Sarkozy and the Roma

Maybe I’ve just been completely out of it, but it doesn’t seem like there has been much of a backlash against Sarkozy’s repeated edicts that the Roma camps on the outskirts of Paris (and presumably elsewhere) should be demolished. Send them back! Send them away! Ethnic cleansing, anyone? For the purity of the French race? (Too soon, too soon.)

I remember reading this article when it came out in July, and the balanced tone was quite off-putting. If, like the article states, the camps are being “dismantled” because they are the origin of “‘illicit trafficking, children exploited for begging, prostitution or delinquency,'” then by all means punish the criminals. But why are children criminals? Innocent bystanders? It’s not my fault if my neighbor engages in prostitution. Perhaps I should choose more savory neighbors but alas, that is beyond my control. I certainly don’t feel my house should be demolished because some members of my community don’t do the nicest things. That means that Washington Heights should be demolished because some settlers in the West Bank killed a Palestinian. That makes sense, right?

Indeed, what surprised me most about this situation is that there was no public outcry until nearly a month later. Even more, recently (as in the past week).

Sure, comparing the president – who as far as I can tell, no one really likes – of a somewhat Socialist state to an infamous genocidal maniac is a bit harsh. (Google any related phrase for news articles.) And I hate to play the predictable card, but it also sounds a lot like the things Israel does when it doesn’t feel like being on the up-and-up and playing by the rules. So, like, every day.

If every country behaved like Nazi Germany (in this respect), or Israel (in this respect), or France (in this respect), or any other place that has a history of xenophobia and ethnic cleansing (Yugoslavia, Iran, Azerbaijan, South Africa, Ireland, the United States, China, Russia, Turkey, etc.) … oh wait, I just destroyed my entire argument.

I was going to say that if every country behaves in this manner, no one is safe because you are always hated and viewed as inferior by someone else. Thanks to crowd psychology or something, minorities are always vulnerable in comparison to the majority. That means governments should try to HELP them, not get rid of them. And don’t say it’s for their own good, because destroying someone’s house is never for their own good.

Unfortunately, now what I have to say is that every country slash government on the planet as far as I can tell has a history of behaving not-so-nicely towards “the man who looks different”, so maybe rather than turning a blind eye when someone else does it, we should help them out. Provide some constructive criticism. (No, EU, calling someone a Nazi is NOT constructive.) Offer an alternative solution. Present them with a well-reasoned argument.

Or just ignore the whole thing because we all know that the longer you ignore terrible things, the sooner they are to disappear.