(Watching the) elections in Hungary

Reply Sat 29 Jul, 2006 02:41 am
I am happy that you visited the USA, Mr. Nimh. I do think you saw the variety and expansiveness of the country.

As I am sure you are aware, Mr.Nimh, the USA is a new country when compared to Europe. There are, of course, many problems in the USA. One of the reasons( not the only one. of course) is that the country is so heterogeneous racially, ethnically and religiously.

This, along with its system of government, A democratic Republic, allows for a lot of checks and balances and what is sometimes maddening to others, slow moving justice.

I would respecfully ask that when you feel that it is necessary to denigrate the USA in any way, that you first ask those who know a great deal about it to explain the problem at hand. Then, after the explanation, you can and must vent your opinion!

An additional note--Your experience with "schocking poverty and rampant homelessness" may have affected you but you must really look into the reports of Historians.

It is a cliche that Slaves in the US lived in horrible conditions. Some are delighted to point out the alleged "callousness" of Americans towards slaves even thought the old world, Africa and Asia had slavery for years before the US did and even though Historians have written

( See Roll, Jordan, Roll by Eugene D, Genovese--P. 59)

quote Raimondo Luraghi

"American Negro Slaves fared as well, in material terms, as a substantial portion of the workers and peasants of Western Europe and certainly better than the mass of the Russian, Hungarian, Polish and even Italian peasants".

Anyway, I am happy to see that you did visit the USA.

If you come to write your book, bring a lot of money. It is expensive to live here. Gasoline is now $3.10 a gallon!!!
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Reply Mon 18 Sep, 2006 06:23 pm
Well, well, politics is getting interesting again here. The **** has hit the fan in a rather unlikely way:

We lied to win, says Hungary PM

BBC News
Monday, 18 September 2006

Hungary's prime minister has admitted saying that his party lied to the public to win April's general election.

Ferenc Gyurcsany's admission came after Hungarian radio played a tape of a meeting he had with his Socialist MPs a few weeks after the election. [..]

The meeting concerned was on 26 May, about a month after the governing coalition had won 210 of the 386 parliamentary seats.

A brief excerpt was played on Hungarian state radio and others appeared on web sites. It is not clear how they were leaked.

In the excerpts, Mr Gyurcsany says harsh economic reforms are needed.

"There is not much choice. There is not, because we screwed up. Not a little, a lot. No European country has done something as boneheaded as we have.

"Evidently, we lied throughout the last year-and-a-half, two years. It was totally clear that what we are saying is not true.

"You cannot quote any significant government measure we can be proud of, other than at the end we managed to bring the government back from the brink. Nothing. If we have to give account to the country about what we did for four years, then what do we say?"

In a speech sprinkled with obscenities, he says: "We lied in the morning, we lied in the evening."

Some analysts suggest the leak may be with the prime minister's permission as he posted a full transcript on his own web blog.

Mr Gyurcsany may be trying to emphasise the need for tough reforms, they say. Local elections are set for 1 October. [..]

Opposition seeks Hungary PM to resign

Yahoo! News (Associated Press)
Mon Sep 18

Opposition parties Monday demanded the resignation of the prime minister after he admitted in leaked comments that his government had "lied in the morning, in the evening and at night" about the state of the economy.

In a recording made in May and leaked Sunday, Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsany told deputies of his Socialist Party that they had to end their duplicitous ways.

Gyurcsany said that Hungary had managed to keep its economy afloat only thanks to "divine providence, the abundance of cash in the world economy and hundreds of tricks."

"I almost died because for a year and a half, we had to pretend that we were governing. Instead, we lied in the morning, in the evening and at night. I don't want to do this anymore," Gyurcsany is heard saying on the tape.

President Laszlo Solyom said there was a "moral crisis" in Hungary and called on the prime minister to recognize that he had jeopardized people's faith in democracy. At the same time, hundreds of protesters remained outside parliament, also calling for Gyurcsany's ouster.

