Children, Racism and the Greek State

The image of the blue-eyed blonde little girl removed from a Roma family and put into the care of an NGO has traveled the world with lightening speed as the Greek government seek to trace her biological parents.  Comparisons have been made to Madeleine McCann, another white child reported to have been fallen into the hands of traffickers, but look behind the hype and some awfully ugly secrets are revealed.

Article also available in Greek
Partial translation available in Icelandic

This story of a four year old girl taken from her Roma carers has circumnavigated the globe.  Every single international newspaper is currently running the story with minor variations, clearly based on the same press release.  The essence of the story is that a blonde, blue eyed young girl was found being cared for by a Roma couple who were no relation, but who was registered as being their child.  The story is frequently accompanied by a “before and after picture”, firstly with the girl looking clearly frightened and ill at ease, followed by a well scrubbed version in pink pajamas.

While the circumstances of how the child came to be cared for by the couple and indeed how the birth came to be registered to them is still under investigation, the trial by media has already reached a verdict: she has clearly been stolen by evil gypsies who come in the night and snatch newborns from their cots.  The international press coverage is bad enough, parrot fashion repeating the words of the Greek government as gospel, the Greek press however has reached fever pitch.

Despite the hyperbolic reporting, there is no substantive evidence that I can find in the reporting that the child was in any way mistreated, abducted or trafficked.  The couple have indicated that they had come to a private arrangement with the child’s mother, who already had five other children, to adopt the child informally and raise her within their own family.  Given that people in Greece are finding huge difficulties caring for children at the moment due to the austerity measures imposed, such an occurrence is certainly not beyond the bounds of possibility.  Some parents have been forced to hand their children in to orphanages as they are unable to provide for them, while still-births and child malnutrition is soaring.

The initial photo released of her clearly shows a level of distress and anxiousness and it is reported that she was hiding under bedclothes as she was found.  This is hardly surprising.  When forty one armed police burst into your small community and hiding under bedclothes is a natural reaction for a child who you wouldn’t expect to be anything but distressed at the events. This raid was just one of many that the Greek police are conducting to terrorise the Roma community in Greece but when Roma people are targetted by neo-nazis burning them out of their homes, the police turn a blind eye.

On spotting her blonde blue-eyed credentials, the child was immediately DNA tested and removed from her carers, yet such is the concern that the Greek authorities have for her that they cannot even be bothered to find someone who speaks her own language, instead communicating with her through gestures.  Although such contempt for children from Roma familes is not unusual.  Last month a shop owner approached a young Roma girl, only a few years older than Maria, playing accordian in the street and started kicking her.

The hypocrisy of the Greek authorities in alleging child abduction and trafficking on the basis of no evidence whatsoever is stunning in light of the Agia Varvara scandal of only a decade ago.  Five hundred and two Roma children “disappeared” from an orphanage in Athens where they had been placed.  Despite demands to investigate the fate of these children, little was ever done.  The Greek government have now removed the report that they submitted to the European commission from their website, with only the archived web copy remaining, in a blatant attempt to cover this up. This report makes for chilling reading.  In particular, pay attention to page 3; the end of paragraph 2.

Greek original
“Υποστηριζει επισης στι πολλά από τα παιδιά αντα (στην πλειοψηφια τουσ Αλβανικης καταγωγησ)ειχαν επανακτηθει απο δουλεμπορους, που πληρωναν μεχρι και το ποσο των 500 ευρώ για να αποσπασουν τα παιδια απο το ιδρυμα με σκοπο την οικονομικη εκμεταλλευση τη χρηση τους στην πορνεια η την πωληση οργανων τουσ.”

English translation
It seems like the children (many of them Albanian) were given to traffickers, who paid up to 500 euros to remove them from the institution for the purpose of economic exploitation – prostitution or the sale of their organs.”

Just so that you are clear, and there is no misinterpretation.  Roma children in a Greek institution, under the care and protection of the Greek state, were sold to traffickers.  Not one child, not two children, not ten children, but hundreds of children.  The Greek state only investigated these disappearances on the insistence of the European union.  Of the 502 that “disappeared”, only four were ever found.  And the matter was quietly dropped.

