This 14 December Dutch regional TV video is about Geert Wilders, the leader of the Dutch xenophobic and Islamophobic PVV party, presenting the new local party leader and number one candidate for the Rotterdam municipal elections on 18 March 2018. Opponents of Wilders were present as well.
That new local leader is ex-soldier, now unemployed, Géza Hegedüs, of Hungarian ancestry.
Mr Hegedüs turns out to be an activist in the Dutch self-styled ‘alt-right‘ neonazi Erkenbrand organisation (called after a Lord of the Rings fictional character). He also supports neonazi Holocaust denier David Irving. And he hates Africans. See also here.
Initially, Geert Wilders said that the PVV was ‘only’ against Islam, supposedly not anti-Semitic or otherwise racist. So, he then said he did not want collaboration with neofascist parties like Vlaams Belang in Belgium or National Front in France.
In November 2013 however, Wilders dropped his previous objections to these Belgian and French racists. The Nederlandse Volksunie (NVU), Dutch open Adolf Hitler supporters, applauded this new cooperation between Marine Le Pen and Wilders.
In August 2014, Wilders declared his intention to march against immigrants in the Hague jointly with the NVU and other neofascists.
These negotiations failed. A problem then was that Jobbik are very open about their support for the Adolf Hitler age and anti-Semitism. While these are officially absent in Wilders’ PVV. They are also ‘officially’ absent in Le Pen’s National Front and Vlaams Belang; though, less officially, they come to the surface again and again, both in the National Front and in Vlaams Belang.
In July 2017, Wilders demonstrated together with the Nederlandse Volksunie against a Dutch Moroccan becoming mayor of Arnhem.
Now, Wilders and his new local pointman Hegedüs are planning a xenophobic demonstration in Rotterdam on 20 January 2018. The Nederlandse Volksunie on its Facebook page calls on its supporters to join that demonstration.
Who is Wilders’ Rotterdam ‘hero’ Hegedüs?
Dutch investigators of the extreme right Kafka write about him today (translated):
Hegedüs explains during the conversation that he got to know the alt-right through Red Ice. According to him there are all sorts of differences within alt-right, but he finds that refreshing. Fortunately, according to Hegedüs, there is also a binding factor within alt-right. According to him, that is “the survival of the white race, so to speak.” David Duke, the former leader of the Ku Klux Klan “also has interesting things to tell” he says. Hegedüs complains about the allegedly dominant influence of the concept of diversity in society. “Of course you are banned from doubting the ethnic diversity ideal in the first place” according to the intended PVV party local leader. “Where it goes wrong” he grumbles, “is the principle of equality.” Therefore he rejects feminism “totally” and he no longer conducts discussions with people who deny “racial biological aspects”. …
The Jobbik party soon comes up for discussion in the conservation and the two participants let themselves be known as outspoken anti-Semites and Roma haters. “The gypsy problem was discussed by Jobbik. That was very strong”, Hegedüs says with satisfaction. But he also has concerns about the development of this party. “Judgments about Jews have disappeared altogether” and “statements about gypsies are increasingly going to the background”, Hegedüs notes. He suspects, however, that this is a strategy to attract moderate voters. “If that is true” says Hegedüs, then it is “a very good strategic move.” Szaloki confirms the analysis of Hegedüs. “The skinheads in bomber jackets have disappeared from the streets in Hungary. Now it’s people in suits.”…
With the civil war in Western Europe to be expected according to Hegedus, Eastern Europeans must come to the rescue.
UPDATE, 15 December 2017, 15:23: Wilders had to sack Hegedüs after one day after this information and has to search for another Rotterdam leader. See also here.
This video says about itself:
(21 Sep 2016) Hungarian prison inmates have ramped up their production of razor wire, working around the clock as Hungary prepares to build a second fence on the border with Serbia to keep out refugees and other migrants.
Razor wire manufacture at the prison in Marianosztra, northern Hungary, has increased from two shifts earlier this year, to three.
Besides its domestic use, Hungary has also sold or donated fence elements, including wire and steel posts, to other countries in the region, including Slovenia and Macedonia.
Hungary’s Helsinki Committee for Human Rights says the fence, the closure of asylum centers and other measures are destroying the asylum system.
Translated from Dutch NOS TV:
UN: don’t send refugees back to Hungary
The UN refugee agency UNHCR wants EU member states to stop returning asylum seekers to Hungary. According to UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi, the situation for asylum seekers in the country has deteriorated significantly since the establishment of closed refugee camps on the border with Serbia.
