One of my long-time commenters here at Blue Crab Boulevard, Roland Hesz, happens to live in Budapest, Hungary. With the reports of demonstrations and whatnot, I offered to post something for him if he wanted to say anything about the situation over there. He just sent me the following in an email. In many ways a report like Roland's gives perspective that you will never get from a wire service story. So please take the time to read what Roland has written. I did not correct spelling or grammar as his errors are really quite few and it is more his true voice if I keep my hands off it. The formatting is a bit odd since it came out of email.
If you can, leave a comment for Roland, too. Just so he knows people have read what he wrote.
Budapest, 2006, Wednesday morning.
I just woke up, still rubbing my eyes when I hear my brother – "Hey, some
people taken over the TV".
Well, that's quite a start for a day, isn't it.
Of course, I went straight for the net – okay, straight for coffee, then for
the net – just see what happened.
Glancing at the headlines it was like some movie, but then, reading forward
it turned out that some 100-200 hard-core nationalists stormed the
headquarter of the public television, burning cars, clashing with the
police, a real riot, but, to be honest nothing on the level the headlines
Of course it was a disturbing.
So tuesday went by furious reading of blogs, blogging and generally trying
to work while spending every minute reading news, and then, tuesday night
following the next day of this "event".
(Read more in the extended entry)
Now, it's wednesday, a day later, and I am trying to make some sense of it.
What was this?
Let's look at what happened, as far as we know for sure.
– There was the leaking of a record, of our prime minister admitting that
they have lied.
– People in Budapest went to the Parliament protesting, calling for him to
resign, new electorials, practicing their right to demonstrate as in a
– In the evening some vandals stormed the HQ of the Government Television,
looting and pillaging.
– In the morning people went to work, carried on with the peaceful protests
– In the afternoon the leader of the opposition arrives to Budapest from
Brusseles where he was attending some political conference, and tells in the
TV that "the people should not stay at home".
– Next evening the vandals gone to the streets, going along Rákóczi road,
breaking cars, clashing with the police, which this time scattered them, and
used proper force – ok, sometimes they cheated, the policeman is not
supposed to throw back the bricks, but I can't blame them.
– Comes morning, there is not much sign of the events, people go to work,
carrying on with the peaceful protests and demonstrations.
Of course, politicians are talking left and right, blaming each other, which
has no real impact on anything, the protesters go on protesting, calling for
the PM to resign, and so on.
Now, do you see a pattern here? During the day – peace. In the night -
violence. Does it look like a revolution or something with a political aim?
The only thing they accomplish is that they are taking apart my city which
makes me quite angry, plus everyone abroad is cancelling their travel here,
their hotel reservations, conference attendance, etc.
Does it help our country? I doubt it. All the world can see, is that a
couple hundred "revolutionists" are out of control.
But I hope that it will fade. Yesterday it was all the rage over the blogs
and at my workplace. Today, it was hardly a topic.
Did we get bored with it? Maybe. It just does not effect everyday life.
I watched people, and they were just going on with their work, shopping,
eating at the local restaurant, cycling on Margit Island, sitting by the
river. Hardly a city in turmoil.
As for the cause of these events.
The opposition says it was because of the leaked record, that showed that
"this government is illegitimate, won the elections by deceit and lies", the
government says it was because the opposition was calling the people to the
What is the truth? I, for one don't know.
In my opinion it was all of this. When the current opposition lost the
elections in 2002 to the socialists for half a year they cried foul game,
cheating, fraud etc. They simply could not digest that they lost the
Actually they lost it because they were arrogant, loud, called everyone not
agreeing with them a traitor to the nation, and breaking their promise of
not including certain politicians in their cabinet.
Since then, they called the government illegitimate, traitor, and worse, did
not show up in the Parliament, boycotted anything they could.
(Not that the other side is better, they are just not that loud).
And then, they lost this election too. And it was a really great blow, it
was the first time we did not change the governing parties.
Why did they loose the elections? Not because the socialists did such a
Not because the promises of the socialist were believable.
They lost because the socialists learned to play the right-wings game, they
were beaten at home.
Plus, the promises of the opposition were even more unbelievable.
At least the socialists were consistent – they said the economy is alright,
no problem there, so we can give you all this.
The opposition said the economy is in the gutter, we are in deep trouble,
and we will give you three times as much as the socialists.
The socialists messed up the economy like every other party who had the
chance to do it, while painting a rosy tomorrow.
We all knew the politicians were lying for 16 years. Day and night, every
Only we denied it.
And now, we were told we are right.
Like the family where the father is seeing his secretary, and everyone in
the family knows it, but "we don't talk, we pretend everything is alright",
keeping the peace. And then, one day an envelope is put on the table with
pictures showing dad with her secratary practicing the Kama-Sutra.
Are we angry with the father? Of course. But mostly we are angry with
ourselves – we can not deny the truth anymore.
Does it help that the opposition's leader is playing the Young Father of the
Nation, seeing himself as the saviour of all of us, always whispering that
he could call the people to the streets, saying in Brusseles that it "I
don't condone mutiny and riot, but I would understand it", then stating with
a straigth face that "show me the sentence where I said 'lets go burn down
Does it help that all our PM is doing is defending himself?
Does it help that every politician is pointing at the next one, naming him
the sole responsible for the last two days?
Does it help that for the last 12+ years the main activity of our
politicians were calling each other liers, traitors, jews, homosexuals,
barbarians, communists, nazis, fascists, not agreeing on anything – except
for the saner ones, who were chased off, ridiculled, disciplined, broken?
Now we had one last drop, but it was not the real reason I think.
It was just an excuse.
We went protesting and demonstrating.
And some … civilians start to play revolution, looting and pillaging.
Some people drag forward the Aranybulla, the Hungarian Magna Charta, stating
that we have the right to protest in whatever way we wish, cause in 1222 it
was written down. I wonder when will they realize, that in 1222 the ruling
class had the right to chop off the head of the protesters.
We have the nuts coming forward, putting the country in a quite
uncomfortable situation, and as now we live in a democracy they can say
whatever they want.
But, while I do worry, I am not panicked.
At the moment, the demonstrators are censoring the speakers, filtering out
racists and extremists, banishing alcohol from the area of the
Noone wants ot burn the country. We are, as a nation, quite lazy and
comfortable, not big on riots and strikes.
What is sad, that a lot of other protesting marches has been called off, and
even Critical Mass has been canceled, because noone wants to give a chance
to these vandals to turn those events into something like last night or the
I have to state, that this is my and only my view of the events, quite
subjective as it is, and I am clearly not the journalist type, so forgive me
if it was boring and useless, and not heavy on links, numbers and all.
This was just a citizen's opinion and feelings.
And, I still stay with my moto: The situation is hopeless, but not serious.
We survived far worse, with our humor intact. This won't break us either, no
And, though I rarely state it loud, I love my country, and I am proud of
being a hungarian.
It just makes me sad that some of us are such….
Thank you for reading.
Cross posted over at The Real Ugly American