Talking of missing children, the narrative of a pretty pre-school girl does put you in mind of another “missing” child.  And indeed, right on cue, a spokesman for Kate and Gerry McCann, whose daughter Madeleine went “missing” in 2007, popped up to say that the case gave them “great hope” that she would one day be found alive.  I’ll bet it does, for if the Greek government can concoct a tale of abduction out of thin air by using the picture of pretty little girl to tug at heartstrings, it gives credence to their own version of events, particularly where they can rely on their friends in high places to pull more robust strings when the hearts start to harden.

But pretty little blonde blue-eyed girls make for newspaper sales, especially nicely scrubbed in fresh pink pajamas.  Maria is very lucky.  A different, less appealing colour of skin and a very different fate would await.   Had Maria been of African or Asian origin rather than the more favoured European phenotype, it is highly unlikely that she would be being fussed over and given new pajamas.  Rather she would be thrown into a concentration camp like the other children who the Greek state do not consider Greek and for whom biological parents with legal Greek status cannot be found.

Like these toddlers who shout for freedom from within of the concentration camp in Lesbos; witness the excitement of the adults and children alike when they think that the NGO representatives have come to liberate them from the camp, and then the disappointment when the representative explains (4.33) that they are “doing their best”.

This video was taken in 2009, before the large scale concentration camps were put into use, when Human Rights organisations were still allowed free access to the camps, and when conditions in the camps were considerably better than they are today.  At that time, the numbers of children being held in them numbered in the hundreds, now it is in the thousands and likely to grow still further.

This international appeal to find the parent/s of Maria is not prompted by the Greek state’s concern for the welbeing of children, but by their desire to scapegoat the Roma population.  The fear of “gypsy child-snatchers” is sufficient to distract from the real scandals involving Roma children and the ongoing issues of institutional child abuse going on in Greece right now.  Unless there is evidence of maltreatment the child should be immediately returned to the only parents she has ever known until her biological parents can be traced;  the Greek state should not be abducting children.  The events of the Agia Varvara institution should be thoroughly investigated including tracking the hundreds of children who were sold to traffickers from within it, and the children currently in the concentration camps should be immediately released.

A tale of the abduction and trafficking of a pretty little white girl can cover up an awful lot of sins.

It can also be quite profitable.

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135 comments
alina
alina

So, for your idea of how law should be implemented, baby adoptions can occur under the table and the gr state should tolerate this, or being accused for racism from people like you. I can assume that whatever racism free country it is you one from, babies are sold and your state is happy about it????

EdithPilkington
EdithPilkington

wow! and i thought you weren't getting many comments on these articles.  not sure I understand what's involved in any kind of way that approaches exactness but the image of a Roma woman w/ her red headed child in the Irish Times has surely made an impression on me.  I'll have to follow this thread a little more closely to see if i am able to grasp the implications.

EdithPilkington
EdithPilkington

wow! and i thought you weren't getting many comments on these articles.  not sure I understand what's involved in any kind of way that approaches exactness but the image of a Roma woman w/ her red headed child has surely made an impression on me.

YasminGun
YasminGun

@Therese_OToole feel stunned by this account. Thnx 4 sharing. So much of the history & contemp exper of Roma ppl is hidden/misrepresented

YasminGun
YasminGun

Therese_OToole feel stunned by this account. Thnx 4 sharing. So much of the history & contemp exper of Roma ppl is hidden/misrepresented

reasonfire
reasonfire

Whilst most of this journal may be on the shameful side of feasible, there is a lot that could either be credited or also discredited. While I do appreciate the unfortunate aspect of corruption that exists within political bodies, the state and the media may I also procrastinate slightly with the rash notion that within this article the writer is portraying their own version of stereotyping. I do appreciate that the issue of racism in this world could be compared to a pulsing cancerous tumour spreading across the nations. However, within this blog, the writer emits the stereotype that the collaboration of the afore mentioned groups (political bodies, state, media) may lead to untruths being spread across the globe. In the cases of Maria and Madeline, the fact that they are of European background may affirm the reason behind their positioning in the 'media hotlist' as it were but does that give us the right to speculate as to the reason they are either missing or unidentified. As it is, they are children; children who are missing from their natural home. I agree, we do not have the right to choose if a child is returned to it's family based on the ethnicity of that child. However, we do have the opportunity to turn a witch-hunt into a search. I believe we should cease procrastinating about the route by which the child came into the spotlight and turn our speculating minds to more productive endeavours. Perhaps in doing so we may spread the word about more hidden issues in the process, as when you fight fire with fire, they will only spray water to dampen the flames. When you fight fire with water yourself, they congratulate you and ask why you helped.

