A medieval macabre show: Hungarian Jobbik member symbolically hangs Israeli leaders

Hungarians always complain that foreigners know little or nothing about their country. Well, lately they really can’t complain. Almost a week and a half after Viktor Orbán’s controversial speech the international press is still full of comments on it. Just today I encountered an opinion piece in The Moscow Times which concluded that something is indeed coming from the East “but it’s not the wind. It’s a virus. And with Orbán’s help, this virus has begun to infect the EU.” David Brooks in The York Times described Orbán’s speech as “morbidly fascinating.”

And now here is this effigy story. AP described what happened in Érpatak, a village of about 1,500 inhabitants. Mihály Zoltán Orosz, who has been mayor of the village since 2005, described Israel as “the Jewish terror state” that is trying to “obliterate the Palestinians.” Moreover, he is opposed “to the efforts of Freemason Jews to rule the world.” On the video below you can see a shorter version of the “public execution” where an executioner with a black hood over his face kicks chairs out from under the puppets of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and former President Shimon Peres, each tied to a gallows.

The whole scene reminded the journalists of HVG of a medieval macabre show. Who is this man? He is a Jobbik member, but in 2010 when he ran again for the position of mayor of Érpatak he called himself an independent. He is known for his bizarre outfits which are supposed to be traditional Hungarian fare, but they are all terribly exaggerated and therefore ludicrous. He also likes military uniforms. The last time he made quite a splash was at the Budapest gay pride parade where he appeared in a female peasant costume. I am sharing a few of his most “spectacular” outfits.

Of course, a lot of people think that Orosz doesn’t have all his marbles, which is a distinct possibility. But he seems to function quite well and rules the village with an iron fist. Law and order dominate in Érpatak. He calls his “system” the “Érpatak Model,” which he claims is a great success and which should be emulated all over the country. He boasts about the low crime rate, though his critics counter that he exaggerates on that score. And there are some people in the village who are not altogether happy with his activities and the circus he creates around town hall and across the country.

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His latest performance might have serious consequences. Israeli Ambassador Ilan Mor immediately expressed his outrage and said that in his opinion “the Hungarian government must act in order to stop these dangerous acts.” The Hungarian foreign ministry got the message. On Monday around noon they issued a statement in which they declared that what happened over the weekend “cannot be reconciled with European norms and with the rule of law. The mayor uses the war and its innocent victims as a pretext for spreading the propaganda of hate.”

Orosz1

How much do we know about Orosz? Not enough, I fear. We know from Professor David Baer’s Testimony concerning the Condition of Religious Freedom in Hungary, submitted to the U.S. Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe (the Helsinki Commission) on March 18, 2013, that Mihály Orosz “was affiliated with, or the founder of, at least four different groups registered as [bogus] churches.” Indeed, I found the names of three of these bogus churches in a recent article in Gépnarancs: the Order of the Heart of the Sun, Church of the Sophia Perennis, and the Order of the Eye of Heart.

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We know that in order to apply for a job in Érpatak’s town hall the applicants have to fill out a form with 165 bizarre questions on politics and everything else under the sun.

Some people believe that it is time to put an end to Orosz’s activities. Among them is Gellért Rajcsányi, a young conservative publicist of Mandiner. He quotes an announcement from Érpatak’s website which calls attention to a demonstration for June 2014 in front of the courthouse in Nyíregyháza. At this demonstration they “symbolically hanged a criminal prosecutor and a criminal judge to show them what will wait for them after their death because of their activities against the world and the nation.” Clearly, Orosz likes to hang those with whom he disagrees. He led a group of people in front of the building that houses TASZ, the Hungarian equivalent of  the American Civil Liberties Union, where they verbally attacked the associates of the organization. The author calls for an end to the career of this wannabe Arturo Ui, a reference to Bertolt Brecht’s play The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui which chronicles the career of a 1930s Chicago mobster and his attempts to control the cauliflower racket by ruthlessly disposing of the opposition.

