Racism -- the unintended legacy of the World Cup

The World Cup might be over but unfortunately racist presence lingers on Hungarian social media.

Ivett Körösi
Ivett Körösi Nepszava, Hungary
Source: Nepszava
Racism -- the unintended legacy of the World Cup - NewsMavens
István Hollik, Wikimedia Commons

Why this story matters:

“The migrants have won… and they are running around with the French national flag” -- this is one of several comments that flooded Facebook on the afternoon of the final of the World Cup. 

Many of these hateful comments landed on the wall of my friends, who suddenly did not know what to do: is it enough to hide the post or should they end the virtual (and often real-life) friendship? As Roxanne D’Arco pointed out, the diversity of the French team was noted and celebrated in most of the French media, the World Cup brought out racism in some Hungarians.

The World Cup has usually been seen as a glorious battle between countries but for some it has become a battleground of ideologies.

Especially after a politician of the Christian Democratic People’s Party, the coalition partner of the ruling Fidesz, weighed in.

“The World Cup final has an important message regarding Europe’s future too: a migrant country is playing against a Christian country that is proud of its national identity” -- wrote  István Hollik, renowned for his extremist views, in a social media post

As György Sebes, the Népszava journalist who wrote in the opinion piece recommended below, states, “this historical and political ignorance and narrow-mindedness would be completely irrelevant if it was not the official viewpoint of the Hungarian ruling elite.”

While such comments from populist politicians are becoming more and more common, average citizens will now feel encouraged to voice racism on all platforms.

Details from the story:

  • István Hollik was not the first politician to put the World Cup in an ideological context. Viktor Orbán, the Hungarian Prime Minister called the success of the Croats a “glory of the region”, emphasising that the Croats “represent the same football culture to which we belong as well”. Although he was talking about “football culture” it is hard not to understand his comment as a reference to a European, Christian, all-white culture.
  • Under the Facebook-post of István Hollik there are more than a thousand comments by now, many of these criticize the politician.
  • Hollik became “internationally renowned” when he released a video in March in which Sweden was depicted as the epicentre of a civil war fought between migrants and the police.
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