There is an article in the Telegraph titled Slovakian troops sent in to stop gypsy riots that reports what is happening but makes no comment on what seems to me the key underlying reason it is happening:
Thousands of police backed by 2,000 soldiers in the ghetto towns of eastern Slovakia appeared to have temporarily ended attacks by mobs forcing their way into food shops. Near 100 per cent unemployment has brought thousands of Roma gypsies out on the streets
Demonstrators in one town gathered peacefully, shouting: “We want to eat.” Others said their families were starving since the cuts [ in state unemployment benefits], meant to prepare the country for European Union entry, were implemented on Jan 1.
Tibor Tutak, 39, said: “We know stealing isn’t a solution but I cannot let my children go hungry. What has happened so far is nothing compared with what will happen if the government doesn’t do anything.”
Roma leaders threatened further trouble unless the Bratislava government rescinded dramatic welfare reductions which have halved the incomes of many families. Unemployment among some gypsy communities is close to 100 per cent.
It is regrettable for anyone to go hungry but for 100% unemployment to prevail amongst significant sections of the gypsy community in Slovakia, that is not bad luck or economic vagaries, it is a lifestyle choice. What is more, what Tibor Tutak is actually saying is that he dislikes having to do the stealing himself, given that he and his community had gotten used to having the state do it for them. The fact is no one owes anyone else a living by right at their expense, particularly not if they decline to participate in the economy as anything other than parasites. The forceful official Slovak response seem entirely appropriate to me and I hope they do not even consider allowing themselves to be shook down for larger the ‘welfare’ payments.
No one is forced to live in a gypsy community in this day and age… yes, I know some people will bring up the infamous walls built Czech authorities after years of complains by local people. These were designed specifically to keep gypsies away from the rest of the community in a town near Ostrava a few years ago, but that was hardly an enforced ghetto in the traditional European sense of the word, as there were no laws compelling gypsies not to live elsewhere.
I also realise gypsy communities are on the receiving end of considerable prejudice and discrimination, though it needs to be said that not all of the reasons for the wider community’s hostility towards them are baseless. The gypsies are a separate cultural group and are certainly entitled to live according to their ways… provided these ways are not based on theft, be it directly or via the state and therein lies the issue at the heart of what is happening now in the Slovak Republic. Let me give the last word to Czech blogger Tomas Kohl who writes what the Telegraph article conspicuously did not:
These people are not victims of reforms. They haven’t been wronged by the government today, but when the State decided it’s a good idea to subsidize people for not doing anything and punish them when they moved a finger, it’s like giving away dope, making everyone addicted, then halving the supply.
Is there an easy way out? No. Yeah, I could say just abolish the idea of Caring Government, and it has certain utopian appeal I like, yet there is no political force there that would be capable of doing just that. Unless they send in an infantry regiment, the unrests can continue for a long time, until the underclass moves west, to countries where they still give lunches away for free.