reasonfire
reasonfire

Whilst most of this journal may be on the shameful side of feasible, there is a lot that could either be credited or also discredited. While I do appreciate the unfortunate aspect of corruption that exists within political bodies, the state and the media may I also procrastinate slightly with the rash notion that within this article the writer is portraying their own version of stereotyping. I do appreciate that the issue of racism in this world could be compared to a pulsing cancerous tumour spreading across the nations. However, within this blog, the writer emits the stereotype that the collaboration of the afore mentioned groups (political bodies, state, media) may lead to untruths being spread across the globe. In the cases of Maria and Madeline, the fact that they are of European background may affirm the reason behind their positioning in the 'media hotlist' as it were but does that give us the right to speculate as to the reason they are either missing or unidentified. As it is, they are children; children who are missing from their natural home. I agree, we do not have the right to choose if a child is returned to it's family based on the ethnicity of that child. However, we do have the opportunity to turn a witch-hunt into a search. I believe we should cease procrastinating about the route by which the child came into the spotlight and turn our speculating minds to more productive endeavours. Perhaps in doing so we may spread the word about more hidden issues in the process, as when you fight fire with fire, they will only spray water to dampen the flames. When you fight fire with water yourself, they congratulate you and ask why you helped.

gypsocaust
gypsocaust

Amazing sophistry. Dark gypsies steal fair child and some idiot is actually crying about people stereotyping gypsies?! Are you serious? There is a stereotype, right there, in front of your face. The bigger crime is somehow racism lol. Fucking incredible!

gypsocaust
gypsocaust

Amazing sophistry. Dark gypsies steal fair child and some idiot is actually crying about people stereotyping gypsies?! Are you serious? There is a stereotype, right there, in front of your face. The bigger crime is somehow racism lol. Fucking incredible!

David Lynch
David Lynch

>Unless there is evidence of maltreatment the child should be immediately returned to the only parents she has ever known.

So according to this website a child who is victum of human trafficking should be given back to a "mother" who used her as a welfare check card her and the other 14 children who said that she had given birth in six months time.

Also you should totally ignore what The Smile Of The Child spokesman Panagiotis Pardalis (a non govermental group responsible for protecting the rights of the children) had said the girl was found in "bad living conditions and in poor hygiene." but thats ok send her back as long as the hollow left activists feel satisfied that's her problem.

Say no to traffickers but give back the child to the traffickers who used her.

I couldn't wait anything less from someone that calls detention centers with free access to the media as concentration camps.

But that's also ok apparently left activism is about rediculating the real concentration camps who killed milions. Continue intentionally rediculating the left in order to satisfy your self-assertion.

David Lynch
David Lynch

>Unless there is evidence of maltreatment the child should be immediately returned to the only parents she has ever known. So according to this website a child who is victum of human trafficking should be given back to a "mother" who used her as a welfare check card her and the other 14 children who said that she had given birth in six months time. Also you should totally ignore what The Smile Of The Child spokesman Panagiotis Pardalis (a non govermental group responsible for protecting the rights of the children) had said the girl was found in "bad living conditions and in poor hygiene." but thats ok send her back as long as the hollow left activists feel satisfied that's her problem. Say no to traffickers but give back the child to the traffickers who used her. I couldn't wait anything less from someone that calls detention centers with free access to the media as concentration camps. But that's also ok apparently left activism is about rediculating the real concentration camps who killed milions. Continue intentionally rediculating the left in order to satisfy your self-assertion.

tiessalo
tiessalo

EganRichardson Luikki SaskaSaarikoski I did not watch but I certainly hope Yle had some aspect on this also in their A-studio story.

