Aliens from Your Home Country

By Péter Harkai
April 7, 2011

Are mafia methods the motives underlying the events of recent weeks in Gyöngyöspata, or patriotism? Hard as it is to tell, the village is undoubtedly nicer without uniforms.

Changing landscape (photo: Péter Harkai)

Dangerous, cowardly and petty gnomes of the political Wild West opine that playing with fire is not only a tolerable act, but a God-given right and an obligation. Driven by their loaded and false beliefs these soldiers of everyday fascism are putting their hoods on to instill fear and trembling in the now iconic slum of Gyöngyöspata. Jubilant patriotism turned bitter: this grim ethnic fiasco is being refashioned by political bandits as an issue of national socialism, but as some claim, it may in fact be motivated by dirty and unsuppressed greed – at any cost.

Some “unconfirmed sources” say that a “group of friends” are rumored to be extorting protection money from well-off entrepreneurs, promising to safeguard their valuables by means of the uniformed “aliens.” In turn, the extorted sums keep reinforcing their positions.

But let’s not give credit to such hearsay, even though it would be a perfectly logical explanation of this national neo-nazi road show orchestrated by moneygrubbing mobsters “concerned” about the forints of the good Hungarian people.

Milk mixed with blood

Kid from the backyard (photo: Péter Harkai)

No matter how hard the extreme right press may be trying to cynically present the local events as fits their agenda, not everything has gone as planned. They have attempted to frame the dismal Sunday events as evidence of gypsy terror. Resulting from an evening provocation local gypsies threw things at the illegal patrol of the ‘Guard’ squad. The incident could be disapproved of, but not in light of the events that had led here: the dark militia insolently provoked the locals by marching through the gypsy slum while photographing and videotaping on their way, thus invading the privacy of the locals without asking for permission and likely not for sociographic purposes.

As it turned out later, tensions ran high after shots had been fired the previous night on Rókahegy, the hill above the Roma houses, causing widespread panic among the residents, which was then captured on film by the marching militia.

The events forced the local representative of CKÖ (the Roma Minority Government), the mayor and representatives of Szebb Jövőért (“For a Brighter Future”) civil guard association. Eventually, they merrily announced – possibly according to a pre-written script – that the Roma would cooperate with the patrolling militia – milk mixed with blood.

Trapped boots

Girls in a hurry (photo: Péter Harkai)

The director’s version of the script, however, had yet a bonus track to follow. Late on Monday night a number of frightened phone calls and emails have informed civil rights organizations about hundreds of militiamen flooding the slum. In the end, the police had to cordon the incoming roads to prevent the worst from happening.

Everyone “got what they wanted:” the Guard members were jeering, the police was keeping up the order and the gypsies were scared stiff.

The next morning members of the the Hungarian Civil Liberties Union (HCLU, or TASZ in Hungarian) showed up to offer solidarity with the abandoned Roma of Gyöngyöspata, but as the dirty script would make sure, there were no militiamen left in the village. The reason is simple: the extremists had been hoping that the three parties in the talks of the previous day would be willing to sign an agreement, but the vocal Civil Rights groups would stall the agreement in their revolutionary zeal. Then any future militia presence would be justified.

However, it didn’t turn out this way. After some long and heated debate the CKÖ, the mayor, delegates of the HCLU and Szebb Jövőért (“For a Brighter Future”)did not sign an agreement, but reached a compromise to suspend talks until April 7, when they would resume the discussion along with the Police chief of the village and the head of the National Civil Guard Association. The goal of CKÖ and HCLU is to coerce local leaders into publicly denouncing intimidation tactics and stand up for peace and order and a brighter future. Inspired by civil rights groups the local gypsy community would take part in a joint civil guard association, provided that it gets rid of the name and uniform of the current, extreme right-wing civil guard group, Szebb Jövőért (“For a Brighter Future”).

This week Hungary has to submit its national action plan to the European Union for the EU Roma Strategy. Good luck.

To go to the original article:
Translated by Péter László


Ghetto Logic: the Hungarian Police in Hejoszalonta

by Tünde Virág
The ghost of Jobbik is haunting the villages of Northern Hungary. Lak, Gyöngyöspata and now Hejőszalonta, all in two months. The reason for their presence and demonstration is always the same: protecting the elderly Hungarian inhabitants from the trouble-maker, useless gypsies. What is more, the latest demonstration was put on explicitly against ‘gypsy terror’. What is common in these villages, why does Jobbik choose them?

All three settlements are very poor. People who live there, both gypsy and non-gypsy hardly have jobs, if at all. Everyday life is burdened by poverty and the tensions of deprivation. There are hundreds of villages of this sort in the country, and if gypsies live there too, the public opinion is easily turned against them. Decades of living peacefully side by side, shared workplaces, childhood experiences and playing football together are all easily forgotten.

