That is how the Greek press described the 5-year blonde, green-eyed girl found in a raid on a Roma camp. There was immediate suspicion that she had been abducted by the family with whom she was living and she is in the custody of the Greek authorities. Meanwhile DNA testing has confirmed that she is the daughter of a Bulgarian couple. It’s not yet clear how she came to live with the Greek Roma family. The Bulgarian family has 9 other children and the poor living conditions of the family has resulted in the majority of children being taken from the family home and placed with relatives, foster families, or local authorities. In Ireland this month two blonde, blue-eyed children were taken from their Roma parents, then later returned when DNA confirmed they were in fact the parents. As a recent article in the NY Times points out, Roma are now the ones fearing that their children will be taken away. The active scrutiny by officials and the intense interest of the public in such cases is of course based on age-old stories of Gypsy child-snatching. It’s not likely that any suspicions would be aroused should blonde children be seen with Greeks or parents of other nationalities who happen to be dark-skinned.
France has also been the scene of controversy involving Roma families and government officials. A 15-year Roma girl was taken into custody while on a school field trip and then deported to Kosovo together with her family. This follows controversial statements from the French interior minister expressing doubt that Roma had the ability – or the desire – to integrate into French society. These and other incidents, including mass deportations of Roma from France have raised discussion in Europe of the “Roma question”, a disturbing echo of the “Jewish question” posed in 20th-century Germany.