NatashaGerson
NatashaGerson

@alina Do you really not get that with things like this going on Roma are not exactly invited to turn in lost children to the 'proper authorities' or to try and go for legal adoption in the normal way? Around the time Maria ended up at Farsala, talk about Roma children in state institutions being sold for organ harvesting was all over the place! No wonder they just kept her without ringing bells. No, in other countries babies are not sold and everyone happy with it, because 'private' adoptions for cash from state institutions also does not take place, because private adoption is illegal for all, Roma, non-Roma and the state! People don't seem to realise what the often-used term of 'scapegoating' actually means anymore. But if I read 100+ comments of people saying: Well the Greek state is right to take Maria away as we know there is children trafficking INVOLVING the Roma community....yes, involving. But involving how? As victims, that is . The accusation of selling, trafficking, exploiting are actively kept in the sphere of the Roma and this poor couple, not where it belongs: With doctors, lawyers, agencies....

NatashaGerson
NatashaGerson

@alina Do you really not get that with things like this going on Roma are not exactly invited to turn in lost children to the 'proper authorities' or to try and go for legal adoption in the normal way? Around the time Maria ended up at Farsala, talk about Roma children in state institutions being sold for organ harvesting was all over the place! No wonder they just kept her without ringing bells. No, in other countries babies are not sold and everyone happy with it, because 'private' adoptions for cash from state institutions also does not take place, because private adoption is illegal for all, Roma, non-Roma and the state! People don't seem to realise what the often-used term of 'scapegoating' actually means anymore. But if I read 100+ comments of people saying: Well the Greek state is right to take Maria away as we know there is children trafficking INVOLVING the Roma community....yes, involving. But involving how? As victims, that is . The accusation of selling, trafficking, exploiting are actively kept in the sphere of the Roma and this poor couple, not where it belongs: With doctors, lawyers, agencies....

EdithPilkington
EdithPilkington

Your intuitions have proven correct, it seems.  I'm amazed by this story.  My mother traveled 2000 miles from Providence, R I, where she lived, to Memphis, Tennessee where my father was stationed in the U S Air Force in order catch up with him after she became pregnant with his child - me.  They married quickly just three months before I was born, three days before Christmas in 1951.  She was dark haired and dark eyed with an Italian name.  I learned later in life that my father's family, the parents of which - my grandparents - were both Irish immigrants,  was suspicious and prejudiced towards her.  Of the  seven children of my father's family, four were bright red heads,  the other three, strawberry blonds.   I often wonder how circumstances might have been mitigated  after I came out of her womb with bright red hair.  People have a racist and sexist (mis) understanding of genetics.  We're not barnyard animals.  It's time to stop treating people as if they are. 

EdithPilkington
EdithPilkington

Your intuitions have proven correct, it seems.  I'm amazed by this story.  My mother traveled 2000 miles from Providence, R I, where she lived, to Memphis, Tennessee where my father was stationed in the U S Air Force in order catch up with him after she became pregnant with his child - me.  They married quickly just three months before I was born, three days before Christmas in 1951.  She was dark haired and dark eyed with an Italian name.  I learned later in life that my father's family, the parents of which - my grandparents - were both Irish immigrants,  was suspicious and prejudiced towards her.  Of the  seven children of my father's family, four were bright red heads,  the other three, strawberry blonds.   I often wonder how circumstances might have been mitigated  after I came out of her womb with bright red hair.  People have a racist and sexist (mis) understanding of genetics.  We're not barnyard animals.  It's time to stop treating people as if they are.

NatashaGerson
NatashaGerson

@reasonfire Well Maria is only of 'European background' (sic) in that she is Roma. It's very important to find out how exactly she ended up at Farsala.... from Lamia hospital (now under investigation for exactly the same as mentioned in this article, children selling!) at Tabakou camp. It's BEFORE she was at Farsala that is important, but strangely that seems wholly uninteresting to anybody, even now. The story simply dies in more accusation and how much child benefit this woman actually got is deemed more of an indication into Maria's situation than the circumstances of her birth. Unbelievable. 

