Magyar Garda inducts 400 new recruits into its ranks

by Michael Smith

The Magyar Garda, the militia arm of the radical right-wing political party Jobbik, inducted 400 new recruits – children, so it has been reported, among them – in a ceremony on October 25, 2008 in down-town Budapest.

Members of the Hungarian Guard, wearing black uniforms and insignias redolent of Nazi symbols, held their fourth national ceremony in Heroes' Square.

Among the members addressing the crowds were Lorant Hegedus Jr, a controversial Calvinist pastor, and Lajos Fur, former defence minister in Hungary's conservative government following the change of political system. Also present was Maria Wittner, an MP of the main opposition party Fidesz.

The Magyar Garda have in the past staged marches against the Romani-Gypsy community in Hungary in recent months, in actions that call to mind those marches of the Hitler's SA in the 1930s against Jews and Gypsies.

I must say that the more I look at Europe of the present era the more I am wondering whether I have entered a time warp, as far as the actions against Gypsies are concerned. Any visitor from outer space could be forgiven if he'd check his calendar just to make sure he is not in Europe of the 1930s and 1940s.

The party Jobbik registered "Magyar Garda" in June 2007 as a "cultural organisation" to "prepare youth spiritually and physically for extraordinary situations when it might be necessary to mobilise the people."

Now why does that sound so familiar? Because we have all heard and seen this before or at least if we were not present in those days then we hear about it.

Since then, however, the Guard has staged several demonstrative marches to intimidate the Gypsy community in several areas and has scared the life out of many of them. Its activity has drawn condemnation both in Hungary and abroad, evoking harsh protest from the parliamentary parties, NGOs and minority organisations alike. But that all means nothing unless we actually are going to see action. Then again, action will but drive such people under ground.

A civil suit in the courts aimed at dissolving Magyar Garda has been under way since March this year. The next court hearing is scheduled to take place in mid-December.

Does anyone really believe that those legal actions are going to get anywhere against such organisations, especially in the current anti-Gypsy climate in the European Union and elsewhere in Europe? I don't and I am sure nor do many of our People who have the slightest notions of how the cookie really crumbles. Personally, I doubt that we will ever get anywhere with legal means against such people as they have the support, in many instances, of people in authority, as we can see by supporters of Magyar Garda that were present at this rally.

© M Smith (Veshengro), October 2008