2009 Budapest, Ungarn
Beitrag über den Alltagsrassismus in Budapest, Ungarn.
Feature about the everyday racism in Budapest, Hungary.
“Vor 10 Jahren ist es mir noch passiert, dass ich in einer kleinen Seitengasse mit Drecksjude beschimpft wurde. Heute kann es mir passieren dass mir auf einem großen Platz vor die Füße e gespukt wird und niemand sagt etwas.” Támas ist nicht sauer, eher resigniert. Er zuckt die Schultern und rückt sein Baseballcape zurecht. Támas ist 32, er arbeitet als Programmierer. Es gefällt ihm. Nicht immer, aber meistens. Er ist in Budapest aufgewachsen, wechselte sein Heimatland des öfteren mit Deutschland. Er studierte in Budapest Germanistik “aus Rebellion”, ging nach Berlin und Israel. Kam wieder nach Budapest um zu arbeiten und ist vielleicht bald wieder weg „weil die Stimmung hier so schlecht ist“. Ein ganz normales Leben. Der einzige Unterschied: er ist Jude, liest den Talmut, geht zur Synagoge. Er isst Kosher und ehrt den Sabbat. Nichts mehr, doch für viele Ungarn schon viel zu viel.
Ungarn machte sich in den letzten Jahren einen Namen für seine Rechtspopulismus.
Eine Rückschau: 2003 entstand aus einer studentischen Organisation die Partei Jobbik. Seitdem lassen Sie sich öffentlich über die sogenannten Bolschewiken und Zigeunerkriminalität aus und wollen nebenbei die Obdachlosen aus der ヨ ffentlichkeit entfernen. 2007 Gründung des Jobbik Zöglings “Ungarische Garde” und Vereidigung der ersten 55 Gardisten unter Beisein von tausenden von Sympathisanten. Diese marschieren munter durch die hauptsächlich von Zigeunern besiedelten, Ghetto ähnlichen Bezirken und sprechen von „Zigeunerkriminalität“ und „reinem Ungartum“. 2007: Meldungen von willkürlichen Morden an Zigeunern. Bilanz 2009: Mord an einem Vater mit Sohn im Februar in Tatarszentgyörgy, April Mord an Mann in Tiszalök und August Mord an 45 jährigen Frau. Alle mit Roma Hintergrund. Dazwischen Fans die Fussballspiele nutzen um Plakate wie „Den Holocaust gab es nicht“ aufzuhängen und Demonstrationen am Ungarischen Nationalfeiertag mit Worten wie „Zigeuner in die Donau” und “Drecksjuden”. 2009 der Eintritt von drei Jobbik Anhängern in das EU Parlament- 15 % Wahlstimmen im Vergleich zu der momentanen sozialen Regierung MSZP mit 17, 3 % Stimmen. Erster Programmpunkt: Verhandlung des EU-Beitrittsvertrags. Inhalt: Kauf von ungarischen Grundstücken durch Ausländer.
Die Politik meldet sich nur spärlich zu Wort. Ference Gyurcsány, der damalige Präsident äußerst dich zu dieser Thematik verhalten. Er gibt zu, dass es noch nie soviel Antisemitismus in Ungarn gab, aber „offen ausgelebter Antisemitismus“ sei „in politischen Diskussionen nicht zu entdecken“.
Die Ursachen sind zahlreich und könnten exemplarisch für jedes Osteuropäisches Land stehen. Angefangen mit der mangelnden Verarbeitungen des 2. Weltkriegs. Der fehlende Demokratisierungsprozess, das Streben nach eigener nationaler Identität, die Unsicherheit des wirtschaftlichen Abstiegs, die Simplizität des Rechtspopulismus und das Fehlen eines Antifaschismus.
Fakten über Fakten, die die Situation in Ungarn zwar erklären. Doch begreiflich machen? Was denken die jungen Erwachsenen? Wie erleben Sie Ihren Alltag, was halten Sie von den Rassismus und wie kommen Sie zu diesen Gedanken?
Evi Lemberger spricht mit Jugendlichen aus Budapest über ihr Leben, ihren Alltag und ihre Ansichten.
Hungary made a name for his right wing populism and racism specifically against the minorities of the Roma and Judaism during the last years.