NatashaGerson
NatashaGerson

reasonfire Well Maria is only of 'European background' (sic) in that she is Roma. It's very important to find out how exactly she ended up at Farsala.... from Lamia hospital (now under investigation for exactly the same as mentioned in this article, children selling!) at Tabakou camp. It's BEFORE she was at Farsala that is important, but strangely that seems wholly uninteresting to anybody, even now. The story simply dies in more accusation and how much child benefit this woman actually got is deemed more of an indication into Maria's situation than the circumstances of her birth. Unbelievable.

NatashaGerson
NatashaGerson

@gypsocaust But they didn't. Your nick makes it pretty obvious what you are. You and the likes of you are the poison of the world, of europe. Hatemongering fascists posing as the voice of reason, not missing a chance at information pollution. 

mhairimcalpine
mhairimcalpine moderator

@gypsocaust Yes, its a stereotype and one which there is no evidence for in this case.  

NatashaGerson
NatashaGerson

@gypsocaust But they didn't. Your nick makes it pretty obvious what you are. You and the likes of you are the poison of the world, of europe. Hatemongering fascists posing as the voice of reason, not missing a chance at information pollution.

mhairimcalpine
mhairimcalpine

@gypsocaust Yes, its a stereotype and one which there is no evidence for in this case.

NatashaGerson
NatashaGerson

@David Lynch Actually that 'welfare check' thing we can only take to be true from the very people who also claimed that MAria, 'of North European genotype' (as established by Greek forenisc anthropologists) and whose teeth were supposed to reveal she was 'closer to six than four years old' (dentists) was and 'abducted missing child' who was, (on the ground of home videos) assessed to have been 'trained like a little bear to dance and beg'. All of which has been disproven in the last ten days: She is Roma, she is four and a half, she was not abducted until 16 oct, and the only reports of her begging were from anynomous quotes in tabloid papers and in the speculation of the police and Smile of the Child.   It was not Panagiotis Pardalis that made the statement about Maria's state, it was the very head of the organisation Costas Yannopoulos speaking completely out of turn. Anyone can see that what he says was not true from the picture at the police station of Larissa where the couple with Maria was photographed 20 minutes after coming in. She is wearing her own clothes she was wearing at the camp. They are clean. Her tshirt is white. Sitting with her parents (who'se released arrest pictures have incited waves of hatespeech globally, 'animals' 'primitive' 'obviously degenerate' to name a few) she looks relaxed and a little cheeky, it's later, taken away from the only mother she's ever known, that she looks tearstained, inkstained (from fingerprinting) with mussed hair. No wonder! THAT was the only time that she WAS abducted- by the police!  As it happens, Panagiotis Pardalis is since trying to downplay his bosses speculation. 'Never said she was filthy, we meant, dirty, as they are insanitary places, these camps' 'Where only saying what we see in Athens' (not Farsala, a dump surrounded by cottonfields) , we never said she was malnourished (no, 'low weight, estimated from the age they THOUGHT she was, not actually turned out to be) etc. And I wouldn't know any other word than 'concentration camps' for places where men, women and children are locked up and left to rot in dire circumstances, with bare sanition, bare care, bare food and nothing else. 'Open media access"? Can you read? These were humanitary aid workers finally being let in after much procedure. 

mhairimcalpine
mhairimcalpine moderator

@David Lynch 

Do you have any evidence that she was the victim of trafficking, because I can find none.  Yes, the mother was unquestionably guilty of welfare fraud, so are many other mothers living in poverty.

When I have more time, I will link you to pictures, available on the web published in Greek national newspapers, of the child's home (quite a nice bungalow) and her room (a bit pink for my taste, but comfortable and clean with her dolls lined up by her bedside), hardly "bad conditions".  

There is no media to the concentration camps.  None.  The Greek government refuse all journalist requests.