Murders were committed in Lak and Hejőszalonta,

which is unforgiveable and shock everyone. When no court decision has been reached yet and the investigations have not even been closed, Jobbik already knew who the murderers were and said the judgment out loud. Who perpetrators really were and why they did these monstrosities were not questioned – only their ethnic origin mattered. During the first few days after the murder they immediately stated, without any doubts, that the perpetrators could only be gypsies. Who else.

If murder happens in a village, everyone gets scared. Everyone double checks if the doors are closed at night and wakes up to any noise or bark for weeks to come. And of course, gossip starts, guessing who the perpetrator could be. In a village, where everybody knows each other, people see each other every day in the pub and the shop. It is hard to imagine that anyone, with whom we may have stood in the line together at the post office yesterday, killed someone the day before. Jobbik marches into this extremely sensitive and tense situation, with its Arpád’s stripes flags, Guard uniforms and torches, claiming and shouting that the murderers live in the gypsy neighborhood.

Nobody called Jobbik to either Lak, or Hejőszalonta.

They just went. To make tensions worse. And they will keep going until they find one village out of the many hundreds where they can tease the local non-gypsies to the point of attacking those in the gypsy neighborhood. Sooner or later they will find one.

Together with the officially banned, but in fact very lively Guard and other uniformed organizations, Jobbik challenge not only the state’s monopoly of violence, but – with their statements about the murders – the monopoly of justice as well. And the state, the government lets them. Why is that? What happened in Hejőszalonta on Saturday afternoon?

Jobbik is on the sports field in the village, civilians in the gypsy neighborhood at the edge of the village. Police on alert. Civilians organized themselves through Facebook – a nightmare of current dictators – to protect the local gypsies from Jobbik’s harassment with their presence and public involvement. Civilians and rights advocates did come – not too many though, so they easily fit in the gypsy area. What really shows the novelty and strength of the joint action is that the protestors were no longer the ‘Budapest intellectuals’ only. I didn’t count them and I might be wrong, but there might have been more of those young intellectuals, mostly gypsy, who live and work in villages similar to Lak, they know and and support each other. Their joint action and organization mean a lot more, because it shows that in various villages more and more communities of gypsies are formed, which are trying to protect themselves and stand up for their rights using their own voice and presence.

Saturday afternoon,

only getting access to the gypsy neighborhood was slightly difficult. The ‘gypsy neighborhood’ of Hejőszalonta is the last street of the village, like in almost any village in Hungary. In most of them, like here, gypsy families live in other parts of the town too, but there is always a need to appoint a place as the ‘gypsy quarter’, which people know about, forget in good times, and then rediscover. So that it is easy to identify that it is ‘those’ living there. Simple ghetto logic. Easy to surround and close down, which is what our police did on Saturday. The ‘gypsy neighborhood was closed and secured by the police. They stopped everyone who wanted to get in to the town and inquired which demonstration they wanted to join. So that they wouldn’t go to the wrong one. Politely and nicely.

Still, there was something creepy about the fact that the local gypsies and the sympathizers were waiting for the outcome of this evening at the edge of the village, cordoned off in a ‘cage’. Music and some chatting with friends not seen for long time or new acquaintances somewhat eased the tension, but the presence of the police and the cordons were more upsetting than reassuring. Who are they protecting from whom? They were probably protecting the civilians, activists, and press more than the local gypsies. If a gypsy in a village is slapped in the face or chased into his house by a whip, it’s no news, it’s no big deal for anyone in Hungary today. But – if it’s someone from the press, especially if they have contacts with press abroad, now that would be a bit awkward. So the torch-lit Jobbik demonstrators didn’t even need words to terrify – although there were enough of that too – but their presence and the march per se was enough.

This says a lot about us and our country,

that Jobbik is marching with torches, shouting openly racist slogans, verbally harassing and humiliating those behind the cordons and they are doing all this with police protection. Because the police’s orders were not to break up the protest and arrest the leaders of those semi-military organizations, which are openly trying to take over the tasks of the police and create order.

This Saturday afternoon was about of the weakness of the Hungarian state and government. It showed that today, Jobbik can say and do anything in Hungarian villages. While the government is messing around with the new constitution, Jobbik is questioning basic rights. The state left these places, the whole Northern part of Hungary, a long time ago, leaving behind social problems and making the locals solve all the conflicts arising from these. And although the locals are not asking for Jobbik’s help, it is loudly offering the easiest solution, always and everywhere.

For the original article go to:

Translated by L.B.

The death-march of Jobbik is waiting for an order

In torch-light, under the cloud of flags with Árpád-stripes and Jobbik symbols and between the walls of the armed riot control police unit a crowd of some hundred is marching in Hejőszalonta.

