Is the Catholic Church Evil?

Roermond Catholic Church in Holland

Roermond Catholic Church, Holland (Picture Source)

Is Catholic Church evil and was the Church responsible for the genocide of millions of Native Americans and Africans in the Americas? This is the topic of debate that emerged after I exchanged some views with a reader who didn’t like my Amazon book review that criticized the work of “New Left” wing authors/academics. You can read the full comments Here.

But anyhow, my contention in the following comment is that holding the Catholic Church responsible for the crimes against humanity during the colonial age, especially in the sixteenth century, that saw the destruction and occupation of the Americas is simplistic and reductive. still, I leave the question open for debate. Maybe some well-informed Catholics out there could tell us something about the Catholic Church’s OFFICIAL position as to how should European colonists treat the native populations? I welcome all well-informed, historically valid comments and contributions. Following is my own comment posted in response:

 

Thanks again for the comments.

I think you’re committing a minor error in how you read and interpret your information, and it warps your conclusions. You’re quoting incidents from the sixteenth century and judging them with modern standards. Moreover, the picture is far more complex than what you take it to be. In the sixteenth century, religion and the Bible in Europe (represented–usually–by the Church in Rome) encompassed everything–politics, law, culture, arts, music, literature and so on. Publicly, everyone was a Christian/Catholic by default whether he or she wanted to be one or not.

All heads of the states had to have Pope’s formal blessings to be in power. In fact the Pope/s, at times, may have acted as substitute Roman emperor. HOWEVER, in reality, he hardly was. The Church of Rome and its Pope had no army, the only tangible proof of real power and authority in that period. Rather, the Church exerted its authority over rulers through a complex mix of moral authority and, shall we say, ecclesiastical diplomacy. There was always a struggle for power going on between the real rulers of respective countries in Europe and Pope whose moral authorization they, theoretically, needed. In fact, most rulers hated the Catholic Church’s interference in their affairs.

For our purposes, we should look at the reign of Henry VIII (1509-1547) in England. The Church so loved Henry VIII’s persecution of religious minorities (and his public affirmations of Catholic doctrine) that he was rewarded with the title the Defender of the Faith in 1521 by Pope Leo X. However, when Henry wanted to divorce Catherine of Aragon so that he could marry Ann Boleyn, the Pope refused to grant the divorce. It was enough for Henry to give Pope the finger and turn England into a “Protestant” country in the 1530s. This proves that despite Church’s official backing of emperors, it had no real authority over any government (or trade for that matter) policies of respective countries. Beginning in 1558, Henry VIII’s daughter Elizabeth I continued her father’s policy of official Protestantism. It incensed the Catholic Church so much that it issued official injunction urging all “Catholics” to assassinate England’s Queen. Even in the sixteenth century the Catholic Church could hardly be said to run the lives of European Christians. It was nice to obey the Church when it suited their own purposes.

By the way, “Protestant” England too enthusiastically exploited and persecuted natives and was actively involved in the hideous slave trade in which millions of Africans died. My point is that these crimes against humanity occurred in the colonial times– Catholic Church or no Catholic Church. The Catholic Church did not have any direct authority over whatever colonial forces (or European traders, fur trappers and fishermen for that matter) did in the lands across the Atlantic.

As for your comments about the “Catholic” Church’s role in the subjugation of Native Americans, you did not mention what Catholic Church’s official position on the subjugation of the Natives was (according to Bartolome De Las Casas’s book). I would be most interested to know about it. Do we have official Vatican documents that ordered or endorsed the subjugation and genocide of Native Americans? Is there such documentary evidence available? My understanding is that the Church’s official position was to evangelize, convert and “save” the Natives, not kill them.

Lastly, let me now take a jump out of the sixteenth century and talk of the present. Hardt and Negri were writing most of their books after the year 2000. In the last 100 years the Church has gone through immense changes and many positive developments have occurred. The Church’s official stance against the capitalist greed and support for the world’s poor is well known. Also, the Liberation theology movement in Latin America, as far as I know, emerged autonomously with the efforts of Latin Americans. The Vatican endorsed it later. That again proves that there is–and never was– a direct central command from the Vatican that decides anything (good or bad) “Catholic” individuals do.