The parliamentary faction leaders of the Fidesz Party and the Christian Democratic People's Party said Hungary's democracy was in an "unprecedented crisis" and that they would use all constitutional means available to achieve Gyurcsany's ouster. [..]

The opposition leaders also rejected Gyurcsany's explanation that the lies he was referring to on the tape were those of Hungary's political elite during the 16 years since the return to democracy and he said the entire government needed to resign for its complicity.

"Gyurcsany's moral bankruptcy has by now turned into political bankruptcy ... and by not resigning he has issued his moral death certificate," said Christian Democratic leader Zsolt Semjen.

A crowd of several thousand people, which began gathering Sunday night outside parliament, had dwindled to a few hundred by midday Monday, although they vowed to stay until Gyurcsany resigned or new elections were called.

"We're not going home until Gyurcsany goes," the crowd chanted near the building's main gates, which were guarded by a high fence and police in riot gear. No violence or arrests were reported.

Gyurcsany on Sunday acknowledged the recording was authentic but said his speech was meant to warn members of his party about the depth of the problems the nation faces and the urgent need for reforms.

Before traveling to Russia for a meeting with President Vladimir Putin, Gyurcsany reiterated on state television that he had no intention of resigning. The Socialist Party leadership also expressed support for the prime minister.

In recent weeks, Gyurcsany has also admitted that to have a better chance to win last April's elections, the government covered up the true size of the state budget deficit and introduced tax cuts now described by the prime minister as a mistake.

Hungary's 2006 budget deficit is now forecast to reach 10.1 percent of gross domestic product, compared with the government's pre-election target of 4.7 percent.
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Reply Mon 18 Sep, 2006 06:24 pm
I was just 'search'ing for an update to this.
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Reply Mon 18 Sep, 2006 06:40 pm
Our office is quite close to the Parliament building. When my two colleagues went to look in the morning, there were only some two, threehundred protesters. Mostly from the far right, lots of Jobbik flags. They were a bit worried even, one of them being Russian and them speaking English together. Otherwise there were mostly curious onlookers from the offices around, on their lunch break like they were.

By the evening though, when I detoured past on my bicycle, the crowds had distinctly swollen. Filling a good part of the square, across to the museums on the other side. Angry speakers, chants, someone churning an alarm horn. A couple of thousand people, definitely.

It had a sincere protest feel, too. In Holland demonstrations often feel more like a day outing for the workers, giggling and laughing, with a fair bit of self-conscious irony slipped in as well (look at us, just like in the old days). But these people were sincerely angry - or insulted, in any case. Small groups discussing, lots of silent people standing around.

The far right was no longer dominant, anyway. It seemed a totally average slice of the population, in fact: housewives, young parents, middleaged men with beerbellies, office admin types, young guys with t-shirts, groups of older ladies. A very middle-class slice of average Hungarians, perhaps - missing were the smart and successful, and the down and out. The public covered the range between trade union rally and church celebration.

But that's Fidesz (the conservative opposition) for you - it was the same in '97, when the booming corruption of then also a Socialist government had the Fidesz supporters rallying on Castle Hill on 15 March. That manifestation had an almost Velvet Revolution like feel, the poets and singers on stage outnumbering the speeching politicians, and everyone holding candles. This was definitely less touchy-feely and solemn, and a bit more raucous.

An Orange revolution it wasnt quite, though thats definitely the feel they're after. Lessee tomorrow.. Smile
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Reply Mon 18 Sep, 2006 06:46 pm
I'm giving you one year to sort this out Cool

Earlier today, I sent my friend E a link with details of a proposed trip involving Budapest and Warsaw enroute to Vienna for next September. She is not going to take today's news well (if she's paying attention).
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Reply Mon 18 Sep, 2006 06:57 pm
Oh, there wont be anything dangerous going on. Gotta wait and see of course, but I dont even think the protests will mushroom all that much further. Not because Gyurcsany isnt a scumbag (though at least you could say that he's honest about being a scumbag), but because basically, well - he's only told them what they always thought anyway.