2nd of April, Saturday evening. Ten days ago, a fifty-year old, divorced woman was murdered in this village of Borsod County. The crowd, verbally abusing Gypsies, Jews and liberals was heading to the house of the victim, – called „the poor Teri” by the locals- who was allegedly murdered and robbed by an 18-year old boy. The presumed perpetrator is not from Hejőszalonta, he was just visiting his relatives who were tenants of the woman. The details of the crime are not revealed yet, the only known fact is that the later victim, her tenants and the suspected murderer had been drinking together that night. Nevertheless, everyone around me in the march is convinced that the woman is a victim of the „Gypsy terror”.

Jobbik made sure they fired up these feelings prior to the demonstration. They distributed their brochure called „Bors vezér”, the front page of which shows the alleged perpetrator among policemen. The caption: „We managed to snap a picture of the murderer from Hejőszalonta. The victim is again Hungarian…” White letters on red base proclaim: „Csanád Szegedi is on the warpath again!”; on the 8th page, the article of Gergő Balla, MP of Jobbik, refers to the victim as „Hungarian woman” and to the perpetrator as „Gypsy”. They suggest that the crime was ethnically motivated: “Gypsy killed Hungarian”. They reached their goal: The crowd marching through the settlement takes it as a proven fact, that the fifty-year old women is a victim of racist murder due to the Gypsy-Hungarian ethnic tensions.

I am walking with the crowd. The participants are shaking their fists at the houses where they think Roma live. There is no answer from the houses. The windows are dark, no one is looking around in the yards and the dogs are nowhere to seen. On the wall of a grey house, the name of the street is written incorrectly with cramped handwriting. The crowd is pointing at the words, laughing and saying: well-well, the Gypsies cannot even speak Hungarian. Next to me walks a well-dressed couple, around fifty, staring angrily at the silent houses.

– “All the Gypsies are parasites and workless nobodies! They are not only cutting out the trees, they are intentionally killing the Hungarians, they should all be damned and just get out of here – says the woman, who looks like an average shop assistant to me. Her husband with glasses, looking like an average artisan, goes further: my biggest problems are not the Gypsies but the Jews. Since the change of the political system, they are the lords here!

The politicians, giving speeches at the demonstration do not have to do much to convince the crowd. At the meeting before the torch-light march – where several people arrived in military formation, but the police was just standing by – the Jobbik politician Márton Szegedi was counting the sins of the Gypsy criminals endlessly. Then he threatened the leaders of FIDESZ and KDNP to put an end to the Gypsy criminality otherwise they will blame this government for each and every death of a Hungarian . Their punishment will be death or life-long imprisonment in “self-supporting” prisons. Zsolt Egyed made even bigger hit by “sending a message to those at the Middle-East who are planning to come here”. The message is: “we will clear away all the waste from Hungary!”

After being barded with such “theoretical armour”, the crowd approached the victim’s house. Halfway, we hear the choir of the counter-protesters from the Petőfi Sándor Street, which is closed by cordons: Nazis go home! Nazis go home!

Behind the cordons and the wall of policemen, participants of the counter-demonstration organized by Amnesty International, LMP and other civil organizations protest against the marching. There are approx. 100 persons, they arrived around 4/5pm. Orsolya Jeney, wearing the T-shirt of Amnesty is encouraging people through a loudspeaker: “We condemn the scapegoating of Gypsies. We came here to show that not only Jobbik exist in this country!”

Thanks to the cordons and the police the two crowds do not meet, but they are shouting at each other from a 50 meters distance. I am standing in the crowd of Jobbik. Next to me, a slim young man is shouting with red face: “You will all hang! Die you murderers!” A man around 40 comes closer from the other side to take pictures and the slim guy roars: “You dirty Jew!” The man answers calmly: – “Nazi prick”.

It’s over; the police is accompanying the marchers and won’t let them stop. The final destination is the house of the victim. At the scene of the murder, Gergő Balla sends a message to LMP: “it is Saturday, you should not be working”. The crowd rewards the verbal abuse of Jews with clapping. After that, the “teacher of the nation”, Árpád Miklós, Jobbik MP in Edelény says: “if the governments does not strengthen the police, then we will organize it for ourselves and take the power by force”. The crowd scans: “Arms! Arms! Arms!” and I look at the man with gimlet eyes next to me in uniform and army boots wearing unofficial insignia. I look at the members of the Guard, and the National Defence Army in the light of the torches, at these paunchy family men who stand at attention and wait resolutely for the next order.

Tension-inducing actions

Zsolt Török, spokesman of MSZP explained the absence of the socialists at Hejőszalonta by saying that maintaining law and order is the responsibility of the police, and thus the government. He added that since in situations like this political action can only induce further tension, MSZP is rather looking for solution than going to the demonstrations.

