Hungary: The Past is Back to Rule the Present

I went to Hungary to participate in a heart-wrenching homage to a historic cause. What I experienced proved to be a shocking transmission of the totalitarian past into the dictatorial present. This article is about more than a country that has the misfortune to be the scene of the events to be presented. This piece is about the symptoms of an ailment, repackaged Communism that is “democratic” only as long as it can camouflage a dictatorial core with democratic theatrics.

Fifty years ago an anti-Communist uprising shook the world. Soon thereafter the impotent international community overcame its shame by forgetting about the criminals and their victims it had pitied before discovering that giving sympathy is easier than it is to help. On October 23, 1956, a small country, Hungary, challenged the post-war status quo in East Europe. The attempt to cast off a yoke, even if crushed by Soviet armor, left a fungus behind that caused the dissolution of the Red Empire’s core. In ’56 Hungary showed the resentment of captive peoples and suggested to the eager appeasers that challenging Moscow spontaneously is forlorn. In 1968 the CP-led Prague Spring demonstrated that Party-led reforms also fail. 1989 proved that the “system” could only be reformed by first demolishing it.

I returned to Budapest to participate in the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the Revolution. The purpose was to pay homage to a seminal event of our time and the defining episode of his personal life. To thank for having survived a role in the line of fire by not being around to be hanged, an essay “about it all” had been planned. Accordingly, this contribution was prepared by posting two preparatory pieces. Stunning events have superceded the plan and proved that history is about more than the past’s extension into the future. History is the unfolding of the unpredictable and its evolvement implies the lack discernible antecedents – until after the event.

Two separate commemorative events were scheduled for the 23rd of October. One was the official homage put on by the governing Socialists that few besides the representatives of foreign governments had attended. Those identifying with the revolution knew that from the prime Minister down, the VIPs will be the descendants of the Communists who fought then what opportunism now forces them to cheer. Naturally the Left also stayed away because it had no inclination to bow to something that had imperiled it. It did not suffice to overcome these reservations that the PM’s party claims that ’56 was a “Socialist revolution” because it made out of the subsequently executed Imre Nagy – an avowed Communist – a Prime Minister. The masquerade had another irritating aspect for those who rule Hungary. Medals were to be handed out at the state-venue. However, many of the decorated refused to shake hands with the PM – who is additionally tainted by a fresh scandal in which he admitted that he has been lying “morning, noon and night” to get elected.

What became the “main event” was scheduled weeks ago by the Young Democrats (YD), the opposition. This is the gathering I attended. About a hundred thousand, elderly people, families, the young, many in their Sunday best came to pass a balmy afternoon at a key intersection of Budapest. Much of the rather flat program was not audible as – not by accident – choppers kept hovering over us. Mr. Orbàn’s speech – he had served as PM and leads the YDs – came last. My interest was great as he is often described as a charismatic right-wing extremist. Here was my chance to experience the devil in person. Orbàn’s address was luke warm. (He might be holding back to overcome the image of the orator who is too clever.) So, no hurricane fanned the waves and there was a mention of the need to be non-violent. Once Mr. Orbàn was done we were asked to sing the national anthem. Then the big screens went dark. We started for home – and unintentionally to an “interesting” experience.

At this stage I was about a hundred yards from the front of the crowd. Having turned, I saw that beyond the people now ahead of me, 3-500 yrds of the street ahead is empty. Beyond that there were police to whom I did not pay much attention. As we moved a few yards, the impossible happened. Without any warning mounted police charged with swords drawn. Being unable to believe what was happening we were paralyzed. Once they were upon us their water cannon sprayed an itching green liquid and we took volleys of rubber bullets and tear-gas grenades. The shock of the attack, the missiles – some fired from rapid-fire launchers – created a panic. Even as we ran the shooting continued (wounded backs) and in pursuit grenades were propelled into the houses in which we fled. Visually the bleeding made a great impression and for the hard-boiled there was the nauseating gas reinforced by blows for those who could not duck. (Our group of six got home hours apart and in four units.)

With some luck I managed to land in a side-street in front of a synagogue – Europe’s biggest I heard. While trying to save myself I had to think of a young woman with a baby hung in her front and one in a cart who was near me when all this started. As I tried to escape by moving away from the direction of the attack I ran into people trying to flee to where I ran from. It soon became clear that at least several of the four streets leading to the crossing where we had been addressed were blocked by riot(ing) police. Therefore it is surprising that the confusion and the panic did not escalate into a blood-bath.

