Inventing a scandal at the Körmend refugee camp

Just because we haven’t heard about refugees arriving in Hungary lately doesn’t mean they don’t exist. In fact, if one combs through the Hungarian media’s articles on any given Monday one can often read that “over the weekend” several hundred migrants made it again. According to the best estimates, since January 1 about 12,000 men, women, and children reached Hungary. And, it seems, at least ten thousand have miraculously disappeared since. Officials at the Hungarian Immigration Office claim they have no idea where the refugees are. The best bet is that they are already in Austria or maybe even farther west.

The Hungarian authorities are not exactly heartbroken about the disappearance of these people. In fact, they seem to be facilitating their departure by moving refugees who are in camps close to the Serb-Hungarian border or in the center of the country to a newly designated site only a few hundred meters from the Austro-Hungarian border in Körmend. The Austrians aren’t stupid. A couple of days ago the Burgenland police reinforced its supervision of the border around the city. Hungarian intentions are so obvious that even the German conservative paper Die Welt published a long article about the Körmend camp. The author of the article is Boris Kálnoky, who speaks Hungarian and was on the spot when the first group of refugees arrived. As he says, the Hungarian decision to establish a camp in Körmend “suggests that Hungary discreetly wants to get rid of these people.”

Because of the government hysteria created around the refugee issue no community wants to see a refugee camp in its vicinity. Everywhere the government announced its intention to establish such a camp there was such opposition that the idea had to be abandoned. This time the plan was kept secret. It was only a few days ago that people found out that a camp capable of housing 300 migrants will be created in Körmend. After the first 12 migrants arrived, one could hardly find any pepper spray, costing 2,000 forints, anywhere in Körmend. The management of the local Tesco “asked their employees to dress conservatively. ” Blikk reported that “the women of Körmend are afraid to go out alone because of the migrants.” What really worries them is that the refugees can freely move about in the town. A few hours later 888.hu, Gábor G. Fodor’s internet rag, ran an article with the following title: “If you dress provocatively, you may be raped.”

It was in this atmosphere that a journalist of Hetek, a magazine established by Sándor Németh, head of a Pentecostal Christian sect called Assembly of Faith, published two articles. These articles led to great embarrassment for ATV, on whose website they appeared. And the Hungarian government was far too eager to jump in and condemn the events which, as it turned out, never happened.

Hetek is described in Wikipedia as an anti-Muslim publication, which is certainly true, but I don’t agree with the author of the Wikipedia article who describes the magazine as an example of yellow journalism. In general, articles in Hetek are reliable sources of information. It’s just that any article dealing with Islam and the Middle East should be viewed cautiously or skeptically. ATV, my favorite television station, is unfortunately owned by the Assembly of Faith, and the articles that appear on ATV’s website often come from Hetek journalists.

Two articles about the situation in Körmend, written by Zoltán Szobota, who reported from the scene, appeared early this morning. The first piece was a background story about how the camp was established in Körmend behind the backs and against the wishes of the people of the city. He said that nothing was prepared for the arrival of 300 people. The hospital will not be able to handle the migrants’ needs. The association of citizens who are willing to help the police don’t have enough money for 24-hour dispatcher service, police dogs, extra VW Passat cars, etc. Moreover, what an idea to place the camp right next to a high school. It is also unacceptable that the camp is close to the stadium where they hold practices and sporting events. For good measure Szobota added that earlier, when a large number of migrants went through Körmend on their way to Austria, “they robbed a tobacco shop which thanks to the local authorities didn’t become national news,” thus accusing the local police of covering up a crime.

Szobota’s first article was bad enough, but it was the second one that really set the Hungarian media and political sphere ablaze. This story involved the sports stadium he had been worried about already in his first article. He records the “growing aggressiveness” of the migrants as their numbers have grown. Only three days have gone by, and here is the first serious incident. A group of migrants were watching girls playing handball through a window when someone from the school came and told them to leave the premises. One got so mad that he kicked the window. Szobota heard all this from András Faragó, president of the local handball association, who allegedly added that the practice had to be interrupted and the “girls had to be moved to a safe place.” Parents, he said, are outraged that the police aren’t protecting their children. About 100 teenagers visit the stadium every day, and what will happen to their championship games if these girls can’t practice? Faragó himself is worried about his two girls, aged 10 and 13.