A retrospect: Since 2003 there is the right wing-populist party called Jobbik. It romps about in the Hungarian politics and speaks of Jew’s Bolshevik and Gipsy’s criminal activity. In 2007, the inauguration of the Jobbik’s pupil „The Hungarian guard“. The paramilitary organisation shows with pleasure presence in the areas primarily settled by Roma and speaks of „clear Hungarians“. Since 2007 over and over again single people with Roma Background are killed. Balance: Six murders and an arrest of suspects at the end of August, 2009. In between football fans hang up posters with writings such as „The Holocaust was not“ during a football match and demonstrations on the Hungarian national holiday do happens. Slogans were „Gipsy in the Danube” and „Dirty Jew“. In 2009: three Jobbik representatives are taking part in the EU parliament. They got 15% of electoral voices in comparison to the temporary social government MSZP with 17, 3% of voices. The first program point: Negotiations of the EU accession contract. Content: Purchase of Hungarian properties by foreigners.
The causes are numerous and the country could stand exemplarily for every East European country. Starting with the lack of understanding and reflection of the 2nd world war. The missing democratic process, the striving for own national identity, the insecurity of the economic descent, the simplicity of the right wing populism and the absence of an antifascism.
Facts and facts, which explain the situation in Hungary though. However, does it make the situation comprehensible? What do the young adults think? How do they experience their everyday life? What do they think about racism and how they come to these thoughts?
At the end of September I travelled for 2 weeks to Budapest. During this time I spoke with young adults different origins about their everyday life, experiences and problems with racism. With the help of experts like the sociologist to János Ládanyi and the organisation of Karavan I got academical knowledge about the topic. Everyday racism and Gypsy culture stood in the centre of interest. In addition, I also shot a photoseries, that portraits the interviewed people and their living space, the town.
Result is a material collection, which not just personalizes the subject ‚racism in Hungary‘, but rationalises it. The experience reports make it clear how the young adults live, when they meet racism and what they think about it. Also the interviews also show the the reason for racism. Thus the young adults do not only stand exemplarily for their country, but also for a whole generation whose life is similar.
This year I will graduate. I would be the first Roma who graduates at this school. I go to a private school. I get it free of charge, because I had excellent achievements in the elementary school. The other pupils are very rich and a lot of their parents are actors and mayors. I like them. We play together music, we stood even together on stage. My friends there are glad that I am a Gipsy who does not steal and is not dirty. I know to think that is also stupid, but I think everybody has clichés, and everybody knows that there are exceptions. And I am the gate to another understanding. There are Gipsies who fullfill the clichés. But what should they do? I have a cousin who is my best friend. He asked me once a question: ‚ What would you do if your parents became incapacitated, you would have to look after them and nobody could help you, above all financially?‘. I answered: ‚I would steal‘. At that time I did not know the prejudices against Gipsies. My cousin said immediately: ‚You see, you would steal‘. So the prejudices are right for those, which are in the same or similar situation. Not because they are Gipsies, but because they are poor. Many Gipsies have no work. I am happy that I am a Gipsy, but I want to be not always looked as a Gipsy. When I was for a short time in Germany, I understood that the Germans make no differentiation between me and somebody else. When I was there, I was Roland, a boy, but not Roland a Gipsy. If I am here I always think that people look at me strangely. Therefore, I want to be a German businessman. By the way I am the first of my family who graduates. However, this does not mean that my family is silly. My father had a very successful life. Although he didn’t finish the elementary school he is now one of the main bosses of a company. Also not typical for a Roma.
Am I a Gipsy? I am not sure. My father is at least a half- Gipsy. Does that count? I think at least when I moved with my family to Trokbalink. Trokbalink is a little village in the North of Hungary. I moved there with my family when I was nine years old. The life there was terribly and became a complete disaster during my school time. When I was 12 years old, I thought finally, that I had to be a monster. If hundred people are against you and say bad things about you, it is difficult to think something else. It was so difficult for me that I finished school after the 8th class. Also my brother had problems. One time he came from school and the other kids were throwing stones at him and he bleeded so strong that we went to the head of school and complaint. But he said it is just a game. Another time the villagers wanted to bring us children in an institution, away from my mother. But my mother did not want that. I am not angry with her, because my mother loved us and wanted to keep us with her. She got us not because she wanted to have the government’s money but because of us. But did they do that because we were Roma? I don’t care it just hurts. During this time I tried to commit not only once suicide. I took tablets. One year ago we returned to Budapest and since ten years I have for the first time again the feeling of being at home. Now I go to school again. I must teach myself a lot at home. Sometimes if I come back from the school, I always say to my mother that I am fed up with everything, but my mother laughs, „You have waited for such a long time now. Now you can also finish it.“ Now I do not think of committing suicide. Am I a Roma now more or less?
