education is state-sanctioned violence. If education is “self-evident” as being beneficial, why do you assume gypsies are too stupid to grasp that?
In every single other aspect, whether pickpocketing, trading in gold, craftsmanship, music and begging in rich countries, gypsies seem to be pretty damn good at looking out for their own best interests. Doesn’t it seem rather significant that formal education is such a low priority for them?
3) Yes, gypsies are different. So either you accept that what’s normal for them isn’t normal for you/me but is still okay OR you admit your racism and advocate that the gypsy culture is wrong/bad and needs “fixed” so that they can become normal.
4) Gypsies (and their culture) outlived feudalism and serfdom in Europe (including forms of chattel slavery), outlived Communism, outlived Hitler and Stalin and yet it’s the benevolent EU that’s going to force/cajole them to change?
5) What if the shoe were on the other foot and gypsies were constantly badgering the European Union parliament to adopt laws to force non-gypsies to live the gypsy life?
What if nomadism and begging and colorful skirts were mandated into law as being “normal”? What if the king of gypsies was constantly going on TV pleading with Europeans to help bring about a gypsy way of life?
What if a panel of earnest, well-meaning gypsies was on television, talking about how to discourage people from locking their kids up in schools for 12 (or more) years, about how to quit your job and travel more, about how to make fine jewelry by hand, about how beneficial it is to learn to play a musical instrument and recommending that viewers keep their money in gold, not in the banks? Aha!
Hell, I know lots and lots of modern-day gypsies, they just call themselves couch surfers and “gap year” backpackers and WWOOFers and nomads and hippies.
Are we going to tell them to be “normal” too?
6) Gypsies are by far the most “eco-friendly” peoples in Europe.
All the “scrap” metal recycling, cardboard recycling and collection of recyclable plastics is done by gypsies (at least here in Romania). Gypsies tend to still use a lot of horses and wagons, which require zero petroleum to operate. Gypsies eat more simple and traditional foods, often handmade or grown locally, thereby reducing both the “carbon footprint” as well as producing less trash in the form of packaging. Even when gypsies drive cars, they never do so alone and thus “invented” carpooling before “normal” people ever did. Gypsies don’t buy many gadgets and electronic gee-gaws, again thus producing less waste material to fill up landfills and pollute the planet.
Meanwhile Reding and the “normals” want to shunt these people indoors 24 hours a day, poring over outdated texts in schools or typing up corporate gibberish on computers so that they can earn enough money to buy iPhones and BMWs and gobble up the planet’s resources at the same rapid rate as the “good” people in Europe do.
7) Gypsies are mentally healthy, “normal” people not so much.
Gypsy suicides are almost non-existent (meanwhile a British diplomat hurled himself off the top floor of a hotel in Baia Mare yesterday). Gypsies also rarely suffer from depression, anxiety or chronic stress.
Go anywhere in Europe and compare gypsies in public to “normal” people and you’ll find the gypsies are animated, talkative, laughing, vivacious and verbally jousting (with the public and with each other) while “normal” people look sullen, withdrawn or vaguely hostile. Not to mention that every single chronic drunk and drug addict I’ve ever known has been a “normal” person, the poor souls just trying to escape their painfully lonely lives.
Ms. Reding and all the rest of the “do-gooders” in the world, please just focus your energies on what really needs doing and leave those poor old gypsies alone.
They like their lives as they are so let them live in peace!