An example of ghettoization in the heart of Europe

On Saturday, I watched the screening of the film The Érpatak Model at the Uránia movie theatre, in Budapest. Until now I assumed that Viktor Orbán’s rotten regime can’t come up with anything new for me. Was I ever wrong! The film depicts how in a community of 1,800 residents, a mayor–who appears to be visibly mentally ill–has essentially become the lord of life and death. He has been able to get away with all of this for years, without hindrance, and often without question. Why does he not have an opponent–someone who can speak and act against him? Someone who might report him to authorities? Where on earth are the civil rights groups? Why can’t someone stop this veritable Nazi madman? How can a mayor of a town in Hungary reinstate feudalism and rule with a iron fist, all with impunity?

The film’s Dutch-Israeli director, Benny Brunner and co-director Keno Verseck, showcase the systemic discrimination and marginalization in this small Szabolcs county town. The discriminatory regime is so very concentrated within a small area, that Érpatak is portrayed as a veritable twenty-first ghetto, dead smack in the middle of the European Union.

Érpatak’s population has been crippled, both mentally and physically. They are forced into total obedience and into servility. Érpatak has become the testing grounds for the resurrection of Nazi ideology in Europe. Open Nazism put into practice is being euphemistically referred to as a political and administrative “model” in contemporary Hungary.

The Érpatak model. Photo: Film promotional poster / BIDF

The Érpatak model. Photo: Film promotional poster / BIDF

The village’s Roma minority has been portrayed as indolent, work-shy and prone to criminal activity by Mayor Mihály Zoltán Orosz. The Roma are being degraded and have been stripped of all dignity, and in a manner which is eerily reminiscent of a very dark chapter in Hungary’s national history. The same type of systemic degradation is what led to the tragedy of Hungarian Jews during the Holocaust. The sense of local marginalization, the utter vulnerability, and the creation of inhumane living conditions is providing the underpinnings for the official drive to ghettoize and segregate the Roma population.  The local government argues that this segregation and ghettoization is “necessary” for the “good” of the majority population.

The Roma simply do not have a traditional response to persecution and to the tried and tested forms of discrimination. I don’t know how long it will take to finally see where the implementation of Nazi ideology, and on a daily basis, will eventually lead. The Roma are cooperating with the authorities in a completely servile manner. They are obeying the constant, everyday demands and by doing so, they are undermining themselves. It may take years of suffering for the Roma to finally develop a healthy, communal resistance to all of this. And the same could be said for the majority population of Érpatak. But I fear that by then, it will be much too late.

The reason for the singularly rapid extermination of the Jews during the Holocaust in Hungary was the lack of healthy, community-based resistance.

If our Roma compatriots do not receive assistance in building such a resistance, then nothing will save our society from yet another tragedy.

Eszter Garai-Édler

3 Comments

  1. Dear Eszter,

    When Germany falls to the Muslim hordes, you will realise how right people like Orban or Narendra Modi of India were over their view of Muslims. Love and compassion is well and good, but you cannot sleep next to a rabied wolf.

    These people cannot live peacefully with anyone in the world (wherever they are in a majority, their strength is in numbers). Their religion openly teaches them lie when you are in a minority, pretend to be loyal and peaceful, cut and kill when in majority.

    Read reports where Muslims are beating up and torturing Yazdis and Christians in asylums shelters in Germany.

    I don’t care how much I am insulted or even humiliated here, the facts are facts, they are trouble, wherever they go. And the world will finally awaken when Germany falls, utterly destroyed from inside.

    They are already raping European women left right and center, and crime has soared. You have no idea what a menace they are in India. And they feigh loyalty when single, it’s like a collective intelligence, a hive mind.

  2. Charlie London says:

    Eszter?

    You are so right.

    Orban’s governments ‘Christian’ treatment of fellow Hungarians – those of Roma ancestry – has been a human tragedy of major proportions. And for a whole generation, it seems.

    When one considers the inhumane treatment of the refugees it is easy to understand how such latent xenophobia can explain the Hungarian treatment of a whole underclass.

    I don’t understand how such prejudice can be so insidiously insinuated into the Hungarian establishment – the government, the (RC) church – the Bishops, the state-controlled media etc.

    But it has.

    My experience of a little village outside your ‘Gyor’ sadly endorses this.

    I’m hopeful that one day your country will see the light, but probably not in my lifetime.

  3. Pingback: Erpatak – the Ghetto - rroma.org

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