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Some Australian Roadkill

One thing about Brisbane that took me by shock and surprise was how crowded and noisy it could be. Car is the despotic king here (screwed be pedestrians and cyclists) and even on leafy suburban streets the sound of cars rubbering the road is incessant. Sadly, this constant vehicular traffic also means that any wandering little creatures are always at risk of being run over. I noticed this little one, dead by the roadside…..

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Someone had the decency to put the corpse by the roadside. Hopefully he/she died quickly. I wonder if my lousy phone camera shows it, but it got all its jaw knocked out and I believe it also delivered a rapid fatal blow to his/her head.The body was lying there yesterday and I thought all the crows and other birds would pick it clean. But strangely it lay there this morning still untouched. Wonder why? In Christchurch a pack of sea gulls would be at it in an instant and the body would disappear within a space of 3-4 hours.

The dead little animal lies very close to the bus stop I use… so I cannot help but walk past it.  I am not sure what kind of animal it is though. Is it that same “small Kangaroo” that I saw one night near university bus stops? (NOTE ADDED: No, it’s just a possum as confirmed by someone). The small Kangaroo hopped around just like normal big kangaroos I’ve seen on TV. The cute critter delighted the Chinese girls who were waiting for their bus. The little kangaroo could also scale and climb trees with great ease….

Anyhow, I wanted to capture this dead one. To sound a tad melancholic and philosophical, it just goes to show that even when it is in its springtime, life, for animals as well as humans, hangs by a thread, ready to be over in an instant.

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A prosaic day of “PhD research”

Hello folks,

I thought I would create this post as a bit of a reality check for those who might attach only romantic notions to “PhD in Shakespeare studies” and to “new life in Australia” or “Brisbane”. Before I post some pictures as an evidence of the prosaic nature of my day to day life, I must acknowledge that because Shakespeare and historical research (especially in the provocative field of religion, English Reformation and counter Reformation) is my passion, I do consider myself fortunate to be able to do this full time and at the same time be financially supported so that I don’t have to work in order to pay for my cost of living.

Right, so I worked (that is, read and studied) this Saturday, the Sabbath day between Good Friday and Easter Sunday. I worked on a “weekend” because I’ve mostly wasted first 18 days of my PhD by doing nothing but “settling in”.  So, I woke up today (Saturday) at 6am to the alarm on my cellphone. Instead of microwaving something and turn it into “breakfast” , I decided to “cook” something using real heat. I’d seen one of my housemates make fried eggs the other day, and this morning I tried to follow his example. Eventually, by 6:25am I was staring at this platter of fried (in Canola oil) eggs, onions and salt (they’re still cooking in the picture):

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I should mention that it was my first meal in well over MANY YEARS that was cooked with real fire. No kidding. Moreover, I managed to “cook” it without setting the house on fire. Quite some achievement. Also, it was EDIBLE, if I say so myself. And since I was the only person who ate it, my opinion alone counts.

Then, still sleepy and blurry-eyed, I took the bus to university. Having reached my study space sometime after 8am, I shuffled off to the kitchenette, and then I woke myself up with repeated ministrations of strong black tea. It took me, as usual, 2-3 hours to get “started” around noon.

Most of the afternoon at the university I read a wonderful little book published by Oxford university press on Tudor history with all the wonderful “Royal” characters: Henry VIII, Edward VI, Mary Tudor, Elizabeth I. It was only a “brief” overview, but look at all the pink highlights. Apparently, I seemed to think that everything was so very fascinating and important and needs a mention in my PhD thesis (whenever I start to write it)… !

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Yes, I like to write whole sections from a book I’m reading in my own handwriting which may look as chook scratchings but I can read it and that’s all that matters. So many pink insights from a little book. Pretty fancy… huh?

Well, talking of “little books”, my eminent thesis advisor suggests that I should begin this research by reading the Complete Works of William Shakespeare. “That’s all very well,” I told her with a snigger, “but, as of now…. I don’t even own Shakespeare’s complete works with scholarly footnotes etc.” With this convenient admission cum excuse for procrastination, I shrugged my shoulders, completely satisfied with my own reply. However, she turned to her bookshelf and retrieved this huge door-stopper and placed it on the table with an ominous thud….

