Sunday, 10 March 2013

Short post Sunday

Content aggregation mode again: you have to read

There's nothing I love more than good journalistic balance, isn't it? That this story came from the editor-in-chief no less is something that blows my mind. I've touched on the Romanian hatred for Roma in previous posts here, but this may be a thornier issue than previously thought.

That said, what is a 250 Euro punishment? Especially considering that it was the editor and the newspaper (important to note: not the publisher) who was fined. It seems a little bit like a speeding fine to me - if the fine isn't high enough, people will just see the price of speeding as a speeding ticket. The cost of blatant racism, in this case, in a national newspaper? 250 Euro.

If you're in Romania, what are your thoughts? Did you see this story, and was there any discussion about it?


  1. Well there is one guy that was offering 300 lei or something for Roma women if they would sterilize themselves. I think he got arrested after a while.

  2. Wow, that's nuts. It's the inverse of the common situation where young women deliberately have babies so that they can claim meager government grants.

  3. Not in Romania though I was born there and so still read random bits of Romanian news (that is how i ran into your blog ...)
    On the magnitude of the fine and its effectiveness I don't think fines are a way to solve racism issues but rather to cover them in political correctness. On the Roma issue dialog is probably the most important and it would need to involve a long list of people and organizations with some of them being worse offenders than this journalist. A list of the offenders I'm referring to in no particular order: Romanian (some of them extreme right) politicians, the governments of France and Italy who deported or bulldozed Roma camps at different times (the EU made a bit of noise about human rights violations and then it all died down - this was all sanctioned at the Minister of Interior level), for the UK press it is pretty much a national sport to trash Romanians (so that they can't be accused of racism) while showing pictures of Romas and Roma camps - to a lesser extent this is something that also serious newspapers in Germany, Netherlands or others do as well. This ends up creating an even stronger anti Roma sentiment in Romania as Romanians see the Romas as responsible for the country's negative image. I'm not sure the editor of Adevarul was all that out of sync with his readership when he decided to publish that piece. Also some of the Roma behaviors he is describing while unfortunate generalizations are probably not necessarily fictional. Which brings me to another angle which is the Roma community responsibility - shouldn't the Roma organizations do more to educate their own and perhaps eliminate/reduce certain unfortunate behaviors? Finally there is probably a cultural harmonization component - a coordinated effort at the EU level with the Roma organizations involved on how to integrate the Roma culture with the EU/Western culture without destroying it (and I think this is a lot harder than it looks) would probably be a first step in the right direction. So to summarize, a lot of dialog at the governments, EU, Roma NGOs level and education and dialog at the citizenry level ...

  4. Hello Remus, and welcome to this dusty little part of the Interwebs. You might be interested in reading this story, speaking of the Romani leaders playing an organisational role:

  5. Thanks. Yeah, though what I'm thinking is more like discourage underage marriages, and teenage pregnancies, encourage Roma children to attend school and so on, so that they can get out of poverty and that needs to start at home in their communities ... (no amount of government or EU funding will help if your dad forbids you from going to school). I believe the guy in the article is the same guy (Cioaba, King of Gypsies) who was defending underage marriage as part of the cultural heritage ...
    Under Romanian law what is described in the link above (and Cioaba is the father of the 12 year old bride forcing the marriage) is statutory rape - not much ambiguity. So, that is why the problem is complicated - firstly is this an inspirational leader ? Not in my book. Shouldn't the law prevail over cultural heritage/apply to the gypsy population? Is this what perpetuates the problem? ...

  6. I think not this kind of racism is the problem, but the one directed against the Hungarian minority, the fact that is not given the autonomy of the Szekely Land (the Hungarian-majoritary enclave in the middle of the country).

    I know that Anglo-Saxon and Germanic countries have severe laws against racism but in Romania is not the case, here everything is relaxed and are not the social issues of the Western countries.

    Yes, the fine should been much bigger, but I think nobody really cares, not even the Roma. As I said, the real discrimination is against Hungarians, and this is sad, as they're quite honest and loyal people.