First I want to talk about the unofficial reactions. The reactions of ordinary people, left and right. Some of the comments I received via e-mail, others I culled from various right-wing blogs or comments to articles about the events in on-line papers. On the left liberal side, people consider the latest "revolution" a joke. The last gasp of the extreme right. On the right, I noticed a certain embarrassment. How is it possible that "even the Gypsies" had an orderly, dignified demonstration while on the right the "rubble" once again managed to gain the upper hand? Some of the right-wing commentators try to distinguish themselves from this football hooligan mob by calling themselves "the national radicals" (a nemzeti radikálisok) as opposed to "the extreme right"–those burning cars on the street. Of course, this is a distinction that so far has been without a difference. But perhaps the extreme right is starting to splinter, as it has so often in the past.
My hypothesis was reinforced today by news items concerning four prominent figures of the extreme right. First, I read that the "captain general" (főkapitány) of the Hungarian Guard is quitting his post because of policy differences with Jobbik, the party that created the Guard. The "captain general" doesn't want to be the instrument of any party. The Guard, according to him, is a politically independent formation whose key task is to ensure the well being of the nation. Second came Dr. Attila Kakukk (can't let it go by without mentioning that "kakukk" in Hungarian is "cuckoo"), the president of Magyar Önvédelmi Mozgalom (MÖM/Movement of Hungarian Self-Defense). In his speech he attacked the people behind kurucinfo.com, a most extreme right web site that bounces around the world from ISP to ISP; it gets shut down on one only to reemerge on another. According to Kakukk kurucinfo.com is in the service of the Hungarian National Security Office. If anyone has the patience to look at the video made of the disturbances last night ( http://tinyurl.com/4j2day ) the kurucinfo.com crowd must be the ones in those idiotic outfits that Dr. Kakukk called "caftans." Dr. Kakukk, by the way, is a vet. And third there is György Budaházy, one of the best known characters of the group. Beside inciting people to riot, he was selling his own merchandise: flags, T-shirts, masks, and other presumably desirable items for those participating in last night's events. Apparently, that didn't go over too well with some of the others whose marketing sense is not so well developed as Budaházy's. Finally we have László Toroczkai of the Sixty-Four Counties Movement. Of course today's Hungary doesn't have sixty-four counties. (Greater Hungary, including Croatia-Slovenia, had 72 counties but Toroczkai is generous: he excludes Croatia's eight counties.) Thus we have an idea what kind of group that is. Toroczkai's most memorable words were: "Mi árpádháziak vagyunk, ők meg szarháziak." One doesn't have to know much Hungarian to figure that one out if one knows that "szar" means "shit." Toroczkai's boys from the sixty-four counties might not be the most beloved among the extreme right because the troubles began with them and it seems that some of the right wingers now think that this whole affair was an embarrassment that was over within forty-five minutes. However brief the encounter was, the damage was considerable because the escaping crowd managed to break everything they could lay their hands on.
The official reaction is the expected: Fidesz and the Christian Democrats blame Gyurcsány, the government, and MSZP for what happened. They provoked it. If they had just had the good sense to stay at home and not talk so much about democracy and the fear of neo-nazism, nothing would have happened. And all that talk about tolerance and love. (By the way, on one of the posters on the other side I saw the word "Hate" prominently displayed.) It is to the government's advantage to provoke these violent outbursts to prove that there is a right-wing danger when actually there is nothing of the sort.
Zoltán Balog, a protestant minister, Fidesz parliamentary member and a member of the parliamentary committee on human rights, accused the police of forcing part of the "peaceful crowd" into a nearby church and not allowing them to leave. This information came from Krisztina Morvai, the all-time "favorite" of our Sándor. (See his comment of today.) This of course defies the imagination. Churches are sanctuaries, protecting people against legal authorities. That is, cops can't go into a church and start rounding people up. Morvai has for a number of years been living in la-la-land. However, she's still a professor at the Budapest law school. It is awful to think what this woman must teach the future lawyers of Hungary. But I guess the university can't get rid of her because of contractual obligations as well as for "political reasons." Poor persecuted right-wingers in this communist dictatorship!
As for the fifteen people arrested. They are already at home. Just like in other dictatorships! I must say that I don't understand the Hungarian police. They arrest fifteen people for relatively minor offenses in comparison to the serious charges that could be leveled against those who incited the crowd: Budaházy, Toroczkai, Kakukk, Morvai, and the rest. As long as people can call citizens to arms against a democratically elected government with impunity the extreme right will remain energized. Unless, of course, internal strife weakens the cause. I'm betting that right-wing strife trumps police cowardice.