I mean, the Hungarians lived first through thirty-odd years of Kadar's Goulash Communism. Accomodating with a regime everyone knew was bogus, but that kept people comfortable enough to not make it worth complaining too much. Then the free, but cynical nineties, in which the Hungarians systematically voted out their government every single election and voted in the party that promised to steer a more social course instead - only to, once in power, continue with the exact same economic policies as the preceding government.

Mix in the fact that the Hungarians are famously pessimistic - what can you do, life is hard, being the set state of mind at least for anyone over 35 - and you have a people that is very well trained in resignation. In the shrugging awareness that they're all liars, anyway, best we can do is try to ignore them.

Perhaps Gyurcsany is consciously banking on this. He's only confirmed them in what they already believed, or at least deeply suspected, and there's something almost comforting in that I guess. Cs is pretty sanguine about it, for example, sort of laughing it off.

And then there's this speculation that Gyurcsany has himself leaked the tape. What good that does on the very eve of local elections I dunno - his party must be furious, lots of council seats they're gonna lose. But my Russian colleague was arguing (perhaps being very Russian) that sometimes, when you know that the **** (in this case, economic crisis and/or ferocious budget cuts) is about to hit the fan, its better to just confront it head on. Come out with the dirt yourself, while you're still in control. That way, it all comes out, but at a time of your choosing, and with the chance to ride the wave, reins in hand.

Should check out what Susannah thinks, she's a stalwart Socialist voter.. She'll probably just shrug, "what can you do, life is hard, its not like the other guys are any better"..

Still, if Gyurcsany does get away with this, that must be of a chutzpah quite unequalled anywhere in the EU, I think. And its not like he deserves to.
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Reply Mon 18 Sep, 2006 08:18 pm
nimh wrote:
Oh, there wont be anything dangerous going on.

Ooooooooooooooooopppppppsssssssss... Embarrassed

Rarely have I had to eat my words this quickly. This was apparently now, in the middle of the night..

At least 50 hurt in Hungary protests

By PABLO GORONDI, Associated Press Writer
31 minutes ago

BUDAPEST, Hungary - Protesters clashed with police and stormed the headquarters of state television early Tuesday, responding with violence to a leaked recording that caught Hungary's prime minister admitting the government "lied morning, evening and night" about the economy.
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Reply Mon 18 Sep, 2006 10:10 pm
Well, I went to take a look of course (I've got a bike!), but order appeared to be well & truly restored.. All the streets leading up to Freedom Square (where the Hungarian TV building is) were cordoned off with rather forlorn looking riot police squads. Otherwise not a soul to be seen, except for a photographer stalking around.

On Parliament Square too, there were only about 100 or 150 people left or so, holding their flags and singing hymns in the drizzle, including a somewhat incongruous guy with long blonde dreads and a Hungarian flag. And they were just leaving too, a tractor with the Hungarian flag in top leading the way, as policemen cordoned off the whole area directly in front of Parliament as well.

Larger flocks of riot police hulked around on every street corner on the side of the TV building more easily accessible from Parliament Square, up to one block away from my work, with the TV building itself shielded by the rather novel defence concept of parking police cars four rows thick in front of it. A pub or two doing brisk business.

Ive never been in a riot
I'm always on the toilet

(The Mekons)
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Reply Tue 19 Sep, 2006 06:24 am
I wonder if Gyurcsany has seen this surrealistic Estonian film I went to with a friend half a year ago or so. It featured a sinister, Satanic (but that's beside the point) German management consultant, who was imported into the county on a mission to shake up the national spy agency. A sideline in the story involved another client, the director of some behemoth of a formerly nationalized, unreconstructed industry, who knew that it could only survive if it fired 80% of the workers, but also knew that doing so would cause a riot.

