gypsies, roma, kosovo

The Missing Baby

Rom children in  Foggia, fleeing from the humanitarian bombs

One evening, Reska and Lulzim are driving back to the camp. They turn the corner and suddenly see the blue lights of the police. An enormous spotlight is pointing at the camp. A policeman stops the machine and makes them open the luggage compartment. 

Reska asks "what is happening?" The policeman answers laughing: "nothing, a baby has disappeared."  

Calcinato is a foggy industrial town near Brescia (where Bajram often works). An Italian lady calls the police, saying she had left her three-year-old child for a few minutes in the car, "in his baby chair tied to the back seat." When she came back, she said, the child was no longer there. That, in full, was the news: no evidence of any kind pointed anywhere. 

Here is what Corriere della Sera, one of Italy's main dailies, on December 18th, 1999, had to say: 

"Whoever took the child away also ransacked the drawer on the dashboard. Gypsies? []. Last September, a grandmother from Toscolano Maderno had surprised a nomad holding her twenty-month old grandchild in her arms, just picked up from the garden of their home. 'I screamed at the top of my breath, and that woman let go', says Bruna Amolini. Far sadder is the story of Fabio Chele, kidnapped in 1962 on the threshold of his house at Vobano, also near  Brescia. Fabio was only one at the time, and was found thirteen months later in Sardinia, in a Gypsy camp."
The piece was signed by Nunzia Vallini, a name well worth remembering.  

Nunzia Vallini

The supposed theft in the dashboard becomes evidence against the "Gypsies": after all, they are supposed to be thieves by nature. There are two other decisive bits of evidence, so decisive that Ms Vallini does not even consider any alternative hypothesis. The first is that a Rom woman is supposed to have picked up a Rom child some time in the past, or rather to have "picked" the child up from a garden. Now, if a woman sees  a child lost in the street, a child which may have slipped out of a garden, it is not really strange to imagine that she might pick the child up and start looking for the mother. But Rom women are not Rom, if they pick a child up, it is to snatch them, as if they did not have enough children of their own.  

It is a fact that the non-Rom have always kidnapped Rom children. The town government of Turin (a centre-left coalition) recently persuaded the Minors' Court to "declare adoptable" some Rom children who have both parents; thousands and thousands of Rom children have been "adopted" or put in institutions around Europe against their will and that of their parents. As a child, Reska herself was just saved in time by her father from being abducted by a gang of social workers in Gorizia.  

In any case, after the grandmother from Toscolano Maderno who saved her granddaughter from the risk of being cradled against a dark Rom breast, Ms Vallini provides final proof. 37 years ago, a child seems to have been seized by "the Gypsies." Now, I know nothing of this case. However the same page of Corriere della Sera tells us that 2,412 children were carried off in Italy in 1997 alone. These statistics seem wildly exaggerated, but even if we make an average of just 1,000 a year, this means that "Gypsies" are guilty of one abduction every 37,000 (equal to 0.003%; of course  this means that 99.997% of kidnappings were carried out by non-"Gypsies"). 
Luckily, the police were more reasonable than Nunzia Vallini. On December 19th, Corriere della Sera had a slightly different title from the day before: "I killed my child, He was sick: Brescia, shocking confession by little Giorgio's mother."  

Corriere della Sera, so quick in launching criminal accusations against "the Gypsies", treats the killer mother in a much more human fashion. "I did it out of love - the woman says. I couldn't live with the idea of him growing up differently from others". The mother also asks, "what will they think of me?" One wonders what readers of Nunzia Vallini's article will think of the Roma. In any case, the newspaper did not offer one word of apology for what they had published the day before. By the way, it was not the first time the mother had done something strange - a few months before, little Giorgio had been thrown into a canal, and had been saved by an Albanian.  


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