Czechs still producing sterile cuckoos in post-commie ligation holdover

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Are the Czech Republic and other Central European countries continuing a Soviet-era practice of sterilizing Gypsy women, without their full consent? Indications are ominous but inconclusive, as the Christian Science Monitor reports:

Human rights activists say that the fall of communism here 16 years ago did not put an end to a Soviet-era practice that targeted Romany women for sterilizations—sometimes offering money in exchange for consent—as a means of population control.

Now, a UN committee is poised to agree with them. A draft report from the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women, expected to be finalized and released this week, says the Czech government failed to fully answer to the charges of more than 80 Romany women who have come forward since 2004 and said they were sterilized without informed consent.

These cases, which date from 1986 to 2004, formed the basis for a sweeping Czech public defender report released in December after a yearlong investigation. That report concluded that the cases had merit, and urged the government to change legislation involving sterilizations and compensating victims. The UN committee is now demanding the same thing…

Activists say the sterilization of Romany women was regionwide. Slovakia, for example, is said to have more cases, and the practice also has been reported in Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria.

But researching allegations is difficult, largely because doctors and hospitals balk at releasing information, says Dimitrina Petrova, the director of the European Roma Rights Center in Budapest. "There are many obstacles. There is an enormous amount of difficulty getting facts."

There's an interesting possible pattern in these cases:

Many of the Czech cases are similar: They involve Romany women who were usually undergoing their second caesarean section when doctors told them that a tubal ligation was required to avoid a third pregnancy (and caesarean). Many were given this information minutes before delivery and told to sign a paper. Others say they were simply lied to and told the procedure was reversible.

That's an interesting psychological situation: You're a doctor or a nurse seeing a woman come in for her second caesarian—there's already a good case to be made that her tubes should be tied. On top of that you just might believe at some level that people like this shouldn't be breeding in the first place. They cross borders without documentation, depress wages for local citizens, use up precious emergency room facilities without paying for them; on top of it all, this one is just putting her life in danger producing more mouths to feed. How tempting would it be to put some consent papers in front of the illiterate and still believe you're acting for purely medical reasons? On the basis of this article, I'd doubt there's an airtight case to be made that there's anything approaching a formal sterilization program, but you never know: Europe has been trying to wipe out the Gyps for almost as long as there's been a Europe.

NEXT: Why does Dinesh D'Souza hate America?

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  1. Borat is smiling.

  2. They cross borders without documentation, depress wages for local citizens, use up precious emergency room facilities without paying for them; on top of it all, this one is just putting her life in danger producing more mouths to feed.

    *Sniffs* Smell that? That’s the smell of analogy.

    Smells like…minutemen.

  3. “How tempting would it be to put some consent papers in front of the illiterate and still believe you’re acting for purely medical reasons?”

    You are giving these guys way way too much credit. This is straight up racism of the worst kind.

    “You’re a doctor or a nurse seeing a woman come in for her second caesarian?there’s already a good case to be made that her tubes should be tied.”

    This is just ignorant. What is the “good case to be made?” There is no danger from a pregnancy after two C sections. Both vaginal and C section births are unaffected by previous C sections, even multiple ones. There is no medical justification to support the practice.

  4. Does the earth have a carrying capacity?

    Does a bordered society have a carrying capacity?

    Does a budget have a carrying capacity?

    Does your individual finances have a carrying capacity?

    Are we all on an overloaded refugee boat (some more comfortable than others) unaware of an approaching storm?

  5. This is just ignorant. What is the “good case to be made?” There is no danger from a pregnancy after two C sections. Both vaginal and C section births are unaffected by previous C sections, even multiple ones. There is no medical justification to support the practice.

    If there’s scarring from the earlier c-sections there’s a small risk of complications. I’m not sure how common scarring is in Eastern European operations, however.

  6. Don Coyote,

    According to most posters here the answer is no to all four.

  7. They cross borders without documentation, depress wages for local citizens, use up precious emergency room facilities without paying for them; on top of it all, this one is just putting her life in danger producing more mouths to feed.

    John, did you steal Cavanaugh’s password?

  8. Sandy, I don’t know how I missed your post, but I did. 😉

  9. Madog,

    While you are correct, the risks are exceedingly small and would not constitute a “good argument” for sterilization.

  10. I became curious and checked out the Gypsies on Wikipedia

    According to The Guardian (January 8, 2003):

    “In the Czech Republic, 75% of Roma children are educated in schools for people with learning difficulties, and 70% are unemployed (compared with a national rate of 9%). In Hungary, 44% of Roma children are in special schools, while 74% of men and 83% of women are unemployed. In Slovakia, Roma children are 28 times as likely to be sent to a special school than non-Roma; Roma unemployment stands at 80%.” [12]

    Jesus Christ! Unemployment rates in the 70s and 80s! 75% of children having learning disabilities?

    And look at this…

    In some countries, dependence on social security systems is part of the problem. For some Roma families, it may be preferable to live on social security than on low-paid jobs. That creates anger against Roma, conditions that produce crime, and extreme sensitivity to changes in social security. A good example of the latter is Slovakia, where reduction of social security (a family is paid allowance only for the first three children) led to civil disorder in several Roma villages.

    ONLY for the first three children?

    For all the bad that the welfare state does for the economy the effects on the human soul seem to be much worse.

    Before this article I had a vague sense of the Gypsies as just some group in the long list of people killed by Hitler (you know, between homosexuals and Jews). Anybody more knowledgeable want to shed light on what the hell is wrong with these people?

  11. As a Romanian, I can tell you that , while the forced sterilizations are indeed an atrocious practice, you are not being told the entire story.