Am I a Gypsy? Depends where I am. When I lived with my parents I was a Hungarian. My parents are Roma, but I did not grow up in a Gipsy’s community and I have never been in a Gipsy’s ghetto. During this time people saw me as Brigitta as a person. Then, with 14, I moved because of a new school to Budapest. And in this school I am the only with Roma background. And there, for whatever reasons I am suddenly a Roma. Why? I do not know. Once, in the first year, two boys sat beside me, and said „We should kill every Gipsy with a gun.“ When I heard this I was incredibly sad. I felt alone. Another time I told my class about my trip to America. A girl mumbled behind my back, the trip has been paid by Hungarian tax money ‚for the silly Gipsies‘. I tried to speak after the lesson with her to make clear that the trip was paid by an American organisation, but the girl did not hear at all me and meant, instead, ‚My parents have paid the Gipsy’s trip.‘ I cried, I was so angry. I couldn’t do anything, and everybody around me said I should keep my tongue. But why? I was right and she not. If somebody hates me, he should get to know me first and hate me as Brigitta the person, but not Brigitta the Roma girl. But I am not afraid. I can stand up for myself. Anyway sometimes I forget who I am. It is anyway not the most important thing in my life and my friends and me do not think about it all the time. But other people mostly reduce me on a stereotype: Gipsies are dirty. This is what they think. But I am not silly, I am not dirty. It would be great to do something against racism and I know in comparison to other Gipsies I am an exception. My life is not difficult, I have a good education, I have enough money for food and clothes. I must not fight with the government or with the exclusion or prejudices, but if I am an example, I can help other people. I would like to become a lawyer. A lot of people told me that I am too smart to become an actress, because that was my original plan. And I think that was a good idea, because if I am a good example I can help other Romas.
Nine months ago I got to know my boyfriend. At that time I was together with my old boyfriend. I wanted to finish the relationship and he gave me advices. And thus we came together. My boyfriend is a Gipsy and lives in an orphanage. I see him everyday because he goes to the same school. We see us in the morning. In the afternoon we go home together. Sometimes I would like to see him even more often because at school people are always around us. Sometimes I am also angry at him. But he also gives me security and accompany. I can speak with him about every subject. It never was a problem that he is Roma, also for my mummy not. She does not interfere with the relationship. Many people I know are against the relationship and they say to me that they do not like my boyfriend because of his Roma background. To me this makes no difference, I do not worry. I also think that it is a question of perception. Everybody can say what he would like to. We are not in a world where everybody must think the same. My friends have nothing against the fact that he is Gipsy, but they also do not like him if he is present.
I think to have stereotypes is complete normal. Everybody has them and it corresponds to the human nature. As well as with me. I have the problem, that because of my stereotypes I refuse to define myself as a Hungarian, although I am by birth. The problem is, the people who say that they are a Hungarian are proud of her origin, but these are Hungarian, who do not like the Slovaks, Gipsies and Rumanians. And this is really frightening, and I want to feel not accompanying to such a group. Therefore, the differentiation to us Jews. Also when I say I am a Hungarian people look strangely at me. In my class and school the racism is not so high. Of course they make jokes. They think it is funny. But it doesn’t hurt. But if I go for a walk on the street and there are Faschists it can become quite dangerous. But I still wear the star of David as a chain, but I do not wear the chain out of provocation, but because I think that I must not be ashamed for my background and my religion. I am proud of my religion and I want to show it also to the other Jews. If I leave the synagogue, I leave them with my Kippa on my head. A friend of mine says that I do not make it on account of my faith, but on account of the fashion. However, this is not right. At the moment I try to keep the traditions, but it is difficult. I go to the synagogue at Sabbath and then I go home and turn on the computer. And, to tell the truth, in Hungary it is almost impossibly to eat kosher. That‘ s why I plan to go to Israel after the classification. I would like to go to Israel, because I want to be not only a part of a small society, but a bigger one.