The hyperconfident management consultant (who, because he was from the West, reduced everyone to submissive compliance) sold him the concept that what he needed to do was exactly to stir up agression and violence, already - to set off the riot preemptively, so to say. Or "to make a ritual sacrifice", as he put it (he was a covert Satanist, after all). Like a controlled demolition, in which the workers would riot and rage and get tired and drunk and eventually fizzle out, after which he could neatly fire them all, if they hadnt already been consumed by fire. He would even be able to set up an ersatz target for the riot.

(Which turns out to be, or almost be, amidst lots of other highly stylised over-the-topnesses, the tragic protagonist of the story, as the experiment goes more than slightly out of hand - though it does,in the end, have the exact predicted result. )

****, I cant find it back on Google. It does seem oddly like the scenario that is hinted at, here, though...! Art and life, and all that
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Steve 41oo
Reply Tue 19 Sep, 2006 06:37 am
sorry you missed the revolution nimh. Never mind there will be another one soon.
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Walter Hinteler
Reply Tue 19 Sep, 2006 12:30 pm
Just remembering that next month (October 23) it's exactly 50 since the Hungarian revolution started. (Something, I remember vividly.)


So, Gyurcsany said "We lied in the morning, we lied in the evening."
And later, he said, he was trying to counter a culture in which politicans lied because people believed they could have "happiness as a gift".

What will happen when this alarming outbreak of truth-telling by politicans becomes a new tradition worldwide?
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Reply Tue 19 Sep, 2006 03:05 pm
It might really complicate things, Walter. There's only so much authenticity people can take.. ;-)

Moreover, its a tricky one this, because the speculation now is that its a deliberately leaked and timed strategic outburst of honesty, meant to... not quite sure what it's mean to achieve. A controlled explosion of the inevitable resentment, perhaps. An attempt to convey the sense of us all needing to face the harsh truth about all the populist lies and reassurances of the past, so we'll be softened up enough to swallow the painful cuts and reforms Gyurcsany has in mind. I dunno. Still not clear whether it wont just backfire, though.

So far he seems to be on safe ground though. The BBC reported a snap poll with a sample of 500, and though such snap polls are notoriously unreliable the outcome must have reassured Gyurcsany: "43 percent of people thought Gyurcsany should resign immediately, while 47 percent said he should stay and 10 percent had no opinion." There's a sense of backlash against the violent storming of the Hungarian TV building, a lot of tut-tutting about an excess that neatly serves to equal or outshadow that of Gyurcsany's outrageous lies.

It's funny - when you stand on Parliament Square, where tonight again, despite calls for calm and the main opposition party Fidesz declaring it would cancel its forthcoming manifestation, thousands have gathered, you have a sense of something big happening. Not so much because of the numbers - for those who had counted on an embarassed lull, the unapologetic crowds must be an unpleasant surprise, but there were still fewer than last night. Perhaps five-seven thousand then. Not much, really. But because of the sense that everyone is represented.

It's really a seemingly random crossection of the population, again. A few heavies and a couple of worn- and wild-looking old men with big flags, but otherwise just your random Hungarians - a bit of everything. Including a punk girl, a rock father with a little kid on his shoulders, some pretty goth girls (hey, perhaps I should seek myself a nice young fascist girl) - (I'm joking) - and a man looking like Frank Zappa. (One of the things I cant get used to is that here, you just cant tell people's politics from what they look like. Or I dont know the codes. In Holland I can pretty much guess.)

They have little flags in their hands or on their lapels. A few are dressed in orange, the colour of the opposition Fidesz party, but they're far outnumbered by those waving red-and-white striped Arpad flags; Arpad was the founding father of the Hungarian nation so to say, and the flag represents the yearning for Hungarian purity and greatness. They stand around and sing along with a rock song already made for the occasion, with lots of "Magyarorszag" [Hungary] in it and a heartfelt "Resign!" as refrain. They chant "Hu-hu-Hungaria!," which sounds strikingly similar to the Dutch "Hi-ha-hondelul". A man appearing with a sheaf of rashly copied B/W leaflets has them snatched from his hands, "two, two, I want two!" (How unlike the benevolent acquiescence with which Dutch demonstrators, at best, accept the full-colour leaflets from a dozen groups).