    I have a question for you Americans : how many of you have actually been in a Gypsy village?
    And I mean a real village, not the romanticized version that you get to see in Kusturica’s movies?

    Let me tell some things :
    – they DO NOT send their children to school. And I’m talking about public schools, not expensive private ones.
    You can easily imagine the crime rate that this leads to.
    – in many places, gypsies are a social menace.
    Nevermind the crime rate among them, some of them are completely oblivious of elementary hygiene.

    Let me give you an example.
    An entire block of flats inhabited by gypsies had to be forcibly evacuated because
    – they were not paying their bills. And when their electricity was cut off, they ilegally tapped into the neighbourhood electricity supply. They didn’t seem to mind the lack of water, though.
    – instead of properly disposing of household garbage, they were just throwing out the window.
    After several months, it had become a serious health problem. (when the police came to evict the inhabitans, one of the policemen passed out because of the smell; it took several full-sized trucks to remove the garbage that had accumulated outside)

    The gypsies were relocated to another block, this time at the edge of the town, with a school just 100 metres down the street, especially for them.
    Needless to say, no one attends that school.
    As for the bills, electricity tapping and garbage situation – just as before.

    And let me assure you, this is not an isolated case.
    Not to mention the many stories I’ve heard of gypsies keeping their horses in the living rooms of their houses (this is not an exaggeration).

    Or how about they way they force their childern into marriage when they’re just 12?
    Bet you didn’t know about that.

    My point is this – forced sterilizations are a horrible practice.
    But presenting the Gypsies as innocent victims of racist Europeans is a huge lie.

  12. Why Tim Cavanaugh, if I didn’t know any better, I’d think you were one of these communist thugs who thinks that patients seeking treatment are not precisely analogous to customers in a shopping mall.

    I don’t like this obstetrician. Let’s go try Penny’s.

  13. Grand Chalupa,

    Congratulations.
    Everybody started making gratuitous comments on those nasty Europeans victimizing those poor, defenseless Gypsies.
    Apparently, you were the only one interested in the facts.

    My theory about the Gypsy problem is that they haven’t abandoned their nomadic ways, even though everybody around them has entered the 21st century. You can imagine the conflicts this leads to.

    And I don’t think people are angry about the Gypsies because they’re on welfare.
    We’re talking about Eastern Europe, where the welfare state is extremely underdeveloped (basically because there’s no money for it).
    People hate them because of the very high crime rates associated with them, and their appalling lack of education and basic hygiene.

  14. Joe

    Arguing with one of those libertarians that only exist in your imagination , aren’t you?

  15. How is it the Czech’s fault the Gypsies choose not to buy private health insurance for themselves?

  16. – they DO NOT send their children to school. And I’m talking about public schools, not expensive private ones.
    You can easily imagine the crime rate that this leads to.

    Yes, we can sympathize; the massive crime wave spawned by subversive homeschooled children and their Fagin parents is a national disgrace in this country. How dare our citizens not send their kids to a fenced and guarded government institution where they’re indoctrinated, lectured, picked on, sexually assaulted by peers and teachers, rung from place to place with bells, in some cases even forbidden to go to the bathroom. How dare they let the kids learn what interests them at the pace best suited for them. How dare the kids be allowed to leave the book work and go outside on their own or have a trip to the museum without official government oversight. Chaos, I tell you!

    At least in the schools the little hoodlums are contained and their parents use their time constructively working in a day job somewhere.

  17. the massive crime wave spawned by subversive homeschooled children and their Fagin parents is a national disgrace in this country. How dare our citizens […]

    How can you be such a moron and still be able to type?
    I wasn’t praising public education, you dimwit. I was saying the Gypsies are EXTREMELY uneducated.
    And if you actually believe the Gypsies don’t send their kids to school because they want to homeschool them – you can’t actually be that naive.

  18. Aren’t the Gypsies similar to the Irish Travellers here in the United States?

    Both are said to be reclusive having little contact with outsiders. Only educating their children to the bare minimum that the state demands and (allegedly) earning their living by other than legal means (fraud, theft, confidence scams).

    I don’t know how much is true and how much is lies made up by bigots, I am intrigued by the similarities between both groups.

  19. First of all, some vile racist bullshit needs to be cleared up… This is the first time that I have been shocked by the sheer ignorance of the people in this forum.

    they DO NOT send their children to school. And I’m talking about public schools, not expensive private ones

    Gypsies don’t just choose “not to send their children to school”. If they send their children to school, their children will be beaten, tortured, sexually assaulted… teachers will outright refuse to teach them, other students will have free reign to do whatever they want to the students with no sanction. For all practicle purposes Gypsies are forbidden from attending school with other ethnicites by horrible vicious racism that would be more at home in 1870s deep south than in the 21st century.

    Nevermind the crime rate among them, some of them are completely oblivious of elementary hygiene.

    Ughh… more racist stereotype bullshit. They are all a bunch of “dirty criminals”. Basicly, Gypsies are completly excluded from the workforce, completly discriminated against in housing, and have to survive with truly third world resources. The kind of hygene that would meet with daniel’s standards are impossible given the complet lack of even the most basic resources they are allowed to have.

    As for crime, the stereotype of the gypsies as criminals comes in handy when the racist cops want to storm in, smash heads, burn down buildings, and terrorize them. There is no reason to believe that Gypsies are more criminals than anyone else… although given the dire poverty and oppression they live under, it is not suprising some turn to crime to survive.

    they were not paying their bills. And when their electricity was cut off, they ilegally tapped into the neighbourhood electricity supply. They didn’t seem to mind the lack of water, though

    Yeah, they discriminated out of the workforce, forced to live in absolute dire poverty, and then when the basics of survival are cut off from them (electricity and water), and they do what it takes to survive, it is somehow there fault.

