Roma Teen Brutalized and Left for Dead in Shopping Cart by French Youth

A 17-year-old Roma boy was horrifically beaten outside of Paris last week after being abducted by a rowdy gang of French youth who claimed he was responsible for a series of thefts in the neighborhood.

When they’d finished with him, they dropped the boy, known by the first name “Gheorghe,” in an abandoned shopping cart, leaving him for dead or close to it — he’s remained in a coma since, and the outcome in his case isn’t certain. Should he survive, he could be facing lifelong disability, including brain injuries as a result of repeated blows to the head.

The incident, and photographs of the young man lying in a shopping cart like so much garbage, has shocked France, but it may just be the inevitable outcome of the rise of xenophobia and right-wing extremism that’s sweeping across Europe. France in particular has played a significant role in European political shifts. The far right National Front has performed well in French elections and while the nation’s President, Francois Hollande, has issued a statement condemning the attack, critics argue that his administration has been involved in the stigmatization and marginalization of the French Roma community.

Originally called “Gypsies” because they were mistaken for Egyptians when they began migrating to Europe in the Middle Ages, the Roma have been part of European society for a very long time. They’ve also lived on the fringe of European society and culture, marginalized because of their traditions, cultural practices, dark skin and other traits that set them apart from much of Western Europe. Throughout their time in Europe, the Roma have been hounded from place to place, with European communities breaking up their camps and forcibly removing them, accusing them of being criminals who endanger the communities they visit.

In France as in many other European nations, Roma communities have popped up on the fringes of cities or in abandoned areas. Families shelter together in structures cobbled together from available materials and attempt to make a living for themselves until their camps are broken up by riot police. Police often destroy belongings along with the camps, sending communities out on their own with nothing, and while cities are supposed to help the Roma resettle into public housing, most do not.

Gheorghe and his family come from Romania, and may be forced to return there. The French government has been involved in the deportation of thousands of Roma back to their countries of origin, despite the fact that Eastern European nations aren’t equipped to handle sudden influxes of deportees — in France, officials claim that Roma “can’t integrate” and their lack of ability to assimilate makes them poor candidates for citizenship. The family may also voluntarily move; currently, media report that they are in hiding, concerned they may become targets as well.

For Gheorghe and so many other Roma teens, life offers few opportunities. Access to schools, employment and social benefits are limited for children who are forced to move frequently and who are viewed as suspect and criminal by the society around them. The situation for the Roma in Europe is dire, and a solution requires a fundamental rethinking of how this marginalized community is approached — starting with recognizing them as marginalized and treating them as a group in need of protection. Too late for Gheorge, but perhaps not for other vulnerable Roma youth.

As it stands, no arrests have been made in this terrible case.


Rolf Steinhauser
.3 years ago

Sorry, The Article is Misleading.
What many news sources are failing to mention is that the teen was attacked by a Gang of muslim Arab and North-African immigrants.
The right wing had nothing to do with this attack.

It is the same "French Youth" that has shot four Jews at the Brussels Jewish Museum in May 2014.
And the same "French Youth" robbed a young jewish Couple in their appartement in Paris and Gang-Raped the Girl in December 2014.
This is just the introduction of ISLAMIST SHARIA-LAW in France!

Debbie Crowe
Debbie Crowe3 years ago

This should never have happened. I hope they find this "rowdy group" of brats and throw them in jail.

Belinda Scott
Belinda Scott3 years ago

The youths who did this awful thing need to be found and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. If they thought he had committed a crime they should have gone to the police, not try to beat him to death.

Judith Mitchell
Judith Mitchell3 years ago

{continiation of above comment] were better, and would want to integrate into the greater society and be damned grateful for the opportunity. Even though as integrated US "citizens" they'd warrant the same "well-integrated" treatment and have the same status as freed African-American slaves.

The difference being, of course, that the Roma are sort of immigrants to France -- though they've been there for centuries -- and the Americans were recent immigrants to Indian Territories. To me that makes little difference; both Roma and indigenous cultures -- world-wide -- have consistently had incredibly negative stereotypes based on magnified hearsay and convenience to the majority. My point is that murder is murder, and to justify a brutal murder on grounds that the group this one, particular, individual, young victim belongs to a minority culture also has a rotten reputation (earned or not), is simply shocking and sociopathic -- and smacks of the Nazi's treatment of them and other "undesirables" who were not Aryan. Hundreds of thousands of European Roma died in Bergen-Belsen, Auschwitz, etc. There is a very dangerous slippery slope here.

I wonder whether any of the more virulent posters have ever read books on the Roma and their ways? There are quite a few of them, non-fiction and academic as well as fiction, and they're fascinating and reading one or two might change some perspectives and misconceptions about a tragically misunderstood, and universally reviled popula

Judith Mitchell
Judith Mitchell3 years ago

So... let me get this straight. It's OK for one group of marginalized immigrants who are "different" to slaughter another group of ditto? Or is it not OK? Or is it OK just as long as the victim (in this case) isn't a French-born and bred Caucasian who doesn't rape other French-born Caucasians (um.. as a general rule)? Let's sit back and let two unruly and largely uneducated, isolated, groups kill each other off....?

Hmmmm. That's what it appears I'm reading here in some of these comments. This is payback for the creepy bad Roma because of their non-assimilation into their host countries, right? How would you react to the scenario of the Roma occasionally dealing out some payback for the atrocious ways in which their host countries almost without exception, have treated them for centuries? The "Gypsies" who were never allowed to send their children to school, were not allowed to stay in any one place but were savagely kicked out, who were not allowed to work, and who have been ubiquitously vilified? Sort of reminiscent of the Cherokee trail of tears in a way, isn't it?

While I'm sort of on topic, what do you think about Tecumseh, Sitting Bull, et al, murdering "innocent" Good Christian [white] people back in the days of the Wild West? Back then most of us thought if we bullied them enough, raped and butchered their women and children and wiped out the men -- so that even though we held them in contempt as "less-than-human," they'd eventually realize that "we"

Timea Klum
Timea Klum3 years ago

Eve: please stop blaming the countries that let immigrants in: no matter what they do, the immigrants just DON'T WANT TO INTEGRATE into the westerns society. Like a commenter said earlier, a religion that looks at women as objects, and thinks it's okay to kill someone just because they are not muslims, will NEVER accept the values set by western culture. And this goes double for Romas. They are okay with living in the world created by their devious nature, all the while living un state funds, which WE, the tax-payers have to support, even unwillingly. Furthermore, they break into our houses, pickpocket us on the street, or worse, beat the crap out of us and take our stuff. But it's fine, we should tolerate this because we don't want to be called nazis. Perfect, solution found (not).

Eve a.
Eve A3 years ago

that poor child. What a mess. France is known for allowing immigrants in the country but not creating a supportive integration and assimilation process. How can they expect this kind of thing not to happen. They need to find the perps and punish them as well as start programs ASAP to create a more integrated society or there will way more of this to come. :(

Marianne B.
Marianne B3 years ago

so sad and disturbing to read when anyone takes justice into their own hands...warranted or not

Estelita atti3 years ago


Elizabeth F.
Elizabeth F3 years ago