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Well, the moment might have arrived. Ágnes Vadai in the name of DK urged Peter Polt, the chief prosecutor, to order an investigation. That in itself wouldn’t have prompted Polt to lift a finger, but then Israeli Ambassador Ilan Mor pressed charges because of “the anti-Israeli and anti-Semitic horror show” that took place in Érpatak. Suddenly, the case had international implications that the government and the prosecutor’s office couldn’t quite ignore. The prosecutor’s office in Nyíregyháza began an investigation into the National Network of the Érpatak and the Youth Movement of the Sixty-Four Counties. If Orosz and the other organizers are found guilty they may receive up to three years in jail. I very much doubt, however, that he will spend even one night in jail.

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70 comments

  1. @Petofi
    With apologies to all for this totally OT comment regarding the unfortunate parking experience Petofi reported a few days ago.

    From your description, it seems that you parked on Nador ter, which is behind Gerbaud and where there is indeed a parking lot.

    Access to this square is restricted to BKV, residents and the Ministry of Finance. Access is only from Jozsef Attila and both entrances have a sign indicating that entry is restricted (check it out on Google Map Street View). So your ticket was most probably not for parking but for having entered a restricted area, which might explain the amount.

    I will not comment on the Dobos torta but with the cost of the ticket, it was indeed an expensive outing. But look at it from the bright side; the silver lining is that you enjoyed the torta! 😉

  2. Magyar Narancs has an interesting interview with TGM.

    By the way, this is the person who filed an official report against (feljelentette) Ökotárs for alleged embezzlement: István Tényi.

  3. @Karl

    “We hear often that Hungary is a Christian country. So here some food for thought…”
    Oh-oh.
    Hungarians can’t abide being corrected. And they can’t possibly apologize for an error–their self-image would shatter into a million pieces. I have a myriad of examples…

  4. @qaz

    I approached from Nador utca, turned left and saw no sign except one with a red circle–not an international sign of any meaning. They might’ve written–in either Hungarian or English–that, a) entry is forbidden, or b) parking is restricted.

    But since the whole city is set up as a giant trap, they do not do so. Moreover, in civilized society,
    when a downtown space is not being used, as on a weekend, it is typical of enlightened city management to allow motorists to park on Sunday.

    But not clipping the unwary when one can, is outside of the mainstream of Hungarian mentality…

  5. Thanks to ZoRRo for the link to Mr. Friedman’s NY Times article on Israel and the Gaza war. As many of us know Tom Friedman is Jewish and he attended Hebrew school five days a week until his Bar Mitzvah. He became enamored of Israel after a visit there in December 1968, and he spent all three of his high school summers living on Kibbutz Hahotrim, near Haifa. In his book “From Beirut to Jerusalem” he characterized his high school years as “one big celebration of Israel’s victory in the Six-Day War.”

    Mr. Friedman often as in the article linked by ZoRRo tries to appear to be very even handed in relation to the Palestinian/Israel conflict, in my opinion he is more or less a typical Israeli social democrat who supports an Israel that extends beyond the 1948 borders, but is not endlessly expansionist. Some people call Friedman a liberal Zionist, I don’t think Tom Friedman would agree with that nor would the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) which in 2011 condemned a Friedman column as anti-Semitic.

    Mr. Friedman is just a little younger than myself, but his lack of any military experience is telling.
    My biggest problem with Mr. Friedman was that he supported the 2003 invasion of Iraq, writing that the establishment of a democratic state in the Middle East would force other countries in the region to liberalize and modernize. As those of us who were in the military are fully aware at the time the many members on the US Joint Chiefs of Staff did not believe US combat forces should be used for a democratization process for Iraq. This was discussed last week in the US public broadcasting system Front Line program titled “Losing Iraq.” Which can be viewed at http://video.pbs.org/video/2365286400/ While the US military does have extensive civil affairs units, its primary mission, to put it simple, is to kill those who need killing based on the orders of the President of the US.

    It is now more than obvious that Friedman was totally wrong about Iraq (like President Bush and VP Cheney) and he takes zero responsibility for this major mistake, in fact he dances around the issue arguing the occupation was mishandled. A total of 4,486 U.S. service members were killed in Iraq between 2003 and 2012 in this misguided adventure in nation state building. Friedman’s problem is he sat around a Kiddutz in Israel while US soldiers were getting killed by the thousands in Vietnam in that failed attempt to build a democratic state out of what was a dictatorship. Friedman ignored the lessons of history and supported a repeat performance in Iraq that many combat officers privately opposed.