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“You keep this for good. I don’t need this,” she says. Which means I have no excuse now. Anyhow, just to give you some idea how big this book is, here it is with my plastic lunch box which usually carries about 6 bread rolls (that is, a slice of bread wrapped around things like peanut butter or Vegemite or cheese slices or roast beef slices…). Most days, after I’ve had a big breakfast, these 6 bread rolls (along with a steady supply of black tea) can keep me going in the library or study space for whole day till evening. But look, this Shakespeare book seems to be bigger than my lunch box. It sure is many times heavier….

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But then again, I do LOVE Shakespeare and consider it a privilege to be able to read and re-read his plays as part of my “job”.  In the last 6-7 months I already have read and re-read many of his plays. For those of you who have some familiarity with his works, in the next 2-3 days I plan to read King Lear (probably the only MAJOR Shakespeare play that I have not read in full) and then Winter’s Tale and then Troilus and Cressida (in that order).

I also mean to watch and re-watch BBC adaptations of most of Shakespeare plays. Most of these were “videotaped” in the 70s and 80s. They are low budget affairs without the modern frills of sound or special effects. But that’s the way I like Shakespeare, without embellishments that either add to or take away from the original text. These BBC productions are usually about 3 hours long and are based on the whole text of each play. You can also watch them on Youtube. (Youtube versions also have text appear on screen as subtitles, which is always a bonus). Here are some of my favouritees:

Hamlet

Julius Caesar

The Merchant of Venice

The Taming of the Shrew (John Cleese in the leading role of Petruchio!)….

(I loved Measure for Measure (one of my personal favourite Shakespeare play, by the way) adaptation too… but sadly it’s no longer available on Youtube. However, these BBC adaptations are available as DVDs from most libraries). You’re welcome to watch the above if you have spare time and the inclination.

Update— This is an update on Sunday morning (20th April), the Easter Sunday. It must be mentioned that my life now is intimately linked with the bus schedules. Various buses conveniently connect my Brisbane suburb to UQ. Sundays and public holidays have considerably reduced bus services. Which means that if I have to leave my house early in the morning, say around 8am, there is no direct bus service (till around 9am). The online schedule advised me that I can take a bus to Auchenflower and from there I can catch another one within 5 minutes to university. This arrangement works very well as I found out on Good Friday. But what really surprised me was when I got off the bus and walked to the bus stop on the other end of the road….. there lay the big Brisbane river right behind me. It was an awesome view. Within minutes, the City Cat Ferry too cruised by generating giant ripples in the calm waters that spread out from the middle of the river and then crashed against the banks on either sides. (Too bad I forgot to video the sight from my cellphone….)

This morning I decided to take a picture of the river from the bus stop. I could not take more shots of the river from other angles as there were some morning walkers etc. around and I feel very awkward filming and taking pictures in public places when others are looking at me. As you can tell, I’m not Japanese!….. But anyhow, here is a shot of the river (the buildings in the background are from the city centre, I suppose). I am standing well above the river on road level. You can see the cycleway/ walkway that runs along the river’s bank. It is around 7:30am, Easter Sunday. The Chinese girl behind me at the bus stop is staring at me (I am red-eyed, nauseated with sleep-deprivation and need more black tea when I get to university). And in front of me the waters gleam with the morning sunlight….

CLICK ON THE PICTURE TO ENLARGE

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For now, I say Hoorrooo!

Rajiv.

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The Morons at “Christian” World News

Muslim being Lynched

What “Christian” CBN News won’t show you: An unarmed Muslim man suspected of being a terrorist being lynched to death by brave “Christian” soldiers. (AFP Picture, 5th of February, 2014, Bangui)

 

I believe one of the most dominant “Christian” TV channel is CBN (Christian Broadcasting Network). It is associated with Pat Robertson and is broadcast to every corner of this planet. As for the title of this post, I don’t want to single out Pat, when the whole channel’s staff seem to be a bunch of morons and hypocrites. But I do not criticize everything that is being broadcast on that channel. I totally respect people’s religious beliefs, no matter which religion they belong to as long as they do not violate individual rights and liberties. So, if CBN broadcasters and TV hosts provide healing through their TV program (a bizarre feature of one of their popular programs in which they send healing to people watching the show and suffering from all sorts of maladies: cancer, ulcers, arthritis, diabetes, etc. ). I can mock this practice and I can call this phony but I cannot really say it should be banned by FCC in the United States or other broadcasting regulators in the world. They’re not even asking for money in return for their TV healing ministry, so it is not even fraud in the legal sense.

