By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent BosNewsLife reporting from Budapest
BUDAPEST, HUNGARY (BosNewsLife)– Lawyer Krisztina Morvai is a beautiful blond mother who smiles on campaign posters of the far-right party, the Movement for a Better Hungary (Jobbik). However the red, lipstick smile, of Jobbik’s primary candidate for the European Union Parliament soon disappears when asked about her views on Hungary’s estimated 800.000 gypsies, who prefer to be known as Roma, and Jewish people.
Opinion polls suggest that Jobbik will successfully march to the European Parliament, in close cooperation with its paramilitary ‘Hungarian Guard’, or Magyar Gárda, in the Hungarian language.
Jobbik is among several perceived extremist parties that are expected to gain seats during Europe’s ‘Super Sunday’, June 7, when most of the 27 member states of the European Union will vote in the world’s largest multi-national vote, with 375 million people allowed to participate.
Voters in Britain, Netherlands, Ireland and Czech Republic, which currently holds the EU’s rotating presidency, already went to the polls this week, followed by Cyprus, Latvia, Malta and Slovakia on Saturday, June 6.
The continent’s leaders are concerned that Hungary’s Jobbik will be part of far-right parties that are expected to capture at least 25 of the European Parliament’s 736 seats, allowing them to create a formal voting bloc.
Human rights groups, including the Budapest-based European Roma Rights Center (ERRC), fear especially Jobbik’s Magyar Gárda, whose members wear uniforms and carry flags that were used by Hungary’s pro-Nazi regime during World War Two. About 600.000 Hungarian Jews and thousands of Roma were killed during the war.
Magyar Gárda recruits have marched through Roma villages and settlements, helping to create an atmosphere of hatred at a time when people search for scapegoats for Hungary’s deepest recession in decades, according to ERRC investigators.
At least seven Roma have been killed in recent attacks, including a young father and his small son who were shot dead as they tried to escape the flames of their torched home, police and rights groups say.
Yet, Morvai, 45, claims Roma killed each other and strongly supports the Magyar Gárda. She says the group protects Hungarians against what her party calls “Gypsy crime”, including murder, after a Roma mob allegedly lynched a teacher.
“They were yelling: “Kill the Hungarian!” And what was the reaction from Hungarian community? Founding the Hungarian Guard who says Hungarian life is valuable,” she tells BosNewsLife.
“Even if the police do not protect people, we are going to protect our own people. We are going to carry out some kind of crime prevention. We are going into the villages to show ourselves,” warns Morvai, a former human rights lawyer in Strasbourg and United Nations expert.
Her party also wants to establish “gendarmes” and re-introduce the death penalty in Hungary, meaning the end of the country’s membership of the Council of Europe, which has made no executions a key condition for states to join the human rights organization.
In addition, Jobbik has signed an agreement with a radical group within Hungary’s police force, ‘The Trade Union of Hungarian Police Prepared for Action’ (TMRSZ), which has anti-Jewish and anti-Roma views in publications.
At least one of its affiliated writers has even asserted that “anti-Semitism is the duty of every Hungarian homeland lover” and that “Hungary must prepare for armed battle against the Jews” as well as “a Hungarian-Gypsy civil war…triggered by Jews.”
Morvai, who also accuses Israel of buying up Hungary and killing thousands of Palestinians, reacts angrily when asked by BosNewsLife about these statements.
“You are so disturbed by the fact that there are some political powers now in Europe and around the world who stand up and say “no” to those guys who you protect, the multinational companies, the multinational capital,” she says. Jobbik, she says, has “enough of the terror of multinational capital and multinational companies.” Morvai’s suggestions to close or re-nationalize companies and crackdown on imports can put Hungary on a collision course with the EU and World Trade Organization, critics warn.
It remains unclear whether another interview with Morvai and other party officials will be possible. Jobbik now demands journalists to sign extensive media enquiries that include the writer’s nationality and a demand to see texts at least 48 hours before publication.
Reporters are also required to give a “generous contribution” of a “minimum amount for freelancers of 100 Euros” and “for companies 250 Euros is requested…since by assisting your work we also provide material to be exploited commercially…” As a general policy, BosNewsLife does not pay for interviews.
Morvai has not said how much she will donate to Jobbik if elected from her expected monthly European salary of roughly 7,665 euros from EU taxpayers, much more than the wage of Hungarian Prime Minister Gordon Bajnai, an economist, who has vowed to just take “one symbolic Hungarian forint” per month as he deals with the economic crisis.
Jobbik’s Morvai and other European parliamentarians will also get a flat-rate monthly allowance to cover office expenses and travel in their home country of 4,202 euros, according to published figures. That’s on top of their daily allowance of 298 euros, from July, just for attending parliamentary sessions.
Morvai and her elected colleagues can also claim for travel related to their official duties in Brussels and Strasbourg, as well as business class on air, or first class on rail.
Despite controversies, surveys suggest Jobbik will come third and win at least one European seat in Hungary’s vote, behind the expected winner, the center-right Fidesz opposition party, and the governing Socialists, whose support has plunged to an all-time low, amid unpopular austerity measures they say are needed to avoid the country’s bankruptcy.
A road builder in his 40s, who identifies himself as Attila Buhoc, says he won’t vote for Jobbik, but supports them anyway. “Jobbik works in the interests of ordinary Hungarians. I pay taxes but get little in return from the state. Hungarians like me can barely survive.”
Yet, on the streets of Budapest not everyone backs Jobbik. “For me it’s too extreme” says Mártha, 28, who recently became a mother. “I don’t really like them, they are so aggressive,” she adds, as she puts a pacifier in the mouth of her baby. “I don’t think I will vote for them.”
