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The ethnicity of Kata Bándy’s rape-killer on the agenda

July 19th, 2012

In the wake of the murder of a young woman by a Roma man, the internet is swarming with comments urging the reintroduction of the death penalty and with racist comments. A right-wing commentator believes “the Gypsies” should find a solution. Liberal commentators condemn what they see as racist reactions to the tragedy.

25 year old psychologist Kata Bándy disappeared in the early hours of Sunday, 8th July. Her dead body was found three days later and the suspected rapist-killer was arrested on Sunday 15th July. The news quickly spread that he is a Roma.

In Magyar Hírlap, Zsolt Bayer wrote on Tuesday he was praying for the killer not to be Roma, out of fear for his Gypsy acquaintances, all of them respectable working people. But, he continues, hundreds of thousands, “even millions” of (white) Hungarians are “robbed, beaten up, humiliated and killed on a daily basis by the Gypsies (our italics – BudaPost) living around them.” Misery, he says, is no excuse. “If the Gypsy community cannot find a way to rid itself of this mentality, then a declaration will have to be made that it is impossible to coexist with them.”

In Heti Világgazdaság, Miklós Stemler believes that while Bayer cautions against a civil war, in reality he is doing his best to precipitate one, “with his half-truths.” However, Stemler continues, Bayer is just one of the many “vultures,” including politicians and media stars who are taking advantage of the violent death of a young woman to press their own agenda. “Vultures are indeed flying in circles over Hungary,” he concludes.

In the same liberal weekly, László Tamás Papp also condemns Bayer’s column, describing it as an “anti-Gypsy gut-reaction.” But his main target is the right-wing government for placing its emphasis on tougher penal legislation (See BudaPost, June 27). He argues that getting simply tough “further enhances a law-and-order-psychosis” rather than reducing the crime rate.

In his new blog, György Balavány (who used to run a Christian news and opinion portal, until he had to close it down for lack of funding), cautions against “plundering the victim” by using her tragedy as a card in a political game. “What happened is horrible, but offers absolutely no political lessons. Those who can sincerely cry should do so, alongside the mourners, but let all the others keep their mouths shut,” Balavány demands.

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