You can imagine what happened after the appearance of this article on ATV’s website. Here are some headlines: “Scandal, migrants attack girls playing handball.” “Dread has taken hold of Körmend.” “Because of migrants practices had to be suspended.” “Scandal, migrants harassed female handball team.” Well, one could say that journalists love sensational stories and, after all, ATV’s website gave credible-sounding details of the events. But Hungary’s prime minister also jumped the gun without verifying the story. The government undoubtedly found the story useful in its anti-immigrant campaign preceding the upcoming referendum against “compulsory quotas.” On the government website the following short announcement was made at 14:26. “Because migrants harassed girls playing handball Prime Minister Viktor Orbán instructed Interior Minister Sándor Pintér to take the necessary steps.” A few minutes later one could read on Fidesz’s Facebook page that “We will not have another Cologne here!”

However, less than an hour after Viktor Orbán gave those stern instructions to Sándor Pintér, János Tiborcz, the chief-of-police of Vas County, held a press conference. From it we learned that in Szobota’s entire story there was only one fact that was true: a window in the high school was broken. Otherwise no official of the school talked to the refugees; no one saw who broke the window; the girls didn’t have to be evacuated; the window had been cracked earlier; no one could see anything through the window because, first, the view is obstructed by two large radiators and, second, the window was covered with curtains. As Tiborcz said, “the objective of the article’s author was not a search for truth.” During the press conference one of the journalists asked the police chief about the alleged robbery of a tobacco shop during the fall exodus of refugees to Austria through Körmend. Tiborcz said that he had never heard of such a robbery. And “surely, we would have noticed such an event.”

At this point an unnamed article appeared on ATV’s website in which the management of the station defended the original story of Zoltán Szobota and basically accused the chief-of-police of lying. At almost the same time nyugat.hu got hold of András Faragó, who was Szobota’s chief source of information. After a fairly lengthy telephone conversation the journalist found out that Faragó wasn’t on the scene at all. He had left earlier. When the reporter inquired about the details of the evacuation, Faragó admitted that his own daughter had told him that the team simply went home. A parent nyugat.hu interviewed said the same thing.

In the hysteria created by the Orbán government, the gullible Hungarian public is ready to accept any story that reflects badly on the refugees. This latest piece of fiction should be a major embarrassment to both ATV and the Hungarian government. But we’ve seen before how the government stands by its misinformation and goes against anyone who dares challenge it. I wonder what will happen to that very decent and honest chief-of-police of Vas County.

May 5, 2016
Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
Istvan
Guest

Related to the refugee problem in the EU. Mr. Trump was a short while ago on Fox News here in the USA where he said: “I think the migration has been a horrible thing for Europe. A lot of that was pushed by the EU. I would say that they’re ( the UK) better off without it, personally, but I’m not making that as a recommendation. Just my feeling.”

Member

All honor and respect to Vas County police-chief, Dr. János Tiborcz, who shows the kind of character and integrity that so sorely need to come to the fore in today’s Hungary.

Guest

I’ll second that. Sorry to say that the orientation to ‘truth’ on events within the country looks to be like melted Turkish taffy as it gets turned and twisted every which way while in certain hands.

And considering various social pressures currently inside the country it needs to be said that some indeed would rather have truth come out as a ‘rule’ rather than an ‘exception’. The police chief in this case appears to know how to carry out his occupation without feeding into the creation of mendacious stories to the population.

Guest

János Tiborcz for president.

Wondercat
Guest

Perhaps you’re thinking of the — so far as I know, not yet opened — camp in Szentgotthaárd? That may be “… only a few hundred meters from the Austro-Hungarian border”. Here in Körmend, where I happen to live, the border is still a few thousand meters away.

More patrol cars on the streets this last week, and Gyöngyi, who tends bar at the Andorka Tanya (my watering hole), the evening before last showed me both her pepper-spray container and a large adjustable spanner that her husband gave her to keep under the counter. Otherwise: Headscarves not yet personally sighted, except on the occasional néni.

Or perhaps lustful migráns disguised as a néni. They’re just that artful, you know.

Wondercat
Guest

Sorry about that extra vowel in “Szentgotthárd”. Slippery fingers.

Member

János Tiborcz for Prime Minister. Mr. Tiborcz could be rare specimen amongst Hungarian politicians. Just like Stevan Harnad said “shows the kind of character and integrity that so sorely need to come to the fore in today’s Hungary.”

I think at this point Hungary should be worried more about their crooked journalist and politicians than about the refugees.