However, my issue in this blog post is that CBN staff lack basic human decency when they report international news. For years, I have watched their Christian world news broadcasts. In this news bulletin they will go to every corner of the world and report on the persecution of Christians: whether it is violence against Christians in Nigeria or, what they see as, bullying by Western civil authorities who outlaw hate speech by Christian nuts against sexual minorities.

To a certain degree, I can accept their biases since they’re a Christian channel reporting news for their Christian market. Fine. However, any decent human being–Christian or otherwise– will find it distasteful when they refuse to report human suffering where victims are not “Christians”. They will simply turn a blind eye. The latest glaring example of this moral bankruptcy has outraged and angered me. CBN news stories on the escalating violence in Central African Republic is criminally prejudiced and shameless.

Central African Republic is a country in Africa that is experiencing a dangerous cycle of violence and genocides against its Muslim minority who make up about 15% of the population. Here is what the Time magazine story of 8th of February reports:

Mob violence in Central African Republic’s capital has escalated to the point where crowds slay Muslims and mutilate their bodies almost daily despite the presence of thousands of French and African peacekeepers….

Bangui, the capital, is engulfed in an orgy of bloodshed and looting…

Thousands of Muslims left Bangui in a massive convoy Friday that was jeered by crowds of Christians. One Muslim who fell off a truck was quickly killed by the mob.

On CBN’s Planet Moron, acts of genocide against Muslims barely get a mention. From the beginning they have been spinning the conflict as one that was started by “Muslims” in which “Christians” are the victims.  This news story from CBN (posted on 8th November 2013) admits that there is an impending genocide in CAR. However, they never mention that it is the Muslims who are in danger of being massacred. Rather, their telegenic and moronic news reader starts the report by saying the violent conditions in CAR started because of the formation of “Islamist” milita. Then they cut to an analysis by their “senior international correspondent” who too never mentions that it is the Muslim minority which is in real danger of further atrocities. Rather, he goes on to mention about refugees stuck inside a “Catholic church”.

The latest report by CBN posted on 6th February notes the escalation of violence in which “Muslims” and “Christians” are attacking each other. Again, the report ignores Muslim persecution and instead goes on to mention that the bloodshed started “after the Christian President was overthrown…last March…Muslim militants…burnt churches and carried out a number of massacres against Christians…” It was only after these Muslim atrocities, the report says, Christians formed their own militia to take “revenge” on Muslims, “killing them and looting them and destroying their homes and mosques…” Aha, some balance in the reporting one might say. But this tiny bit of information is followed by a soundbite from a “Muslim” man. The reporter’s voice-over with the video of a “Muslim” man speaking to the camera: “Another Muslim man said he is ready to die for Islam…”  Such reporting is blatantly prejudiced. Despite the fact that majority of the victims have been innocent Muslim civilians who form a small minority, CBN news stories make it sound like this is a conflict in which Christians are being massacred by “Islamists”, and Christians only take revenge, and then Muslims get ready to kill Christians in the name of Islam.

Read the report by Time magazine again. And do further Google searches on CAR situation from different sources and see for yourself how for the corrupt and lying CBN editors, reporters and newsreaders the political and commercial considerations far outweigh the need for journalistic ethics and basic human decency. I have just one question for them:

What would Jesus say?

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Paranormal Activity: The Dumbest Movie I’ve ever watched

PA

WHY  you NO PLAY with ME!!! Fuck You!

Grade:  C-

I was watching one of Stephen King’s interviews on Youtube and he mentions how it is becoming harder and harder to scare people these days because they’ve become so immune to horror content. They have watched pretty much every kind of horror on TV and in the movies that the element of shock and surprise has lost its power. Fair enough.

Then King went on to mention that he has rarely seen people get spooked and scream while watching a horror movie in recent years. The last time he noticed them getting really spooked was during the run of Paranormal Activity. That greatly piqued my interest in, let’s say, PA.

