Roma: A Hard Life.

In January 2013 I posted this post on Metafilter, It generated some interesting discussion, as always on Metafilter.

The status of Roma in Hungary has been brought into sharp focus with a controversial article [link in Hungarian] by prominent ruling-party FIDESZ member, Zsolt Bayer, in which he says, “a significant part of the Roma are unfit for co-existence. They are not fit to live among people. These Roma are animals and they behave like animals.” The Guardian reports on the growing anger at the article, The Hungarian Spectrum, and well-known poet and translator of Hungarian literature George Szirtes weigh in with English translations of some of Bayer’s article. Many leading Hungarian politicians condemn the article.

Nonetheless, discrimination against Roma is widespread and pervasive. Myths persist about the life of Roma. Violent attacks [PDF] against Roma have taken place and the far-right Jobbik party actively espouses an anti-Roma platform. In response many Roma have sought asylum in Canada.

For those wanting a sensitive, and accurate, account of life as a Roma in Hungary the prize-winning film, Just The Wind/Csak a szél, which has been nominated (unsuccessfully) as Hungary’s submission for the Best Foreign Language Film category at the Oscars, is highly recommended.

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