16 thoughts on “Hungarian regime replaces science with militarism

  1. Roma film wins Berlin gong

    GERMANY: A film about attacks on Hungary’s Roma community won the prestigious Jury Grand Prix at the 62nd Berlin International Film Festival at the weekend.

    Hungarian director Bence Fliegauf’s movie Just The Wind features a non-professional cast of Roma actors as a family struggling to survive in a shack in a wood where several other Roma families have already been killed.

    Mr Fliegauf said that he was compelled to make the film after a series of vicious attacks on Roma between 2008 and 2009 in which six people died and others, including children, were seriously injured.


  2. Just the Wind

    Just the Wind (Czak a Szél) by Bence Fliegauf is a feature film based on the pogroms conducted against Hungarian Roma between 2008 and 2009. During that period Roma families were targeted by well organised death squads that hunted them down like animals. Six Roma were shot to death, including a five-year-old boy. Five others sustained serious injuries following a series of attacks carried out in nine Hungarian villages in which entire homes were burned down.
    Just the Wind

    In Just the Wind Fliegauf carefully recreates the existence of a Roma family over the course of 24 hours while the pogroms are in full swing. In interviews, Fliegauf made clear he was concerned to avoid stereotypes in presenting the Roma community and there is nothing romantic in his depiction of their everyday life.

    We watch the mother leaving the family’s ramshackle home early in the morning to start one of her two jobs, clearing rubbish from the side of the motorway. Her young daughter hurriedly prepares a meagre breakfast for her grandfather and then leaves for school. Before she leaves, she tries to wake her younger brother, still asleep in the single bed shared by the whole family. The young boy prefers to sleep longer and skip school.

    Having completed her shift on the roadside, the mother travels to her second job, cleaning floors at her daughter’s school. There, the mother is subject to racist insults from her overseer, her daughter’s teacher. In addition to exploitation at work and racist taunts, the family lives in continual fear of the gunmen who have already claimed victims in their community. The most telling scenes are those featuring the young children wandering through the woods. A jeep cruises by slowly on the nearby road. The young boy quickly falls to his knees in the grass and pretends to tie his shoelaces, thereby making a smaller target. The jeep drives on.

    In another disturbing scene, two policemen inspect the burnt-out ruins of a Roma house. The police captain deplores the murder of the Roma. He knew this family, he tells his fellow officer, they were hard-working and their murder sends the “wrong message”. The ones who deserve to die, he continues, are those who rob and steal. His gruesome statement certainly leaves open the possibility that Hungarian state forces were involved in the pogroms.

    At the end of the film, the family make a fatal mistake and dismiss the rustling in the woods as they prepare to go to sleep as “just the wind”. Fliegauf has made a compassionate and compelling film detailing the privations of the Romany minority in Hungary.

    There are also serious weaknesses in Fliegauf’s own understanding of racism, which account for the fact that the political authorities are not mentioned in his film. In his film notes, Fliegauf declares that “racism is nothing more than a fatal series of mistakes in reason, i.e. inanity”. This conception is false and serves to whitewash the policies of successive governments that have deliberately and repeatedly played the racist card in Hungary to further their own ends over the past two decades.

    After a great deal of prevarication by the police and the Hungarian judiciary, four men were eventually arrested and are currently on trial in Budapest accused of carrying out the attacks between July 2008 and August 2009. Given the broad political consensus which encourages anti-Roma sentiment in Hungary, it remains uncertain that the truth behind the pogroms will ever emerge.


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