Football and its fans: The Romanian-Hungarian game

Today I will talk about two related topics: the Romanian-Hungarian football match in Bucharest and the group of Hungarian fans who on the way to the Romanian capital just happened to stop in a village close to the Romanian-Hungarian border. The fans paid an unwelcome visit to the elementary school in Konyár (pop. 2,000).

As for the game itself, I don’t want to dwell on it. The Hungarian national team suffered a humiliating defeat that more or less precludes it from advancing in the preliminary rounds for next year’s World Cup game. Prior to the match, one of the players, Zsolt Korcsmár, who plays full time for the German Greuther Fürth, predicted that the Hungarian team would come back with three goals. Well, they did but not exactly in the manner Korcsmár imagined. They lost by three goals.

The right-wing fans who were already pretty drunk at the beginning of their journey explained to the reporters on hand that they were looking forward to the game because “for ninety minutes Transylvania will be ours.”The pre-game hype was extraordinary. Even the coach described the match as “historic.” (The original Hungarian that belies translation is something like “an event that will greatly influence our fate.”) It became practically an answer to Trianon. It was also intended to put an end to the extreme frustration of the Hungarian football fans. The last time that the Hungarian national team won against the Romanians in Bucharest was 55 years ago!

That the fans thought that by winning at soccer the Hungarian national team could somehow avenge the loss of Transylvania was one thing. But what was most likely truly injurious to the psyche of the players was that the coach himself fed this notion of a war by other means, a war of football. Sándor Egervári, the coach, kept calling the team’s attention to the “history of these two countries.” I guess he was trying to inspire a mediocre team by making the players feel as if their actions on the field would shape the destiny of the country.

Article after article assured football fans that the players were feeling optimistic and were not overwhelmed by the task. But the media also reinforced the game’s extreme importance. Almost as if Hungary’s national honor had to be defended in this one game. One of the Internet sport sites claimed that it was the most important game ever for the Hungarian national team. Egervári called the Romanians “the Hungarian team’s greatest rivals” not because of the prowess of the Romanian team but because of factors that have nothing whatsoever to do with football. Rather, they stem from the enmity that has existed between these two nations for at least a hundred years. On the Romanian side, I’m almost certain, there were similar feelings. Some Romanian fans held up signs reading “1918,” the year the Romanian National Council declared Transylvania to be part of Romania.

Although most Hungarian football fans admit that Hungarian football is lousy and refuse to attend the games, this time they watched the match intently. More than two million people were glued to MTV’s live broadcast. Normally, serious Hungarian aficionados watch foreign matches, but this game was different. And when the devastating 3-0 loss was reported by hatharom.com, an Internet site devoted to football, the article began with a reference to “the 15 million Hungarians who have been waiting for months for this very important game.” The nation is getting bigger and bigger, it seems. Apparently this 15 million also includes the non-existent two million Hungarian-Americans.

And now a few words about the most ardent fans. All told, about 2,800 Hungarian fans traveled to Bucharest. Eleven hundred of them went by chartered train. The trip by train was organized by a group that calls itself the Carpathian Brigade. Eight hundred eighty left Budapest and 250 joined them in Brasov/Brassó in Romania. (Apparently they trashed the train’s fourteen cars on the return trip.) Others went by chartered buses. We will follow one of these that made a side trip to Konyár.

The bus whose passengers stopped in Konyár originated in Debrecen. The superhighway to the border from Debrecen is still not finished on either side, so vehicles have to travel southward on a secondary road through Sáránd, Derecske, Berettyóújfalu, and from there to Oradea/Nagyvárad in Romania. However, at Derecske, the bus left the highway and turned left onto a  small road leading to this heavily Roma inhabited village and parked in front of the local elementary school.

According to Jenő Gyöngyös, the head of the Roma community in Konyár, the twenty or so rowdy and already slightly drunk “fans” began to yell obscenities and threatened to enter the school. Some of them for good measure urinated on the wall of the building. The teachers locked the doors and the frightened staff ordered the first-graders to hide under their desks. Some of the older pupils hid in the toilets. Eventually someone called the police. The police arrived and simply asked the guys to get back on the bus and depart.

And how do the police now describe the incident? They claim there was no incident. The rowdies just stopped to relieve themselves and to have a cigarette. The only thing they did was to sing the Szekler national anthem.

