Hungarian state media about life in the West: What happened in Leipzig?

I assume not too many people know that between July 19 and 26 the 2017 World Fencing Championships were held in Leipzig. The Hungarian team did reasonably well, ending up in fourth place after Italy, Russia, and South Korea. Although Hungary has some very good fencers, their accomplishments received relatively little coverage since they were competing for media attention with the World Aquatic Championships, held in Budapest. It wasn’t until the fencing competition was almost over that it became hot news. Unfortunately, the story had nothing to do with fencing.

Gábor Boczkó, a silver medalist at the 2004 Summer Olympics, is the newly appointed secretary-general of the Hungarian Fencing Association. Although I don’t know much about Boczkó’s political views, I assume that he is sympathetic to the present government because he was awarded a prestigious decoration (Magyar Érdemrend tisztikeresztje) on March 15, 2016. People who are known to have political views not in line with those of the Orbán government never receive any decoration whatsoever from the present regime.

For a number of years Boczkó worked as the marketing director of the Hungarian Fencing Association. About a month ago he was appointed secretary-general of the organization. At the same time he was named to the 13-member board of the European Fencing Association.

Boczkó accompanied the Hungarian fencing team to Leipzig. The championships were not quite over when Boczkó was interviewed by M1 of Magyar Televízió (MTV). Boczkó complained that the Hungarian team was unable to concentrate on the competition because of the dreadful situation that exists in the city of Leipzig. In fact, the situation was so bad that the members of the team didn’t dare to walk alone on the streets, especially not after dark. They always made sure that they were moving about in groups. Boczkó recalled that in front of their hotel there were constant disturbances, most likely by migrants. For example, they saw a man who was brandishing a machete, and “they witnessed a black man in the middle of trying to kidnap the two-three-month-old baby of a white woman.” In order to further emphasize the dangerous situation that exists in Germany, M1 included some videos of the Munich and Berlin terrorist attacks.

By now non-governmental media outlets are suspicious of practically everything the government propaganda machine puts out. 444.hu is usually the first independent news site to fact-check stories like the one Boczkó told about the situation in Leipzig. After looking at German papers, including ones published in and around Leipzig, and finding nothing approximating Boczkó’s stories, they approached the City of Leipzig, whose spokesman assured them that Leipzig is a safe city where people freely move around day and night. No one knew anything about a person brandishing a machete or about a stolen white baby. The spokesman for the Leipzig police also knew nothing about these alleged crimes. He added that in a local park there was an argument between a North African couple but no crime was committed.

It took only two days for the Leipziger Volkszeitung to discover Boczkó’s description of their fair city and to publish a lengthy article about the unflattering report of the Hungarian fencing team. The article said that the hotel where the Hungarian and nine other teams stayed is not in the best part of Leipzig. It was described by the paper as a crime center and an area drug users frequent. Perhaps, with his head full of Orbán propaganda about criminal migrants, Boczkó simply assumed that any unsavory characters he saw were terrorists who had descended on Germany.

The Seaside Park Hotel in Leipzig where the Hungarian fencers stayed

But Hungarian state television normally doesn’t let sleeping dogs lie. They refused to admit that the information received from Boczkó was at best inaccurate or at worst a falsification of facts. The station called on a secret service agent from the Kádár period, who has since become a useful “expert witness” for the government side of any such argument. He again performed well by announcing that in cases like the ones Boczkó described, the German police is inclined to cover up the real facts and lie when receiving media inquiries. In addition, M1 also got on the telephone with the German police whose spokesman “admitted that there was a baby affair because a North African couple got into an argument.” (Sorry if this sentence is not comprehensible. It wasn’t in the Hungarian original either.) The “expert” then went on and on about Sweden and Great Britain where the police also suppress negative news about migrants. He even talked at some length about Donald Trump’s tweet about Sadiq Khan. (“You have to be kidding me?!: Terror attacks are part of living in big city, says London Mayor Sadiq Khan.”)

Interestingly, Jenő Kamuti, a former Olympic fencer and vice president of the Hungarian Fencing Association who was also in Leipzig, didn’t notice anything unusual. The city, he said, is calm; the world championship is well run and safe. He didn’t encounter any disturbances involving migrants. But Boczkó wouldn’t let the affair die a quiet death, and the Hungarian Fencing Association produced several videos and photos that were supposed to prove that he was right about the dreadful conditions in Leipzig. On one of them “a policeman holds a long knife in his right hand.” The statement of the Hungarian Fencing Association assumes that this piece of equipment was taken from a suspect the police tried to restrain. The same expert who gave long descriptions of the reluctance of western police forces to share information about migrants was again asked to comment on these photos. He dramatically asked the audience: “Do we want to live like that?”

