'The Rancor against Roma in Europe," The New York Times, Oct 23, 2013.
What you see of the Roma in France is only one side of the coin. The other side is located here in Bulgaria.
As an anthropologist, I have lived and participated in Roma communities since 2010, working as a municipal street cleaner with a team of 40 Romani women. My colleagues send their children to school, pay utility bills and often act as the sole income generator while their husbands seek seasonal labor abroad. The working poor at home are ignored in this article about migration that focuses on French bureaucracy, Roma criminality and Parisian encampment eyesores.
Most Roma in Bulgaria have no child-bride sales or nomadic thievery traditions, but rather have been settled for hundreds of years, were subjects of socialist assimilation policies, and are now unemployed or the working poor. They leave Bulgaria because they feel hopeless in a country with mass unemployment, a minimum wage just over $200 a month and an educated Roma elite that has no political power.
Like immigrants anywhere, the most visible are often the least representative.
"Using Ethnic Tensions for Political Games (and Gains): Anti-Roma Protests in Bulgaria," Truth-out.org, October 8, 2011
Anti-Roma sentiment continues to spread throughout Bulgaria, just in time for the presidential elections on October 23. What has been deemed a human rights issues due to the Roma deaths and injuries sustained throughout a week of anti-Gypsy protests, must also be seen as a strategic attempt on the part of nationalist and ultra-nationalist parties to use ethnic hatred for political gains in the upcoming elections.
Yes, protests against Roma are dangerous and must be stopped before violence ensures, but this wave of anti-Gypsy sentiment is an important symptom of larger political and economic issues - of countrywide poverty, high-level government corruption and the misuse of European Union (EU) funds. Right now, most people want a Band-Aid, but what they need most is to look at what created this massive societal wound.