Entries RSS Feed Share Send to Facebook Tweet This Accessible version

Left and right accuse each other of stirring up hatred

January 16th, 2013

Commentators from the left and the right blame each other for polarizing and politicizing issues related to the Roma. They both believe that their opponents use the Roma for opportunistic political reasons.

On Sunday, former PM Gyurcsány’s Democratic Coalition demonstrated against Zsolt Bayer’s newspaper article, which has been widely criticised as racist hate-mongering (See BudaPost, January 9). The spokesperson of Fidesz, Gabriella Selmeczi, called the protest a “theatre stunt,” and added that “the demonstrators encourage criminals” by blaming those who feel outraged by violent crime. Selmeczi also hinted that the campaign against Bayer and Fidesz is the brain child of Ron Werber, a party strategist of the left, known for his negative campaigning messages (see BudaPost December 18<). Tibor Navracsics, who first hinted that Bayer should be ousted from Fidesz said that in his response to the critics, Bayer’s has clarified his original dubious statement. The prosecutor’s office, meanwhile, refused to investigate Bayer for hate speech.

In a comment in Népszabadság on Selmeczi’s statement, Ervin Tamás finds it weird that Bayer and Fidesz abandoned their initial defensive and apologetic stance within just three days, and now attack those “who speak up against racism.” The left-wing pundit considers it sad that “by using such pathetic and desperate rhetorical tricks,” the government can still successfully mislead Hungarians.

The electoral campaign has started, and Fidesz wants to boost its popularity by labelling its critics as supporters of criminals, Ágnes Fazekas contends in Népszava. She speculates that the government “commends racism” in order to divert attention from its disappointing economic performance.

Writing in Magyar Hírlap, László Kiss admits that he also finds Bayer’s language too harsh. He condemns left-wing opinion makers as well, nonetheless, for crying wolf. He suggests that Bayer only voiced the concern of many Hungarians who have had enough of crime, but who also take an inclusive view of Gypsies leading normal lives. Kiss suggests that left-wing critiques which accuse them of racism only set out to exacerbate polarization within society, rather than solving the social problems and promoting peaceful coexistence between Roma and non-Roma.

Tags: , , , , ,