But that wasn’t quite enough. Yesterday another “expert,” the German-Hungarian Georg Spöttle, was questioned on the situation. He claimed that the citizens of Leipzig stood by the Hungarian fencing team’s secretary-general, as is clear from the hundreds of comments accompanying the article about city hall and the police denying that anything is amiss in the city. Leipziger Volkszeitung, which published the article, doesn’t seem to allow comments. It would be interesting to check whether such comments actually exist. Having some familiarity with Spöttle, I am inclined to doubt that they do.

According to Spöttle, the area where the Hungarians stayed is “in the hands of the Muslims.” It is a real “no-go zone.” Spöttle also claimed that, after Berlin, Leipzig is the second most crime-ridden city in Germany. Admittedly, the list I found of the safest and most dangerous cities in Germany is three years old, but it doesn’t bear out Spöttle’s figures. The “most dangerous” list is headed by Frankfurt am Main, followed by Cologne. Berlin is third, and Leipzig had to be satisfied with eighth place. Spöttle also rattled off some statistics about the crime rates in these two cities, but I suspect that they are most likely wrong as well.

The squabble between M1’s Híradó and 444.hu might seem petty. But then I read in today’s privatbankar.hu that the ministry of foreign affairs and trade just released a statement in which they urge Hungarians traveling to Western Europe to register at Hungarian embassies and consulates because of the extreme danger due to migrants and terrorists. This should be done even if Hungarian citizens visit one of the Western European countries only for a couple of days. This way the Hungarian authorities can easily reach them and offer assistance in case of need.

That reminds me of those years in the 1960s and 1970s when we Hungarian refugees were first allowed to visit our relatives. I don’t know about other western countries, but Canada and the United States definitely advised visitors to countries behind the iron curtain to go to their embassies and register. But today, advising people to register because of the presence of migrants in Western Europe is surely nothing more than yet another attempt to reinforce the Hungarian population’s fear of strangers invading the continent. Perhaps the safest course of action would be to go nowhere and to hermetically seal the borders.

July 30, 2017
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gdfxx
Guest

The STEP program of the US Department of State is alive and well. It is online now, no need to visit any embassies.

https://travel.state.gov/content/passports/en/go/step.html

Member

I was once visiting a friend who lived in an apartment building in Budapest’s District XIV. The house next door was occupied by a Vietnamese family. They worked from dawn to dusk, kept a nice garden, drove Mercedes and had a personal mini-gym on the bottom floor of their home.

One evening, the superintendent of my friend’s apartment building warned us that we were in grave danger. He had learned that the father of the Vietnamese family was actually the head of a Mafia organization. The reason he left the house before sunrise and returned after sunset was because a rival Mafia group had put a price on his head. Assassins were monitoring the Vietnamese family’s house, so the father did not dare step outside unless it was dark.

The superintendent apparently lives in a world where Mafia contract killers only work during daylight hours.

Member

Boczko’s description shows the ignorance and racism in most Hungarians, which is being more and more enforced by the state. He sees a North-African couple getting into an argument, and describes it as a black man trying to steal a white woman’s baby. Orbán talks about Western cities being very different from what we remember, and he means that there are too many Arabs and Negroes around for his taste. The foreign minister is talking about no-go zones meaning neighborhoods that are not pure white & Christian. Hungary is ethnically homogeneous, and Hungarians have enough problem with the Gypsies before letting migrants in, claims the Prime Minister. The minister in charge of education advocates segregation between roma and non-roma students. And so on. Racism is official state policy in Hungary, and people seem to like it.

Guest

Yes, it’s really sad – will people never learn?
Hungary is falling back in many aspects behind the other EU countries – will it be the EU’s poorhouse, with a large supply of cheap workers for those jobs that others don’t want?

Daniel
Guest

Very good article, good summary. This is exactly what is happening – all over, not just with this. The so-called public media only talks about things that are convenient for the rulers. We learn of other events when the Hungarian government protests, or refuses something. Exactly like in the 60’s or 70’s. We only learned, for example the Helsinki Committee’s statements from the Hungarian government issuing a statement that said it is a lie. What was a lie, we never knew, unless from Radio Free Europe or Voice of America. Same now, except now RFE and VOA are called internet. You will never hear the name Meszaros on the royal media, never hear of the scandals, corruption or stealing the whole country. You will never know of the true costs of the Fina W Championship, or why did it cost 10 times as much as the last one, from these gangsters. The list goes on. They only talk about immigrants and Soros, – until the next one comes around. Part of the Hungarian tragedy.

Ferenc
Guest

HU (bogus) public media turn things so that they are convenient for the rulers only!
They are capable of denying that a banana is curved, by showing one in such a view that it looks straight!
I don’t understand how not even one Hungarian shows some courage, steps into a live public media program and claims his speaking time, as he, like all people in Hungary, paid a part of his taxes for it.

