Unfortunately, political culture in Hungary is sadly lacking, but when we talk about really extreme aggressiveness and unacceptable language we normally think of the far right. Just lately it came to light that at Magyar Sziget (Hungarian Island) some extremists who, in spite of the protestation of the leadership of Jobbik, are in close contact with Gábor Vona's party were making threatening references to killing politicians not to their liking. László Toroczkai, leader of the Hatvannégy Vármegye Ifjúsági Mozgalom (Youth Movement of the Sixty-four Counties) made no secret of his thoughts of assassinating Ferenc Gyurcsány and even Viktor Orbán. Toroczkai made these remarks while he was flanked by two Jobbik members of parliament, Sándor Pörzse and Dániel Z. Kárpát.
I briefly mentioned the incident a few days ago. Here I will expand on this unsavory story because unfortunately it is not an isolated case as we will see later. Toroczkai was making a speech in which the following words were uttered: "I know that this doesn't sound very humane, but that's me…. How often did we hear from each other here at Magyar Sziget that 'I would shoot, let's say, Gyurcsány with a Kalasnikov'? Who among us didn't utter these words at least once? Who didn't say 'I would love to shoot that rotten Gyurcsány or lately Viktor Orbán'? In my opinion, everybody said such things, let's be honest. And I will say the same to the reporters of The Sun and Népszabadság who are lurking among us and who record my words, please write them down. I take responsibility for them but I myself said many times that I would 'kill Ferenc Gyurcsány'…. In fact, we would have done a great favor to the Hungarian nation if we had killed him as a teenager at a KISZ camp."
Whoever was lurking at Magyar Sziget, the story was out in no time and the Orbán government decided to "investigate" the situation. Moreover, when Ágnes Vadai (MSZP), chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on National Security, called for an extraordinary meeting in connection with the case Fidesz decided to attend. Surely, the government party feels that ignoring this latest incident wouldn't be wise.
Meanwhile Jobbik is trying to draw a sharp line in the sand between the party and the extremists at Magyar Sziget, but the task is a rather difficult one. Toroczkai, for example, is a member of a municipal council as a representative of Jobbik. Lajos Pősze, a politician who has been a member of many parties, including Jobbik lately, knows that "the leadership of Sixty-four Counties, the Outlaws and Jobbik is one and the same: László Toroczkai (Sixty-four Counties), Előd Novák (Jobbik), Gábor Vona (Jobbik), Zsolt Tyirityán (Outlaws), and Gyula Zagyva (Jobbik). They are identical twins."
Yesterday a new video emerged from a few years back. Mária Stadler, a member of Fidesz and a political activist who seems to have good connections with the top leaders of the party, had a short encounter with György Budaházy in a building set up by Fidesz for the Civic Cells, a brainchild of Viktor Orbán to widen the base of his party. György Budaházy is currently in jail awaiting trial in connection with a charge of terrorism. I wrote about Budaházy and his organization, Arrows of Hungarians, several times but perhaps the best summary of Budaházy's activities can be found here.
On the video Stadler tells Budaházy that he is not really a radical because if he were he would have shot "that rotten Gyurcsány." And she repeats it: "Why don't you go and shoot him?" The video is available in yesterday's Népszabadság. Although Stadler does not hold any formal position in Fidesz, she is quite well known in political circles. Her bête noire is György Bolgár, whose popular call-in program especially irritated her. She wanted to get funding for an organization whose sole purpose would have been to disrupt Bolgár's program. Apparently, the V. District Fidesz organization didn't vote any money to fund the project.
She may have not received any money for this particular project, but according to Index she has received money several times since 2007 from one of the Fidesz foundations. According to Stadler, who talked to Bolgár yesterday, she spent 400,000 Ft. of her own money to recruit right-wing pensioners to phone Bolgár's program to spread Fidesz messages on the air. There were even rumors that some of these callers actually received money from Fidesz.
Fidesz is embarrassed, and not without reason. In a rather unusual and speedy fashion the announcement was made that Stadler's behavior is unacceptable and "there will be consequences." Naturally, Attila Mesterházy, chairman of MSZP, protested and demanded Stadler's resignation or removal from the party. LMP did the same.
I found András Schiffer's diagnosis of the situation most apt. According to Schiffer the conversation between Mária Stadler and György Budaházy "gives a perfect example of how the kind of language that was used at Magyar Sziget could receive acceptance" in political dicourse. It all started in Fidesz, said Schiffer, and it is very nice that now Fidesz turns against hate speech, aggressive or racist acts, "but the party has an enormous responsibility for the fact that such sentences can be heard, sometimes even in parliament." Schiffer would like to know "how many Mária Stadlers can be found within Fidesz."
Unfortunately, Schiffer is right. Fidesz bears a large share of the blame for these verbal assaults that roll off the tongues so easily in right-wing circles. The problem is that words are often followed by deeds. As for the Stadlers in Fidesz, there are too many. One can't really sharply divide the Hungarian right into moderates and radicals. And that is a real problem.