Attacks on the Roma Community in Hungary
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After each attack Roma leaders visit the families. Aladar Horvath, President of the Roma Civil Rights Foundation, suggests a particularly sinister explanation for the attacks and murders.


Attacks on the Roma Community in Hungary Male: All of this is happening in a terrible social climate and it’s in society we have to look for the answers. Narrator: In the Budapest Pub, Arpad is trying to find some answers with his friends. Male: Many things come to mind; a foreign secret service, extreme right, the political left, or it could just be a crazy individual with a grudge. Narrator: The prejudice people have that many Roma are criminals must have led some to the misguided conclusion that they can restore order this way. Male: It would be horrible enough if someone thought that he could identify Roma who are criminals and kill them but there’s no logic in trying to restore or by killing a child. That doesn’t make any sense at all. Male: Gypsies are rats to them, just rats. That’s why our women and children can be slaughtered because we are nobody. Narrator: A few days later in August, another attack. Male I heard the people who condemned these attacks are invited to the funeral to express their sympathy to the family. I think I have to be there too. Narrator: The killers have become more confident. This time, for the first time, they entered the gypsy’s house. They shot a single mother and her 13-year-old daughter in their sleep. As the mother is buried, the girl is fighting for her in the hospital. For her grandmother, the pain is too much to take. After the funeral, Arpad is invited to the wake at the crime scene. Most relatives are afraid to be seen on camera. But there is one exception, the victim’s niece. Female She was a kind, cheerful person. We spoke everyday. She always asked how I was. Though mostly, she could tell just by looking at me. We were so close. Narrator: And the little girl, is she getting better? Female She can still barely speak but she still keeps asking about her mother. Her mother meant everything to her. She was her best friend too. People are saying how professional these killers are and that really upsets me. I don’t think we can call people ‘professional’ who attacked two innocent vulnerable women. Narrator: After each attack, Roma leaders visit the families. Alador Horvath suggests a particularly sinister explanation for the attacks and murders. Alador Horvath: I think this is a provocation, probably to get the Roma to hit back at the Hungarians, to shoot back a t them. And once that happens, all further notice of the Roma will seem justified. And of comes to any kind of a gypsy revolt; the state can use full force to crush it. Narrator: Arpad decides to visit the family of the first victims , the -- . As in most attacks, Molotov cocktails were thrown through the window. As they ran for safety, the gypsies inside were shot. The house chosen was always at the edge of the village, easy to attack and easy to get away. Male: Do you think they came from there? Tibor: Yes, where they came from and where they went. Narrator: Tibor lost both his wife and his disabled brother in the attack. Donations enabled him to rebuild most of the house but the fear would not go away. Female: I hear they kept on killing here and there and everywhere. I’m just glad they haven’t come back here. Male: At night I hear the dig bark. I go out, look around, nothing. Half an hour later, the dog barks again. I check again, can’t see anyone out there. But I’m not afraid. They can come shoot me if they want. Isn’t it enough they killed my family? They might as well shoot me too. Male: Having been to some of the crime scenes, it strikes me that the killers seem to choose the poorest, most vulnerable people, the ones least able to get their voices heard. But I know someone who has a slightly different perspective because she is also a kind of an expert. She’s a sociologist and she lost her uncle in one of the attacks. Female: We have seen time and time again in Hungary that when a Roma person does something bad, it is never just about him. It becomes a much bigger story. People generalize and the Roma get a kind of collective punishment. On the other hand, solidarity doesn’t seem to work as effectively toward the Roma or any way, not even my children are killed, not even when people are being gunned down. Male: There should been more of a public outcry. Female: Yes, I certainly haven’t seen this sort of national outrage I would have expected. I do have a personal link to this story because – sorry, I can't bring myself to even say it.