The country has built two closed container camps late last month and they are intended for refugees who are still in the asylum procedure.
EU Member States may return refugees according to the so-called Dublin agreements to the first safe country which they had reached in the EU. In many cases this is Hungary, because refugees now often opt for that route to get to Western Europe. Prime Minister Orbán hates the current asylum seekers coming. He has long argued for a stricter approach to reduce the number of refugees.
His attitude and the new law led to sharp criticism from the international community. UN Commissioner Grandi calls on European countries to suspend the “Dublin transfers” until the Hungarians will bring their policies in line with European and international law.
He says that since March 28 in the camps 110 people have been detained, including children. Orbán denies that the asylum seekers re jailed. He points out that the refugees can leave the camps indeed, through an opening which opens in Serbia.
Translated from Dutch NOS TV today:
“Our star has no political connotation.” That says Heineken [beer corporation] in response to a possible ban in Hungary of the red star in the brand image of Heineken. The conservative government in Hungary wants to ban the use of communist symbols such as the hammer and sickle and the red star. …
Since time immemorial, Heineken has a star on their label. “The star is an ancient symbol of brewers from the Middle Ages”, said a spokesman for Heineken about this. …
Last week, the Hungarian Deputy Prime Minister Semjen said that the red star of Heineken “clearly has political content”. According to the bill offenders may get prison and may be fined up to 7 million euros.
This reminds me of when Turkish right-wing nationalists objected to red bricks in the building of a non-nationalist Turkish workers’ organisation, as these bricks supposedly made the building ‘communist’. Probably, these Turkish nationalists had never loked at the, mainly red, Turkish national flag.
It also reminds me of the time when some right-wing moron in Northern Ireland called the police, as he thought a European Union flag was supposedly ‘Arabic’, making it ‘terrorist’.
This video from Germany says about itself:
13 February 2017
Sylvain L’Espérance on his film COMBAT AU BOUT DE LA NUIT at the Berlinale 2017.
2 March 2017
Combat au bout de la nuit (Fighting Through the Night) is a marathon, 285-minute documentary detailing the social crisis in Greece, from veteran Canadian director Sylvain L’Espérance.
The film opens with a debate in the Greek parliament. We see the speaker of the house reading through a new law affecting the judiciary. He raises one article of the new bill after another, calls for a vote and then in a monotone declares a majority in favour. In fact, there are only three deputies sitting in the chamber. None of them raises a hand to vote. One of the deputies objects and explains that she opposes the bill. She notes that nobody is voting in favour. Her objections are simply ignored by the speaker and the bill is passed.
After this brief introduction to Greek democracy, the film switches to the streets. The year is 2014 and we are well into the Greek finance and social crisis. Fighting Through the Night shows the nearly 600 cleaners sacked by the Greek finance ministry picketing the building and blockading the entrance to their employer. Police try to secure access and brutally push and shove the women. Through the window, we see ministry bureaucrats going about their business—finalising plans for yet new austerity measures that will force millions more into destitution and misery.
Additional footage in L’Espérance’s documentary deals with the appalling plight of African and Arab refugees in Greece forced to fish food from rubbish bins in order to eat. Having fled poverty and war in the hope of earning enough money in Europe to provide for their families back home, they retrieve worn-out shoes from the garbage to sell at a night market for a few euros. The make-shift homes of Roma are crushed by bulldozers hired by property speculators intent on their next profitable developments.
Volunteer doctors in Athens administer to the many thousands of ordinary Greeks unable to pay for elementary medical care. An individual who works without pay in a clinic for patients without health insurance tells the filmmakers: “We are trying to avert a humanitarian catastrophe in times of upheaval. It is my duty to help.”
If the situation was bad in 2014, it is even worse two years later when the filmmaker return to do additional reporting on the social disaster.
The film, to its credit, polarises audiences. The right-wing Die Welt newspaper, which has fully supported the savage austerity measures imposed on the Greek people, was scandalised by Fighting Through the Night, which dares to point a finger at the German government and the European Union as guilty parties. “A monster…..Formless, unbelievably redundant…. a film for those with a fetish for cleaners,” fumed the paper.
The film’s criticisms of the ruthless policy of the EU and German government are entirely justified. We know that the Greek debt crisis is much worse than it was when the EU began implementing austerity.
The synopsis of Fighting Through the Night also points out that the capitulation of the Syriza-led government headed by Alexis Tsipras “led to a third memorandum imposing even harsher measures than the previous ones”.
