Many commentators and activists have reacted with fury to the French government’s expulsion of hundreds of Roma, or Gypsies, to Bulgaria and Romania. Many critics liken these expulsions to the deportations of Jews organized by France’s Vichy regime during World War II. It’s hard to know what is more outrageous: the policies practiced by President Nicolas Sarkozy or the analogies proffered by his critics.
Yet in the history of modern France, the wartime Vichy regime has no monopoly on xenophobic reflexes and exclusionary policies. Over the course of the 20th century, it was French republican governments that laid the administrative and legal foundations for official discrimination against Gypsies.… Seguir leyendo »