13 March, 2015

A performance about hate and prejudice

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Category: Antisemitism, Discrimination, Opinion, Prejudices
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10 pm

A perf by 22 university students on Hatespeech.Written by Andras Molnar

Sometimes you need to clear your head with a long walk in the rain in order to have a clear frame of mind to form your thoughts. I just did that after attending a theater performance by 22 university students about hate and prejudice.

Prejudice followed me during the day – I started in the morning with a debate article about refugees, then hopped on bus nr9 [1] and shared the ride with some skinheads. After this I arrived to my office and Facebook popped an article into my face about a leaked audio recording of a discussion with the Vice President of the Hungarian Parliament, who just said about one of his colleagues who converted to Islam, that “It’s better than if he’d turn into Jew.”  [2]

Is this country so filled with prejudice and hatred? Is this world really based on negative preconceptions and bias against groups, just because we do not accept that we are all different? Does the hate-machinery work? My head is rumbled by questions. Is there anything that we can really do to eliminate this issue? And -this is my million dollar question – if a government supports fear against minorities and spread views that make people uncomfortable with issues such as migration and refugee seekers, how can we fit the auxiliary role of humanitarian organisations (esp. RCRC) to this picture? Is there space for advocacy? If there is, should we address it and form clear arguments, and risk to loose the enabling environment that the government provides us to carry out our crucial work in other areas?

Clearly, the Swedish Red Cross decided to do so. In [a debate article](http://www.svt.se/opinion/article2746185.svt “a debate article”) published on svt.se the SG and the international director of the SweRC address the national government and the European bodies to form a legislation that protects the most vulnerable. A couple weeks ago the President of the Italian Red Cross, Francesco Rocca, who is the Vice President of the IFRC also [raised his voice](www.cri.it/flex/cm/pages/ServeBLOB.php/L/IT/IDPagina/25300 “raised his voice”) for this issue after a deadly accident. The last months were very intense in Hungary [as politicians flagged “economic migration” with high priority](http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/feb/17/kosovans-risk-perils-of-roads-forests-and-criminals-in-chase-for-better-life-in-eu) – but do not be surprised, human rights are not in the central zone of the leading political agenda. Instead of expressing the common European values of equality and diversity, the asylum seekers and migrants are stigmatized because the government does not recognize the economic crisis as a humanitarian issue. [3] To spice this up, “Hungary wants to remain Hungary with Hungarians, and this is natural and normal.” – said the high-level government offical Antal Rogan in the national TV station a few weeks ago.

And then, after finishing my work at 6:30PM, I spent an astonishing hour with this performance. 22 students led by prof Péter Molnár, 22 different faces, so many hard questions and day-to-day situations. [The Hate Speech Monologues](https://www.facebook.com/events/1599572800257436/) delivered the everyday scenery of prejudice and provided insight for thoughts and feelings of the affected people – both the harassers and the harassed. The actors – students of a class on hate speech – gave their best before full house audience with sarcasm, pun, situation comedy, poetry and more. Most of all, the work of prof Péter Molnar and his talented students answered some of the questions embittered my day.

Yes, there is need for advocacy. But maybe in this environment possibly art and culture form a better way, and this event was a clearly set example for the success of this approach.

[1]: it runs trough the city, from a low income area to the city center and beyond, you can __always__ meet homeless people, minorities and immigrants on it.

[2]: http://nol.hu/belfold/titkositasmania-egyeztetesundor-1521679

[3]: http://www.hirado.hu/2015/01/12/rogan-nem-indokolt-a-gazdasagi-menekultek-bearamlasa/


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