Roma as Consumers

As the history of segregation in the United State demonstrates, the business community can be just as racist as anyone else – even if it undercuts their profits to refuse to serve minorities. Gradually, however, the business community began to see minorities as consumers and thus vital to their bottom line. Hollywood, for instance, realized the potential of African American audiences in the...
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Sixty Seconds of Art

I was sitting in a café in Bratislava, having a final cup of coffee and picking up my email before boarding a train for Budapest. I was dimly aware of a couple of guys in another part of the café dismantling film equipment as if after a shoot. I was in a hurry, so I wasn’t paying much attention. But then one of the guys came over to my table. “You look like that Apple fellow,” he said to...
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The Dam

It says a lot about Hungary in the 1980s that the movement that represented the biggest challenge to the Communist authorities was an environmental one. In Romania, dissidents focused on a tyrant. In Poland, striking Solidarity activists protested against working conditions and in support of labor rights. And in Hungary, the rallying point of the opposition was a dam. It was actually an entire...
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Roma Youth Get Organized

It wasn’t easy to find Kecerovce. I missed the turnoff on the road leading out of Kosice, the main city in eastern Slovakia. One of the clerks at the gas station where I stopped for directions had never heard of the place, and the other one didn’t know how to get there. I eventually retraced my steps, found the right exit, and drove deep into the Slovak countryside. Kecerovce is a village of...
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Becoming a Bestseller

When the book market opened up in East-Central Europe after the changes of 1989, readers naturally gravitated toward the books they’d been previously denied. Banned books became bestsellers. In Hungary, for instance, “everything that could not be published since 1948 was printed and sold in huge editions. Neither the ‘official’ publishing houses nor the ‘official’ distribution system...
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