Tag Archives: Hungary

Can Romas Be Integrated Within Hungary?

During the past sixty years, many European nations have confronted issues of ethnicity and national hatred in working toward a European Union based on respect for human rights. However, the issue of where do Roma citizens belong in countries like Hungary has produced considerable talk, but scant action at government levels. Zoltan Balog of the parliamentary Human Rights Committee, recently told a business group it was time “to find a language to speak clearly about the problem” without offending Romas. He noted the political rise of the nationalist Jobbik party which fosters fear and hate of Romas as a symptom of what must be addressed if this issue can result in equal citizenship for all who are members of the Hungarian community.

Recent surveys of Hungarians reveal over 60% of the population believes criminality is “in the blood of Romas.” In the view of Balog any solution begins with providing meaningful work for Romas so they can earn a decent living and cease requiring government assistance. A sensible solution.

Romas Flock To Canada To Escape Hungary Prejudice

Romas have endured constant prejudice and hatred in Hungary which has led to a desire on the part of many to seek new places where they can be accorded respect as humans. A Canadian immigration official noted his nation has been witnessing a dramatic surge in refugee claims from Hungary, and many of these immigrants are of Roma background. The number of Hungarians applying for entry into Canada has risen from 172 the initial three months of the year to 750 during the next quarter.

Finnish immigration authorities report a surge in application from Romas to their nation. :When an EU citizen seeks asylum in any member state, it is considered a safe country of origin,” noted immigration sources. Until Hungary addresses issues of discrimination against Romas hundreds, if not thousands, will be leaving for new destinations.

Romas –Convenient Scapegoats In East Europe

A crowd of fans from the soccer club, 1.FC Brno, marched through a square in Brno shouting vulgarities at Romas and blacks while imitating monkeys. In the town of Chomutov, they fired a rocket in the air while shouting, “Czech Land To Czechs.” Even as the ignorant displayed their ignorance, hundreds of Romas throughout the Czech Republic were holding demonstrations to express their frustration at failure of the government to take a pro-active stance in the fight for Roma rights. There were Romas present in at least fourteen towns to make known their concerns at recent murders of their fellow countrymen and the need for action to foster respect for the dignity of all humans.

In Hungary, a recent survey indicated that 84% of respondents said that Roma people disliked working and that is why they encounter economic problems. Nearly 80% said it was hopeless trying to help build good relations between Romas and other Hungarian citizens. And, over seventy percent rejected any ideas about affirmative action programs.

The United States learned years ago that change begins with new laws that protect the rights of those subject to bigotry and prejudice. Eventually, if laws are enforced, most humans will grow accustomed to change in their views. They need to work and live with people who are different.

Romas Victims Of Economic Crisis

Nations experiencing economic downturns seek to uncover answers for what has happened to create large scale unemployment. In the history of Europe, bad times invariably result for seeking a scapegoat and in many areas of eastern Europe the convenient group is the Roma population which already is viewed with disdain and fear by many people. During the past few months in Hungary there have been a series of attacks on Roma families which have resulted in the murder of several individuals. These assaults have ranged from burning homes and then killing Romas attempting to escape the building to killing a man returning from work. Police investigators believe there is a pattern to the murders including the probability that shooter is an expert marksman to the mundane fact that most of the murders happened in buildings which were the last house on the street.

In virtually all cases of these murders, those killed were citizens who were working or family members with no record of having been in trouble with others. The patterns suggests the murderer simply hates Romas and most probably stalks the victims to determine the right moment for death.

Do Europeans Believe In Anything?

Many frequently compare modern times with its economic dislocation to the events of the 1930s. Ironically, as the Depression rolled over the world there were competing ideologies and groups with rigid beliefs who thought themselves in possession of the truth. A recent survey in Hungary exemplified the lack of passionate belief in anything other than a sense of disillusionment with the prevailing government. The survey revealed 36% supported the current government and 12% supported the opposition, but no party had support from a majority of the electorate. Over half wanted the present parliament to be dissolved and 80% want a new election. But, there is no indication, based on what people tell interviewers, that a significant number of people want X or Y as their political party. It is akin to a “pox on all you politicians.”

The world is seeking answers at a time when virtually every ideology has lost favor with a majority of the population. It is as though ideas have disappeared in the vortex of time and there is simply a hole that goes on and on. Does the world need a new guru, and if that person arrived, would anyone pay attention?

