Such an atrocious gathering of neo-Nazis that one politician was fired from his far-right party over his participation. It’s the Magyar Sziget, or Hungarian Island, an international get-together for the far, far-right of Europe.
The scandal broke out after the UK’s Sun had run the following article on the Magyar Sziget:
Chris Hurst since then has been fired from the BMP. He hardly bears the same responsibility for the event, however, as some of its Hungarian organizers – some of whom sit as MPs in the Hungarian Parliament.
Chris Hurst of the BNP was seen at the Magyar Sziget (Hungarian Island) holding his hand out in a Nazi salute and crying “Sieg heil” (hail victory), the ritualistic chant made famous at mass rallies – such as for example the one held in 1934 in Nuremberg. Hurst is the London Regional Secretary of the British Nationalist Party, the far-right party for “indigenous” Brits. BNP received only 1.9% of the votes in the 2010 general election, though just a year before two of their members, Nick Griffin and Andrew Brons, were elected as MEPs (Members of the European Parliament).
The Sun’s undercover journalists were able to infiltrate the event without notice, even though doing so has proven treacherous for others. Last year, two Hungarian journalists reported getting in, but once on the inside, they were followed by an “escort” who prevented from photograph, record or interview whatever he didn’t think was appropriate for reporting. By the way, the adventures of these two journalists ended at a “meeting” with Zagyva György Gyula – behind doors with a skull painted above it – who is both president of the neo-Nazi organizing group and a member of the Hungarian parliament. Cracking a bullwhip in his hand, he told them that they reached hostile territory, a territory which, in his own words, lies beyond the reach of democracy, and where many things could potentially happen to them. Beating and sexual abuse were mentioned as two such possibilities, but he then digressed into reminiscing about the fate other journalists suffered in his hand while their clothes were smeared with urine and feces.
The Sun’s reporters returned from the Hungarian Island unharmed and with a great story for British politics. They focus their report on Hurst’s enjoyment of a concert by Saga, the favorite singer of Anders Behring Brevik, the Norwegian famous for his murderous extreme right views (Breivik’s manifesto goes on for three pages about the beauty of Saga’s music). The tabloid that is otherwise a part of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp empire documented stalls packed with Nazi memorabilia on sale, among them copies of Mein Kampf as well as T-shirts and buttons bearing images of Hitler, the gates of Auschwitz concentration camp, swastikas and KKK hoods. The Sun’s journalists also describe attendees tattooed with storm-trooper symbols or with slogans such as White Power. They write that non-music programming included the screenings of a movie on the Hitler Youth.
Magyar Sziget (Hungarian Island) started out as a youth camp for Hungary’s neo-Nazi movement in 2001, organized by Hatvannégy Vármegye Ifjúsági Mozgalom, or HVIM. The name translates roughly as 64 County Youth Movement; the 64 counties in the name symbolize Hungary’s territory before 1919 (there are exactly 64 of them, which expresses the irredentist claim that Hungary extends to territories currently held by its neighboring countries).
Since its modest beginnings, however, this hungarist summer idyll has grown into a full-scale festival event complete with rock concerts, political lectures, recreational programs (such as the daily wine tasting, a soccer tournament, a hike to a nearby irredentist monument, or a demonstration, truly irresistible, of horse-back riding archery). Neo-nazis from all over Europe are drawn to this charming island of hungarism – from Belgium, France, Spain, Sweden, Italy, Poland, and now apparently from Britain as well. This despite the fact that the word “Island” refers to the national unity of Hungarians in the name of the week-long event. But the organizers are proud to offer a model by their camp idea to their international fellows, and they especially encourage importing it to territories populated by Hungarians in neighboring countries. The estimated number of participants drawn to this little gathering of hateful minds is over 10,000.
Mr. Hurst may have been at the Magyar Sziget incognito. He was certainly in jovial spirit (and, according to the report, after a few beers) when he told journalists of the Sun that BNP pal Nick Griffin forbade him to display the Nazi salute in public – you know, just in case undercover journalists might be present to document it. A number of Hungarian politicians, however, are openly (and probably proudly) participate and have their names printed on the festival’s official agenda.
Most of these politicians affiliated with Jobbik, a Hungarian far-right party that supposedly has no connection whatsoever with neo-Nazi organizations. In fact, 7 out of Jobbik’s 42 MPs were on the official schedule of the festival, either as lecturers or as participants of panel discussions:
- Vona Gábor (who is also president of Jobbik and leader of its parliamentary caucus)
- Gaudi-Nagy Tamás (who is also member of the Hungarian parliament’s Committee on Human, Minority, Civil and Religious Rights)
- Zagyva György Gyula (who is also president of HVIM, the neo-Nazi group that organizes the festival, and member of the Hungarian parliament’s Committee on Human, Minority, Civil and Religious Rights – as well as experienced bull-whip handler [see above])
- Mirkóczki Ádám (who used to be a member of the Hungarian parliament’s Committee on Human, Minority, Civil and Religious Rights – now he sits on the parliamentary committee investigating far-right paramilitary radical extremism and the events that took place in Gyöngyöspata)
- Z. Kárpát Dániel
- Szávay István
- Pörzse Sándor.
Two Jobbik mayors discussed how to create exemplary villages. Note the second participant and the expertise he brings to the subject:
- Orosz Mihály (Érpatak)
- Juhász Oszkár (recently elected mayor of Gyöngyöspata, where neo-nazi paramilitaries harassed the Roma population during the spring).
Jobbik also was represented by its legal counsels who held a workshop for the attendees of the festival.
Given its name and its profile, there is no doubt that Magyar Sziget, a.k.a. Hungarian Island, purports to be the neo-Nazi alternative to Hungary’s Sziget (Island) Festival. This year, however, HVIM’s leadership had greater ambitions: they wanted to organize a protest smack in the middle of the Island Festival.
The request for a protest permit on the island that hosts the Island Festival was submitted months in advance: HVIM wanted to exercise its right to assemble and to freely voice their opposition against gas prices (this ain’t no joke – against gas prices). Apparently they also assumed that their right to free speech gave them the right to free tickets to enter the Island Festival.
In the end, that right ended up as the right to demand entrance, but not the right to enter the real Sziget festival. Just a few days ago, the police denied the protest permit. The island park which is normally public space, according to the justification of their decision, is considered to be private property while rented by the Sziget festival organizers. We do not yet know whether HVIM will acquiesce to the decision – they spent the last few days at the Hungarian Island.
An update to the story: only a day after the article had run in The Sun, Chris Hurst was fired from the BNP. Some of the things he said to the reporters were found to have been unacceptable, even for a party as far to the right as the BNP. Specifically, his remarks on the Norwegian tragedy really stroke a nerve. Hurst stated that, though it was a mistake to kill white youngsters (as opposed to the non-white?), “it’s good to fight back.” The victims of the tragedy were needed in order “to ‘breed’ to increase the white population,” and “isolated incidents like that are going to happen more and more as the problem gets worse.” Now it’s time to fire the Hungarian politician on the official program of the event.