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Masaryk University

Faculty of Social Studies

Department of Sociology

A Narrative Analysis of Discursive Representations of Roma

Murders (2008-2009) in Hungary

Masters Thesis

Dalma Dra

Supervisor: Werner Binder, Ph.D.

UO: 444856
Study Field: Cultural Sociology
Year of Enrollment: 2015 Brno, 2017
I hereby declare that this research I submit for assessment is entirely my own work and has
not been taken from the work of others save to the extent that such work has been cited
and acknowledged within the text of my work.

Date: Signature:


I would like gratitude to my supervisor, Werner Binder, who helped me how to use the
adequate interpreatiton methods, and supported me during the thesis writing period.
Moreover, I am immensely grateful to Erik Molnr, who strengthened my work with his
valuable comments, and provided further readings to my project.

Table of contents

Acknowledgment ....................................................................................................................... 2
Abstract ...................................................................................................................................... 4
Introduction................................................................................................................................ 5
Purpose of my research ............................................................................................................. 8
Research question .................................................................................................................. 8
Hypothesis .............................................................................................................................. 8
Research Method and its theoretical background ................................................................. 8
The Roma Homicide How did it happen? .............................................................................. 11
Literature review ...................................................................................................................... 13
Nation and ethnicity ............................................................................................................. 13
Civil society and its binary structure .................................................................................... 15
Social suffering and trauma .................................................................................................. 19
Collective and cultural memory ........................................................................................... 21
Social drama and the concept of liminal/liminoid ............................................................... 25
Roma representations in the Hungarian media ................................................................... 32
Narrative analysis ..................................................................................................................... 38
Stage one: The breach .......................................................................................................... 38
Stage two and three: Crisis and redress ............................................................................... 44
Stage four: Reintegration ..................................................................................................... 50
Narrative of the victims ............................................................................................................ 55
Artistic representations ............................................................................................................ 57
Balzs Turays photographies ............................................................................................... 58
Movie adaptation Just the Wind ....................................................................................... 59
Their skin was their only sin ................................................................................................. 60
Adapted Theater Play Word for Word .............................................................................. 61
Adapted theater play Gypsies ........................................................................................... 63
Conclusion ................................................................................................................................ 64
References ................................................................................................................................ 67
Name Index .............................................................................................................................. 74
Appendices ................................................................................................................................. 1


In my thesis, the issue under scrutiny is related to the Hungarian Roma murders and their
narrative structure. The ethnic-based homicide was committed by four neo-Nazi men in
Hungary, in the year of 2008-2009. I argue that the events of the brutal homicide and the
following discourses and narratives can be described by Victor Turners social drama theory.
I employed hermeneutic methods to elaborate the relationship of Roma attacks and cultural
performance. I will apply interpretative method connected to structuralism and semiotics,
placing the focus on narratives, classification formulas and binary codes. I will examine
semantic structures related to ethnicity and race. I assume that thanks to the theory and
tools of social drama I can depict the social context of the Roma murders, and I can analyze
the evolving narratives.
My main research questions were the following: How and why did the homicide happen and
how were they articulated in the public discourses afterwards? How did Roma people, civic
and political actors react? How can the theory of social drama describe and frame the
events? I put forward the claim that the Hungarian social drama took off when several Roma
people beat a non-Roma man to death. This was the first stage, the breach which was
followed by the crisis and redress when the attacks first started, and public opinion was
influenced by different strong narratives both from the liberal and conservative side. The
fourth stage of social drama involves the possibility of reintegration. In the case of Roma
murders, we can talk about the reintegration of the killers and the victims at the same time.
Roma people represent the deviant part of the society, while the perpetrators also possess a
radical character (radical right wing).
In my thesis, I am going to elaborate the evolving discourses and narratives through the
process of social drama, trying to highlight the characteristics of different narratives
emerged from the events. I used tables to visualize and sum up the significance and meaning
of different binary codes or oppositions, which have a strong impact on formulated public
opinion. I also analyzed the role of artistic representations in the formulation for social
drama, how they shaped and controlled social attitude.


Firstly, I briefly describe the situation of the Roma ethnicity within the Hungarian society,
then I am going to summarise the concrete events of the Roma murders.
The Roma ethnicitys proportion is 6-7% within the Hungarian society, and it is the most
deprived and underprivileged group of the country. The distinction amongst Roma and non-
Roma people has been increasing since the regime change, due to the Roma
peopleresidential and educational segregation. While only 27% of the non-Roma
population living under poverty, in case of the Roma populity the proportion is 84%. Their
educational situation is also terrifying: Only 1,7% is getting a university degree, and 60% of
the roma children left school early. (Npszava, 2016) (The Hungarian education law also
support this tendency with the decision to decrease school-leaving age from 18 to 16 year-
old.) Due to the mentioned reasons, social tense - between Roma and non-Roma population-
is growing from day to day.
In 2009, six Roma people were killed by four neo-Nazi men in Hungary. The murders were
ethnic-based homicides. The four men committed the attacks in various Hungarian cities and
villages, such as Galgagyrk, Trnapuszta, Nagycscse, Alszsolca, Tatrszentgyrgy,
Tiszalk, Kislta.
An important antecedent of the event was a lynch-law in Olaszliszka in 2006, when a
non-Roma teacher got killed by several Roma people. He was driving through the village
when suddenly a child ran across the street, just in front of his car. He thought he hit the
child, so he stopped immediately and got out of the car. The girl wasnt hurt; however,
nobody saw her as she ran into a house. That is why her family members and relatives
thought the man hit her with the car, so the middle-aged man was beaten to death by the
group in front of his childrens eyes, which fact will be important later. There were two more
precedent acts, which could trigger brutal reactions from the future perpetrators. After the
Olaszliszka case, a group of Roma people stabbed a handball player, Marian Cozma, who
died after the attack. Then a young woman got killed in Kiskunlachza, and though the court
could not prove it, some radical mediums still claim that the perpatrators were romas

too.The events outlined above led me to the theory of social drama, articulated by Victor
Briefly, I try to trace the most important elements of the conception. According to the
anthropologist, a social drama is a four-stage proccess: the first stage is thebreach, a public
violation of a specific rule or community standard. The second stage, when the society
choose different sides, is called crisis. The third is redress, when there is a possibility for
a resolution of the conflict, accompanied by symbolic renunciation, while the fourth stage is
reintegration or legalisation of unamendable schism, when the accused social community
returns to the majority or different social groups are able to find a common compromise
which is accepted by the collectivity. (Boje, 2003)
In my paper, I use a qualitative method to develop my analysis; more precisely, I examine
the emerging public discourses, with a strong focus on narratives and binaries. I investigate
the evolving reactions, narratives and collective representations of the public opinion and
the mainstream media. In this thesis, the response of the Roma community and different
articles related to the events are analyzed, and important artistic productions, like theater
plays or exhibitions are dealt with as well. I focus on discursive formulas and meaning
sequences related to the narratives as I am curious what kind of codes and language
instruments were used by public members, what kind of binary oppositions were
formulated, and how all these elements affected the formulation of the social drama.
In order to talk about discursive patterns, narratives and meaning structures, I need to lay
down some basic sociological ideas related to the terms. Discourse is one of the most
important term in Michel Foucaults work. He defines it as a system of representations
related to certain knowledge, determining what we regard as true in a specific field. This is a
created standard in social sciences. Binary oppositions have a crucial role here: when we say
something is normal, we imply that there should be something abnormal. We can only think
about abnormality and deviance if norms and moral exist. Foucault claimed that norms are
an instrument that can evaluate and control us, the society. Norms can involve or exclude
people and objects from desirable and normal categories. (Foucault, 1995) Discourse is also
an instrument and product of power. Foucault regarded discourse as an institualized way of
expressing ourselves by speaking or writing, it is something what defines and determines the
way actors should think and say out loud. (Foucault, 1978) When we talk about power, not
only do we mean it as a goal of an individual or collective action, but it can also be an agent

of communication. Power has a significant symbolic code, which is never positional only and
has a momentary meaning, as it also has a common and general domain. To understand
power structures and cultural codes, we need to apply semiotic theories which deal with
binary codes, narratives and performance as well. That is why it is really important with
respect to my topic. Political actors use language as a symbolic medium, which is
simultaneously situationally and deeply saturated with symbols. In civil societies, general or
universal ideas can be institualized in certain ways (like anticivil).
Another important classical sociologist should be mentioned here. mile Durkheim
scrutinized the Australian societies and totemism, while he also represented the Judeo-
Christian perspective as he claimed that society is created by humans. Durkheim
distinguished sacred and profane in his work The Elementary Forms of Religious Life (1912).
Religions and religious lifes crucial attribute is that it distributes the world to sacred and
profane. According to Durkheim, a church is a formulation where members are sharing
common beliefs and rules related to the sacred. In the relationship of sacred and profane,
only one of them has a value. Sacred is not an immanent feature of man or nature. The
meaning of sacred is not equal with divine. A material, a thing can be sacred just like gods.
Australian societies practice totemism, where clans are formulated from the religious
relationship between its participants. This relationship rests on the totems (animal or plant
etc.) and the members sacred bond. Durkheim claimed that the core significance of
totemism lies in the symbolization of the clan by its idol. The clan represents the sacred
reality. The experience of specific social groups could shape a heavy feeling which can
maintain their religion. (For instance, the Hungarian Guard that I will develop later.)
(Durkheim, 1995) The term of social action is also important in my analysis. Max Weber
thought that the Instrumental-Rational Social Action is the one which depicts the modern
society, the aim of which is to accomplish a chosen goal; people act to reach something,
have a result and become more and more efficient. (ReviseSociology, 2017) Georg Simmel
signify the less important forms of interactions which can connect society and make unity.
Arts role needs to embody in new movements and new directions instead of salvation from
the trouble of life. Artistic experience can give us an opportunity to relive our real life
experiences and emotions. Simmel stated that we need stylization to compensate the
excessive subjectivism. (Featherstone, 1991.)

Purpose of my research

Research question

My main research questions are the following: What kind of social atmosphere did the
homicide bring about? How were the events formulated during the social drama? How are
the four stages of social drama elaborated during the process? What kind of public
discourses were triggered the events? How was public discourse formulated after Olaszliszka
and after the Roma homicide? How did the liberal and conservative elite reacted? How the
victim and civil society formulated their reflections?


Social context is heavily important in the case of Hungary. Here, Roma people are excluded
from the core society, they are labelled as lazy, animalistic and primitive, and they are
not even respected as human beings. My hypothesis is that the tragedy suffered by the
Roma collectivity did not bind but divided the whole society even more. I examine the
events from the perspective of the social drama, and I assume that the fourth stage, namely
the reintegration, was not successful, since there was no common compromise reached,
there was no victorious narrative. Actually, there could not be. Society was and still divided
by political parties and ideologies, and both the liberal and conservative side was unable to
deal with the problems of the biggest minority. Romas are still not able to represent
themselves, their narratives is missing from every main forum and medium. Social conflicts
are not diminishing but more stoking. Elaborated narratives and public discourses were not
satisfactory and they could not fill in their redressing role.

Research Method and its theoretical background

In my thesis, I apply a qualitative method, more precisely the method of structural

hermeneutics, with the tool of interpretation and the aid of semiotics, and I will focus on

classification formulas, binary codes (master binary: sacred and profane or a social
connection us vs. them) and mainly on narratives. My scope is on the emerging
narratives and collective representations of the public opinion.
I will analyse important articles, artistic productions and the Roma communitys reaction as
well. It is important to examine what kind of codes and language instruments were used by
different public members and groups, what kind of binary oppositions were formulated in
the narratives, and how all these factors affected the formulation of the social drama.
Narrative analysis is a sufficient tool for me, due to its feature of transferring and
transforming knowledge with the attributum of shaping and sustaining collective memory.
With the aid of binary oppositions I will be able to reconstruct the Hungarian societys
concept about accepted and condemnable behaviors, morals and social groups. By the
construction of binary tables, I would like to show what kind of expressions are created
within the given public discourse, what are the main formulas used by the elites or the civil
sphere. I am going to use Victor Turnerss theory of social drama to analyze the narrative
structure and content of the previous and following events of the Roma murders. Social
drama can frame and reframe the examined events, and can highlight the main context and
narratives, which will lead to the given social case. Without the context of social drama, my
analysis wouldnt have a clear and narrow framework.
Before I start my narrative analysis, I would like to outline some important study about the
role of language related to our social actions, cultural perfomances. Language is a set of
symbolic resources, where social performance appears with the power of words. Language
influences the way we think and our behavior within our specific culture, and metaphors
also have a powerful impact on our thinking. Social structure is a product of interactions
where social actors produce culture by applying methods of understanding and
communicating. As we know, meaning mostly rests on social agreements and the
established boundaries are social artifacts. (Zerubavel, 1991)
Interpretation is a way of perceiving things, positioning of ourselves connected to some
icons, and finding a position against or besides it. Hermeneutics was born in Diltheys work
(based on Schleiermacher), and he emphasized the importance of interpretation contrary to
observation. Local versus Global is important here, because local knowledge acts as the
part, and positioned against the global, to understand its meaning. Clifford Geertzs well-
known thick description is thick because of cultural context and because deep meanings and

background information exist before any observation. The former observations are not
descriptions; they form only meaning constructions. In social science, thick description has
an important role in hermeneutics and in part-whole relations. Culture structures are built
up by binary codes or oppositions, which are based on values and disvalues, which are
always formulated according to the given value (like the divine-evil oppositon). These codes
are webs of significance which have an inevitable importance related to our meaning
structures and interpretations. (Alexander, 2008:163)
Our culture distinguishes everything, creates categories and draws a line between things.
Language is one of the most important factor in establishing the meaning and in the creation
of boundaries, but it is valid only in the specific cultural environment. In addition to culture,
history is also an important part in classification. Social codes or classifications are not only
moral, these are also emotional for people. Our mind creates separated islands which is an
arbitrary act. To decide the lines and boundaries, we need a social agreement. Classification
is an artificial process, boundaries and categories not exist in the reality. We divide the
world as members of the society and arrange it within a social logic. Only those people can
see the boundaries, who are the part of the given culture, for the others they are unseen.
(Zerubavel, 1991)
Austin and Searle formulated their pragmatic theory, called Speech Act Theory. They assert
that words not only describe things, but can change the world and the social structures and
orders, because words and expressions can do things. (Duranti, 1997)
Lakoffs and Johnsons theory about conceptual metaphor has an important role here.
Metaphors can form our cognition and actions unconsciously. G. Lakoff and M. Johnson
articulate their theory related to metaphors in Metaphors We Live By. Metaphors include a
source domain and a target domain. The source domain is the carrier of the literal
entities and relationships, while target domains have relationships between entities which
show what lies in the source domain. Speakers may choose specific modes of expressing
ideas metaphorically to render an ideological point of view. Conceptual metaphors have a
fundamental role in our mental processes, and they construct our understandings and
meanings of our everyday experiences. (Alice, Deignan, 2005) Metaphors are attributes of
the concepts and notions, and not of the words. They are indispensable elements of
communication, every people use them day by day effortlessly because they became
organic/natural elements of our language, expressions and sentences. They pervade our

thoughts in a way that it is unimaginable to understand abstract concepts and notions
without metaphors. Metaphors are based on supposed resemblance. We explain a given
words interpretation with an example from an absolutely different conceptual domain. It is
a popular method to bring examples from the fauna/animal kingdom and demonstrate
human features. Lakoff and Johnson showed that metaphors are derived from our body
consciousness. We perceive the external world with our organs, so we are obliged to endow
mentally defined things with materiality. To endow every product of our thinking with things
that are tangible, visible, so with objects, animals, etc. That is, we create metaphors. (Lakoff
Johnson, 1980)

The Roma Homicide How did it happen?

