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Thu Apr 12, 2012, 05:28 PM

Cover of Swiss Magazine Draws Accusations of Racism

Source: New York Times blog

April 12, 2012, 4:11 pm
Cover of Swiss Magazine Draws Accusations of Racism
By J. DAVID GOODMAN

A Swiss weekly magazine aimed to draw attention to what it presented as the scourge of robberies in Switzerland with a provocative cover of a young, dirty-faced boy pointing a gun at the camera and the headline “The Roma are coming.” It succeeded in being called racist.

The cover, on the German-language magazine Die Weltwoche, unleashed a flood of criticism in Switzerland, Austria and Germany over what many saw as race-based fear-mongering. After the magazine appeared last Thursday, several problems emerged over the weekend with the image itself, deepening the disapproval.

For one thing, the picture is several years old, the German daily newspaper Der Spiegel reported. Also, the gun is a toy, and the boy was photographed playing at a garbage dump in Kosovo.

The original appeared as part of a September 2008 series by the Italian photographer Livio Mancini, who shot Roma children as they played in a slum built on a dump. A caption published with the series said children’s families “survive by sorting through and selling recyclable trash. Neither Kosovar or Serbian, this ethnic group has always been shunned.”


Read more: http://thelede.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/04/12/cover-of-swiss-magazine-draws-accusations-of-racism/?ref=europe

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Arrow 33 replies Author Time Post
Reply Cover of Swiss Magazine Draws Accusations of Racism (Original post)
Judi Lynn Apr 2012 OP
sakabatou Apr 2012 #1
Odin2005 Apr 2012 #2
Kelvin Mace Apr 2012 #3
harmonicon Apr 2012 #8
Remmah2 Apr 2012 #31
Voice for Peace Apr 2012 #4
MADem Apr 2012 #5
high density Apr 2012 #6
harmonicon Apr 2012 #11
harmonicon Apr 2012 #9
Voice for Peace Apr 2012 #13
harmonicon Apr 2012 #17
Voice for Peace Apr 2012 #20
harmonicon Apr 2012 #21
Voice for Peace Apr 2012 #22
Voice for Peace Apr 2012 #23
FreeBC Apr 2012 #32
Judi Lynn Apr 2012 #30
Snake Alchemist Apr 2012 #7
trof Apr 2012 #16
secondwind Apr 2012 #10
harmonicon Apr 2012 #12
Voice for Peace Apr 2012 #14
Snake Alchemist Apr 2012 #24
harmonicon Apr 2012 #28
Snake Alchemist Apr 2012 #33
FreeBC Apr 2012 #18
Odin2005 Apr 2012 #19
ieoeja Apr 2012 #26
pampango Apr 2012 #15
ieoeja Apr 2012 #25
Voice for Peace Apr 2012 #27
fishwax Apr 2012 #29

Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Thu Apr 12, 2012, 07:31 PM

1. My dad got the whole "Beware of Roma, they're pickpockets."

This was when he was planning to go to France (he's going there in a week or so).

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Response to sakabatou (Reply #1)

Thu Apr 12, 2012, 09:00 PM

2. Doesn't Roma culture glorify stealing from and ripping off non-Roma?

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Response to Odin2005 (Reply #2)

Thu Apr 12, 2012, 09:03 PM

3. Some do...

most don't.

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Response to Odin2005 (Reply #2)

Fri Apr 13, 2012, 06:13 AM

8. That's like saying "doesn't white culture glorify genocide?"

There's no more a singular Roma culture than there is a singular German culture, and, surprise surprise, both groups are made up entirely of individual human beings capable of thought and free will.

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Response to Odin2005 (Reply #2)

Fri Apr 13, 2012, 12:38 PM

31. That would be Naples Italy.

 

I spent a little time there.

