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Seeking ways for Roma integration 

August 28th, 2017

A conservative columnist and two Roma rights activists agree that Roma intellectuals have a crucial role to play in the integration of Roma. They also think that some left-wing liberal integration strategies have been less than productive.

In Figyelő, Gabriella Lengyel calls for an open and unprejudiced discussion of Roma integration issues. Lengyel contends that left-wing liberal ‘politically correct’ discourse over Roma issues have hindered the integration of Roma in Hungary. In Lengyel’s view, left-wing and liberal activists and NGOs always portray the Roma as victims, and suggest that they have no civic duties or responsibility for their own poverty and marginalization. Lengyel mentions that László Bogdán, mayor of the village of Cserdi in southern Hungary, and István Forgács, a Roma rights activist in a joint interview in Figyelő both underscore the importance of work, education and Roma intellectuals in efforts to improve the situation of Hungarian Roma. Lengyel believes that both Cserdi and Forgács have shown that Roma intellectuals who show leadership can utilize the government’s programs and subsidies to start meaningful education and public work projects that facilitate the integration of the Roma minority. Without such initiatives from the Roma themselves, Hungarian Roma are unlikely to be lifted out of their poverty and marginalization, Lengyel concludes.

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