    Unlike Friedman, who jets around the world to write his columns, the US army officers and enlisted personnel spent year after year in the hell called Iraq and my nation spent billions of dollars on that failed project in Iraq. Once a command is given our military carries out its mission and pays the price. Friedman has paid no price for his intellectual arrogance in relation to the Iraq war and Hungarians should know that.

  6. Geometry,

    You wrote: “That means a nation can rightfully kill multiple times of their loss? I never heared something like that. That’s crystal clear fascism.
    Do you heared anything about Geneva Convention?”

    Where in the world do you get the idea that the Geneva Convention says anything about the number of people you are allowed to kill in war? Where in the definition of fascism is there any mention of any kind of ratio of deaths? You clearly have no idea what you are talking about, and are trying to instigate some kind of anti-Semitic sentiment on this site (which in and of itself shows how illogical you are).

    If Hamas attacks a more powerful country, it should expect to lose more people, regardless of the population of either country. In fact, that is exactly why it has attacked Israel. It knows that if it launches missiles from apartment buildings full of people, Israel will bomb the building, and some of those innocent civilians living there will die (especially since Hamas didn’t build many bomb shelters for civilians, preferring to build tunnels to attack Israel). The more civilians who die (apparently, some of whom actually rush into a building that is about to be attacked, in order to “martyr” themselves), the more people like you can scream irrationally about the civilian death toll. At least some of those “civilians” are actually working for Hamas, supporting the fighting or even actively fighting (they don’t have to wear uniforms to fight). If Hamas wanted to protect civilians, why is it firing missiles at Israel in the first place, and why is it using residences, hospitals, mosques and schools as military installations and missile launching sites?

    Despite all of this, I condemn Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians in all parts of the occupied territories, and even inside Israel itself. I see Israel as the greater evil in this war, though the death toll has nothing to do with that. It’s not Israel’s fault that it cares more about protecting its citizens than Hamas does.

  7. That red circle meaning “no vehicles at all” is rather common in Europe – in Germany it is sometimes accompanied by a sign “Anlieger frei” i e “Residents only”.

    Btw signs with text like in the USA are uncommon, because they require knowledge of the local language. That was one of the astonishing things for me when I first visited the USA.

  8. @Istvan:

    Thank you very much for your statement re Vietnam and Iraq, I really appreciate this, especially coming from a “military person”!

    I have often wondered about Bush’s ideas regarding that invasion – did he really believe that Iraq might become a democracy in the Western style?

    What a tragedy for all people involved!

  9. Nearly off topic, but still.
    A few days back I have had a call from a friend who moved back t Hungary nearly ten years ago after spending about fifteen abroad. He and his wife of Transylvanian origin, and as such he was always a devoted supporter of Orbán and his idea of National State, particularly in relation of the granted citizenship and voting rights. Of course we had our clashes, since I insisted that this is nothing but charade – and he wanted to believe that finally someone want to treat “them” as Hungarians, but we remained to stay in good terms, nevertheless.
    So, he called from the other side of the World to tell me, that he has a confession to make: he was wrong.
    Beside of the quality of the person as a Human Being (capitalization all on me) it clearly show, that something clearly turned as bad there over that not even a former Transylvanian Hungarian can stomach it any longer.
    “Should I really have to be a redneck moron in order to be accepted as a “real Hungarian?” – he asked.
    Well.., you may, if you aiming to reach the orbanist standard..!

    And there is still way to go even lower folks, remember that!

  10. @FrodoandSmaug TGM is funny. He should have realized a long time ago that Fidesz is a far-right party. I gave a short presentation at a conference in November 2009 in which I said that “it is hard to tell where Jobbik ends and Fidesz begins.” Since then this has become even more obvious.

  11. Having waded through this thread, I actually feel like apologising for being ON-topic!

    Was this nutter dressed as a peasant (male or female) at the Gay Pride parade taking part in the parade, or staging some sort of bizarre protest against it?

    I could believe either answer of this man!

