At times, even public figures or the representatives of authoritites make statements that contain hate speech. These utterances can have much graver effects and consequences than the statements of average citizens, because they reach a wider circle of people, and serve as a standard for the wider groups of society. The judge of the Court of Gyula rejected the request for the ban of the radical ‘For a Better Future Association’ (Szebb Jövőért Egyesület) with the reasoning that the Roma, attacked by the organisation, are „characterised by a lifestyle of avoiding work, and morals that lack the respect of private property and the norms of community co-existence”. The activism carried out by CFCF was a reaction to the racist statement of judge Erika Mucsi. With the use of various communication tools and by activating citizens they have managed to achieve that the National Committee of Judicial Ethics have declared the words and the judicial practice of the judge unethical.
On the first of May in Hungary we are celebrating with beer and sausage that we can work under more or less fair conditions: theoretically eight hours a day with social security, paid leave and the promise of pension. Such working rights and conditions are provided for most of this article’s readers which our ancestors couldn’t dream of a 150 years ago. But if we look around a bit more we can see that many people are still not free. While slavery is illegal in every country there have never been so many slaves on the Earth as today.
Blind and visually impaired people have difficulties in doing everyday tasks. Transportation, dealing with official matters or even to do a simple shopping can be problem. The Association of Blind and Visually Impaired in Csongrád has launched an initiative to help visually impaired people in shopping.
Members of the Public Workers Movement handed over a letter to the Ministry of Interior in September 2015. Although resignation and fear keeps an increasing number of public employees from raising their voices for their rights and humane work environments, the members of the movement brought to life by the Hungarian Anti-Poverty Network (Magyar Szegénységellenes Hálózat) still have the courage to play, ask, and represent their demand that they as people in employment should also be granted viable conditions.
It’s not only ponces and gangsters that tap a single sex worker for up to ten million each year, but the solid protectors of order as well - police officers - who, since a new regulation came into force three years ago, may impose fines of up to HUF 300.000 on sex workers, several times a day. The map of violence created by the Advocacy Association of Sex Workers raises awareness to the regulatory gaps, abuse and discrimination that cause a lot of undeserved suffering in all spheres of life to the boys and girls in the trade, most of whom did not choose this vocation as the most attractive one out of a huge array of excellent options, to begin with.
If police officers don't trust citizens, citizens won't trust police officers either. If police officers only strive to serve the demands of abstract legislations and their superiors, instead of the public – which they are supposed to be serving – then it's no wonder that the gap between the two parties keeps deepening. If we don't have good experiences with each other – be it the police, doctors, or members of any social group – it's no surprise that we prefer to avoid each other. We're not comfortable with filing complaints, bearing witness, and in cases where we must communicate, we try to keep it as brief as possible. And if we are a member of a group (such as the Roma, gay people, disabled people) that often faces rejection and contempt in other spheres of their life as well, we are even less likely to turn to the police; because the reason why we were threatened or beaten up, the walls of our houses were covered in graffiti, or our bikes were damaged is precisely the fact that we belong to the given group. But is it in the interest of the police at all to inspect the cases of victims of hate crimes as more than just simple vandalism or assault, and do the police even want to gain the trust and cooperation of citizens?
On average, a woman dies each week in Hungary as a victim of domestic violence. Recently there have been years when the number of victims was as high as 70 a year. Women that cannot raise their voices any longer, fates that cannot change for the better any more. We can learn about their stories at the Muted Witnesses march that takes place on 21st November, where we can find them written on red female figures. Yet we still cannot see or hear the stories of over a million Hungarian women who are regularly abused by their partners, or who become victims of violence at their workplaces or in hospital. Or maybe we just don’t want to hear and see..? Just don’t let the tip of the iceberg poke our eyes out – the 70 dead women that cannot be ignored any more. Who are responsible for the violence, and what can we do so that women can live in safety?