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“A Swiss magazine has defended the image of a Roma [a.k.a., Gypsy] boy waving a toy gun used to illustrate a recent cover story in which it claimed Gypsy gangs are coming to Switzerland to commit crimes,” the AP reports without showing the image. Or linking to the the magazine, which has removed the photo. Or mentioning the fact that critics have called the image “Nazi propaganda” (the other “N” word?). Anyway, “Zurich weekly Weltwoche says harsh criticism and lawsuits filed in Germany, Austria and Switzerland are unjustified.” The headline for the article: “They come, they steal, they go.” You might say something about the link between truth and pain, but I couldn’t possibly comment.

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  1. Well that’s a surprise. The Roma issue in TTAG! Given the rampant abuse and frequent murders of Roma (Gypsies, Tsigani) in Rome and Naples, Italy over the last four years, I think Michael Bonomo could give you a heads up on this. My encounters with Roma are frequnt, every summer in Spain, mostly in Málaga province, Andalusía Autonomous Region: “They come, they steal, they go” said the article you cite above. That’s my experience. Year after year the women walk the streets selling colorful paper flowers. If you slow down a bit, get close, their children come up behind and grab your wallet. Amazing custom. I grew up hearing only defenses of Gypsies, mostly in terms of the Nazi persecution. A few summers of thefts on the streets, of items in cars, seeing them shoplift….and my sympathy was gone. For the last four or five years we go to places (to eat, or for tennis, beaches) that Roma cannot access. And yet I enjoy occasionally good Flamenco at the caves in Grenada or west of Grenada: It’s the blues of the ever-roaming thieves. Very soulful. Wallet buried deep in my clothing, of course. Their reputation is, in my direct experience, deserved.

    • My experiences have been nearly identical to yours. I’ve caught more than one Gypsy hand in my pocket followed with a bent-wrist take down while living in Europe.

  2. Funny. I was in Prague 6 years ago for vacation, and happened to start talking with one of the locals. He spoke of the Roma, or Gypsies, or whatever in exactly the same terms as how you described that article in Weltwoche.

  3. and before anyone gets inflamed by misinterpreting the title, “Die Weltwoche” is German for “The World Week” the name of the newspaper.

    • Knowing some Duetsch, I figured that. Must be aiming this at the Schweizer Duetsch speaking audience.

  4. Gypsies do not have the best reputation in Europe and parts of America. Mom’s side of the family hated them. Supposedly, they would distract you, and others would flank and steal things from your farm house.

  5. Gypsies are the laboratory-grade scum of the earth. I thought my dealings with them were bad till I talked with a Kosovar that grew up around them.

  6. I was in San Francisco in a jewelry store owned and managed by Israelis with Israeli employees when a gypsy couple came in with a child in the stroller. Those Israelis went into maximum security alert and did not try to play it PC and polite in front of the Americans.

  7. I’m a Swiss citizen & half my family lives in Switzerland. When ever the subject of immigration or new trends in trade/society comes up in a conversation it somehow always leads to gypsies. It comes with to surprise that there’s nothing positive to say about gypsies.

  8. When my girlfriend was in College she was a music manager at Hastings. Every now and again, the same gypsy family would arrive… All 50 of them. They would instantly overwhelm the staff with questions while the rest of the family would covertly steal hundreds of dollars worth of merchandise.

    Of course that’s her only experience with them, and I have never encountered any even when traveling in Europe.

    • Count yourself lucky. If you’ve ever been to the Eiffel Tower and you see all the kids running around with the same Xeroxed letter talking about finding or losing their parent; that’s them. They will try and solicit sympathy (ie–handouts) while their little buddies “bump” into you and pick your pockets. If you have a fancy camera or nice purse, their older siblings will likely follow you and wait for you to set it down or drop your guard.

      I’ve seen them at work in almost every European country I’ve been to. If you want to avoid them, then stay away from tourist areas.

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