Everything started on the 21st of July, in 2008, when rpd Kiss (42), Istvn Kiss (33) and
Zsolt Pet (34) committed their first secretly planned, well prepared murder against Roma
people. Istvn Csontos (27), the fourth member of the group, joined them later. In the
beginning, they chose the locations of the murders based on some Roma non-Roma
conflict from the past. The first target was Galgagyrk. Here they opened fired for two
houses but didnt kill anybody. They only wanted to raise fear within the Roma
community. The next assault happened in the August of 2008, in Piricse. They threw
Molotov-cocktails onto two houses, and shot a woman who was trying to escape from her
home. Then, rpd Kiss committed an action on his own on 5 September in Nyradony-
Trnapuszta. He shot couple of times for a house window. Nobody injured this time. The
fourth action was committed in Tarnabodon, on 29 September. They shot houses and
windows here as well. Nobody injured during the attack, and later it turned out that the
chosen houses were owned by non-Roma people. After this, they modified their strategy
and they did not choose the location based on Roma non-Roma conflicts, they just wanted
to attack Roma people. This was the point when the murders started.
On 3 November, they threw petrol bombs into houses in Nagycscse and they used guns as
well. They brutally murdered an escaping Roma woman and a man. In December, the
attackers injured a young Roma man on his leg. In February 2009, they killed two people in

Tatrszentgyrgy, where they used petrol bombs and followed the same, earlier strategy. A
Roma man and his two kids were escaping from the burning house, got shot, and only the
young girl could run away, but she suffered serious injuries too. In April, they shot a man on
his chest in Tiszalk, who died from his wound. In August, they committed an attack against
a 45 year old woman and her child, while they were sleeping. The girl survived, but her
mother died immediately.
The criminals committed nine assassinations altogether and killed six people in four different
villages. The court attached two more felonies to the convicted cases. One of them is a
robbery, where they stole six weapons, and the second is an attack against a refugee camp
in Debrecen where they fired shots.
The police caught the perpetrators of the Roma homicide in August 2009, but the judgement
of the first instance was only made on 6 August 2013. The Regional Court of Budapests
verdict was life imprisonment for three of the defendants. The fourth guy was sentenced for
13 years in jail. The crimes were committed on a racist purpose and were planned
thoroughly. The events were accompanied by public outcry. Their initial motivation was
related to crimes committed by gipsy people and personal conflicts. They thought the
government and the state is not strict enough and that they tolerate Roma crimes. In 2007,
an alt-right group was formulated in Hungary, called the Hungarian Guard, which is a
vigilante organization, but it was not enough for them either. They wanted to use their own
hands and an arbitrary method related to jurisdiction and Romas. They gained guns, shot for
buildings and then extinguished innocent lives. They wanted to strengthen the conflicts
within the Roma population, for example wealthier Romas and Roma people who deal with
illegal businesses or live in poverty.
Much criticism was expressed related to the investigation process. During the crime scene
investigation, the police ignored fundamental pieces of evidence, and it turned out that they
monitored one of the high-order defendants, Istvn Csontos, but they only suspended it
after the first attacks. Furthermore, it turned out that Csontos was an undercover agent at
the military protection, which evokes more questions regarding the purity of the case.
Due to these pieces of information, lots of people assumed political incitement in the
background. These people suspected relationship between the government and the secret
service, and stated that showing how dangerous the radical-right wing is hasalways served
as a strong legitimating instrument for the left-wing governmental forces. Many published

declarations has formulated this opinion (right-wing, FIDESZ party), but the MSZP (left-wing
party) found these speculations revolting and rejected them. Roma media and public opinion
were also divided. The Hungarian Roma Council welcomed the verdict of the court and
expressed their satisfaction with the sentence. It drew attention to the importance of social
reconciliation and refused all declarations which were formulated due to political gain. The
webpage of Romnet and C-press only published news and information related to the
homicide, but there were shrill-tongued comments under the articles. There are people who
accepted the verdict and felt that it was rightful, but lots of people were dissatisfied with the
less severe sentence of the high-order defendant. According to the webpages run by Roma
communities, the majority of Romas were unsatisfied.
On the radical-right side, there are diverse opinions as well. Kuruc.info published an article
in 2009 in which they defend the attacker, claiming that they are innocent. Later they took
over the news from MTI (Hungarian Telegraphic Office) and Jobbik (radical-right wing party).
They did not deny the facts but they stated that they use double standard. They created a
term related to the Roma homicide, called Hungarian homicide. Under the Facebook posts
and articles, readers were formulating opinions against Roma people and sometimes they
clearly supported the murderers. The Christian Democratic People's Party asserted that they
believed in social solidarity. The majority of the population observed the events with
skepticism and hoped that the case would be revealed properly. (Tth Bla, 2013)

Literature review

Nation and ethnicity

In present societies resources, power and authority is divided unequally. Here cultural codes
and symbols can mark the distinctions as well. Distinctions are made by boundaries, which
are formulated by the tool of cultural codes and narratives. This way, classification can be
worked out and sustained. Levi-Strauss also dealt with the term of race. He used the race
and ethnicity interchangeably in his book Race and History, so he argued that these
categories are defined by their particular culture, marked by a symbolic boundary which

divides individuals from each other. This boundary makes survival possible for different
groups. Fredrik Barth criticized and reformulated anthropological approaches of the term
ethnicity. According to him, isolation is not something inevitable to sustain an ethnicity. He
emphasizes the significance of interactions with other groups or classes. He argues that
ethnicity and difference is not based on cultural differences, it is more about social
interactions. Ethnic occurrence is based on differential expectations. (Sciortino, 2011:373)
It is not the cultural resources that determine boundaries, but the actors employ them to
create walls. That could serve as an explanation for the persisting ethnic phenomenon,
which still exists aside from possible mobility. Barths new approach highlights the
significance of social organization of cultural differences. (Sciortino, 2011:373) There are
two issues identified by cultural sociology: the first one is the boundary-making of social
organizations and the relation among social and symbolic boundaries. The question here is
how we are distinguished from them.
Michle Lamont was dealing with terms like labelling and standardization and examined
boundary-making processes. Lamont argued that social actors put on plural symbolic codes
to make classification and divide the social world. Ethnic boundaries and contrasts can be
sustained by functional, moral and religious discourses. (Sciortino, 2011:374) So that is
why we need to talk about performative action and symbolic structures, and the creation of
reality through language. Boundary-making is a process supported by interactions
configuring uneven and motley networks and asymmetric power relations. But it is also a
cultural activity linked to a vision of the world, triggered and regulated by ethnicity, race,
nationhood, foreignness, and many other things. (Sciortino, 2011:376-377) If we assert that
symbolic boundary-making is based on cultural structure, we deny that different social
groups exist in isolation.
Classification and category-making implies a set of binary codes, due to positioning of
ourselves in opposition to others (ingroup-outgroup, us-them). Narration is the key in
making distinction. This is the instrument that connects cultural norms with social norms.
Civic/ethnic is a strong binary code which can maintain narratives which will provide the
meaning of different social or political actions. Nationalist parties and political campaign use
these binary codes by choice to influence emotions, position themselves and mark who is
polluted and who is purified. While race is not a free choice for itcontains physical

differences, ethnicity is voluntary, related to self-identification and it could lead to inclusion,
while race is exclusive. Ethnicity is performative. (Sciortino, 2011)
Based on Anthony Giddens, racism is something more than prejudices related to physical
attributes, there is a so called new racism where cultural dominance and hierarchy is
existing, which is able to legitimate the deprivation of the other, which distincts from the
values majority owns. He used the termcultural racism because it stresses the cultural and
moral differences instead of biological distinctions. (Giddens 1995)
Culture became central to nations so nationalism is fundamental in the legitimation of
politics. The theory of social conflict (K. Marx), claiming that social conflicts can occur in
societies where ethnic is apparent and there is a high disparity in the possession of power
and education, thus free mobility and stratification are impeded. There are different
categories of nationalism, but for us Ethnic nationalism is the important type, where the
power centralized in a privileged group which is having acces to high cultural sphere, while
the others are deprived in different ways (educationally, culturally etc.). According to Ernest
Gellner, nationalism is exclusive and allows only one culture, so there are three possibilities:
absolute assimilation, genocide or emigration. Here, the killing of Roma people is important;
it does not count as genocide but the motivations and symbolism are similar.

Civil society and its binary structure

Without mentioning iconic consciousness and civil society with its code system, we are not
able to examine extensively the emerging public discourses and narratives. Iconic
consciousness contains a meaning about material objects which possess social and
aesthetical meanings at the same time and express morality. The concept is connected to
social values which own some material feature. This kind of consciousness belongs to
feelings and not to thoughts. This dual feeling is divided into beautiful and sublime. It
generates moral feelings relating to the sacred-good opposition (like beautiful-peace,
sublime-murder). Social representations are related to a given societys cultural structures.
With the beginning of the postmodern era, the mentioned binary got complicated. Due to
similar surface-depth or, say, aesthetic/moral categories, gender or racial prejudices are still

in place, but it is riskful because political motives can transform meanings related to races or
groups and gypsies or black people can be associated with evil or profane while the middle-
class white people are the sacred and beautiful. (Alexander, 2010)
Binary structures have an important role in public communication, in creating a meaning
structure people can relate to. Alexander Jeffrey C. scrutinized the topic of binary codes and
democratic society in his book (The civil sphere, 2006). A binary code includes a code and a
counter-code which depict totally distinct approaches. Social system needs binary codes to
regulate people to formulated categories which can show us the good and the bad way of
life. Democratic institutions also need tools to keep people active but self-controlled at the
same time. Democratic discourse contains different codes and passwords like like activism
and rationality. If the contrary was true (passive, irrational, mad etc.) people would not be
permitted to live with the freedom which democracy provide. So civil society is democratic
and rational (possessing the good code of the binary) while irrational and hysterical people
can be suppressed due to the peace and quiet of other peopleand civil society. While
democratic codes represent trusting relationships, the other side is something secret that is
based on suspicion. As for the inside group, its behavior and relationship will be obedient
but for the outside group, it will look avid and selfish and conspiratorial. For them, the
outside group will be the enemy. In cases like this, without any trustful relationships or
reasonable goals, arbitrary institutions can be created. Some of their characteristics are that
instead of laws and official regulations, they use vigilantism and employ brutality and
suppressive power. It means that these kinds of institutions and groups rather exclude
people than focus on integration and hierarchy is very significant.
At this point, I am returning to the most basic distinction of binary oppositions: the God and
the evil. Politics or different groups often use certain narratives in their discourse to regulate
groups or subgroups of the specific societies. Numerous groups are regarded as deviant
collectives, as criminals who are less and worse than the major part of the society. These
attributes are connected to anti-civil society, and they need to be excluded from the
mainstream discourse, and do not enjoy the same rights as the non-deviant society. Because
of the previously mentioned cognitive attributes, these people are crowded out on the
periphery and should be oppressed. A civil and democratic societys sacred code is the
liberal discourse. The power of the discourse is so strong that it creates the center of its
society. The other side I was writing about, the irrational and negative one is considered to

be profane and evil. It possesses the role of a threatening force which can destroy and
pollute the community. Representing the worst in the national community, it embodies
evil. There are different events which inevitably trigger a social consensus about using and
employing the symbols of civil society. Events which are so brutal and so unacceptable that
people need to react immediately. (Are Roma murders have a similar effect or are they so
suppressed and inhuman that the events were not able to trigger any common solidarity or
compassion?) Suppressive discourse signifies the place or location of the enemy, the part of
the community should be excluded. The enemy is against the public good, the idea of the
public possesses a symbolic form. According to George Gallup public opinion has the role to
divide true from the false. It contains factual information and emotional reaction as well,
and it is crucial that it has an evaluative role too. (Alexander, 2006)
Institualization of good and bad is significant in the culturalizing of the evil. Evil is the
contrast of God and good (semiotic perspective). In moral terms, evil is something villain,
which possesses a possibility of pollution. That is why societies needs rituals which can be
purifying and refining. Sacred does not exist without profane (religiously). What is important
here is that every value has its contrary (and norms-antinorms). To reach the state of good,
we need to have beliefs and live by values. Evil occurs when a collectivity or individual falls
flat in connecting values. Evil is selfish. In our Christian worldview, evil is something
passionate and expresses the Earth and hell instead of heaven. According to Foucault and
Marx, evil sustains power and dominance. Talcott Parsons examined value internalization
and he asserted that this is what guides us to cooperation and coalition. If it is missing,
collectivities are not ruled by values, and it will be more plausible to suffer from social
conflicts. Durkheim also claimed that common values are the keys to solidarity. Habermas
shared the same view as well, he stressed that common values can lead to a tolerant society
and reciprocal understanding of each other. Due to the previous statement, evils have to be
maintained. Sacred and profane have to be formulated continually. We need evil to shape its
contradiction, the positive values. Representations of the value in our societies embody in
punishment. Sacred is strictly segregated from the everyday world. (Alexander, 2003)
Returning to civil society, according to Habermas, public sphere is something where private
people constitute a public. Non-bourgeois, non-dominant and more identity-oriented public
spheres are excluded from the dominant one. These create separate public spaces and
spheres like African Americans in the text or gypsy rows in Hungary. Especially in the case

of these separated spheres, small media spaces are important and mean a good instrument
for achieving social change. New media surfaces can act like public spheres, like the
examined theater plays. These instruments are not perfect because they afford only partial
access. (Jacobs, 2000.)
Ronald N. Jacobs dealt with the case of Rodney King in his study of Civil Society and Crisis:
Culture, Discourse, and the Rodney King Beating, which is about an African-American
motorist who got caught speeding and was beaten up by several white police officers. This
event created a public crisis and people were talking about the brutality of the American
police and racism. He scrutinized narratives of different newspapers and how those affected
the interpretation of the event, how political elites reacted. Civil societies are built up by
different public spheres. These spheres are mediated and sustained by media, and foster
different discourses related to communities. The multiplicity of public spheres is crucial.
Different narratives and discourses provide aid to societies and communities to gain a
deeper understanding of their progress, events, performances and actors. Narratives
possess a core role in interpreting and understanding social actions and identities. Binding
the self-narratives to collective narratives, persons can make a significant relationship with
these imagined communities" like an ethnicity or nation. Analyzing narratives can also help
choose the relevant events which affect the dynamics of the civil societies. Several events
have the narrative power to tear present belief systems and change meaning structures and
In our modern era, crisis is not just a pure event, it is a media sensation. Formulating
themselves through discourses, civil societies make an arbitrary distribution, and decide who
could be excluded and who is included. Civil society divides into democratic citizens and
their counter-democratic counterpart. The democratic and counter-democratic code create
a stable meaning system for public speakers to evaluate different events and agents. Codes
can help, but if we really want to understand how groups of people understand and
interpret events in civil society, we need to focus on the narrative. Using the mentioned
codes, groups could mark their location and status, place themselves as rational and heroic,
while the counterpart as evil and uncontrolled, secretive and irrational. In the case of
Rodney King, the political elite used the genre of romantic narrative where they can be the
heroic actors. Narrative and genre analysis can help us work out and fold up the properties
of culture and their connection to real events. Due to that, "narrative sociology" is a really

good tool to understand and analyze the dynamics of social processes. Genre is important as
well, because the events were often represented as a crime story in the media. (Jacobs,

Social suffering and trauma

Social suffering cannot be detached from the scrutinized events. It does not only implicate
symbolic structures, but the power of materiality is also significant and it also influences
social establishments. Symbolic representations and social suffering are inseparable, and
their relationship shapes a cultural process and robostful feelings. Narratives own a core role
in social suffering. Creators, artists, activists can form different, meaningful accounts. This
main aim of this procedure is meaning making through symbolic and emotional
representations of a community.
Social suffering or collective trauma is built up from personal, individual pain, but the
collective, common suffering will be the factor of identifying. People do not want to know
who did something individually, they will want to know the collectivity. Elites, leaders of
different groups and intellectuals, like artists or politicians talk about collective identity in
different ways. There are different perspectives about perpetrators, the victims, what should
have been done, or what we should do in the future to prevent similar traumas. The
question is what kind of narrative will win? It has different factors like performative
power, access to resources and the structure of the audience. Different narratives and
aspects have significant relevance and can be maintained but other ones are suppressed.
When a social action, an event threatens the existence, well-being or integration of a whole
group, individual pain can be transformed into collective pain and concern. To process
traumatic events, collectivities need to work together, need to create frames, symbolic
constructions and a common narrative.
The most important thing is to define the category of we via coding, to emphasize the
common, the collective consciousness and inherence. Through that a collective identity can
reformulate or recover and win over peril. The transfiguration of individual pain into
collective trauma is always cultural work. What do we need for that? Public speeches and

conversations, rituals, movements, movies or novels etc. Likewise, in the case of social
performances and dramas, here the carrier groups possess the active part of the work. They
construct scripts about the event relating to their interest and formulate an attitude on how
the remaining part of the society should react. Then again, these collective sufferings can
evoke serious social conflict or, in contrast, social reintegration and recovery as well.
Forgetting, silence and extrusion can follow these traumas. The narration of the trauma can
become a part of a broader narrative and discourse, as in Africa where the perpetrator white
men oppressed black slaves. Structures of meaning are made by cultural entities like artists,
writers, directors, journalists etc. For instance, the public speech of a lawyer or academician
is also involved in the category of cultural agent.
By the assistance of social performances, actors represent their experiences, and through
this representation they create their own traumas. Actors use art to construct trauma. The
whole collective trauma is about its symbolic presentation or performance, not about real
events and suffering. The power of the socially collective trauma scripts lies in their
proclamation. Different narratives can be institualized by a society, which can fix the place
of collective memory. (Alexander, 2011)
It is very important for individuals and collectivities to process traumas, to attach it to their
memory with the procedure of sorting, forgetting and restoration. This help people adapt
these events to their social frames of reference, to the dominant values and beliefs.
(Iguarta Paez, 1997:80) Due to the fact that people continuously forget and add things, but
the changes are the ones which are cohesive with the specific value systems and cultural
institutions, we can say that memory is something which helps formulate a standard
perspective of our past, which has a huge effect on our present-day behavior. (It can have a
negative effect on the outgroup or minority, and a good impact on the ingroup.) In other
words, memory has a role in sustaining or reformulating a positive image and identity of a
group using social identitys defense retrospectively. (Iguarta Paez, 1997:82)
Because of that mechanism, commemorations and common rituals are sufficient grounds for
social memory. Social memory starts to build up from activated frame of rituals. For
example, artifacts or symbolic rites of commemorations are really good instruments for
formulating a cognitive frame for social memory (Igartua-Paez, 1997). Art is a semiotic tool,
mainly if we think of novels or films which have strong narrativity and thus can help to
develop these frames. Artifacts or dramatic elements of art can help collectivities and

individuals reconstruct and transform patterns. The mentioned genres can cultivate memory
and emotions due to their evaluative feather, which can modulate our convictions and
behavior. (Igartua-Paez, 1997)
A social groups trauma is not always accepted by other groups. A trauma experience
evolves when a traumatizing event interacts with human nature, (Alexander, 2003:86) and
individuals will be traumatized (lay perspective). According to the Enlightenment
perspective, trauma is a rational reaction to immediate transformation and rupture (can be
collective and individual as well). It is not recommended to disclaim these events, because
these traumas can lead to development and innovation. Language and literature have a
crucial role in this progress. Jacques Lacan stressed the relevance of language in creating
emotions, the importance of which also occurs in Derridas work (deconstruction). To
reconstruct the social well-being, collectivities need common commemorations and
representations. A cultural trauma evolves from cultural and not social crisis. Carrier groups
can be formulated from marginal communities as well. The procedure of trauma also
connects to Austins speech act theory. The similarity lies in the following: when Austin
writes about speaker, in social traumas we talk about carrier groups. Austins audience is the
public, while the situation is something culturally and historically determined, and this is the
context where the speech act appears. The audience should take part in the carrier group,
that is how they can reach the rest of the society. Only if the victims are represented in
terms of valued qualities shared by the larger collective identity will the audience be able to
symbolically participate in the experience of the originating trauma. (Alexander, 2003:96)
(Roma people, deviant etc.) Cultural traumas involve the whole public and society in
processing pain, and with this gesture they create a realm of social understanding and
sympathy. (Alexander, 2003:104)

