Once again social media has descended into chaos. Warnings are being issued, people are telling others to lock their doors, protect their property and avoid certain areas at all costs. What is the cause of this mass hysteria and wide spread fear? Well it’s not the four horseman of the apocalypse or a terrorist attack, it is the arrival (again) of a few travellers (gypsies) in Yeovil.
A few weeks ago we saw Asda close their doors and shut up shop because travellers had parked in the corner of their car park. This week we have a few little ‘sites’ in various areas turn up and before the wheels on their trailers have stopped turning, Face Book is awash with status’ declaring them disgusting and demand they are removed. Now, while I choose to live in a house and stay in one place, they don’t.
Their culture has, for a thousand years, chosen a nomadic lifestyle. It has evolved since and some choose to have static plots now, but their traditions and morals have not changed. To us, they may appear odd but isn’t that true of any culture?
Racism seems to be accepted when talking about travellers, but yet they are a different race. They have been persecuted for as long as they can remember. About 500,000 Gypsies lost their lives during the Holocaust, when Hitler considered them to be the lowest category in terms of racial hierarchy.
We may not agree with their lifestyle but what right do we have to dictate they must stop. I question if this was another religion of culture would we behave the same? In every single culture there is good and bad. Media has portrayed them as dirty and destructive and while this may be true of some, it does not describe them all. Programmes such as Big Fat Gypsy Wedding failed to bring sympathy towards the travellers, in part, due to the way the programme was edited, sensationalism and a ratings war.
They have become the modern lepers, nobody minding where they go as long as it is not near them. The life style they lead means they do not abide to the same tax and contribution to government payments that we do and this causes much resentment. However, we are all different. I do not agree that travellers should pitch in school playing fields or private property, although I do not know what would be a solution to suit all.
As far as I am concerned, I think if they park up, spend a few days, clean up behind themselves and move on, then there should be no issue. These people earn a good living for themselves and are not afraid of very hard work. All that seems to be happening is that we are trying to almost eradicate the travelling culture and twist them into what we deem to be ‘normal’ members of society. We want them in houses, mowing their lawns, attending PTA meetings at school. Who gave us this right?
Every culture and religion should be free to practise whatever they please, provided that it does not harm others. Perhaps all the ill feeling that I am seeing is through ignorance and scare mongering? The divide is getting bigger between all races now and acceptance seems far off. How far have we really come since the days of apartheid and racial segregation?