Konyar

If you look at the Google map you will immediately realize that this stop in Konyár was not happenstance.  It was planned. But why? Because in January a young history teacher at the school, Szilárd Vígh, was caught talking disparagingly about his Gypsy students and boasting about how he disciplines them by beating them. By that time it was the Klebelsberg Center that was the “employer” of the school’s teachers, and after an internal investigation Vígh was fired, in spite of a demonstration organized by Jobbik in defense of the history teacher. The fired teacher was one of the passengers on that bus. Simple enough! The police and the principal can deny the facts till doomsday.

I think one day I should spend some time on the changing behavior of the police. They seem to have recognized that they can do practically anything in pursuit of their vision of law and order. The minister of the interior, the former police chief, will defend them to the very end. And the population is defenseless against their excesses.

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tappanch
Guest

THere were two Chinese deals today, on September 9th.

1.
The People’s Bank of China (China’s Fed) will give 1.23 billion euros to the Hungarian Central Bank MNB in the next three years in a three-year yuan-forint swap deal.

2.
The Bank of China (one of the four big state-owned commercial banks of China) will lend 0.2 billion euros to MVM (Hungarian Electric Holding). MVM intends to purchase the Hungarian gas sector of the German E.ON.

Will Orban’s Hungary become the Chinese Trojan horse in Europe?

buddy
Guest

Actually I think the Hungarians should be relieved the score was only 3-0 in the end. The Romanians bungled a couple of easy chances to score that more competent teams would have converted into goals. It easily could have been 4-0 or even 5-0 had they been a little more skillful.

tappanch
Guest

MNB Director Palotai’s article on the Chinese money swap deal can be found at:

http://www.mnb.hu/Root/Dokumentumtar/MNB/Sajtoszoba/Sajtoszobakozlemenyek/K%C3%ADna_swap_FINAL.pdf

Let me remind the Orban government that the deal is not unlike the much-condemned Swiss
Franc loans the Hungarian public took in the 2000s – it involves an exchange rate risk.

My understanding is that Hungary just received 10 billion yuans from China, which is worth 1.23 billion euros today. Hungary gave 370 billion forints in return. Hungary has to repay this sum in three years with or without interest [we have to check the current interest rate differentials], this is not clear. But the yuan can be much stronger in three years!

Say, yuan/forint doubles and yuan/euro grows by 50% in three years.
Hungary has to borrow 1.23*1.5 billion euros then to repay the yuan loan.
It gets back the lent forint, but it will be worth just 1.23*0.75 billion euros.
This would result in a 0.9225 billion euro loss for Hungary.

ronnie
Guest
OT: important. László Kövér, the hardliner Fidesznik head of the Parliament (and a deeply paranoid man, I must say) is now recommending government by decrees. He says that the Parliament has done its job, all the important laws are approved and thus its legislative purpose is practically obsolete. According to Kövér, the Parliament should just give an empowerment to the government (which then, I add, would delegate that power to the head of the government, guess who?) to make any laws necessary during its term. [Good thing he does not advocate longer terms or doing away with elections, not that it would matter much given their power over the media and the new election laws.] http://index.hu/belfold/2013/09/09/kover_egyfajta_rendeleti_kormanyzas_rossz_iz_nelkul/ His logic is fantastic: the wide legislative powers of the Parliament was according to Kövér the result of the fear of a new dictatorship (i.e. after the fall of communism). Now that we don’t have to fear the dictatorship we should give full legislative power to the government. It’s a little historical fact that prior to 1990 the Parliament usually made only two laws (the budget and a law accepting the report of the execution of the budget), the rest were made in the… Read more »
enuff
Guest

very OT :-

We woke up to this news

http://vallalkozoi.negyed.hu/vnegyed/20130910-tonkremehetnek-a-kisebb-nyelviskolak-a-megnovelt-terhek-miatt.html

Do they want to kill all small businesses? what are they actually trying to do here? can someone enlighten me.

Guest
Guest

And the fact that they distroyed national property, they sang the hungarian national anthem all the way to bucharest (you are in ROMANIA, NOT HUNGARY, this war has gone too long), got in a fight in Brasov, destroyed a bar in Bucharest because the owner requested them to behave, destroyed 3 buses in Bucharest, got into a fight with the police, assaulted old people and even HAD THE NERVE TO SPIT on romanians, call them gipsies and make RACIAL Comments? IT IS AN INSULT!!!!!!!!!!!!! I have nothing against hungarians, one of my best friends is hungarians, but when Romanians requested two years ago they be permitted to hold their National Holiday in Hungary, the hungarians booed them and it was a huge scandal. Hungarians have too many rights in OUR country and they always act like hooligans when they come to VISIT it.