Collective and cultural memory

After discussing social suffering, I shift towards the topic of collective memory. Nowadays
memory and history are contrary to each other. Memory embodies life, while history is a
reconstruction of the past. However, what we call memory nowadays is almost history. Our

memory is archival and lean on the material trace, the visible image. (Pierre, 1989:13)
Pierre Nora uses the definition of Lieux de mmoire (the place of remembrance) which has a
dual trait: natural and artificial at the same time. These places are material, symbolic and
functional. (Pierre, 1989:19) Lieux de mmoire is a mixture, an interaction of history and
memory. On the one hand, memory represents the place, while on the other hand, history
represents the events. (Pierre, 1989) Antze and Lambek stated that we should regard
memory not as a specific object but rather as a practice in which the various objects are
constantly being created during active monitoring. Memory and our past actions which are
important in creating identities can also undercut them. Memory practices like remembering
or forgetting are really complex and fulfilled with morality. The discussion of trauma and
remembering has also created a spurious consciousness which inhibit the victims to watch
the events objectively or respect the background historical elements, underlining the
individual suffering. (Antze-Lambek, 1996)
Remembering is not free from social influences and constructs, this type is called collective
or social memory. Two peoples memories, who experienced a common event, are never the
same because there are plenty of things that are different in each of them. In both cases a
concrete memory evokes the associations and feelings,and based on the divergence they are
not similar. There is relation between collective and individual memory and it can be
compared to the relation between language (langue) and speech (parole), as Saussure said.
Language is a collective product, an idealized system. It is separated from the varieties of
particular use, which we call speech. Memory is an intersubjective phenomenon, different
from cultural memory as society is different from the individual acts and thoughts. This two
is commonly shared by all. Memory is social because every memory exists through its
relation with what has been shared with others. Remembering is more than just a personal
act and the nature of political power can influence the content of our memories. We
remember as members of social groups, and this means assuming and internalizing the
common traditions and social representation shared by our collectivities. (Misztal, 2003:12)
Social memory organizes the practice of culture. It modifies and supplies the way how we
can understand our world and provides people with beliefs and opinions which guide their
actions. That is why cultural memory and culture is institutionalized through cultural means.
Objectifications store the meaning and here we see how it is embodied by cultural memory.
Thus, the notion of collective memory refers both to a past that is commonly shared and a

past that is collectively commemorated. The past as we remember it together, and the past
which is commonly shared are the main components of collective memory. The fundamental
role of memory in social life is connected with the fact that collective memory is part of
cultures meaning-making apparatus. (Misztal, 2003:13) Our need for meaning transfigures
our individual existence. And this is what grants enormous importance to collective memory.
In this way, collective memory not only reflects the past but also forms present reality by
providing people with understandings and symbolic frameworks and then the world makes
sense for them. Sometimes memory functions or can function as an organized practice, and
its aim is to reproduce social and political orders. Then it acts as a real material for
propaganda. Its task is to provide social groups or societies with identities and a set of
unifying beliefs and values from which objectives are derived for political programs and
actions. In todays societies, which are diverse regarding cultures, ethnicities, religions and
traditions, we are witnessing the fragmentation of national memory, from the master
narrative of nations to the episodic narrative of groups. In todays society, collective memory
is increasingly shaped by specialized institutions: schools, courts, museums and the mass
media. Where the state controls the educational and media system, collective memory is
fragmented, is full of black holes, is dominated by ideological values and is used to produce
legitimacy for the ruling lite. (Misztal, 2003)
Cathy Caruth defines memory as an injury, a wound in the mind. It is caused by a shock,
which makes a rupture on how the mind perceives the world. According to Dominick
LaCapra trauma is something what deforms our memory and which is a subversive
experience. Trauma here is something which cannot be perceived or comprehended, it is
illogical and unexplainable. We cannot integrate these events and experiences into our
constructed frameworks. When a trauma occurs, it is impossible to understand it
immediately, we need time to redress and develop it from our memory. From this events,
public discourses can evolve, which is the key, because this is the part where collectivity can
reflect to the events and themselves. In this process, the role of public discourses is to point
to collective responsibility, to raise questions about the tragedy. The reformulation of a
social collectivity depends on political processes as well. A traumatic occurrence is one that
leaves those who experience it, directly or indirectly, with long-standing memory traces
which affect not only emotional life, but also behavior in unexpected and uncontrollable
ways. (Eyerman, 2011:568) Recovering and redressing will never happen without the

meaning-making feature and the power of mass media and carrier groups which lead the
creation and progression of the cultural trauma. Cultural traumas are processes of meaning-
making, a struggle of different groups for control and dominant narrative. Cultural trauma is
made up from "emotional experience and interpretative reaction. (Eyerman, 2011:570)
Shock is connected to strong emotions which articulate a breach in everyday behaviour;
furthermore, it creates a context where public discourse can emerge. Mass media in modern
societies is inevitable in this interpretative process. During the process of cultural trauma,
there is a possibility for healing but it is not warranted. Sacred binds to identity. Cultural
trauma engenders public discourse and influences collective identity, while social trauma is
realted to the torned social life and its institutions. Social trauma is about specific
institutions and collectivities, and not the whole society itself.
Cultural trauma is a national tragedy, which destroys basic and common values. Imaginary
collectivities: nations or ethnic groups. Traumatic occurrence can create a coherence,
integrate or divide, even in the case of imaginary categories. Alexander used the term
carrier groups after Max Weber. These groups are those that formulate and represent
traumatic events, providing it to the others for common understanding. Carrier groups
adapt emotional reactions into scripts or images to create something society can remember
to. (Previously, I mentioned that intellectuals and artists possess roles.) They have the main
role of meaning-making and they also carry the memory. Representation of different sides,
perpetrators as evils and victims as good. It is really important from the perspective of
meaning-making how we construct and frame the participants. The assumption is that
civilized and modern collectivities do not commit violent crimes. Cultural traumas can only
be known and studied retrospectively. (Eyerman, 2011:577) The amount of time after a
trauma is significant. Cultural trauma grows up through narration of different sides and
emotional plot. Trauma is named and given voice through the ongoing public dialogue or
meaning-struggle. (Eyerman, 2011:577)
According to Jan Assmann, cultural memory is a collective concept for all knowledge that
directs behavior and experience in the interactive framework of a society and one that
obtains through generations in repeated societal practice and initiation. It is the way to keep
the consistency of human nature through generations.
Cultural memory has its fixed point; its boundaries do not change with time. These fixed
points are fateful events of the past, whose memory is maintained through cultural

formation (texts, rites, monuments) and institutional communication (recitation, practice,
observance). That is what we call figures of memories. (Assmann, 1995:129) In cultural
formation, a collective experience crystallizes.
1) "The concretion of identity" or the relation to the group. Cultural memory conserves the
store of knowledge from which a group gains an awareness of its integrity and peculiarity.
(Assmann, 1995:130) The objective manifestations of cultural memory are defined in a
positive (we are) or in a negative (them, that is our opposite) sense.
2) Its capacity to reconstruct: No memory can preserve the past. What remains is only that
"which society in each era can reconstruct within its contemporary frame of reference."
(Assmann, 1995:130)
3) Formation : construction of the meaning and shared knowledge. This belongs to language,
and to every kind of mediums.
4) Organization: a) because of the rules of communication through the formalization of the
communicative situation in ceremonies and b) because of the difference of the bearers of
cultural memory.
5) Obligation: How committed the group is to the cultural supply of knowledge and symbols
6) Reflexivity: Cultural memory is reflexive in three ways: a) it is practice-reflexive; self-
reflexive; it is reflexive on its own image. Through its cultural heritage a society becomes
visible to itself and to others. (Assmann, 1995:132)

Social drama and the concept of liminal/liminoid

Before I unfold Victor Turners social drama theory, I need to introduce the term of liminal
and liminoid. Arnold Van Gennep created the concept of liminal in the 20th century. He
used the term to explain and describe rituals in tribal society and the changes the members
of the group are going through during the performance of the ritual. The role of these rituals
is to sign changes in a persons life (like a marriage) or in the life of the group. Van Gennep
stated that the mentioned ritualized performances are divided from the everyday life, and
they have the role or function to keep the changes inside the boundaries of conservative
traditions. (Gennep, 1960)

Turner studied and understood the symbolic structures and the analysis, but at the same
time, he dealt with liminality and liminoid, which disrupt the structure. Liminal is something
which belongs to tribal or primitive societies and rituals are crucial in this case,while liminoid
activity relates to modern societies and there is a distinction between work and leisure time,
so rituals do not have as strong significance as in liminality.
Turner wrote about liminality, liminoid (in modern societies) and transformative and
revolutionary feature of the performance. The term of liminal is related to an interim
breach of a structure, which can imply changes in the political life, in society. In situations
like that, there is a possibility of development which is attached to the whole society. When
we talk about limen, we talk about it in a cultural context, that is why recreation is stressful.
Transitory rites are the core elements of liminality. (For example seasonal rituals of agrarian
societies). Due to modernity and transformations in rituals, Turner made the term
liminoid. Liminal cultural phenomena reveal the collective, integrated and obligatory
ritual action of premodernity. Liminal symbols often possess a common intellectual and
emotional meaning for all participants. (Graham, 2008:9) Liminoid relates to new media
and modernity. The difference is that liminality can contain new symbols and collective
transformation, the work of the gods (Graham, 2008:9) element of it. In contrary,
liminoid connects to leisure and not to work, so it is voluntary, plural and attaches to
marginality. Turner asserts that in the modern era religious sphere has transformed and
led to decay of rituals and deliminalizaton. (Graham, 2008.) Liminoid is an expression which
means a period where new cultural and social discoveries can be made or achieved.
Behavior is unreflexive and pragmatic; it can include performatory elements, but it is not
performance itself because it is not dialectical. Behavior is formulated and restricted by
social structure while during a performance, the structure is violated to reach process or
growth. Structure is always ancillary to, dependent on, secreted from process. And
performances are the manifestations par excellence of human social process. (Turner, 1987:
The main theoretical concept of my thesis is social drama, which is placed in the
postmodern. In social drama, Turner focuses on indeterminacy and liminality. Erving
Goffman also deals with drama, but he uses theater as a metaphor. In contrary, Kenneth
Burke suggests that theater takes place in everyday life. He connects theater to social action
and life. According to Victor Turner, social drama is evoking from a discordant social context

which is loaded with several conflict. It is a bursting from the given social situation.
Formulation of scripts, rhetoric and the use of symbolic structures are crucial for all the four
Public crisis owns a liminal attribute. Turner believed that society is something which is
made from the interactive relations of actors, interrupted by social conflicts with periods of
break between them. Turners approach is to focus on the social movements, particulary its
variable stages. Subsequent happenings have liminal intervals amongst them. Liminal period
is for taking a breath, rest and grief and plan. Indeterminacy possesses the meaning of
characteristic of ritualized performances. Indeterminacy in Turner words means thinking
about social life in a postmodern mode. In social drama, being reflexive is substantial in case
of the cause and motives of deconstruction. The moment when fragmentations can be seen
in the societys texture. Turner used the term metatheater to talk about social drama.
Communication about the way of communication and expression of the society. Social
actors response to communication processes. Turner used the term metacommentary
(by Geertze) which is a story or play, formulated by the a given group of people who act
upon it. Turner used the term social drama to express and explain crisis in societies. The
emerging processes are not only actions itself, but they show what the people have done. It
takes on a performative feature. According to Turner, the breach is the starting point of a
social drama which is always a ritualized action.
Social drama is a performance which intrudes existing social structures and it can bring social
change. In 1985, he named the different stages of social drama. He distinguished 4 stages:
the first is the breach of regular norm-governed social relations, and where a rupture
happens and society needs to confront with its controversies. The second is the crisis in
which people take sides relative to the breach and when the occurrences disperse through
the society where individuals and collectivities start to do the meaning making process. Here
the work of interpretation begins. The third stage is the application of redressive or remedial
procedures which is the stage of interpretation and tge reaction of the events (that is how
we understand and refomulate them). The final stage is the reintegration of the disturbed
social group or the recognition and legitimization of irreparable schism and a subsequent
reorganization of society. (Turner, 1957) This is where we meet the possibility of resolution
and reintegration. At this stage, the main discourse is legitimated, the majority has chosen

its main interpretation. Different sides and parties can make compromises or just give up on
their opinion but they can still hope that it will become a mainstream argument someday.
Before I elaborate on the meaning of social drama, I would like to start with its basic
inspiration, Wilhelm Dilthey and his Weltanschauungen (world view) and lived experience.
Experience is a concept for Dilthey which has different aspects and which articulates a
system of interaction and interpretation, involving cognition, affect and volition. (Turner,
1987:17) He argued that our experiences are not only made up by observations and
interactions, but there is a wisdom of humankind (Turner, 1987:17) (like artworks,
traditions) which strongly influences our experiences. If we take part in a social drama, we
can obtain the mentioned wisdom.
According to Dilthey, experience contains a cognitive knowledge and belief system, then
there is the level of value judgements and meaning, and finally these element foster a
complex and related system with its ends, ideals and principles (Turner, 1987:17) of
control, and these have the role to connect sociocultural interactions and individual
development, and then this influences the whole society. The world view is not a constant
set of ideas, its role is to represent a particular moment, an action when people are trying to
solve the co-called riddle of life. (Turner, 1987:17)
As we see from the previous claims, Weltanschauungen has a close relationship with social
dramas, so its formula is also a performance. For Dilthey, the most relevant media are the
religion, aesthetics and philosophy. Dilthey examined this with his philosophical aspect, but
Turner used an anthropologists spectacle and he talked about cultural media, rituals,
televisions and similar kinds of institutions. Social drama has the tool to visualize the
Weltanschauungen. Social dramas significance lies in its bursting attribute; it diverges from
the surface of society and starts to focus on social interactions and reflections etc. Reason is
a crucial actor in the construction of social drama. Lived experience sets up from the relation
of cognitive, effectual and volitional constituents. Social drama is also constituted from
different sequels. Cognition is dominating in the sequel of redressive and legal acts. In the
period of redressing, there might be downfalls, and participants can create movements or
actions which can be labelled by the term ritual, even if it contains religious belief or not.
The legal part is highly ritualized. For instance, in the crisis stage, the impact of ritual
symbols is heavily tangible on the part of the opponents. Social dramas fit in the given social
field. For instance, a new authority, a new government will evolve, while the old power will

fail. Similarly as in the case of old norm and new norms. During the process of social drama,
hidden conflicts are evoking and kinship relationships are becoming more and more
significant. Until the social drama does not end, we are not able to understand and observe
properly the core principles working in the social structure.
Values and anti-values are also important. Cultural performance is heavily significant in the
sequence of the redressive phase, where reflection, analysis and confrontation with past
events is relevant. Law and legal procedure have a crucial place here. These processes help
in meaning formulation, framing the events, giving a hand to interpret what has happened.
The main genres of cultural performance come from social dramas. Dilthey also articulated
the definition of meaning. He examined it from two aspects. Firstly, meaning of a part as
the contribution it makes to the whole, (Turner, 1987:32) where whole means a complete
toolkit of values. The second aspect contains the term of ethos or moral system. The
whole owns a meaning as well. For Dilthey, value, end and meaning are bases for our
interpretation and understanding. In addition, Dilthey stressed that meaning belongs to our
cognitive memory, it is something historical. Turner adds that it is more likely a socio-
processual thought. We need to call the category of meaning at the stage of redressing,
where social response appears (legal rituals) and the interpretation processes inhibit. Here
we need the category of meaning, because we can perceive and comprehend it when we
look back at the past events. We can evaluate the meaning of what has happened when we
see the final outcome. We need to wait until the whole procedure becomes our past. Of
course, during the process we still judge the events and try to build up meaning structures
but these are all relative and temporary. (Turner, 1987)
Turners social drama is based on taxonomic relations among actors (Turner, 1982:9)
(social structures like class system or political institutions); furthermore, social drama deals
with the confrontation, the connection of these relations, mostly informal parts of them. The
social drama contains a lot of elements like personal character and style, moral distinctions,
rhetorics. The whole performance is relevant due to symbolic power and communication
patterns. Semantic is crucial here, and the use of language, like metaphors or nonverbal
gestures too.
Social drama occurs when a breach appears, and violence and crime can happen (murders
and homicides as well). The rupture can happen as a consequence of real emotions and may
destabilize and change the current power structure. From breach, the door of crisis opens,

and then there is a possibility of restoration and reintegration. The drama can stay on a local
stage but can extend to a national level or can lead to revolution as well (like the Arab
Spring). These happenings cause contradictions, turn different ideological groups against
each other (here liberals and radicals opposed to Roma nationality) and lead to conflicts.
There are different types of retrievals, but it shifted to the area of art. Theater is a main
form, and social drama is a ground of theater. Theater reestablishes the past and transforms
meaning. Theater includes sacred characters, myths and religious actions. When we are
analyzing performance with anthropological methods, we need to look at experiences as
well. Comparative symbology means relationships between symbols and the concepts,
feelings, values, notions which has semantic dimensions. Its datas are drawned from cultural
genres or subsystems of expressive culture, ritual symbol becomes a factor in social action;
symbols are crucially involved in situations of societal change; dynamic entity. (Turner,
1982:20) Creating symbols, formulating and accumulating meaning through time, which
meaning can be continuously transformed. We can look at them in the respect of binary
oppositions. The latter goes together with arbitrary decisions. Symbols need to be disposed
in time and space, like concrete historical periods, where they have their actual meaning,
and people use them in action and interaction. Symbol is the opposite of practical reality but
it is strongly connected to it. (Turner, 1982)
During a process of metatheater, actors are conscious; they are trying to show what they
mean. The reflexive metacommentary and theater are instruments in the stage of crisis,
when people express their purpose and show their emotions to accomplish those aims. This
meta-feature also presents on the level of redress, but here the redressive machinery is
something legal. Metacommentary is needed for redressing actions. The significance of
process of space and dynamism is related to a postmodern turn.
We can interpret things only if we go deeper than observation and start to scrutinise the
data and the events. In postmodern, performance and speech acts are in the focus, in the
center of hermeneutics. Reflexive acts are multiple acts and they suppose that we, the
society, distributes itself to categories like Us and Them or We and They. Of course,
we can list different kinds of social and cultural performances. During a performative action,
not only verbal, but nonverbal communication, facial expressions and gestures also carry a
great weight. Conflict can appear with the interpretation of nonverbal signs due to the

impact of the receivers personality. The most important medium of a cultural performance
is the verbal and nonverbal media. (Boje, 2003)
Alexanders essay about the performative revolution in Egypt is important from the respect
of social drama theory. The performative feature goes hand in hand with collective
representations. From a symbolically represented experience, we are able to interpret and
comprehend how participants or agents thinki and feel. These are collective phenomena
because they are public and they create a common language through which participants can
express and deploy their new experiences.
Mass media is one of the main actors in social performances, because thanks to it collective
representations can be screened back to the society. The analysis of an event is built up not
only from literal things and happenings, but also from its representations, so we need to
examine different aspects, interpretations (audience, participants). When we examine an
event, mass media can provide us lot of relevant information. It is not only objective
information, but it can broadcast citations from the participants or audience as well; it
shows us different observations and perspectives possessed by journalists. So not the real,
but the representations of the social facts which can provide meaning and formulate
symbolic constructions. In meaning-making binary codes have a crucial role: people or
participants use them to categorize actions and things in moral sense (like victims-sacred,
murderers-profane) so a social performance or, in Alexanders case, a revolution, is about
serious fight among social representations (profane-sacred, good-bad). Different actors
possess different roles during a performative revolution. There is the carrier group which
screens the symbols and binds to the audience while creating the stage of the event. This is a
directed and guided scene by intellectual participants who actively develop the scenarios
and next actions. The carrier groups make the scripts alive, use it in time and space, and put
it in practice. These social dramas or performances are open-ended. To present a successful
social performance, we need skillful organizers, actors, a powerful and twisting mise en
scene, and last but not least, strong scripts to use. The most important element is the ability
to understand the meaning of symbolic productions, to have access to them. That is why
mass media and its distributive power communication is inevitable. (Alexander, 2011)