LwiiH
Guest

NPR’s This American Life just published two audio essays on the migration/illegal immigration crisis in which they looked at crime statistics in Germany as produced by the German government. That report confirms that crime rates have gone way up in Germany since the beginning of the crisis. That said, when you break down the stats you’ll soon discover that the increase is due to illegal border crossings, something that one needs to do in order to be able to claim refugee status. All other crime rates have remained stable over the last number of years. So yes, the crime rate is higher but to use that stat without any qualification is misleading.
If you spend one ounce of brain power on the psychology of the situation, look at how other primates moving into a new group behave you can see the last thing they want to engage in is behaviour that will see them rejected by their adopting group. I don’t think humans are that much different. At least in studies of other behaviours there are striking similarities.

Zsolt
Guest

We just traveled through France, Italy and Germany. And encountered hardly any migrants. And the ones I saw and talked to where friendly people who spoke a English a lot better than the average Hungarian. Disinformation of the propaganda ministry. Hungary is starts to look more and more like Nazi Germany 1933

Member
NSU killers visit “No Go Area” in Dortmund In my former hometown Dortmund, there is an area called Nordstadt. It is placed north of the center of town and includes places like ‘Nordmarkt’ and the ‘Borsigplatz’, where the famous football team BVB was founded. The Nordstadt is populated by people of any nationalities: – a lot of Gastarbeiter and their following generations, mostly Turkish, but also Portuguese, Italian, … – Arabs – the Germans there are from all over the place (lot from polish descent (Schimanskis), refugess from East Prussia and Schlesien) – other refugeses e.g. from Kosovo – about five years ago there were about 6000 Rumanians, who came to Dortmund – a friend of ours, a Hungarian economic migrant, also lives in the Nordstadt For years my wive was running a second hand shop at the Nordmarkt. I liked this Multikulti place, because there was some kind of life in the streets and neighbourhood, the people are more open, in contrast to some stiff pure german areas, where people only go out, to enter their car (O.K., some are walking their dogs, but that was it). In the house, where my wife had the shop, I remember a… Read more »
Guest

Thanks for reminding us about this ugly chpter of our post war history – the NS-U.

I’m still angry at our political and judicial authorities (Christian conservative all of them …) for handling this so stupidly – claiming at first that these were mafia murders, not realising that it was the xenophobia of those young fascists.

Member

Here are the names and nationalities of all victims in front of the foreign institute in Dortmund:

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@exTor: To start your comments with pictures is attractive. I was copying you now.

Member

Fifteen past recipients of Soros scholarships, the top gangsters of the mafia regime now conducting the smear campaign against Soros and trying to destroy the university he founded and funded in support of democracy in Europe, They including the current prime minister, Viktor Orban, the current speaker of parliament, Laszlo Kover, the current finance minister, Mihaly Varga, the court counter-historian, Maria Schmidt and the scribbler (on his ipad) of the new “constitution” that helped dismantle democracy in Hungary.
http://zsurpubi.hu/cikk/1150-ime-a-valodi-soros-berencek-listaja/

Member

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Metzger
Guest
I would not be surprised if it turned out that Boczko was kindly asked by some people from the state security services to do this performance. Hungarian sports and its leadership especially are to this day controlled by the Ministry of Interior. One only has to make a superficial check of the people in the boards of the national associations of the various sports and lo and behold there are people who have interesting resumes. Some people openly have positions at the Ministry of Interior. This notion that there are no go areas in the EU cities is a typical Russian inspired active measure which works very well if it is repeated and told by various people. I personally heard this from urban, internet using educated friends (who of course have not been to Germany or Sweden for years). Average folks do follow sports (people in village pubs and on the Balaton beaches have been really preoccupied with the water sports world championship, Orban does understand what average folks care about) and if Boczko said this and they anyway heard this no go zone story before then these instances all add up in their minds and strengthen the message which… Read more »
wrfree
Guest

It’s tough to read pieces like this. I can certainly see how the mantra ‘it’s always somebody else’s fault’ figures much in the Magyar contemplation of life and the world. It’s a sickness now and destroys everything. The absence of responsibility is telling and life-killing.

It would appear interacting with Magyars brings on a fencing position… ‘En garde!’ It is all a matter now of attack and defend. And the epees are getting sharper and sharper.

On a personal note I have been contemplating visiting for a while now. Truly ironic though. The registering at police stations is a distant memory. It’s good enough now to just show the passport, cross the thereshold and step into the lap of an exciting, modern times illiberal state. I’d think a previous visitor will get the idea in no time that the present is the past. And time stands still. This is what it has come to. To say I’m disenchanted is an understatement.

