Gypsies Leaving France After Crackdown

France, which has earned international attention for banning the hijab, is now at it again, cracking down on the Roma.

CSM (“Gypsies leave France amid crackdown on illegals“):

French President Nicolas Sarkozy’s plan to crack down on illegal gypsies from Romania and Bulgaria got concretely under way this week, as the first of some 700 “Roma” deportees were put on planes bound for Bucharest.

Since late July, French authorities have been shutting down gypsy camps and rounding up those deemed illegal in a highly profile security push criticized by Mr. Sarkozy’s political opponents at home, as well as by various European Union and UN organs. France is host to some 15,000 Gypsies from south central Europe.

Some 73 Roma – as the non-French gypsies are known here – were put on flights today from Lyon, and 14 put on a Paris flight.

French Interior Minister Brice Hortefeux says the initiative is “humane” and argues that France is not “stigmatizing any community.”

But Romanian Foreign Minister Teodor Baconschi, a former Romanian ambassador to France, argued Wednesday that the roundups amounted to “criminalizing ethnic groups.”

What’s fascinating about this is that a large number of American conservatives apparently want us to be more like France.  That’s particularly ironic given the scorn the Cheese Eating Surrender Monkeys received in the aftermath of the Iraq War fight.  And that “Freedom” became the replacement word for “French.”

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Of course, the Roma have never really been welcome in any country they’ve tried to settle in over the century. In this respect, the French are just being like the rest of Europe

  2. Vast Variety says:

    Great, now I’m going to have Cher running around in my head all afternoon.

  3. Neil Hudelson says:

    I can visit without getting pickpocketed (seriously, who pickpockets a 12 year old boy on vacation?). That’s a relief.

    That said, I don’t agree with the decision, but my whole belief in Freedom of Religion can be pesky sometimes.

  4. sam says:

    Well, they just might lose the Gypsy Kings, idiots. Hope they move here.

  5. RGardner says:

    I live in an area with a significant number on Rom (there are about 20 cities in the US with sizable Roma populations). Most of them are decent, but the old term “bunko” (like the TV show Adam-12) really referred to gypsy scams. They are a hidden minority in the USA.

    Google “gypsy spokane marks” as a start.

    My point here is most Americans do not know of “gypsies” in their towns, OMG, a hidden minority. But they really are.

    More obvious in France., but we have gypsies too (US citizens all) .

  6. sam says:

    I heard an interesting thing once. The gypsies originated in India, and for some reason I do not know, there was a diaspora. The word ‘gypsy’ derives from ‘egyptian’, according to the account, since many of them ended up in Egypt where they first became somewhat prominent. (It just occurred to me that the word ‘gyp’ as in to cheat may derive from ‘gypsy’). Anyway, according to this account, gypsies retain their ancestral language, which is derived from sanskrit. I found that a little hard to take since my understanding is that sanskrit was primarily a written language first used in composing the Vedas. However that may be, the basic thrust is that they still speak an Indian language amongst themselves that’s over 4,000 years old (regardless of its derivation).