Roma representations in the Hungarian media

Media have a huge effect on public discourse and opinion and have a crucial role in the
formulation of social drama. There are two types of media: fictional and factual media.
Fictional media use binary codes in a popular way, try to make it broader and more exoteric.
Media can broadcast social representations without any intermission. Mainstream and
fictional media mostly serve the role of entertaining (still a strong influence), while the
media of high culture serve the role of education and development. Fictional and mass
media can affect people through different genres and can lead public opinion in the
direction of democratic civil society.
On the contrary, factual media have a different function. Factual media use the instrument
of news magazines, where the publics opinion is presented almost straightaway, so they
have a different impact and method. News are firsthand information about the civil society
we live in, our institutions and formulated relationships and their motives. Due to the
medias factual feature, news have a stronger influence and effect on social opinion and
decision. News and media have a really crucial role in signifying which social event is
relevant or not, and which will determine a given period. News represent social facts and
public opinion. Binary oppositions also occur here and define preconceptions to social
events. Formulated discussions can trigger different reactions from the society, they can
create social movements. That way they can also reach the marginal, noncivil communities,
so they can give a chance of restoring and redressing. Media intensely influences our
Mass media highlight our pre- and misconceptions, mostly when they deal with an event
specifically in favor of civil society. Public means a current, existing group in time and space.
Habermas also insists on articulating public in relation to a concrete space. (Alexander, 2006)
After a brief preface about the media types, I shift to the case of Hungary. The Mdiakutat
Institution examined different media in four Central European countries between the 3 rd of
November and 1st of December in the year of 2006. They examined different kinds of media
(newspaper, television channel, online media). I focus here only on the Hungarian media,
like Magyar Nemzet (printed newspaper) and Index (online newspaper) from where I have

chosen several articles for my interpretation. First of all, we can say that Hungarian media
mostly mention and write about the Roma minority, while they talk about the other 12
nationalities only in the context of nostalgia, evoking the good old times. In the latter case
especially in the right wing press characters are idealized, and differences between
minorities are exaggerated. The revealed reality represented by the media is full of Romas
living in poverty, and minority groups are homogeneous in general. The declarations of the
examined Magyar Nemzet are quite ingenious when it comes to Romas or other minorities.
Related to the Olaszliszka case, the paper made room for strong and radical racist opinions,
and claimed that the event happened due to the lack of civilization and it was the
consequence of Roma culture. Afterwards, they wrote about the migration of Roma people
to Sweden with a totally different perspective, they used emphatetic voice and represented
Roma groups as victims of the governments failed social policy.
The index.hu portal regularly deals with Roma issues. On 29th of November 2006, there was
an article about a man who hit a Roma woman (died in her injuries) with a car and escaped,
because he was afraid to be lynched after the case of Olaszliszka. Almost the whole
Hungarian press found the driver innocent and mentioned him as a victim, who was afraid to
stop. In conclusion, the Hungarian media broadcast and publish only a small number of
minority news, and the focus is mainly on conflicts or entertainment and culture in the
materials. News dealing with Roma issues are mostly concerned with the life of gypsy
celebrities, conflicts and social problems, like discrimination. One of the reasons why these
topics are marginalized is that there are really few trustworthy and relevant Roma news
sources in the country, and different organizations do not communicate effectively enough
with the press. (Ligeti, 2007.)
The scholar, Edward Said talked about the reproduction of inequalities that the ones who
are not able to represent themselves fall back upon others representations. Related to that
a research was made in Hungary about the media practice in connection with Roma
collectivity and social representations. During the period of the inquiry, there were two
significant crimes which defined the news and media work (the murder of Cozma in 2011)
and the trial of the examined Roma murders. (35% of the articles are related to crimes when
they mention Roma people.) The articulated image of the media does not exist in a vacuum,
the specific topics are biased by social processes and realignments, the thematizing struggle

of different interest groups, and also by the fact that our interpretations are not
independent from our previous knowledge and attitude.
According to the theory of social representation, every information is distorted by the
representations which are forced on objects and human beings. When we think about these
people and objects, our inherited genetic dispositions, learned habits and ideas, our kept
memories and cultural categories add up, and this ensemble of components make them the
way we observe and see them. Besides that, prejudices and preconceptions against gypsies
have risen. This process has been supported by the former but mostly by the present
governments anti-poor rhetoric, and some of the public political decisions also suggest the
The topos of gypsy crime: Gypsy crime has been an evident category of public discourse
and law enforcement since the end of the 80s. It is about a century old topos to regard
gypsies as criminals which was supported for a long time by the public politics and law
enforcement institutions. According to the Hungarian practice, only the Roma criminals
ethnicity is newsworthy. Although different studies from the 80s proved that crime is not
more frequent among Romas than among groups with similar social background, this did not
influence the public opinion. The newfangled popularity of gypsy crime is due to the
Jobbiks offensive political communication and rhetoric, but it is also influenced by the brutal
murder in Olaszliszka. There was an analysis in 2008 which examined the leading
conservative political newspaper, the Magyar Nemzet (Hungarian Nation) between 1 st of
January and 10th of March. The results showed that the 2/3 of the articles related to Romas
had a criminal perspective, a lot of them dealt with gypsy crime or gypsy perpetrators, and
we could only occasionally read about Roma victims. According to a research from the
summer of 2008, 91% of the Hungarians think that gypsy crime exists and 77% of them
think that Romas are more inclined to commit a crime than non-Romas. On the one hand,
the rhetoric and thematics (criminal, prolificacy, parasitism) of the radical right wing entered
into the public mainstream due to the Jobbik, who got into the Parliament. Today, the
medias usual public discourse environment is basically born in a public policy medium which
builds on criminal policy, where there is direct anti-poor rhetoric, due to the ethnical face of
poverty, as Roma people suffer from it harder. The media still replace the concerned Romas
voice with Roma leaders opinion. The earlier researches showed a narrow topic repertory
related to Romas media image. The dominant Roma issues in the news according to data

from the previous six months were the following: majority (country-wide and local) politics
and crimes. Only the number of prejudices and racisms representations were raising due to
two bigger cases: Gyngyspata (38% of the articles) and the arguments about Roma
murders (38% of articles). The most important deduction is that it became generally less
regular to speak about gypsies. The reports about Gyngyspata form an exception, as they
usually talk about gypsies, gypsy crime in general, or at most about gypsies from
Gyngyspata (and the crimes they committed). In specific cases, the media has a strong
emotionally dramatic procedure. According to the statements of the analysis, the murder in
Veszprm and other crimes connected to Romas appeared in the media in that period were
excessively adequate to dramatize the actions and their emotional frame. We are talking
about topics like the funeral of Marian Cozma and the brutality of the killing, the description
of the gypsy mafia of Enyeg. This could lead to the strengthening of the receiver attitude of
mindless reading, which triggers automatic, thoughtless reaction from the audition. This
makes the rational processing of the information impossible. (Bernth, Messing, 2011:44)
At the same time, the emotional framing was not as strong in the case of Tatrszentgyrgy
murders and their media representation: Except for MTV, all of the broadcasters used
different expressions and representations to express mourning. In the reports of Marian
Cozmas death, they often (with lots of repetition) talked about the country-wide mourning
and they showed the reactions and sorrow of the sportsmans relatives and friends. At the
same time, in the case of Tatrszentgyrgy there were strikingly few reports about the
mourning or grief reactions, whereas in the case of murdering a child these formulas are
natural and regular. (Bernth, Messing, 2011:44)
There are important tasks in public policy related to the discussed conditions. These are
problems not just because the media discussed the Romas case from a crime context and
perspective, but they are also problematic because they stigmatized the concrete case with
the label of gypsy crime, so they have lifted this discourse to a general level, and they
talked about gypsies in general not only about the concrete situation. The constructional
principle in the news of Hr TV is even ruder. (25. 02. 2009.) It makes a connection between
the Tatrszentgyrgy case and the gypsy crime: According to the analyzed data, the Roma
media image is filled with criminality, ready-made truth and implied methods more than
ever. (Bernth, Messing, 2011)

Since the murderers, who committed attacks against Roma people chose their targets based
on media, press and they analyzed published articles based on the previous attacks, the
journalists, Zsolt Bayers activity is unavoidable here. In the following section, I will
introduce some of the declarations which can be connected to the attacks. Besides, I will
also introduce an article from a more moderate conservative perspective, then in the next
section, I will show some neutral or more liberal perspectives as well.
It is well-known that one of the murderers, Istvn Kis was called Hitler dad and had a
swastika tattoo on his body. His brother was also one of the homicidals, and he was the
brain of the group. According to the attacks in Kislta, beside different assumptions one
thing emerges, namely that they committed the murders as a salute to Hitlers rise to power
on the 3rd of August, 1933, not to dishonor the Roma holocaust memorial day, as people
have thought up to the present. The attackers read the radical-right media and articles
regularly. These texts are mostly about horrible crime rates (related to Romas of course)
and Romas attacking non-Romas (Hungarians) day after day. Zsolt Bayer repeats his words
and ideas over and over again, but these words have a huge effect, because he is not the
representative of the alt-right (officially), he is a right-wing supporter, intellectual, who
writes to widely known newspapers (Magyar Nemzet, Echo TV, Magyar Hrlap, Mandinder),
which are popular among readers. He recites the alt-right conspirations, phobias,
declarations and expressions. He also presents himself as a person who infringes taboos, and
at the same time he wishes other peoples death (namely, Roma people) in a newspaper
which affects the societys large part. (Additional information: This man got an honor from
the state a year ago for his outstanding work in journalism.)
Bayer usually articulates his opinion in the following way: Why didnt the police shoot them
all immediately? () Moreover, I have a better and more relevant question: Why are they still
alive? (Bayer, 2000)1 Here, he refers to Roma people and later I will elaborate on the
formulas and metaphors he uses to describe his enemy. Thanks to his work, he legitimates
expressions which are mostly connected to hate speech. His voice and articles have much
more significance, because the radical groups can get emotional and ideological munition
from widely known, available and accepted surfaces.
On a papers webpage, called Barikd there is a list, which has been accessible since 2008
and was republished in 2009. The list includes crimes committed by Roma people. The killers
See the complete article in the Appendices.

probably read this article, and read about the attack. It is plausible that they chose their
crime scene and places from this list.
As I mentioned in the introduction, there was another murder in Kiskunlachza, where a
young woman, Nra Hork was killed. There was no evidence who the killer was, but people
were speculating and the local mayors declaration was instigating against the Roma
community. The mayor, Jzsef Rps declared: In Kiskunlachza there is no room for
violence, no room for criminals and there has been enough of Roma violence. He formulated
a message related to the attacks against Roma people: They can beat us and spit on us. For
us nobody creates an investigator group, nobody offers money for the finder, none of our
ministers show up on our funerals. I rightfully ask the question; who owns this country? I
rightfully ask the question; why arent we safe, why are we discriminated negatively, why is
there a difference between crime and crime? These words were articulated on 30th
November 2008 on the commemoration.
More liberal media also used problematic representations after the homicide. There was a
documentary report about the attack on RTL Klub channel in 2011. In my opinion, the
reports original intention was to portray the events in an objective and brutal way, without
the relativisation of the victims trauma. Eventually the report was a claptrap, it looked like a
crime movie or a thriller, and it was not a factual representation of the event. The short
video was full of loud firing, sudden cuts and dramatic intonations. Only professionals from
the protective service of law were asked, there was no sociological or psychological
advisement. The report only talked about the way the murders had happened and how the
killers had observed the victims. The focus was on the perpetrators strategy and tactics and
what kind of weapons they used. The short videos genre is like a detective novel or an
exciting movie, not like reality. The whole report is like a nightmare with the use of
expressions and sentences like: they routed out their victims from the houses and haunted
them. Of course a commercial TVs news magazine cannot be a deeply realistic and
documentary production, but the report about the attacks was prominently meant for
effect. Why is this so important? Because media, mainly mass media have a heavy agenda-
setting power.

Narrative analysis

Stage one: The breach

The first stage of social drama is the breach, where regular norm-governed social relations
are shattered and a rupture happens. This is the situation where society needs to confront
its controversies.
The first stage started with the case of Olaszliszka, where the non-Roma middle-aged
teacher was beaten to death. It continued with the killing of Marian Cozma, the famous
handball player, and escalated in the cases of Mndok and Kiskunlachza. On the level of
breach, I will examine different articles which belong to the listed events. Firstly, I interpret
the case of Kiskunlachza. The Hunhir news portal published a harsh article right after the
murder of a young girl, Nra Hork. At the beginning of the article, the writer depicts a
brutal gypsy band, who terrorize the city of Kiskunlachza. Bands of gypsies drive around
with their Audis, which cost around 10 million forints, they carry heavy gold necklaces, and
almost the whole country is flooded by them. They steal, rape or traffick young girls. Hordes
of gypsies commit lynch-law. Why should the police be in a hurry? After all, the main aim is
to run out of Hungarians, preferably for free. So gypsy crime is a good tool to prune
Hungarian population. I also want to mention here the subsidies which favor them, and this
indirectly prunes the Hungarians as well, since they are the ones who work bitterly, and pay
taxes which are the basis for gypsies subsidies. Gypsy terror is real. The Hungarian Guard
was formed from mere good and hearty men. Somebodies murdered Nra Hork, a 14-year-
old girl in Kiskunlachza. The police arrested a Hungarian, tounge-tied, poorly housed man.
But, oh Lord, this was the case when the real perpetrators could successfully bribe and
threaten a man to take on the brutal act instead of them. (Hunhir, 2009) The radical-right
view is strongly felt in the article. Here they talk about a murder in Kiskunlachza, in which a
14-year-old girl was killed. The author has no doubt that the killers were some gypsy
hordes, even after somebody gave himself up at the police. Portraying the gypsies in bands
or hordes is a returning tool. Using the word horde implies the hordes of animals. These
metaphors are not accidental, as we saw previously in Lakoffs work. Gypsy hordes are like
dangerous hyenas, they are harmful. Roma non-Roma distinction is very clear here as well.

