Gypsie Pick Pockets

Feb 5th, 2002, 07:08 AM
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Sheila, I agree that thieves is not a biological behaviour, but in the case of the gypsies it is a cultural characteristic that is transmitted from elder generations to the new ones. It is easy to understand this if you think about their past: Like the jewish their comunity spread out all over Europe after they were (supposly) forced to leave their original land. Unlike the jewish comunities they never integrated into the western economical system.
The reasons: Jewish people are a mediterranean population who had great skills in economical trades and had already established for business reasons in ancient times numerous communities in the major mediterrenean cities before the Diaspora. When they were forced to leave Israel they reached those already economically integrated comunities (the one in Rome is considered the oldest one in the world, they were there even before the romans had conquered Palestina).
The gypsies were comming from a total different culture and economical system, they had no former comunities to help them, and being foreigners with dark skin (they are originally from India) they never met solidarity in 16th century very homogeneous Europe, but rather racism. Their skills in pickpocketting came from the necessity of feeding their children.
Feb 5th, 2002, 07:16 AM
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Seems like I heard some story about the Gypsies being given leeway in Italy because of some connection to the crucifixion of Jesus and they were the ones that gave him water or some such so the Catholic Church now sort of say to the Italians leave them alone let them steal a bit if they want.....did I dream this or did I read this somewhere? Input appreciated.
Feb 5th, 2002, 07:36 AM
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Their other talent is music which became also a kind of business, that is why they camme to adopt the local music wherever they were, at the time when Hi-Fi didn't exist, when your community or family would have a party, to get the best music you would call the gypsies. Since often, those feasts where religious ones (like Christmas), they also adopted local religions by necessity.
Here is how it often works for the gypsies: You're into pickpocketting when you are a child till you're an adult, then you become a musician, and if you don't have talent for music (which is extrmely rare, since they learn how to play an instrument before walking!) you become a magician and you read the future into people hands. You can also beg, which is often the option for grandmas with very young gransons.
Sheila, I think you are a bit to afraid of labels (political correctness is very much an anglosaxon issue). The gypsies really don't care how you call them (gitanos, zingari, bohemians, Rom), they don't care what you think of them (they don't have a name for themselves, but we are all of us non gypsies called Gadjos by them), they are not ashame of their way of living, they have different values, and you are not respecting them but paternalising them if you assume that OUR morality should be also THEIRS, therefore stealing doesn't belong to their habit.
I think that our society left the concept of working for living and unfortunatly turned it into a living for working. The value of working reached a pervert level that really makes people less humans and more ants. Pickpocketting is the ungly side of their medal but when you turn it you find that there are a lot of things that we could learn from them
Feb 5th, 2002, 07:47 AM
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Toad you didn't dream this, it is true. Afterall, pickpocketting is their only crime, they don't kill, they don't sell drugs at schools, they don't sell guns, they are not responsables of wars, slavery, genocides or other atrocities.
Michelle, you quoted: I have to tell you that these gypsies can be very dangerous if you attempt to chase them to get your belongings back.
Other than biting you or pulling your hairs I don't thing the little kid you catch stealing your wallet can do. So, be brave and don't let him run away. The best thing if you're on a bus is to scream, you will probably find the solidarity of all the passangers who won't let the kids leave the bus till they give your money back.
Feb 5th, 2002, 07:51 AM
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Well if we all just bang our tambourines and loaf around the streets all day, from whom shall we steal? No one would have any money, because no one works. Then we could all just be nomadic tribespeople again, wandering around and scratching out an existence. Yes, the gypsies can teach us much.
Feb 5th, 2002, 08:10 AM
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Here is a little number I performed about Gypsies, er, Romish:

written by Bob Stone

performed by Cher and others

I was born in the wagon of a traveling show
My momma used to dance for the money they'd throw
Papa would do whatever he could
Preach a little Gospel
Sell a couple bottles of Dr. Good(1)

Gypsies, tramps and thieves
We'd hear it from the people of the town
They'd call us
Gypsies, tramps and thieves
But every night all the men would come around
And lay their money down

Picked up a boy just south of Mobile(2)
Gave him a ride, filled him with a hot meal
I was 16, he was 21
Rode with us to Memphis(3)
And Papa woulda shot 'im if he knew what he'd done


I never had schoolin' but he taught me well
With his smooth, Southern style
Three months later I'm a gal in trouble(4)
And I haven't seen him for a while
I haven't seen him for a while

She was born in the wagon of a traveling show
Her momma used to dance for the money they'd throw
Grandpa would do whatever he could
Preach a little Gospel
Sell a couple bottles of Dr. Good

Repeat Chorus

(1) Traveling shows often sold medicines with imaginative names. Some contained opium or other narcotics or cocaine. It's not surprising that they were quite popular.
(2) a city in Alabama
(3) a city in Tennessee, more than 500 miles (800 kilometers) from Mobile, a long way in a wagon pulled by horses
(4) "in trouble" when describing a young women usually means she's pregnant

Feb 5th, 2002, 03:35 PM
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Feb 5th, 2002, 04:37 PM
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While some are trying to be PC about this subject, I would note that the following can be found on Fodor's web site for Rome:

"A word of caution: "Gypsy" children, who hang around sights popular with tourists throughout Europe, are rife in Rome and are adept pickpockets. One modus operandi is to approach a tourist and proffer a piece of cardboard with writing on it. While the unsuspecting victim attempts to read the message on it, the children's hands are busy under it, trying to make off with purses or valuables. If you see such a group (recognizable by their unkempt appearance), do not even allow them near you - they are quick and know more tricks than you do.
Also be aware of persons, usually young men, who ride by on motorbikes, grab the shoulder strap of your bag or camera, and step on the gas. Wear or carry your bag on the side away from the street edge of the sidewalk, or, better yet, wear a concealed money belt. Don't carry more money than you need, and don't carry your passport unless you need it to exchange money. A useful expression to ward off pesky panhandlers or vendors is "Vai via!" (Go away!)."

Feb 5th, 2002, 10:28 PM
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Two things and then I'm out of here.

I'm not suggesting there are not theieves and pickpockets. I'm just suggetting, as do Fodors with ethir use o apostrophes, that they are not necessarily gypsies.

I have no problem calling gypsies gypsies. But we seemt o be so labelling half the economic migrants of the Balkans
Feb 6th, 2002, 02:33 PM
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Feb 7th, 2002, 03:43 PM
Rosemarie Garman
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I have learned a lot. Special thanks to Marco for his input

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