Attack of the Guardist ClonesPosted: April 23, 2011
A Hungarian paramilitary extreme right wing group called Véderő (“Force of Protection”) is building a training camp in Gyöngyöspata next to the Gypsy row while in Hajdúhadház surrounded by the uniforms of the “Society of Civil Guards for a Brighter Future” Gábor Vona sais that it is not Viktor Orbán, but only the Jobbik (Vona’s extreme right party) that knows the solution for “Gypsy Crime”
It is still not clear at what time Véderő has arrived to Gyöngyöspata last Saturday. According to János Farkas, representative of local minority self-government, it was in the morning when the men in military appeared marching down the Gypsy row. The Roma in the street remember that members of the society showed up around one p.m., while the “commanding officer”, Tamás Eszes sais it was already late afternoon when they went up to the cellar at Kecskekő hill.
One thing is certain: Sunday afternoon when we look out the window of János Farkas’ home members of Véderő are already on the hill side wearing boots and uniforms watching the Gypsy row through their binoculars. According to Farkas they just came to scare the Roma marching several times a day up and down the Roma streets to the village and back. The mayor “doesn’t know” about their presence, and, together with a leader of local Jobbik, denies that there would be any kind of extremists marching on the Gypsy row when we call them on the phone.
A police vehicle passes by and Farkas sais that police is present only in order to prevent that the Gypsies attack the hill and they rather escort the neonazis instead of protecting the Roma. We hear a scream from the street, Véderő has started marching from the hill. When we step out the door self-appointed roma civil guards wearing high visibility waistcoats are trying to get women and children back into the houses with little success. Fear is suppressed by curiosity and anger. Eight Véderő members march in a rudimentary “formation” down the street, some Roma scream “we are not afraid of you” while others are trying to silence the loud ones. People in the formation remain silent marching through the curses with a superior smile.
“Last night an other house was attacked at the end of the Gypsy row, they threw stones at a window” – sais Farkas, while Roma civil guards are trying to get themselves together after the shock. A police vehicle arrives and a motorbike decorated with a nazi flag slowly rolls in. Police checks the identity of the bearded biker dressed in leather while there are more and more people gathering around, some swearing at the biker some at the police. Everybody is taking pictures, Roma civil guards take photos of the police action from several angles but Véderő members are also documenting the scene.
We head off to visit the house that is said to have been attacked. There are children playing in the creek full of trash next to the Gypsy row. Someone screams angrily “Lunch!” from a hut and one of the kids answers “Just a minute”. The hut that was attacked stands in the end of the row, a little further it’s already the modern, pink and orange houses shining on us. The owners are waiting in front of the house to show the broken window and the two stones that the police took out of the house but of course didn’t send them to the lab.
“I asked when they were going to come but the police didn’t even answer” – sais the owner of the house. “Luckily my kids were sleeping elsewhere so nobody got hurt”
“I have recognized two of the aggressors but the police didn’t interrogate them” – complains the man adding that he didn’t believe the threats that there would be Gypsy blood spilling but now he knows that enraged Hungarians were not joking.
We walk back via the Gypsy row and start climbing up the hill where Véderő is cooking on open fire. When they get to know that we are journalists of index.hu one of them immediately sais “ah, zsindex” playing on the words “zsidó” (Jew) and “index”.
Nobody is allowed to talk to the press, we have to wait for the commanding officer who is currently doing an “operative job” in the village in his special vehicle. Soon Tamás Eszes, the commanding officer of Véderő, proud new owner of the cellar arrives in his jeep.
Eszes claims that they don’t mean to intimidate the Roma with placing their campsite so close to the Gypsy row, they don’t want to guard public security either: they simply haven’t found a better site for the training. The organization will also lease the land around the cellar (bought for a symbolic price) as “the owners don’t use it because of the Gypsies so they are happy that someone uses it for a good cause”, adds the leader.
According to Eszes they are not provoking the Roma they just cleaned up the raunchy cellar and its surroundings in order to train there from next week.
