Recent Romnews postings

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Date: Fri, 2 Oct 1998 10:27:11 +0300 (EET DST)
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Subject: Recent Romnews postings

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Recent Romnews postings

Multicultural Paradise
The laws of minorities in Hungary are considered to be the best in
Central Europe

Budapest/HUNGARY (RNN Correspondent) September the 28th 1998

The school of 10 years old Mih└ly Dian lies on the outskirts of
Budapest. In this part the grey concrete blocks stand near the modern
glass boxes. The modern school of the Slovakian minority was
established in 1992 and has about 200 pupils. It has a beautiful gym
and a modern computer equipment.
There are many events like sports, theatre, dancing groups and music
groups, and they have a school magazine "Studentske pero". Some months
ago there was the 7th "meeting of the nationalities in Pest" with many
performances of the gypsy group Khanci Dos, the South Slavian boys
choir, the Bulgarian group Martenica, the German group of
nationalities, and of course, Mih└ly and his school.

Thirteen different minorities live in Hungary, that is about 10% of a
population of 10 millions. They are Slovakians, Roma, Bulgarians,
Germans, Romanians, Greeks, Croatians, Serbians, and Ukrainians. It is
difficult to say whether this number is correct. Many of the people do
not want to be regarded as Non-Hungarians. At the last census in 1990,
30.000 Hungarian citizens confessed to their German nationality,
10.000 to their Slovakian nationality, and 400.000 confessed to being
Roma. However, the real number seems to be many times higher.

Mih└ly belongs to one of the minorities who have assimilated most.
Opposite to the Serbians who are traditionally-minded and give their
children Serbian and no Hungarian names, the other minorities are
hardly speaking their own language any more. After the exchange of
population in the Forties it seemed better not to differ from the rest
of the population, says Mih└ly Mata, president of the Slovakian
self-government. With the laws of minorities of 1993 the new Hungary
tries to stop the "Magyarizing".

This is paradoxical, because the government tries to change the
process of assimilation at the time of its fulfilllment. Since 1993,
the minorities of Hungary have the right to be taught in their mother
tongue and to have their own cultural meeting places. There are 219
schools with so-called nationailty-classes and 15 nationality schools.
The representatives of the self-governments can influence certain laws
and decisions of the communes. The new law of minorities of Hungary is
considered to be exemplary. But now and then  the government is
accused of only doing this with a look towards their own people in
neighboured countries.

Each minority has its specific esteem, which is often connected with
the mother country. In this respect the German minority is held in
greatest esteem. On the opposite, it looks worst for the Roma. Under
the Kadar system they had lived reasonably good. At least they had had
a regular income. But the typical industry branches perished after the
turning point, the workers living units were closed, and there was
hardly a demand for unskilled labourers. Therefore, the Roma were
reduced to poverty more and more. A growing inner migration and more
ghettos of dilapidated living units are leading  to the situation,
that Roma and Non-Roma are drifting apart more and more. "The Roma are
going to become a strange and disapproved ethnic group", says Aladar
Horv└th, one of the known Roma politicians of Hungary.


A group of experts on Roma matters from the Council of Europe is in
the Czech Republic on a 4-day visit. The group meets regularly for
discussions about the Roma situation in Europe and it will hold its
6th session in Prague.  The representatives of the Council of Europe
on September 29 visited the controversial North Bohemian city of Usti
nad Labem, where the councillors still plan to build a wall, which
they now call a fence, dividing the Roma and non-Roma populations.
Monday's visit to Usti nad Labem by a group of
specialists sent by the Council of Europe to investigate the problems
faced by Romanies did not agree with the mayor of the town. The mayor,
Ladislav Hruska made it clear to the Czech government officials that
accompanied the representatives, that he was not pleased by the
purpose of the visit. In his view, the focus should be on other
problems that the town has, that are more important than that of the

Instead, due to constant complaints of locals about the rowdy
behaviour and messy conditions that they live in, plans have been made
to separate the houses of the Romanies from the rest of the people.
The means of separation was to be a large four metre wall. To Mr.
Hruska, however, this was totally uncalled for since such a wall is an
exaggerated means to solve the problem and just draws unnecessary
international attention.

Whilst the mayor and the Czech officials argued, the representatives
of the Council of Europe watched in disbelief. Afterwards, they took a
short look at the place where the Romanies live and the street on
which the wall was to be built. Now, the idea of the four metre wall
is to be replaced by a 1.8 meter "fence" where the people on the
non-Roma side have already proven that they aim to keep their side

The representatives also visited the mainly Roma housing estate,
Chanov in the town of Most. Here, they were mainly interested in their
living conditions and their opportunities to aquire jobs. A town
official revealed that Chanov houses about 1100 Romanies for whom the
city pays about 12 million crowns yearly for
social benefits and about 25 million to account for money missing due
to the large number of debt defaulters. The estate is very neglected,
but recently local Romanies themselves have launched a campaign to
clean it up - an aspect that greatly interested the Council of Europe

Central Committee of German Sinti and Roma
September 25th, 1998
To: Actual and Politics Departments
(including Berlin)

Central Committee rejects Djuric's demand for retraction

The Central Committee of German Sinti and Roma has rejected the demand
of Rajko Djuric for injunction and retraction. The lawyer of Djuric,
Johannes Eisenberg, had claimed that the Central Committee should not
mention the past of Djuric when he worked with the Belgrade party
newspaper "POLITIKA", which was comparable to "Neues Deutschland" and
the "Prawda". He also demanded, that the Central Committee should not
point to the publications of Djuric about "the gypsies". Those
publications are marked by worst prejudice and racist clich╚s.

According to Djuric, the gypsies "are robbing and stealing" and "their
system of values is at a standstill of the 11th century". "Fighting,
swindle, and insults" are their everyday things". They "believe in
vampires" and "find their wives by buying them, exchange deals or
kidnapping". Moreover, the "president", who also holds the title
"president of the Roma P.E.N. Centre" had written that "for some extra
money you can get more than a dance from Roma women".

The Central Committee also criticized the ridiculous political demands
of Djuric and also the "Roma union" that cannot be taken for serious
anymore. Since more than eight years there have been no reports on
presidency meetings and Roma conferences with regular elections.

The Central Committee told Eisenberg, that his cost accounting and the
announcement of taking legal action against the Central Committee
would have no chances of success.
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