Guest
Guest
And the whole Transylvannia thing is getting pretty old if you ask me, Romanians do not share the same hatred that Hungarians always show us, and we also rarely respond accordingly, only when assaulted. There have been numerous historians and specialists that have decided 100 years ago that the Dacians were the first ones on this land and for romanians everywhere this is a closed subject. I think it is very sad that even the younger generations of Hungarians are filled with such hatred, that their parents and their schools TEACH them to hate romanians, when the younger romanian generations (like myself) never talk about this. I admit, we don’t like Hungarians very much, but how can you like someone that spits on you and consideres you trash without getting to know you? We just ignore this subject and prefer not to talk about it because we know there is no way to talk with such nationalist blind people as Hungarians. It is a shame, and Hungarians are perceived exactly the same way in the other territories that were taken away from them at Trianon, not only in Transylvania. Two years ago I was in Harghita (where most of the… Read more »
Ron
Guest

enuff :
very OT :-
We woke up to this news
http://vallalkozoi.negyed.hu/vnegyed/20130910-tonkremehetnek-a-kisebb-nyelviskolak-a-megnovelt-terhek-miatt.html
Do they want to kill all small businesses? what are they actually trying to do here? can someone enlighten me.

Enuff: As you may know Fidesz decided that all kids need to stay at school from 8.00am in the morning till 16.00pm in the afternoon. Any other teachings they had such as English, German, sports (including swimming, basketball) is more or less killed.

Normally, the schools rented out some classes, gym halls etc. from 14.00pm till 19.00pm to outsiders, and since the kids are staying in school now, they can only rent it out from 16.00pm, and therefore, there is not enough space, resulting in cancellation of lessons or cancellation of clubs.

On top of this the financial burden of the parents went up. Such as obligatory accident insurance (last year paid by school, and under new law now paid by parents). Okay the amount is small, only HUF 700 per year per kid, but add this to extra schoolbooks, toilet paper and other hygienic stuff, foods, etc. It is together a substantial amount.

Ron
Guest

As to soccer and other sports. In my previous comment (awaiting moderation, a reply to enuff), I stated that a lot of language and sports lessons are cancelled, due to the restriction that kids cannot leave the school till 16.00pm. I noticed that some sport training were cancelled or reduced in number of hours, due to limitation of space, limitation of teachers/trainers time(can only be done after 16.00pm), and the extra burden or extra costs for renting additional space outside school premises.

Of course this will have later on impact on the number of medals won by Hungarians at the olympic games, soccer performances by Hungarian players, as well as water polo, swimmers, etc. Well done Orban/Hoffman.

Ladislaus
Guest

Imagine what would these so-called ‘soccer fans’ have done if the Hungarian team had won.

Soccer is a community issue for like-minded people. In this case we have a community of poor, uneducated and aggressive hooligans filled with hatred. They are constantly waiting to the elusive opportunity to finally feel pride and – vicariously – power. Terrorizing, even if psychologically, the roma kids was simply a power play for these thugs, who in the everyday life are complete nobodies. Society puts no value on these lives, they are superfluous and they feel that. So they need the opportunity to take over every once in a while. Orbán, by not prosecuting these acts, lets them participate in a cruel game: they can feel powerful every couple of months (when there is an important game), even if in reality they have no whatsoever.

Of course they are a source of power and influence for Orbán (who values them for what they are) so the police will naturally support them. Also, a huge portion of them are police informants, to be protected.

tappanch
Guest

Dear Guest from Romania,

I completely agree with you that the behavior of nationalist and even Fascist Hungarian soccer hooligans is outrageous, both inside and outside Hungary. I wish they had been arrested and kept in jail in Romania for a long time.

I disagree with one sentence, however:
“if you want to speak Hungarian, go back home”

Hungarians living in Transylvania are at home. Dacians lived in Transylvania 1800 years ago. After the Roman withdrawal, various tribes invaded the area. Hungarians arrived some 1100 years ago. The first Romanians (Vlachs) were recorded two hundred years later, in 1222. Do not forget, we humans are all immigrants – migrants from Africa!

Remark on the origin of the word Vlach:
The words Vlach (Romanian), Olasz (Northern Italian), Welsh, Walloon go back to the same root, and they first designated Latinised Celts [according to Wikipedia, Walhaz meant stranger in Germanic, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Walhaz ]

tappanch
Guest

Eva S. Balogh :
Negotiations between MSZP and DK broke down. There will be no common list.

The MSzP leadership is so short-sighted that this would be laughable, if it did not facilitate the continued rule of the tyrant Orban.