Another speaker appears and talks of the Erdelyi (Transylvania) and the Felvidék (now South-Slovakia), and the crowds chant, "Down with Trianon!," or "Repeal Trianon!". I wonder whether they really dont realise that by taking that tack, they instantly slash the potential of their protest to a fraction of its size? Out with Gyurcsany, stop the lies - thats one thing, a line you could mobilise a people with. But add such a loaded, and wholly unrelated, agenda as that of "the lost territories", and you straight away box yourself in a sectarian corner.

So yes, the square still echoes the burlesque alarmism of this morning's international news headlines (the People's Daily Online, China: "Hungarian PM vows to restore social order by all means". Forbes: "Hungary Police Retake Television Building". The Globe and Mail, Canada: "'Longest, darkest night' for Hungary". The Irish Independent: "Scores injured in massive anti-govt riot in Hungary". The Guardian: "150 injured as Hungarians riot over PM's 'lies'".)

But leave the square and the few blocks around nearby Freedom Square with its riot squads, and the city is empty, wet and indistinguishable from any Monday night. Quiet and indifferent. Little noticeable in the ways of the "large demonstrations" that "are continuing across the Hungarian capital" according to Euronews. Down two roads in the hipster, mixed gay/straight cafe Eklektika, they've just hung new photos, which feature strident demonstrators, a boy with a flag, a mother with child. They're photos from Lebanon.

Zs and her friends in the coffeeshop laughed it all off when I pitched them a joke this morning. No, it was her, on the top stairs of the TV building last night, waving a flag. I took fifty policeman out myself!, Zs laughed. At the office, Cs veered between laughing it off as well and being angry - about those stupid people last night, that is. "Stupid people.. That is what really scary, that extremist have more and more popularity. And lots of people does not realize. I am definitely sure that some of them were also scared when they saw what was happening .. if extremism would not make me scared an angry, I would just laugh at these stupid people." When I countered that it wasnt a bunch of skinheads or anything at the rally, but ordinary people, families, regular folk, she shot back, "Exactly that is the scary thing, that not only bald, muscle brained typie people belong to the extreme.. NORMAL AVERAGE PERSON is also, or not to mention my family .. My father agrees with MIEP!!! And he seems quite normal..(sorry father) Or the parents of L.. They are quiet normal too."

(That email made me grin)

Meanwhile, my office sent out an email to the colleagues in London and NY etc that "all Budapest staff members are safe, and that the situation in the city today is mostly calm." Ha! How very Sarajevo-sounding. Tomorrow there's a lunch presentation for all us expats who suddenly want to know what the hell is going on. (It's given by an erudite academic so I'm going too of course). A colleague had a bewildered guy on the phone who was calling from the American embassy, which is right on the Freedom Square, and wanted to know what the f*ck was going on?!

The Critical Mass bicycle demonstration, which was planned to turn all the downtown boulevards car-free again on Thursday, has been cancelled, "so that it can not be used for other purposes". And my colleague said they had closed the ELTE University today, because they were afraid students would riot (the history department is apparently a hotbed of nationalist conservatism).

Still, its not like there's a crisis or anything, in the streets I mean. The Magyar Hirlap special edition, with ferocious-looking photos from last night ("Sad Morning on Freedom Square"), headlined one report, "They wanted to make a bloody '56". It refers to a slogan some students were chanting ("We have to make a bloody 56"), but also kinda - correctly - conjures up the image of a generation yearning to emulate the heroic fights of their grandparents, and doomed to imitate them as farce.

And pragmatism rules throughout.