A few details might be given emphasis here. For one thing, this was not a demonstration but an act of homage – with a priest included. Yes, there was shouting demanding the resignation of the lying PM but this hardly amounts to sedition. The government alleges that further ahead of us hooligans were active. Had the police wanted to maintain security it could have blocked the boulevard to channel the crowd through the side-streets located along our intended path. Had dispersing the crowd been the goal, one only had to let it go home which it set out to do. The actual concept of the operation is revealed by a new report I have. Around 8 p.m. – therefore hours after the troubles began – police burst into a upscale restaurant. The guests were asked for their papers. Then they – including foreigners and the cook – were beaten. One man will need weeks to heal his fractured scull and his smashed hand. Once done the riot police tear gassed the establishment and closed the doors.

Now, to the means used by the riot police. The gas seems to have been more intensive than anything I have ever experienced. The bullets penetrated clothing and created rather large wounds. Furthermore, regarding the use of these means, some oddities emerge. The grenades were not fired ahead or above the crowd but aimed right into it. Also, the rubber bullets were not directed at the legs but at the heads of the assembled. The press reports that one man had five wounds on his back. The injuries in their extent and number correspond to the use of the weapons. The abuses were hardly the result of individual excess. The thesis of a planned action is substantiated: while the display of identification is a prescribed part of the uniform, our masked tormentors wore none. Later the authorities explained that only uniforms must have an ID but not training outfits. Erasing “fingerprints” is obviously of concern. Some who were detained and clobbered were released a day later only once they signed a waiver that they have no claim against their captors.

There is more. The “day after” Budapest’s Chief of Police gives an interview. He is asked about the use of a special baton called “the viper”. Vipers are illegal. We do not use them. “Show me just one”! Next morning pictures appear –with viper-swinging riot police. (The Chief is still in office.) This performance is not less than that of the PM on the same day. In parliament he announced that there is in Hungary’s public life no place for violence. The “demonstrators” wanted to take the anniversary away “from the people” and tried to take the country “hostage.” The mike of a respondent was cut off before he could finish.

Three cases of atrocities deserve special mention. An MP used a moment of calm between the police and the crowd. Waving his ID identifying him as a parliamentarian he went to the policemen. They looked at the ID and beat him up. A fractured bone, a bandaged head – he has a memory loss – and an arm in a cast were the price he paid. The second case is that of a priest. He tried to calm the parties. The police got an order to club him. One cop exclaimed “but he is a priest!” The more so, let him have it, was the answer. In at least one case a whole volley was fired on and into a Red Cross rescue van and its crew that was loading the injured. TV showed several scenes documenting atrocities. In a typical one a man holding a flag stands alone in a street. He is tackled by four men. Heaved over on the side walk a mass of police pounces to beat and kick him. Understandably TV crews got special attention manifested in the form of rubber bullets. A Polish crew located the beaten Jesuit and tried to interview him. Riot police ordered them to leave as they had no permit. The Poles meant that in an EU-country one does need a permit. Most revealingly the police retorted: “there is no EU here.” The statement of fact raises a good question: where is the EU, where is the otherwise so easily outrages international press?

My experiences that proved that what was supposed to be “history” is alive enough to be repeated, suggest disheartening insights. The attack on the gathering had no other discernible purpose than to humiliate the participants and the parties who held the ceremony. Taking revenge for being ignored at the official celebration and the refusal of the PM’s hand by participants adds revenge as a motive. Soon the bankrupted country will experience economic tightening and the standard of living, including that of those who voted for the Socialists’ promises, will fall. Demonstrating now the rulers’ resolute strength against a disarmed society might dampen the courage to protest later on.

I went to Budapest to celebrate an occurrence of a half a century ago that, regardless of its defeat, had led to the re-establishment of democracy. What I witnessed suggests that the substance of democracy has still not arrived. Meanwhile, to create a basis of legitimacy, Hungary’s “Socialist” rulers claim ’56 for themselves as a socialist revolution. However, the Stalinist features that emerged once the mask slipped down, revealed a different image. The glimpse suggests that these people would have acted, had ’56 come back by a time-machine, exactly as their political ancestors did in when the country dared to rise against Communism’s shackles. Conclusion: not they have changed, the circumstances that have been altered and with them the tactics of domination.

