The East of the West

Psychologist’s murder case reveals tense in Hungarian society

As I was writing a couple of posts ago, crime psychologist Kata Bándy was murdered in the southern Hungarian town Pécs.

The death of the 25-year-old lady shocked the public.

There are three elements that kindle people’s emotions in this crime case.

First, the victim’s unusual job, second, her age and beauty, and third, the murderer’s ethnicity.  Namely, the killer, who was caught shortly by the police, was a young gypsy man, who had lived a typical life of a criminal, breaking the law in various ways.

Moreover, at the time of the crime he should have been in prison because of an earlier offence of his.

When his ethnicity turned out, as it was expected, it added fuel to the flames of the racist manifestations.

>A great deal of outcry, anger, hatred appeared on Facebook and everywhere in the country, frequently blaming the gypsies for being parasites upon the society. The extreme-right party Jobbik, which is also known and popular by its anti-gypsy slogans, demands to reintroduce the capital punishment.

The victim's home in Pécs
The victim’s home in Pécs (MTI photo)

Everybody has massive opinions about the case, which shows the tense in the Hungarian society, especially in connection with the so called “roma issue”.

This is a highly complicated question that seems have no good answers.

Officially 2% of the Hungarian population (200 thousand people) belong to the roma ethnicity, but their unofficial estimated number ranges between 0,45 and 1 million (See Wikipedia).

No doubt there is massive discrimination against gypsies, but and the same time it is also true that because their traditional culture and way of life many of them haven’t been able to adopt to the standards of society, which really makes hard to live with them.

The thing is that this problem cannot be sold by neither racism nor liberalism.

Commemorating the victim in Budapest (MTI photo)

On 21 July in Budapest a commemoration was organized by a handful of civil organizations.  The speakers’ intention was to emphasis that the murder of Kata Bándy was not an ethnical but a sexual crime.

What happened in Pécs?
At a press conference held on 21 July in Pécs the police said 26-year-old László P. had committed the crime alone.
Kata Bándy celebrated one of her friend’s birthday at night on 7 July. She was going home from a pub when she met László P., who started to follow her and later strangled, robbed and probably raped her.
Local kids who were playing hide-and-seek in the area found her naked body on 11 July.

Some days later the police caught the murderer, and on 21 July they officially denied the media allegations about the murderer’s possible accomplices.