The owner of the pub on Nador utca that's become the demonstrators' watering hole has learnt quickly, and has with keen entrepeneurial spirit hung sets of TVs outside so people could follow the news. Groups have gathered around. A man yells "assh*le" at the news presenter as the man earnestly tells the viewers how the foreign media have described events.

One of those is represented on Parliament Square, where an Austrian ORF news presenter is waiting for his slot on the 7:30 news. For the full ten minutes that he waits in front of the camera for his turn, he maintains an appropriately earnest mien, an expression to suggest he is aware of the full seriousness of the situation. In turn he becomes something of a fetish object for the demonstrators - it's the Austrian news! Confirmation for their importance. The small nation that makes the news. People stop to take pictures of the man with their cellphone cameras. The man ignores them.

But no mistake - reporter and demonstrators are locked in symbiosis. As soon as the reporter is done, he turns around to the couple that had been standing casually turned behind them, a young man with a characteristic cap and a Hungarian flag held aloft, and says, "thank you" - the couple nods back, and instantly leaves their pose and wanders off. Our pleasure, no, really.
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Walter Hinteler
Reply Tue 19 Sep, 2006 03:26 pm
the speculation now is that its a deliberately leaked

That was already suggested yesterday (Sunday) by some.

Otherwise: thanks (again) for that "live reportage"!
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Reply Tue 19 Sep, 2006 04:54 pm
Walter Hinteler wrote:
the speculation now is that its a deliberately leaked

That was already suggested yesterday (Sunday) by some.

Yes, and I already mentioned it yesterday myself too -- it just kinda worked itself into the story again
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Reply Tue 19 Sep, 2006 06:05 pm
Heard the news on the radio...... bookmarking.
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Reply Tue 19 Sep, 2006 06:12 pm
You'd better read up, little k, I think I'll just be winding up with minor anecdotes now.

There's extensive, and entertaining, excerpts from the Gyurcsany tape here on the BBC site, by the way.


Just when I was posting my blog, Cs called. She mentioned that, with the Hungarian Television building solidly cordoned off, the youths had decided to go to the Hungarian Radio instead. (Second best, yes, but also a highly historically charged choice: the Hungarian Radio building was one of the key scenes of the 1956 uprising.) So I bicycled there to take a look. I found them playing out two of the above observations, in sequence.

The revolution wants to be televised

Dabei sein ist alles, the Germans say. Being there is everything. Definitely for today's would-be rioters.

There wasnt much going on - or not anymore, who knows - in the narrow street the Hungarian Radio building is on, just off from the National Museum. The block it's on was already premptively cordoned off. A grim-looking scene; definitely one, in this particular street, to set off associations with black and white newspaper clippings. Squads of riot police with shields and helmets in ranks behind crowd barriers, in an otherwise mostly empty street; behind them, hulking in the dim brown light, a huge watercannon truck (I presume it was); visible behind it in the back, another squad of riot police in formation, to defend the place against potential assailants from the opposite side. The radio building on the right.

On our side of the barrier, a dozen people or so. Most all curious onlookers. Two cameramen. All the others equipped with cellphone cameras. Photographing each other, or the grim formations on the other side, or each other in front of the grim formations on the other side. Who filmed right back. The riot police, too, was equipped with cameras, two of them steadily filming everyone on our side for official purposes, I'm guessing; and one or two of the others, at some point, taking snapshots with their own cellphones.

The next revolution will indeed not be televised; its participants will be way too sophisticated for that. It will be streamed. Narrowcasting to the rebellious target audience.

a generation yearning to emulate the heroic fights of their grandparents, and doomed to imitate them as farce.

After about 15 minutes, some real protestors arrived. In the distance, appearing at the beginning of the street by the Museum boulevard and shouting "Resign!", they looked like an oncoming wave. The riot police grouped into proper formation, orders barked out from walkie talkies. The closer the demonstrators approached, however, the fewer they seemed to be. Scattering to the side of the street as they saw the police overkill didnt help their appearance either. By the time they got there, they turned out to be about a dozen or two strong - well, a dozen and a half. They turned quiet, too.

