Fidesz mayor Máté Kocsis and the hysteria around refugees in Hungary

Máté Kocsis, the Fidesz party mayor of Budapest’s 8th district, is among the most avid Facebook users in Hungary, and in his case it’s not a press secretary posting updates on his behalf, but the mayor himself. Sometimes he gets himself into trouble, like when he engaged in a homophobic tirade earlier this year, after a liberal politician outed him as allegedly being gay. Mr. Kocsis vehemently and repeatedly denied his alleged homosexuality in angry Facebook posts.

“I am not a faggot,” Mr. Kocsis later said in a video interview, standing in front of a map of the pre-1920 Kingdom of Hungary. He more recently posted a Hungarian flag overlay on his Facebook profile picture, in response to the wave of rainbow flag overlays that appeared following the U.S. Supreme Court decision legalizing gay marriages throughout the country.

Mayor Máté Kocsis uses a Hungarian flag overlay on his Facebook image, following the U.S. Supreme Court's decision to legalize gay marriage.

Mayor Máté Kocsis uses a Hungarian flag overlay on his Facebook image, following the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to legalize gay marriage.

Máté Kocsis has also been one of the most prominent right-wing politicians to consistently play on xenophobia within Hungarian society, by creating an atmosphere of fear and loathing around the wave of Syrian and Afghan refugees transiting through Hungary, and often ending up (if only temporarily) in the mayor’s district. On Tuesday, Mr. Kocsis informed his residents that the refugees had effectively “destroyed” one of the main public parks in the 8th District, and which had only recently been upgraded and revitalized using municipal funds.

“The migrants have completely ruined our recently upgraded II. János Pál pápa tér.  They have erected tents, set fires, they are littering, they are being rowdy, they are stabbing with knives and are defacing property. We have never had so much human waste in our public places,” wrote Mr. Kocsis on his Facebook page. He then made a sarcastic remark about another district mayor–the left-centre Gergely Karácsony of a Budapest suburb called Zugló–who has been among the few politicians to show compassion to the refugees, even if it may not win him brownie points among many voters.

“Zugló isn’t far from here and what’s more, my colleague Gergely Karácsony will give them everything they need: accommodation and food. In fact, the mayor’s party would even make Budapest public transportation–which is running a deficit–free for the migrants. According to him, Hungarian taxpayers can just pay the bill on behalf of the immigrants,” posted Mr. Kocsis to his Facebook page. His post received 567 likes and over 500 comments.

Some of his Facebook followers, however, suggested that the mayor was lying. To begin with, there were no tents erected by refugees. Secondly, the reason public squares like II. János Pál pápa tér suddenly saw hundreds of refugees arrive is because Budapest police forced them to leave the nearby Keleti pályaudvar railway station, located just a few blocks away. Having been evicted from the grounds of the train station, they simply had nowhere else to go. Additionally, it would appear that local authorities closed off all access to public toilets in the vicinity of the square, leaving the refugees (including children) absolutely nowhere to relieve themselves.

Syrian and Afghan refugees in II. János Pál pápa tér, a park in the 8th District, after being evicted from the Keleti railway station by police. There is no sign of tents, fires being lit, knife violence or fighting, as Mayor Kocsis claimed on Facebook. Photo: Zoltán Balogh/MTI.

Syrian and Afghan refugees in II. János Pál pápa tér, a park in the 8th District, after being evicted from the Keleti railway station by police. There is no sign of tents, fires being lit, knife violence or fighting, as Mayor Kocsis claimed on Facebook. Photo: Zoltán Balogh/MTI.

“Where have they ever set fires,” asked one local, who volunteers with the refugees and provides them with food. “The garbage is all collected and placed in bags next to the bins. The ‘migrants’ are actually cleaning as well. Maybe the bags of garbage should be removed from the park…Every single letter of your post is a bald-faced lie. You should be ashamed of yourself!”–wrote the volunteer.

Mr. Kocsis responded to the post, addressing the volunteer as “sir” and claiming that municipal employees were sent out to clean the garbage in the park.

“First off, I am a woman. Secondly, it’s not municipal workers, but volunteers and male refugee who cleaned up the trash,” responded the activist to the mayor.

Meanwhile, Budapest’s municipal government has decided to create “transit areas” for refugees around major railway stations, where they will provide them with basic medical care and hygiene facilities. But even this municipal service–which is long overdue–will be largely managed by the activists and volunteers who have been working with the refugees in areas like the 8th district and around Keleti for the past month.

It’s high time that police and municipal officials work with NGOs and stop deliberately creating completely inhumane conditions for Syrians and Afghans fleeing civil war and on-going violence or repression.

54 Comments

  1. THE ODIUM OF ORBANISTAN

    Every day it becomes harder and harder to believe the depths of heartlessness to which the Fidik-minded populace of Hungary has sunk.

