France takes heat for Roma solution

By September 17, 2010

France (MNN) — Controversy over France's expulsion of the
Roma overshadowed the itinerary at a European Union summit last week. 

The EU's Justice Commissioner said the action was no
different from deportations that took place during World War II.  

Lee DeYoung with Words of Hope says, "The sentiment which
motivates the recent expulsion, the recent actions taken against Roma people
inside France, is not new. On the other
hand, it does seem surprising that this would happen in Europe, since many of
the Roma people would be moving from one Euro Zone country to another."

France is now facing possible legal action over its
controversial drive to deport ethnic Roma back to Romania and Bulgaria.

A report indicated that nearly 60 percent of French surveyed
were in favor of ousting the Roma. In
July, French president Nicolas Sarkozy launched the forced closure of 300
illegal migrant camps.  

Since then, France kicked out nearly 8,000 Roma to Bulgaria and
Romania. But DeYoung says there's nowhere for them to go.
"They're one of the largest people groups that don't have their own homeland
and are seen as outsiders in the midst of majority populations around the

DeYoung believes the resentment can be traced back to
population. France's birthrate has been
steadily declining, while that of the Roma has been on a steady rise. This issue boils down to identity. "Those who are in the countries–in the ethnic
groups–where the birthrate is low, living side by side with people where the
birthrate is high, there is the fear that they will eventually be minorities in
their own country."

However, Words of Hope has a heart for these people, with
years of outreach through broadcasting in Eastern Europe in the Balkan Romani
language. "It's programming that tries
to create that sense of common identity, of empathizing with people, even
though they may be different. That's one
of the things that we're trying to do as we broadcast the Gospel."

As Words of Hope has built an audience, they've also seen people come
to Christ and plant churches. As the EU grapples with the issues raised by
the French/Roma debacle, the Gospel's simplicity reveals a solution. "It's a
goal to try to bring about the sense of not being all the same, but yet
celebrating that common bond that unites us through Jesus Christ."

Keep praying that more hearts will respond. 


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