Montag, 23. Januar 2012

2012-03: Quo vadis? (english version)

Good evening. This is Radio Free Europe, you're listening to our weekly show "Yesterday". We look back onto political events in Hungary during the near and far past and analyze their effects on today. Thank you very much for tuning in again, my name is Bolgár György.

Our topic today will be the eventful year 2012. Everybody knows that this was a year of drastic changes during the near past, but not everybody knows what really happened during that time. Before we'll go into details, I therefore would like to present to you a short summary of those events. A summary as objective and correct as possible and not such texts as you would find in Hungarian history or school books, edited by Mrs. Hoffmann and her successors.

The year began with an act of state in the Budapest opera house, Orbán Viktor celebrated the new constitution that he had forced onto Hungary. At that time, the system was still mainly democratic to the outside, and it still allowed freedom of speech on the inside. The freedom of assembly had not been restricted yet, and approximately 100,000 people used these possibilities to loudly demonstrate in front of the opera against the new constitution. The state media had already been brought into line and tried to marginalize the events as much as possible.

At that point in time, the Hungarian government seemed to stand with the back to the wall: The domestic economy was down, the state was unable to pay its bills withouth further help by EU and IMF, and the people groaned because of high prices, foreign currency credits, unemployment and lack of perspectives. During an EP session Orbán held a speech and seemed to be tame and cooperative, and all of Europe expected that this problem would go away somehow.

Unfortunately, events went into a completely different direction than anybody in western Europe would have deemed possible. Only one day after his appearance in the EP, Orbán had his henchmen announce an assembly ban in Budapest. One of the last legal demonstrations demanded the continuation of my employer at that time, Klubrádió. A few weeks later, the 95.3 was turned off, and we never were allowed to use the 92.9. And that turned out to be only the beginning. When it became obvious that all of Orbán's concessions were only lip services, IMF and ECB stopped negotiations before they had really begun, and Hungary went into chaotic bankruptcy. The public transport of Budapest (BKV) went out of service, for a while the public health care broke down, pension payments were stopped. Later, it became obvious that many of these events would not have happened in such a way, had the government intervened in a useful way. But that was not Orbán's goal. His goal was the state of emergency, which he announced on February 20th during a state of the nation speech.

In a blink, all companies were nationalized that were needed for the basic services of the population and that were owned by foreigners or were on the stock market. The payment of interests on credit and bonds was stopped immediately, and all Hungarians with Forex-credits were by law released from their burden. The EU commission ran amok, and the president of the commission, Barrosso summoned Orbán to Brussels. But Orbán didn't go. Instead, he was sending Martonyi, and with him the message that Hungary would with immediate effect cancel all European contracts and leave the Union. During the night, the border controls in Hegyeshalom and other important check points were reinstalled, and overeager iconoclasts did all over the country the same thing that had earned Jobbik-Novák a lot of critics just a few weeks earlier: They burned EU flags, which were teared down from the poles in front of all government buildings.

Internet platforms like Facebook or iwiw as well as blog providers were blocked or taken down completely. The domain registry of the last few years was "scrutinized", and because of formal and of course not at all political reasons, addresses like, oder were taken away from the owners and put onto the market again. Of course, none of these domains was won again by the previous owner, but until then unknown letterbox companies gained the addresses. At, you finally could only find the collected comments and essays of Bayer Zsolt.

Even though the internet was blocked, there occured several spontaneous demonstrations in Budapest, Miskolc or Esztergom, but they were always ended very fast by police forces. On March 15th, more than 100,000 demonstrators met at Elisabeht bridge in Budapest and demanded a change of regime. The police remained in the background. And when finally black clothed Garda members appeared, armed with clubs and guns out of army inventory, not a single policeman was to be seen anymore. How many people were injured during that day and how many died, it is impossible to say, still today, since the goverment hasn't any interest in shedding light on those events.

After the bloody downturn of the opposition movement by the government's black henchmen, Orbán dropped his masks. Népszabadság, Népszava, HVG and many other publications were now entirely banned, with Chinese help internet filters were installed, the state media was once again thoroughly "cleaned", and ATV was turned off. Oppositional politician were arrested for strangest reasons: Gyurcsány and Bajnai were no surprise, but also the leaders of 4K! or milla. After the parliamental 2/3-majority had banned all successor parties of the MSZMP, even Mesterházy Attila and many other members of MSZP were arrested. Even LMP politicians were not safe anymore, regardless their immunity.

The parliament dissoluted itself, elections were appointed for October 21st, 2012. On October 23rd, Orbán announced to the world's public that the Hungarian people were still trusting him and had voted for him by 80%. 20% of the votes were on Jobbik. Other parties had not been accredited. The participation was high above 90%, because repressions had been announced against those who would refuse to vote.

Until the elections, the rebuilding of the country had continued speedily. The Ignác Darányi plan asked the agricultural sector to secure the Hungarian self-supply. A famine in the North-East of the country was the result, which mainly hit the Roma. The "Gipsy question" answered itself. Ten thousands of Roma fled across the borders into Slovakia, Ukraine or Romania. There were not friendly welcomed, but Hungary refused to transport them back. Orbán had Szíjártó announce: "We cannot transport these non-Hungarian people back to Hungary, because they are still standing on Hungarian soil!"

That made clear into what direction the Hungarian foreign policy would move in the future. Since the invasion into Transylvania took not place until 2013, we will not address this event during today's show. We will concentrate on the bloody March. Would there have been the possibility to change the events and give history another direction during this and especially the previous months? This I will discuss with my first guest, who was allowed to emigrate to Austria two years ago, after several years in prison. I welcome Juhász Péter...

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