“There is No Such Thing as an Honest Romanian”

status viatoris – being ‘on the way’/being in a state of pilgrimage

Declared some daft besom apropos of nobody seems to quite know what, at the Mothership’s Italian class recently.

And had I been there personally, I would have hauled my pregnant bulk over the desks and taken enormous pleasure in bopping my fist right onto the end of her nose.

Of course it’s hardly surprising that she, and many others like her, feel utterly entitled to verbalise such prejudice in the righteous foghorn tones so beloved of the rather ignorant, given that their only information on it (and a vast many other subjects) comes from the criminally irresponsible British media.

And it would be a delightful thing if people actually backed up some of the “facts” they absorb from their Daily Rag (right or left-wing, tabloid or broadsheet – they are none of them free from the stigma of politically self-serving partiality) with a dash of thinking-for-themselves and a pinch of additional research, but hey, blindly following somebody else’s neatly packaged ideology-for-idiots is so much easier on an already overstretched brain cell.

(I wonder if any of them, media or media follower alike, has ever given a moment’s consideration to another time a country allowed itself to be whipped into a frenzy of distrust and hatred against a particular group of people. No? You know, way back when a significant proportion of an entire First World nation let themselves be convinced that all their socio-economic problems could be laid firmly at the door of an easily identifiable scapegoat? Still nothing? Oh well.)

Even the Italians, with their long history of fleeing Italian shores in times of crisis in order to seek their fortune elsewhere – North America, South America, Australasia, Germany, France, the UK… loathe these modern-day economic migrants just as much as the British, with their long history of pinching other people’s land and plundering its natural resources whilst oppressing the natives for their own good.

What a pair.

So what of the reviled Romanians?

Well first of all – and this might come as a surprise to much of the British media: all Romanians are not gypsies and not all gypsies are Romanian. Something I can only assume to be a well-kept secret when I note that 90% of articles talking about Romanians in the British press, clearly feature Roma gypsies.

The Roma, or Țigani, have been in Romania since before the 14th century, and, like their cousins in Bulgaria, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Spain and many other places, originate from Northern India. They have a rich musical tradition – usually one of the only aspects of their culture that finds favour with their host countries – but in most other ways they tend to be disliked outcasts due in part to their disregard for the local laws and social norms by which the rest of the local community abide.

They do emigrate, and all over the place, but sadly begging and pick-pocketing often remain their employment of choice (and necessity – prejudice rendering most other doors closed to them).

A Romanian is a different sort of character altogether.

Whilst keeping a strong sense of family and community, many are well-used to travelling to find employment, especially when it comes to construction and other manual labour. Sometimes within Romania itself, but very often further afield: Germany, Italy, Greece, Spain, the UK, Israel, Saudi Arabia… Men leave their families, sometimes only returning once or twice a year, in order to work and send money home.

And not just the men, there are also plenty of Romanian women who opt to work (often as carers for the elderly or infirm) far away from their loved ones, so that they are in a position to be able to support them financially.

It is far from an easy life – and certainly not one the comfortable, media-led armchair critics from wealthier nations would consider sullying themselves with – but many Romanians just get on with it.

Because they have to.

Because they don’t have a government that will give them money if they can’t find employment in their home town.

Because there is nobody to complain to if they can’t find quite the right sort of job to suit them, or if the little work that is available doesn’t pay enough to keep on top of the bills.

Because they exist within the harsh parameters of the real world.

Yes; there are dishonest Romanians, just as there are dishonest Brits and dishonest Italians.

And yes, maybe a few might take advantage of Britain’s absurdly generous benefit system – after all, there are plenty of British natives who feel not a jot of loyalty to their country of birth, and happily plunder the loopholes presented by the lumbering welfare state.

But that is absolutely no reason not to accord respect to the vast numbers of hard-working, honest Romanians out there. As well as the Bulgarians, the Czechs, the Poles, the Ukrainians, the Serbs, the Albanians and indeed whoever else is just trying to do what every other human being has tried to do since the dawn of time…

…keep crop, feathers and family together.

