“Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.” Abraham Lincoln

The Independent’s 21st Century Racism.

with 7 comments

I am indebted to one of my readers, Sarah Annes Brown, for pointing out Mary Dejevsky’s comments in the Independent.

If you read Mary Dejevsky’s appalling article you might be struck, as I was, how attitudes towards the Roma haven’t really changed in the past 80 years.

The Roma have suffered stigmatisation, extermination and marginalisation yet the comment below did not come from a 1930s fascist publication, although given its contents it could have.

It comes from a Western broadsheet, renowned for occasionally provocative but reasoned articles. Surprisingly, in 2004 the Independent won the British Press Awards’ national newspaper of the year.

Mary Dejevsky argues:

“”As it is, though, they [the Roma] are parasites on a state of civilisation, material and cultural, they have done nothing to build and could not reproduce for themselves.”

How such a conspicuous festering pile of racism managed to seep past the Independent’s subeditors I can’t say, but rarely outside of fascist thinking do you see such arguments, and we shouldn’t forget how often they were repeated in the 1930s.

These forms of attack on the Roma are common currency amongst European neofascists, as members of the Vlaams Belang show:

“France’s policy of expelling Roma to Romania and Bulgaria has attracted a storm of criticism at home and abroad from human rights groups and churches but has found support among some far-right politicians.

Philip Claeys, one of two MEPs from the far-right Flemish party Vlaams Belang, said he wants to defend “French policy concerning Roma.”

“The dismantling of illegal camps, the struggle against petty crime, criminality and prostitution, and the expulsion of foreigners with no legal earnings are perfectly legitimate in a democratic constitutional state,” said the Belgian euro-deputy in a statement Thursday (2 September).

Getting rid of the Roma camps puts an end to “public order disturbance,” he continued.

France’s own far-right National Front also agrees with the deportations. Its leader Jean-Marie Le Pen described the situation as “a problem caused by the European Union opening the borders between European countries.”

The Independent really should make an effort to stop publishing this anti-Roma racism.

Update 1: As Sarah AB points out the article receives plenty of support in the comments box.

Written by modernityblog

04/09/2010 at 15:13

7 Responses

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  1. That is outrageous. Well spotted.

    jim jepps

    04/09/2010 at 16:25

  2. Sarah AB has very keen eyes, I missed it.


    04/09/2010 at 18:01

  3. Missed it too, how utterly revolting

    jams o donnell

    05/09/2010 at 19:23

  4. Thanks Modernity – yes, I’m really shocked, not simply by the article, but by the fact that it seems to have attracted so little attention – I don’t think, for example, there have been any letters to the Independent about it.

    Sarah AB

    06/09/2010 at 08:46

  5. That’s peculiar Sarah, I wonder why?

    If you see any more examples, please do tell me, I think they deserve the widest condemnation


    07/09/2010 at 01:45

  6. Sorry – I need to correct that statement about letters as I have come across references to letters

    yet for some reason could not track then down on the Independent site itself.

    Sarah AB

    07/09/2010 at 07:25

  7. But you’re right, we should expect more outrage at the Indies racism towards Roma, and why it doesn’t strike at the Western conciousness, given the appalling past treatment of the Roma is certainly worthy of a question or 2.


    07/09/2010 at 11:59

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