October 19, 2013

Gypsy culture

From yesterday's Los Angeles Times:
Greek police find mystery child during raid on Roma camp
by Carol J. Williams 
Greek police announced Friday that they were seeking the biological parents of a blond, blue-eyed girl about 4 years old who was found during a raid two days earlier on a Roma camp in central Greece, news media reported from Athens. 
The child, who was called Maria, was spotted by a female prosecutor who accompanied police on the raid and became suspicious of the girl's origins because she looked nothing like the couple who initially claimed to be her parents, the ekathimerini news site reported. 
DNA testing of the child and the couple caring for her showed they weren't related, the news website said. 
A 40-year-old woman and a 39-year-old man have been arrested on suspicion of child abduction, and authorities were looking into the possibility that the suspects were involved in child smuggling. The couple had registration documents for 14 children but only four were found at the camp, ekathimerini said. 
At least some of the documents appeared to be falsified because they indicated the woman arrested had given birth six times within 10 months. 
Police chief Vassilis Halatsis of Thessalia Province, the jurisdiction where the camp was raided Wednesday in the central town of Farsala, told the BBC that the couple gave conflicting accounts of how they came to have the child in their custody. The couple said she was handed to them by strangers, that she was found under a blanket, and that she had a foreign father, accounting for her Northern European appearance. 
Marietta Palavra, a lawyer for the detained Roma couple, was quoted by the Associated Press in Athens as saying the girl was taken as an act of kindness through an intermediary when she was just a few days old. 
Palavra observed that Roma and other Greeks have been known to make multiple registrations of their children to get more welfare benefits. 
"Just because [the suspect] had forged documents, it doesn't make her a kidnapper,” Palavra told the AP. “The couple loved the girl as if she were their own." 

The best known victim was economist Adam Smith. His first full-scale biographer, John Rae, wrote in 1895:
"In his fourth year, while on a visit to his grandfather's house at Strathendry on the banks of the Leven, [Smith] was stolen by a passing band of gypsies, and for a time could not be found. But presently a gentleman arrived who had met a gypsy woman a few miles down the road carrying a child that was crying piteously. Scouts were immediately dispatched in the direction indicated, and they came upon the woman in Leslie wood. As soon as she saw them she threw her burden down and escaped, and the child was brought back to his mother. [Smith] would have made, I fear, a poor gypsy."

Child abduction is certainly no longer common among Gypsies, but the economic logic was explained in Oscar-winning Slumdog Millionaire: mutilated children make better beggars because they excite more pity among passerbys, but do you really want to mutilate your own child?


d...... said...

This little girl couldn't possibly be Madeleine McCann, she's too young, but the first thing I thought when I read this story is that Madeleine might have been abducted by gypsies.

Not such a crazy thought after all.

I wonder why they do this. They aren't trying to sell them back.

Anonymous said...


d..... said...

Oh dear, looks like I'm not the only one who thought of Madeleine.


I sincerely hope that Madeleine is alive, but I shudder to think what her mental state is now.

Oldie said...

I grew up in England in the 50s and my mother always told me not to go near the Gypsy camp because they stole children.

When I was older I used to think she was just being prejudiced or over-protective. Now I think maybe she was right.

On the other hand, why would they have wanted to steal kids? There were no beggars in England in those days.

d.... said...

How stupid of me, they traffic in children because blonde kids make more affecting beggars.

Apparently the place where they
found this little girl was investigated in connection with another abduction, but not thoroughly:


How spooky. If the female police officer hadn't been rayciss (noticed things), none of this would have been uncovered. It may be the tip of a big iceberg.

candid_observer said...

There are many possible worlds I would give my right arm, and the right arms of all my loved ones, to visit.

Among them would be the world in which Adam Smith was raised as a gypsy.

What, I wonder, would have become of him?

RWF said...

There was a blonde British boy who vanished in Greece about 20 years ago, and one of the theories was that gypsies had abducted him.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Why would child smugglers want a blonde, blue eyed, white girl?