Guest

And among those journalists who are cause for alarm (and I apologise for repeating myself) is Nick Thorpe from the BBC. This is due to his rigth-wing and wrong-thinking Hungarian wife.

Guest
I have just returned to Budapest after a brief trip to the UK, where I spent some time in the British Museum, where one can spend an entire day, paying no entrance fee, to see some of the world’s most precious artefacts. The most special and moving new acquisition, for me, was the Lampedusa cross – a small, simple wooden cross made and donated by a wood carver from the island of Lampedusa, where thousands of refugees and migrants are camped. The carpenter, Francesco Tuccio, made a cross for every one of the remaining 150 surviviors, from the wooden wreck of a sunken migrant boat, which had originally carried 500 refugees, many of whom were Christians fleeing persecution. The Hungarian government fails to mention the fact that the refugees are not all Muslims and that they are not all migrants, but refugee families seeking a better life. Pope Francis himself carried one of the crosses to a memorial service in honour of those who had drowned . The British Museum then asked for a cross also, to reflect contemporary culture and, in the words of the museum’s director, as ” a visible symbol of the suffering and hope of our… Read more »
Guest
London Calling! The British Musuem is a Titan among museums, time4change! My favourite exhibits are the Rosetta Stone, the Portland Vase and the Sutton Hoo exhibits – which alone would take a whole day to discover. The other museums in Exhibition Row are free too – The Science Museum, The Victoria & Albert, Natural History and the Tate Art Galleries – all free for visitors. I think Orban covets the London Museum scene which is the motive in trying to create a ‘Museum Quarter’ in Budapest. It takes hundreds of years and a ‘post empire’ country to create a museum cluster like London’s. You know you’ve been successful when countries who received fair dollar for artefacts purchased in the past try to get them back. Part of the process is that when cared for properly and effectively displayed they then assume a value which the original seller never anticipated. The story of the Portland Vase is amazing – created about 10AD and later smashed and reassembled – several attempts have been made to copy the ‘cameo glass’ process. Mostly unsuccessful these failed attempts have often taken many years to fail! I believe Orban’s ‘Museum Quarter’ will be an ersatz construction… Read more »
Guest

Re: ‘Lampedusa cross’

A fitting piece of art! In contrast it would seem one country would use the cross as something to beat the ‘other’ with. One would have to think a certain amount of empathy has been drained from the country. Ironic as Magyarorszag from all outer indications seeks to orient itself to so -called ‘unions’. That’s the usual spiel.

But from the looks of it the needed skills are not there anyway to develop headway in any type of ‘union’. The country rides on its own unicycle banging into everything and anything. Extremely unprofessional to say the least.

Guest

It’s probably no consolation but that kind of misreporting “journalism” exists everywhere and nowadays it is often fuelled by people telling crazy stories on the internet via facebook etc.

In Germany luckily the press is still a bit more honest. We had a report lately that the Aldi store near a former factory building that housed refugees would be closed because too much stuff was stolen by the “migrants” but our local paper was quick to ask the Aldi management which immediately debunked this as a hoax – they had no problems at all with the refugees!

Member

Yes wolfi7777, but the German government does not call in the army for gossips. Hungary’s Prime Minister on the other hand orders full investigation when her daughter’s cell phone disappears at her own event, and requires enforcement when a window is broken.

Mihal
Guest

Except the brave role of Mr. Tiborcz every detail in this story makes me depressed. Not only that made-up stories are spread and supported by the ruling party, but also that the atmosphere in the country around migrants has reached such a low level that it was deemed necessary to come out with a statement reassuring the population that the prime minister is taking the necessary steps against people watching girls PLAYING HANDBALL. This whole story – mostly the fact that it’s not even true- makes it so clear that the migrants have done absolutely nothing so far in Hungary that would disturb Hungarians. There is simply no bad story about them to tell, to the great frustration of Orban who is really hoping for any kind of bad news about them.

Imre
Guest

If Fidesz could manage to have as little casualties from hospital infections as there are casualties from terrorism and migrants in Hungary that would be a great achievement . Somehow I don’t think they will manage

Member

This should be on the front page of every newspaper and magazine! You are so right!

Observer
Guest

@imre

XXXXL demand is yours, bacause there are 0 terror victims in Hungary but thousands if infection deaths.

Hun mortality among patients is double the US on. In the EU Hun is 5 places from the worst.

