Tag: hate speech
The sheer shittiness of 2016 was captured in the end of year video by the comedian John Oliver. As Gary Younge wrote recently, this was a year in which “vulgarity, divisiveness and exclusion won – a triumph for dystopian visions of race, nation and ethnicity … Immigrants and minorities are fearful, bigots are emboldened, discourse is coarsened.”
In a Milan neighbourhood on the night of Friday 4th of November, Paolo Cagna Ninchi was physically attacked and verbally abused by an unknown assailant on his way home. The motive behind the attack was “because his wife is the Gypsy that goes on TV” (è la zingara che va in televisione). Paolo will need an operation for the injury to his eardrum, but otherwise is physically recovering from the assault.
In a sickening display on the seventh anniversary of the firebomb attack on a Romani family home, a handful of neo-Nazis assembled in the Czech town of Vítkov to voice support for the arsonists. The attack injured three people and nearly killed toddler Natálka, who sustained third and fourth-degree burns over more than 80% of her body. The first speaker at the rally on the 18th of April issued a call to raise money for “the boys who are in jail”. Other speakers interspersed their abuse of Roma and refugees as vermin and scum with claims that ‘the boys’ received disproportionately severe sentences for the attack; incidentally, a sentiment shared by former President of the Czech Republic, Vaclav Klaus.
Debates about free speech and hate speech often gravitate around issues of content and context. The context of anti-Gypsyism in 21st Century Europe and the connections between hateful words and heinous deeds, pose profound and troubling questions for champions of free speech and opponents of content-based bans.
Justice Minister László Trócsányi’s attempts to deny linking Roma with radicalized Islamists prompted blogger Eva Balogh to reach for a term which has a particular resonance in Hungarian: kakistocracy meaning “government by the worst persons; a form of government in which the worst persons are in power.”