Hungary Considers Making Hate Speech Illegal

There has been a consistent open verbal campaign against Roma people in Hungary by those who view members of this group as inferior and not true Hungarians. In the past few weeks, several Romas were killed or injured in attacks upon them in public or in their homes. Justice Minister Tibor Draskovics is proposing an amendment to the Constitution of Hungary which would strictly prohibit the use of hate speech and admits in sponsoring such laws he might be weakening freedom of speech and the press. His comments came in the wake of statements from the European Council that Hungary had not done enough to protect the rights of minorities against being physically and emotionally assaulted. Changes to the Constitution require a two-thirds vote which would require a coalition of political parties to pass such changes.

Freedom of speech and the press are the foundation of any free society. There will always be those who spout the rhetoric of hate, but they should be silenced in the free market of ideas, not by prison sentences. A physical assault on people is already a criminal act so there is no need to signal out a particular group. Enforce laws on the books. Every time a society limits freedom for what they consider the “right reasons” in the following years, those who hate freedom are able to use the same laws against those who stand for freedom. l

Hungarian Police Bungle Roma Murders

Hungarian police are being condemned by human rights groups for their bungling efforts in dealing with the death of a Roma man and his son who supposedly died in a house fire. Viktoria Mohacal repeated her charges there had been deliberate incompetence and bungling of the investigation of the deaths of the father and son. The initial investigation by police concluded the father and son had died in a house fire despite eye witness accounts of gunfire and the presence of petrol bombs and spent shotgun cartridges lying in the snow. Two forensic experts from a local university said the medical examiner report apparently was not a professional document.

The bottom line is that for too many people killing Romas is not really a crime and the perpetrators should escape punishment. There is need for a massive education program focusing on issues of multiculturalism which deals with the lives of Romas in Hungary.

Death Of A Roma Family In Hungary

The Roma family was gathered around the dinner table prepared for the evening meal when suddenly their peaceful life was interrupted by shouts and then fire bombs entered their home. As the family tried to escape, the father and his five year old son were gunned down by a group of bigots who hate and fear anyone who is not like them. The attack was one of several that in recent months have hit Roma families in an area south of Budapest. The police chief in the town said at least four Romas have been murdered in this manner. “There have been at least sixteen attacks on Roma homes, involving guns, petrol bombs or grenades in the last twelve months. In only one case has the perpetrator been brought to justice.”

A member of the European Union reacted with anger saying there apparently was little effort on the part of police to actively search to find the murderers. It took days before police in the village even admitted there had been a murder because their initial reaction was deaths followed a fire in the home. Hungarians a few weeks ago were shocked when an outstanding Roma handball player was murdered, but his assailant was never found. When will Hungary wake up to the hatred in their backyard?

Hungary And Roma Question

The issue of where do Romas belong in Hungarian society has been discussed year after year without any real effort to develop either a short or a long term strategy for dealing with the issue. A few weeks ago, Miskoic police chief Albert Pasztor, created a stir by claiming that virtually all crime committed in his city were done by Romas. The reality is the presence of an ever widening gap between the economic level of Romas and other Hungarians as well as the social distance between the groups in their everyday lives. The reality is lack of equal job opportunities and lack of education access as being at the heart of this gap in power. The current government set out a “Decade of Roma” legislation which has been successful in the area of rhetoric but there is little concrete to support achieving its goals.

As always in dealing with oppressed minorities there is no lack of plans and proposals and study groups and seminars to examine issues, but the aftermath of these endeavors is rarely matched by concrete steps at solutions. There comes a moment in time when action is needed and an end to further studies. Just do something to help end poverty and to ensure Roma children can obtain a quality education.

Racism Places Romas Under Peril In Hungary

The Roma minority continues to be the most persecuted in eastern Europe as well as the group which experiences the greatest poverty. Romas have been in eastern Europe for hundreds of years during which time myths and beliefs have built up concerning their behaviors and desires. Albert Pasztor, police chief in Miskoic, told the media in blunt terms, “except for bank and gas station robberies all crimes in Miskoic during the months of December and January were committed by gypsies.” A rather amazing statement which appears to suggest that non-Roma people in Hungary are law abiding to an extent not known elsewhere in the world. We in America would be more than happy to dispatch to Hungary some of our criminal bankers and investment brokers, none of whom is a Roma.

The emphasis in Hungary has been more towards anti-discrimination rather than economic an educational development. Statements like those of Pasztor reflect ignorance since it is doubtful if non-Roma criminals were classified in any way other than being criminals. Crime either comes from the wealthy who use stock markets or business to steal or it comes from poor people who are trying to survive. The Roma people need jobs, good education, and efforts to establish social relations with other members of the community.