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Response to sakabatou (Reply #1)

Thu Apr 12, 2012, 09:12 PM

4. I had quite an experience with the gypsy children in Rome many years ago.

it was horrible, actually, even beyond being sad; the begging
children seemed more like creatures of darkness. They would
appear from cracks between buildings, out of nowhere, in an
instant; touch you all over and surround you in a group, so
that it was confusing and chaotic, and in an instant: money,
passport, etc. are gone, and so are they.

Tell your dad to keep his money, passport, etc. in a deeply
inaccessible place (like body pack strapped under clothing.)

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Response to Voice for Peace (Reply #4)

Thu Apr 12, 2012, 09:55 PM

5. If you see them coming (often with pieces of cardboard to shove under your nose so you do not see

the hand in your pocket) scream LADRI!!! LADRI!!! STRUNZI!!!! before they get close-in, at the top of your lungs, and they will scatter. They do not like getting caught and the cops in Italy will not handle them gently. They are a real scourge to tourism.

They have that poor Oliver Twist look, but they live well enough. Don't be conned.

A leg wallet is a good option, as is a neck pouch tucked well down in a t-shirt. Best bet is to maintain situational awareness and scream bloody murder and POINT if you see them approaching. They will run.

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Response to Voice for Peace (Reply #4)

Thu Apr 12, 2012, 10:00 PM

6. I've had a couple of coworkers from Eastern Europe

and they all had interesting stories and warnings about the gypsies.

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Response to high density (Reply #6)

Fri Apr 13, 2012, 06:27 AM

11. loads of Eastern Europeans have the exact same stories about gypsies - because they're made up.

There's one that's told across several countries about how gypsies destroyed public housing that was so graciously given to them by the loving government. Every time you here it, it either happened in a neighbouring city, or it was just before the person telling the story was born, etc.

The real truth is that the Roma have been discriminated against in Europe for hundreds of years, and that discrimination goes on to this day. Just in the 90's, the city of Usti Nad Labem in the Czech Republic built a wall between the Roma and the Czech neighbourhoods, cutting off the Roma from the better parts of town and convenient shops and services.

Institutionalized racism is real and alive. Of course there is a disproportionate amount of petty crime committed by the Roma population of Europe, because petty crime is disproportionately carried out by the poor everywhere. Read some of the posts in this thread and substitute "Jew" or "black" for "Roma" or "gypsy" and see how you feel about the statements.

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Response to Voice for Peace (Reply #4)

Fri Apr 13, 2012, 06:17 AM

9. Not "Italian children" but "gypsy children in Rome", huh?

Racism is not becoming. I heard that tourists to the US had been robbed by white people, so all tourists to the US should watch themselves around white-folk.

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Response to harmonicon (Reply #9)

Fri Apr 13, 2012, 07:26 AM

13. Not ok for you to imply racism.

Wouldn't matter if the children were white or Italian or black, gypsy or not. There's a street-children phenomenon which has nothing to do with racial profiling or racism. It's inappropriate for you to imply that.

They are very good at it, masterful and really fast. At the time we were on main streets in Rome -- and the kids would appear and disappear out of nowhere before you had a chance to blink. I was glad to have been warned in advance to secure passport etc. because we ran into them everywhere. What was disturbing was not their pickpockety intentions, certainly not their race - it was that they are little children living such a life, by no choice of their own.

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Response to Voice for Peace (Reply #13)

Fri Apr 13, 2012, 08:56 AM

17. I think it's less ok to espouse racism than it is for me to point it out.

Back-pedal all you want. I understand that the problem is the poor turning to crime, but how did you describe the situation? Would your story have been relevant to this thread if you had not brought race into it?

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Response to harmonicon (Reply #17)

Fri Apr 13, 2012, 09:37 AM

20. I was responding to someone whose father was travelling

how would you have conveyed the same information?
An accusation of racism is a big deal. Don't do it so lightly.

