Thursday, June 18, 2015


We all have one thing in common. We value family, we love children. We treasure and cherish and look after our own, enchanted by lovely kids of others' we see every day - from blue eyed and blonde haired to brown eyed caramel skinned little rascals. We adore them because of their innocence, as yet undamaged by the society we live in.

However in Spain, Italy and Romania - it is a different story. One morning you go out to use the ATM to withdraw some cash and get approached swiftly by a cute child or a teenager, sometimes as young as 8 years old and all of a sudden you notice once your cash pulls out it gets professionally stolen by him or her. Not so cute.

These are gypsy children. Thieves. Often having to be exploited by their own families to go out and 'make a living' by stealing and hustling. The reality is bleak for these families as they live a few hours away from the main city in rat-infested mobile home parks.

I randomly came across a heart wrenching documentary entitled 'Gypsy Child (Thieves)' by Liviu Tipurita made in 2009.

Somehow this film got a lot of criticism from Anti-Gypsyism organisations, stating it was a 'strong piece of journalism about a very difficult subject', yet denied by BBC who went ahead with broadcasting globally. In particular, the blame was put on the consistent use of the word 'gypsy' throughout the film shot in Spain about young children stealing and subsequently released as minors and families of those in question not touched by authorities in attempt to stop, what was called by Tipurita as 'exploitation of their own children, living in fear of not making the income they are told to'.

I found the film amazingly done and carefully treaded on negative connotations to Romani people as a race, but simply relaying the facts. One moment in the film is so powerful - a shot of a man using an ATM physically fighting off persuasive kids attacking and distracting him, whilst trying to access his money. Compassion and anger fly, because in truth - these are only children. It is a helpless situation but it's an informative look at today's world we live in.

Children are the future. Is this the future? If these kids were blonde and blue eyed, would the audience seeing the film think differently? 

Romani mother holding her child

Hippie family labeled as gypsies by society

A mini Om Shanti moment at a hippie festival 

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