    Not to mention the many stories I’ve heard of gypsies keeping their horses in the living rooms of their houses (this is not an exaggeration).

    Sure, cause no-one would exasurate stories about a universally hated ethnic group, now would they?

    To the rest of the people in this forum, not Daniel because I am sure he is locked into his racist ways, Gypsies are the victims of oppression the likes you would be supprised to find out exists in 21st century Europe.

    Shame on all of you for not recognizing these kinds of lies and smears about the Romani people as blatent racism. Shit, isn’t most of the stuff Daniel is saying could have easily been said by white racists about blacks, or immigrants, in the United States? These are the same sort of lies told about a group of people nomatter who the people are or who the haters are. I expected that the people in these forums where smart enough to see through this kind of thing. Certainly, if it was any other race of people who was being smeared like this, it would evoke outrage.

    Aren’t the Gypsies similar to the Irish Travellers here in the United States?

    No, the Roma people are different than the Irish Travellers… Check out this Wikipedia article under “Groups in Europe sometimes mistaken for Roma”.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roma_people

  20. Nevermind the crime rate among them, some of them are completely oblivious of elementary hygiene.

    A Romanian criticizing someone for poor hygiene. That’s funny.

  21. To the rest of the people in this forum, not Daniel because I am sure he is locked into his racist ways, Gypsies are the victims of oppression the likes you would be supprised to find out exists in 21st century Europe.

    I don’t know enough about this but why would Europe which is tolerant almost to the point of being suicidal be singling out the Gypsies in everywehre from Spain to Slovakia?

    Gypsies don’t just choose “not to send their children to school”. If they send their children to school, their children will be beaten, tortured, sexually assaulted… teachers will outright refuse to teach them, other students will have free reign to do whatever they want to the students with no sanction. For all practicle purposes Gypsies are forbidden from attending school with other ethnicites by horrible vicious racism that would be more at home in 1870s deep south than in the 21st century.

    Once again, I don’t know much about this but those are some claims that I just simply have a hard time believing. Not saying you are wrong but do you have a source?

  22. If they send their children to school, their children will be beaten, tortured, sexually assaulted …

    I personally know of a case when a school was set up especially for the Gypsies. And I am not lying when I say that NO ONE attends that school.
    But of course, I’m just a racist, so what do I know?

    They are all a bunch of “dirty criminals” […] There is no reason to believe that Gypsies are more criminals than anyone else

    I don’t remember saying that Gypsies are innate criminals.
    What I am saying is this – Gypsies are still nomads, for all practical purposes. And if you can’t understand how their nomadic lifestyle causes a lot of frictions with those around them, go f**k yourself.

    they (sic) discriminated out of the workforce, forced to live in absolute dire poverty

    And that has absolutely nothing with to do with their refusal to attend school…

    they do what it takes to survive

    So tossing garbage out the window is OK if you’re poor?
    Not to mention theft.

    cause no-one would exasurate stories about a universally hated ethnic group

    Come to think of it, there was a family of Gypsies living near my grandparents’ house when I was a little kid.
    I’m not very sure of it, but I think I recall seeing poultry in their living room.
    What I am sure of, however, is the sheer filth in which they lived. And no, poverty is no excuse for lack of hygiene.
    Hell, by American standards, I’m dirt-poor. Somehow, I still manage to shower.

    You know what, Rex?
    Why don’t go to Eastern Europe and ACTUALLY visit a Gypsy village? No, that wouldn’t be enough. Try living next to them for a while.
    Until you do that – screw you and your “politically correct” ways.

    Shame on all of you for not recognizing these kinds of lies and smears about the Romani people as blatent racism […] Certainly, if it was any other race of people who was being smeared like this, it would evoke outrage.

    You know how you hate it when someone on the Left (political left, that is) calls people “nazis” or “fascists” just because they don’t agree with their point of view?

    Guess what – you just did the same. Just because I said that the Gypsies are not without blame for the sorry state they are in (and backed it with some facts), and that makes me a racist.

    Did I say forced sterilizations are ok?
    F**k you, asshole.

  23. A Romanian criticizing someone for poor hygiene. That’s funny.

    What’s that you were saying about racism, Rex?

    For all the tough talk about “free minds”, some people around here sure fail to live up to that.

    Guess what – the world is a terrible place, with a lot of evil things happening. Discrimination is one of them.
    And sometimes, the discriminated group is not without fault.
    If pointing that out makes me a racist – then maybe I overestimated some of you.

  24. A Romanian criticizing someone for poor hygiene. That’s funny.

    What’s that you were saying about racism, Rex?

    I didn’t say that. That was Mr. Mister who said it.

    But the difference between the comment Mr. Mister gave, and the comments that you gave, is that the comments Mr. Mister gave around about the extent of “racism” that Romanians have to face. It is one thing for someone to make an off hand comment… it is another thing to be forced to live in a garbage dump, then have it blamed on them. To compare Gypsies with Romanians is a joke. Romanians aren’t oppressed by anyone other than maybe themselves (and in that case, so are Americans). Mr. Mister’s comments are the first negative comments I have ever heard about Romanians as a group.

