Inside this week | Who needs Halloween ?

Who needs Halloween when you’ve got the Roma? Apparently they’re stealing our babies: get one free with 100 sprigs of  lucky heather.
A report on Sky News (see here for a new doc about Rupert Murdoch) on Monday revealed there are 10,000 missing children in Britain who could be Maria, the blonde-haired girl discovered with dark-haired Roma parents by the Greek authorities last week. Even the newsreader looked surprised. Meanwhile, in Denmark, where half the nation is asking for it by leaving their kids to sleep in deserted prams on the street, there are no possible matches.

Wednesday’s front-pages went into full abduction panic mode. “‘Maddie’ found in Ireland” was the unfortunate headline for a story detailing the second case this week in Ireland in which a Roma kid has been wrongly taken from her biological parents.

Missing children is an extremely emotive subject and one that sells a great many newspapers. Many Brits will remember Ben Needham, the Madeleine McCann of the 1990s, who went missing aged two on the Greek island of Kos in 1991. Barely a month went by without another holidaymaker spotting him – one such story even involved a blonde-haired boy living with the Roma.

Back in Greece, the Roma couple’s explanation that they were given the child sounds plausible. The Roma aren’t going to bother with paperwork and the biological parents probably don’t have a TV.

It reminds me of the case of Gert Frobe, the German actor who played Goldfinger, and whose dialogue was completely dubbed (see here for a piece about mumbling Danish actors).

During what should have been the happiest year of his life (following the release of Goldfinger), the Daily Mail quoted him as saying: “Naturally I was a Nazi” – a ‘confession’ that led to his films being banned in Israel.

However, what Frobe actually said was: “During the Third Reich I had the luck to be able to help two Jewish people, although I was a member of the Nazi party.’’

Sure enough, and it did take a month or so, but a man came forward to say that Frobe had saved his and his mother’s lives.

Maybe a month’s the going rate for solving a problem like Maria.





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