It is, after all, a basic human right.

This is Status Viatoris, hoping that her honest, hard-working, kind-hearted, lovely Romanian husband never has to hear the sort of crap her countrymen are capable of coming out with, although after nearly five years in Italy, he is probably getting used to it… :-(

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12 Responses to ““There is No Such Thing as an Honest Romanian””

  1. Tomaso Says:

    I hope so too, but moreover I beg that the offspring of those that are currently marginalized by not only your country of origin but also mine, among others, will never experience the “crap” dished out by those of the more “advanced” countries of the world.

    • statusviatoris Says:

      Oh hell yes. Just the thought that my child might be victim of such prejudice makes me want to bop noses all over town. Sadly there are a lot of ignorant and easily-led sheeple out there, so nose-bopping might well turn into a future hobby :-(

  2. Helen Devries Says:

    I can remember my father pointing out to me advertisements in corner shops for rooms to rent …no dogs, no Irish, no blacks.

    I fully understand the difference between Roma and Roumanian…I just wish the gutter press of all colours would come to the same realisation.

    And i wish the gendarmerie and tax men in France would show the same zeal in controlling the vehicles and sources of income of the manouche that they show when pestering people who don’t start up chainsaws when annoyed by such questions.

    • statusviatoris Says:

      No dogs?!! That’s shocking! ;-)

      Police in many countries are completely intimidated by the Rom. I remember in Spain they often used to give gitano feuds a wide berth, even when they involved loss of life. Providing the violence doesn’t spill out into non-gypsy life, I suppose that is a rather obvious result of them opting out of mainstream society. However when their behaviour affects non-gypsies (I have been give to understand that there was a time in which an open visa for Hungarians wishing to emigrate to Canada was revoked due to the actions of certain Hungarian Roma) either through the direct impact of crime, or through destroyed reputation by mistaken identity, then it becomes a real problem.

  3. an admirer Says:

    The media has a great deal to answer for, it never ceases to amaze me that people BELIEVE it all! BTW, if I’d been with you I’d have helped you over the desks and held your bag whilst you did the bopping!

    • statusviatoris Says:

      I know! I think that the people who refuse to think for themselves are just as much to blame as the media whose skewed reporting they blindly swallow.

      I shall make sure that any future nose bopping is undertaken with you at my side, and what a team we shall make! :-)

  4. Camp Fustian Says:

    I think I speak with some authority about this. One of my favourite people in the world is Romanian and is one of the most decent people I know (and a banker at that!). Thanks to him, I’ve come to know a fair number of his compatriots and I must say. from my cultural vantage point, they are a bit too honest! :-) Generalisations are for lazy, unthinking people, who belong back in the Dark Ages. Don’t waste your energy on them, unless they’re the positive type. E.g. Eastern Europeans are really fantastic people to be around and the men, oh! I think it’s thanks to their very very strong women, Eastern European men are “trained” from birth to be gentlemen. How’s that for a lazy summary?!

    • statusviatoris Says:

      One thing that took me aback the first time I came across it was the habit that Romanian men of my father-in-law’s generation still appear to have of kissing a woman’s hand when they meet her! Be still my silly, swooning, Victorian maiden’s heart… :-)

      • Camp Fustian Says:

        Oh, he’s old school. Lovely! What I find most amusing is that my Eastern European male friends think a 500ml water bottle is far too heavy for a lady to carry. Cracks me up every time, even though I am all for chivalry, esp. the type that doesn’t objectify women. Somehow, the Eastern European guys I know just get the balance right. The only complaint I have is that those who lived through communism are prone to periodic bouts of melancholia. Sorry for the generalisations but really, they’re a bit like the Mormons – I’ve yet to meet one I dislike!

  5. blue551 Says:

    Reblogged this on blue551's Blog and commented:
    Very well said!

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