Hungarian fantasies about a radical Roma community allied to Islamic extremists

A friend sent me dictionary.com’s “Word of the Day,” which she found amusing. It is “kakistocracy,” meaning “government by the worst persons; a form of government in which the worst persons are in power.” The first two syllables don’t have anything to do with the Hungarian word with which we are familiar but with the Greek word “kakistos,” which means “worst.” This word couldn’t have arrived on a better day since I had just decided to write about the Orbán government’s illustrious minister of justice, László Trócsányi, and his faux pas at a conference on the dangers of extremism and their possible remedies.

And while I am on the subject of words, C. György Kálmán, a literary historian and lover of language, also wrote today about another “misunderstood” statement by a government official. The official happened to be the same Trócsányi, who said the wrong thing at the wrong time. Linguistic carelessness has been plaguing Hungarian political life ever since 1990, Kálmán suggested. It would be time to learn to speak more precisely.

So, what was Trócsányi’s faux pas? On October 19 Nikolaj Nielsen of euobserver.com reported on a conference in Brussels at which “Hungary’s minister of justice Laszlo Trocsanyi … said there is a risk Roma could end up in Syria as foreign fighters alongside jihadist or other radical groups.” It turned out that Trócsányi didn’t say what Nielsen attributed to him but, given the context in which his two-minute contribution was uttered, one could infer such a meaning from his words.

Let’s see what Trócsányi actually said. He emphasized that, unlike in Western European countries, in Hungary there are no would-be terrorists who are ready to go to Syria and fight on the side of ISIS. However, Hungary is a “transit country” through which radical Muslims would travel to catch a plane to Istanbul on their way to Syria. And he continued:

I would like to call attention to another aspect of the problem which we haven’t talked about up to now. Radicalism can reach other groups as well. In Europe there are 10-12 million Roma. During Hungary’s presidency we paid a lot of attention to Roma strategy. We believe that this is a very important task. [We are dealing with] a community of 12 million in Europe who lag behind [leszakadt] and whose integration is very important because they can be the victims of radicalization. I would really hope that the European Commission would pay special attention to the Roma integration program.

Trócsányi didn’t conjure up the image of Roma going to Syria to fight, but he made the mistake of indicating that they may join extremist groups. And because the whole conference was about Islamic radicalism, it was easy to draw the conclusion that Trócsányi envisages a time when European Roma might join jihadists to fight against the infidel.

László Trócsányi / Photo Zoltán Gergely Kelemen, MTI

László Trócsányi / Photo Zoltán Gergely Kelemen, MTI

Trócsányi also spoke to MTI, the Hungarian news agency, right after the meeting. What did he consider to be the most important topics of the conference? “There was a discussion about foreign nationals who fight alongside the Islamic State. We touched on online recruiting activities on behalf of the Islamic State.” It was right after these discussions that Trócsányi rose and talked about the radicalization of the Roma. It’s no wonder that Nielsen drew the conclusion that, in Trócsányi’s mind, there was a danger that European Roma would join the jihad fighters in Syria.

The reporter’s impression was further reinforced when he talked to the spokesman for the office of Hungary’s permanent representative in Brussels. The reporter was obviously so struck by what he heard that he wanted confirmation of Trócsányi’s message. When Nielsen asked the spokesman why Roman Catholic Roma would choose to fight alongside radical jihadist groups in Syria, the spokesman said “it is because they are a deprived people and they are usually more exposed to radical views.” The spokesman added that the minister’s position “was just a hypothesis” that “had not been fully explored.” So, the spokesman reinforced the reporter’s initial inkling of a connection between the two topics.

Realizing the adverse reaction abroad as well as at home to Trócsányi’s linking the Roma community to Islamic extremism, both the government and the party have been trying to minimize the effects of Trócsányi’s ad hoc, unnecessary introduction of the topic. They called Nielsen’s description of his remarks an outright lie. A reporter for the pro-government Válasz offered perhaps the most imaginative interpretation of Trócsányi’s statement. “Trócsányi might have been thinking that one day a Malcolm X type of character will be born in the Roma community who could take them along the road of radicalization. However, luckily there is no sign of such a development, and such a supposition is not at all timely. Let’s not talk of the devil, especially when government officials should know that, whatever they say, our foreign adversaries will misinterpret them.”