We can also discover the evil god binary opposition here. While the criminal gypsy
hordes represent the evil forces, the good and hearty men from the Hungarian Guard are
like guardian angels or sacred gods. Conspiracy theories have emerged as well. The writer
thinks that even the authorities and the government want to support the dangerous gypsy
people, because they want to demolish the Hungarian society, and gypsies can easily do the
dirty work.
Two months before the attacks, one of the villages, Piricse got in the news because the
police arrested a couple who starved their child to death. How could Hungary reach a status
where a person with several kids and a loosely lifestyle could drink his family allowance
money away month by month, batter down the house they had built up from state aid, and
sell it as building material without any consequences? asked the major, Lszl Orosz the
Magyar Nemzet. In Tarnabod, a band containing 6-8 members were settled in for stealing
and robbing. It was not the constraint which lead them to cause damage to others, they do it
to raise money for their entertainment. It is not about gypsy crime, because the local Roma
dwellers also deeply condemn these acts. The thing is that there is no effective action
against the band. The perpetrators who killed Roma people saw in the news that Romas
ruined the houses built with EU aid, so that is why they chose that row-house. Eventually,
they did not attack that one, because the bush was too thick. (Index, 2011)
In the next article Zsolt Bayer writes about the triggering case of Olaszliszka, the murder of
Marian Cozma and about the lynching of a teacher in Mndok. These were the preceding
events, which could cause the breach on the texture of society. He wrote the following
about the Mndok case: In Mndok, a young teacher got hit by gypsy people. The gypsies
explanation was that the teacher called a little girl dirty and lousy and pulled her hair, while
the teacher said that she only asked her to tie her hair back. What do you think, which was
more probable, credible and can be proved by experience? The thing that the gypsy woman
said or the version of the teacher? A teacher, who gets threatened every day, never has the
courage to call a gypsy child lousy or dirty. Maybe the small child lied, and told her parents
that the teacher said she was dirty and lousy. Why does she feel that lying is profitable? The
most dangerous and scary thing is that gypsy people already learn in their childhood how not
to live together properly with the others. It is enough if they lie something and hide behind
the majoritys racism. Then my mother, my father, my brother enters the school and beats up
the teacher. And if we have nothing to eat, we go to a shop and steal. But not in secret

anymore, proudly. Those who allege that people exclude and despise decent Roma people in
this country, are liars. But it is impossible to live together with the others. The patience has
gone. (Bayer, 2009) Here we can see that Bayer sharply distinguishes between them and
us. He articulates again that gypsies are not on the same level as non-Romas or in his
words Hungarians. He doesnt care whether he talks about a child or an adult provided
that it is a gipsy. He can call them liars, no matter what the society thinks about accusing a
child. They are only gypsies, they deserve exclusion. From the first moment, he queries the
fact that a teacher can call a child dirty and lousy. He certainly asserts, that the child was
lying, it is impossible that a teacher has the bravery to call a gypsy like this. He builds on
prejudices and stereotypes again, and he has no doubts.
In his publication about the murder of Marian Cozma, he uses a similar narrative. They told
me that on Saturday night Marian Cozma, a talented handball player, a huge sized, nice,
smiling Romanian bear got killed. A Romanian, a Serbian and a Croatian boy were
celebrating a Hungarian childs birth. They dreamed of a European Union with pleasure and
naivity, and they believed and still believe in living together peacefully, as they have always
certainly dreamed about something like this. The boys celebrated, the whole team celebrated
together. Then 15-20 gypsies rushed at them, and started to kill. It was a local disco,
otherwise a well-famed place, not a seedy one. The perpetrators are not Hungarian citizens.
To be a Hungarian or any citizen, you need to be a human being. But they are not humans.
They are animals. And they want our downfall. The city knew this band, as they have been
terrorizing the neighborhood for a long time. So why are they still alive? It was the last
straw. The honorable gypsies must go to the nearest police station immediately and give up
the criminals. Report them, or take the lurking and dangerous animals instantly to prison.


Roma people/They/Profane Non-Roma people/Us/Sacred

hordes, bands

gypsy crime: stealing, raping, trafficking

gypsy terror

lying credible

animals human beings

dangerous nice

brutal good, hearty, smiling

shameless naivity


not civilized moral, value

Table 1Roma-non-Roma binary codes from the examined articles

The SZDSZ (Free Democratic Party) and the MSZP (Hungarian Socialist Party) have to
apologize! Zero tolerance! (Bayer, 2009) Here Bayer uses images and ideas from liberal
narratives, like European Union and living together peacefully, but of course in the end these
turn into sarcasm and irony, because he starts talking about the murder of a nice, big bear,
a valuable sportmans death. He defines the sides. Marian Cozma is the good guy, the
valuable agent who represents moral and work, while gypsies are inhuman, animals who
do not deserve to stay alive. He dehumanizes them and also makes a double distinction. He
does not only talk about the gypsies as a whole group and ethnicity but he distinguishes
between honorable and non-honorable gypsies or criminals. Therefore, the Hungarian
society is not only divided into two parts but three. The decent gypsies, Hungarians and the
inhuman animals who deserve to die.
Bayer also formulated an opinion related to the lynching in Olaszliszka, where a non-Roma
man was beaten to death in front of his childrens eyes. He already knew how the liberal
elite would react. First he talks about the facts, then he shifts to projecting the future. He
dehumanizes the Romas throughout the whole article. He talks about We and Us as the
majority, and They as animals, as not equal human beings. This is where the binary
opposition appears (we are the sacred, they are the profane). At the beginning of the article,
he stresses that he or we are the only ones who can tell the truth and the facts, he is the
only expert, discrediting others. It can also imply that others are ignorant or cowardly, that is
why they do not speak up. Then he seemingly writes down the facts, but stresses the age
and the occupation of the killed man. He is 44 years old and a teacher. He does not mention
that the teacher is non-Roma, or says it roughly a Hungarian man; because the occupation
implies that it cannot be a Roma person, which strengthens the stereotype that for Roma
people education is not important enough. It is also worth emphasizing that the man was a
teacher and 44 years old, because it shows that he was in the middle of the society, and had
all the morals and values people attach to an adequate member of the society. Also these
information make the case personal and influence the readers emotions. The lynching can
symbolize that gypsies attacked these morals and values and destroyed them or ruined
them. He uses expressions which strengthen the theory that gypsies are not even humans,
not civilized, they are brutal and shameless, they beat a person in broad daylight, outside
on the street and in front of his childrens eyes. Then he points out again that the killers
were dozens, dozens of lynchers. It is necessary to point this out, because in this way he
justifies himself, it is a moral necessity. It is clear that this is a strong exaggeration because
there is no possibility for 24 people to beat up a man, they cannot even come near to him.
The word lyncher also refers to irrationality and an unjust act, it assumes a mass. He uses
lynchers the same way he uses the word gypsy. Gypsies are the mass (They), while the
man is Us, the individuum, he represents the Hungarian majority.
He uses the word gypsy, because it possesses a negative connotation in Hungary and
throughout Europe. It also stresses the point that Romas are inferior population. He also
applies a lot of incomplete sentences to emphasize things and influence emotions, it is a way
of imitating verbal speech. When he starts talking about the liberal dewy-eyed, intolerably
vile defenders, he positions himself against them, they are his or our opposition. He uses
these expressions as a tool of irony which disqualifies the liberals. So two enemies are
formulated: the gypsies and the liberals who defend them. He states that defenders are
going to happen. He claims it as a prophecy, an inevitable thing, which will happen. It also
sounds like a conspiration theory. In this paragraph he talks like a defender, he uses
expressions like defenseless poor Romas and their life is a never-ending terror in
Olaszliszka. They will passionately condemn racism. He imitates and projects the future
events. Here he describes that liberal defenders will say that killing is not acceptable but
comprehensible because the majority (Us) is intolerant and racist, and the EU will
condemn the racist Hungarians. Here the word tolerant is a multicultural, liberal word,
which is connected to the EU and liberals. Later he uses this word with a different meaning,
he turns the word against the liberals and tries to dispose of it.

Then there is a paragraph where he formulates an expression: Stalinist declaration. He
uses an analogy with a peaceful demonstration and the beating. Like a group where
everybody is regarded as a psychic abettor who takes part in a peaceful demonstration
where somebody does a violent act. The analogy here is that everybody who saw the
gypsies beating are also killers and guilty. It is collective guilt, a reference to communism.
Peaceful demonstration contra gypsy aggression. It might mean that there is a contradiction
in the system. Then he writes that the basic conclusions can be deduced from that. That
implies a kind of logical necessity, which does not exist here.
The next section projects a situation where a person hits a Roma child. This is like a fantasy,
like a zombie scene. The whole scene implies a meaning where a person hits an animal on
the street and leaves it there. But later he stops dehumanizing the child, because he excuses
himself and talks about the fact that people will not leave the child there. Not because he
thinks it is not right, but because the society respects the children more, they possess a
higher moral, human nature is not able to ignore this. He also exempts the drivers from
responsibility. If they drive away and hit other people, it is not their fault, it is just collateral
Then he talks about America and the so called no-go zones, where the ethnic groups live.
Here people have to defend themselves, the state does not have a role, and laws do not
exist. Durkheim said that law has to exercise vengeance to justify, to satisfy the society,
while Foucault said that punishment is not about revenge, it is about reeducation.
Vengeance is personal (gypsies the instinctive beings, the non-human entities), while
punishment is divided by the state.
Then he states that Zero tolerance should be the password. That implies a closed group,
which needs to be recognized by its members. This is like a military language, like skinheads
who also have their own uniform or signs like the bald head. There is an intention here to
distinguish this group from the majority. He stresses that nobody will protect us and we
need to do it by ourselves. The whole social order seems to be broken, the whole description
is like an apocalyptic vision. (Bayer, 2006)

Stage two and three: Crisis and redress

The second stage of the social drama is connected to the phenomenon of crisis in which
people take sides relative to the breach. When the occurences disperse through the society,
individuals and collectives start working on the meaning-making process. Here the work of
interpretation begins. The second stage evolved from the Roma homicide, which was a
brutal response to the previous events. Here, I will analyze articles from different
perspectives. One of the most radical and significant writer is Zsolt Bayer, who wrote articles
in almost every stage of the social drama. The third stage is the application of redressive or
remedial procedures which is the stage of interpreting and reacting to the events. (How we
understand and reformulate them). This level emerges from the declarations of different
political actors and it is formulated by the running trial.
Zsolt Bayers previously mentioned articles establish a kind of certainty in the reader, while
trying to put the facts across, but in contrary the following article (g a hz, Magyar
Nemzet)2 tries to awake insecurity about the case of Roma murder. The article is more
objective, it works with facts, but fiction also occurs. It mixes the liberal elites opinion with a
right-wing criticism provided by the Kuruc.info (radical right-wing portal). Liberal arguments
are more centrifugal, while conservative ones are more direct, centripetal, for example they
say Jesus is the answer. Liberals and conservatives communication are different and
there are many contradictions. Conservative formulations are more explicit and concrete.
Lakoffs theories related to language and semantics can be important here. He also made a
distinction between liberal and conservative communication. Conservatives usually use
words and expressions like: character, discipline, strong, individual responsibility, authority,
hard work, punishment, human nature, deviant etc. Liberals also own specific phrases and
topics like: social forces, social responsibility, free expression, human rights, equal rights,
care, help, oppression, diversity, deprivation, alienation etc. (Lakoff, 1996, pp) Liberalism
and conservatism have different types and models. Conservatives are more intuitive with
their worldview. They really stress the importance of family and morality in their political
discourse. Liberals do not use these formulas as often, but both of them are central in their

See the complete article in the Appendices.

worldviews. Liberals are less conscious and evident with categories of morality and family in
their political belief, it is not a principle for them. The liberal model is the nurturance model,
which is more powerful, while the conservative Strict Father model also contains empathy,
but it will never be as important and strong as authority and morality. Both of the models
are different family-based moralities. This is important for us because it connects to politics
with a view of nation as a family, and the government is the paternalistic system, the parent.
Liberals think that the government has to give aid to people in need, social care and
subsidies are important for them, while conservatives focus more on self-disciplined citizens
who can help themselves. (Lakoff, 1996)
We can talk about moral circles which put the individual self in the center and it is
surrounded by different circles like family or nation etc. There is an idea about two forces,
a centripetal and a centrifugal force in moral circles. The centripetal one is more about
pulling inward and close relationships, while the centrifugal force pushes outward,
extends the circle. The centripetal force is about making close and small circles of tribes. It is
more about family relations. The centrifugal force can be motivated by family as well, but it
is more rational. According to Moral Foundations Theory, there are multiple intuitive
foundations for moral judgments, built upon to different degrees by different cultures; while
liberals are particularly sensitive to Care/harm and Fairness/cheating concerns,
conservatives are less so, but are more likely than liberals to be concerned with
Loyalty/betrayal, Authority/subversion, and Purity/degradation. (Graham-Waytz-Meindl-
Iyer-Young, 2011, pp) The centrifugal force is more about individualism, justice and care,
while the centripetal one stresses moral engagements which emphasize the importance of
the family and local traditions and neglect outsiders. (Graham-Waytz-Meindl-Iyer-Young,
2011) It turns out that the liberal left does not care about the gypsies, just their reputation.
(On the contrary, in Bayers article he accuses the liberals of defending them). The text
implies that nothing is certain, nobody knows anything, and there is no real evidence which
can prove how the Roma homicide happened, what

were the actual motivations. Only the political elite is sure that it was a hate crime. In the
beginning they use the expressions ethnic homicide and hate crime, but they


Sacred liberal side Profane conservative-radical side

International organizations Nazis

toleration racist culture

god evil

embracing, defending segregating

action passivity

Table 2Liberal and Conservative codes

immediately state that there is no evidence for that. Then Lszl Balogh, the priest of rkny
made a declaration about the funeral. He strengthens stereotypes with his statement,
because he talks about the oddness of the funeral where the gypsies were standing still and
quiet, while they usually cry loudly and stand in ovation. The question here is also about
collective guilt.
Then Gbor Ivnyi (the vice minister of the Evangelical Fellowship, and it is also stressed that
he is a prior Free democrats representative) talked about our collective guilt, about
forgiveness and eternality that the victims had already gained. Here he uses expressions like
we need to take care of them, embrace them We should have defended them from the
evil forces (racist Hungarians, Hungarian Guard). Here we represents the god (sacred)
and the Nazis represents the evil (profane). While he wanted to talk with a good intention,
he still used metaphors and expressions which imply that we need to do a passive act, while
the gypsies are the most passive parts of the story. Talking about embracing them is like how
god embraces people, which is a mystical action and can also mean that we abase gypsies
and mark their place and our place (majority-minority). He wants to stress the importance of
taking care and living together, but somehow he formulates a worldview where the
distinction between the Romas and non-Romas is still acute. He also uses the word
tolerate, but here it means that the majority needs to tolerate the racist people, while in

contrary in Bayers article he used it against the gypsies and the defenders. Gbor Ivnyi
articulated that he felt sorry for the gypsies who are not able to study or enter the same
school as the majority. Here the expression not able to is also important because it implies
that Romas are a passive and vulnerable group.
As an answer, Lszl B. asserted that politicians are not the ones who know what is
happening in a village, or in real life between the Romas and non-Romas. He also brings up
stereotypes and prejudices namely that it is more typical that a gypsy child beats up a
Hungarian child. It also implies that locals think that they know the way things really are and
intellectuals just sit on their thrones. Empirical evidence is more important than social
science, as it also represents the macro-micro relations. Here he asserts that Roma parents
do not regard education and knowledge as a value. This is a strong and negative statement
which stresses the cultural stereotypes and blames the Romas for their failures (like
segregation, or maybe their own death in this case). In the next paragraph, the blaming
continues. The writer of the article formulates questions like: Did they discover
contradictions in the relatives narratives? Can we eliminate the possibility that certain
previous crimes related to the Cs. FamilyPest County Court and the Prosecutors Office
also know about itcan be associated with the attacks against them? Did they manage to
clarify the victims role in the villages illegal activities, and did the victims have any conflicts
with anyone? With these questions they still blame the victims and question the truth. They
strengthen the evidence of a simple crime, without any purpose of hate. Here it is also
stated that the whole murder is saturated with politics and politicians want to sort the case
out to gain success. They asked a criminologist, who said that the attack was well organized
and the killer could be a trained gunman with a great presence of mind. He described a
heroic figure, as if the killer had a special skill, who was a talented enforcer. Then the article
emphasizes onwards the possibility of a real conflict (blaming the victims by stereotypes and
prejudices). For instance, the perpetrators could be foresters who were tired of the timber
thefts. The preparator could be a controversial person who does not trust in the rule of law
which implies the article of Bayers. (Magyar Nemzet, 25.04.2009)
It says that the Roma elite and the political leadership had ready-made concepts and
answers, they were not insecure about the evidence and facts. There were still two
controversial groups against each other (liberals-conservatives). Liberals also have a kind of
conspiracy theory like initially they wanted to set up the murder as an accident and they

didnt accept any evidence from the locals, which could prove the clearly intentional
homicides. (Magyar Nemzet, 25.04.2009) (It turned out that it was not conspiracy, they
knew the truth.) The people who got killed lived at the end of the village, in the periphery,
which is also really important in the respect of Turners social drama. The locations were
always on the outskirts, segregated areas, where they could easily escape, and they can also
symbolize the gypsies location in the Hungarian society, the invisibility of the problems and
deep racism. Pter Krek also mentioned the importance of the village where the murder
occurred. It was among the first times that the Hungarian Guard marchedin
Tatrszentgyrgy in 2007, so it became a symbolic place.
Aladar Horvath talked about international organizations, which could help the Romas, if the
local authorities did not do this. On the one side (conservative), international organizations
are enemies, they are against the national endeavors, while liberals and the minority see
saviors in them, and the only solution for their problems. Ern Kllai stresses that ambiguous
declarations and also the silence and hate speech has to stop. Passivity is not required here,
people should gather together and make a common, undiversified statement, and stand up
against hate crimes and suppressive behavior. He talks about moving pictures, like moral
barriers are crashing down. (Magyar Nemzet, 25.04.2009) Here it is an indication about the
Nazis and prejudices, while Zsolt Bayer used similar pictures and descriptions to talk about
the suppressive liberals and the agressive Romas.
Orbn Kolompr also talks about immediate action, liberal claims, andrefers to actions,
active progress and resistance. Pter Krek also mentions that the agressive assault is
evolving from rhetorical campaigns, (Magyar Nemzet, 25.04.2009) which implies the
articles of Zsolt Bayer and also several inflammatory articles from radical-wing websites, like
Kuruc.info or Jobbegyenes. Liberals talk about planned double-execution which is more
brutal and animalistic than the word murder. Hungary is no longer in the same condition,
something has changed. (Magyar Nemzet, 25.04.2009) (Bayer talks about the same in the
case of Olaszliszka.) Our place and social situation changed, moral barriers crashed down.
Liberals think Nazis and racists ruined our nation, while the conservative part of the country
blames the gypsies and the passive citizens. They project a future racist culture, like Bayer
projects an apocalyptic, animalistic world.

