|Mitsoura at the Godor Klub|
I have really come to enjoy hearing Roma music here, and, like many people here in Budapest, appreciate the richness they add to the cultural scene. One young Hungarian standing next to me, having noticed that I was English, struck up a conversation where he told me how fantastic she was and that she was the greatest Roma singer. And he was clearly a person of some taste: he had lived in Leicester for a year and really missed English beer and stilton cheese.
And yet the Roma people can have a very difficult existence here. They face routine discrimination and often end up being blamed for the country's ills. Some illustrations.
A colleague of mine who was looking to adopt a child told me that there were very few babies available for adoption, "... except Roma babies, nobody wants to adopt Roma babies".
We saw a film called "Vespa" at the excellent Odeon Lloyd a few months ago whose story concerned a Roma boy who wins a scooter in a competition, but who faces all sorts of discrimination when he tries to collect his prize. The director said that she had received death threats for making such a film about Roma people.
And just a few weeks ago three people died in a stampede at the West Balkan nightclub, crushed by a panicking crowd trying to leave an overcrowded venue. As with all such events the initial reports are confused, but one story was that someone jokingly called out that there had been a stabbing, and this had led to the panic. However, the story metamorphosed into a Roma person being responsible for this. There seems to be no evidence at all that anyone was stabbed at all, but somehow Roma are blamed.
Every society seems to feel the need to identify and scapegoat certain minorities. Why do we do this?