Alas, and tellingly of a basic problem, the documented unwarranted and excessive violence applied has not caused the national outrage called for. In fact the Socialists’ support rose from 18 to 24%. Nevertheless, it is safe to predict that the economic crisis will soon hit the apathetic who care mainly about getting beer and sausages. The resulting discontent will cause a devastating defeat of the “Socialists” on the national level. It might be worse than the rout in the local elections on October 1st. Having witnessed the extent of turpitude to which the Socialist - Left-Liberal government is willing to go, a question looms large. Will the votes cast and the official majority proclaimed be allowed to correlate? After all, even with regard to the last national election, some doubts exist about the closeness of the interrelationship between ballots cast and the results.

@ Peter Kiss

Yes, I'm sure you're right. However, I was factoring in the Ottoman occupation of and quartering of soldiers in the Balkans, which must have had some genetic impact, most likely in those areas which are currently Muslim i.e. including both converts and descendants of Ottoman soldiers, officials, and settlers. Obviously, the Ottoman armies contained significant contingents of Anatolian and Balkan Greeks (Janissaries) and Bulgars, which were already present in Southeastern Europe, but Turks, Kurds, Levantines, Persians, Caucasian peoples, and Arabo-Berbers were also found within their ranks. Naturally, the genetic differences between the Bulgarians and Serbians were sown before Islam ever exploded from the Arabian peninsula. In conclusion, the Ottoman conquest of Southeastern Europe had a negligible genetic impact; the numbers of non-Europeans and the amount of admixture being relatively small.


Firstly, I obviously do not "own" this blog, for if I did, you would be banned.


Secondly, I did not refer to the Hungarians as "socialist," if you had read my post you would have read me arguing that the 1956 revolutionaries were more likely nationalists, social democrats, and liberal democrats, as opposed to classical liberals or neo-conservatives.


Thirdly, many of the Muslims in the Balkans are of the same ethnicity as their Christian neighbours e.g. the Bosniaks are Yugoslavians as much as the Serbs or Croats. However, the Muslims immigrating into Western Europe are Arab, Iranian, Levantine, African, Berber, South Asian (Pakistani, Bangladeshi) and various combinations thereof. Thus, these newcomers share neither blood, culture, land, language, nor religion.


Lastly, again, the barbaric goings-on in South Asia do not really concern me next to what is going on in Europe, I'm afraid. The Hindus can be just as primitive and barbaric as their Muslim and Sikh enemies. Most importantly, this blog is about Europe, especially w.r.t. social (Islamization) and economic (conservatism) policies.

Balkan muslims


Slight correction about the ethnicity of Balkan muslims: not many of them, but nearly ALL of them are the same ethnic/racial/genetic stock as either the catholic or the orthodox slavs. However, religion seems to overwrite all other ties - blood, culture, land or language.

Peter Kiss

Thank you George Handlery for telling the truth about Hungary!

Dear Mr. Handlery,
Thank you very much for your frank report on October 23 events in Budapest!
I was there, too. Leaving the peaceful Fidesz rally of 100,000 people I got the police attack of tear-gas grenades and mounted police using swords on Károly körút. As it happened, I fled to the same place you did, next to the synagogue. I left the place through the Wesselényi utca. Your report is real! It was unbelievable it could happen!
If your opinion were the official opinion of Brussels and the EU-parliament, most of the Hungarian people - including me - would not be EU-skeptic…
Thanks again for telling the truth!

A Hungarian physician

Low caste, gang-raped pakki woman - concrete evidence!

If you dont believe, here is the news item proving casteism among pakki muslims:
"....In June this year, in remote Meerwala village, 610 kms from the capital Islamabad, young Mukhtiar Mai wept and pleaded for mercy when she heard the verdict (verdict that she should be raped!). But the 18-year-old was dragged into a mud hut and gang raped, while a crowd of a few hundred stood outside.

The ordeal of the impoverished lower caste Gujjar family started ..the boy's father, was told to bring one of his five daughters - failing which all the women in his family would be raped. With no option left, Farid brought Mukhtiar, his eldest daughter, to bear the brunt of the verdict..."

hello back skye,

As I pick up my laptop and turn it on its like walking into my virtual garden and looking over my virtual fence i see you guys, and do you know how that makes me feel ? why we are virtual neighbors, no , more than that, we are family, every time I log on there you are skye, Atheling and Taurus689, guys, there is the world……and then there is us…….i just wana know how come you write all this stuff before I get a chance too…. Have you got a virtual glass against the virtual wall ??

Casteism is age old in Pakistan too! @ Miriam

The gang-raped lady, Ms Mai, who was visiting USA to prevent future rapes among women was/is indeed from a low caste status of Pakistan, mind you! So, you have casteism even among 'pakkis'!!  

