Athena Institute

Magyar

Waves of Gyöngyöspata

2011-04-23
After the domestic and the international press covered the latest events in detail both in Gyöngyöspata as well as in terms of the political controversy that followed, the results are mixed - and a lost opportunity for the country to address the extremist challenge properly.

After the domestic and the international press covered latest events in detail - both in Gyöngyöspata as well as in terms of the political controversy that followed -, the Athena Institute can sum up developments as follows.

  • The Athena Institute, in its previous Early Warning Dispatch, warned against such a situation concerning the training camp organized by the Soldiers of the Defense Force three weeks ago.
     
  • National Police sent adequate forces and kept the situation under control.
     
  • On Friday, a mass “evacuation” of Roma was organized that made the event widely reported, but some exaggerated claims to the international press also damaged the country.
  • As the camp was planned to be opened, National Police took into custody the organizers and prohibited others to wear military-like uniforms.
     
  • The Minister of Interior declared that those taken into custody will face the Court, but also sent mixed messages to the country (including a clear, but not forceful enough message against similar far-right groups, but also harshly criticizing the ‘evacuation’ while making some controversial remarks signaling that the Roma shall work).


The result is clearly mixed - and a lost opportunity for the country to address the extremist challenge properly.

The question is not addressed in a systemic way: as reported previously by the Athena Institute, other extremist groups are organizing these kinds of training camps for many years. There were no indication what is going to happen with those camps and their organizers.

Those organized the mass ‘evacuation’ were clearly successful in forcing the story to the front pages of all domestic media, while also generating some international media attention, but by making exaggerated comments, also forced political actors to start to play a political blame game that blurred the picture and delivered an unclear picture to the nation. It is yet unclear how the public is going to translate these course of events.

After all this, what seems clear is that:

  1. the Government - while properly gearing up in legal terms against future contingencies, etc. - shall also send clearer signals in such situations denouncing extremism,
     
  2. the NGO community must do better while planning such actions, especially in terms of communication - they should avoid exaggerated claims that undermines their credibility in the eye of the pubic as well as result in mixed messages from government officials who feel boxed in since all this results in a political blame game that neither the NGO, nor the Roma community is going to win,
     
  3. the Government and the law-enforcement community shall prepare for contingencies that might arise from this confrontation - namely the threat of splinter groups - detailed in the Institute’s previous Early Warning Dispatch.