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Tenth anniversary of the Anti-Roma killing spree

February 26th, 2019
Ten years after a series of murderous attacks on Roma families by extreme right-wingers, an alt-left and a conservative analyst draw opposing conclusions. Both believe, nonetheless, that the plight of the Roma is a central issue in Hungary today.

In 2008 and 2009, three far-right militants attacked nine Roma homes in as many settlements in eastern Hungary, killing six people, including a five-year-old boy and gravely wounding another five. Their aim (stated during their police testimony  and court appearances) was to provoke a Roma revolt and thereby a clampdown by the state. The killers were sentenced to life imprisonment. On Sunday, Roma organisations and sympathisers held a march of remembrance in Budapest on the anniversary of the attack which killed the youngest victim.

On Mérce, Marxist philosopher Gáspár Miklós Tamás thinks that Hungary’s society is permeated by hatred towards Gypsies, and that is what made it possible for a group of violent extreme right-wing security guards to think that they were somehow genuine representatives of public opinion. He accuses the opposition parties of recoiling from facing anti-Roma sentiments in order to gain popular support. This is not the way to win elections, he writes.

On Mandiner, Gellért Rajcsányi recalls that ten years ago mutual hatred between Roma and non-Roma reached an unprecedented level as a result of the killing spree and the lynching of a driver who was suspected of knocking over a Roma girl. ‘That was the lowest point’, he writes and describes how Jobbik built its popularity on that hatred at that time. Solving the problems of relations between the Roma and the majority population, Rajcsányi concludes, ‘is the most important issue facing this nation’.

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