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Schweitzer, Iván

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Népszava - Hungary | 16/01/2013

Roma are not criminals

The right-wing extremist journalist Zsolt Bayer unleashed a storm of protest in Hungary at the beginning of January with a harsh commentary in which he described Roma who inflicted serious injuries on two young Hungarians in a knife fight as "cowardly, despicable, harmful animals". The left-leaning daily Népszava tries to dispel the widespread misconception in Hungary that all Roma are criminals: "Knife fights occur everywhere, and it's not just Roma who get involved in them. ... To describe these people as animals is unacceptable. Even criminals are human beings. ... And resolving the situation of the Hungarian Roma is not just a matter of fighting crime, because the Roma are not criminals. Yes, there are criminals among the Roma, and yes, their number is greater than among the non-Roma. But this is due to the different social situations in which Roma and non-Roma live. The plight of the Roma can only be improved through empathy, solidarity, cooperation, integration and concrete programmes."

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