    Of course I wouldn’t want to live in a Gypsy camp… the same way I wouldn’t want to live in housing projects in Chicago. But I wouldn’t ever try to suggest that crime or proverty in the black population in the U.S. isn’t a direct result of generations of vicious racism. The solution is to confront the racism and poverty, not the victims of it. Do you really, honestly, think, that any group CHOOSES to be unemployed, poor, with no education, and living in filth?

    You do realize that all the things you accused the Gypsies of, racists in the U.S. have accused black people in the U.S. of, as well as Irish, Mexicans, Italians, or whatever group it is popular to hate at the time? (well, maybe not the chickens in the living room thing… but just about everything else)

    As for “free minds”, I am talking to you aren’t I. Just because I believe in your right to speak, doesn’t mean that I shouldn’t confront the ideas you express. I may have made a mistake in attacking your ideas so strongly… but because I don’t thing they are terribly horribly wrong, but because maybe I made you too defensive to re-evalutate what you believe.

    My personal opinion is that the Romani should be armed (along with everyone else for that matter). I have a feeling racism would disappear if there was at least some risk in oppressing a victimized group.

  25. Rex Rhino you are all horn and no logic. You say:

    “There is no reason to believe that Gypsies are more criminals than anyone else… ”

    There’s no reason to think a group with greater than 70% unemployment rates might be a little bit more involved in crime than everyone else?

    “Yeah, they discriminated out of the workforce, forced to live in absolute dire poverty”

    As libertarians we believe employers can hire whomever they wish. If employers don’t want to hire Gypsies, tough shit. Anyone who disagrees with this is not a libertarian.

    Which is beside the point, since Gypsies choose to live outside the jurisdiction of the state. They aren’t victims, they are libertarians, more principled libertarians than the ones who write at Reason, who gladly accept all the benefits of being part of the community while complaining the community is illegitimate.

    “and then when the basics of survival are cut off from them (electricity and water), and they do what it takes to survive, it is somehow there fault.”

    Since above you claimed Gypsies don’t commit any more crimes than anyone else, what exactly is it that they “do” to “survive”? Because it sure seems like you are saying the commit crimes, and that’s ok.

  26. “My personal opinion is that the Romani should be armed”

    They are armed, they carry knives.

  27. This is my last post for today. It’s 2:40 AM here, I gotta get some sleep.

    Anyway, here we go

    it is another thing to be forced to live in a garbage dump

    Funny thing, all the blocks around them seemed to be fine (as fine as a communist housing project can be)

    Do you really, honestly, think, that any group CHOOSES to be unemployed, poor, with no education, and living in filth?

    That sounds absurd, but that’s basically how it is.
    I know Romanians have a long history of discriminating Gypsies. I don’t think you know this, but they were actually enslaved (yes, enslaved) until the middle of the 19th century. Shameful, but that’s what happened.

    But right now, nobody is keeping them from going to school, nobody’s making them turn their neighbourhoods into dumps, nobody’s making their children marry at 12 and start breeding at 14.
    They are doing it to themselves.

    If you refuse to believe that, and somehow view them as innocent victims of European racism – sorry, but I don’t agree with you.

  28. As libertarians we believe employers can hire whomever they wish. If employers don’t want to hire Gypsies, tough shit. Anyone who disagrees with this is not a libertarian.

    True… but as libertarians we would also respect the right of Gypsies to homestead unclaimed land, or vacant land claimed by the government. We would respect their right to own property. We would respect their right to carry out any sort of economic activity they want to engage in, so long as it doesn’t involve theft or fraud. We would respect their right to arm themselves and act in self defense. We would respect their right not to be victims of violence

    You want to ignore the generations of anti-libertarian treatment and continued anti-libertarian treatment… when they were purchased and sold as property… when their traditional lifestyle and language was banned by the state in a government sponsered effort to destroy them as an ethnic group… when they were explicitly forbidden to hold certain jobs by the state… when they underwent forced steralizations in a government sponsered effort to destroy them as an ethic group. You want to ignore the constant violent acts of intimidation they suffer (if you owned a buisness and DID decide to hire Gypsies, it wouldn’t be too long before your buisness was vandilized or you were attacked).

    These people were subjected to the most anti-libertarian treatment you could possibly give… And now you want to blame their condition on them, as if it was that they just made some bad investments or something. Or decided to buy a motor boat instead of invest in their 401K. The state that these people live in is not the product of “poor decision making”.

    There’s no reason to think a group with greater than 70% unemployment rates might be a little bit more involved in crime than everyone else?

    There is no reason to believe that Gypsies are more likely to commit crimes than anyone else with a 70% unemployment rate. Given the fact that the police don’t really hesitate to smash a few heads when dealing with Gypsies, and everyone naturally assumes they are criminals so it is unlikely they will ever get a fair trial… I am willing to say they are probably far LESS LIKELY to commit crimes than any other group of people with 70% unemployment.

  29. For all the tough talk about “free minds”, some people around here sure fail to live up to that.

    Your own medicine is pretty bitter, isn’t it?

