The ‘Gypsy Problem’


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The Roma (or Gypsy) minority have been considered a ‘problem’ since their arrival in Eastern Europe over 700 years ago. Communist regimes sought to ‘solve’ their ‘Gypsy problem’ using methods that varied in degrees of coerciveness. I have outlined Communist policies toward the Roma according to a three-line model of Communist systems. The results of Stalinist, Titoist, and Maoist policies towards the Roma are examined through comparison of the situations of the Roma in Hungary, Romania, and Slovakia. In the case of Romania, a fourth category, Ceausescuism, is added. Each type of Communist policy had a profound impact upon the economic and social well-being of the Roma. Many of the Communist ‘solutions’ contributed to the creation of a ‘Gypsy problem.’ Following the collapse of Communism, the situation of the Roma deteriorated due to economic difficulties, rising nationalism and ethnic hatred, low levels of Roma educational attainment, and a lack of political representation.

  • thanks for the links. It helps, i'm currently doing my research paper for our public international law class. thanks :)))
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  • Please have a look at our website for resources and links on the Roma Community:

    Bharat Vala
    Cincinnati, USA
    Lenasia, South Africa
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  • THANK YOU!!!!!!
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  • Allegedly the original Roma were an Arabian tribe that fled from Islam (the reason being that they didn't like their hands or their relatives hands being chopped off ) With all the previous hand choppings you can guess what they had been up to. Allegedly Romania was the first country on their migration where hands were not chopped off and they have lived there ever since. At one time they were known as 'Egyptians' but over the years the term became corrupted to 'gypsies'. Not true? Check the DNA.
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  • Thank you again!
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The ‘Gypsy Problem’

  1. 1. The ‘Gypsy Problem’: Roma in Communist and Post-Communist Hungary, Romania, and Slovakia Beloit College 32 nd Annual Student Symposium Presentation and photos: Melany Williams Advisors: John Rapp & Andras Boros-Kazai
  2. 2. Who are the Roma?
  3. 3. Roots in India & Pakistan
  4. 4. Traditionally Nomadic People
  5. 5. Despised & Marginalized
  6. 6. The Roma in Eastern Europe <ul><li>Indian/Pakistani roots </li></ul><ul><li>Ethnic identity preserved for 700 years </li></ul><ul><li>Non-homogeneous group </li></ul><ul><li>Inter-Roma relations characterized by conflict </li></ul><ul><li>Marginalized and despised within the dominant culture </li></ul>
  7. 7. The Roma under Communism <ul><li>Communist policies aimed at assimilation or ‘integration’ </li></ul><ul><li>Goal of transforming the Roma into ‘useful’ members of society </li></ul><ul><li>Deeply impacted by Communist policy </li></ul>
  8. 8. Three-Line Model of Communist Systems: Edward Friedman <ul><li>Stalinism: Coercion, state-controlled heavy industry </li></ul><ul><li>Titoism: Remunerative incentives, and ‘abundance for the working class’ </li></ul><ul><li>Maoism: Normative, ideological, emphasis on equality </li></ul><ul><li>Expanded: Ceausescuism: Hypernationalist Communism </li></ul>
  9. 9. Stalinist Policy: Romania & Slovakia <ul><li>Forced settlement </li></ul><ul><li>Collectivization and centralized resource allocation </li></ul><ul><li>Penalized unemployment and illegal employment </li></ul><ul><li>Scapegoating </li></ul><ul><li>Denial of ethnic minority status </li></ul><ul><li>Cultural Homogenization </li></ul><ul><li>Relocation </li></ul><ul><li>Pressured sterilization </li></ul>
  10. 10. Forced Settlement
  11. 11. Previously Sedentary
  12. 12. Sterilization of Roma Women
  13. 13. Effects of Stalinist Policy <ul><li>Nomadic way of life eradicated </li></ul><ul><li>Traditional professions lost </li></ul><ul><li>Negative public opinion towards the Roma </li></ul><ul><li>Lost homes & hostile neighbors </li></ul><ul><li>Some lost ethnic identity </li></ul>
  14. 14. Effects of Stalinist Policy Post-Communism <ul><li>Nationalism and ethnic hatred </li></ul><ul><li>Poor economic situation </li></ul>
  15. 15. Titoist Policy: Hungary <ul><li>Allowed some traditional professions </li></ul><ul><li>Tolerated semi-nomadic lifestyle </li></ul><ul><li>Granted ethnic minority status </li></ul><ul><li>Loosened national borders </li></ul>
  16. 16. Effects of Titoist Policy <ul><li>Greater mobility </li></ul><ul><li>Increased black market trade </li></ul><ul><li>Increased Roma solidarity </li></ul><ul><li>Roma intelligentsia </li></ul>
  17. 17. Effects of Titoist Policy Post-Communism <ul><li>Activism </li></ul><ul><li>Professed tolerance </li></ul><ul><li>Political Representation </li></ul><ul><li>Educational attainment </li></ul>
  18. 18. Maoist Policy: Romania <ul><li>Sought to improve equality </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Housing </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Employment </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Education </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Medical care </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Fostered ideological support </li></ul>
  19. 19. Housing
  20. 20. Education <ul><li>Photo by Andrew Haines </li></ul>
  21. 21. Effects of Maoist Policy <ul><li>Increased living standards </li></ul><ul><li>Ghettoization </li></ul><ul><li>Increased educational attainment </li></ul><ul><li>Guaranteed employment </li></ul><ul><li>Suppression of anti-Roma violence </li></ul><ul><li>Fostered ideological support </li></ul>
  22. 22. Effects of Maoist Policy Post-Communism <ul><li>Lost jobs </li></ul><ul><li>Backlash of anti-Roma violence </li></ul>
  23. 23. Ceausescuist Policy: Romania <ul><li>Hypernationalism </li></ul><ul><li>Not allowed to form cultural associations </li></ul><ul><li>“ Hidden Gypsy musician” </li></ul><ul><li>Cultural homogenization </li></ul>
  24. 24. Effects of Ceausescuist Policy <ul><li>Cultural homogenization </li></ul><ul><li>Artificial and coerced assimilation </li></ul>
  25. 25. Effects of Ceausescuist Policy Post-Communism <ul><li>Ethnic violence </li></ul><ul><li>Ill prepared for political representation </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Lack resources </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Poor leadership </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Lack of unity </li></ul></ul>
  26. 26. The Roma Today <ul><li>Heavily dependent on limited welfare resources </li></ul><ul><li>What are the effects of European Union membership on the Roma situation? </li></ul>
  27. 27. Questions?