The explanation of the spokesman at the Hungarian permanent representative’s office in Brussels, however, indicates to me that the topic is not new in government circles. The idea didn’t just pop into Trócsányi’s head. The linkage of Hungary’s Roma population to the current refugee crisis began in May when Trócsányi in an interview with Inforádió explained that the reason for Hungary’s refusal to accept any “economic migrants” is that the country is burdened by the integration of 800,000 Gypsies. The Roma theme also emerged in early September in Viktor Orbán’s speech to the ambassadors, where out of the blue he came up with a reference to Hungary’s Roma population. Hungary’s historical lot is to live together with hundreds of thousands of Gypsies. “Someone sometime decided that it would be that way … but Hungary doesn’t ask other countries in Europe to take Hungarian Gypsies.”

As for Hungarian Gypsies sympathizing with Muslim extremists, let me tell a funny story. Somewhere near Nagymágocs, not terribly far from the Serbian border, a group of public workers, mostly Roma, noticed that a few people were hiding in a cornfield. They got scared: these people must be migrants. One of the public workers reported their presence to the police, who told them to get on their bicycles and pedal as fast as they can. Halfway home they encountered a policeman who wanted to arrest one of the Roma in the group, thinking he was a migrant. Meanwhile it turned out that the other “suspicious” group, whose members were bopping in and out of the cornfield, were not migrants either: they were surveyors. So much for the burgeoning friendship between the Roma and Muslim extremists.

Indeed, “kakistocracy” is at work. C. György Kálmán’s suggestion to government officials to improve their language skills is not enough. One needs some brainpower as well, and that seems to be lacking in most of Viktor Orbán’s underlings.

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Marcel Dé (@MarcelD10)
Guest

Great piece. Indeed, the remark is reminiscent of those made regarding immigration — something in the line of “Hungarians already have their own burden, so don’t expect us to cope with that of the West”. And of course it’s in the (alas) usual playbook picturing all Roma as a « dangerous class ».

Just when you thought Fidesz had found a way to rise above the provincial, Trócsányi pulls them back in.

spectator
Guest

“Just when you thought Fidesz had found a way to rise above the provincial…

I suppose, you were only joking, weren’t you?

Marcel Dé (@MarcelD10)
Guest

I’m afraid — and sorry — I wasn’t.

Most of Fidesz’ associate parties in the EPP are currently split over the policies to adopt towards the “refugee crisis”, and it became obvious in Madrid that OV has strengthened old ties and found new allies both in the West and in the East. Moreover, several parties rivaling EPP on their right are now clearly making eyes to Orbán, FPÖ, FN and PiS among others.

As much as I would like to think that Fidesz has demonstrated a rare ability to shoot themselves in the foot, there is a distinct possibility their current popularity at the EU level may last longer than it did in 2010.

Guest

A bit OT (posted this already on pol.hu):

My wife today had a special experience with her hairdresser who almost went crazy about those darned economic migrants …

Then she did remind the girl that she also used to work in Germany with her Hungarian boyfriend – they both made good money and the girl would have stayed in Germany as a migrant if her boyfriend hadn’t thrown her out because he found another love.

At first the girl didn’t answer – then she said:
But I’m Hungarian and these are …

It’s really crazy that Hungarian migrants are so vehement against others – or not?
Maybe we Germans should really start sending all those Hungarian migrants back to Orbanistan?

Tyrker
Guest

Those are not migrants wolfi. (Not anymore than a Texan in Washington anyway.) They are EU citizens with a right to move freely within the EU.

Marcel Dé (@MarcelD10)
Guest

I’m so glad you are endorsing the project of a federal Europe. However, since we’re not there yet, you are wrong. They are migrants — with more rights than those from outside the EU indeed, but that’s a consequence of the treaties, not a birthright.

For instance, until 2014 it could easily be argued that Swiss or Norwegian citizens had more rights in the UK than Romanians or Bulgarians. And the same goes for Hungarians until 2011 of course.

Member

Back to this argument I see. I think you already brought up this Texan argument in the past. Well..
Do Hungarians have the same passport as the English and Germans? (Texas and Washington uses the same passport.)
Do Hungarians compete in the Olympics under the German, the English or the EU flag? (Texas and Washington citizens are in fact USA citizens and stand under the flag of the USA.)
Does Hungary uses the same currency as England and Germany? (How about Texas and Washington?)
Does Hungary have the same official languages as England and Germany? (Texas and Washington do.)
Does Hungary have the same Constitution as England and Germany? (Texas and Washington do
Does Hungary has the same head of the country as England and Germany?
Is Hungary a province or a state after all?
Does Hungary has a fence between an other EU country and herself? (going from Texas to Washington you cross 6 State borders with no fence.)
Let me not start on the tax implications…..

exTor
Guest

I dont know if English is your first language, Tyrker. It is mine, having been born in Manchester and having grown up in Toronto. I speak it as well as anyone in this group.