  30. Im reminded of a lot of conversations I had while living in Arizona, about the “uncivilized, dirty, ignorant” Apaches.
    Why, Whitey would build nice houses for them, and after a few months, the cabinets would be stripped out & sold, they wouldnt pay the electric bill, & theyd cut a hole in the roof to let out the smoke from the hearth they built in the living room. And Id say, yeah, they are nomads.
    And they say, they dont send thier kids to school, & live in tents, and herd goats, and live off the land, and Id say yeah: they are nomads.
    And theyd say- we try to help them, & they get violent, & they dont learn English, & they do strange things, and they are dangerous as all hell, & Id say: yeah, they are nomads.
    I have little doubt that our friend from Romania is accurate in his discription of Romany health, sanitation, & all the rest, and as someone else pointed out, aint a friggin soul on this board who would live in a Baltimore slum (the Wire!!! Yay!!) But they are nomads, and how does a State tax nomads? Thats probably the origin of the Rom discrimination, ages ago.
    I liked the hell out of the very few hill Apaches I met, but tell you what- they lift the hair on the back of your neck. There is something very elemental about them, & thats not a dis: they are Different. So are Rom.
    And thats all it takes to launch a death spiral.
    In the Apaches case, not only were they Different, they are some of human kinds top Bad Ass MF’s. So, Whitey gave then some decent land (thier splendidly maintained forests went up in flames, real sad….Ive ridden thru em) If you are Different, but not Terrifying, well, then, all you get is the boot.
    Wandering Jews, Rom, Apaches, Travellers: thier allegiance is to each other, thats it.
    And I dont think a damn one of you would rent a flat in a Rom ghetto.

  31. Daniel wrote: What I am sure of, however, is the sheer filth in which they lived. And no, poverty is no excuse for lack of hygiene.

    If that’s accurate, the Roma in Romania differ greatly from the Roma in Finland. There are negative stereotypes about Finnish Roma, which deal for example with their perceived untrustworthiness in all matters financial, but accusing them of poor hygiene would be a new one.

    The concept of cleanliness – both symbolical and practical – is important in the Finnish Roma culture. They have all sorts of arcane hygiene rules, a few of which are even practical. The rules concern things like who can wash his clothes where (kids’ clothes and old people’s clothes don’t mix); what objects can women’s skirts touch (not old people or places where people eat); where can food be placed (not anywhere someone has sat); etc.

    They have a traditional dress code that is quite distinct. The men wear shiny shoes, black trousers, and collared shirts. The women wear huge skirts, lots of lace and suede, and lots of jewelry. In general, their public appearance is neater than that of the population at large.

  32. “If pointing that out makes me a racist – then maybe I overestimated some of you.”

    I doubt anyone here minds not meeting your expectations.

    The Gypsy thing is getting old, though. Can you do a few grafs on how dangerous and manipulative the Jews are?

  33. “You want to ignore the generations of anti-libertarian treatment and continued anti-libertarian treatment…[etc.]”

    Yes I do ignore that. Libertarianism is a set of voluntarily adopted abstract principles that are correct in all circumstances. I think, as all libertarians do, that employers have the right to decide whom they employ, therefore the history and tradition of Gypsies is not relevant to this matter.

    “And now you want to blame their condition on them”

    I’m not blaming anyone, but I refuse to sacrifice fundemental principles and rational policy choices because some group was mistreated in the past.

    “I am willing to say they are probably far LESS LIKELY to commit crimes than any other group of people with 70% unemployment.”

    You can say anything you like, but unless you have some facts to back it up it’s just hot air.

  34. Gypsy comes from the word Egyptian. Whatever

  35. …but, every night the men would come around
    and lay their money down…

  36. Mr Mister

    Your own medicine is pretty bitter, isn’t it?

    I’ve been around them – have you?
    What’s that you say? You haven’t? Then go f**k yourself.

    MUTT

    Id say: yeah, they are nomads.

    Didn’t I say just that?

    Eric the .5b

    I doubt anyone here minds not meeting your expectations.

    You know what? You’re absolutely correct.
    The Gypsies are completely innocent. They send their children to school, they’re always clean, their crime rate is zero.
    It is us, those evil racist and anti-semitic Europeans who victimize them. Why? Just because we feel like it.

    Hey asshole, try to understand this – sometimes, just sometimes, the group that gets discriminated is not without blame.

    Some libertarian you claim to be.
    I thought individual responsibility was at the core at libertarian beliefs.
    But when I point out the Gypsies bear some responsibility for their condition – and I’m a stinkin’ racist !

    You know what you sound like – a Marxist.
    It’s always society’s fault, never the individual’s.

    And for all those that think I’m lying – please, come to Eastern Europe and spend a while in a Gypsy village. Try and see how long you’ll last there.
    Until you do, shut the f**k up, assholes.

  37. For all the tough talk about “free minds”, some people around here sure fail to live up to that.

    For a guy whose arguments are “moron,” “dimwit,” and “fuck you, asshole,” you sure have a thin skin.

  38. So let me get it straight, Tim.

    I point out that Gypsies are not quite the innocent victims of European racism you made them to be, and get called a filthy racist for that.

    And when I say that doesn’t quite mesh well with the “free minds” motto, I’m thin skinned.

    Wow. It’s amazing how some people get to be right all the time.

    PS Have you actually read what Rex Rhino called me? Wouldn’t that have pissed you off?

  39. States use schooling for social control. Historically, many states have used schooling to suppress minority languages, suppress minority customs, etc. Naturally, many minorities tend to either downplay or dismiss schooling.

    Now the Roma have faced discrimination and slavery that kept them, on the whole, less educated than their neighbors.

    IMHO, the Roma should arrange education seperate from the state and should find teachers among their own numbers. If the discrimination has been more severe in some places, more mild in other places, than there should be enough well-educated Roma in the latter places. Of course border controls will get in the way…

  40. The Romanian government runs rromani-language schools.
    Mind you, I’m not touting the virtues of public schooling. Just pointing out a fact.

    I don’t think the Rroma don’t go school because they resent forced assimilation.
    Keep in mind that they are nomads. As nomads, they simply don’t see the use of going to school (at least, that’s what I think).

    And regarding my “free minds” comment.

    If you think intellectual masturbation along the lines of “look at those poor, opressed Gypsies” qualifies as an “open mind”, that’s your problem.