Istvan
Guest
What M1 through Gábor Boczkó is doing is projecting the likely future of racial and ethnic minorities in Europe on the present. In this case it’s through falsification of the overall situation in Leipzig, the reality of ghettoization will indeed create the situation being projected by M1 to the Hungarian masses. This projection is based to a degree of the urban ghettoization practices of the USA for African Americans and the ghettos in the U.K. or France. Brixton a district of south London, was the scene of riots in April 1981, and again in 1985, and yet again in 1995. The U.K. solution has been massive subsidized gentrification, utilizing younger better educated largely white people in search of lower cost housing as the vanguard. Brixton is home to six large public housing estates and those will likely have to be destroyed in order to finish the gentrification process as was done in Chicago with our notorious Cabrini-Green public housing projects (see this article by Black Chicago activists http://blackyouthproject.com/the-gentrification-at-chicagos-cabrini-green-projects-could-happen-anywhere/ ). In France you have La Grande Borne in Grigny, south of Paris where rioting took place in 2005. François Hollande, who came to power promising an end to the ghettos achieved… Read more »
Member

@Istvan, that ghettoization is inevitable is just not truth, because good politicians can learn.

In Germany, after bad experiences with the Gastarbeiter, some of whom never learned the Germam language (mostly women, who didn’t work), a lot was done to integrate foreign people.
With the recent masses of refugees they already tried to distribute them, so that ghettoizatoon shouldn’t happen.
And also the Frenchman has learned from his ghettos, I guess.

Mistakes exist to learn from! Why should one do the same mistakes again. This peculiarity we can leave to the Hungarians.

Istvan
Guest

I don’t see at all that the French have learned any lessons relating to white supremacy. The very fact that the new liberal government wants to expand policing and prision capacity does not provide evidence that France has turned the corner. Just because the National Front was electorally defeated does not change the racial dynamics of France.

Here in Chicago the majority of our City council is composed of people of color, yet they have had little impact what’s so ever on containing our rampant violence in African American communities. The inner generational ghettoization of African Americans continues and improvements in educational outcomes for Black youth at the high school level have not equated to college degrees for most in good part to the high costs of student loans, and social stress factors. There are some who make it and they are held up as models, but the odds are highly stacked against most Black youth in Chicago and other large cities in the USA.

It would be nice to think the past does not dictate the future. but very often it does.

tappanch
Guest

The regional media monopoly of the Orban regime has become almost complete.

The infamous Fidesz-proxy Pecina has taken over the the newspapers of the yellow counties using money from state-owned banks. Another proxy, Andy Vajna will obtain the blue counties. County Pest and Budapest do not have regional newspapers.

To sumarize, the ruling clique will have news monopoly over the pink, yellow and blue areas.

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https://444.hu/2017/07/31/kormanykozeli-kezbe-kerult-az-utolso-nagyobb-videki-lapkiado

Ferenc
Guest

Incredible, in any other EU country “Herr Pecina” would be blacklisted after last year’s happenings with Nepszabadsag and MediaWorks. And not any media company would like to or even could do business with him and/or his helpers.
But in Orbanistan 9 months later everything goes like all was and is normal, there could very well come a (partly) repeat of last years actions in printed media.
Just some questions:
-who are behind the selling company ‘RussMedia’?
-why do they want to sell?
-could they have been put under pressure in order to sell?
-what has the media authority to say in this case?

tappanch
Guest

The Orban government will be one step closer to the total control of the the judiciary system in 2018. Their plan is to select the new judges from the hand-picked circle of government employees after January 1, 2018.

https://444.hu/2017/07/31/ragados-a-lengyel-pelda-a-sajat-embereit-ultetne-a-birosagokra-a-magyar-kormany

http://index.hu/belfold/2017/07/31/miniszteriumokbol_toltene_fel_a_birosagokat_a_kormany/

tappanch
Guest

Fashionable sports event.
Motorcyclist terror doubles to beat the opposition into submission.

2009: Iran
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2017: Venezuela
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Ferenc
Guest

above missing imagecomment image

tappanch
Guest

The effect of media hegemony.

30% of the Hungarian population supported Fidesz in July, up from 27% in June.

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http://24.hu/kozelet/2017/07/31/tovabb-erosodott-a-fidesz-bajban-az-mszp/

Member

I’m not sure you can attribute this to media hegemony alone. Certainly, we can also blame relentless party propaganda and scaremongering about Jews and Muslims under your childrens’ beds.
Not to mention a utterly incompetent opposition.

Metzger
Guest

Yes. True. But also it does not seem to me that Botka or others were campaigning hard with a great new message and vision and style. People will naturally flock back to Fidesz if they see no credible alternative and they dont see one at present.

Media, propaganda help a lot no doubt (because part of popularity is awareness and its very difficult to reach awareness these days) but the opposition must present a real alternative. A principled, credible man like Corbyn or new star like Macron or a reality show star like Trump or the like. A real contender, not just any usual politician. And this is extremely hard it seems (especially without media).

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