A couple of days ago I briefly mentioned that after a seven-month manhunt the police found the murderer of a fourteen-year-old girl in Kiskunlacháza, a small town south of Budapest. And I'm not using the word "murderer" instead of the customary "alleged murderer" unadvisedly. József P. not only confessed but the police found the missing belongings of the murdered girl in his house: an ID, her cell phone, a necklace, and a purse. All hidden, of all places, inside a vacuum cleaner. And yes, the DNA sample found in the semen matched. Also, the pubic hair that was reddish. The experts pretty well knew months ago that the perpetrator was most likely not a dark-skinned, brown-haired Gypsy but someone who is blue-eyed with reddish-blond hair.
This is a terrible blow to the so-called "independent" mayor of Kiskunlacháza who has made political hay out of his repeated accusations that the murderers (plural) were Gypsies. A whole gang of them. In fact, ever since last November when the murder took place, he has been doing nothing else but inciting the inhabitants of this town of 9,000 against the local Gypsies in particular and against Gypsies in general. The mayor is József Répás, who politically identifies himself as "independent" as do nine others on the town council. Among the thirteen-member council there is only one MSZP member and three who ran on the Fidesz ticket.
It is customary to run as "independent" in villages or smaller towns where everybody knows everybody and where the person means more to the electorate than party affiliation. Répás's predecessor was also an independent as were most of the council members. The lone MSZP member seems to be popular because he is reelected time and again. Learning a little bit about the town I wonder who voted for him because Kiskunlacháza's inhabitants seem to be strongly attracted to the right. Not the moderate right but its extreme variety. It is true that at the European parliamentary elections the voter turnout in town was low (34.95%) but Jobbik did extraordinarily well: 24.6% while MSZP received only 11.89%. It is enough to look at the town's website to realize that this is Jobbik country. Perhaps more than the 25% who voted for Jobbik a few weeks ago would indicate.
Anyone who would like to get a feel for the mood of the town should take a look at the video available on the town's web site http://www.kiskunlachaza.hu/. The video records the speech the mayor delivered at a town meeting on May 11. First of all, the fairly large auditorium was full. All seats were occupied and those who couldn't find a seat had to stand in the aisles. The mayor is a good-looking guy and a fairly decent speaker. At least he seems to have grabbed the attention of his audience. I am actually wondering when Gábor Vona or Krisztina Morvai will get in touch with him and put him in a top leadership role in Jobbik because his message is identical to that of their party. He told his audience that it is time to tell the truth instead of the "insidious hypocrisy" that exists in the country. In plain language, let's expose the unbearable situation that exists with the Gypsies in Hungary. (Unbearable, of course, for the non-Gypsy Hungarians.) Forceful steps must be taken because "otherwise we will all perish." The town council decided that no financial assistance will be given to those families whose children "terrorize teachers and everybody else." Families who don't teach their children to behave "should leave town." Well, that was very popular. A long rythmic applause greeted the pronouncements. The audience also loved the idea that children who don't behave will be thrown out of all the schools in town. The speech went on in this vein for about twenty minutes. It is clear that Répás, who is apparently very popular in town, has pinned his political career on Gypsy bashing.
So it's no wonder that the discovery that the murderer wasn't a Gypsy came as an unwelcome piece of news to Répás and his followers in Kiskunlacháza. The television stations interviewed not only the police chief of Pest County whose team was responsible for finding our red-headed murderer but also the mayor. In those interviews Répás doubted the police's findings that József P., the non-Roma, was alone responsible for the murder. He had to have accomplices and of course these accomplices had to have been Gypsies. Répás told his audience that the whole town is convinced that József P. couldn't have acted alone. It doesn't matter what the police say. Actually after reading a few pages of the local paper "A mi ujságunk" (Our newspaper), one could tell ahead of time that if the final result is not what the right-wingers expect, these people will turn against the police. Gyula Budai, a Fidesz member of the town council, last December wrote an open letter to the undersecretary of the ministry in charge of the Hungarian police. He accused the socialists of "demoralizing the police force." The police "are silent because you don't allow them to tell the truth." I wouldn't be at all surprised if Mr. Budai wrote another open letter to the government, contending that they forced the police to lie and arrest the wrong man while the guilty Gypsies are still loose.
Many telltale signs of the Hungarian extreme right can be found in Kiskunlacháza's local newspaper, a publication of the town council. One tipoff is that the newspaper has published a whole series of articles about Kazakhstan. The extreme right is fascinated by the Kazakhs whom they consider to be close relatives of the Hungarians. Another telltale sign is that the paper claims to be a newspaper of culture, public life, entertainment, and "guardianship of tradition." On July 1, 2007, I wrote about the "lunatic fringe" who call themselves guardians of tradition. The most incredible theories circulate about the origins and early history of the Hungarians in these circles. It seems that one of these guardians of tradition is active in local politics. Perhaps even a member of the Kiskunlacháza's town council. The town's paper began publication in 1991 but it has been available on the Internet only since March 2008. So I don't know how long the falsification of history has been part and parcel of Kiskunlacháza's local governmental politics. Just to give you an idea of the kind of nonsense being promulgated on public money here is one example. The paper introduces an Avar leader, Khagan Bayan, with the express purpose of somehow proving that the Avars were Hungarians. (Anyone interested in the relationship between the Avars and the Hungarians should take a look at András Róna-Tas's book available on the Internet Hungarians and Europe in the Early Middle Ages http://books.google.com/books?id=I-RTt0Q6AcYC&pg=PA116&dq=avars+turkic&hl=en.) However, the Kiskunlacháza's local expert sends his readers to http://dobogommt.hu/dobogo/figyelem.php that describes itself as a "mythical historical site." And all this on public money.
There are other problems in Kiskunlacháza but this is another story. Perhaps tomorrow another side of town government under József Répás. That's not pretty either.