    I was trying to explain the causes of said discrimination (I wasn’t defending it).
    The Gypsies are nomads. That’s the truth. And as nomads, they are bound to get into conflicts with those around them.

    And what happened – I got shouted down with accusations of racism.
    Why? Because I defied the dogma that the discriminated group is blameless.

    That does not qualify as a “free mind”, in my opinion.

    As for my extremely rude language – Rex Rhino and the “politically correct” police fully deserved it.

  41. “I don’t know enough about this but why would Europe which is tolerant almost to the point of being suicidal be singling out the Gypsies in everywehre from Spain to Slovakia?”
    Well most Roma live in eastern europe, so this is generally a eastern european issue, and, of course, eastern europe is not quite up to the levels of social tolerance that western europe is at.

  42. So let me get it straight, Tim.

    Get this straight, Daniel: The comment threads are getting dumber and dumber, and this one is particularly dumb. It’s my job to make sure this site remains something people want to look at, and part of that is keeping the comments from degenerating into drivel. You made claims about how gypsies are a bunch of skanks in a thread about forced sterilization of gypsies-which is fine; for all I know it’s all true. But if you don’t expect that somebody’s going to label that argument racist, you just fell off the apple cart. And if you think “Fuck you asshole” is a response that helps either your argument or the general tenor of the conversation, you also didn’t fall far from the cherry tree when you fell of your high horse into dinosaur crap, or something like that.

    And it might piss me off to be called a racist. But if you haven’t noticed, I get my balls broken all the time on these threads, as do most people. If you need to go ballistic, go have a temper in the next room before you come back in and post.

  43. Nice one, Tim.

    I have only second hand knowledge of gypsies – my friend is an archaeologist who goes to Romania once a year to work on one of his projects.

    From what he tells me, MUTT seems to have it about right. The gypsies he’s encountered have generally been a rather shifty lot, have been known to steal equipment and food from base camps, and are often driven off with threats of physical violence when they get too close. It is also considered to be a bad idea to turn your back on a gypsy in nearly every situation.

    I don’t know if this perception is an accurate portrayal of gypsies as a whole or one skewed by the stories and whatnot told by his Romanian guides. I suspect it’s maybe a little of both. As MUTT said “they’re nomads”.

    At the same time, while I don’t resent a people trying to maintain their cultural identity, I think folks should try to be “good neighbours” and that somewhat assimilating into modern society is probably a good thing in agregate.

    But again, since I’ve never been there myself, I only have second hand knowledge from my friend, and second hand knowledge can be wildly inaccurate. On top of that, he’s usually in quite rural areas, if not downright wilderness, which can also modify people’s behaviour fairly drastically, for a variety of reasons.

  44. Anecdotes:

    I lived in Rome for a summer, and hung out with a friend and his Italian friends for awhile. In discussions of America with one Italian who thought the US was the greatest country to ever exist, the issue of crime came up. I pointed out that the crime rate in the US far exceeds that of most European countries. His respose was:

    “Well, that is because you have blacks in America.”

    This led to a discussion of the Romi and their role in Italian life. His characterization of the typical Romi village was much like Daniel’s. It is important to note that there was no shortage of Romi in Rome while I was there, and his description did not fit with my observations.

    Were some of the Romi involved in petty crime (pick pockets etc…)? Yes. Were far more involved in begging? Yes. We all involved in crime and begging? No, many sold wares, or services on the street (window washing, music, performances of various types). Were some of the Romi that lived on the street begging as dirty as your typical homeless man in NYC or San Francisco? Yes, but that was not typical. It was not uncommon, however, to see Romi pushed, hit, or kicked by Italians when they were going about daily activities (getting on a bus, walking down a sidewalk, selling wares on a blanket). I saw a Romi begger attempt to steal a purse. A Romi street musician, stopped her, returned the purse to the tourist and lambasted the begger in Romi, then gave her some food.

    For Daniel:
    “But presenting the Gypsies as innocent victims of racist Europeans is a huge lie.”

    Denying the centuries of racism against them, however, is just as big a lie. While you talk about personal resposibility, you deny the impact that a person’s circumstances has on their life. The degree to which Romi communities are allowed to live their traditional lifestyle will determine how functional that community is. In those areas where that traditional lifestyle has been systematically degraded through oppression, their communities will be more dysfunctional. From your descriptions, it sounds like the Romi in Romania have had it harder than those in Italy (or Finland),and as a result, they live in more dysfunctional communities. This is not inherent in the Romi or their culture. It is a common result of poverty, oppression, and discrimination.

    A free mind requires oxygen. Pull yours out of your ass so it can breathe the free air. You are not the only one who has ever lived near a dysfunctional community of individuals systematically oppressed due to racism. We have a long history of that in America. It is easy to recognize the symptoms of a community broken by exclusion. Those broken communities look very much alike, no matter the race or ethnicity.

  45. Denying the centuries of racism against them, however, is just as big a lie

    Did I do that that?
    I remember saying something about the gypsies being kept in slavery (something which most Romanians don’t seem to know about, sadly).

    So yes – the Rroma have had it rough around here.
    But eventually, you have to stop complaining about past abuse and start facing present day problems.

    Schooling their childern would be a nice start. However, they seem unwilling to do that.

    And Tim, I made no attempt tu justify forced sterilizations and discrimination.
    I thought you should know that, in some places at least, Gypsy communities are a source of problems.
    The narrative of Gypsies as innocent victims is simply not true.
    I still don’t quite see how that justifies accusations of racism, but maybe that’s just me.