The term ‘migrant’ is a cognate of ‘migrate’, meaning ‘to move to another region’. A Hungarian who relocates to Germany (for whatever reason) is a migrant. A Nova Scotian moving to Alberta (before the oil bust) to work there is a migrant. In the 1930s, there was a great migration of Okies to California because of the ongoing drought in Oklahoma.

EU migration, Canadian migration, US migration occur within a political entity that allows that kind of economic movement.

You need to cop a ‘meaculpa’ on this one, Tyrker. Migration is migration, regardless of where it occurs and for whatever reason it occurs. Migration is a bit easier within the EU.

MAGYARKOZÓ

Member

With all due respect, I not believe that Tyrker’s problem is with the semantics of migration, immigration. He simply saying (just like in the past): since Hungary is member of the EU, one person moving to one part to the other is not the same as one person moving from one continent to an other. I would even risk to say that his problem is the movement of racial and ethnical groups who are seeking a better life and in the process find their way into “white” society.

exTor
Guest

Hello to a current Torontonian (I believe)
from an exTorontonian (I’m certain).

First of all, we dont know for sure that Tyrker is male, so your use of the ‘he’ pronoun may not be correct. You may know something, however.

You are correct, Some1, about Tyrker, who posits the false distinction that characterizes Hungarians in Germany as nonmigrants and Syrians, etcetera in Europe as migrants.

I undercut Tyrker’s view by pointing to examples (in Canada, the US) of internal movements for economic reasons. I also provided a language lesson to broaden Tyrker’s knowledge. Further along (per my 10:33 AM post) I elaborated on Orbán’s reasoning for using the ‘migráns’ word.

If after all this Tyrker still does not get it, then Tyrker is either willfully obtuse or congenitally intellectually challenged. Identical result either way.

MAGYARKOZÓ

Member

You are right, I am a current Torontonian.
You are right, he could be a she, they or ze.
The subject of Texas/ Washington already was brought up the Tryker on September 16, and it came up an other time. Others too tried to explain to him/her/them that Hungarians who are move around, not so much different from those who move around. Maybe you are right and only your explanation will get through to him.

Guest

Tyrker, you are totally wrong again …
Many Hungarians emigrated twelve or 20 years ago (or even after 1956 and 1989 …) when Hungary was surely not part of the EU …
So if you use that argument again like you did before – I’ll call you an idiot!

PS:
From some of your comments here one has to believe anyway that you think Hungarians are something special with special privileges – “Greater Hungary” like there was talk about Großdeutschland aka “Great Germany” in Hitler times …
And on pol.hu you read it all the time:
It’s our right to get that money from Brussels – but we won’t do what that Eurokrats ask from us!
So this seems the typical Hungarian way – we want the rights, but we don’t want the rules of the club …

exTor
Guest

Wolfi, you are out of line. There’s no call for that [‘idiot’] kind of language. Earlier, Éva inveighed against its use in this forum, and rightly so.

I’m not an absolutist. I might use ‘idiot’ in certain circumstances, however not here, not with Tyrker, who may be proOrbán. Tyrker is, at minimum, soft on Orbán. Tyrker’s tone is civil. Let’s keep it that way.

MAGYARKOZÓ

exTor
Guest

migrants = migránsok = bevándorlók = menekültek

Further to my earlier post, Tyrker, refugees are also migrants, the difference being their migration has a higher level of urgency.

The word ‘migráns’ has become codified by Orbán to refer to ‘nongrata’ individuals, people who are not welcome in Hungary. Migrants have been demonized by Orbán. Migrants are those who will steal jobs from Hungarians and will probably do much worse.

For Orbán, ‘migráns’ is a fighting word. It designates who is the enemy of Hungary. It is a target word and it is his way of driving a wedge into the flow of people across Europe. The use of ‘migráns’ promotes the Orbán lie.

I am the product of migrants, Tyrker. My parents, who knew each other in Hungary, met again [1948] in a camp in Austria, traveled separately to England, where they again met, married and created me.

