The eviction of Roma organizations

Budapest Beacon reported on November 1, 2016 on the eviction of two Roma organizations from their headquarters:

Hungarian NGOs Roma Parliament and Phralipe Independent Gypsy Organization were forcibly evicted from their Budapest District 8 headquarters last Sunday, reports mno.hu. Several police cars arrived along with removal trucks to evict the organizations from the building at Tavaszmező street 6, citing the dilapidated and “life-threatening” state of the property as well as arrears as the reason for the eviction.

The district claims that the organizations have unpaid debts to the district government, something both organizations deny. Phralipe has regularly paid its bills, has no outstanding debts and has a valid lease agreement with the district, Phralipe president Béla Babos told Népszava. He dismissed the district’s claims that the building is life-threatening as an “alibi”, claiming that his organization received no warning prior to the eviction.

The district claims that the Roma Parliament owes “several hundred-thousand forints,” and had refused earlier offers to move into a different property. However, the organization’s president Aladár Horváth denies this, citing a 2011 court decision that found they had no debts to the district or to utility providers.

The district has been pressuring the organizations to relocate for some time, reportedly offering them the choice of five properties which, according to Horváth, were “small and moldy.” Although willing to relocate in principle, the organization ultimately insisted on remaining in the Tavaszmező street property until the district offered them “a property of similar size and quality,” Horváth said, adding that the NGO had repeatedly requested that its current lease be extended. 

“I don’t know what’s going to happen to us,” said Babos, who claims that the organizations were current with their rent and utility bills.

The eviction comes after several years of attempts by local authorities to “drive away the sole surviving, system-critical, independent umbrella organization” for Roma, according to a statement issued by the Roma Parliament.  Withdrawing a lawsuit brought against the NGO for alleged arrears dating to 2011, the district refused to conclude a new lease contract, classifying the organization as occupying the building without title.  According to the statement, the lack of a valid lease precluded the organization from applying for grants, and forced it to substantially reduce its operating costs.

Source: Magyar Nemzet / Photo: Dávid Balogh

Source: Magyar Nemzet / Photo: Dávid Balogh

The day after the eviction, the Ministry of Human Resources announced  that the former offices of Roma Parliament and Phralipe, which police claimed were “life-threatening”, were to house the Cziffra György Roma Education and Cultural Center, an organization founded and funded by the government. 

According to its statement, the Roma local government first heard of the government’s intention to install a new Roma organization in their headquarters last year, and initial negotiations took place with the “expert” input of House of Terror director Mária Schmidt (“To this day, it is not clear what she has to do with Roma culture,” reads the statement) and Budapest District 8 mayor Máté Kocsis (Fidesz).

According to the statement, Kocsis reneged on his promise to invite the Roma Parliament to subsequent negotiations, which allegedly took place without its involvement.  

The groups suspect the government of creating a “token gypsy” organization to “colonize the cultural and spiritual heritage” of the 25-year-old organization. “The corporatist system itself is building (on a small site for a lot of money) a pro-government cultural and public center where the servile Roma intellectuals, created in their own image, can take a place on the Board of Patrons,” Roma Parliament said in the statement.

According to its website, the Roma Parliament was founded in 1990 as “the first non-governmental umbrella organization for Roma” which works “for mass-scale changes to the situations of Hungarian Roma” through legal advocacy, cultural identity foundations, art and public life programs, among others. The group had been in its Tavaszmező street location since 1990.

Below is the statement of two of the leaders of the Roma Parliament, Aladár Horváth and Jenő Zsigó.

 

Farewell to Hungarys Roma Parliament

Hungary’s Roma Parliament will bid farewell in a ceremony on Wednesday afternoon, November 2, to its headquarters, which the State has ransacked, and intends to knock down. The Roma Parliament has worked here for 25 years. The break-up is the next stage in a spate of state terror that two weeks ago closed the main left-wing daily paper, Népszabadság. Its trumped-up reasons (a hazardous building) coincide with a government order saying it needs it for other purposes.

We look forward to seeing at the ceremony all who view as vital Hungarian democracy that embraces the Gypsy community and the Roma Parliament’s work over a quarter-century. We especially count on the “family” of the Roma Parliament and its forebear, Amaro Drom

  •  our scholarship and summer-camp students,
  • bands, musicians and performers who played on our stages,
  •  journalists, poets, writers, critics and analysts papers that Amaro Drom published,
  • artists who did the murals on the historic walls of our building,
  • those to whom we gave legal and welfare aid and representation over the decades,
  • those active in our social, public and political training events, notably the Roma Academy,
  • all past and present members, heads and staff members; all who inspired the Roma Parliament, in whose communities they grew up.