Analysts say extremism in Hungary and other European nations has been fueled by Europe’s worst economic crisis in recent memory and disappointment in the political process. However opinion polls also make clear that over half of Hungarians plan to stay away from the polls, including 39-year-old translator Gábor Básti.
“I don’t really feel like voting for any party really. I am somewhat disillusioned with all political players presently,” he explains.
Hungary joined the EU in 2004 with nine other mainly former Communist nations, followed by Romania and Bulgaria in 2007.
Básti suggests that people in the region have often high expectations that EU membership will improve domestic troubles overnight.”Probably everywhere in Europe, but in Hungary in particular, the whole election campaign is now centering around domestic issues. People are somewhat misled into believing that voting for this party or that party will somehow change something…” (Parts of this BosNewsLife News story also airs via Deutsche Welle, Germany’s international broadcaster and affiliated networks).
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This is such a biased “report”, poorly presenting only one side of the issue. No wonder Voice of America Hungarian Service never used Stefan Bos – he offered his services many times – while I was the editor there (for many years).
Port Saint Lucie, Florida
Shame on Hungary to promote the Nazi ideology. The world had changed since Hitler, countries had distanced themselves from Nazis except the proud Hungarian Nazi party called Jobbik.
Dear Mr. Zoltan Racz,
I don’t know what is bias in the report. We have not been presenting one side of the issue. As a matter of fact, Morvai has been able to react and give her opinion, of which I have a recording. I believe it’s the task of any reporter to follow key developments in society. Just for the record: I don’t recall offering my services “many times” to the Hungarian service of Voice of America. As a matter of fact I am working for the English language, worldwide, service of VOA, and my sound has been used by different language services as well, including the Hungarian service. I am not sure why VOA is not using your services as (Hungarian language) editor at the moment; your surprising statement about what is clearly news, may explain it.
Stefan J. Bos on the ground in Budapest, Hungary
I am convinced that Zoltan was voicing his disapproval of your description about Morvai. You suggested she is a beautiful blond. I think she is a witch with blond hair and she is missing a broom between her legs. Primitive people who gather attention with their hatred will attract other insecure, timid crowds.
If the Jobbik chases all the foreign capital and intelligentsia away, who will be left to blame their misery on? Pityful!
Dear Laszlo Kovach,
Interesting comment, however I didn’t see her with a broom, so I couldn’t report that. Perhaps that’s what makes it dangerous, some people would argue. Critics claim that behind her smile, there’s lot’s of hatred towards people considered to be ‘non-Hungarians’, whatever that means in this era of globalization.
Stefan J. Bos
You may be a lawyer but you’re no economist. Admit it: Money doesn’t have race, color or religion. If you are chasing the multinational companies and capital out of YOUR country, how do you plan on building wealth for your fellow citizens? How do you think the country created so many millionaires in the last 10 years if it wasn’t for the foreign capital that flowed in and built hundreds of new hotels, malls and all types of infrastructure. Don’t pretend to be Hitler because your fear tactics will not survive in this century. Be courageous and go back to the bench. Give up your political career and let the people of Hungary build their future on honest, responsible and moral principals.
Right: Yet another Hungarians-hating blog peopled by Jews! By golly you people are sickening.
Who is talking about hatred? It seems that you are obsessed with hatred. I wonder if you know how to enjoy the beauty of this life. Or perhaps you are so obsessed with trivial matters that it becomes the focal point of your life. Now, that is sick!.
My dad was a blonde-haired blue eyed Hungarian Jew. All his goyim friends turned into Nazis. My mom was dark-haired dark eye with a small nose, prominent cheekbones and so pretty that a Luftwaffe officer was very nice to her and gave her a nice position in a concentration camp she was stuck in. Her aunt resembled vivian leigh and lived in Budapest as a shiksa during WWII. A picture of the stereotypical jew that came out looked exactly like the head Magyar Nazi in my mother’s region.
They moved to the US and denounced Hungary. We never learned Hungarian because they refused to teach us the awful language. I think my older sister picked it up because they spoke it to each other, but they later talked only in English.
My aunt from Israel went back to Hungary once and the people who stole it from her murdered owners wouldn’t let her in. They thought she wanted the house back. My mother also said that the Hungarian language changed after WWII and now has more harsh Slovak words which weren’t part of the language when she lived there.
None of us children looked “Jewish” and people said I was mistaken because I had a small nose and didn’t look Jewish so I wasn’t a Jew.
I met a Hungarian man at a bar. He started making fun of Jews so I told him to shut up because he was being annoying. He said he was kidding and I told him he wasn’t funny. He had dark hair and small dark eyes and a big nose. He was drunk, which according to my mother was a tradition among Goy Hungarians.
My mother isn’t surprised by any anti-semite in Hungary. Anti-semitism is embedded in their genes. Hungarians are usually dark and stocky. Also, my mother said Hungarians are the most suicide-prone people in the world because the culture and music glamorizes suicide.
NOTE FROM EDITORS: We would appreciate Jido if you would write your full name; now it seems a bit cowardly. We take antisemitism very seriously, but your comment seems however to make jokes with both antisemitism and Hungarians in general. We doubt your story is true. Stefan J. Bos in Budapest
As we also wrote immediately under your comment we would appreciate Jido if you would write your full name; now it seems a bit cowardly. We take antisemitism and racism very seriously. But your comment seems to make jokes with both antisemitism and Hungarians in general, such as your comments about the apparently certain features of Jewish people as well as that “Hungarians are usually dark and stocky” and that they have an “awful” language. We doubt your story is true. We printed it as we do not believe in censorship.
Stefan J. Bos in Budapest
Pretty good post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wanted to say that I have really enjoyed reading your posts particularly.
Thanks for this nice post you’ve made!