MAGYARKOZÓ

Member

I disagree Tryker, they migrated for economic reasons and they are not citizens of Germany, UK, etc., they just happen to have the priviledge of living in the Schengen zone so they may not be “illegal” economic migrants, but they are economic migrants nonetheless. In 1956, there were some who had nothing to do with Budapest uprising, the revolution and had not participated in any sort of fighting but did take to trek to Austria and did claim asylum once there. None were rejected for not being able to prove they were a part of the fighting.

csaba
Guest

Thanks, that was nice of your wife. I would’ve loved to see the face of that hairdresser.

It’s very simple racism, this is what Orban and Finkelstein are mongering.

People like George Konrad, Imre Kertesz or some anti-Muslim commenters at this blog just don’t get that these people all around Hungary now similarly hate “Jews” arguing exactly like that “but I’m Hungarian and they are….J e w s”, how could you even imply that we’re the same?

It’s the same thing.

petofi
Guest

@csaba

“…Orban and Finkelstein…”–already you, as surely some others, have bitten on the bait–as if those two are equal; and thus, equally responsible.
Forget it.
Finkelstein is a ‘lighting-rod’ to be used to place blame on the US and the jews…when the time comes for it.

Orban is responsible, solely responsible, for everything.
Finis. End. Period.

Soledad
Guest

Sure, but Fikelstein lets Orban use his name as a lighting rod in exchange for a lot of money.

So in a sense Finkelstien is responsible too (ie. Orban would be in a more difficult political situation if he couldn’t blame his racism on a gay Jew), but Finkelstein takes on the blame for money, which is repulsive. “But as we know a Jew would do anything for money” this is what you can also thank Finklestein for.

german1971
Guest

Sorry….

Finkelstein is just a detour, a cover up, a conduit of Russian plots in disguise.

Member

I hear you Csaba. Many people use the exact same argument against the muslims as the Jobbik and Fidesz uses against the Roma (but again those people are not liking the Roma either), and the Jews.
There was an article on October 17th in the Economist, and let me quote here:
” Of the 745,000 refugees resettled since September 11th [2001], only two Iraqis in Kentucky have been arrested on terrorist charges, for aiding al-Qaeda in Iraq.”
http://www.economist.com/news/united-states/21674694-america-should-reclaim-its-role-beacon-those-fleeing-persecution-and-war-yearning?fsrc=scn/tw/te/pe/ed/yearningtobreathefree

Now take a look how many people committed awful crimes in the USA since the same time, and the extent of the harm….. That is certainly not what an Islamophobe ever consider of course.

Guest

Re: ‘Kakistocracy’

Have to add that one to the vocab bag!

And as far as the ‘minister of justice’. Here is something from the ‘Corpus Iuris civilis’ which was Justinian’s compilation of the whole of Roman law by eminent jurists to be used by students. It is one ancient jurist’s insightful observation of their own centuries hence in a modern Pannonia:

‘Multae hominibus at malitiam viae sunt’

Many are the ways of malice in men.

Guest

Thank you, csaba – but my wife decided not to follow up that discussion because it would have been useless – we have several friends/acquaintances who are “thinking” the same way, actually they’re just regurgitating what they see/hear on North Korean State TV (aka M1).
And it’s interesting for me that they also don’t follow the law where they think they know better – because they also know that the police in Hungary are weak/powerless/just not there …
Only when they travel to Austria or Germany do they get those nasty surprises …

exTor
Guest

While it is true that Finkelstein is paid to shill for Orbán and to advise Orbán, while it is true that Finkelstein played a not-insignificant role in what we are now seeing in Hungary, it is inappropriate to say that “[racism] is what Orbán and Finkelstein are mongering”.

Orbán is the one doing the fearmongering. Finkelstein played an earlier role in helping Orbán step up onto the top podium. We can not say with certainty that Finkelstein actively supports Orbán’s antiimmigrant stance, which he may, however I haven’t heard/read anything to that effect.

Word usage needs to be carefully scrutinized, csaba [9:04 AM]. Links that may seem causal are not necessarily correct. Accordingly, it may not be true that Finkelstein (a Jew) is antiimmigrant and/or antiIslam.

The fact that a homosexual Jew provided a major helping hand to Orbán may be enough for bigots to dislike Orbán, however the existence of Finkelstein behind Orbán is not (yet) common knowledge in Hungary.

That may well change for the 2018 election.

MAGYARKOZÓ

Guest

Whatever Finkelstein’s beliefs may be – just look at the list of people thas he has done propaganda for:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arthur_J._Finkelstein
The list starts with Nixon …
My favourite in his resumee:
he lost a fight against Hillary Clinton …
Totally OT (or not?):
Seems had Hillary had no problems being questioned by the repugs – eleven hours long!

exTor
Guest

That’s quite the shitlist, wolfi. I’d be curious to see how many of those for whom Finkelstein has shilled have actually won.