  46. “Denying the centuries of racism against them, however, is just as big a lie

    Did I do that that? ”

    I should have been more precise in my language…

    Denying the IMPACT of centuries of racism…, is just as big a lie… and I believe you have done that.

    “But eventually, you have to stop complaining about past abuse and start facing present day problems.”

    Now, we can agree that the solution for a dysfunctional community will come, mostly, from within. But this is a catch-22, the community is dysfunctional, so how likely is this to happen without some support from the larger community that the Romi are embedded in? As long as the larger community sees the Romi as “unwilling” to seek help, “a source of problems,” “doing it to themselves” the situation is likely to stay static or get worse.

    Justifying your views of a group of people from another culture as based on the flaws of that culture is the definition of racist. So people called you on it.

  47. Yes, but that was not typical. It was not uncommon, however, to see Romi pushed, hit, or kicked by Italians when they were going about daily activities (getting on a bus, walking down a sidewalk, selling wares on a blanket).

    Really? Just out of the blue in Italian streets people hit and kick each other?

  48. Justifying your views of a group of people […]

    When exactly did my views enter the discussion ?

    What I did was present you with some facts.The eviction bit, the unattended school, their kids getting married at 12 – they are all absolutely true.

    My personal view on the matter is this
    – the Gypsies are nomads. A nomadic minority is bound to come into conflict with the urbanized majority. That’s as plain as I can put it.
    – and as long as they remain nomadic, the conflict will not go away.

    The only solution I see is the Gypsies abandoning their nomadic ways.

    And it’s not that they are unwilling to seek help. They are a completely different culture, one in which education isn’t held in esteem. They simply don’t see the use of it.
    Am I a racist for saying that?

    Oh – and the Romanian government has implemented a sort of “affirmative action” program.
    Of course, it’s pretty modest, since there aren’t many resources available.
    For example, state universities are required to admit Rroma students, even though their academic results wouldn’t justify admission.
    And what do they do? They sell their university seats.

    So, like I previously said – until they change their ways and start valuing things like education, the conflict is unlikely to go away.

  49. “Really? Just out of the blue in Italian streets people hit and kick each other?”

    That doesn’t quite capture the events.

    Example. Crowded Roman bus. People squeeze in very tight to get on board. Pair of Gypsy girls (17 or so, one pregnant) attempt to come on board, they are pushed out of the way, when they try again to get on board, they are each kicked in the leg by a man in a business suit who prevents them from boarding.

    Example. Gypsy selling flowers approaches a group of tourist getting picture taken with fake Centurian and gets between photographer and fake centurian who pushes the flower seller to the ground.

    Example. Gypsy begging on street, seated on sidewalk, pair of Italian youths kick her possessions into the street, then slap her hand when she reaches for them. (In this case a Roman police man intervenes and sends the youths on their way… then makes the begger leave the area).

  50. Those examples don’t mean anything, when the gypsies themselves don’t obey social rules or laws. Daniel is correctly describing the dualistic reality of the gypsies problem: society doesn’t accept them because they, at large, do not want to adapt. There are exceptions, which prove that there is no racism.

    The gypsies that do adapt, that work towards a career, or that are simply honest with themselves, find little problem with discrimination. I’ve known gypsies from different walks of life. I have an educated gypsy friend, who speaks 6-7 languages, finished the conservatory and lives abroad. I don’t see how or why anyone would discriminate against him. I also know gypsy workers who are willing to work, and do their job, and don’t do anything unacceptable. They are also quite OK with everybody else.

    The ones that get drunk and commit crimes and threaten innocent people are by large the problem of gypsy image in the East, and that’s only something they themselves can remedy.

  51. First off. As to the accusations of anti-Gypsy racism and the response to those accusations: What Tim said.

    And also: A Romanian criticizing someone for poor hygiene. That’s funny.– That comment/joke is indeed racist.

    Beyond that, what a vexing and depressing problem! I’ve surveyed some of the literature and I wanna ask: Has there ever been, in Europe, a group of people who resisted assimilation and/or whose assimilation was resisted to the extent of the Gypsies? They are of Indian decent. Does anyone know about the circumstances of their exodus from India? Some peoples have stayed in their own enclaves ffter emigrating, but huge portions of these folks don’t even interact with other peoples in any way so as to achieve an honest livelihood! And their crime, special Ed, and unemployment rates! How incredibly f***ing sad! What causes this?

    Is it a case of centuries old hate which has done this to them? Or is it a case of the Roma folk’s culture being just so backward and anti-assimilation? Or is it both? This hideous forced sterilizing of a people seems to be saying “We don’t consider you a threat or we’d put you in prison of kill you; we just consider you an unfixable and tremendous pain in the ass and we wish you’d go away.”

    What about Gypsies in the US? How many? I bet that if any did come, they have been assimilated nicely. Capitalism and other liberties tend to fix these things.

  52. Tim:

    The comment threads are getting dumber and dumber

    Ouch! Why do you say that, and what do you suggest we do to make improvements? This is the best blog in the sphere. We don’t wanna f**k it up.

  53. Yeah back to the actual topic

    “You’re a doctor or a nurse seeing a woman come in for her second caesarian?there’s already a good case to be made that her tubes should be tied”

    In Belarus and Ukraine you are only allowed 2 c-sections and you are done. It doesn’t matter if you are gypsie or not. Maybe if you have connections and pay bribes you get more–but it would be only the top 1% of wealthy/connected people. Those 2 countries are good examples (unfortunately) of the old commie system. I think it is mainly because the gypsies are actually having 2+ kids–so they run up against the old laws.

