Slovak homeowner considers selling to Roma, so his neighbors graffiti his house and puncture his tires
Maroš Hadžega wants to sell the house in Polomka, Slovakia, where he lives with his family. Local residents are apparently bothered by the idea that a Romani family who came to view the property might buy it and move in.
The Romani family has informed Hadžega that they are not interested in buying the property. Moreover, he says he has not yet decided to whom to sell it.
The Hadžega couple decided to sell the family home through a real estate agency. "Many prospective buyers came to see the property. Most were members of the majority society, but I did not consider it a problem for a Romani family to also view it," Hadžega told the Slovak media.
According to him, the Romani family who came to see the house were "very respectable". They arrived in an SUV.
Hadžega believes some of his neighbors may have noticed that Romani people were interested in buying the house and may have wanted to prevent any Roma from moving into Polomka. "Ever since then, it has been hell for my family," he alleges.
The Hadžega family have experienced accusations, bothersome questions, bullying, defamation and verbal attacks. He says he has explained to everybody that the Romani visitors were just potential buyers, but gossip in the village means that rumor now has it that the Hadžega family is selling their home to Roma.
The wave of annoyance over the supposed sale culminated in criminal activity on Sunday, 7 July, when Hadžega found "We Don't Want Them Here!" had been spray-painted on his house. Unidentified perpetrators also punctured the tires on his company car.
"I'm asking myself whether this is normal," an indigant Hadžega told the Slovak media. In his view, while Slovaks speak of themselves as the friendliest, most hospitable and most warm-hearted people in the world, they also have no problem destroying somebody else's property, puncturing tires, or verbally assaulting people.
The irony is that Romani people already live in the village. The property at issue is one of many single-family homes lining a narrow street in Polomka that branches off of the main drag.
On the way to the Hadžega family home one cannot help but notice a big, unplastered apartment building with many units and Romani children playing outside. The "We Don't Want Them Here!" graffiti is a mere 100 meters away from the Romani-occupied tenement.
A neighbor of the Hadžega family told the Slovak media that the street is calm. She also said that if "more Gypsies move in, their numbers will multiply".
Hadžega has already informed the local mayor of the graffiti incident and says police officers recorded his complaint. "The police in Pohorelská Maša are investigating that matter as misdemeanor property destruction," confirmed Mária Faltániová, the spokesperson for the Banská Bystrica Regional Police.
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