In recent years, the Józsefváros LGO has tried several times to oust the one independent umbrella organization critical of the system and working for Roma togetherness. Most recently in 2011‒12, the courts ruled an LGO application to dispossess us was unfounded: the Roma Parliament was not in debt to the owner or any utility company. The LGO withdrew its case, but despite a promise, did not reinstate the tenancy unilaterally and suspended on false claims of indebtedness. So it could claim the Roma Parliament held the building without a legal basis. This excluded us also from fund applications. So heads and members of the organization had to cover their shrunken maintenance costs from its own sources of income, the art gallery, meetings, conferences and concerts.

Government Order No. 1785/2014 (December 18) provided for founding a new Capital City Roma Cultural and Methodological Education Centre. (This body under the Capital City LGO performs no meaningful activity. It came into being by annexing the internationally known Gypsy House headed earlier by Jenő Zsigó. Its premises were in Szentkirályi utca, in Józsefváros’s fashionable Palotanegyed, where “regular voters” live. The Fidesz-led LGO refused to renovate it and the money to do so returned to LGO funds. Now that nearly one-billion forints is to be the “starting capital” for implementing the government order.)

We first heard a year and a half ago that the new institution was to rise from the ruins of the Roma Parliament. The specialists brought in to negotiated said so: Mária Schmidt, Director-General of the Terror House (what she has to do with Roma culture is still unclear), and Máté Kocsis, Mayor of Józsefváros, told us the new building was planned for the site of the Roma Parliament at Tavaszmező utca 6. In July last year we approached the Mayor requesting we be drawn into the talks, which he promised, but our organization was never invited. In December we ran a conference on the matter and invited the Mayor and Assistant State Secretary, but they did not come. We showed a photograph series, “Misplaced Dreams”, of 19 civil Roma initiatives in the last four decades for institutions of Roma cultural autonomy (Roma theater, museum, national cultural and arts center, Capital City Gypsy House etc.), all defeated. We also showed a 20th, the fine architectural proposal devised by the Roma Parliament and its professionals in 2009, whereby the Tavaszmező utca premises would convert into our own cultural and community center. (The technical side was done by the Technical University’s architecture professor with four of his students and landscape architecture students of Corvinus University ‒ could this now be the official plan, shed of us?)

The response to our initiative was a single official letter calling on us to vacate the premises.

Then on the initiative of the Fidesz-member head of Józsefváros Roma local government we were offered five premises ‒ outside the district, mainly small and musty or distant and unmaintainable ‒ which we rejected. On April 14, 2016 we wrote to the Minister of Human Resources, Capital City Mayor and heads of the district, requesting they either leave the Roma Parliament where it is and conclude a new contract with us, or provide us with convenient premises similar in size and quality, for our events and storing and displaying our collection of over 200 paintings.

A reply to our Ministry letter came from Károly Czibere, State Secretary for “Social Catch-up”, on 9 May 2016: Tavaszmező utca 6 was to be the “Capital City Roma Centre”… which was “also backed by the patrons’ committee of famed Roma artists convened by Minister Balog, who were informed of details at a patronage supper on July 18, 2016.”

The LGO made no attempt to meet our requests for the new premises. Indeed they attached conditions we could not meet: the local Roma local government could have the old studio of Radio C in Teleki tér (incidentally unsuited to the purpose) and rent it to us, etc.

It became clear that the political motive was to make the Roma Parliament disappear, not find it premises. That explained the lack of honest communication or willingness to agree, and messages rather than dialogue.

Every letter from State Secretary Czibere reiterated that “the aim of the Ministry and the LGO is for Tavaszmező utca 6 to transfer to state ownership by agreement…. From what has been said I do not think anyone will decide your fate without consultation. Our hopes are to find a solution to housing your organization as soon as possible” (letter of August 15, 2016).

Two weeks later we read in the press that the LGO would make a legal attempt to push out the Roma Parliament.

On the 60th anniversary of the 1956 Revolution, Józsefváros LGO broke into the Roma Parliament, emptied it and closed it, while the case was still before the court. It was officially held that the building was dangerous. Yet the government website announced next day the formation of a Cziffra György Roma Education and Culture Centre, to be housed at Tavaszmező utca 6: “The choice in consultation with Józsefváros LGO fell on Tavaszmező utca 6…. which the LGO undertook to empty.” No wonder we were not allowed back in the dangerous building! Meanwhile an illegal stocktaking of our intellectual and cultural goods, artworks, archives, financial documents and valuables built up over 25 years was made and they were taken to an unknown place. We tried to discuss our possessions and documents with the Józsefváros Mayor, but he did not deign to reply.

By a seemingly unstoppable process, Hungary uses illiberal (Mafia-like, dictatorial) force to pull down 25-year walls of a civil-rights movement and colonize its cultural and intellectual heritage. Its corporative system means building (on a small area at high cost) a governing-party cultural and public center with patrons who are servile Roma intellectuals shaped in its own image.

It was painful but expected. The Roma Parliament has no truck with Hungary’s authoritarianism, opposes it vehemently, and supports the Republic. We stand by Roma pushed out of many places, thrust from Székesfehérvár, driven to Canada from Miskolc. Our fate is theirs. We too are pursued.

At this point we must bid farewell to the Roma Parliament, the iron stair decorations, stuccoes, ’56 bullet holes on the front, frescoes on the stairs, stage, theatre and our Home. But we can never bid farewell to our civil revolutionary ideas embodied there until our dream of equal dignity and chances of social inclusion for the Roma becomes reality.

October 30, 2016.

November 2, 2016
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Member

This is… stunning. How can this happen here? What kind of country am I living in?

Member

You are living in a fascist state governed by a combination of Nazis, gangsters, thugs, liars, bullies and general all-round scum of the earth.

You are living in a country where anybody with any modicum of intelligence has done a runner to the democracies to the west of us.

A tiny minority stand up for what is right but the sad truth is that the vast marjorty of those that remain are either the same kind of neo- Nazi thuggish lowlife as their government or are too cowardly/too apathetic/too stupid to stand up for what is right.

Take away their reality TV or try closing the plazas on Sundays again…that might rouse the Magyar zombies. It is your only hope

Guest

Isn’t there an international Roma organization which could draw attention to this latest outrage?

petofi
Guest

The Cubs win! The Cubs win!! The Cubbies win!!!

And the bloody Hungarian fascists who escaped to Cleveland can stew in their bloody jewses!!!

Guest

Wow Cub fans you got your day! What a thriller! They came through after 108 years of drought. And they made up for it with all that champagne that flowed.

And speaking of drought right now it could be simply a nice dream for the ‘left’ to do in ’18 what the Cubs have done after all the years. But of course there’s a possibility. It might help to look at it as a glimpse of Agincourt. For it was there that Henry, the ultimate victor, knew something and that was his observation that ‘All things are ready if our minds be so’. And then it’s action that takes over and you have to really really want whatever it is that you are hunting.

Istvan
Guest
I am still half drunk here in Chicago and I have yet to go to bed. I was at last Friday’s night game which we lost, but was just amazed at the quality of pitching that night from both my beloved Chicago Cubs and the Cleveland Indians. Our home is 14 city blocks from Wrigley Field home of the Cubs since 1914 and I attend many games each year. We can hear the cheers from our back yard. My grandfather and my uncle who immigrated to Chicago just before the Cubs won the 1908 World Series and decided if they wanted to be Americans they needed to be baseball “bugs'” (later called fans) and learn English in that order when they saw all Cubs supporters marching about their neighborhood. My grandfather was 17 years old when he came to Chicago, his older brother was 22. My grandfather lived to be 90 years old and I cried and cried thinking of them after the Cubs won. If not for their courage to come to Chicago I would not be blessed today with being a US citizen as was my father who died in 1999 as a Cubs fan. Alan Hrabosky (a… Read more »
Guest

Ah there’s a happy man around here! At least something’s working ….;-)….Better than doom and gloom eh?

Game was great with drama. The Cubs were real aggressive last night and paid off. Congrats!

Speaking of players there was a pitcher on the Yankees back in the early 60’s. His name was Eli Grba. Always thought he was Eastern European and maybe even Magyar. Usually you don’t see consonants in a row like ‘Grb’.
Maybe a slight name change?
Anyway he had the distinction of being on the great Yankees and pitching the first ever game for the Los Angeles Angels.

webber
Guest

Grba could be a Croatian or Serbian name. There’s an infamous suburb of Sarajevo (orig. just a village) called Grbavica, which might indicate that it was founded by the Grba family.

Guest

Right. Looks more than likely that’s where Eli could trace his heritage.

Guest

The essence of the story is the destruction of an NGO. This time it happend to be a Roma NGO. All independent voices will be silenced.

Guest

And I would suggest that we all know there is that so-called ‘tipping point’ just waiting to be released. Magyarorszag is just a this point where there is a modicum of free speech and a free press. But just about from the looks of things it is on a very very tenuous string. Today it is the Roma who get put under the microscope for dissection. Who may be next?

If I was there perhaps I could see about a bit. Too bad I perceive only from the outside looking in. It’s as if things are tough to completely process because of that. That is why I believe outsiders aren’t paying attention to the goings on in the country. They’re arguably sleeping as the country goes into a grave spin downward. I’d bet they just can’t comprehend the actions.

Member

Orban & Fidesz will soon posses ALL regional newspapers, and will feed them with centralized, censored news.

Four companies owned the newspapers until summer 2016.

A. MediaWorks: 8 counties
B. PLT: 4 counties, 5 papers
C. RussMedia: 3 counties
D. LapCom: 2 counties

A. MediaWorks:

Tolna(i Népújság)
Baranya (Új Dunántúli Napló)
Somogy(i Hírlap)

Komárom-Esztergom (megyei 24 Óra)

Heves (Megyei Hírlap)
Jász-Nagykun-Szolnok (megyei Új Néplap)
Bács-Kiskun (megyei Petőfi Petőfi Népe)
Békés (Megyei Hírlap)

B. PLT:

Fejér (Megyei Hírlap)
Dunaújvárosi Hírlap
Veszprém (megyei Napló)
Vas (Népe)
Zala(i Hírlap)

C. RussMedia:

Hajdú-Bihar(i Napló)
Borsod (Észak-Magyarország )
Szabolcs (Kelet-Magyarország)

D. LapCom:

Győr-Sopron (Kisalföld),
Csongrád (Délmagyar)

They will ALL be in the hands of the ruling party by proxy soon. Orban channeled public/taxpayers’ money to his front men to buy up the papers.

http://hvg.hu/gazdasag/20161103_megyei_lapok_mediaworks_opimus_lapcom_russmedia

Member

Pharaon news.

A.
Yesterday, Fidesz pushed through a draft bill in a committee to extend one of the offshore “bond companies” to the Seychelles, where Pharaon’s yacht is a frequent guest.

Later on the day, they promised to withdraw their own bill, after Jobbik accused them of “high treason”.
http://gepnarancs.hu/2016/11/fidesz-a-gazdasagi-bizottsag-visszavonna-szerdai-a-letelepedesi-kotvennyel-kapcsolatos-hatarozatat/

B.
Orban’s front man had negotiations with Pharaon near Split, Croatia between August 2 and August 10.

http://24.hu/kozelet/2016/11/02/hogy-hogy-nem-pharaon-jachtja-pont-meszaros-lorinc-hajoja-melle-parkolt-splitben/

Member

ad B: Mészáros’s and Pharaon’s yachts were anchored next to each other.

Member

Since April 1, 2016, Turkey has allowed less than 100 refugees a day to cross over to Greece.

The Erdogan government threatens to restart the migrant/refugee flow unless the EU submits to their demands.

“We originally said we would wait until the end of October. We will not wait until the end of the year”

Foreign Minister of Turkey to Neue Zürcher Zeitung today.

http://www.nzz.ch/international/europa/interview-mit-dem-tuerkischen-aussenminister-leg-dich-nicht-mit-einer-schlange-ins-bett-ld.126041

Member

Quaestor case/

Fidesz party, Socialist party’s new faction leader, Chief Prosecutor Polt’s family connections, further details.

https://atlatszo.hu/2016/11/03/mszp-kozeli-es-oroszbarat-szalak-a-200-milliardos-quaestor-csodben/

But where is the near $1 billion of clients’ money?

Member

Rogán, Lőrinc Mészáros, foreign minister Szijjarto, Szilárd Kiss, the Kremlin are all connected in this article.

wicc
Guest

Rogan and other oligarchs use Dubai for banking services and money laundering. They’re surely not there for the beaches.

http://444.hu/2016/11/03/juhasz-peter-szerint-rogan-antal-dubajban-volt-a-miniszterium-ezt-tagadja

Member

Singapore, Dubai, Turkey, Panama are still not part of the automatic financial information exchange agreement (MCAA), which starts in September 2017.

In any case, since the Fidesz mafia occupies the government, they will not investigate themselves. They are safe to keep their stolen, embezzled money in the Seychelles or Switzerland as well.

The agreement will be used by dictatorships like Russia and Hungary to investigate their opposition.

The list of the 87 signatory countries, as of November 2, 2016:

http://www.oecd.org/ctp/exchange-of-tax-information/MCAA-Signatories.pdf

Member

The information to be exchanged:

the name, address, TIN(s) and date and place of birth
the account number
the name and identifying number (if any) of the Reporting Financial Institution
the closure of the account

the account balance or value
total gross amount of interest paid or credited to the account

http://www.oecd.org/tax/automatic-exchange/international-framework-for-the-crs/multilateral-competent-authority-agreement.pdf

Member

Saudi Arabia joined two days ago.

Member

Non signatories include:

Europe: Serbia, Kosovo, Montenegro, Macedonia,
Belarus, Ukraine, Turkey.

Pacific: Vanuatu, Kiribati

Middle East: only Israel and Saudi Arabia joined.
Africa: only South Africa and Guinea joined

Caribbean: most countries are IN, except Cuba, Trinidad
Central America: most countries are OUT except Costa Rica
South America: Ecuador, Venezuela, Peru, Bolivia are not in the the agreement.

Member

Vatican will not share info either.

cees verharen
Guest

The website of the Roma Parliament look a little outdated but more importantly it lacks the possibility to click to the English language or German language. This is necessary for the relationship with the EU. The EU support cultural parliaments of minority peoples, like e.g. the Saami Parliament (of the “Lapps”) in Kiruna, Nort Sweden and other minority groups and languages. If the Roma Parliament still struggles for its survival, this translation should be priority.

Member

I think it is safe to say that people in the FBI would not like Hillary to be elected:

“foreign intel agencies breached Clinton server”

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2016/11/03/sources-99-percent-chance-foreign-intel-agencies-breached-clinton-server.html

Guest

“I think it is safe to say that people in the FBI would not like Hillary to be elected”.

That we knew already without Fox News “sources”.

Guest

OT but Roma related: In a small village c. 50 K outside Budapest, a wealthy woman bought all the gypsies’ houses (at an advantageous price for the gypsies) on the condition they move away. She then had the roofs, doors, and windows removed to prevent anyone using the dwellings. Word is that she hopes to make the place into a model, fairy-tale village where Budapesters can enjoy the week end.

pappp
Guest

1. Fallen oligarch Zoltan Spéder just sold index.hu (the most popular internet news site) – we don’t know to whom, but we can guess.

2. The remainder of the provincial daily papers and another popular daily tabloid (Bors) not yet owned by Fidesz were sold to Fidesz-related oligarchs.

I leave it to the commenters to assess the consequences of the above (which happened on top of an already unprecedented media shopping spree by Fidesz) to the chances of the opposition: Positive – Neutral – Negative.

http://444.hu/2016/11/03/tavozik-speder-fo-embere-az-indexhu-zrt-igazgatosagabol

Member

What is the best / fastest program to download an entire website?
This is a serious question !!

We did not foresee the extermination of nol.hu.
index.hu contains even more articles (even evidence) about the activities of the Fidesz mafia in the last six years.

pappp
Guest

Good question, I’m not very tech savvy unfortunately. In the comments section of the article it seems others are also thinking about this – but do it anyway.

Nevertheless given copyright issues the new owner of index.hu will always be able to easily take down any lingering articles.

This process by which Fidesz is buying up basically all media, leaving only a token-sized irrelevant segment, is unprecedented in post 1990 history at least within the EU.

Obviously Russia comes to mind and now Turkeyy – both places are under the firm rule of the dictator.

Member

Felcsut 2018:

comment image

petofi
Guest

@ papp

If you don’t know, then just shut up.

webber
Guest

Ignore Petofi. Something tells me this is a fake one.

petofi
Guest

No fake: c’est moi.

Member

Let us be prepared a little bit.
Muharram is over, the Quran mandated 3-month truce has ended.

Da’esh leader called on his followers today to destroy the cities of unbelievers.

webber
Guest

Let us think about things we can do something about, and let’s let Da’esh worry about its own problems. It has enough on its hands around Mosul just now.

There’s no point in worrying, and there is nothing I personally can do to prepare. So, why bother to think about it?

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