JGrant
Guest
Dear Guest from Romania, I agree, it is very sad that this artificially generated national and ethnic strife is still around. Not only amongst the uneducated and brainwashed hooligan class, but amongst educated, supposedly civilised people. The football hooligans are specimen of the former, but I personally know many well educated middle class people who hold grudges and generalise, which is always a mistake. You have done it too: in several places you referred to us ALL and Hungarians. We are not all the same. In fact, I firmly believe that there is a lot more similarity of both feeling, understanding and behaviour between ordinary Hungarians and Romanians, than between us and those that foment this discord within each of our countries. You have the extreme right in Romania too and have, even recently had governments that discriminated against ethnic Hungarians, while in Hungary we had the atrocious case of the Romanian guy beaten to death by Police and nothing has been done about it. Please, realise that the problem is never so called “hatred” of different nationalities or ethnic groups, it is always a means by which the ruling class of each country brainwashes those that let them into… Read more »
An
Guest

@ronnie: “László Kövér, the hardliner Fidesznik head of the Parliament (and a deeply paranoid man, I must say) is now recommending government by decrees.”

I think this is more than just the usual madness from Kover’s mouth… Fidesz may actually be making plans for after the elections, which they will probably win but won’t have have the 2/3 anymore. So, in that case, what’s better then than to limit the Parliament’s jurisdiction and expand the government’s?

Of course, if there is some reaction from the EU, they’ll just do the peacock dance: they come up with an outlandish plan first, then back down a little bit and give in on some minor issues and technicalities …. but by then they will still give substantially more power to the government and practically achieve what they wanted in the first place.

Paul
Guest

Eva S. Balogh :
Negotiations between MSZP and DK broke down. There will be no common list.

So even lower MSzP representation in parliament, and DK relying entirely on the party list (so lucky to get 4 or 5 MPs – or none at all if they get less than 5% of the vote).

Not that it matters. We may be shocked by Kövér’s suggestion, but Parliament has already been effectively side-lined – laws are made by executive decree, with Parliament just rubber stamping them to keep up the façade of democracy.

petofi
Guest

tappanch :

Eva S. Balogh :
Negotiations between MSZP and DK broke down. There will be no common list.

The MSzP leadership is so short-sighted that this would be laughable, if it did not facilitate the continued rule of the tyrant Orban.

I see that people are still stumped by the nefariousness of Hungarian politicians.
Let’s get this straight: Mesterhazy and MSZP are ‘in the bag’. It hardly matters who rules as long as they get their piece of the pie.

An
Guest

@Paul: Of course, if the unthinkable happens and they lose, such an arrangement (giving more power to the government) would backfire on them big time. I know, I know… but hope dies last.

Majka
Guest
Agree re Kövér. Fidesz and especially its top echelon consists almost entirely of lawyers. While top Fidesznik have no affinity to or interest in health care or industrial policy, they love and have the ability to deal with laws and amendments to the constitution and restructuring the governments. (And this is an area where both MSZP and Bajnai sorely lack tough and matching professionals, to the point that they often simply don’t get what is really going on). In fact these legal machinations are the things top Fideszniks can’t stop thinking about. They are passionate lawyers and curious if they can keep the power *legally* (right, the EU rubberstamped everything Fidesz has done so far, so they were great lawyers, everything has been indeed legal, except for minor issues). This government by decree (by a legal dictator, essentially) idea is not something Kövér came up in the interview. Szájer, Gulyás and other heroes of the current Fidesz constitution are almost certainly have various drafts prepared already. If it looks as though Fidesz/Jobbik might only have less than 2/3s, but that they will be over 50%, they will approve the constitutional amendment even two days before the 2014 elections. And then… Read more »
andy
Guest

NB: Excellent news analysis by Ujságiróklub – Video Replay of Monday Sept 9 – on atv.hu
http://tinyurl.com/pm659sp (Part 1)
http://tinyurl.com/q9xto9n (Part 2)

Takes Orbán and Fidesz to task, as ususal…

Member
We have to realize that that the whole “Roma issue” is a burden for the government. Frankly they do not care, or they simply care to win votes. Now, if the Roma would go out and start to vote, they would give more attention. According to 2001 data, there are 190,000 Hungarians who identify themselves as gipsy. In reality many Roma people do not want to be identified as Roma because of society’s attitude towards these ethnic group. Sociologist are estimating the number of Hungarians with Roma origins above 500,000. This is approximately the same number as the “new” Hungarian citizens from neighbouring countries. Unfortunately the Roma representatives who Orban takes serious are out of touch with the members of the Roma community who could actually use their help, and more interested about building their own political career. Under these circumstances most Roma will not go to vote, as they miss guidance. The last time they voted Fidesz actually drove them to the voting booths and according to reports bought their vote too. Their “leaders” interest lies with Fidesz as their bread and butter is coming from Orban. Their loyalty have been bought long time ago. If fraction of the… Read more »
tappanch
Guest

Soccer-maniac Orban would be well-advised to look at the university rankings.