The question answers itself.

d..... said...

RWF, that was Ben Needham, and there may be a link to this case.


The Daily Mail has lots of photos of the dump where they found Maria. There are other pics of her as well; she is really beautiful.

This is such a horrible story. These people are total scum.

Anonymous said...

I have it on good authority from, uh, scientist fellers, I'm sure, that races don't exist. So how come this story was on the top of the BBC's "most popular" list for most of the day? Maybe those 'scientist fellers' were just funning with us, hum...?

Whiskey said...

Well this will put those Golden Dawn guys in their place. Vibrancy squared.

nick said...

The kid looks albanian to me.

Anonymous said...

Did you know that the English word 'kidnapping' was originally 'kid nabbing'? ie 'nabbing' or stealing a kid (child) for nefarious puposes.

Yes, in folklore Gypsies had a long reputation for stealing children. Back in the '70s a lot of PC types tried to say it was just a lot of nasty, evil lies and old wives' tales, but, unfortuantely it is true. Just like widescale cannibalism in Africa was true and not the fantasies of nasty-minded colonialists, (another lie the PC brigade tried to foist on us).

Another thought, I'm pretty sure if a saliva sample from 'Maria' is sent over to 23andme, then close realtives will be traced - it's just one of those strange things about the Universe. No matter how distinct you might think you are, long lost close relatives lurk at 23andme.

Yet another thought. Little Ben Needham, a 5 year old British tourist Greece, apparently vanished off the face of the Earth in 1990. He was a little blond boy, just like 'Maria'. At the time, Greek police said he was most likelt abducted by Gypsies. They said that blond children were highly prized as potential 'breeding stock'. The idea is for the Gypsies to breed with blonds so they better pass for Europeans.

Anonymous said...

"I grew up in England in the 50s and my mother always told me not to go near the Gypsy camp because they stole children."

I grew up in the southern US during the same time period and the old folks in the family gave us the same warning. Sounds like it's still good advice.

Anonymous said...

Albanian? She looks Scandinavian to me. Look at those cheekbones!

Joan of Argghh! said...

It's quite common in nearby Mexico for people to lame their child in order to make more money begging.

two toned plaits said...

"Why would child smugglers want a blonde, blue eyed, white girl?

The question answers itself."

Funny, somebody said her hair was not really blonde because the bottom of her braids were brown. uh--you look at roots to determine natural color, generally. Hair sometimes lightens as it grows and it exposed to sun, but in the case of this child, her hair is clearly growing out blonde as can be, without being an albino. The brown color on the bottom of her plaits may be because her abductors dyed the child's hair brown so she wouldn't be noticed. Then, as time went on, they just let the hair grow out in its natural color.

Mr. Anon said...

Gosh, one almost might get the idea that Golden Dawn has a point.

Gardener said...

My childhood was in rural England in the 1980s, in relatively close proximity to a community that were called gypsies but were in reality travellers, i.e. Indigent Irish/English. My parents were far too nice ever to inculcate us with any anti-gypsy/traveller sentiment, yet still, out of somewhere the meme of gypsies = child-stealers emerged. Perhaps it does so naturally among children who wish to impute the scariest evil imaginable to an 'other' community.

As it happens, there doesn't seem to be much actual theft of children by Irish travellers. Their specialisation, as revealed in numerous recent cases, is kidnapping/ indenturing vulnerable/broke/retarded (preferably a combination of all three) adults and setting them to work as virtual slaves on their various illegal schemes.

Roma-rich Romania and Bulgaria are due to gain full EU membership early nexr year, giving the Roma unfettered access to target-rich western Europe. The story of 'Maria' may have come at an opportune time.

Anonymous said...

"mutilated children make better beggars because they excite more pity among passerbys, but do you really want to mutilate your own child"

They steal (or mostly buy) very cute ones. Very cute little kids make a lot of money begging then when they're older and less cute (in the kiddy sense) they are sold on as prostitutes.