Tuesday, 7 July 2009

Fonyod, 26 June 2009

Tibor comforting Irene after the incident with the Hungarian Guard

Group discussion

Late in the afternoon we decided to go into town to explore ... a railway station, a shopping precinct, a plethora of cafes, bouncy castles and ice cream stalls lakeside.
We walked about 50 yards from our building and straight into a commotion. Roughly 20 people, men and women, dressed in black uniforms emerged behind us just as our group of Roma painters was returning to base towards us. Isztvan and Szuszi came up fast behind us asking if we were alright. But nothing had happened!
Such is the level of fear and anxiety among the Roma now that all the Hungarian Guard - the people in black uniforms with roaring white lions stencilled on their backs - has to do is turn up next door to where the Roma were having their Summer sojourn and the peace and tranquility was destroyed in an instant.
The menacing behavior and aggressive posturing by the Guard, the equivalent of our National Front, is designed to provoke and intimidate. The whole event had to be planned ... to disrupt - it was certainly no coincicence that they all congregated in such close proximity to the Roma house.
Tina managed to grab one photograph of the confrontation - see above - and it is a telling one we think.

Everyone was distressed and disturbed by what had happened - apparently there was an exchange in a bar earlier - one of the Guard had made derogatory remarks about 'the black ones' to some of the Roma women. Tibor, the workshop leader decided that there should be an open discussion about what had happened, thus giving people the opportunity to vent their feelings. This we did until well into the early hours.
It was sad to see us split into two camps - the forthright proud Roma angry and loud and the more moderate 'what can we do about it' resigned Roma, quietly despairing.
Divide and rule ... that old potatoe ... came into our minds. History repeating itself?

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