Imre
Guest

My point exactly. There is hardly any threat of terrorism or migrants. There is however a very real chance of dying from a hospital infection. A point that is of course largely ignored by the brain dead Hungarian peasants.

lajos
Guest

This is a comment by a 444.hu journalist to this misinformation campaign that is orchestrated by Fidesz via ATV. ATV is at the level of kuruc.info and Russian disinformation sites when it comes to immigration.

Remember: right now the anti-immigration hysteria is Orban’s main and very effective political tool with which the left is being defeated (since the left is forced into the “rapist-lover”, “Arab-lover” position which is something like 80% unpopular).

Yes, ATV is a token opposition-leaning channel which is ultimately controlled by Fidesz. I agree with this comment:

“az atv meg persze főleg mögöttük a hitgyűlekezete (és amögött meg persze a fidesz) már eddig is nagyon súlyosba tolta a sima félelemkeltő félkamu hírek terjesztését menekültügyben, de ma konkrétan átpörögtek a kuruc/migránsvadász szintjér”

http://www.nyugat.hu/tartalom/cikk/kormendi_ablakotres_ott_sem_volt_az_atv.hu_forrasa

Istvan
Guest

Magyar Nemzet has a very extensive interview with György Matolcsy today it can be read at http://mno.hu/belfold/sakk-es-poker-allami-jatek-1340996

He backs down on absolutely nothing, buying art work for example, his answer is other central banks have done this so why can’t Hungary? Really he does not appear to feel threatened in the least in this interview.

gergely
Guest

Backing down is not an option. This is an unwritten rule at Fidesz and nobody may deviate from it.

Only wussy leftists admit errors and give in to criticism – and look at where they are. Nowhere near – after 6 years of losing power – having even the possibility to being in power again.

Winners never compromise. Look at Putin, Erdogan and Orban. They are stronger than ever and people are happy and adore them. Being tough works.

Member

comment image

Guest

You forgot to mention Ceaucescu, Saddam, Hitler, …

How many Hungarians adore O?

Member

An OT? Should I feel alone to be disappointed? Is this the learning curve? http://hungary.usembassy.gov/bell_05052016.html

Guest

Actually I found the Ambassador’s words re Nato quite strong (who wrote that speech – maybe Mr Goodfriend?) especially regarding Russi a and indirectly Putin – O’s new friend …

Wondercat
Guest
Just back from a beer (Kõbányai Rocker, thank you; very kind, and what are you drinking?) at the Andorka, where Gyöngyi told me about the window-peepers. “I’d have liked to see some of that myself,” I told her, and received the stare that I deserved. “They invented curtains because of people like you,” she said, and I could only agree. The TV news was full of Körmend. A bit unjust; I moved here because I was sure that nothing newsworthy, or at least nothing beyond the largest vegetable marrow grown in Vas County, would ever show up here. But instead, this afternoon on my drive north along Ráköczi út to profit by the Nescafé instant-coffee special at the Tesco just before 8 meets 86, 20% off and stock up now!, I was shocked — shocked! — to see groups, GROUPS, of dark-skinned young men, walking under the roadside trees. At home I found a flyer in my mailbox. Come to the demonstration in front of the mayor’s office at six, it exhorted me. WE DON’T WANT REFUGEE CAMPS IN KÖRMEND was the theme. I thought about and decided that I’d rather watch the news than make it. If you see… Read more »
Wondercat
Guest

By the way – crossing the border. I take the train into Grác / Graz once or twice a week to do some work. Never had my passport checked. Today I asked two different conductors. Outbound — They’re coming through, at random, we never know when. Inbound — the transport police show up now and again, but never the border patrol. Dear migránsok, if you’re reading this, buy yourselves a ticket to Szentgotthárd and then hop into the shuttle to Fehring. Once you reach Mogersdorf you’re well inside the border. Now, keep going.

Guest

And if you go by car it’s similar:

The checks (just visual normally, nowadays by cameras) are a few kilometers from the border – you’re already in Germany then.
So if you just hop off from a car during the half hour wait/slow crawl – who’s to chase you?

Guest

Just some incidents in the life of kufoldis in the old tymes of Kadarian bliss. Checking in checking out of police stations in Kormend and Szombathely visiting the sites. As a tourist I liked the sites I saw. Got alot of attention. Incredibly we ran into an actual archaeologist on a Roman period dig in Szombathely. Up my alley but apparently not his. Preferred no pix and no conversation and I would have loved to have a chat. No dice. One of these days we will go back to check the ruins out. But I’m not too confident even foreign white boys will get a chance to make ‘human’ contact with some denizens of the country. It’s evident in Kormendian country paranoia has never been extinguished

Igor
Guest

Körmend is the new Köln.

