Plight of the Gypsies

Home is where they have to take you in. But for the Roma refugees who've come to St. Louis, there's no such place.

Hotic has decided that much of the old prejudice was rooted in the gypsies' homelessness. "If I meet you and say, 'I am Amir, I lost my country, I have no money,' you will not take me seriously, because I have no identity," he says. "Why have gypsies been so hated? I won't accuse them for being what they are; I will first accuse us. Had we done something different, they would have had a different life in our country.

"In any person in the world," he continues, "if we push them down and humiliate them, we are going to awake the revolt in that person, pull the evil out of that person until they say, 'Yes, I am worse than you even think I am.'"

Now even the gadje are re-evaluating their attitudes. "This people is not so bad," relents Senada Delic. "Some are very good people. Some beg or steal, but here, they cannot do that -- they must work. In America, they are changing their life."

For more information, see sidebar, Devoured By Hate.

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