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Response to Voice for Peace (Reply #20)

Fri Apr 13, 2012, 09:56 AM

21. How about this: "Watch out for thieves, if you're weird and paranoid like that."

Maybe you should have started by questioning why someone would give a person advice to "watch out" for Roma thieves when they're going to France. Somehow I managed to live there without ever being robbed or stabbed by a gypsy, just like I managed to live in LA and never once was gunned-down by a black guy.

I'll do a bit of role playing for you:

person one: "My dad's planning a trip to Detroit, and people told him to watch out for black criminals." Would your reaction to that be: "one time when I was in a place that isn't Detroit, black people committed a crime against me." No, it wouldn't, and that train of logic is clearly fucked up, but for some reason it's ok to be racist against Roma in Europe on DU.

Before you write something that generalizes an entire ethnic group, stop and think if it would be ok to make a similar generalization about another ethnic group. I understand that you don't think you're a racist, and I'm sure thinking of yourself in daily life as one would be revolting to you, but if you had been robbed by blacks in Italy, would you have written "black thieves in Italy"?

Do you not see the irony here? The beginning of the thread is about a right-wing publication stirring fear in one country from a photo of a Roma child in a different country who was... oh, yeah, playing!! Some kids of all races are going to steal shit, but it's not kids of all races who would be used as tools to manufacture racial-fear.

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Response to harmonicon (Reply #21)

Fri Apr 13, 2012, 10:23 AM

22. I understand your point.

It never seemed, from my exposure, to be an exaggerated threat. If anything it was at the time under-reported -- such that several people I knew were robbed of cash and passports. In my exposure, it wasn't about a race of people, it was a street phenomenon, & if you weren't super careful you got robbed. It was happening on every corner, literally.

I understand many have vilified the Roma as a race, and that's something I know very little about. I apologize for casually referencing that these were gypsy children. It was off the context of the original post, which was clearly about racism.

I would sooner expect to be robbed by white people than by a band of Roma gypsies. I tend to naturally feel safer in the company of the desperate. But when I'm traveling and need my passport, I like to stay alert against preventable losses.

Also, I didn't see these children in France or Belgium or Spain, I only saw them in Rome, in the heart of the tourist areas.

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Response to harmonicon (Reply #21)

Fri Apr 13, 2012, 10:38 AM

23. just want to make another point

I do get the point you are making, and it is a fair point, but not
really a fair comparison:

"one time when I was in a place that isn't Detroit, black people committed a crime against me."

It would be comparable if the main tourist areas in Detroit had
little gangs of very young black children on just about every
street corner; and they were highly trained in the art of distraction
and pickpocketing; and the odds were about 90% that every time
you went out on the street in broad daylight you'd bump into them.

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Response to Voice for Peace (Reply #23)

Fri Apr 13, 2012, 02:32 PM

32. to add to that...

 

Another thing to add to your example: And they constantly refused offers of social assistance.

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Response to harmonicon (Reply #9)

Fri Apr 13, 2012, 12:36 PM

30. The magazine created a complete illusion with its cover image:

04/11/2012
Wave of Legal Complaints
Swiss Magazine Under Fire for 'Racist' Roma Cover

It's a striking image, but is it racist? The conservative Swiss magazine Weltwoche has unleashed a storm of criticism after publishing a photograph on the front page of its current issue of a Roma child pointing a pistol at the camera above the headline: "The Roma Are Coming: Robberies in Switzerland." The article deals with what is allegedly a growing problem of crime committed by Roma gangs in the country. "They come, steal and leave," reads the article, which was published last Thursday.

The cover has sparked widespread outrage, which has now reached Germany too. The Central Council of German Sinti and Roma announced on Tuesday that they had filed a criminal complaint for racial incitement and libel against the magazine with the public prosecutor in Heidelberg. The council also announced it was taking steps to stop the issue being sold in Germany.

The weekly's cover encourages the racist stereotyping of a minority, said the council's leader Romani Rose in a statement, adding that it places Sinti and Roma under general suspicion. He said it was similar to propaganda from the Nazi era, as it created the impression that criminality was caused by an individual's ethnic origin. The Nazis persecuted and murdered around 500,000 Sinti and Roma during the Holocaust.