Pter Gyrgy uses the words abandoned, strangers, dreadful (Magyar Nemzet,
25.04.2009) to describe the situation of the Roma population, the role of the majority in
that, and to stress the segregation of the Romas, the way we excluded them.
Opinions about Romas

Liberal side Conservative side

victims gypsy crime

abandonded shameless

dreadful dangerous

vulnerable brutal

scapegoats animals

innocent guilty

Table 3 Liberal and conservative codes about Romas

Then a strong metaphorical picture appears when Jzsef Choli Darczi says that the ethnic
bomb has exploded. This is dreadful and threatening, and it also refers to crashing down,
falling into pieces. Then another journalist says that the house is on fire. (Magyar Nemzet,
25.04.2009) The picture of the fire, the fervor or heat is heavy.
Ivan Andrassy also mentions the Jews and the Romas, and the Roma crime, and talks about
conspiracy theories as well, and things people usually blame and use as a scapegoat. He is
the one who asserts that if we say these things every day they become a reality. It could
refer to speech act, to Austin and Searle and other language anthropologists. The hypothetic
insurance fraud is also mentioned here, but there is no real answer for that and no official
evidence, but they still talk about it, so it sticks and soaks in. Kuruc.infos addition talks
about liberal-left elite and racist-right wing.
Tatrszentgyrgy is a metaphor, a political symbol, a place where a political war became
embodied and the left and right collided. The right wing implies this, as the liberals want to
use the case to prove that people should not vote for the right wing, because the emerged
situation is their collective responsibility. Then they talk about official information. For
them the liberal elites declarations are not official, they are just speculations and

inflammatory statements, while the police is the main, reliable source. The additional part
talks only about the ambiguous information. They emphasize the possible conflict between
the Roma and non-Roma community, they query the Roma representatives truth, and, even
more importantly they use all the prejudices and stereotypes against the victims, while if
they were non-Roma, white, middle-class people, there wouldnt be any questions about the
clarity of the murder or execution. Here they mention the house insurance again. Blaming
the victims is a similar mechanism to what liberals do according to Bayers article. They say
the scapegoat is the police and local authorities, while for the scapegoat it is the whole
Roma population. They use similar expressions and metaphors describing each other, they
see enemies in each other.

Stage four: Reintegration

The final stage is the reintegration of the disturbed social group or the recognition and
legitimization of the irreparable schism and a subsequent reorganization of society. (Turner,
1957) This is where we meet the possibility of resolution and reintegration. At this stage the
main discourse is legitimated and the majority chooses its main interpretation. Different
sides and parties can make compromises or just give up on their opinion, but they can still
hope that it will become a mainstream argument someday.
After the trial, it was proven that the malevolence was real, the perpetrators motive was to
take a revenge on gypsies. Allegedly they stated that their plan was to lash up the Roma
non-Roma tension and unleash a civil war which could end with the deportation of the Roma
people. That is why they chose the most innocent victims. But they also wanted to choose an
easy strategy point, when they selected the gypsy-rows last houses. Istvn K. got angry and
decided to reckon with the orcs when he got robbed by gypsies three years ago. Jnos
Tdor used the word gypsy hunting. (Tdor, 2010) When the perpetrators confessed what
their intention was with the homicide, they used the vision of war, civil war which could
reformulate social relationships and structures. In social drama, these instruments are used
to transform social processes, but in an appropriate case, reconciliation would not be equal
with the deportation of a given ethnicity. However, their aim was to unleash a war, from
which they could come out as winners. As we know from previous data, they could not

achieve their goal with their performance, but they could create a crisis where radical and
liberal voices could gain strength. From the short summary of the article, we can also see the
basic distinction of innocent and guilty. The perpetrators distinguish gypsies, but they still
treat them as a homogeneous group with collective felony.
There was a theory about the target of the murder in Kislta. The public thought that the
main target was the mayor of the village, Sndor Pnzes, who had a confident relationship
with the Minister of Finance (Jnos Veres) and provided jobs and livelihoods for the local
He declared related to the murders: One of the victims, the 14-year-old Timi had everything
but she misused the things she got. He also stated that he really loves gypsies and he
always allocated jobs from his companies among gypsies, because they are much stronger
and hard-working than Hungarians. He brought women to Budapest for cleaning. (Tdor,
2010) There was a time when we stayed in Budapest for the 20 th of August to watch the
fireworks at the Danube, which was an extraordinary experience for them. He was
wondering about the good old times, when not only the eyeful gypsy girls were young, but
also him. One of the most attractive women was Mria Balogh. Maybe that is why she
caught the eyes of the perpetrators. (Tdor, 2010)
The third full article I analyzed is more factual and more objective than the former two. Here
the article starts with the fact that the serial murder was the first racially motivated murder
case in Hungary. So there are now evidence and clear facts that it was an ethnic-based
homicide, so liberals were not the ones who exaggerated. The article describes the murders
and uses expressions like used shotguns and birdshot to carry out the pre-mediated
annihilation of Roma families (Gulys, 08. 06. 2013).3 This picture really looks like a
situation when a hunter tries to drive foxes from their dens. It reflects the former opinions
which talk about the brutality of the murder, and also reminds us about the metaphors from
the article of Olaszliszka, and the instinctive behavior of the gypsy community. Two
members of the perpetrators were skinheads, so it also reflects the Bayers articlewith the
Zero tolerance password and the demand for a closed group. So the prophecy of Bayer was
almost accomplished and a small group was articulated after the lynching of Olaszliszka and
after the murder of Cozma.

See the complete article in the Appendices.

After the verdict the Ministry of Social Affairs declared that the government will not tolerate
paramilitary organizations and stepping up against each other, and the real key should be
the power of law. Offenders and criminals shall be brought to justice through the power of
law. (Gulys, 08. 06. 2013) So this is in contrary to the prophecy Bayer was talking about
and wanted. There are still questions open and ambiguity because the Minister of Human
Resources (Zoltan Balog) thought that the complete truth has not been uncovered. (The
conservative part of the argument had a shift in their opinion.) But he still emphasizes that
people have to stand by the victims and it is not a question of minority or majority, it is a
question of human dignity. Which might be true and sounds beautiful and reasonable, but
it fits in the discourse of the right-wing. They make the murder relative, the fact that it was
about ethnic conflicts and racial purposes not only about killing a person. So the minority is
still a stranger and beyond the mark. Mr. Miszori stresses that the attackers went to places
where gypsies committed crimes against Hungarians, which is important, because there is a
strong distinction in the Roma-Hungarian contradiction. If we want to be politically correct,
non-Roma and Roma are the correct expressions, whereas we use Hungarians and
Romas, it just stresses the distance and the difference, and also the majoritys attitude
towards them. The case shows clearly the sentiment of the Hungarians against Romas, and
also Jobbik, a Hungarian famous right-wing party supports the notion of Roma crime.
While Jobbik and Zsolt Bayer are well-known and respected public members, they possess
power and influence big crowds, so this is really dangerous and legitimate racism. There are
deep-rooted prejudices in the society mixed with lethargy and passivity, Hungarians are
disillusioned. Hungarian governments have failed to operate successful programs to help
Romas, and the economic crisis also hit those the most who live in poverty, so social tension
and disillusion just increased through the years. The article also mentions Olaszliszka, where
the public sentiment deteriorated severely after the lynching. Something broke at
Olaszliszka Angela Kocze said. (Gulys, 08. 06. 2013) This sentence is really important,
because it is the embodiment of the breach of the stage of social drama. It is the collapse,
the starting point.
The article also mentions commemorations which recall the holocaust and the Roma
holocaust, and in 2009 they also commemorated the victims of the ethnic-based murders. Of
course, the Jobbik did not participate. There was no social recovery or reintegration, the
social drama could not be completed, and there is still no endpoint.

In 2013, after the end of the trial, Tmea Szab, the co-president of the PM party made a
statement on the memorial day of the Roma murders. She stressed that innocent people
were killed, and her party absolutely condemned evoking hate and ethnic distinction, and
their aim was to create a recipient society. She also mentioned the collective responsibility,
because she thought that the politics of the past 22 years were not to be blamed. She also
emphasized the importance of education, real workplaces, and decided manner against hate
crimes. She also spoke about equal access to public services for every Hungarian citizen, but
at the same time called upon the government to eliminate poverty and integrate Roma
people. Besides the previous declarations, she talked about the basic need for proper public
security and fundamental individual rights, however, she did not only talk about the Roma
murders of Tatrszentgyrgy, but she also mentioned Olaszliszka. This could be problematic,
because at first sight she seemed to be protective and careful about Roma people and their
trauma, but then she used similar rhetoric tools to the Jobbik or other radical and
conservative representatives, because she conflated the murders of Olaszliszka and
Tatrszentgyrgy, and with this gesture, she diminished the significance and weight of the
ethnic-based homicide. Similarly in 2013, the commemoration was overflown with
troublesome statements by the parliamentary parties. The organizers came from different
Roma organizations (like Roma Community Network). Besides the statement of Tmea Szab,
the government, more precisely the Ministry of Human Capacities published a statement
which declared the following: Before anybody could think that one life is more valuable
than another, we need to assert that the victims of Tatrszentgyrgy, Nagycscs and
Olaszliszka are the victims of the same hate, and they deserve justice in the same way. All
the peoples lives are equally important, no matter whether their lives and dignity was
attacked in Tatrszentgyrgy, Olaszliszka or Nagycscs. One year before that, Zoltn Balogh,
the Minister of Human Capacities made a similar statement.
The interviewer asked the participants of the commemoration about their opinions related
to the declaration. gnes Osztolykn, former parliamentary delegate declared that she and
her party (LMP) convicted own ideas of justice, so the tragedy of Olaszliszka as well, but she
thought that the Ministry pathetically confused the things, because the serial killers were
killing in cold blood and due to their race. According to another participant, the Ministry was
trying to identify the two murders, therefore they tried to diminish the responsibility of the
whole society. Jen Sett (Roma civil activist) said that not only the perpetrators were

responsible for the death of the victims. He thought that all the people needed to be blamed
who used hate speech to create a social context where the homicide could happen. (Czene,
It is crucial to use Turners social drama theory in contemporary sociological research, if we
want to understand more how social actionsand performances shape and are shaped by
social discourses and evolving narratives. It is very important to examine collective practices
through the lens of social performances, to have a deeper look at the meaning structures,
and to analyze social crisis and the reformulation with the tools of language, power and the
discourse itself. In the case of the Hungarian Roma murders, social drama theory fits the
best. With the stages of the social drama, we can illustrate and represent the stages of the
real events, build up a deeper understanding, a meaning structure and get to know the
social and cultural outcome of the process. The first stage, the starting point of the crisis was
Olaszliszka, the brutal lynching, which left a deep mark on the Hungarian societys texture.
Then the crisis started to escalate and different narratives were taking shape. Social drama
theory can help us analyze the evolving narratives with the focus on social transition and the
use of performative tools and discursive formulas.
The following event was the incomprehensible Roma murder, where I chose to examine
conservative, radical and liberal narratives. From the scrutinized articles it was discovered
that the crisis had already started with the cases of Olaszliszka and Marian Cozma, where
social tension and racism were strengthening. While the murder of the teacher and the
handball player triggered a kind of similar and unified reaction and a collective opinion, the
murder of Roma people did not create as vast a social outcry as the previous events.
Conservative and liberal opinion leaders were formulating similar narratives about the
lynching and the attack of Cozma, except the liberal side was trying to stress the role of
social deprivation, discrimination and the hostile environment where Roma people had to
live. They claimed that every crime is a crime, aside from a persons colour or ethnicity, but
we should remember that we cannot regard different minorities as homogeneous groups. In
comparison, the attacks against the Roma families were evolving different and more
diversified perspectives and narratives. The conservative and radical side parted a bit more
than in the former case, while the liberal side was also ambiguous, but it used a more
combative rhetoric than before. The media interest was longer and wider than in the case of

Olaszliszka, due to the prolonged trial, and thanks for several artistic representations, which
were trying to maintain the attention of the whole society, and trying to ease the tension.

Narrative of the victims

After the end of the trial, Roma people still did not believe that the police had caught the
perpetrators, and they thought the killers were assassins of a radical group. They were still
afraid that the gypsy-hunting would continue. After the legal process the government gave
prizes to police officers who did an outstanding job during the investigation. The Prime
Minister showed up at the ceremony and rendered his thanks to the police officers for
arresting the ones who were threatening Hungarys safety. I would like to send the message
that crime cannot stay unpunished. Your successful investigation strengthens the faith that
we can trust the police and the rule of law in Hungary. stated Gordon Bajnai. (Tdor,
2009) This symbolic gesture was kind of hypocrite, because the homicide could have been
prevented if the assignees had had done their jobs professionally or conscientiously. The
rhetorical question is the following: who could have been interested in ordering the murders
and hiding information about the perpetrators. The stress is still on the authorities, the
creation of heroes, while the victims are still afraid of the committers, and still think that
the serial-killing will continue. Their only tool is symbolic power, the power of the Prime
Ministers speech, the honors which were given to certain police officers to show in this
country nobody could escape from the power of law, and committing a crime will get the
deserved punishment (sooner or later).
As I mentioned at the beginning of my paper, racially motivated murders in Hungary
portrayed the failure of the security and social services, because no mental help was given to
the victims and they did not plan any rehabilitation programs. Their main aid was provided
by Balzs Turay, who has been visiting them with his camera from the beginning of the trials.
He still takes part in their lives, and tries to visit them regularly. Balzs told me that while the
authorities were talking about rehabilitation programs, almost nothing was realized in
practice. There was a psychologist who visited the families once or twice, but then it also
stopped. In the next sequence, I would like to quote some of the survivors narratives about

the events, how they felt, how they feel now, what they received from their environment?
Csaba Csorba said in 2011: If they had alarmed us in time, they could have caught them,
because I am sure they were near here. So in that case, there wouldnt have been more dead
people. It is not true that a police officer doesnt know if a child has bullet wounds. They
didnt even believe it when a buckshot fell out of the childs clothes. Maybe I was the one
who put it there? Then I had to go to the court because I declared something on the
television which offended one of the policemen. Do they convict me for this as well? They
killed my son then they are not able to decide if he got shot? As the wife said, we are here on
our own. They bolted from us. We have no future here in Szentgyrgy. (Turay, 2010) Csaba
was one of the most agitated participants of the events. He had to go to the court because
of perjury. He was in shock for a long, long time, and he was the one who needed it the most
to get some help from authorities or healthcare institutions.
Erzsbet Csorba lost her son and her grandchild when the perpetrators attacked the houses
in Tatrszentgyrgy. She was in despair when she was interviewed by Balzs Turay. You can
ask Csaba, he still trusts everybody, but I dont anymore. They promised a lot of things, but
nothing happened, everything stayed the same. I am not going to say anything to anybody, I
gave enough information, but it didnt help my son and grandchild. I am fed up with
everything. The judge also told me to move on. But how? How should we move on? Would
you be able to move on? One goes insane. I think they didnt catch our killers. But if they did,
there are more of them outside. Why did they chose Tatrszentgyrgy? Why did they kill my
son and my grandchild? There should be a local organizer as well, who knows the
surroundings. Nothing will be the same. We stayed here like this, without the children, still in
poverty. said Erzsbet Csorba in 2011. (Turay, 2010) The hysterical declaration of
Erzsbet shows the huge doubts in the victims. They cannot trust the investigators, they
cannot move on due to the passivity and disinterest of the whole society. They are crying for
help, but there is noone to rely on. Reconciliation and rehabilitation is not an option here.
There are no instruments, no motivation from the majority. She also asked: Why
Tatrszentgyrgy? Why the innocent child, why his son? The basic issues and questions are
the following: Why always the innocent people die and get punished? What about the
criminals and evil human beings?

va Jenn Kka told in 2010: They killed my husband, do you understand? They killed him. I
dont know why, he didnt cause any trouble to anyone. My husband was a good man,
everybody loved him. He had a good relationship with everybody. He was working
throughout his whole life. I have been working since I was a child. When I left the case
factory, I cried because I loved the place and the people so much. My boss also loved me. I
used to work on the field when I was a child. I didnt have to ask for food or money from
anyone, I have worked in my whole life, but look where it took me? What was the point? My
husband set off to work when the attack happened. I havent been able to calm down since
then. I dont have patience, I dont care about anything. I used to like being with people
before, but now they annoy me. I am scared. Scared of people. When I visit my husband in
the cemetery, I take him chocolate and his favorite chewing gum. I sit down by the grave,
and thats where I calm down. It is all quiet and we are together. (Turay, 2010)
From the declaration of va, we can feel the intense despair and her abandoned situation.
She emphasizes her opinion with repetitive questions and expressions. (e.g. killed my
husband). It is interesting to see her perspective, how the strong collective morals appear in
her statement. She tries to defend her husband, she tries to prove he was a good man by
explaining his relationship to work. She feels it important to stress that both of them have
worked since their childhood, and they did not only work, they loved to work, especially the
woman. Her explanation implies the suggestion that Roma people are only honorable in the
majorities eyes, if they work. Work is something sacred, to quote Weber, it is the way to
salvation. Moral relates to work. If a gypsy person works, he/she cannot be a bad person

Artistic representations

During the process of social drama, artistic representations have a crucial role in social
transformation. Theater plays and photo exhibitions helped to process the trauma and tried
to make it a collective one, while all the forms of artistic representation tried to evolve and
strengthen empathy in the majority of the society as well. That is why artistic
representations have a significant role in formulating a social drama, mostly in its last stage.

During the process of the reintegration and redressing period, artistic representation has a
huge impact on the chosen narrative, on how peoples opinions will transform at the end. It
can provide a totally new aspect of the events, show people different perspectives,
reformulate the role of the actors, and increase the propensity of participation and active
While the fourth stage of social drama can almost never be completed, artistic formulas can
give a strong boost to strengthen the newly formulated social agreement. The political
parties, the elite has more power to lead a discourse and can reach more people through
different media, like the TV or the Internet, while artistic representations can reach a smaller
crowd, and mostly the narrow sphere of intellectuals from the capital city, or at best from
bigger cities. That is the main problem with this instrument, but now there are different
initiatives to take theater plays and exhibitions to different, deprived and poor parts of the
country, where it is almost impossible to visit events like that now. So with that effort, it can
be a more intense tool for spreading information and formulating narratives, which can lead
to social change.