It doesn’t matter what happened or might have happened.

What matters is what people believe could very well have happened.

The Left should have thought about the media: if you own the media, you own the minds. Orban realized that in 1994, the Left hasn’t realized that in 2016. The Left is literally 20 years behind Fidesz.

Who cares about the grand larceny at the National Bank when “dark-faced Arabs rape white girls” which is the message: the Other raping innocent white girls, our daughters, the symbols of purity, there is no more threatening and outrageous image for white people.

Fidesz has a lock on the media and it will win in 2018, actually it will be smooth sailing. Just like Putin does it. What works in Russia also works in Hungary.

The Left letolt gatyával megy a csalánosba.

(going into the stinging-nettle grove with the pants down ie. being woefully unprepared). This usually doesn’t end well.

http://444.hu/2016/05/06/annyira-sok-penzt-loptak-el-a-nemzeti-bank-alapitvanyaitol-hogy-a-belugyminiszternek-egy-betort-ablakot-kell-vizsgalnia-kormenden

Guest

Hungary is at least 50 years behind – a real Balkan state, like Putin’s Russia …
We Schwabs have a Green Prime Minister and London gets a Muslim Mayor – those are examples of modern societies.

But if Hungarians want it that way …

PS:
And the Western EU states don’t really mind – as long as Hungarians work for about a quarter of what companies have to pay in DACH.

So Hungary will be the new Bangladesh?

Guest

Yesterday the Pope said something like:
I dream of a Europe where it is not a crime to be a migrant …

Words especially fo the new right wing governments in Hungary and Poland!
http://www.spiegel.de/politik/ausland/papst-zum-karlspreis-rede-an-den-krisenkontinent-europa-a-1091186.html

spectator
Guest

Being truly a HUMAN in any circumstances is really something.
Having a particularly unique status and remaining truly HUMAN is something quite remarkable. Doing it in the name of the sole God – without the usually added mumbo jumbo, – to me define a rare quality, seldom reached. Having been able to reach over religious boundaries in the name of humanity and God should provide example to all believers, regardless of religion!

Just for the record, I’m ateist. .

spectator
Guest
For one sceptical bastard – who I really am – it didn’t surprised me a wee bit. They’re still going by the book. No, not “Winnie the Pooh”, not even “The Bible” (thank you Ms. Andersson) but the “Mein Kampf” I wonder, if Viktor will bomb Kassa too, you know, just to make a point and present a reason for going into fully fledged war Against just about anyone, doesn’t really matter… Just to keep on the feeling “being attacked” and to have reason to skip all the duties what normally involve a PM. Oh well… Today he had to deal with a “kick of a horse” – after months spent by acting like a lowlife scum, surprise surprise, he managed to get some sizeable response. Blod must be spilled, the impertnent EU acting just the way he deserve it. Or the public must have some bone to gnaw on, instead of demand explanation and take him by his responsibilities. But hey, it working! Never mind that there wasn’t any priblem with the refugees, the important part that it could have been, and that’s what really matters. To the narrow minded and mislead average Joe/Jane definitely. Guess what? Just they… Read more »
Member

ATV says they’ve removed the video of Vas County police-chief, Dr. János Tiborcz. What’s going on? Was there really new evidence or is this Fidesz Fact Management yet again?

webber
Guest

Best to ignore the whole story, even (especially?) what ATV says about it.
Whether there is a Fidesz mole (tégla) at the station, or whether someone big there did and is doing what they are doing out of conviction that the story is “true” even if it didn’t happen is impossible to judge from here. It now would take a proper independent investigative journalist to get to the bottom of the story, and maybe even such a journalist couldn’t do it at this point. Perhaps a year later. During hysteria campaigns, if you suggest to people that someone in the village might have seen an alien spacecraft abduct someone, sooner rather than later eye witnesses of the event will appear.

Member

I wonder how the two factions in ATV interact.

It’s appalling that even something as black and white as this can be smeared by Orban. The EU should recruit János Tiborcz; he deserves all support and admiration, running against the Foul Fidesz (Odious Orbanian) tide and insisting on the truth despite the risk to himself. How desperately Hungary needs more people of character and principle, like János Tiborcz.

wpDiscuz