To go to the original article:
Translated by Eszter Kurtán

Hejoszalonta. 2 April 2011.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Singing the national anthem while nazis are marching, chanting words of hatred. Hejoszalonta, 2 April 2011.

“Are we coming back to WW II times?” – An Indymedia article about Hejoszalonta

On April 2, two different groups of people went to a small village Hejőszalonta (near Miskolc, ca. 160 km east from Budapest). The first one went there to make a “Demonstration against Gypsy Terror”. This group of people mostly dressed in black Hungarian Guard uniform consisted from right-wing representatives of Hungarian society including far right Jobbik party representatives. A lot of local people from Hejőszalonta joined them. The second group consisted of Roma rights activists, anti-racists and other civilians, a big part of whom were foreigners, who are willing to stand up against neo-nazi terror spreading out in the country. There were also the representatives of Amnesty International and TASZ.

Photo (c)
The right-wing group registered a commemoration walk with candles in order to commemorate the recently murdered woman who was a victim of a Gypsy crime according to Jobbik. This woman was murdered on March 6 by an external Roma visitor who did not even live in the village. He is said to be caught by the police already. So, this murder was a good opportunity for the far right to burn another village with hatred towards Roma people, so they decided to make a demonstration in Hejőszalonta. Anti-racist civilians and Roma rights activists from Budapest decided to prevent the far right from marching and harrasing the local Roma community and to protect the latter, so they also decided to make a peaceful people’s chain in Hejőszalonta. As Jobbik registered their march earlier, it was impossible to register a counter demo, a people’s chain in the same place, so at the end the situation turned out to be as follows: the anti-racist civilians together with the local Roma people had an opportunity to make a peaceful demo in a different place divided from the far right demo buy the police cordon.

Around 100 anti-racist activists went to Hejőszalonta from Budapest. We arrived there shortly after 5. At the entrance of the village the police was checking everyone’s IDs and asking to which demo people were going in order to direct cars of the far right and anti-racists to different directions in order to provide security. So, the whole village (at the entrance you can see the board telling that this is a EUROPEAN VILLAGE – how pathetic – a far-right march in an EUROPEAN village in 2011, are we coming back to WW II times?) was flooded by the police. As we arrived to the place where the anti-racist demo was registered, it was pretty overcrowded by the activists, media and some local Roma people. All together there were around 200 persons there.

It turned out that the people’s chain is impossible to form in order to prevent the far right from marching, so the people were just standing there, having some speeches and listening to the music. The activists were talking to the locals, sharing some food they brought, making transparencies and just walking around the limited space. Among the speakers there were some Romani activists who made inspiring speeches about situation with far right in Hungary, racism and Roma.

The mayor of the village Joseph Anderkó held a neutral speech that condemned the crime in general, and he also stated that Gypsies and non-Gypsy inhabitants of the village are at peace. Unfortunately, this is not true any more. Later on we talked to some local Gypsy families, and they told that before there were no major problems among Gypsy and non-Gypsy population, but the far-right demo “against Gypsy crime” put the start to the greater division, as a lot of locals joined it. A Roma woman told that her best friend (non-Roma friend) is taking part in the far-right march on the other side of the fence.

Around 8 the far-right march approached the peaceful anti-racist demo. To understand the situation better, it is important to know that the far-right people with torches and Jobbik and Arpad flags were marching in the streets of Hejőszalonta from ca. 5 until 9-30 with the culmination at the house of the murdered woman. Their route was perpendicular to the street where the anti-racist demo took place. So, we could see the far-right chain of people coming from the right. As they approached the place where the anti-racist demo was, they started shouting some anti-Roma slogans, and the demonstrators on the other side were shouting “Nazi go Home” (as it was also written on one of the banners).

Among the far-right marchers we could see a lot of representatives of the Hungarian guard, as well as local people including old ladies and small kids. As the anti-Roma chain went away, people were still staying for a while until 9-30, and then the activists went home to Budapest, and the local Roma went to their homes.

There was no violence, everything went pretty peaceful, but at the same time this evening revealed who is who in the village, as it was the first event of this kind there. Now it is up to the local community to deal with the co-existence of Roma and non-Roma people in the village.

To read the original article go to:

Civilians protesting against the racist Jobbik demonstration in Hejoszalonta

Civilians are organizing rides to form a human chain and protest in Hejoszalonta today, as a response to the far-right Jobbik Demonstration against Gypsy Terror.
Amnesty International has called on the Hungarian police to ensure the safety of the local Roma residents and fulfill its obligations under international human rights law.
The Jobbik demonstration and commemoration march will start at 6pm today.