Tuesday, February 22, 2011
Scotland's big fat gypsy apology
Feb 21 2011 Donna Watson
BY DONNA WATSON
Travellers' hopes boosted on ethnic cleansing scandal
HOPES of an apology for the horrific "ethnic cleansing" of gypsy communities have been revived.
Talks on the scandal broke down. But last night a Scottish government spokesman insisted the matter was still open.
He said: "We remain very willing to discuss this issue and the wrong that was done in the past."
Generations of Scots gypsy children were ripped from their families as part of a move aimed at the "eradication" of their culture.
A campaign, backed by high-profile Scots gypsies including author Jess Smith, was launched to win a formal apology for the scandal.
Smith, 62, said: "Our community has suffered mistreatment and prejudice at the hands of the authorities for centuries.
"But the most shameful of all was them tearing bairns away from their folks because it had been decided that travellers were too uncivilised to look after them. The authorities decided that the travelling life was not suitable for a child and created hideous myths that all gypsies were drunks and layabouts.
"We need an acknowledgment of the worst deeds in order to move forward."
The Channel 4 show My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding has raised interest in travellers' culture.
And gypsies hope that an apology for 500 years of mistreatment might be on the way at last.
In 2008, First Minister Alex Salmond was said to be considering issuing an apology like that given by the Australian authorities to the Aborigines.
The Church of Scotland are also considering apologising to gypsies for centuries of discrimination at the Kirk's hand
I urge readers to visit the DAILY RECORD website to read the comments left. As is often the case, the comments are more telling than the article.
Posted by Morgan at 2:13 PM