March 15, 2012
On January 21st, 400,000 Hungarians went out into the streets of Budapest to proclaim their love for their country and for their country’s current government. The organizers of this giant rally claimed that this was a “peace-rally”. On March 15th, they held a second giant rally in support of the government, and in order to demonstrate their overwhelming strength to Hungary’s currently divided political opposition and to the government’s critics outside of Hungary.
The undersigned respect and support the right of citizens to publicly demonstrate their feelings of patriotism and love for politicians who are dedicated to upholding universally accepted democratic principles. We cannot respect, however, nor support, public demonstrations organized by people who preach racial hatred, advocate violence, and shun discourse as a means of dealing with social conflict.
The undersigned contend, and will show evidence for their contentions, that these giant political rallies in Budapest are being organized by people who frequently espouse racist and hate-filled views, and have no respect for universally valid democratic principles. The main impact of these massive rallies is to discourage and intimidate those who are working for democracy and civil-rights inside and outside the borders of Hungary. We call upon all Hungarians to resist the temptation to follow in the footsteps of the organizers. We call upon all democrats, on the right, in the center or on the left of the political divide, to raise their voices in defence of Hungary’s threatened minorities – the Roma, the Jews, the gays, the liberals, the anti-government conservatives – and all democrats, who are increasingly menaced today by a relentless march of fundamentalist intolerance. The giant pro-government rallies organised by Zsolt Bayer, András Bencsik, Imre Kerényi and Sir Gábor Széles are NOT “peace-rallies”, but hate-parades. They are organized by political bullies, and must be condemned by all democrats, regardless of their party or ideological preference. In the following paragraphs we provide a brief cross section of evidence of this bullying:
Zsolt Bayer is one of the key organizers of the giant Budapest “peace rallies”. He is a close friend of Prime Minister Viktor Orbán. He is the proud holder of membership card No 5 in the governing party – FIDESZ. By his own admission, Mr Bayer, is not an advocate of consensual conflict resolution. His favoured tension-management instrument is force – a punch in the mouth, a good beating “so that even your dentist won’t recognize your face anymore” (See his Hol a pofátlanság határa. Budapest. Kairosz publishers, 2001. pg. 166.) By his own admission, Bayer does not care if his competitors “espouse European or consensus oriented values…because I am the new consensus, the new fundamentalism. The future belongs to me …and it will be beautiful, uplifting, and will rise out of the ashes” (Quoted in Magyar Nemzet, Hungary’s leading pro-government daily. July 20, 2002.). Bayer has the following advice to give to anyone who happens to run over a Roma child with his car: “Anyone who happens to run over a gypsy child in this country, would be best not think of stopping. If you run over a gypsy, just step on the gas-pedal” (See his article in Magyar Hírlap, Hungary’s second largest pro-government daily, owned by Sir Gábor Széles, one of Prime Minister’s most powerful corporate supporters). Bayer has the following to say about those of his colleagues in the Budapest media, who happen to be Jewish: " the mere existence of Jewish journalists in Budapest is grounds enough for our anti-Semitism”. (op.cit) It is for these, and many similar statements by Zsolt Bayer, that we say – anyone who marches behind this man, brings shame, rather than respect and honour, to the name of Hungary.
The second chief-organizer of the giant Budapest “peace rallies” is András Bencsik, a former Communist Party Secretary in the old dictatorship. Bencsik is also a close associate of Prime-Minister Viktor Orbán, and is a member of Orbán’s ruling party. Bencsik is the editor in chief of the pro-government weekly Demokrata, which the prime minister often urges his followers to read. Every Spring, just about this time, his magazine celebrates the Hungarian troops who fought the Allies on behalf of the Nazis during the siege of Budapest, and helped to prolong the war, at the cost of tens of thousands of lives. He is one of the founders of the neo-Nazi Hungarian Guard militia. When the Swedish academy gave the Nobel Prize for literature to the Hungarian-Jewish writer, Imre Kertész, Mr Bencsik stated, that this was the equivalent of giving Hungary a plate of excrement. (András Bencsik. Demokrata. December 19, 2002) He applied the same figure of speech to Hungary’s accession to the European Union. (ibid). Mr Bencsik argues, that the leadership role model for Hungary should not be a European, but the former KGB leader Vladimir Putin. Here are his words: “Russia has finally shut the door on a chaotic 20th century…and has now embarked on clearly delineated, collectively derived path towards its national interest, one based on tradition, faith, and strength …in a very short time, Putin and Medvedev will determine the fate of world history” (András Bencsik, Demokrata, May 14, 2008.). It is for these and many similar statements by András Bencsik, that we say – anyone who marches behind this man, brings shame, rather than respect and honour, to the name of Hungary.