As Miriam Madam said, the Indian Government has had a low caste or Dalit as a President while no Western Government has had any Black President - or even a Woman for a long time! That ought to speak for the advanced level of the Indians!!..!

They have had many islamist Presidents including the current one who 'usurped'  not just from low Castes but also from a competing/contending Christian by name Mr P.C. Alexander.



@Andre owns this blog?

Andre, For heaven's sake, dont eat your words whether they come from your mouth or not! You are the one who called the Hungarians 'socialists'! [Unlike you, I am being civil living in the Western civilization!}

We all know you dont own this blog! Americans [like me] must be welcome here too! This is for all those who have suffered from racist, homophobic and xenophobic islamofascism [East Asians being the worst hit by zillions of 9/11s, 7/7s, 3/11s]. This blog is about learning ase mature, educated, sophisticated, clear- and level-headed Westerners or Easterners [infidels all the same] from our common mistakes.

I didnt make any **assertion** about Hungary when I used the q-tag "right?" though I found later it is Bulgaria that has 10% muslims.

Second, casteism is an ancient cultural structure that can't be eliminated overnight or outlawed by brutal diktat, though their Nehruvian Government had legislated to eliminate much of existing differences.

Third, casteism is a little like the hierarchy of the Catholic church and much like the monarchy by birth-right either in the WEST or EAST, though monarchy has been routinely undermined in the East as in Nepal/Afghanistan/Iran by commies, fanatics and bigots..etc.

Fourth, casteism has persisted [for the last 900 years] even among **converted** muslims and Christians as we find "Dalit" muslims/Christians who are the most persecuted outcasts or lowest among muslims/Christians too. The colonial rulers did nothing in 900 years to eliminate casteism! [The current political party of Christians in nexus with hateful islamofascist villains and commies, has failed miserably too [ruling for the past 50 odd years] as it is now planning a **caste** based quota system for jobs and college seats!.. !]

And I am still there

And those police methods. Yes, there were some examples excessive force, they were well documented by the media, and they will probably serve as a basis for corrective training. But the devil is in the details. And one crucial detail is that once a violent mob is warned to disperse (this one was, several times), anyone who stays - including members of parliament - will be dispersed by force, regardless of race, religion, age, family status, profession or good intentions. A police charge (mounted or dismounted) cannot pause to examine everyone's motivations for not dispersing - you stay, you risk getting your head cracked.

The non-lethal ammunition (shotgun shells with rubber projectiles, probably Tri-Dent) was designed for direct fire. The projectiles have a trajectory like a rainbow (the tear-gas grenades even more so). At 30 meters their vertical spread is considerable. Insofar as a shotgun can be aimed at all (not much), you don't aim at the legs, but at center of mass (which means about the sorar plexus). The police fired thousands of rounds, and caused something like 3 to 5 head injuries - to me that says they were reasonably careful about their aim.

And I am really curious about the tear-gassed restaurant, does it have a name?

The police are not entirely stupid. They had been monitoring some telephones, and just published some recorded conversations between the mob's organizers (not just the texts, but played the recordings). These make it fairly clear, that the organizers' intention was to pull the riot-police with them, until they could mix with the rally crowd.

Peter Kiss

I was there, too

Perhaps it helps if you understand the local politics and speak the language. I do both. Apparently Handlery does, too, but he seems to have left out some significant pieces of information.

Orbán, the leader of the Young Democtats has been an ambitious failure several times over. He cannot get over his election defeat two years ago, when he was the incumbent prime minister, yet managed to lose to a particularly weak socialist candidate. Instead of responsible opposition politics, he has been an obstructionist demagogue since then. He found some useful - and deniable - allies on the far right (which cannot get over the fact that post-communist Hungary does not buy into their anti-capitalist, anti-business and antisemitic vision) and among the soccer hooligans (just as nihilistic and violent as those in England). On Oct 23 Orbán deployed these with reasonable skill, hoping to provoke a major incident. He succeded in provoking only a minor one: the police had had some warning, they were careful about applying force - but when they did apply it, they meant it.

Handley claims to have been there, yet he seems not to have noticed a violent mob of some two thousand. First these tried to disrupt the celbrations at the Parliament building (the "official" celebrations). They attacked the police with paving stones, clubs, bottles, knives and a tank (a 1956-era T-34 museum-piece, part of a static display). When the police pushed them back, they made a fighting witdrawal in the direction of the Young Democrats' rally (about 1,500-2,000 meters away), continuosly fighting with the riot police. The police repeatedly warned the organizers of the rally that a violent mob was moving in their direction, and requested the organizers to warn the participants not to take a particular route (one of four) in the mob's direction, once the rally was over. The warnings were ignored, part of the dispersing rally crowd and the mob got mixed.