This video says about itself:
1945 (Fortyfive) – Ferenc Török Film Clip (2017)
15 February 2017
The shimmering heat of a summer’s day in rural Hungary in August 1945. A kind of torpor envelops the village. The drug store owner is getting ready for his son’s wedding, the signalman is changing the points at the station, and the coach driver is waiting for customers.
Two strange men descend from the train, clad in black. They are father and son; survivors of the Holocaust. They walk in silence behind a waggon on which they are transporting two boxes. Rumours spread like wildfire through the village. Do the boxes contain powder, perfume and soap, and are these men going to compete with the local chemist shop?
Are they relatives of the former shop owner, a Jew who was first denounced and then deported? Fear soon spreads throughout the community, for many of them were involved in the crimes of the recent past – whether it be betrayal, silence or theft. Things that were almost forgotten now come to the fore with a vengeance. The past is not dead. It has not even passed.
Director: Ferenc Török
Writers: Gábor T. Szántó, Ferenc Török
Stars: Péter Rudolf, Bence Tasnádi, Tamás Szabó Kimmel
The Stefan Steinberg article continues:
1945 is a powerful film by Hungarian director Ferenc Török, which examines the issue of anti-Semitism in Hungary during and after World War II.
Two men dressed in black, evidently Jews, descend from a train and commence walking toward a nearby village. They are transporting two large boxes.
Their arrival in the village causes consternation. The father and son are survivors of the Holocaust. Are they seeking to regain their property, their house and their shop, which have been occupied (stolen) by local Hungarians led by the village mayor? Will other Jews with the same goal follow them?
Following on the heels of the fine Son of Saul (László Nemes, 2015), 1945 thrusts into public debate the persecution of Jews and the role played by the Hungarian ruling elite and its supporters. The film is a courageous contribution at a time when the ultra-nationalist government led by Viktor Orbán is systematically rehabilitating the virulently anti-Semitic regime of Miklós Horthy (1920-1944).
This video says about itself:
10 December 2015
BUDAPEST (JTA) — Although she lives in the undisputed nightlife capital of Central Europe, Andi Angelip knows of only a handful of bars here where she is truly comfortable bringing a date.
Angelip, a 19-year-old student and activist for lesbian and gay rights, said she avoids “rainbow” establishments that cater only to homosexuals. Yet in a country where violent far-right activists regularly intimidate gays and lesbians, she also avoids romantic situations in mainstream clubs.
“It’s not so comfortable to be a minority in a country whose politicians preach for discrimination on a daily basis,” she told JTA last month.
Two years ago, Angelip found at least one place where she does feel comfortable: an avant-garde Jewish community center called Aurora. Since its reopening in 2014 in a poor neighborhood of Budapest, it has become one of the city’s hippest coffee bars – and a major hub for social and opposition activists fighting the policies of Hungary’s right-wing government.
“I come here because it’s just a cool place, but also because I feel safe and comfortable here, like I belong,” said Angelip, who is not a part of Hungary’s Jewish population of approximately 100,000.
She is not the only minority rights activist who regards Aurora, a 6,500-square-foot center located in a small building in the crime-stricken 8th District, as a sanctuary from reality in Hungary. Critics of Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s government here say it is mainstreaming hate crime and Holocaust revisionism, as well as promoting censorship of the press.
Marom, the Jewish association that runs and owns Aurora as part of its outreach mission to young unaffiliated Hungarian Jews, provides office space and facilities to about a dozen non-Jewish activist groups committed to fighting these perceived trends. They include the Roma Press Center, Budapest Pride, the Migszol refugee advocacy group and the Zold Pok agency for social activism.
While Angelip and a female friend chatted over beer on a recent Monday in the Aurora bar – a cozy space with 1970s décor and music by the French protest singer Manu Chao — Marom’s staff of about 12 met in their upstairs office to review last year’s activities, including the group’s weekly Shabbat services in their small egalitarian synagogue and celebrations of Jewish holidays.
In addition to religious services, Marom also organizes educational activities in schools about the Holocaust, programs for street children, and cultural events like film screenings and experimental music concerts. It also hosts political discussions, such as a sold-out Jan. 30 debate on populism featuring László Majtényi, an outspoken critic of Orban.
“We work with non-affiliated Jews who would never go to a synagogue or even the Balint Center,” said Adam Schoenberger, the president of Marom, referring to the Jewish community center in central Budapest funded by the Joint Distribution Committee. “So we try to sneak Judaism into our programming, just to give them a taste and whet their appetite: a klezmer concert here, a Hanukkah candle lighting there.”
