GUARDIAN: Italy's new ghetto?

"In the nation that housed the first ghetto, a new segregation is taking place. The persecution of Roma gypsies is shocking.


People forget, but the European history of segregation began in Venice. Ghetto is a Venetian word. It was, and still is, a neighbourhood, one of the oldest in town, thought to be named after the iron foundry that once stood there. In the year 1516 the Venetian senate ruled that the city's Jewish inhabitants should be confined to this neighbourhood. Non-Jewish citizens could not live there, nor could the Jews live elsewhere. The world's first ghetto had been instituted.

The pope in Rome soon followed suit, ruling by papal bull in the year 1555 that the Jewish inhabitants of Rome were to be confined to a single neighbourhood. The area was sealed off, with just two points of entry and exit; the gates were guarded, barred at sundown and opened at sunrise.

... [T]he parallels between the prejudice that preceded the persecution of the Jews and the treatment of today's gypsies."


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