The language of the Hungarian political right

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.

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pusztaranger
Guest

I’m thrilled, I sort of did the same post today (in German). Not that in-depth, but close enough. I guess that means my instincts are good. 🙂
http://pusztaranger.wordpress.com/2011/08/19/%E2%80%9Ejuden-roma-und-gyurcsany-abknallen%E2%80%9C-politische-kultur-im-rechten-spektrum/

Eva S. Balogh
Guest

Pusztaszer: “‘m thrilled, I sort of did the same post today (in German).”
Yours is very thorough especially on the background of Stadler. Congratulations! Her Facebook friends tell a lot. They even include Mihály Varga.
Fidesz is very much responsible for the growth of the far-right and extremism in general. It attracts these aggressive, primitive characters. Sorry that I have to say that but this is how I see it.

peter litvanyi
Guest

“To protest in the name of morality against “excesses” or “abuses” is an error which hints at active complicity. There are no “abuses” or “excesses” here, simply an all-pervasive system.”
Simone de Beauvoir about the French government’s effort to distance themselves from what they did in Algeria.
Sincerely:
Peter Litvanyi

Paul
Guest

Fasten seat belts – going off-topic again…
Interesting piece on the BBC website today on Hans Litten (who? read the link!) – http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-14572578
A psychological parallel here with OV and Gy and ‘that’ TV debate?

Istvan Ertl
Guest

> Fidesz bears a large share of the blame for these verbal assaults that roll off the tongues so easily in right-wing circles.
That reminds me of an encounter I had in Brussels on 24 June 2002 with Péter Szijjártó, now Orbán’s spokesman and then the youngest Hungarian MP. We were chatting amically, as I had told him I joined Fidesz as early as May 1988. (What I did not tell him was that this relationship of mine did not last after 1993 at the latest.)
This was two months after Fidesz lost the elections. And why did they lose? Well, one of the foremost reasons for this was, Szijjártó told me quite in earnest, all those Jews that had been flown in on charter flights from Israel in order to vote. There was clearly a risk of Tel-Aviv dictating in Budapest.
First I was not sure if Szijjártó was joking, but I could tell by his expression that he was not. But at that time I was not ready to believe that such bullshit would become not only acceptable, but mainstream in Hungary quite soon.

Odin's lost eye
Guest
The use of aggression and the threat of force has long been a stock in trade of all would be ‘Mighty Ones’. Orban Victor’s personal aggression towards Jose Manuel Barroso The President European Commission was intended to induce fear in the heart of the president. It did not work (this time). Other European leaders now avoid meeting Orban Viktor. Orban Victor’s defeat by Gyurcsány in the televised debate must still rankle, but I suspect that the end one of Victor’s ‘6 cylinder hoods’ will do the business for him. Men like Toroczkai see this and realise that aggression is one route to success. They encourage their followers to use both verbal and physical aggression to intimidate others and get their own way. As they grow bolder I can foresee one of these groups running amok and creating some form of ‘incident’. Like breaking up some one’s little demonstration. There is one weird mob who wear black ‘hoodies’ with crossed axes and a skull with a hat on. They barged through a load of passengers from a tour bus at the Hero’s Gate in Szeged knocking people aside ran up towards the Tisza upsetting customers, tables and chairs at an outdoor… Read more »
Paul
Guest

The ‘language of the right’ is not that far from the language of the people, at least here in the East.
My wife was chatting to a old school friend the other day, and she said, quite matter-of-factly and without any awareness of how crazy she sounded, that “of course” all black people should be sent back to Africa.
This was not said to shock, or to make a political point, it was just a casual remark in a conversation between two friends, on the assumption that such a view was perfectly natural and obvious – and shared.
As I find myself writing on here so often, in every other way, this woman was a nice person, intelligent, educated and a loving mother.
I was once a very vocal ambassador for Hungary, but I am getting very tired and depressed of constantly encountering this unthinking, casual racism – all the more worrying in a way because it is so casual and un-thought through.

Paul
Guest

And, if that wasn’t depressing enough, we’ve just got back from the Virágkarnevál, and the lead float, which is always the Szent István Korona, was accompanied by soldiers – http://dehir.hu/galeria/20110820/viragkarneval.html.
It was obviously intended to be a ‘soldiers, through the ages’ thing, but it’s the first time in 10 years I’ve seen any military theme at all.
And now, just 16 months into the Viktatorship, we have soldiers marching alongside the lead float and Orbán’s prize symbol of the ‘real’ Hungary.
And, no, I really don’t think I’m reading too much into this.

Ron
Guest

Off topic.
It seems that Hungary is making a fool of themselves every time they have an opportunity.
http://www.spiegel.de/panorama/0,1518,781373,00.html
This time was to play the nazi hymnus during the Szeged championships.

Eva S. Balogh
Guest

Ron: “This time was to play the nazi hymnus during the Szeged championships.”
The whole thing is a bit suspicious. The German organizers wanted to hear the German anthem before but they were told that they couldn’t because there was something wrong with the player.
The Germans are also baffled about another thing: where on earth did the Hungarians come up with this version that hasn’t been played since 1952 anywhere.

Ron
Guest

Dear Professor,
What I believe what happened here is that the original organizers were replaced by Fidesz party hacks.
These hacks Google the German hymnusz in Hungarian on Google and came up with the aforementioned version.
As to the cd player, I am sure that there are more than one in Szeged, notably in the car park.

Member

Gott sei dank it wasn’t the Sieg Heil Viktoria …

Member

Ron is right. The Hungarian Wikipedia article about German national anthem
http://hu.wikipedia.org/wiki/N%C3%A9metorsz%C3%A1g_himnusza
at the end has this link:



Bummer! We have to warn the Wikipedia editors.

Member

I see that Der Speigel has christened Hungary “The Goulash Archipelago”. Quite catchy, I think.
See:
http://www.spiegel.de/panorama/0,1518,781373,00.html

Ron
Guest

Mutt Damon: Bummer! We have to warn the Wikipedia editors.
We do not need to. We can check out who placed this and charge him/her with making a fool out of Hungary.
Btw today is Saint Stephen Day. VO was not in the Basilica, but at a Videoton football match. He sent Schmitt Pal and his wife in stead.
First I thought he does not give a f…, but them it dawns to me that he is afraid for potential attacks (actually a guy was arrested in the Basilica).
What a guy, a real man, sends his wife to do his job.

Eva S. Balogh
Guest

@Ron: “it dawns to me that he [Viktor Orbán] is afraid of potential attacks.”
Oh, I’m convinced. Why do you think that he created a separate unit just to defend himself? Moreover, even before he became prime minister, he had a very professional crew of a number of body guards to save him from alleged harm.

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