They looked fetching though. Fierce young men. Flags wrapped around their back. The Hungarian tricolor tied around the neck and over their nose and mouth, to cover their faces so they couldnt be recognized. They looked, in fact, strikingly like the freedom fighters from the pictures. Of '56. One was even wearing a beret.

They got exactly the response that befitted the reenactment too. It was oddly incongruous. There were only 18 of them. They shouted some things, one guy daring two - just two - policemen to come out and fight them - man to man! Eventually one guy threw a beercan, which just about made it to the barrier. But the riot police was nervously stirring, the men at the back marching forward. One started barking into a loudspeaker thing. Orders - "this area is", "back to the Museum Boulevard", "Rakoczi Street" - he was ordering us all back, out - to retreat all the way to the major throughfares. And booming ever louder and faster in this robotic way, he managed the perfect imitation of the 1984 persona. "I wish I knew what the **** they are saying", the Australian next to me told his mate. "Yeah, me too, but I tell you what, I'm getting ready to run," the mate responded. And so we did, about two minutes later, when the riot squad formation as one lifted up the barriers and charged forward.

"What's happening?", newly arriving Hungarian youths (students of the kind that would do progressive politics in Holland), asked us in Hungarian, halfway down Puskin Street. "I dont know, I'm just here for a laff," answered the Australian in English.

Ten minutes later, everyone was back where they started, except the barriers were ten meters further out. A handful of new arrivals, mouth masks on for possible tear gas, were exactly the type you'd find in a squatters riot in Holland - same look, same attitude. And one agitated, probably drunk man had taken position in front of the barriers, railing at the riot cops. "Don't you have responsibility?" The two cameras whirled at him, each from a different angle.


Finally, save a thought for the American guy I met in the pub on my square. I mentioned the Hungarian Radio kerfluffle and he said hey, what, I live there! On Puskin street. The catch here, however, is that he only just arrived - a mere couple of weeks ago. To study here for a year. Having waved off parental concerns: no, don't worry - Hungary is a normal country - it's in the EU. Now there's riot police guarding his street, and moreover: his parents are coming to visit - tomorrow.
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Reply Tue 19 Sep, 2006 06:29 pm
Great description in that report, nimh. Thanks.
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Reply Tue 19 Sep, 2006 07:10 pm
But it turns out I was in the wrong place! I just saw now on the web that today's riot took place in between Koztarsasag Ter, where the Socialist Party HQ is, and Blaha Lujza Ter, a major traffic cross roads - right down the end of my f*cking street! And I was across town at the radio. God damm, I need better informers. :wink:
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Reply Tue 19 Sep, 2006 07:53 pm
It looks like it's been pretty fierce too. The Magyar Nemzet reports "warlike situations in Budapest", and has a detailed timeline of events between 1:30 and 2:30 AM.

My Hungarian isnt good enough, but I see:

- "teargas everywhere";
- "clouds of smoke drift in every direction";
- "youngsters arriving from Kossuth [Parliament] Square chant, 'Elkúrtad, elkúrtad'" (which I think means, "you f*cked up!");
- "the majority consists of 17-18 year olds";
- "they build barricades from benches, boards";
- "the police shell them with tear gas grenades, but the crowds throws everything back they can get their hands on"
- "a thousand demonstrators retreat from Blaha Lujza square to Ulloi street. The police beats everyone, journalists are not safe either"
- "500 demonstrators press toward Oktogon"

That was an hour ago. I cant believe I didnt hear anything, that was three (admittedly large) blocks down from here.
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Reply Tue 19 Sep, 2006 07:53 pm
Wow! Nimh right where the action is, with great reportage! A pleasure to read, thanks. (Stay safe!)
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