    As for the ‘Israel-Palestine Conflict’ and the views expressed on here, I have rarely read such depressing nonsense and ignorant opinion disguised as ‘fact’ – on both sides. I suggest that all those who hold such hard and fast opinions need to read up on the history of Israel/Palestine before expounding on the situation again. For all our sakes.

  12. And, returning again to my theme of democracy and what it really means – once again we have to remember that this guy was elected by the people of his village.

    Whatever we may think of him and his antics, we can’t at the same time constantly praise democracy and attack those who disagree with it, AND then complain about the people who are democratically elected. We’re either for democracy or against it, and if we’re for it, we have to accept its consequences.

    Our focus should not be on this man and his strange behaviour, but rather on why the people elected him. It’s that which needs to change/be changed, not the clowns who get elected.

  13. Yes Wolfi President Bush, his vice president, Mr. Friedman and others believed it was totally possible to turn Iraq from a Bath party controlled dictatorship into a model of free market democracy in the middle east with the use of military power.

    Retired General Collin Powell attempted to communicate the problems with the Iraq invasion to President Bush, but basically the President wanted to take over Iraq and create a friendly democracy in Iraq. Powell can be seen in this video clip explaining his opposition to the occupation http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-b32CpmZVYc

    Powell was a combat officer in Vietnam and he understood well what the US was facing, none the less he was trapped in his role and publicly supported the Iraq invasion while privately expecting the worse, which has indeed happened.

    Friedman to this day thinks the invasion was the correct tactic and democracy could have been built in Iraq, but there was a failure of implementation. Thomas E. Ricks in his book Fiasco: The American Military Adventure in Iraq, 2003 to 2005 I think presents the complexity of this occupation. Ricks is an adviser on national security at the New America Foundation, where he participates in its “Future of War” project and he presents a very balanced perspective on the impossibility of the task the US put it self in. It was obviously written before what has taken place in the last three months with most of Iraq falling under the control of Islamic fundamentalists.

  14. spectator:”Beside of the quality of the person as a Human Being (capitalization all on me) it clearly show, that something clearly turned as bad there over that not even a former Transylvanian Hungarian can stomach it any longer.”

    Being from Transylvania and having a large group of friends/acquaintances from Transylvania, I can assure you that not all Transylvanian Hungarians are Orbanists. By the way this shows up also in the election results in Transylvania, where the Democratic Union of Hungarians in Romania consistently gets the majority of the votes, as opposed to the Erde’lyi Nemzeti Tana’cs (National Council of Transylvania), the party supported by the rev. Laszlo To”ke’s, a big fan of Orban.

  15. Istvan:”…President Bush, his vice president, Mr. Friedman and others believed it was totally possible to turn Iraq from a Bath party controlled dictatorship into a model of free market democracy in the middle east with the use of military power. ”

    I guess they did not realize that Iraq wasn’t a country based on its inhabitants desire to live together. The same way as Yugoslavia wasn’t one. And I am sure there are many other examples. I guess in a few tens of thousands of years all this animosity may disappear and humanity may live the rest of its existence in peace and prosperity (assuming that it does not destroy itself first).

  16. Re antisemitism in Europe:

    Here’s a worrying article in the Guardian:
    http://www.theguardian.com/society/2014/aug/07/antisemitism-rise-europe-worst-since-nazis?CMP=EMCNEWEML6619I2
    What surprised me was the situation in Germany – i wouldn’t have thought it was so bad, after all we should have learned something from our past …
    ” In 14,000 hate-mail letters, emails and faxes sent over 10 years to the Israeli embassy in Berlin and the Central Council of Jews in Germany, Professor Monika Schwarz-Friesel found that 60% were written by educated, middle-class Germans, including professors, lawyers, priests and university and secondary school students. Most, too, were unafraid to give their names and addresses – something she felt few Germans would have done 20 or 30 years ago.”

    Unbelievable!

  17. @gdfxx
    Of course, as you say, I agree fully. What my comment was supposed to point to is the changing of attitude of a former supporter.
    Orbán clearly crossed a threshold what made these people reconsider and came to the conclusion, they just don’t want to go that way.

    In my opinion no civilised people will.

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