The Roma people, better known as Gypsies, have been in the news recently after two separate instances in which blonde-haired, blue-eyed girls were seized by authorities with accusations that the children were abducted.
Investigations are ongoing into where the “Blonde Angel” from Greece and the little girl from Dublin are actually from.
The Roma are the largest ethnic minority in Europe, with between 8 and 12 million people. They tend to be darker skinned with dark hair and eyes, which is why Maria stood out so drastically when she was spotted.
Throughout their history, they have been subject to intense oppression, slavery and persecution. During the Holocaust, approximately 1.5 million Roma were killed. Their wandering born of necessity, is now a way of life.
Discrimination against Roma continues to be an ongoing problem in Europe, and current events won’t help their image throughout the region. In recent years, a number of anti-Roma nationalist parties have enjoyed electoral success in Hungary, the Czech Republic, Bulgaria and Greece.
Due to the intense racism they have faced, gypsies tend to be extremely hostile to outsiders, or gaje, and often ostracise those Roma that choose to assimilate into the countries they adopt as their homes.