We are in the 21st century and I feel like in the Middle Ages. It is really dangerous what I see. I think that every country has problems. Also many other countries make people and minorities responsible for their problems. Hungarian people tend to blame other people for their faults. This is so typical for the Hungarian mentality, and so annoying. Why can’t this nation grow up. The Jews are used to this situation. My friends, who are involved in the Jewish society really think `If we must go, we go´. This is also the reason, why all their valuables are portable. Like jewellery. I am a Jew as well but I never came in touch with racism. In the secondary school there was a guy, one year older. He always asked me on Friday whether I would go to the synagogue and called me Sarah. But I think generally the Gypsies have a much bigger problem. I think that the most or many live from the purse of the state. Many do not work and live on the street. I hear stories on the radio. From a Gipsy family who lives for 700000 Forint per month because the mother has nine children. I can also remember the last year in secondary school. They introduced a new educational programme. If the school takes more Gipsy children, the school would get more support of the government. It is quite clear if some people might think: Why do always the Gypsies get everything and not our children? But of course you must support them. They have no money. I am not such a person, who forces people to do something, but I think that they should work to receive the money. And because most Gypsies do not work they become angry. The problem is: They are angry against the whole community, and this is wrong. Yes I know a Gipsy, my cousin. She was adopted and is Roma. For her it is difficult to go to school. I think that is because of her knowledge. But this is very racist, and I do not want to be a racist.
Nagy Kinga, 25
I am proud of Hungary. For example if there is a national holiday, there is the hymn on to the television and radio. Then I get up and join in the singing. I also have homesickness, even here in Budapest and I have to go home at least once a month. The area where I come from is very much neglected and there is a lot of unemployment. The houses look ran down, but, nevertheless, this is my native region. I could not work there, because there is none. At the moment I work at a hotel. At my hotel there are a lot of European youngsters. I find this really interesting, because I know that the Hungarian youngsters can’t travel because of a lack of money. On the other side we have here a lot of Jews as guests and on Sabbath it is them forbidden to use something electric. Then they come to me and then I have to press the lift button because they cannot not use it. Then I must come along and must switch on the microwave and everything. And then I ask myself: in which country would the staff do that for me? I think in no country. The Jews expect that everything is made for them, because they are Jews. And this disturbs me a little bit, because we are in Hungary and they have no respect. I am not a radical right-wing, but all employees at the hotel have the opinion Jews are difficult guests. If a Jewish guest comes everybody says already in advance „Oh no, again another Jew“. However, I think in Hungary the Gipsies are a bigger problem than the Jews, because Jews are intelligent. Unfortunately, Gipsies are not. They are different and I believe they properly never integrate themselves. The girls are pregnant, for example, at the age of 13 years and this is normal. They work, not everybody. Most live on social help and they steal. I do not know it exactly. My cousin is ten years old and it often seems that the young Gipsies take her money and her mobile phone and this is unbelievable. This provokes very big hatred with the Hungarians and, therefore, the right-wing radicalism is so strong. And this is a gigantic problem and all politicians say: We must integrate them and please no hatred on the Gipsies. To be honest I just would like to live in a area where I, if it is quite dark, mustn’t be afraid.
When I was younger, I did not understand my situation. It was natural for me to sit behind all the other pupils in the classroom. Then I went to the Gandhi School. This is a great school for students with Roma background. While these six years I came to the end that if I want I can study everything. At the moment I have been for three years an assistant of the ex European representative and I am the president of the the board of trustees. Whether I am proud of myself? I am not sure. I am proud of what my girlfriend and me reached. Maybe I am proud of my new car. But I am not proud of it because I am Gipsy getting there. But I am proud to be a Gipsy. This means everything for me, and I can enumerate 2000 other Gipsies in Hungary who have the same success. Many people have so many clichés in their head. I like the first moment when I speak with the people, who have prejudices and I can see how they change their way of thinking. Sometimes I meet people, I start to speak with them and suddenly the person says:“ Wow, I also know a Gipsy who is intelligent as you.“ Or somebody looses the wallet, and I return it to him, and I can see in his eyes: ‚He is a Gipsy, but he is not stealing.‘ It is absurd, but, nevertheless, it is something special if one can change the people and their ways of thinking. Sometimes I am angry about peoples prejustice, sometimes I leave it as it is, but we must progress. In villages racism is much worse. The communities are much smaller. In a gigantic town like London and Budapest racism is not so clear. If a Gipsy youngster of a village comes to Budapest, he does not see the racism. Instead, he sees the multiculturism. But racism is meanwhile so daily in Hungary that the whole society is involved and the people do not understand how racistic they are. And it is a very long process to change something. I do not want to be a role model. I do not like it, when I do something and other people say „Oh, what a gigantic responsibility you have“. I want to live without prejudices and people who tell me how particularly I am. I simply want to live.
