Is Romania exporting social problems ?

Tigani din Romania la spalat de masini
Tigani din Romania la spalat de masini
London at this time of the year, looks both very grey and dull. Driving on A406 , all you can do, beside observing the speed limit from time to time, is to listen to the radio.

The credit crunch is everywhere, like an invisible disease affecting everyone.

As a Transylvanian emigrant in London, I am very much concerned too. The company that I work for, asked all the employees to reduce spending if possible, and that includes petrol.

As expected, the traffic grinds to a halt, next to a petrol station. My meeting is in 45 minutes and I am about 20 minutes away from my destination. At precisely 14: 15, something extraordinary and socially explicit has happened, right before my very own eyes.

On the other side of the traffic light, a group of girls, dressed up like gypsies, appeared from nowhere, all of them equipped with something that looked like a sponge and a plastic water bottle.

With a very quick scan, probably moulded by experience, they started to take over the drivers and their cars – whom had the miss fortune to be stopped by the red lights.

You don’t have to take my word for it. As it happens, I had a photo camera with me. You may wonder, why would I take pictures of some girls dressed up in long skirts, in the middle of the traffic light, and rightly do so.

One of them, draw a heart on the windscreen of a German made car, using car wash shampoo. The driver of the car, did not look very happy , as he was gesturing like a football fan, injected with petrol and saying that was not a penalty.

That’s when I decided that is worth pulling over and take my camera out. Also, the fact that I believed the girls to be gypsies from Romania, made everything more interesting.

I get out of the car and then back in. I forgot to take my camera with me in the excitement. I want to see the way British people react and write about it, later on.

This is the moment when I took the first picture and also the moment before the girls noticed me taking pictures of them.

They do the same in Romania, except that they can behave more aggressively. If the driver of the car is not going into an emotional melt down when he/she sees a heart drawn by a stranger on his/her windscreen, they would look at you with a gaze that says: ‘Just give me the spare change and you might still have your rear mirror before the traffic light turns green.’

Few seconds later, one girl points out at me. They all turn towards me and start shouting abusive insults, while using the middle finger to make their message more explicit.

I take one more picture, and before I decide that is better to back off, the girls start to panic. My first thought was that I have either intimidated them, or some people still think that having your photo taken will take your soul too.

They start running with an amazing sprint. I am happy that the light is red, and the girls get safely off the road. I am happy and puzzled to what I did that caused such strong reaction from them.

Poverty breeds ignorance indeed, especially if mixed with tradition and a lack of education. As a child, my mother used to threaten me that she will give me away to the gypsies if I misbehave again. The bad reputation that burdens the gypsies is deep seeded into Romanian culture, and the statistics do not help to argue against it. My understanding is that there is even a proposed petition to the parliament, asking for the word Roma to be banned – deleted from describing a member of an ethnic group.

The Romanians added an extra r to the official way to describe a gipsy – rroma, as a temporary solution, but the late exodus that has taken place with in the European Union, is forcing the government to separate the gypsies from the Romanians, at least in the news, in an attempt to protect the reputation of Romania abroad. The word Roma is easily adopted by the less informed foreigners, as representing Romanians.

Few years ago, back in Transylvania, the Romanian company I was working for at the time, got itself involved in a social deal with the government. It meant that they employed people with a criminal record, recently released from prison and the tax payer pays for it, as part of a rehabilitation program. When the announcement that we are going to have gipsies in our team was made, the common feeling was best described by a remark voiced by a colleague: ‘Great. Keep your stuff with you at all times.’

Being the youngest employee there, I was also the most naive when dealing with my new colleagues. And it paid off. I’ve got fresh coffee every morning and invitations to spend the weekends in a remote gipsy village, together with the option of choosing myself a wife. There was also an offer to improve the shape of my penis, by having small – glass made balls, inserted into my penis. I always said no, even thou I was told that an operation like that is very exquisite and usually costs lots of money. My new friends would do it for free because they like me.

Now, that Obama is the president elect of the USA, every minority in Europe is under the spot light. Except for the gipsies that is. Romania has about 2 million of them and they never asked for the streets to bear the same name in two different languages like the Hungarians did. Let alone, having a gipsy president of Romania.

This is the main reason why I had to stop my car in the middle of a traffic junction considering the fact that I already have two speeding penalties while I was driving to work. I can also tell you the reason why the gipsy girls run off.

Behind me, there was a police man ridding a bike.

Is that you car ?’ he asks
Why do you take pictures?’
Well, I was… here…‘ I say while I am looking at my car parked, half on the road and the rest of it on the pavement. The last thing I need is to have my driving licence taken away, because somebody long time ago, offered me to have a penis enhancement operation. At least I’ve put my hazards light on, and there is no way that my car can cause an accident.

You have to move your car before an accident happens

Of course, I was about to do that‘ I say

Why do you take pictures?’ the police man asks again

I am trying to be calm but all I could come up with was: ‘I want to post them on the internet, something relating to gipsies in UK

‘Are you foreign ?’ he asks

I am Romanian‘ I say – thinking how foreign is that, since me and the gipsy girls whom just outrunned him, might be an overwhelming majority here.

‘Please move your car now’

I am not a wise person, but I do know when is a good time to get back in your car. But then again, somebody who parks a car next to a traffic junction, in order to take pictures of some girls washing wind screens, is bound to live like a gipsy. I point my camera at the police man, take a picture of him and before he changes his mind, I get in my car and drive off into a depressing autumn, while somebody on the radio tells me that the European economy is in recession.

I decide to change the radio station. If the British behave like Romanians do – towards the gipsies, then I shall be so lucky to have white skin and blue eyes. That’s Kylie Minogue on the radio. The gipsies are an European problem, unless you ride horses with your shirt open, towards an open fire, where gipsy girls dance on the rhythm of globalisation.

The next song is Pink Floyd and they are wrong – we all need education. Take any human being and educate him or her, like you do with white people and you might get yourself an Obama who’s ready lead you into a new world where everyone can contribute to the society, and perhaps to a world where people don’t park their cars in the wrong places.

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