“Stupid people say stupid things.”

Below the shitlist is a grouping of Finkelstein quotes, the first of which is the above. How’s that go in Hungarian? “Buta mond butát.” Orbán should buy a get-well card, inscribe the Magyar in it and send it to Trócsányi.

“When you allow people to choose between the corrupt and the stupid, they will go for the corrupt.”

Finkelstein obviously does not have a high (enough) opinion of the general intelligence of the electorate. That bodes ill for Hungary come 2018.

MAGYARKOZÓ

bimbi
Guest

So we should be worried about the Roma producing a Romany Malcom X? Well, just look around. We already have another Hungarian doing a good imitation of Benito Mussolini, complete with bombast…

And now we have Mr. Trócsányi, the successor to the chair of the Minister of Justice, not so long since vacated by none other than Mr. Navracsics – he is the chap in Brussels who is responsible for the just-completed “Roma: Decade of Inclusion” and now we have his successor fearing Roma Islamic extremists! These members of the Hungarian government are nuts. Maybe they should get out a bit more and meet and talk with their fellow Hungarians. I suspect that Mr. N. is too busy living high on the hog in Brussels to give a toss for his fellow Hungarian Roma and I suppose that leaves the pair of them as “kakistocrats” Oh! What a shame (again).

Guest

Not too much OT (I hope):
Here’s an article by Frank Furedi (born 1947 Ferenc … in Budapest) who “migrated” with his parents to Canada in ’56:
http://www.spiked-online.com/newsite/article/refugee-crisis-treating-hungary-as-a-heart-of-darkness/17422#.VikxcW4UMdU

He also wrote a moving piece on the things that happened on the 23rd – 9 years ago:
http://www.spiked-online.com/newsite/article/1898#.Vikt6m4UMdU
He seems to be a controversial character – hadn’t read about him before – sorry if I missed it:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frank_Furedi

PS:
“Maybe” our gracious hostess will write on the 23rd of 1956 tomorrow – my comment might be moved there in that case.

Member

Very interesting that he is considered by some to be right wing and others as a communist. When reading his article about his experience in 1956, I would never guess what was written about him in the Wiki article. I would have expected that he would have been strongly against any practices of that of communists but in the same breath I would also have an expectation of him to be knowledgeable enough to see the similarities between both right and left extremes and participate in neither. I will try to look into this Furedi more, just to try and understand him. Interesting charachter indeed. Thanks for sharing Wolfi!

spectator
Guest

The first two syllables don’t have anything to do with the Hungarian word with which we are familiar but with the Greek word “kakistos,” which means “worst.”

However, when the Hungarian kakistocracy will finally hit that proverbial fan, the result would well worth to adopt this word for good!

Finally a word which can rightfully represent the whole Orbán era, not only the government – more than one way!
Just think about the possibilities, like: “This government is full of kakistocracy..!”

exTor
Guest

How about this? Az Orbán kormány kakistokrácia.

MAGYARKOZÓ

Member

Even though there is no relation to what the word “kakis” and its meaning in Hungarian, I still think the Hungarian meaning of “kakis” is very appropriate for this regime anyway.

Istvan
Guest

Since the discussion has drifted to the topic or refugees I guess this comment will not be off point. An interesting article that appeared today in the Hungarian press see http://nol.hu/kulfold/megalazzak-a-menekult-gyerekeket-is-1570813

For those that don’t read Hungarian it is about a formal statement UN High Commissioner for Refugees, on systematic violations of basic human rights of refugees by the Czech Republic. It also expressed concern about Czech President Milos Zeman’s xenophobic manifestations. Zeman apparently has done one better than Orban by stating publicly last week during a presidential rural tour: “If we are not vigilant, and if immediate action is not taken, then it will happen that the Sharia law will come into effect in the Czech Republic, under which the unfaithful women are stoned, thieves have their hands cut off, and we are no longer allowed to delight in the beauty of ladies because they will be forced to obscure their faces.”
A description of the alleged violations against the refugees appears in this article in English http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=52337#.VilQhH6rTcs on the UN website.

Member

Yes, central European leaders are taking us toward a genocide. Strongly believe it could happen with all of the rhetoric and incitement to hatred. For all we know, it wouldn’t have to even start with authorities, it could start amongst the general public and grow from there.

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