Before I talk about PA I should mention that the kind of writing or movies that scares me has to have some element of reality. (I still find some of the sections of Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood very scary.) For example,  I am spooked by horror that narrates the stories of serial killers or deranged, sadistic and violent criminals and rapists/ pedophiles. I am also spooked by dangerous or poisonous animals or reptiles. I am spooked by stuff like car crashes, derailed trains and airplane crashes mid-air. Also, I am afraid of natural calamities like floods and, now that I have lived through Christchurch’s hell, EARTHQUAKES. On the other hand, I am usually bored by supernatural horrors and thriller. As a kid I was terrified of supernatural horror but I’ve, for better or worse, outgrown it. I think the biggest hurdle for me is not that I am not scared by “Supernatural Horror” but that I find it impossible to maintain the necessary suspension of disbelief.

That said, it seems, today people have become so dumb and manipulated by delusions conjured by different kinds of audio-visual media that they will buy and believe anything. They’re not as afraid of/ concerned about/interested in violent and deranged criminals, murderers, burglars on the lose as they’re of a fucking haunted house!

Coming back to Paranormal Activity (2007): When Stephen King mentioned it as a movie that really scared people I had to watch it right away. And I did. It was the dumbest shit I’ve ever seen. To be fair, YES, some of those night camera scenes were quite creepy and scary. But 99% of the movie is filled with mindless, boring shit that insults human intelligence.

Then again, the $5 million movie made over $200 million and went on to spawn at least 4 more sequels so far. So, who am I to judge? Who can argue with the money-makers? But because I think I am a free human being I need to offer my personal opinion on the movie. So, let’s start.

To begin with, both of the characters Katie (I think she also appears in the sequel movies– good for that actress’s career…) and Micah are so fucking dumb. Before I get to the characters, the acting deserves a special mention. Everyone’s acting in the movie is horrendous. It totally stinks. I have nothing against low budget movies. Reservoir Dogs is a low budget movie and I will always include it in my Top Ten list. Even the worst actor in Reservoir Dogs is about 25 times better than Katie and Micah!!!

Characters of Katie and Micah are so cardboard-ish that all the cardboards in the world must be ashamed to be compared to them! They portrayed as a comfortably middle-class young couple in the US. However, I have no friggin idea as to how do they make their living. Katie is a student (English literature?) learning to be a teacher. God knows what the fuck Micah does. If they mention his profession, it totally escaped me. His full time job is to work that camera and edit all the footage on his laptop. Besides, God forbid that Katie ever become a teacher. She seems dumber than a snail. When she hears noises in her house she wants to call a “Demonologist”. Demonologist!!! I mean hasn’t she ever heard of a Big Crucifix and Holy Water??? It’s a lot cheaper and does the trick every time. **YAWN**

This young couple seems to have absolutely no friends whatsoever. Just one girl (cardboard character/ shitty acting) visits them and Katie has a quality “girl time” with her. Micah has no friends other than his video camera and laptop. Most of his interpersonal relations are with Katie and one very noisy and pissed off invisible ghost.

SPOILER ALERT IN THIS PARAGRAPH (But anyone can guess the ending, I think): I think the two lead characters’ infinite dumbness makes this movie a piece of trash. At times I found their stupidity much scarier than the ghost. I was almost happy when the movie ended because it also put an end to their super irritating dumbness. Thank Ghost that both were killed. People that dumb deserve to die. Period.

Most irritating and unbelievable thing in the movie is how Katie and Micah react to the paranormal activity. When it begins to get quite serious how can they go to sleep every night? No matter how horrible the previous night they always manage to kiss each other good night and sleep alone in that house for yet another night hoping to find some interesting footage on the camera that records them sleeping all night. When things start to get even more disruptive, destructive and violent, they never think of having someone sleep over, just to make them notice the paranormal activity for their feedback. Again, how can they still keep going to bed and fall asleep with all that stress and terror??? Normal human beings DO NOT behave that way. Only cardboard characters do that.