Peter Kiss


Firstly, Hungary is not "commie" nor is its population 10% Muslim; Muslims are not statistically significant in Hungary. It sounds like you pulled your information out of your ass after you had fed it LSD.


Secondly, we were talking about Hungary. Moreover we're discussing Europe, despite the strange presence of Americans on this blog. This thread is not an excuse to discuss India! If you want to start a pro-Indian anti-Muslim blog do it elsewhere. As far as I am concerned, Hinduism with its caste system and clans is contrary to Western civilization, and Sikhism is even more so.

Commies can perform miracles to aid the jiahadis..

There are about 10% hateful islamofascist villains in commie Hungary, right? Like all such barbaric villains, they too tested their power using veil and head-scarfs - perhaps counting on commies. Luckily, they failed as in UK's school teacher's case.

Unluckily for India and Nepal, savage islamofascist villains in evil nexus with the commies, are flexing their muscle more and more, grabbing ever more. One islamist Upper House MP of their parliament said banning veil is unislamic and ordinary muslims cant decide on this but only the [taleban type] imams and mulahs of India!

Too bad, the unwise Indians dont know the power of boycott that they should have leveraged a long, long ago..Only then, we can get traction on this issue of spread of islamofascism in Europe.

The German leftwing magazin

The German leftwing magazin "Telepolis" confirms this description of the events.

If the purpose of the state is to maintain law and order at whatever cost, including risking the lives and security of those for whom the state is supposedly protecting, then one wonders where is the dividing line between a democracy and a dictatorship.

That the Hungarian authorities engineered the violence against peaceful protesters is quite apparent.

'56 vs. 2006 Part II

My second "prong" as it were is to challenge Mr. Handlery's opinions of Hungarians' view of their socialist government, the latter's response to its manifested unpopularity, and the relation of these to 1956.

While the majority of Hungarians certainly regard their government as corrupt and are concerned with the economic peril in which their country finds itself, they do not consider the socialists in the same light as the Soviets. The latter were Russian and used 88 mm tank cannon not tear gas. Secondly, it is clear the socialists must go and that their economic policies must be changed, it is not evident as yet that the citizens of Hungary need to take up arms as they did in 1956.

Even Western governments use disproportionate force against their citizenry when they take to the streets esp. against the anti-globalization movement.

And yes, the socialists do contain ex or neo-communists and to some extent support certain Communist policies and practices; however, it must also be noted that a certain number of anti-Soviet (1955-56) revolutionaries in Poland, Hungary, the Baltics, Finland, and East Berlin were either actively or passively supportive or sympathetic to the National Socialists. Such partisans numbered in the tens of thousands in the Baltics and Finland (e.g. Forest Brotherhood) and were active until the 1970s. I am certain that the current socialists contain genuine social democrats as surely as I am certain that the anti-Soviet partisans included nationalists who were not Fascist or National Socialist.

Corruption is corruption.

'56 vs. 2006 Part I

Mr. Handlery seeks in his conclusion to draw a parallel between the current demonstrations and their causes and their historical counterparts a half century ago.
However, these eras differ significantly:
The 1956 Uprising was due to a number of grievances: (a) foreign domination by Moscow, (b) the severity of Soviet oppression (as Hungary had been an Axis member), (c) the economic hardships imposed by Stalinism, and (d) Hungary's being sealed off from the West (like Poland and unlike say Romania, it leaned westward). In general the protest was a nationalistic one, evidenced by the fact that Nagy was "made" Prime Minister. In addition, Hungarians still look fondly on the days of "Goulash Communism" during the 1960s and 1970s (?). Lastly, the Soviets invaded not because of the political threat, but to prevent Hungary from leaving its military alliance - the WP. Had the Hungarian revolutionaries (or counter) succeeded against Moscow in 1956, it is not unthinkable that a moderately Communist or at least a very social democratic country would have emerged as a neutral ground between East and West. So while 1956 was not a "Socialist" revolt, it certainly wasn't a capitalist, conservative, or even arguably a liberal one. Indeed, it was a nationalistic one, and as Hitler's Germany, Churchill's Great Britain, and Stalin's Russia demonstrate, it can take on a variety of forms on the right-left spectrum.