The Carpathian Monster: the new bogeyman

When I was a child, my parents would try to put an end to all the tricks I used to play by threatening to turn me over to “the Bogeyman”. Whenever I was willing to leave my homework to run out and play, I would be promised the faith of the beggar that walked barefoot during winter and only drank rainwater. If I refused to go to bed, there would be another monster waiting for me. They called it the Security man…  

Over the last 30 years, parents’ strategies haven’t changed that much. However, what did change is the identity of “the Bogeyman” invoked to frighten the naughty little ones. If you’ve paid attention to tabloid headlines for the last two years, you’ll notice that “the Bogeyman” is rather “the Eastern-European man”. Most of the times, Romanian….

If parents seek inspiration in the articles about Romanian people that the Daily Mail or the Sun have published, they are very likely to come up with some pretty scary stories. One can only imagine the parents saying to their kids: If you don’t behave yourself, a Romanian will come and steal your chewing gum. If you play too many computer games, a Romanian will hack your computer and steal all your passwords. If you won’t go to bed, another Romanian will come and steal the power line to sell it for scrap metal and leave us in the dark. And if you don’t study hard enough, there’s no doubt, a Romanian will come and take your job.

This last aspect has been widely tackled these days. A great number of headlines deplore the faith of the young British who are being “compelled” by the Romanians to play the waiting game.

 “Dracula’s descendants have come all the way from the Carpathians to take their jobs”. How is that possible? There must be some black magic going on here, as the government made sure they don’t have the right to work… Who hires them and why? Well, this is an issue that’s only vaguely dealt with. Not even tabloids’ imagination is so rich as to provide answers to everything.

Only few employers dare to say, even if with reticence, that Eastern-European workforce is preferred to the local one as it is more efficient, even more motivated and ambitious.

But this is not an argument the British would consider. Among so many stories meant to frighten the little ones, this argument is nothing more than a story to put grownups to sleep.

By Florin Brătescu
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