As Schoenberger talks to a visitor, in an adjacent room three activists from the Roma Press Center hammer out a strategy for covering the landmark trial at the European Court of Human Rights on the role of Hungarian police in allowing hundreds of rioters in 2012 to attack the home of a Roma family in the village of Devecser.
The court’s Feb. 8 ruling against the police – one of hundreds of hate crimes against Roma, or gypsies, recorded annually in Hungary – was hailed by Amnesty International as a “drop of hope in a sea of fear.”
“Not only is the far right party, Jobbik, the third largest in parliament, but the ruling Fidesz party has drifter further and further in its negative attitudes towards Roma,” the group said.
Against this backdrop, and amid a government-led crackdown on independent media, the Roma Press Center is “the only outlet that will bring the news about assaults in the countryside to the few news portals that are still not muzzled by the government,” Schoenberger said. “We find it very important that they be a part of Aurora.”
The press center, a nongovernment organization with a shoestring budget, receives a significant discount on rent from Marom.
The cooperation with Marom revolutionized the work of the Roma center, which was founded in 1995, according to the organization’s president, Szilvia Suri.
“We were renting office space in the center before we came here,” she said. “It was more expensive but more crucially, we were isolated there, whereas at Aurora we are better connected not only to the other organizations working here, but to the many Roma people who live in the 8th District.”
The Jewish-Roma partnership at Aurora is unusual in a country where the two minorities rarely act in unison, according to Eszter Hajdu, a Hungarian filmmaker who has studied that relationship.
“While both groups encounter some xenophobia, the Roma are far more vulnerable,” Hajdu said. And while Jewish groups at times participate in educational and charitable activities to assist Roma, “I can’t say the Jewish community is the first one to offer help” to the other minority, she added. She also said that part of the problem are negative biases each group holds of the other in Hungary.
The discounts that Marom offered its partner groups last year on using Aurora facilities and utilities amounted to $25,000 — a substantial sum in a country where the average monthly salary is about half that of the United States. Marom generates 90 percent of its annual budget and receives the rest from donations by JDC, the UJA-Federation of New York, Masorti Olami and others.
Building an alliance of liberal groups would be unremarkable for a Jewish organization in most other Western countries. But in Hungary, it places Aurora squarely at the center of opposition to a government-led campaign to root out foreign-funded grassroots organizations that do not conform to the party line, and to significantly limit the work of nongovernmental groups to local funding only.
Officials from Orban’s Fidesz party have already vowed to root out the network of NGOs that receive funding from the liberal Hungarian-American billionaire George Soros, who is Jewish, and have limited the work of other groups with funding from Norway. Now, most other local groups with a progressive agenda are bracing for intervention by the government.
Marom has experience with such intervention.
In 2014, Budapest officials kicked the group out of its former site in the city center on a building safety pretext. The eviction notice came two days after opposition activists used the space to plan an anti-government sit-in.
It was one of several opposition activities hosted by Marom in recent years, including in the 2013 student protests. Marom’s previous site was also the birthplace that year of the LMP Green party.
Mazsihisz, the umbrella group of Hungarian Jewish communities, has objected in recent years to perceived attempts by the government to whitewash Hungarian authorities’ complicity in the Holocaust, including by celebrating known anti-Semites. But Mazsihisz has remained nonpartisan.
And with good reason, according to Slomó Köves, a Chabad rabbi and leader of the local EMIH Jewish group, which is not part of Mazsihisz.
The government funds Jewish community life with hundreds of thousands of dollars annually, supports Israel in international forums and protects religious freedoms, Koves said. And while “it can be argued that it needs to be firmer on anti-Semitism, progress is being made there, too.” Ultimately, he argued, Hungarian Jews are safer and more secure about their future than their brethren in France.
But for Marom, which began in 1998 as an apolitical group, the penchant for opposition activism is inescapable, according to Schoenberger.
This is partly because “most unaffiliated Jews in Hungary seem to be liberal,” he said. But ultimately, “our opposition activism owes to the government’s war on core Jewish values of tikkun olam,” a Jewish concept of “repairing the world” and helping the needy, Schoenberger said.
This video says about itself:
30 September 2016
Only 400 blind mole rats are left in the world, and a major population that burrows beneath the Hungarian-Serbian border may be endangered by border patrols. Now, conservationists are trying to find them and relocate them to a safer home.