Not to get too tacky, but in an oft-quoted text, Marx notes that when history tends to repeat itself, it does so in the form of a farce. I am not often in the habit of quoting Marx, however the neo-Nazi protest at the 2011 Sziget Festival is hitting a level of ridiculousness where perhaps no free association is too wacky or tacky.
A call has been published on the internet for a neo-Nazi protest against high gas prices at the Sziget festival. Lacking much sense otherwise, its author tries to quell up anger in the average Hungarian neo-Nazi by blaming a coalition of “anti-Hungarian forces” (“Jewish festival organizers stuffed on the Hungarian state’s money allied with international anarchist-bolshevik anti-fascists threatening Hungarians with In-kal security guards in their own country”) for the burning down of a neo-Nazi pub in south-Hungary.
It sounds like the Hungarian neo-Nazis hope that their hang-out called “Revision” can serve as a farcical replacement of Germany’s Reichstag. The neo-Nazi group Betyársereg, the same group whose leader was caught on tape engaging in rants on anti-semitic violence this week already vowed that the arsonists will be punished. HVIM, the group behind the protest at the Sziget festival emphasizes that it is especially important, in view of their grave loss, to mobilize a “National Resistance” to the Sziget festival to protest in front of the Main Stage (that “embodiment of nihilism”).
But all silliness aside, according to the Hungarian-language communication the HVIM protesters are supposed to gather at 6PM outside of the festival’s entrance on Friday, August 12. Getting to know the private individual who requested the protest permit (which has been invalidated since it was issued) and who has already made an appearance at the Sziget festival on Tuesday might give an indication of just what to expect.
You can read more here about the legal background of how this private individual obtained a permit for a protest in front of the Main Stage in January, but the point is that he does not hold a valid permitted to protest at the Sziget festival. On his first visit to the festival – when he made an attempt to get on the island but was turned away by security guards – he made no mention of gas prices. It would be great to see a journalist ask him about it, I wonder if he could even address the issue.
There is no doubt that this person’s primary aim is to disrupt the Sziget festival. I suspect that he also has a secondary aim, which is to “throw a party” for his friends. Subtly but I think in ways easily recognized by mental professionals, he seems to act on delusions of grandeur which are typical of a person trying to offset his sense of inferiority. In one press release, he goes as far as to say that the Hungarian press mistakenly refers to the protest as a “demonstration” by HVIM (the Hungarian neo-Nazi group), because the reality is that it is an “event” (rendezvény) staged by a private person (himself). On the video made of his attempt to enter the event by origo.hu, he even states that he wants to “secure” free entry and exit to the protest. Once successful, he says he is going to advertise it on various internet sites “that anyone can come in here for free who is coming to my protest.”
The video contains no evidence that he has any plans to get beyond the gates of the festival. In the call he distributed through the internet, he expects to meet his national reistance in the area outside of the ticket gates at 6pm on Friday. There is a counter-protest being organized against the group’s protest at the same time.
Many fear the violence that would ensue if the neo-Nazi group were allowed inside the event. If that were their aim, however, they could easily enter the festival area without attracting so much attention to their plans. Relying on the video of his first appearance at the festival, Zoltán Gyimesi, the private individual behind the protest appears to be more set on suing. This would be quite in keeping with the general tactics of Hungarian neo-Nazis. They are in the habit of suing as many public officers and private individuals as their time allows (e.g. one of them is suing the president of the Hungarian parliament because he was not allowed to show his visitor around the Parliament’s premises; the Sun’s reporters are being sued for violating house rules of the Magyar Sziget festival and taping Chris Hurst holding his hand out in a Hitler salute, etc.)
What happens upon his request of the involvement of the police perhaps summarizes his attitude best. The police asks him for his identification. “I am going to give you my papers,” Gyimesi says, “but a lawful request for identification goes like this: you come here, you give a salute, you introduce yourself, you state the reason and the cause behind your request for my papers. So do so, please.” The police states his name. “You did not salute,” Gyimesi says to him, “so let’s start this all over again.” Though he himself called the police to the scene – to complain that the Sziget organizers blocked his access to the festival – he enjoys confrontation too much and cannot resist turning the situation into a game of passive aggression.
There is a counter-protest being organized against this madness, also at 6 pm on Friday, August 12 on the south side of the bridge leading into the festival by those concerned about how much further neo-Nazis are willing to go to bring humiliation to Hungary’s reputation.
This is a later addition to this post (8/13/2011) – thanks to anonymous reader for the tip!
There is a history in Hungary of violent protests by various neo-Nazi formations and organizations. This goes back to September of 2006, in other words, five years of clashes with the police. An anti-fascist organization compiled a registry of the individuals participating in these neo-Nazi riots, and they have a portray of this “private individual” Zoltán Gyimesi here – he had been quite a central figure in these violent protests. The page is in Hungarian, but you can see him posing on a picture, dated 2007, as if he were shooting the prime minister of Hungary. If you scroll down on the page, there is a video on which he and his fellows are just about to clash with police – Gyimesi is the person wearing yellow pullover.
Again, it is mind-boggling that, despite the fact that this evidence has been available for all these years, the government has not yet been able to disband these groups. What is more, some of these protesters, like Gyula Zagyva, are members of parliament (which means they have immunity from criminal procedures). And what is especially disturbing is that groups like this are able bully an entire society into complancency, by legal battles and disturbances like the one currently taking place at the Sziget. Apparently there is no stopping their intimidations and occasional ourbursts violence.