I would never have thought that my simple little heraldic history would interest so many people and I'm almost tempted to continue, but there are other contemporary issues that came up. The first that concerns Slovak-Hungarian relations is the visit of Knut Vollebaek, commissioner in charge of minority affairs of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, OSCE, to Budapest yesterday and today to Bratislava. However, I still don't quite understand what position Vollebaek took in the Slovak-Hungarian controversy. Perhaps tomorrow we will know more.
On the other hand, we know only too well what Krisztina Morvai did in Brussels yesterday. My readers may recall that one member of the three-person Jobbik delegation, Előd Novák, appeared on the opening day of the European Parliament in the uniform of the banned Hungarian Guard. The Hungarian socialists were outraged and the head of the socialist delegation, Martin Schulz, made noises about wearing uniforms in the chamber. In the end it turned out that the rules and regulations say nothing about uniforms. The response of the Fidesz members was that there are so many members of parliament and the chamber is so vast that almost no one could see what the Jobbik member wore. And those who did see him might have thought he was a workman doing some repair work!
Well, if they didn't notice Előd Novák's uniform, they certainly noticed Krisztina Morvai's tongue! Some people thought that Morvai was going to mellow in Brussels. After all, earlier she had an opportunity to learn something about international cooperation while representing Hungary as a member of the Women's Anti-Discrimination Committee of the United Nations. I wasn't so sure. Knowing the woman, not personally of course, I was certain that she would continue her less than truthful propaganda about Hungarian "dictatorship." I was right.
According to her own statement she spoke in the European Parliament three times within the first day and a half! I can't even imagine what kind of house rules allow such frequent speeches. However, she managed. Anyone interested in Krisztinai Morvai's contributions can find them on her website. At the moment only the first speech is available which I assume she made in English. Unfortunately it is translated into Hungarian on the attached video by a woman whose Hungarian pronounciation is, how shall I say, a bit odd! This is about the Hungarian farmers' plight. In this speech she claims that farmers are going bankrupt, they will have to sell their lands and these lands will be sold to foreigners. Hungary will become a colony! Her second speech was about the question of subsidies to the auto industry, specifically about the fate of Opel. Not suprisingly Ms Morvai didn't want to give a penny to save these industries. After all, it is their fault that they are in trouble!
But the third speech was the best! She expressed her outrage that Kinga Göncz, former foreign minister of Hungary, became one of the vice-chairmen of the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (EP LIBE). It is an outrage, said Krisztina Morvai, because on October 23, 2006, that Hungarian government ordered the police to attack peaceful demonstrators, ordinary pedestrians minding their own business, even foreign tourists just finishing their dinners at nearby restaurants. Many hundreds of people were hurt, the police using rubber bullets shot into the eyes of fourteen people, several of whom became blind. Hundreds were arrested and jailed, and court proceedings were rigged. Moreover, the prime minister praised the police for the "excellent" job. She asked the new speaker of the house, Jerzy Buzek, to dismiss Ms. Göncz.
I watched the coverage of these so-called peaceful demonstrators and I can assure everybody that not one-tenth of her story is true. The truth is that more policemen received serious injuries than those who attacked them. Surely there were some mistakes, mostly with people who out of curiosity got mixed up with the rock throwers, but nothing like Ms Morvai has been telling the world ever since.
Jerzy Buzek, according to Morvai, asked her to submit her complaints in writing, adding that he "is willing to meet with [her] personally." But, continues Morvai, Kinga Göncz immediately approached Buzek and told him that Morvai "represents a neonazi party and that for the events of October 2006 the neo-nazis were also responsible." Morvai called Göncz a liar and told Buzek that she would ask for an appointment in writing.
Morvai in her own description of the events doesn't mention that Martin Schulz, the head of the socialist delegation, called her "the representative of a neo-nazi party" and that the number two man in the Jobbik delegation, Zoltán Balczó, called Schulz's description of Jobbik as a fascist party "a slander." Morvai also left out her "request to Jerzy Buzek to fight for the cessation of a continuous human-rights abuse that has existed ever since the fall of 2006 in Hungary." Göncz rightly pointed out that if there were no democracy in Hungary Krisztina Morvai wouldn't have been able to give her speech. She mentioned that an independent committee investigated the behavior of the police and although they found some abuses, on the whole the members of the committee found the work of the police satisfactory. She mentioned Jobbik's activities in Hungary, its creation of a uniformed paramilitary organization whose goal is to frighten minority groups, gays, Jews and Gypsies and that "this party campaigned with rascist, homophobic, xenophobic slogans and tried to portray Hungary as a colony of the European Union." Somehow I don't think that Jobbik needed that. At least not in Brussels. Perhaps in Hungary they will receive additional votes as a result of their "humiliation" in Brussels.
Let's see what Jobbik's situation is at the moment in Hungary. A new poll was taken (Progresszív Intézet and Publicus) about people's attitudes toward extremism and conservatism. The poll is interesting enough to spend a little more time on it, but here I just want to mention one question posed out of the many: "Which party is considered to be extremist in Hungary?" Sixty-eight percent named Jobbik and that sounds quite good but one has to keep in mind that when people were asked whether there was any extremist party in Hungary, twenty-four percent of the population claimed that there wasn't. The percentage among Fidesz voters was higher (29%) while among MSZP voters it was lower, only 16%. Thus, if this poll tells us anything it is about the openness of about one third of the population toward extreme right propaganda. So it just a question of how well Jobbik manages its affairs until the next elections.