Imre Kerényi was also a loyal communist party member prior to the fall of the dictatorship. He quickly changed his political colours and became one of the closest lieutenants of the current Prime Minister, Viktor Orbán. For the past ten years, Kerényi has been THE organizer of the government party’s major street rallies and special events. He has a senior position in the Prime Minister’s Office today. US President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton should pay special attention to the kind of strategic advisors the Hungarian Prime Minister surrounds himself with. A year after the infamous 9/11 World Trade Center massacre in which nearly four thousands innocent Americans lost their lives, Mr Kerényi said the following: “We are on the threshold a World War III, which the USA will lose…The American high-tech will be destroyed by a white powder” (Imre Kerényi Médiaegyensúly. Budapest. Kairosz Publishers. 2003. pg. 263 ). In the 2006 Hungarian national election campaign, Mr Kerényi spoke these unforgettable words as he campaigned on behalf of his leader, Mr Orbán: “I can reassure all, pretty soon, there will be a little mound where today, the White House stands in Washington, and on it, goats will be grazing peacefully” In 2006 he also declared publicly, that the USA is the world’s most despicable country, and even Hungary’s former overlords, the Russians are more likeable than the USA. In the same speech, he argued that Hungary’s political role model should be Iran, and the global Muslim resistance movement that is fighting the Americans in Iraq and elsewhere. (See: Tamás Bihari. “For Kerényi, the Muslims show the way” Népszava. February 28, 2006.) When his Party leader, Viktor Orbán, was asked for his views about his lieutenant’s radical outbursts, he replied, “I wish I had more people like him on my team.” It is for these and many similar statements by Imre Kerényi, that we say – anyone who marches behind this man, brings shame, rather than respect and honour, to the name of Hungary.
Sir Gábor Széles
Sir Gábor Széles is one of Hungary’s richest oligarchs, and the owner of one of Hungary’s largest, most influential media empires. He is one of the leading supporters of the government party and of Mr Orbán personally. Sir Gábor is also one of the chief financiers and organizers of the pro-government “peace rallies”. The title of “Sir” before Széles’ name derives from his membership in an Order – the Vitézi Order – that was created by Admiral Horthy, the man who ruled Hungary between the two world wars, and was responsible for the introduction of the first anti-Jewish laws in the 20th century, in 1920, well before Hitler came to power. By Horthy’s own admission, the Order that he created, and Széles is a member of, is based on the principles of racial purity and exclusion “Even the most heroic, best decorated Jew cannot be a member”. (For all this, see Szinai Miklós-Szűcs László (eds). The Secret Papers of Admiral Horthy. Budapest. Kossuth Publishers, 1965. pg. 260-261 or Erzsébet Strassenreiter’s excellent study in Népszava. October 31, 2008). In another confidential letter, Horthy is even more forthright “I have always been an anti-Semite I never had or wanted to have anything to do with the Jews” (Szinai-Szűcs, op.cit). Sir Gábor Széles is a member of an Order, that was created by a man, who in 1944, as Hungary’s Regent, sanctioned that the entire Hungarian Jewry outside of Budapest – 460,000 men, women and children – be rounded up, stripped of all their belongings, crammed into freight cars used to transport animals, and shipped off to the extermination camps. The procedure took 51 days in the Spring of 1944, and was executed by Hungarian state administrators and police forces. (Let us remember and honour the tragic memory and suffering of the victims). In Sir Gábor Széles’ media empire one is free to heap venom on gays, Roma, Jews, liberals or plain ordinary democrats, but one must never criticize the Mr. Orbán, the Prime Minister. It is for all the above reasons that we say, again – anyone who marches behind Sir Gábor Széles, media mogul, in Budapest, brings shame, rather than respect and honour, to the name of Hungary.
The undersigned would like to bring to the attention of global public opinion the fact that rallies which are led by racist hate-mongers and/or antidemocrats, cannot be called “peace rallies”. They are hate parades, and deserve to be condemned by all those who respect the dignity of human life, civil rights and democracy.
