The trial of the four men suspected of murdering Roma villagers in 2008 and 2009 has just begun – followed with much more moderate attention than the ongoing trial for the murder of handball player Marian Cozma, allegedly by Roma thugs. At the same time, marches of the Civic Guard for a Better Future Association in a village in Heves county, Gyöngyöspata sparked political debates again on Roma issues. While the marches have ended without any serious violent incidents, passions are on the rise and further marches are planned for other villages. It is difficult to imagine a case that is more destructive for Fidesz’s declared “law and order” policy. Fidesz-KDNP made very few concrete promises in its election campaign, but “creating order” was its most important pledge to the voters. Sándor Pintér, minister of interior, declared that the government would create order in two weeks after taking power at the end of May last year.. The government must realise that it is unable to work miracles and is not in an easier situation than its predecessors; rebuilding confidence in state institutions is not possible from one day to the next. The planned reduction of welfare benefits projected in the Széll Kálmán Plan (the government’s debt reduction program), could make it even more difficult for the government to dissipate the conflicts. Since a high proportion of welfare recipients are Roma, the measure could easily fire up ethnic tensions. We should remember that pandemonium broke out in Slovakia’s impoverished eastern regions when the government of former prime minister Mikulas Dzurinda slashed welfare payments in 2004. Members of the Roma population staged hunger strikes and the region experienced a surge in crime. It took strong and concerted police and military action to re-establish order. Let’s consider that a worst-case scenario, but unfortunately it is not beyond plausible. There is also another challenge to face. With anti-Roma sentiments in a portion of the population getting stronger and stronger, a spark like the Olaszliszka lynching (an ethnic Hungarian school teacher was murdered in front of his children when a group of Roma mistakenly thought a girl had been run down by his car) or the murder in Veszprém could easily lead to the explosion of this barrel of gunpowder.
Péter Krekó, Political Capital – Budapest Times, March 26. 2011.
Last Updated on Friday, 08 April 2011 05:36