~snip~
The row deepened when it was revealed over the weekend that the photograph of the child was not taken in Switzerland, but in Kosovo, where the Italian photographer Livio Mancini photographed children playing on a garbage dump as part of a 2008 series. Mancini told the Swiss newspaper Tages-Anzeiger that the magazine had obtained the image via an agency and he had no influence over how it was used.

More:
http://www.spiegel.de/international/europe/0,1518,826863,00.html

~ ~ ~


Using deliberate shabby, vicious, intentional smearing of a powerless group, they tried to sacrifice these real people to advance their own agenda.

I was thunderstruck yesterday evening before having to leave, seeing some of the responses this article generated. So unexpected. Democrats?

I left feeling discouraged that not only do some people actually maintain these beliefs, they expect others to accept them, as well.
That never really works with people naturally inclined by life experience to hold different views.

I had a distant relative in Birmingham, Alabama who told my grandparents during the Civil Rights struggle, it was well known everywhere that when various rights marches passed by the townspeople found contraceptives lying behind them in the streets.

This story was brandished proudly as they all expected people to hear it, and be shocked, horrified, and more committed to racism, separatism, barbaric social injustice than they already were! They didn't realize that even reasonably intelligent children would deeply mistrust them the moment they told that whopper.

Thank you for your comments on this thread. You don't know how much difference they make.

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Response to sakabatou (Reply #1)

Thu Apr 12, 2012, 11:34 PM

7. I had a friend that lived in Germany that picked that up.

 

Lived there for several years and when I went to visit he made some comment about how Roma were "filthy people". I couldn't believe what I heard because he had always been such an accepting person.

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Response to sakabatou (Reply #1)

Fri Apr 13, 2012, 08:25 AM

16. A friend was victim on the Paris metro several years ago.

What he described as 4 olive skinned pre-teen boys surrounded him, jostled him.
It was mid afternoon, he was cold sober.
He moved away from them and they got off at the next stop.
When he got off at his stop he said he "felt a breeze on his butt".
His pocket had been slit and his wallet was gone.

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Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Fri Apr 13, 2012, 06:26 AM

10. From my own personal experience with them, I can tell you



that this is what they are good at. They teach their children this at a very young age, and they are punished if they make a mistake.

I've experienced a Roma theft in NYC (yes, they were there in the 80's, and they could remove an entire tapestry off a wall without your noticing), and in FLORENCE, I saw two women tourists holding on to a young girl who had been caught . She was crying bloody murder, because she knew her family would be meting out severe punishment for this.

The Italian police will take the child into custody, get in touch with the parents, oblige that child to attend school (they don't go to school), and after a few days or a week or something, the child is right back in the street.

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Response to secondwind (Reply #10)

Fri Apr 13, 2012, 06:30 AM

12. You know who else is still in New York though? The Jews!!!!

Do you know what THEY do?! Oh, it's awful, THEY teach their children this and that and they'll do X, Y, and Z to you all fucking day long.

Do you read German? If not, I think you should learn, because I bet you'd fucking love the race-baiting cover-story of said Swiss magazine.

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Response to harmonicon (Reply #12)

Fri Apr 13, 2012, 07:29 AM

14. self delete

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Response to Snake Alchemist (Reply #24)

Fri Apr 13, 2012, 11:05 AM

28. No, and I got that from all of three sentences.

It's a private company, but they're contracted to run a public bus-line, so they have to do what the government tells them.

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Response to harmonicon (Reply #28)

Fri Apr 13, 2012, 06:41 PM

33. I was speaking of the naming of Jews as the culprits. nt

 

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Response to secondwind (Reply #10)

Fri Apr 13, 2012, 08:57 AM

18. My personal experience is the same.

 

I also spent time in Italy. It's a unique situation. Those that don't know cry racism, but the facts themselves must be racist then.

