On the night of Dec. 31, thousands gathered to take an oath to the Hungarian Republic (Magyar Köztársaság). What used to be the name of the democratic country in existence from 1989 through 2011 is being changed to Hungary, or “Hungarian country” (Magyarország) in 2012, when the constitution hastily composed by the currently ruling government comes into effect.
The demonstration also saw the founding of the Clean Hands Movement, an organization which is to carry on the aims of an “alternative” public (or citizen) media free of political manipulation.
Being a protester in Hungary is not necessarily a thankful role. Waves of far-right protests during the previous government made the role ignominious. That these protests are not an eye-for-an-eye (i.e. they are not conducted in the service of the political interests of the previous government, in the same way the protests that started off the series of far-right protests were fueled by the political interests of the current government) sometimes only matters for the sophisticated observer. There is a political culture in Hungary where who you are with is more important than what you are for. It is one of the reasons why democracy has been dismantled in this country to the extent it has already been by today.
When the demonstrators present at the unannounced occupation were asked why they decided to join the action, one of them said that though it still an open question as to whether the action will have any impact, it was important to make sure that these measures go into the history books with the note “citizens protested against it.” In December of 2011, hardly anything the Hungarian government goes into the history textbook without such a note testifying to the conscientiousness and the courage of the government’s protester.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 03 January 2012 08:49