  54. “Those examples don’t mean anything, when the gypsies themselves don’t obey social rules or laws.”

    Sorry dude, I was there. The examples I cited were ones in which the Gypsy did not break any “social rules or laws” and certainly didn’t do anything to justify physical violence. We are not talking about lashing out at a pick-pocket here. The flower seller was not the first person to get between photographer and subject (it is crowded by the coliseum during the summer) and was involved in legit business, the two girls getting on the bus were being as polite as anyone else (there was room for them by Roman-Bus standards, and several Italians pushed in without being accosted). Begging may not be a practice that endears you, but the youths who attacked the begger were the ones breaking social rules and laws. I never saw a non-gypsy treated this way in Italy.

    “There are exceptions, which prove that there is no racism….The gypsies that do adapt, that work towards a career, or that are simply honest with themselves, find little problem with discrimination.”

    You seem to be saying that those people who are treated poorly because of their differences will stop being treated poorly if they just change their ways. While there is some truth in the statement, it doesn’t prove that there is no racism, quite the opposite. Intolerance for difference is a main source of racism.

    Daniel was called racist because of the value judgements he put into his “factual” reports.

    “People hate them because of the very high crime rates associated with them, and their appalling lack of education and basic hygiene.” He says.

    His report is an accurate description of how people justify their hatred. But it sounds far too much like the arguments made by the KKK against blacks in this country to be given a pass. When you hate Gypsies because some of them behave in ways you disapprove of, you are being racists.

    “that’s only something they themselves can remedy.”

    We agree that the solution must come primarily from within, but active oppression makes that more difficult.

    Anon,
    “I think it is mainly because the gypsies are actually having 2+ kids–so they run up against the old laws.”

    But are non-Romany women running up against the same old laws? It doesn’t sound like it from the story, but would be easy enough to figure out.

  55. I don’t know enough about this but why would Europe which is tolerant almost to the point of being suicidal…

    While official elite Europe may have codified an official tolerance daily life there is full of incidents that belie the policy.

    Whether it is the sneering reference to “les beurs” by the Parisian, the treatment of gypsies almost everywhere or the homophobic comments of an Italian Cabinet Minister racism and bigotry are as alive in the Old World as the New.

  56. Neu Mejican,

    Dude, you’ve got it all wrong.

    People hate them because of the very high crime rates associated with them, and their appalling lack of education and basic hygiene.

    First of all, I never said “I hate them”.
    Which I would have, if that were the case.

    And if you would only take the time to research the subject, you would that the lack of education and high crime rates happen to be the truth.

    Am I being racist when I say : “people from a certain part of the country are uneducated and a have a higher than average crime rate” ??

    Those are not value judgments, they happen to the truth.
    Gypsies are uneducated and with a higher than average crime rate.
    How is that statement racist?

    And how hard is it to understand that I NEVER justified or condoned racism and discrimination?
    I was trying to explain why people don’t like Gypsies. I never said that was a good thing or that I share those feelings.

    Geez, how many times do I have to say that? Why don’t you actually read what I say, instead of what you think I’m saying?

    And since you still think I’m a racist, I have a proposal for you.
    Come over here and see for yourself. Why don’t you put your money where your mouth is and try living next to a clan of nomands.

    It’s easy to run your mouth off when you haven’t got the slightest idea of the kind of difficulties people encounter.

    Real life isn’t some kind of politically correct paradise. Sadly, discrimination is a fact of life.
    And if you think labeling those who try to explain the causes of discrimination as racist solves any problems – well, I suggest you grow a brain.

    When you hate Gypsies because some of them behave in ways you disapprove of […]

    So, because I disapprove of steadfastly refusing to go to school, of stealing and commiting violent crimes – I’m a racist.
    Good to know.

  57. Daniel,

    When I say,

    “When you hate Gypsies because some of them behave in ways you disapprove of, you are being racists.”

    I am using the general “you” intended to be inclusive of only those that think this way. If it ain’t you don’t take offense.

    I have read what you say. And I believe that you do not feel like you are being racist. But your statements are the kind that provide cover for racism. They provide a justification for the racism, by placing the blame on the target of the racism. If you are not a racist, you are, perhaps inadvertantly, acting as an apologist for racism.

    I never disputed your facts… but then you follow with this:

    “So, because I disapprove of steadfastly refusing to go to school, of stealing and commiting violent crimes – I’m a racist.”

    In an individual, no. If you make the statement about a group and assume that you are accurately describing their nature, yes. If you assume that an individual is this way because he is a Gypsy, then, again, yes.

    As for the living near a group of nomads… do some research on New Mexican history, you might be surprized to find out that this is not an issue with which we are unfamiliar in these parts. I have spent my career as the only white in highly non-western contexts. I know from experience a good deal about the difficulties of interaction between highly dissimilar cultures. It requires first, a willingness to examine your own beliefs about the other, and why you hold those beliefs. Then, a good deal of effort to understand their beliefs about you and why they hold those beliefs. Basic respect for other ways of believing does not require agreement…but fruitful interaction requires that respect.

  58. I said they are Nomads. They are Different, and sometimes that dont go to well.
    I was TRYING to back your hand, Daniel, against the charge your criticisms were just because you are a racist.
    I dont want to live in inner city Baltimore. Niether do you. (As in YOU!)That dosnt make me, or you, a racist.
    But reading Bro. Daniels further posts, Id have to say he is conflating social outcomes with some sort of genetic predetermination.
    Apologies to those who like my stream of consciousness “On the Road” posts, I promise Ill get more vodka soon….

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