Does it help if we point out that it's cultural and not genetic? They are a group of people that, for a large part, live a life devoted to stealing and bring their children up in that culture. To deny this is to deny fact.

I see parallels in the religious practices of some peoples. At what point is it ok to say, "no, we understand this may be part of your culture, but the subjugation of women or the ritual slaughter of animals is not acceptable in our culture"? Or, in the case of the Roma, at what point can one say that keeping your children out of school and raising them to be thiefs is not ok?


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Response to secondwind (Reply #10)

Fri Apr 13, 2012, 09:16 AM

19. But saying that makes you a racist, apparently.



The sympathy for Roma thieves reminds me of people apologizing for the atrocities of 3rd World dictators who spout "WESTERN IMPERIALISM!!!11!!!1!".

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Response to Odin2005 (Reply #19)

Fri Apr 13, 2012, 10:54 AM

26. Taking your bad experience with a couple of people from an ethnic group and deciding that is ...


... a cultural value for the ethnic group is ______________. (fill in the blank)

Since you clearly believe it is not the very fucking definition of racist, I would sure like to know what you would call it.


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Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Fri Apr 13, 2012, 08:00 AM

15. It's a right-wing populist magazine so Roma-bashing shouldn't be a surprise

An Urbane Publisher Becomes the Populist Voice of Switzerland

Swiss editor and publisher Roger Köppel is loud, shrill and provocative -- traits not usually associated with his countrymen. The right-wing positions he takes do not appeal to a majority of people in Switzerland, and yet he is viewed abroad as the new, authentic voice of the Swiss.

The countryside is the home of the Swiss People's Party, or SVP, which has spent the last 20 years using its opposition to Europe, immigration and the liberal market economy to become Switzerland's strongest party.

But Köppel, the urban journalist, has dedicated himself to both this popular party and its leader, Christoph Blocher -- a contradiction that has earned him a reputation beyond Switzerland's borders. Three and a half years ago he bought Switzerland's Weltwoche, a liberal, left-leaning weekly newspaper, smart, stolid and politically correct, and turned it into a conservative, right-wing opinion magazine.

Köppel is loud, shrill and provocative, which makes him utterly atypical among the Swiss. He polemicizes against abuse of the social welfare system, immigrant crime, feminism and Europe.

http://www.spiegel.de/international/europe/0,1518,684220,00.html

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Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Fri Apr 13, 2012, 10:41 AM

25. I have spent a good bit of time around Gypsies and been robbed exactly ...

... zero times by them.

I would sure like all of you extrapolating from your (in most cases "one") experience with a group of people from a specific ethnic group to mean that this is the norm for that ethnic group to explain how this is different from a person who decides that criminal activity is the norm for Blacks because some Blacks are criminals.

My best friend used to work security where the Gypsies would bring their ill aristocrats. His experience was that they really did not like rules and were always getting into forbidden places. But nothing was ever stolen. And his job was to be on the watch for that very thing.

On edit: he knew a Gypsy family growing up that prostituted their daughter. Based on our typical cultural value that such a thing is truly evil, this means his first, and for a long time only, experience with a Gypsy family was bad. Yet, he is still capable of seeing that "bad" is not the norm for the larger ethnic group. My fellow DUers have sometimes disappointed me by stupidity (a rightwing rant against a Republican spent 24 hours on the front page this week for cripes sake), but never so much as I have been by this thread.

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Response to ieoeja (Reply #25)

Fri Apr 13, 2012, 10:54 AM

27. you're correct and mea culpa

though my experience was not just one time. And I do not
extrapolate in the sense you describe above. I mentioned above
in another post that I generally feel safer among minorities
than among white people, and I am white.

Mostly I recognize that carelessness in communication can lead
to huge misunderstandings.

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Response to ieoeja (Reply #25)

Fri Apr 13, 2012, 12:32 PM

29. right-wing rag posts racist fear mongering cover

and the response in this thread leaves something to be desired.

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