Related rabble.ca story:
Can Roma ("Gypsies") from "liberal, democratic, EU countries" really be refugees, fleeing persecution? I am no expert on refugee law, but if I were a Roma person living in Central Europe I know I would not feel safe.
Last year, while we were filming the documentary Never Come Back, Malcolm Hamilton and I visited Roma enclaves in the Czech Republic and Hungary. At first glance, it seemed to us that those communities were not that different from poor and under-serviced First Nations communities in Canada. Maybe that's why some Canadian politicians argue that the Roma who come here are really fleeing poverty, not persecution.
They call them "gypsies," "gitanes," "tziganes," "ciganes," "nomadi" -- and sometimes such nasty epithets as thieves, pickpockets, vagrants and "inadaptables" (a favourite term in the Czech Republic).
They are the Roma, Europe's perennially unwelcome minority.
They are shunned just about everywhere on the continent, whether in Hungary or Spain, the Balkans or Iberia, the Mediterranean or Scandinavia.
Historians and anthropologists say they migrated from Rajasthan, in India, more than a thousand years ago.
In India, the Roma had been itinerant musicians, performers, merchants -- and sometimes slaves -- and they carried on some of those traditional occupations in their new lands.