“We are organizing military trainings like MHSZ (Hungarian Defence Federation) used to organize, we train the youth how to protect themselves. There will be a formation training too, of course, so that they get familiar with discipline and subordination, so that they don’t only sit in front of their computers at home all the time” – sais Eszes in the uniform of Véderő with arms crossed, in the circle of members of the organization gathering around us. The “commanding officer” thinks that Véderő is not attached to any political parties, though he admits that the head of local Jobbik, Oszkár Juhász has already been to see them “up here”. He tells us that members of Véderő can not be members of other organizations either, there are no members of the Hungarian Guard nor other extremist groups among them. However, we see many people wearing T-shirts of the “Society of Civil Guards for a Brighter Future”.
Eszes Tamás sais that they were attacked by thirty drunken Gypsies last Saturday and in the end he had to call the Gyöngyös Central Police himself to ask for protection. According to his story police could only stop the Roma with a warning shot. Gyöngyös Central Police denies this version. A lot of local Roma also say that there was no shot at all, some say they heard it but they think it was members of Véderő who fired it.
Tamás Eszes sais that they haven’t attacked any Roma houses but the Gypsies are screaming at them all the time, threatening them, spitting on their cars when they cross the Gypsy row to get from the cellar to the village. After this no one should imagine that they are going to bring them cookies, sais Eszes, and will introduce themselves politely to the neighbors.
Police patrol arrives again under the hill, Roma civil guards send a woman into her house (she is screaming angrily), while Véderő is arriving back from the “corner store”. The village seems peaceful.
Units of neonazi organizations have been patroling for a week in Hajdúhadház. We arrive to the town at four p.m. Policemen in white service caps control the traffic on each intersection where normally there is just one police patrol for 3 towns and villages. In the back-streets riot control police are smoking in small groups while people rush with Jobbik flags on the tip of fishing rods.
Jobbik is holding a grand assembly in the market square, traffic is controlled not only by police, members of the ”Society of Civil Guards for a Brighter Future” are also trying to make themselves useful. The “National Garrison” (Nemzeti Őrsereg) is also present: a few dozen elderly following a silk flag slouching up and down.
The high spirits of the event couldn’t be described better than by “To arms! To arms” (Fegyverbe! Fegyverbe!) chants at regular intervals when the speeches have hardly begun winning a modest ovation and some applause.
After the national anthem it’s time to scream the regular “Lord, give us a brighter future!”. The whole field is chanting together. The last syllabe is still hanging in the air when a voice replies clearly “To you too, rats!”. After a minor confusion a local MP of Jobbik suggests to repeat the chant about the “brighter future” just to make sure, perhaps they didn’t hear well, but the reply comes again “To you too, losers!”
The “Civil Guards for a Brighter Future” are immediately ready to report to duty trying to find the saboteur but somehow there is noone to enforce the action. The crowd is taken over by confusion, people are pointing at each other and the story is soon forgotten because on the stage Tamás Schneider, vice president of Jobbik begins to speak about that Hungarians have finally awaken and they are going to protect themselves from Gypsies and “Gypsy Crime” because certainly, there are good, hard working Gypsies as well, if only we could see them at last. However, for the majority of Gypsies crime, children as means of subsistence and unemployment benefits are the meaning of life and if it goes on like this then Hajdúhadház falls (in the battle) within 20 years and will even be barbarized.
Gábor Vona, president of Jobbik, starts a similar reasoning in the protecting circle of the “Civil Guards”. He mentions the need for sending problematic children to boarding schools and the benefits of self sustaining prisons. The leader of Jobbik also urges the transformation of family aid into a tax refund after the third child, in order to encourage childbirth only into families with a decent income.
According to Vona Jobbik is not being racist as they have no problem with decent Gypsies and all their bills are presented in a way that it equally applies for all Hungarian citizens. It’s not their fault that in the end these bills affect a certain group in a bad way.
The president of Jobbik then attacks Viktor Orbán who is just sending messages from Brussels like ‘nobody can be marching around scaring the public’ instead of finally making an order in East Hungary. In Vona’s opinion if Fidesz keeps destroying democratic institutions it will be impossible to replace the party even if they lose the elections which also means that only public anger will be able to overthrow their power. At this point the rhythm of the “To arms!” chant is increasing in the crowd.
After the speech of Vona everybody is sent home quick by the organizers, the Leader gives a few autographs and shakes hands with a few sympathizers, and the “National Garrison” marches away into the bleeding sunset or at least towards their microbuses.
There is hardly anyone left in the market square when one of the participants remembers that after all they got together to commemorate the late Ms. Margit so those who have a candle might as well lit it in front of the stage. For a memory.