About 300 Gypsy (or Roma) camps have been raided or destroyed in France. Last year about 10,000 of them were expelled to Bulgaria or Romania. Several reports mention that tractors demolished their homes or they are being imprisoned or children deported.
Attacks on immigrants is something that has been growing recently in the European Union, but what is striking in this case is that the Gypsies or Roma are citizens from Romania and Bulgaria, members of this block.
President Sarkozy argues that those who have no economic means or employment at minimum, even if they are of the European Union (especially the last two countries that have joined the alliance), must choose between an 'optional' subsidy or be removed to the Balkans. Italy welcomes the initiative that "this would extend to other sectors of immigrants."
Villepin, Sarkozy's rival in the Gallic right, argues that these are measures to attract votes. Pope Benedict XVII has utilized subtle criticism. Catholic sectors of the ruling coalition do not rule out a possible split in the government party, while the level of acceptance of Sarkozy in the practicing Catholic population (half of France) has fallen more than 60% to less than 50%.
The government retorted that to combat crime many nomadic gypsies must be eradicated. Several priests contend that crime is confronted by reducing poverty and the number of poor.
The attacks against the Roma are an expression of a policy that has struck millions of Latino and Third World immigrants in the 'Fortress Europe'.
There is also an alarm within a Europe that since 1945 has sought to break with the Nazi past. During World War II, Hitler ordered massacres and gassing of between half a million to one and a half million Gypsies.
In medieval Europe, while Jews were a people settled in urban business, there were nomadic gypsies who specialized in recreational activities. After World War II, the first case led to the establishment of the state of Israel while the nomadic gypsies have achieved an international consensus against any pursuit of theirs.
On the other hand, Roma do not have a state or a strong international representation to defend them. In Europe, it is normal to see newspapers that have anti-Gypsy titles daily on their covers.
Ten of the twelve million Roma in the world are believed to be living in Europe (mostly in the EU), especially in the two extremes of the southern peninsulas (in Iberia, where there would be up to 1.5 million of them, and the Balkans), although many argue that there are between 2 to 5 million of them in Turkey.
Accusing Gypsies of being synonymous with 'thieves' (as in other places is done with respect to blacks) is a demagoguery that can attract some popularity, but it damages the social cohesion of any country and allows in every society the cancer of racism to grow at the expense of human rights and democracy.
(*) "It is a shameful policy. It is an electoral strategy. This will do nothing for the security of the French."
"Their goal is to put pressure between the right and left and I protested because the French right is not like that," adds Dominique de Villepin.
Translated from the Spanish version by: