Magazine article New Internationalist

Victims No More: Singer Promotes Fresh Start for Gypsies in Hungary

Magazine article New Internationalist

Victims No More: Singer Promotes Fresh Start for Gypsies in Hungary

Article excerpt

GUSZTAV VARGA is listening to a gypsy musician sing in one of Budapest's sunlit squares. 'Oh, my mother, my mother, give me a piece of bread, my mother, my mother, what should I do. Forty-year-old Gusztav knows the song well. He often sings it in the world's biggest music halls -- from Paris's La Villette to the Seoul Opera. Gusztav's international acclaim has helped Central European gypsy culture gain the recognition it deserves as a precious part of Hungary's cultural heritage. Now Gusztav is running a school for young gypsies. Being involved for more than 20 years now in the gypsy human-rights movement, I have learned that the biggest mistake of our magnificent and complex people is that we think of ourselves as victims,' says Gusztav. 'If a gypsy is attacked by skinheads he doesn't sue them, believing that people wouldn't do anything. And if we don't find a job we say it is because of the colour of our skin. There is some truth in it, but this attitude doesn't help much.' Using his fame and considerable fortune, Gusztav has established a vocational secondary school for young gypsies in Budapest. The school teaches computer and marketing skills, English and French, and gypsy history -- beginning with the gypsy exodus from India, through the officially understated gypsy Holocaust at the hands of the Nazis, to more recent changes in Hungarian society. The vast majority of Hungary's gypsies are desperately poor and out of work and, in common with the rest of the country's jobless population (11 per cent in total), their plight is worsening. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.