NatashaGerson
NatashaGerson

@David Lynch Actually that 'welfare check' thing we can only take to be true from the very people who also claimed that MAria, 'of North European genotype' (as established by Greek forenisc anthropologists) and whose teeth were supposed to reveal she was 'closer to six than four years old' (dentists) was and 'abducted missing child' who was, (on the ground of home videos) assessed to have been 'trained like a little bear to dance and beg'. All of which has been disproven in the last ten days: She is Roma, she is four and a half, she was not abducted until 16 oct, and the only reports of her begging were from anynomous quotes in tabloid papers and in the speculation of the police and Smile of the Child.   It was not Panagiotis Pardalis that made the statement about Maria's state, it was the very head of the organisation Costas Yannopoulos speaking completely out of turn. Anyone can see that what he says was not true from the picture at the police station of Larissa where the couple with Maria was photographed 20 minutes after coming in. She is wearing her own clothes she was wearing at the camp. They are clean. Her tshirt is white. Sitting with her parents (who'se released arrest pictures have incited waves of hatespeech globally, 'animals' 'primitive' 'obviously degenerate' to name a few) she looks relaxed and a little cheeky, it's later, taken away from the only mother she's ever known, that she looks tearstained, inkstained (from fingerprinting) with mussed hair. No wonder! THAT was the only time that she WAS abducted- by the police!  As it happens, Panagiotis Pardalis is since trying to downplay his bosses speculation. 'Never said she was filthy, we meant, dirty, as they are insanitary places, these camps' 'Where only saying what we see in Athens' (not Farsala, a dump surrounded by cottonfields) , we never said she was malnourished (no, 'low weight, estimated from the age they THOUGHT she was, not actually turned out to be) etc. And I wouldn't know any other word than 'concentration camps' for places where men, women and children are locked up and left to rot in dire circumstances, with bare sanition, bare care, bare food and nothing else. 'Open media access"? Can you read? These were humanitary aid workers finally being let in after much procedure.

mhairimcalpine
mhairimcalpine

@David Lynch  Do you have any evidence that she was the victim of trafficking, because I can find none.  Yes, the mother was unquestionably guilty of welfare fraud, so are many other mothers living in poverty. When I have more time, I will link you to pictures, available on the web published in Greek national newspapers, of the child's home (quite a nice bungalow) and her room (a bit pink for my taste, but comfortable and clean with her dolls lined up by her bedside), hardly "bad conditions".   There is no media to the .  None.  The Greek government refuse all journalist requests.

tiessalo
tiessalo

EganRichardson Luikki SaskaSaarikoski Especially the lightning DNA test is weird - a dark-eyed and haired woman can have a blond girl.

NatashaGerson
NatashaGerson

MargretheGustavsen With a nick like 'gypsycaust' somehow I really doubt it.

NatashaGerson
NatashaGerson

@mhairimcalpine Was he 'unquestionably guilty of welfare fraud'. ? How do you know? The welfare fraud accusation was made the day after a pile of papers was found in her house of two passports and a sheaf of birth certificates and payments. That is all that is officially known. The claim both passports were hers, that they had registered 10 children as their own in one year was a police statement, which has since disappeared from the site of the Hellenic police and all official publications, the amounts, were all subsequent speculation by media, and copied by other media. Whether they have four children of fourteen, they are in both cases elegible for 2000 euros agricultural large families benefit. This they get and hundreds of thousands of other Greek families. That is already more than half of what was purpated they got on alleged 'false claims'. Fiddling child support is not something exclusive to Roma, in fact, in Greece it's a national activity. But if and to what extent this mother did it, is 'under investigation' and remains so -although it has been dropped from the original criminal charges and made into a civilian seperate case. What does that say? Whatever the facts, it's unconnected to Maria's case, or indeed child trafficking at all.  What if she was, say claiming benefits for a relative in another country? 

David Lynch
David Lynch

@mhairimcalpine

 So the child slave that was used to dance and beg for money on the streets according to this site should be returned to them. 

The Smile of the Child charity told the BBC that medical examinations show Maria is in fact either five or six years old and not four as was previously reported, after her birth certificate was found to be a forgery and she had no school education.

Based on her characteristics the child slave who utters just a few words in Greek and Roma dialect, is believed to be eastern or northern European and victum of human trafficking.