My parents bought houses, then they renovated them and resold it. This is the way they earn their money. Actually, the perfect example of a Gipsy. I never thought about that when I was a child. Also when I became an actor. Originally theatre meant for me to get out of the system. With the system I mean the Gipsy’s being. At that time I thought that I had two possibilities: Either I would become a pimp, or I would be an actor. And the theatre play was important for me to prove that I could reach even more than other think of me. It is funny. I am the only one from my family who really makes something artistic. My sister has a job in marketing, my brother is a lawyer. Actually, atypical for Gipsies as well. The reasons, why we have all a good education? I do not know. My mummy always said to us that we have a choice „Either you work hard and you come out of the system. Or you make nothing and you remain where you are“. Today I live in Budapest and work as a manager, because it is very difficult to make a career as an actor. Am I then a Roma. For me yes, but for the others it is difficult to categorize me. Why? It is so difficult to describe. Today there was such a situation: I had a meeting with regard to my company: When I came to the meeting, the people asked me, when the meeting would start. I believe, they would never come up with the idea that a Gipsy could be the manager. Or whenever I go to an expensive clothes shop. It happens so often to me that the shop assistant speaks with me in English. When I give them a Hungarian answer they were so confused that they disappear behind the counter. And of course it hurts me if this happens more often. And the people really think that the brown of our skin is connected with dirtiness. And the skin colour is really the only thing I have in common with the prejudice of the typical Gipsy.
Pál Hegedus, 34
I am a Jew and I feel the Anti-Semitism is in the awakening. In the past I got one or two silly remarks per year if I was on the streets with the Kippa. But then, 3 years ago it came daily and then it happened two times within ten minutes. They say: “Go to Auschwitz”, and “Dirty Jew” – just childish things. A little bit what I would not even like to discuss. Now I carry the baseball cap and the comments stopped. Of course I am angry about it, my blood pressure rises, but otherwise I am ok. I do not think that it is my obligation to talk to the people about it. Of course there is a moral obligation to exchange ideas between Jews and Hungarian, because ignorance is mostly the reason for racism, but when I try to talk with people who say stupid comments I always get the same answer. And I found this very boring after a while. In Hungary there are two groups which haven`t a good image. These are the Jews and the Gipsies. I read many negative comments of the people on the Gipsy’s community, and then I read negative comments on the Jews. And if I compare these comments, I would say that there is a similar relation what is true or not. Maybe 90 percent of the comments are wrong. Another thing is that people remember clichés with pleasure. It always happens that you make mistakes. If he is, however, a Christian or a Jew, a whole group is immediately held responsible for it. Jews are often accused to speak a lot of the Holocaust. Yes, sometimes it is a topic in the Jewish community, but mostly it is not the most important in the world. In the last round of the national football league there was a match between a traditional nationalistic team and team who was founded by Jews. During the match there was a pig poster „the Holocaust has not happened.“ So I asked myself who talks more about the Holocaust? Another issue is miscommunication: You get a lot of publication of books and then I get questions like: Why Jews do not want to kill Jews? I think the citation is taken out of context and became miss-interpreted then. If one thought rationally it is completely mad, because if it would be true, it would mean that every Jew deals with nothing else than the whole day thinking about the best way to kill a non-Jew.
I am a Roma, but I have no strong identification with the Roma background. I guess I am rather a Hungarian: I speak Hungarian and have Hungarian forefathers. Then, however, I am a Gipsy within the Hungarian society. It is odd. I never grew up with some traditions, I do not even have an own language. The only ‚Gypsy like‘ on me is that I went to a school where more Gipsy’s children were. So I never had typical problems like being excluded of a group, being treated badly or accused of issues like stealing etc. Nevertheless, I was very much aware that there is a difference between Roma and non Roma. My parents always said this. Earlier I played a lot in the theatre. After I was not successful I decided to finish the theatrical plays. Now I work as a shop assistant for t-mobile. I wanted to have something more regular. I also became the second best shop assistant in Europe. I was glad about the results and the experience. I am not proud of it, however, also not because I am Roma. This would make no sense, because my affiliation nothing deals with my abilities.