Neo-Nazis in Cegléd, Hungary

I wanted to write about the national holiday, August 20, St. Stephen’s Day, but something else came up. Another incident of Gypsy-baiting. This time in Cegléd, a town not far from Kecskemét and Szolnok, about 70 km south of Budapest. It has a population of 38,000 with a fairly large Roma population that lives on the outskirts of the town.

The neo-Nazis have provoked two incidents within one month. The first took place in Devecser in Transdanubia, the site of the red sludge disaster two years ago. There two neighbors got into a fairly violent argument–neither side was exactly innocent–that prompted Jobbik to organize a demonstration against “Gypsy crime” that ended up being not at all peaceful. During the demonstration rocks were thrown at the houses of the Roma families while one of the “warriors” with singularly bad aim hurled a rock right at one of the onlooking Jobbik MPs.

This so-called demonstration was hardly over when a new incident took place. The first report I found about it was in kuruc.info: “Spontaneous demonstration in Cegléd against Gypsy crime.” The article claims that the “locals got fed up with the looting of the Gypsies and with the police that refuse to do anything against them.” According to the report, the population was outraged and “the people of Cegléd asked the New Hungarian Guard” to come to their rescue. (As you may recall, the Hungarian Guard was banned but then came the New Hungarian Guard, so everything goes on as before.) Late at night, the report continues, “one cannot see Gypsies anywhere but there are many police cars on the streets.” As it turned out, the police were not on the streets to shield the defenseless non-Roma population of Cegléd from the Gypsies but rather to defend the Gypsies from “the units of the New Hungarian Guard that remained in town.”

A “warrior” in Cegléd / MTI Photo János Bugány

But that wasn’t the end of the story. According to Szent Korona Rádió, on August 17 “the patriots [members of the New Hungarian Guard and other riff-raff] were trying to approach the houses of the Gypsies but the police stopped them.” A few football fans from the Újpest-Ferencváros match came to join the members of the New Hungarian Guard, the HVIM, and the Gendarmerie, another neo-Nazi group. The ones who remained in Budapest managed to ruin a few buses and streetcars after the game.

A day later the story got fancier. According to news published on hunhir.info, local members of the Szebb Jövőért Polgárőrök Egyesülete (Militia for a Better Future) were having an innocent picnic when they were attacked by armed Gypsies. Moreover, these Gypsies also turned on the police. Therefore SZJPE “ordered nationwide mobilization.”

Now let’s see how the police saw the same events. They reported that extremist groups had arrived in the city and practically occupied a part of the town where a lot of Roma lived. The police estimated that there were at least 500 extremists in town and that overnight on August 19 three Jobbik members of parliament also appeared on the scene. There was fear in the town, and the streets were empty with the exception of the Roma-inhabited section of town where Gypsies were waiting for the approaching extremists coming toward their houses through an open field.

What caused this upheaval? According to the police, Saturday night a caller reported that a group of people, maybe 20 or 30 in number, were behaving in a threatening manner while also disturbing the peace. By the time the police arrived there was no one to be found. There was either such an incident or not. Hard to tell. But the Fidesz mayor of Cegléd claimed that the “cause” was artificially exaggerated by the extremists so they could have an opportunity to stage another threatening demonstration against the Gypsies. The mayor also revealed that about three weeks ago there was a rumor that he wanted to move forty Roma families into a mixed Roma/non-Roma section of town. He figures that perhaps that rumor sparked consternation among some people in town. Also just last Sunday the town opened a park that is supposed to symbolize “Hungarian-Roma cooperation” and perhaps the cross that was erected there might not be to the liking of the town’s Jobbik contingent. One thing is sure, claimed the mayor: the fact that three Jobbik MPs immediately showed up indicated that Jobbik was behind the whole ugly affair. The mayor was also convinced that the attack on the Cegléd Roma population was timed to coincide with the national holiday.

As it turns out, there are no great problems with the Roma population of Cegléd. According to the mayor, there are occasional problems with some members of about twenty families but nothing that the local police and the local government cannot handle. Most likely the neo-Nazis are just waiting for a telephone call from someone who reports “Gypsy crime” in his or her locality. That is enough to scout out the place and begin recruitment.

Somehow the Hungarian authorities have to put an end to these organized gangs and their anti-Roma attacks. If they don’t, these incidents will only multiply and get uglier and uglier.