Balzs Turays photographies

Photos of Roma people are mainly sociophotos, but

after the Roma murder there were different initiatives.
Hungarian society is still digesting the trauma that
happened to the Roma families due to their ethnicity.
When Balzs Turay started to do his field work on the
site of the murders, his aim was to replace the missing
rehabilitation program with his presence with the
instrument of art, precisely with photography, to help
the victims articulate and process their trauma. He used different perspectives and topics.
He made photo series of the locations, of the houses where the victims lived and also took
photos of the survivors. Most of the portraits are puritan and clean. Balzs did not want to
use artificial backgrounds or contexts. He was simply there, he talked with them,

sympathized with them, and chose the most appropriate moment to take the photo and
portray the real human being, the victim, the hidden pain. For this reason, he did not use
any color, the photos are black and white, because nothing should divert the attention from
the core message. The photos aim is to confront the viewer with the victim of the racist
society. When you look at the photos, it only wants to tell that it is me, we can finally see
them. The simple portrayal is
purposive, because with that a social
reinterpretation and transformation can
occur. It draws attention to the fact that
somebodys ethnicity, the color of
his/her skin can be a reason for killing.
The previous theory is confirmed by one
of the victims statement: I want to
look in the eyes of the killers on the photo you take. I will never forgive them what they did
with Krisztin. I want them to know that Im watching them. I was the one who pulled him
back from the porch after they shot him. Everything was covered with blood. There was a lot
of blood. I held him in my arms until the ambulance
arrived. We were waiting for a long time. He almost
died in my arms. said Dvid Ront in 2010. His
street photos are also black and white, most of
them are blurry and not sharp. With this artistic
manipultion, he can strengthen the brutality of the
attacks and simulate the victims momentary shock
triggered by the unexpected attacks. With this
artistic method, he also refers to the unprocessed
trauma of the collectivity.

Movie adaptation Just the Wind

Just the Wind was directed by Bence Fliegauf, who adapted the events of the brutal
homicide only three years after the real murder. The movie uses sensitive instruments to

depict the murder of the innocent families. It represents concrete scenes where the
perpetrators shoot their victims to death. Other scenes show wounded, naked dead bodies
in a naturalistic way, which can be also disturbing for the real survivors and the whole
community. Although the movie was awarded different film prizes (like the Silver Bear at
Berlin Film Festival), the timing is problematic in the light of the events. It is not clear
whether the movie wants to be documentary or a mainly fictional emotional sketch. A
malfunction also occurs related to timing. Only three years have passed since the brutal
murder that is why it is problematic to illustrate a traumatic event, where the collective
social treatment and processing have not finished yet. The discussed theories related to
collective traumas and memory can also confirm this aspect.

Their skin was their only sin

The X Communication Center decided to shoot several short clips to remember the victims
of the Roma holocaust and the 2008-2009 Roma murders. Mom is dizzy in the room, mom is
dizzy. quoting the words of Dorka Gryllus, Mria Baloghs daughter in the short film about
the victims of the Roma murders. Attila Mesterhzy, the president of the MSZP stated, that
All of us have to fight against labeling minorities. (Npszava, 08.03. 2013.) The Egytt-PM
declared that this tremendousness has to burn into our memory as our other collective
tragedies. (Npszava, 08.03. 2013.)
The Democratic Coalition called upon the government to do everything to represent and
teach the Hungarian Romas history in public education. Of course, the radical-right wings
media immediately articulated their reaction to Their skin was their only sin. According to
Jobbegyenes, gypsies were not the only ones whose only sin was their skin. Surprisingly, at
the beginning of the article, they state that the monologues performed were moving and
they recall an unexplainable and inhuman attack against gypsies. (They stress that they are
not being ironic.) Then the article talks about the creators, who are well-known liberals, and
of course, liberals are all good people who never make a distinction between victim and
victim. So the writer is absolutely sure that the creators will shoot other videos about people
whose sin was also their skin just in a reverse situation. The article states that it will not be a
short shooting, because the list is not brief either. The writer also provides an incomplete list

to help the makers. Then he uses the term gypsy crime and attaches a list with the names
of the victims killed by assumed gypsy people. As we see from the reflection of the radical-
right wing, after the trial, after the proven ethnic-based murders, people with radical view
still think that gipsy crime exists, and that the discussed homicide is just the same as other
murders with totally different motivations. They conflate racist attacks with the crimes
committed by gypsies. They assert that not only non-Roma people kill others due to their
skin, but gypsies do the same, and they did it much more times than non-Roma people. On
the other hand, we can see a more moderate declaration at the beginning, as they use an
unusual tone when they assert that the Roma murder was an inhuman and
unexplainable attack, which should not be accepted. (Jobbegyenes, 2013) This can mean
that liberal narratives, and the legal procedures outcome affected the narratives of the
radical and conservative side, so here we can see a weak orientation towards reconciliation
and compromise.

Adapted Theater Play Word for Word

The Hungarian theater group, PanoDrma made a theater play in 2011, called Word for
Word, which uses the instruments of documentary theater genre to adapt the 2008-2009
Roma murders and their circumstances. The Traf Contemporary Center was home to the
The series of attacks do not exist without social precedents and context. The exclusive and
intolerant behavior is the attitude which describes the majoritys expressions towards the
biggest minority. The theater play tries to give a chronicle about the events, and also makes
an attempt to process the trauma through the work of understanding. It also creates an
image about the Romanon-Roma relationships current state, presenting the 2000s social
reality. Word for Word also articulates a criticism against media representations, because
they reflect on the medias Roma image and representation throughout the whole play. The
play uses the tool of parallel narration to democratize the collective tragedys
representation. The democratization of the violence actually means a representational
method or practice, that is to say, a medium presents a violent attack in its social context

and with the exploration of the perpetrators motivation. This way it undermines the terrors
main purpose: the eroding of democracy.
Word for Word shows the deficit of the traumas representations. It shows how it always
reflects a media image which is antidemocratic and which reproduces the majoritys media
image about Romas, because the mass medias representation of a trauma is always
presented by the majority of the society. The analysis of the play starts with the assertion
that Word for Word works with the tool of multiperspectivity, with different narratives, so it
establishes the possibility to present and save the complexity of events with a complex social
background. Eszter Neuberger examined the videotapes of the play. She focuses on the
different narratives: how different perspectives are articulated in the theater play, and how
these heterogeneous perspectives create a comprehensive narrative. In spheres of social
publicity which are thematized by mass communication media, the possibilities of creating a
narrative and allocating it to the agenda are not equal, if we regard the minority and
majority, the Romas and non-Romas access to media. Civil organizations are demolishing,
and another issue is that there is a lack of revealing materials and reports, through which we
could see Roma collectives and communities opinions and situations. It is not a solution
either that the media replaces Roma peoples voice and opinions with Roma leaders
statements. In this environment we need publicity and public places from outside the media
to put other narratives into the public discourse, which can modulate or traverse the
dominant narratives.
The verbatim theater or documentary theater collects data and records interviews before
putting the play on the stage, and they use these data without any transformation or
stylization. These plays possess a very strong potential of social criticism. The aim of
documentary theater is to use artistic instruments to show past events circumstances and
use community dramas instruments as well to open a forum for the audience to express
their opinions and to give a chance for social transformation and change. While an art
exhibition is incapable of creating a reflexive and critical witness from the audience in case
of traumatic realism, in the verbatim theater the audience is involved in the victims
personal stories and they can process the trauma through their narration (working through).
So the documentary theaters main role is to create a complex, multiperspective
representation to process social and collective traumas.

Word for Words role is to help digest the trauma of the Roma murders. It has to confront
the viewer with the events complexity and needs to provide the audience with the skill of
critical reflexity related to the discourses of the attacks and Romanon-Roma relations.
Eszter found the following narratives in the play: self-reflection of the genre, the story
contains facts and numbers; the victims narrative; the social environment of the attacks;
reflections of the Roma people; a critical representation of the Roma media discourses. They
used different techniques to express the different narratives: video and sound recordings,
projected numbers and stories, different speeches. The pluralism of the perspectives is the
point, they chose that to represent the event and its social context instead of a schematized
story construct. In the theater play the oral history takes the main role, which is a subjective
storytelling, but it is still important to attach statistics and factors to it. The strength of the
plays democratizing role is that they do not enhance the victims narrative: all the narratives
have the same emphasis. It represents the racist discourse with data from different
questionnaires. The public discourse is formulated and manipulated by the artificial world of
the media. The theater play gave a chance to articulate suppressed voices, but it would be
naive to think that a contemporary theaters play can have the same impact as mass media.
(Neuberger, 2013.)
In addition: The play is a bit problematic because it uses severely traumatized peoples
declarations and applies them word by word (timing is also questionable). The other
dilemma is whether it is adequate to perform a play like this during the trial of the murders,
from which they use literal confessions and statements.

Adapted theater play Gypsies

The Independent Theater wrote an open letter to Katona Jzsef Sznhz to protest against
their theater play, Gypsies. They lined up different objections related to the play. The
Independent Theater thought that there were problems with the accuracy of social and
cultural representations. They asked if Katona invited a Roma supervisor, and if they mixed
different Roma cultures intentionally. They stated that taking the dead home and mourning
there was not a part of Roma habits. It is not typical for them either to do sexual intercourse
with their family members or any relatives. This is only a vicious stereotype. The sexual

intercourse next to the coffin is the most critical part of the play. According to them, in the
present social situation it is important to deliberately create a theater play to inform the
audience properly. It is even more important here, because Katona is the only supported
institution which deals with this topic. (Fggetlen Sznhz, 2013)

I want to make it clear that I wrote this play due to the shocking disinterest in Roma
murders, furthermore, because of the fact that I do not want to live in a country where this
can happen. The writing and rehearsal was a free creating process without any supervisor.
The theater play never stated that Roma couples have sexual intercourse with their relatives,
and nothing similar happens in the play. It only occurs in a speech of a racist character. The
Katona Jzsef Theater does not present a documentary drama, it is a fiction whose artistic
purpose is to talk about the problem and its social phenomenon. In your open letter it is
most astonishing that a group which calls themselves Independent Theater is not able to
distinguish between reality and the abstraction of a theater play. After the performances, we
organized open conversations with Roma communities a couple of times, and these
encounters were reassuring and moving at the same time. (Mt, 2013)


My empirical analysis had rather an explanatory than a conclusive character. From my paper,
we can deduce that the events of 2008-2009 can be framed with Victor Turners theory of
social drama. The structural construction is the main feature of the theory, which allows us
to distinguish between different periods during an empirical examination of a concrete
event, since the passages happen one after another in time. The context of the social drama
theory let me develop the evolving stages of the Hungarian events, and the narrative
patterns of the social process.
I showed how the four stages breach, crisis, redress, reintegration formulated during and
after the homicide, how different narratives liberal, radical, conservative, civic were
elaborated and sustained by the Hungarian society. From my analysis we can clearly see that
the Hungarian society could not carry out a collective work of trauma, its eruptions still
adorn its structure. In my hypothesis, I claimed that the Roma murders divided the society
even more. The last stage of social drama has not been fulfilled, reintegration was not
successful; there was no common social compromise. The attacks were not followed by the
creation of a consistent rehabilitation program, like providing free therapy or collectively
organized commemorations. The victims and the society missed out on the cathartic
experience of the shared work of mourning that follows the homicide. The families were left
alone not only during but after the attacks as well.
I can conclude that just like the Roma holocaust, the second most brutal Roma homicide is
still not an integrated part of the Hungarian consciousness, of our collective memory. The
different groups of Roma population are not able to represent themselves in political life or
media, their narrative is missing from every main forum of the society. Social conflicts are
still vivid and social tension is stable. Elaborated narratives and public discourses were not
satisfactory and they could not fill their redressing role. The representation of the Roma
murders showed that there is a huge distinction between the examined narratives and their
social groups. While in the case of Jeffrey C. Alexanders analysis of the performative
revolution in Egypt, we can see how the ebullient crisis of the revolution shifted to a calm
period. (Here I avoid talking about the situation going on in Egypt nowadays.) In the case of
the Roma murders, the emotions are still heavy, the social process is still going on and it
does not seem to stop in the near future. Due to the topicality of the events, the social
dramas theoretical parts could not be completed, the events are still in progress, but from
the narrative analysis different periods and their consequences (integration or schism) can
be traceable and predestinated. Examining more and more social events can highlight if
there is an existing general or supposedly general pattern from which we can conclude the
different periods edification related to the final effects and consequences. (However, a
forced arrangement of a conflict and a constrained sociological enquiry on public speech and
discourse can easily become contra productive.)
I argue that even the end of the trial and the juridical sentence added fuel to the fire. While
the radical and conservative sides thought the punishment was adequate and fair, from the
side of the liberals and victims, it was not satisfactory. Until today there are still unanswered
questions related to the investigation and procedure, and there are still doubts about the
perpetrators identity. The Roma community and the victims are not able to find their peace
of mind, while the majority of the Hungarian society does not seem to care anymore. Radical
parties, radical voices are loud and strong and have a significant support from the

population, while the current governmental conservative party also uses an oppressive
narrative against every kind of minorities, especially gypsies and refugees. Zsolt Bayer, the
notorious publicist is still pouring out inflammatory articles related to current events like
migration or liberal attitude. In Hungary, liberal perspective and values are regarded as
deviant and outrageous, and people respect them as threatening and destructive scale of
values. Even if the popularity of the FIDESZ declines, the radical Jobbik will take over the
power and will not leave the inciting and discriminative rhetorics.
The discursive technic and expressions and the conceptual frame (as it can be seen in the
previous tables in the chapter of Narrative analysis) of the liberal and conservative side can
be easily differentiated and distinguished. If we assume that a social drama has an end and a
timeliness, the examination in the frames of social drama theory allows us to get a more
complex and complete picture of the different sides (liberal-conservative) tools, methods
and the temporal expressions related to different periods of concrete events.


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Name Index

Alexander, Jeffrey C., 23, 30, 62 Giddens, Anthony, 8, 13

Antze, Paul, 21 Goffman, Erving, 9, 25- 26, 29

Assmann, Jan, 23 Habermas, Jrgen, 16, 31

Austin, John L., 8, 20, 47 Jacobs, Ronald N., 17

Barth, Fredrick, 12 Johnosn, Mark, 8- 9

Bayer, Zsolt, 34- 35, 38- 39- 40- 41- 42, Lacan, Jacques, 20

44- 45- 46- 47, 49-50, 62 La Capran, Dominick, 22

Bourdieu, Pierre, 9 Lakoff, George, 8-9, 37, 42

Burke, Kenneth, 25 Lambek, Michael, 21

Caruth, Cathy, 22 Lamont, Michele, 12

Derrida, Jacques, 20 Lvi- Strauss, Claude, 12

Dilthey, Wilhem, 7, 27-28 Marx, Karl, 13, 16

Durkheim, mile, 5- 6, 16, 41 Neuberger, Eszter, 59- 60

Fligauf, Bence, 57 Nora, Pierre, 20

Foucault, Michel, 5, 16, 42 Parson, Talcott, 16

Gallup, George, 16 Said, Edward, 32

Gellner, Ernest, 13 Saussure, Ferdinand de, 21

Gennep, Arnold Van, 24 Schenker, Heinrich, 26

Geertz, Clifford, 7, 26 Searle, John, 8, 47

Simmel, Gerog, 6 Turner, Victor, 3-4, 24-25-26-27-28, 45,
51, 61
Tdor, Jnos, 48
Weber, Max, 6, 23
Turay, Balzs, 53, 55-56


Zsolt Bayer-Gypsyliszka

Since no one will describe or tell it if not us, lets state the fact: In Olaszliszka, a 44-year-old
teacher was beaten to death before his childrens eyes. In broad daylight, outside the street.
The perpetrators were gypsies. Dozens. Dozens of lynchers. We have to point this out,
because we know exactly what's going to happen now.

Now, the dewy-eyed, intolerably vile "defenders" are going to happen. The same people
who carved suffering heroes out of the killers of Zvoly and evacuated them to France. The
scenario will look like this: after a few days later, it will appear that the teacher was beaten
to death due to the fact that he was racist. There will be extensive local reports, which will
show that poor Roma children are constantly hit by cars and that the poor gypsies life is a
never-ending terror in Olaszliszka. Reports will say that in Olaszliszka racism has been raging
and that the defenceless, poor Romas are facing constantly atrocities. So it is not a surprise
that they lost their temper. In line with the third report, the Free Democrats will show up
with their representatives, called Imre Furmann and Peter Gusztos. They will stand on the
main street of Olaszliszka and passionately condemn racism.

Then they will condemn beating people to death a bit, but they will add that although killings
are not acceptable, it is still comprehensible what had happened. And that the real problem
lies in the majoritys intolerance and racism. Eventually, the killers will find themselves in
France, and the EU will condemn the racist Hungarians. This is going to happen.

Hence, we must know and fixate the facts again: Dozens of lynchers have beaten to death a
teacher in front of his children in Olaszliszka. It is important to state dozens!

This is important, because the National Security Agency has a Stalinist declaration, which
notices that those who take part in peaceful demonstrations, where something illegal

happens, constitutes a "psychic abettor" and became law-breakers. Therefore, when dozens
of animals beat a 44-year-old teacher to death in front of his children, the killer is not only
the one who used the cudgel. All the other dozens of animals are KILLERS.

Knowing all these facts, deduce the most basic conclusions:

1. Anyone who hits a Gypsy child in this country and doesnt want to stop, is doing the right
thing. In the case of hitting a Roma child, step on the accelerator. If Gypsies are starting to
gather around our car, step stronger on the accelerator. If we hit others during the escape, h
is his or her bad luck. Drive away with the highest possible speed and call the ambulance
from the car, stop at the nearest police station where we need hands ourselves over (Sorry, I
know this situation does not occur. If a man hit somebody, especially if the person is a child,
you have to stop. So we're going to stop thereafter. But we have to do something. Well, we
can purchase a shotgun before our departure. If we hit a kid, stop. And if the animals start
gathering around us, we should feel free to use our weapons...)