No Hungarian university made it to the first 500 universities.

http://www.topuniversities.com/university-rankings/world-university-rankings/2013#sorting=rank+region=+country=169+faculty=+stars=false+search=

Mutt
Guest

tappanch :

Eva S. Balogh :
Negotiations between MSZP and DK broke down. There will be no common list.

The MSzP leadership is so short-sighted that this would be laughable, if it did not facilitate the continued rule of the tyrant Orban.

This isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

In 2014 you know what to do if you don’t want Orban: vote for the one who will win against the Fidesz.

In term of government, if there are less guys, there will be less quarrel. If YOU will be passive and don’t yell with them constantly, not much will change in the economy. You can give districts to Micky Mouse if you the voter don’t change …

enuff
Guest
Ron : enuff : very OT :- We woke up to this news http://vallalkozoi.negyed.hu/vnegyed/20130910-tonkremehetnek-a-kisebb-nyelviskolak-a-megnovelt-terhek-miatt.html Do they want to kill all small businesses? what are they actually trying to do here? can someone enlighten me. Enuff: As you may know Fidesz decided that all kids need to stay at school from 8.00am in the morning till 16.00pm in the afternoon. Any other teachings they had such as English, German, sports (including swimming, basketball) is more or less killed. Normally, the schools rented out some classes, gym halls etc. from 14.00pm till 19.00pm to outsiders, and since the kids are staying in school now, they can only rent it out from 16.00pm, and therefore, there is not enough space, resulting in cancellation of lessons or cancellation of clubs. On top of this the financial burden of the parents went up. Such as obligatory accident insurance (last year paid by school, and under new law now paid by parents). Okay the amount is small, only HUF 700 per year per kid, but add this to extra schoolbooks, toilet paper and other hygienic stuff, foods, etc. It is together a substantial amount. Thanks Ron for reply. I’m aware of the new school system as… Read more »
Guest

Tappanch, thanks for that university ranking!
A bit OT:
As a Schwab I might be proud that all our universities are amongst the top 200 – not in the first group though, probably we don’t have enough money to attract the best people …

The SPIEGEL just had a report that too many scientists are leaving Germany – mainly for the USA and our government wants to lure them back, but that’s difficult.
http://www.spiegel.de/unispiegel/jobundberuf/gain-bund-wirbt-um-deutsche-forscher-in-den-usa-a-920683.html
So if even rich Germany has this brain drain problem – what is Hungary supposed to do ?

petofi
Guest

“So if even rich Germany has this brain drain problem – what is Hungary supposed to do ?”

The problem in Hungary is that once you get a ‘brain drain’ started…you very quickly get
to gaz…

Kirsten
Guest

Majka (with regard to lawyers): “(And this is an area where both MSZP and Bajnai sorely lack tough and matching professionals, to the point that they often simply don’t get what is really going on).”

So the opposition (democracy, rule of law) is not interesting enough for ALL lawyers of some capabilities? Very interesting. What have they done before 2010? Just waited for OV to take over so that their skills in torting all laws will be properly rewarded?

As regards Köver’s proposal, I think that adopting it (instead of keeping a parliament of puppets) will make the authoritarian nature of the regime obvious to everybody. Why would it be of such advantage to a case with a parliament of puppets with which OV / Fidesz can claim to still be a “democracy”? So do they need the money from the EU or not?

Mutt
Guest

Meanwhile on Planet Hungary …

Yay! Another 40 billion HUF on stadiums!!!

This money will be spent on refurbishing of 27 Premier League stadiums and hundreds of amateur league stadiums.

This was just announced on the occasion that Hungary is bidding for the venue of the 2020 European Soccer Championship. 3 days after we said goodbye to the world cup.

petofi
Guest

UEFA RANKINGS AS OF SEPT. 9, 2013

Ukraine ranked 22

Hungary ranked 45

HUNGARY (HAJRA MAGYAROK) WINS 5:1

(Another bone from Papa Putin?)

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