The ongoing story about gypsies in Oslo below reminded me of an old Mother Goose nursery rhyme:
Hark! Hark! The dogs do bark,
The beggars are coming to town;
Some in rags, some in tags,
And some in velvet gown.
In the Norwegian version, however, the beggars are coming to town in a luxury Mercedes.
Our Norwegian correspondent The Observer has composed a report about the Roma conflict in Oslo based on an abbreviated translation of two articles from Aftenposten.
The Observer includes this note:
This event has completely dominated media coverage in Norway lately, and I doubt we’ll see a resolution to the problem in the foreseeable future. I believe that this is going to become a protracted and very embarrassing political headache for the government of Norway.
One witty individual made a remark about how good Norwegians are at resolving conflicts abroad, but how inadequate they are at solving even the tiniest of problems on the home front. How right he was.
It is going to be very interesting to see how this plays out. It is also going to be very interesting to see how ordinary Norwegians react when it finally dawns upon them that there are many other groups just like the Roma in Norway, and that they are just as conniving and scheming as the Roma.
And some of them constitute a far greater threat to our way of life and our freedom.
The first article:
Police fear an escalation of Roma conflict
In the last couple of days members of the Roma people and their Norwegian supporters have had to contend with violence and death threats. Police now fear new attacks against the Roma camp in the Årvoll neighbourhood in Oslo.
“We are going to keep a police presence around the camp on Sunday and Monday night and we are constantly monitoring the situation,” says Vidar Pedersen, the leader of operations for the Oslo police.
Four men were arrested early Sunday morning after having set off and directed fireworks at the people inside the Roma camp, which is situated on a private industrial building site in Årvoll. One of the suspects faces additional criminal charges after attempting to run over a police officer with his vehicle.
The four will be questioned by the police on Sunday.
On Sunday afternoon two individuals tried to physically attack Bjønnulv Evenrud and Nikolai Stoika from the organization ‘folk er folk’ [People are People], the group that is responsible for assisting the Roma people in Oslo.
“The two men were about to attack us. They sprinted after us and nearly caught up with us,” says Evenrud to NTB.
“A police patrol intervened and managed to avert the attack,” confirms leader of operations of the Oslo police, Vidar Pedersen.
Evenrud describes the atmosphere inside the camp on Sunday night as calm, and he doesn’t fear any new incidents. He is confident that the police will be able to handle the situation.
“They managed to do so in Sofienberg, and it seems that they will be able to do so here too,” he says.
The second article:
PR expert lambast ‘folk er folk’
“I think the sympathy of ordinary people for the Roma will diminish as a result of this. The intentions are obviously good, but the consequences are quite the opposite,” says PR expert Hans Geelmuyden to Aftenposten.no.
The Roma conflict has dominated the media in Norway for the last week. It all started when 200 members from the Roma people set up camp outside Sofienberg church in Oslo. The police, city council and eventually the church wanted the camp shut down, and last Friday it was relocated to a disputed industrial plot in Årvoll.
Hateful messages against Roma have flourished on various social media sites and both members of the Roma people and Evenrud have been physically assaulted. Evenrud has also received death threats.
The camp has also angered politicians. In an interview with NrK [Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation] on Sunday evening, leader of the Progress Party, Siv Jensen blasted the government and told them to organize buses and send the Roma out of the country
Geelmuyden also points out that ‘folk er folk’ is in the process of employing members from the Roma people to sell their street magazine. VG has previously reported that this will secure them access to Norwegian welfare benefits, but the Norwegian Labour Department has since dismissed this claim.
“I think people are furious when ‘folk er folk’ pretends to employ street vendors in order to circumvent the system and encourage people to abuse the Norwegian welfare system. We cannot accept that and it completely ignores the solidarity principle upon which this system is based,” says Geelmuyden.
PR expert Jarle Aabø from the Public relations firm Aabø & Co, believes that ‘folk er folk’ is doing the Roma people a great disservice.
“They have shown no consideration for the concerns of the neighbours and local politicians. This may have started out as a good public relations idea, but the situation has now become unmanageable. They have now lost control of the situation. Someone has done the Roma people a great disservice,” he says, and elaborates:
“The debate about the Roma people has really flared up in Norway in recent days. I had never in my wildest dreams imagined that I would read about Norwegians setting off and aiming fireworks against members of minority group. It is completely absurd. This did not happen last year or the year before that. The way this case has been handled has resulted in a terrible situation.”
Some people have made the Roma people in Norway very visible by putting them in the media spotlight. This has generated a lot of emotions among people in Norway and we now have a debate on social media websites that most of us should be ashamed of, he says.
The Observer adds this afterword:
For those who are interested and understand Norwegian, there’s a clip on the bottom of this page showing the inside of the new camp. Notice that these poor gypsies that have to beg for a living are driving around in nice Mercedes vans.
There is also a lot more room inside a van than there is in a sedan, which means that there is much more room for the loot. Another thing worth keeping in mind is that a lot of stolen cars from western Europe end up in eastern European countries…
There’s also an English-language story about the Roma in News and Views from Norway.