There are huge discussions in Sweden and around Europe about begging and whether it should be made illegal. It's an interesting question. Since countries like Romania, Bulgaria and Hungary have entered the EU, the number of beggars visible in countries such as Sweden, Germany, etc. have increased astronomically. With open borders within the EU (and Schengan) and freedom of movement, people may come and go as the please. For the most part. The overwhelming majority of beggars come from Romania (with some from Hungary and Bulgaria) and are ethnic Romani (gypsies). Why do these people leave behind their families and their children to come to countries like Sweden? Because they have virutally no other options. The prejudice against Romani in these countries is extreme and they can find no other way to support their families. I refuse to believe that traveling from their homes to a strange country to sit outside shops or wander around train stations and busstops with coffee mugs begging for money, is their first choice. But it has become a Point of contention in countries like Sweden. Many want the government to pass legislation to make begging illegal. The prime minister of Romania, while in Stockholm on a visit, even stated that we need to address OUR problem with beggars by making it illegal. Hmm. Is it really our problem? Making begging illegal in Sweden seems to me like taking an aspirin for a headache, when on really has a brain tumor. Making begging illegal is trying to treat the problem by treating one symptom. What needs to be done is Romania, Hungary and Bulgaria need to deal with extreme prejudice and extremism in their countries and to fix the problems that lead people to Think that begging is their only way out. It is frustrating to see so many desperate people every day. When I get off the train every morning at Gothenburg Central Station, I am accosted by any number of Romani. And it is repeated on the way to the train in the afternoon. It is irritating, I believe, because it is hard to not feel guilty. Guilty for having a good life - a job, a home, nice clothes. But it is impossible to give Money to all of them. I would spend my monthly salary within a week if I gave everyone even 5 kronor. And this is not a big city problem. In the small town where I live, Stora Höga, we have a woman who sits outside our small grocery store every day, rain or shine. Stora Höga is about 25 miles north of Gothenburg with a population of about 3000 people and we have our own beggar. This woman really tugs at my heartstrings as she sits outside Tempo with a smile and a small framed picture of her daughter. Her I help. Sometimes with 5 or 10 kronor, sometimes with a sandwich or bottle of water. What is the solution? I don't know. While I do believe we have a responsibility as human beings to help others, we can't help everyone all the time. I think as a society we need to put more pressure on countries to come to terms with problems they have and to help these people be able to stay at home with their families, their children and be able to survive.
#beggars #begging #tiggare #tiggande #Romani #romer #gypsies #Romania #Rumanien