The biggest bit of stupidity in the movie is that every time when there is that huge commotion and noise in the house, Micah wakes up, gets out of his bed and ventures into the darkness with his fucking video camera! Mind you, not once it enters their mind that they should be calling 911 or at least a friend. After all, It may well be some violent criminal who has broken into their house and who is getting ready to slash their faces, slit their throats, dismember their bodies and steal valuables in the house. No. Both Micah and Katie are sure that it is the ghost picking up furniture off the floor and dropping it with a huge bang. They’re certain that it is the ghost who is swinging from the chandelier for fun. Therefore, it is but natural for Micah and katie to get out of their bed and to want to capture the ghost’s antics on a video camera. An opportunity like this comes only once every night after 2am. How can they not film it…..

Redeeming Features and another interpretation: Lastly, YES, the movie is a total piece of garbage. But I should not get 100% bitter about it. Maybe I should see the funny side. Maybe the movie IS funny. I see dark humor peppered all over. You see, Paranormal Activity is a Comedy disguised as Horror. We need to realize that the Individual from the spirit world is absolutely bored and lonely. All through the ghost is desperately asking Micah and Katie to play with it. But all Micah and Katie want to do is go to sleep and film it when they can. The ghost is screaming for attention. But to no avail. There is a moment in the movie when Micah– FINALLY!!!– gets an Ouija board to play with the ghost. The ghost is absolutely thrilled! When Micah asks the ghost if they should play the board game, the response from the ghost is a thrilling “YEEEESSSSSS!!!!” It even gets recorded on the video footage.But Micah is too dumb to get it.

And at Katie’s insistence Micah quits any plans of playing with the ghost on the Ouija board. That’s when the ghost’s heart really breaks and it starts to become more and more violent. First off, the ghost burns the Ouija board. It’s the ghost’s way off saying “Fuck you!!! I don’t wanna play with you either!!” That’s the beginning of the end. Now, the ghost does not want attention from them. It just wants to freak them out with some violent displays and then kill them. It’s a satire on Paranormal heart-break we’re talking about.

Lots of screaming the next night. Lots of violence and blood. The End. **yawn*……..

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The Blonde Gypsy

ImagePicture from The Economist Blog

Hmmm… So the latest DNA tests confirm that The Blonde little angel has Roma parents. Should we start calling her the Blonde Gypsy now? Or maybe negotiate some sort of children swapping deal with the Roma– Swarthy Europeans should be traded for Blonde Gypies, just to keep the racial LOOK intact. Eh?

Doh!

This revelation flies in the face of the prejudicial ideas of the race. I suspect God’s hand was behind this episode to shame those who have been burning with righteous racial anger against the Roma over the supposed abduction of “European” Maria.

Romans 1:22: “Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools.”

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Blonde European Cinderella rescued from Gypsy Crims

Is this the face that launched a thousand headlines?

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Little European “Blonde Angel” (Pictured sourced from Daily Mirror Website)

By the way, does anyone know that girl actress from the movie “Girl with a Dragon Tattoo” is part Gypsy? Bloody Swedes must have stolen her. But on a serious note, European “settlers” to the Americas and Australia have stolen–in broad daylight– whole generations of native children. They tore them apart from their mothers and families and shipped them off to European institutions in order to exorcise whatever Gypsy Demons they supposedly  had in them. Here read something about Australia’s Stolen Generations. And, as Australian ABC points out, even so called Sweet Canadians have their own Stolen Generations. In Canadian custody “Thousands were physically, sexually and emotionally abused.”

But never you mind, that was way way back in the past. So pay attention to the recent popular media narrative: Look at this little blonde Cinderella! Never you mind how exactly she got to the Roma family, the bastards stole her because that’s what Gypsies do, they steal blonde children. Right….

But hey you can’t really blame the Greek Roma family fo not giving the blonde girl-child (who according to some estimates has a Bulgarian/Ukrainian or Russian mother) a better life. After all the Roma family earn their living by begging on the streets. Because that’s what the Gypsies of Europe do, they beg on the streets. It just seems to me that there’s a helluva Europeans who take great gleeful satisfaction in creating some stereotypes of Gypsies and then making sure Gypsies live all their lives–from cradle to grade– trying to live up to those stereotypes.

So, Europeans have always hated Jews for being too ambitious, intelligent, aspirational and industrious. And Europeans have always  hated Roma for being lazy parasites. It’s like there’s no winning with these mashugana Europeans. Oy Vey!

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