 The Smile Of The Child spokesman Panagiotis Pardalis said the girl was found in "bad living conditions and in poor hygiene." I don't think that's a quite nice bungalow.

Police have found the woman had two different identification documents and other papers suggested the couple had up to 14 children, but six were registered as having been born within less than 10 months. Her little child labour money bringers.

In trafficking they sell and buy the blue eyed blondes as the most valuable commodities because they know that they will bring the most money. They use them as child labour when they are young and sex slaves when they are older but give her back to the Roma or I will scream that you are racist!

There is no media to the concentration camps. Just people with cameras taking interviews inside the detention centers.

 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NgonnC2xrFU

Remember these people are in a detention center not in a five star hotel. For visa violations or illegal entry and they are held until a decision is made to grant them a visa or to repatriate them to their country of departure.

And in later news another girl was found in a Roma family in Dublin.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-24626422

NatashaGerson
NatashaGerson

mhairimcalpine Was he 'unquestionably guilty of welfare fraud'. ? How do you know? The welfare fraud accusation was made the day after a pile of papers was found in her house of two passports and a sheaf of birth certificates and payments. That is all that is officially known. The claim both passports were hers, that they had registered 10 children as their own in one year was a police statement, which has since disappeared from the site of the Hellenic police and all official publications, the amounts, were all subsequent speculation by media, and copied by other media. Whether they have four children of fourteen, they are in both cases elegible for 2000 euros agricultural large families benefit. This they get and hundreds of thousands of other Greek families. That is already more than half of what was purpated they got on alleged 'false claims'. Fiddling child support is not something exclusive to Roma, in fact, in Greece it's a national activity. But if and to what extent this mother did it, is 'under investigation' and remains so -although it has been dropped from the original criminal charges and made into a civilian seperate case. What does that say? Whatever the facts, it's unconnected to Maria's case, or indeed child trafficking at all.  What if she was, say claiming benefits for a relative in another country?

David Lynch
David Lynch

mhairimcalpine  So the child slave that was used to dance and beg for money on the streets according to this site should be returned to them.  The Smile of the Child charity told the BBC that medical examinations show Maria is in fact either five or six years old and not four as was previously reported, after her birth certificate was found to be a forgery and she had no school education. Based on her characteristics the child slave who utters just a few words in Greek and Roma dialect, is believed to be eastern or northern European and victum of human trafficking.  The Smile Of The Child spokesman Panagiotis Pardalis said the girl was found in "bad living conditions and in poor hygiene." I don't think that's a quite nice bungalow. Police have found the woman had two different identification documents and other papers suggested the couple had up to 14 children, but six were registered as having been born within less than 10 months. Her little child labour money bringers. In trafficking they sell and buy the blue eyed blondes as the most valuable commodities because they know that they will bring the most money. They use them as child labour when they are young and sex slaves when they are older but give her back to the Roma or I will scream that you are racist! There is no media to the concentration camps. Just people with cameras taking interviews inside the detention centers.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NgonnC2xrFU Remember these people are in a detention center not in a five star hotel. For visa violations or illegal entry and they are held until a decision is made to grant them a visa or to repatriate them to their country of departure. And in later news another girl was found in a Roma family in Dublin. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-24626422

EganRichardson
EganRichardson

tiessalo Luikki SaskaSaarikoski I didn't watch A Studio. Was shocked by the claim in the blog about the Greek state selling Roma kids.

NatashaGerson
NatashaGerson

@mhairimcalpine @NatashaGerson This is what I understood from the lawyer last week. Apparently this rural families premium or whatever it was, is already frozen early 2012 as part of EU demands. Btw in the same conversation asking how the couple was, the lawyer said 'frantic about Maria', that they didn't care about any charges apart from the abduction accusation and that he had had to dissuade them from waivering all kinds of  rights in order that they could just see Maria. That doesn't sound like people who were in the kiddie trade and to whom Maria was just a commodity to me. Also Kostas Salis, the brother, had immediately stated he wad going to go to Bulgaria as he had an idea where the birth mother could be found, as they had leads: Cotton workers from her area Bulgaria had remarked on Maria and said that where they lived there was a whole family with white children. This was on the second day of the arrest. But nobody listened. The whole international thing was completely unnessecary, as the mother was not at all difficult to find in the end. And yes, they did make a fraudulant registry of Maria to get a birth certificate -that this is possible says a lot about administrative Greece, but they did so with her correct date and place of birth. At the other side, in Lamia, the birth registry was never completed over the single mother or not issue. An even marginally organised central birth registry would have uncovered it automatically ages ago....