Canadian initiators of „Stop the Hungarian Hate Parade”:
András B. Göllner, PhD, emeritus associate professor, Montreal, Québec; Stevan Harnad, PhD, Research Chair, professor, Montreál, Québec; Christopher Adam, PhD, lecturer, Ottawa, Ontario; Éva Balogh, PhD, retired professor, acedemic dean, New Haven, Connecticut; Imre Szemán, PhD, Research Chair, professor, Edmonton, Alberta; Imre Szemán sr, retired welder, Calgary, Alberta; Peter W. Klein, MA, Department-head, professor, Vancouver, British Columbia; Julius H. Grey, lawyer, Montreal, Québec; Kari Polányi-Levit, PhD, emeritus professor, Montreal, Québec; Kirsten Kramar, PhD, Department-head, professor, Winnipeg, Manitoba; Arthur Schafer, PhD, Department head, professor, Winnipeg, Manitoba; Christopher Kaposy, PhD, professor, St John’s New Foundland; Ágnes Holló-Zeliger, MD, Pediatrician, Montreal, Québec; Marguerite Mendell, PhD, Institute head, professor, Montreál, Québec; Mary O’Connor, PhD, professor, Hamilton, Ontario; Peter Nyers, PhD, professor, Toronto, Ontario; Marlene Kádár, PhD, professor, Toronto, Ontario; Judit Kopácsi, writer, Torontó, Ontario; Judit Szaport, PhD, professor, Montreal, Québec; Paris Arnopoulos, emeritus professor, Montreal, Québec; Daniel Salee, PhD, College Principal, university professor, Montreal, Québec; William Straw, PhD, professor, Montreal, Québec; Garry Watson, PhD, professor, Edmonton, Alberta; Michael Truscello, PhD, professor, Calgary, Alberta; Gábor Lukács, PhD, mathematician, Halifax, Nova Scotia; Denis Rancourt, PhD, professor, Ottawa, Ontario; Timothy Kaposy, PhD, professor, Ste Catherine Ontario; Marie-Eve Morin, PhD, professor, Edmonton, Alberta; Gergely Lukács, PhD, Research Chair, professor, Montreál; Melinda Gough, PhD, professor, Hamilton, Ontario; Rod Clifton, PhD, professor, Winnipeg, Manitoba; Valéria M. Pásztor, PhD, retired professor, Montreal, Québec; Stephan Christianson, PhD student, Edmonton, Alberta; Kurt Pabst, PhD student, Edmonton, Alberta; Andrew Johnson, Writer, Hamilton, Ontario; Adam Carlson, PhD, Assistant professor, Edmonton, Alberta; Louise Chalouh, High-school principal, Montreal, Québec; Donald Goellnicht, PhD, professor, Toronto, Ontario; David Kootnikoff, PhD student, Edmonton, Alberta; Esther Bogyo, Talent agent, Torontó, Ontario; Karyn Ball, PhD, professor, Edmonton, Alberta; Karen Kipper, university student, Halifax, Nova Scotia; Sarah Jeswiet, Statistician, Ottawa, Ontario; Yvonne Singer, PhD, professor, Toronto, Ontario; Troeung Y-Dang, PhD, University Research Fellow, Calgary, Alberta; Brent Bellamy, Assistant professor, Edmonton, Alberta; Shawa Rangwala PhD student, Edmonton, Alberta; Jessica Rona-Hartzog, university student, Montreal, Québec; Margaret O’Brien, Librarian, Vancouver, British Columbia; Andrew Bland Andrew, Financial system’s manager, Oakville, Ontario; Virginia Kingston, Artist, Toronto, Ontario; Albert Jimenez, high-chool teacher, Montreal, Québec; Helmut-Harry Loewen, PhD, professor, Winnipeg, Manitoba; Anne Ericcson, Marketing manager, Ottawa, Ontario; Martin Kreiswirth, PhD, professor, Montreal, Québec; André Glaser, PhD, Assistant professor, Edmonton, Alberta; Sandra Widmer, university research fellow, Toronto, Ontario; Linda Leith, PhD, Writer/publisher, Montreal, Québec; Karen Virág, Writer/Editor, Edmonton, Alberta; Lina Moros, Flamenco artiste, Montreal, Québec; William Hartzog, Lawyer, Montreal, Québec; Barry Allen, PhD, professor, Hamilton, Ontario; Lisa Szabó-Jones, PhD student, Wolfville, Nova Scotia; Jeff Diamanti, PhD student, Edmonton, Alberta; Amy Schissel, High-school teacher, Ottawa, Ontario; Elizabeth McIninch, management consultant, Montreal, Québec; Anthony McCanny, webdesigner, Ottawa, Ontario; Janos Harnad, PhD, Professor, Montreal, Québec; Jay Friesen, University Research Fellow, Edmonton, Alberta; Virginia Kingston, Artist, Toronto, Ontario; Gabriel Moyal, PhD, professor, Hamilton, Ontario; Christina Szemán, marketing manager, Calgary, Alberta; Vivienne Monty, University librarian, Toronto, Ontario; Helga Mitterbauer, professor, Edmonton, Alberta; Justin A. Sully, Lecturer, Edmonton, Alberta; Margaret Davidson, Writer/Editor, Vancouver, British Columbia; Neil Cournoyer, Bookseller, Ottawa, Ontario; Suzie Fortin, Graduate student, Montreal, Québec; Ágnes Wenninger, Advertising executive, Ottawa, Ontario; Mary Rona, Physician, Montreal, Québec; Sarah Blacker, graduate student, Edmonton, Alberta; John Dixon, Retired college professor, Toronto, Ontario; Timothy Thomas, PhD, urbanist, antique dealer, Montreal, Québec; Péter Láncz, art dealer, Montreál, Québec; Josef Jurkovic, communications consultant, Ottawa, Ontario; Andrew Mátyás, retired engineer, Chelsea, Québec; Margot E. Guthrie, lawyer, Vancouver, British Columbia; Maria Whiteman, Artist, Edmonton, Alberta;