46 comments

  1. Sad to see so many educated people searching for the truth but apparently provoking each other into venomous personal attacks on each other. Sadder than there being a lot of participants at this event (or not knowing how many there were).

    May I suggest that innocent error is presumed before bad intention, tolerance is shown not only of misinterpretation of hungarian language sources but of english misused as a second language, respect of everyone is shown (even if they appear not to deserve it), personal attack is a final resort and light-handed, and (while I’m at it) nationalist tone is ?

    So boring to read otherwise ….

    “A jest [i.e. light humour] breaks no bones.” Samuel Johnson

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  2. “Csoda Kegy” may try to prove that he/she can see the events of the present and past clearly.

    Tolerance is a shackle in the fight of the intolerance.

    Our problem is the Veil of Ignorance, by Harsanyi, a curse on Hungary and the rest of the world.

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    1. Rettegő Iván: I was the one, who translated the interview with Mr. Jason Kenney, Minister of Immigration and Multi-Culturalism in Ottawa, Canada. Therefore at this time, I have more knowledge about the Canadian Immigration Laws, than our own here in the USA. The Canadian Government employees are not stupid. They realized, that anyone who asks for political asylum in Canada, receives work permits and full 100% benefits, even full medical benefits, including eye and dental care, Government subsidized housing and large family children subsidy, etc., which Canadian citizens don’t get.
      Because the wait for the immigration hearings could take up to two years, (and 98.9% of the gypsies either does not show up or they withdraw the application) this is a heavy burden on the canadian taxpayers. The new laws will shorten the waiting to three months and the newly arriving prospective immigrants will not get work permit and the social benefits for three months. Therefore, it was not gypsy hatred, which motivated the Canadian Government to change the Immigration laws, but rather the fairness to its own citizens and to be fair to all, lawfully admitted immigrants.

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  3. wakeup :
    i also live here. Funny enough in, pardon me, cegled. I have been robbed by those maggots you defend. They are neither Roma or gypsy. They are scum that have been booted out from their own territory. Do not support these bloodsuckers.

    @wakeup,

    I am from the US. I am not quite sure as to the nationality of most of the people who answer on here, but if I seem a foreigner, I hope you will allow me to say something and perhaps devote a bit of thinking to my statement.

    I do not know you, you are likely thousands of miles away from me as I type. I will have to believe you were robbed by people, whose ethnicity I think I understand to be Roma.

    While it is harder to think like this when you have been taken advantage of, I think that generalizing most things onto a group of people is just plain wrong. Not only morally, but usually wrong in fact. I would like to think I would feel like this even if I had been taken advantage of, but I cant be certain I suppose.

    In the US, we also have some prejudices against groups. Thankfully now, they are rather benign. But I could also believe things that are said about blacks, hispanics, jews, or whoever. What I have found in my dealings with all groups are that there are good and bad. Smart and stupid.

    I would never believe all members of any group are “scum”, etc. In the worst possible case, I would believe that most are “bad”, but it would likely be due to the environment they are in. Do Roma get opportunities for education and professional jobs? This is a whole other conversation, but I would hope that most would agree with what I have written.

    Finally, I feel that mob rule, mob justice is just plain horrible. Let’s hope that one day you are not threatened by a mob.

    LM

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  4. Eva S. Balogh :
    Please, don’t lie. I hate liars. I never said anything about thousands. I mentioned 400-500 people because these were the numbers mentioned most often. As for the latest reporting of of 50-60 people is about Monday morning and not the day before and overnight.

    Eva,

    Louis doesn’t lie: he tells ‘fibs’ in the Hungarian fashion.
    For instance, on his Facebook entry he has put down, “lecturer–Harvard”.
    Now, that’s not a complete lie but it is misleading at best. Louis took part in a symposium and gave a talk. Hence, in Louis’ interpretation of the world: LECTURER-HARVARD.

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  5. Petrovics: Sorry to inform you, but you are incorrect. I said before, that I am not hiding behind slimy aliases. The actual title is “Instructor in Environmental Health. Exposure, Epidemiology and Risk Program. Harvard School of Public Health” and I was there for about 25 years now. But if they had a sympsium on what is the epidemiology of petrovicses mental state, I might just attend that too although it would be very very short..

    And which poem did you write?????

    As long as we are discussing truthfulness, you can also ask Dr Balogh again that when did the police say 400-500 folks were in Cegled?

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