NatashaGerson
NatashaGerson

@mhairimcalpine @NatashaGerson She was definitely entitled to the agricultural  family benefit (as they picked cotton locally a long time) which is 2000 regardless how many children there are, as long as the family is larger than 4. So with or without Maria she would have got that anyway. This is something completely falsely represented in the international media. Also there is the continuing idea that this women had a whole herd of ilegally acquired children in her case, or the children that she had been claiming for have somehow disappeared, thus , through the whole 'benefit fraud'  think framing them more for the suspician of child trafficking or something like that. But there were no other childeren except for their own. The fraud was old hat anyway, as the only children remaining at home in their new house in the last year were 12 years old and Maria. Their children are grown up. 

mhairimcalpine
mhairimcalpine moderator

@NatashaGerson 

Yes, I get your point, but this was after all an illegal and fraudulent registration of the birth, consequently she was not entitled to the child benefits. Morally of course she was entitled to state support for Maria, but morals and the law are frequently not the same thing.


Mhairi McAlpine
Mhairi McAlpine

Thanks for the further information. Yup - the "international angle" was a sob story, designed to align Greece with "white Europe" and justify its policies.

NatashaGerson
NatashaGerson

mhairimcalpine NatashaGerson This is what I understood from the lawyer last week. Apparently this rural families premium or whatever it was, is already frozen early 2012 as part of EU demands. Btw in the same conversation asking how the couple was, the lawyer said 'frantic about Maria', that they didn't care about any charges apart from the abduction accusation and that he had had to dissuade them from waivering all kinds of  rights in order that they could just see Maria. That doesn't sound like people who were in the kiddie trade and to whom Maria was just a commodity to me. Also Kostas Salis, the brother, had immediately stated he wad going to go to Bulgaria as he had an idea where the birth mother could be found, as they had leads: Cotton workers from her area Bulgaria had remarked on Maria and said that where they lived there was a whole family with white children. This was on the second day of the arrest. But nobody listened. The whole international thing was completely unnessecary, as the mother was not at all difficult to find in the end. And yes, they did make a fraudulant registry of Maria to get a birth certificate -that this is possible says a lot about administrative Greece, but they did so with her correct date and place of birth. At the other side, in Lamia, the birth registry was never completed over the single mother or not issue. An even marginally organised central birth registry would have uncovered it automatically ages ago....

mhairimcalpine
mhairimcalpine

NatashaGerson mhairimcalpine  Thanks for the clarification, I wasnt aware that the agricultural family benefit wasnt per child.

NatashaGerson
NatashaGerson

mhairimcalpine NatashaGerson She was definitely entitled to the agricultural  family benefit (as they picked cotton locally a long time) which is 2000 regardless how many children there are, as long as the family is larger than 4. So with or without Maria she would have got that anyway. This is something completely falsely represented in the international media.

mhairimcalpine
mhairimcalpine

NatashaGerson  Yes, I get your point, but this was after all an illegal and fraudulent registration of the birth, consequently she was not entitled to the child benefits. Morally of course she was entitled to state support for Maria, but morals and the law are frequently not the same thing.

Luikki
Luikki

@tiessalo @EganRichardson Would not take much effort to find similar stories presented the same way in the European 18-19th century press...

tiessalo
tiessalo

@EganRichardson @Luikki There is something perverted as suddenly Finnish media gets passionate about child trafficking, as there is a blond.

Luikki
Luikki

tiessalo EganRichardson Would not take much effort to find similar stories presented the same way in the European 18-19th century press...

tiessalo
tiessalo

EganRichardson Luikki There is something perverted as suddenly Finnish media gets passionate about child trafficking, as there is a blond.

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