2. The scenario I described above has a roughly 99% chance to materialize, it is good to know
that the state will not guarantee our safety. We cannot trust that the state will avenge our
grievances. (In our case, the greatest satisfaction that we can have is that from the dozens of
animals two of them will be caught and convicted. They will receive five years and will be out
in three years. This is the time period a rambunctious-who burns down a dumpster- spends
in jail.)

3. From the second point we can deduct the most important conclusion: say out loud that
the majority of society is not obliged to tolerate all of this. We are self-destructive idiots, if
we tolerate all of this. If we bear this.

Definitely, America has arrived. There, they have recognized years ago that there are places
where the state is not responsible for the security of the citizens. The state has withdrawn
from certain places in America. Places, where ethnic groups and certain races are living. And
in these places everyone takes care of his/her safety as she/he wants. As she/he is able.

And of course, the most aggravating truth is that a 44-year-old teacher has been placed on
the list of loss. And the souls of his two daughters as well. Because nobody knows how will
they recover from the trauma. The animals didnt respect the two children. This is
particularly intolerable. The two childrens souls shout for vengeance.
Zero tolerance. Lets use this as a password.

Because nobody will protect our rights. Only we can defend ourselves. And if the
perpetrators can get away with the Olaszliszka murder, there is problem with us. A huge
problem. That would mean that anything can be done with us.

Zsolt, Bayer.10.17.2006. Gipsyliszka, Magyar Nemzet Onilne, Retrieved from:


Kuruc.info g a hz

The grains of sand are cracking in the communication machine, despite the ones who are
trying to keep calm the peaceful majority to avoid social strain. Part of the media and the
intellectuals treats as a proven fact that the killings in Tatrszentgyrgy were ethnic
homicides, however there is still no evidence. But the opinion leaders still avoid the sensitive

I have never seen this before- said Balogh Laszlo, the priest of rkny. - The majority of
the relatives were standing in complete silence throughout the ceremony, even though the
Roma funerals are usually escorted by ovations and loud crying. But soon, the moments of
grief became a political and media event. Collective guilt? The priest was telling the usual
prayers for the deceaseds eternal happiness. Then it turned out that Gbor Ivnyi also
wants to speak up. The vice-minister of the Evangelical Fellowship- the prior SZDSZ (Free
democrats) representative- began his sermon as a parochial speech, but it became a political
statement. "They, who already received the eternal forgiveness and could stand before the
almighty and eternal God, I am wondering: will they excuse us? he asked. - We are the
ones who should have taken care of them. We are the ones who instead of doing that, were
threatening and frightening them, and we didnt stand in the way of those evil forces which
were marching through this village as well. (Kuruc.info: It refers to the procession of the
Guard in Tatrszentgyrgy). We tolerate these happenings in Hungary, we stand aside or
cowardly stay in silence. We shouldnt persuade them to integrate, but we should embrace
them - and this has not happened in the last half-millennium. [...] Sorry for those schools

which Roma children are not able to enter, who are not able to study in the same conditions
as the children of the majority."

Laszlo Balogh looks on the latter as a particularly disgustful statement: In particular - as he

says in this village, situations are more typical when a roma child beats a Hungarian
student. Laszlo B. believes the former speech was filled with a lot of distortions, and turned
out that Ivnyi do not know the past nor the present of Roma population.

Of course, we also asked Gbor Ivnyi, if he had specific information related to the brutal
double-murder and its ethnic grounds. We were curious, if he informed himself about the
supporting programs (like musical training) -whose aim is to help integration and peaceful
coexistence in Tatrszentgyrgy- before his speech? We inquired if he really thought that
Gypsies dont play a role in their integration. Gbor Ivnyi replied the following: "You are
writing fifty days after the events, which I consider as tendentious, discredited and frivolous.
I do not want to deal with it. The local school principal, Martha Petrnyin Kocsis told our
newspaper: Our teachers do their best to close the gaps, but it is more and more just
shadowboxing, because - with few exceptions - Roma parents do not regard education and
knowledge as a value.

The police remains silent. We asked the National Office of Investigations spokesperson
Lszl Bartha about the following topics: Did they discover contradictions in the relatives
narratives? Did they check those, or will they submit polygraph examination on the
concerned people? Did any proceeding started against anyone because of deception of the
authorities? Is it provable that they burned down the building with Molotov cocktails, and
was it successful to clarify why there was a gas can near the crime scene? Do they examine
the possible connections between the current organized crime in Tatrszentgyrgy and the
dual-murders committed in the 23rd of February? Can we eliminate the possibility that
previous certain crimes related to the Cs. family - Pest County Court and the Prosecutor's
Office also knows about it- can be associated with the attacks against them? Did they
manage to clarify the victims role in the villages illegal activities, and did the victims have
any conflicts with anyone (due to that)? Do they fully give relevance to the allegations which
said that serious failures have been committed by the authorities who arrived first at the
scene? The spokesman denied any answer in the interest of the investigation. We visited
Zsolt Nemeth criminologist to talk about the lessons of the recent past. According to him,
the authorities tactics with the media is understandable, but he believes that the police
should better keep in mind that the investigators and journalists common interest is to
solve the case. The case of Tatrszentgyrgy was saturated by politics. Politicians wants to
have success through rolling up the case, so they can put pressure on those who carry out
the investigation. The people are interested in such cases, so the public opinion is
dissatisfied now, because people are afraid of crimes, which is a key determinant of their
well-being. Then again, the police is not capable to do miracles. According to Zsolt Nmeth,
the attack was well-organized, the suspected (lone) killer could be a trained gunman with a
great presence of mind. He holds that the killer was helped out by a driver who was waiting
near the scene. The criminologist has claimed he doesnt have an idea about the motivation
of the murder. However, after the the tragedy, the Night show of the public television
suggested that hunters and foresters could be the perpetrators, who were tired of the
timber thefts. A declaration to the MTI claimed that the perpetrator is a controversial person
who doesnt trust in the rule of law, and who is living with strong prejudices related to
Gypsies. It would seem that the Roma elite and political leadership had a ready-made
concept and communication strategy from the first moment. Victoria Mohacsi, a liberal
European Parliament representative published a declaration on the 24th of Februar: "I had
to face the fact that initially they wanted to set up the murder as an accident, and they
didnt accept evidences from the locals (buckshots, bloody and torned clothes) which could
prove the clearly intentional homicide. Mohacsi added: The case of Tatrszentgyrgy is a
part of the attacks against Roma people. On the part of the SZDSZ, Andras Lederer - the
leader of New Generation- talked about the police officers responsibility to the MTI, while
Gabor Fodor -the president of the party spoke up against the intolerance connected to the
Roma population. According to the Foundation of the Roma Civil Rights "until now it hasnt
been so obvious that some Hungarian authorities thinks that a gypsy man's life - who lives at
the end of the village- is not important enough to do their job fairly and professionally."
Aladar Horvath, the president of the Foundation asserted: " Roma people try to keep their
patience as long as possible, and if they wont get protection in Hungary, they will ask
international organizations for assistance." On the 24th of February the Minority
Ombudsman, Erno Kallai said in the parliament: "We must stop the hypocrisy and ambiguous
political declarations, stop the silence and hate speech. Because of the constant stressing of
the alleged relationship of Roma and crime and the politics which is based on prejudiced

thinking, basic moral barriers are crashing down, and it is obviously a breeding ground for
acts of violence.

The inflammatory, anti-Roma media and politics are responsible for the tragedy in
Tatrszentgyrgy. - said Orban Kolompr, the president of the Hungarian National Roma
Government. He added: the irresponsible expressions have led to the point where people
with radical views could execute a small child as well. Therefore we need immediate action
to improve the living conditions of the Roma people. It is not allowed to delay the case due
to trumped-up reasons. The day after the murder the European Council published an online
report which claimed that racism has significantly extended in the public discourse during
the recent years in Hungary.

Peter Krek, the Political Capitals social psychologist asserted in his analysis: It is an
important fact that the murder occurred in a village where the Hungarian Guard marched
among the first times in 2007, so the site has become a symbolic place. The
socialpsychologist said that it is not possible to draw a clear line between hate speech and
violent acts in Hungary. All the historical examples of racial violence demonstrated that
agressive assaults are evolving from "rhetorical campaign". On the website of the Hungarian
Democratic Charter (established by Ferenc Gyurcsny), Pter Gyrgy aesthete wrote a
publication: "The statement of the police chief's of Miskolc, his dismissal, his re-entry, the
late night murder happened in a restaurant of Veszprm, and finally the planned double
execution in Tatrszentgyrgy (visited by the Hungarian Guard once), Hungarian society is no
longer in the same condition [...] the heads of the church do not even speak, and together
with the Roma, they abandoned those self-sacrificing priests who worked in impossible
conditions for many years. The Romas are still strangers, these people were made to be
dreadful, who are also scared and they are scared for a reason. If it is not my family: what
happened in the past few weeks might forshadow an era of racist culture.

Related to the Tatrszentgyrgy tragedy, Jzsef Bart states in the 168 Hours (newspaper):
"Since then, something has become different.

On Wednesday, Jozsef Choli Darczi- poet and writer- said that the ethnic bomb is no
longer a ticker bomb. It has exploded.

The Npszavas publicist, Ivan Andrassew wrote a post about the tragedy: This is it. The
house is burning. If not the Jews, then Roma crime is in the background. It is not interesting
that Roma crime is not existing at all. (comment: roma crime is an existing expression in HU.
People use it to describe crimes identify with Romas like stealing) We are saying it everyday
so it is real."

Sandor Revesz stated in the Npszabadsg: "All trustworthy reports about demonstrations,
marches of the Guard, every experience from the internet have a common feature, nameily:
when they are talking about Gypsies, they are talking about Jews as well. On the website of
the Kurucinf we can click on the label "Jewish crime" as well as on "gypsy crime. Roma
community is an intermediate target.

Viktoria Mohacsi promised us a statement regarding the possible motivations of the double
murder, the alleged land rovers, the likely insurance fraud and the police investigations.
Unfortunately, we had to postpone the meeting with her.

On Thursday morning we got the news: In Tiszalk a Romani man was shot on the street in
the outskirts of the town. The investigation will continue.

There is no shortage of writings and articles about the racist motives of the Tatarszentgyorgy
case. In contrast, let's have a look what the facts tell us. Below, we are trying to answer
common questions related to the topic- on the basis of our current knowledge.

Why the case of Tatrszentgyrgy is so important? Because from the first moment it points
beyond the horrific double murder. According to the liberal- left elite, the racist right-wing is
stirring up emotions against minorities, and the result of this process is the homicide against
the Gypsies. The case of Tatrszentgyrgy fits the argumentum. So Tatarszentgyorgy is a
metaphor, a political symbol: it means that nobody should vote for the right wing, because it
is racist.

A reckoning series is actually happening against the Gypsies? In the recent years, many
Roma were attacked. Murders occurred too,: mostly when the houses of the victims were
attacked with weapons and Molotov cocktails. However, we can only talk about an ethnic
motive once it has been revealed that the perpetrators are not Gypsies, but racist

But in the case of Tatrszentgyrgy, from the first day the official version is that a racist
attack occurred, or not? That depends on what we consider as an official version. The pro-
government and liberal politicians and also the media are actually talking about this, but the
police did not say anything.

Can we exclude that a racist homicide was happened in Tatrszentgyrgy? It cannot be

excluded, but it is the least probable. There are racist attacks committed by terrorists all
around the world, but they are proud of their act, and they want people to know that, and
potential victims should be afraid of them. Somehow they publish the name of their
organization at least.

What kind of criminals are out there? We know that they (the gypsies) are doing business
with stolen firewood, in addition car theft is regular. As far as we know, prostitution and
weapon-business is also a flourishing branch. And we have not talked about the houses
which are regularly flared up. Firefighters and insurance companies are also suspicious and
thinking about organized insurance frauds. Everyone claims that the deceased Csobra Robert
didnt have a foe and didnt have a conflict with the law. For instance, Kolompr Orbn
knows the family. Then Kolompr said that he only met with the family once at a public
forum. The deceased's past is not an easy question due to piety reasons, but as we try to
solve the motive of the murder, it is important. The victim's father also admits that his son
dealt with used car sales and purchase, and once got ploughed with wood theft (worth 680
thousand forints). This is not a small amount since it represents more than forty cubic
meters. There was also a procedure against the Cs family because of vandalism.

Did they have a house insurance? Yes.

Do the local authorities really made a lot of mistakes? Apparently, they have the role of the
scapegoat. With the current level of their equipment, they are unlikely to do miracles, but as
far as possible, they acted correctly. Do not forget, that relatives have misled them at first.
Although, they claimed that they knew from the very first moment that a murder had
happened, they told to the the police at the scene, to the firefighters and to the ambulance
that the victims were injured by the fire they did not talk about the attack. The official
government statement was born before the local authorities finished the internal

04.25. 2009. g a hz - A tatrszentgyrgyi ketts cignygyilkossg nyomban, Magyar
Nemzet Retrieved from: https://kuruc.info/r/35/39336/

Veronika Gulys- Hungary Court Finds Four Men Guilty Of Racially Motivated Roma Killings

A Hungarian court found Tuesday four men guilty of killing six Roma in racially motivated
attacks between 2008 and 2009, handing down life sentences to three of them without
parole. This is Hungary's first racially motivated serial murder case. This is the most severe
penalty in Hungary, where capital punishment isnt part of the legal system.

A man who helped the troop as a driver at two of the four crime scenes was sentenced to 13
years in prison.

Those present at the court rulingmostly relatives of the victimsgreeted the life penalties
sentences with applause, but lamented that the driver got away with a short sentence.

The three murderers killed six people including one child and wounded five more at nine
crime scenes, using Molotov-cocktails, shotguns and a birdshot to carry out the pre-
meditated annihilation of Roma families. The murders took place in several small villages
mainly in north-eastern Hungary where a relatively high number of the dwellers are gypsies,
formally referred to as the Roma, between July 2008 and August 2009. The National Bureau
of Investigation closed its investigation in August 2010 after interrogating 509 witnesses, and
the court case started in March 2011.

Two of the perpetrators were members of skinhead groups because of those groups racist
approach against the Roma, and the other two were also fond of nationalistic and racist
notions, judge Laszlo Miszori said when announcing the verdict.

In a statement, after the verdict, the ministry responsible for social issues said the Hungarian
government doesnt tolerate paramilitary or other groups designed to cause fear step up
against other, ethnic or cultural social groups. This is a crime, and offenders and criminals
shall be brought to justice through the power of the law, the statement said.

This sentence strengthens my belief that no perpetrators of racist crimes can escape the
law in Hungary, and especially savage murderers pay a worthy penalty for their deeds, the
Minister Zoltan Balog said, adding he was aware that the complete truth hasnt yet been

I trust that the sentence at first instance shall be reinforced at the second instance, and as a
result everyone will finally understand: we must always stand by the victims. And this is not
a question of minority or majority: this is a question of human dignity, he added.

These men have been pre-planning to carry out the murders saying what they called Roma
crime needed an ethnically-based solution. They believed that neither the police nor the
Hungarian Guard [a since disbanded far-right paramilitary group] were inefficiently fighting
Roma crime. They were getting guns to attack gypsies in places where gypsies committed
crimes against Hungarians, Mr. Miszori said.

All four men denied they were guilty.

The casethe serial murders of the Romais an indicator of the Hungarian societys
sentiment toward the Roma, said Angela Kocze, researcher at the Hungarian Academy of
Sciences and visiting assistant professor at the Wake Forest University, North Carolina, U.S.

Prejudice against the Roma is widespread in Hungary and many think every Roma is
a criminal. One of the countrys smaller opposition parties in parliament, the right-wing
radical Jobbik supports the notion that Roma crime exists.

Theres prejudice or simply lethargy in society, and many support the murderers, Ms.
Kocze said.

Civil groups, Roma foundations such as the We Belong Here network, and social workers
try to ease tensions between the Hungarian majority and the Roma minority. The Roma is
Hungarys largest ethnic minority, accounting for about 7% of a population of about 10
million, but official data isnt available.

Hungarian governments have failed to set up and operate a successful nationwide program
to boost schooling, target social issues and increase integration of the Roma, Ms. Kocze said.
She noted the economic crisis has also set back the cause as it has hit the most those who
live in poverty, quite a large part of which are the Roma.

Public sentiment toward the Roma deteriorated severely after the lynching of a teacher by
local Roma in 2006 in north-eastern Hungarian village Olaszliszka. Several members of the
local Roma community beat the teacher who, after almost hitting a little Roma girl with his
car stopped to check whether she was hurt, to death by the family of the girl. There was no
accident and the Roma girl wasnt hurt.

In a 2009 trial of the Olaszliszka case, the court sentenced six Roma people to 15 years in
prison and two under-18 Roma youths to 10 years in juvenile prison.

Something broke at Olaszliszka; from then onward public talk related to the Roma has
deteriorated, became very severe, Kocze said.

To raise awareness of the issues and ease prejudice against the Roma, Hungary
commemorated the Roma Holocaust last Thursday. During World War II, not only Jews but
also the Roma were to be eradicated and more than 3,000 Roma were killed in Auschwitz-
Birkenau Aug. 2, 1944.

The commemoration, which took place in Budapest at a Jewish holocaust memorial by the
River Danube, also remembered the Roma victims of the serial murders between 2008 and
2009. Whether this event has managed to reach out to all Hungarians remains a questionall
parliamentary parties but Jobbik participated.

Veronika Gulys. 08. 6. 2013. Hungary Court Finds Four Men Guilty Of Racially Motivated
Roma Killings, Latest Headlines Retrieved from: http://stream.wsj.com/story/latest-