    Shameless, shameful. The historic stigma this will leave on the government and its supporters — mitigated only by that wonderful minority of Hungarians who have hearts and are helping the helpless victims of their countrymen’s odious apathy and antipathy — will be indelible.

    The righteous Hungarians will one day prevail, but meanwhile Orbanistan is a pariah among nations, an odious blight on humanity itself. Shame, shame and more shame.

  2. Avatar Arpad Kovacs says:

    Whoa Mr. Harnad: if you hate Hungary and its people so much why don’t you write for a paper in say Romania or Slovakia? I’m sure those countries are not as “odious.”

    • Avatar Christopher Adam says:

      Arpad Kovács,

      There’s no need to be so over-the-top in your response. It is a system, a regime that is ruthless and odious, rather than an entire people, a nation or an entire country. It’s just that this system seems to control or repress so many facets of life in this country and has desensitized large parts of the population.

      • It is not his fault Chris, he was taught from birth to defend every decision by any Hungarian government. He would not be the first Hungarian to confuse a populace with its government. This is what is referred to as “Hungarian Pride”, it doesn’t have to make sense to the rest of the world. This is how Hungarians can justify being the victims when it suits them. As you likely noticed, Hungarians are historically never responsible for any of the mistakes of the past. The problems are always a result of a previous government. Once this regime is gone, they will be the ones who ruined everything, not the electorate. They always just hope you don’t remember them defending the government and taking a complaint about their government personally. I have been told that I should stand by Hungary no matter what because I am Hungarian more times than I can count. What I find extremely embarrassing is that there are not many reasons to support the current government. I will not lap up lies just to suit others and I am repulsed at so many who will scream their support from the rooftops even with the knowledge of what their government is doing to them. Later, just don’t say “I told you so”! Now I will patiently await for someone to tell me I am anti-Hungarian, or a Hungarian hater, possibly even a traitor to Hungary because I blame the electorate for not paying attention to how their country is being run, for allowing so much to continue, for not doing anything to ensure that their leaders are not pissing their hard earned money away. I blame them for not having a democratic bone in their bodies. I know that this will upset people, but it is nothing but the truth!

        • Avatar Christopher Adam says:

          Liz,

          This is a very poignant reflection on this sad reality. Unfortunately, like all authoritarian regimes, feedback and honest self-reflection is never appreciated by those in power, or by those who collaborate.

          • I can send you 10 migrants right away. Do you have room in your apartment? I will write you a month later to check on those people’s condition.

          • Hun, I bet you haven’t even seen a migrant. Jump on many bandwagons lately? People like you disgust me, too lazy and ignorant to form an independent opinion. I bet you watch a lot of state television though.

          • Liz

            I haven’t seen a migrants? Your ignorance disgusts me. You give water to go migrants and many of them just throw that away. They litter all around, but many of them have smartphones…
            Migrants will be going home, soon.
            I bet you are out of touch with reality.

      • There is no need for you to worry. If you can manage this situation better, then be an example for everybody. Do not preach.

        • So you admit that the government is unable to humanely look after war refugees that have arrived in Hungary, despite having agreed to do so, and so volunteer organisers like you are trying to be like Jesus Christ and help those in need. It’s a good thing that the Austrian government didn’t have similar lapses in 1956. I commend you for trying to help! Unfortunately, Christopher Adam would not want to attract the attention of the authoritarian surveillance state that currently controls Hungary (against the wishes of the majority of the population, according to the last election), so he would not be able to give those innocent families the help that the rulers of Hungary so sadistically deny them (like bathroom facilities). I’m sure that you can just add them to the many refugees in your home. You’re so brave!

          • Could you manage 100 000 migrants at once? You couldn’t.
            I do not care what you think about 1956. Your assumptions are false.
            Jesus? Are we Jesus? We cannot do miracles, we work for the better future for our children and ourselves (if we can afford that).
            So before you immerse in your neoliberal utopianism, use your common sense.

        • No one ever has a chance to show how to manage this situation better in a professional fashion until Orban is in the velvet chair with his private army the TEK behind him and takes good care of any capable opponents of him.

          Orban’s opponents who tried to show how to do it and as a result died in mysterious circumstances:
          Váradi András 50
          Komáromi András 47
          Szebellédi István 62
          Welsz Tamás 41

          Mentioning only the known cases.

    • Nice picture, but the situation today is much different. Do you want to be a great liberal humanist? I can send you a 10 migrants and you could show the world how good are you providing for them. Do you agree?

      • C’mon how many times do you want to write this down on this board? Buggy? Need a Turing test? You wanna send 10 migrants to everybody, smarty? You don’t need to do so, they leave Hungary at once they have arrived. It’s just a transit station for them.

        “Ninety percent or more of those people are no longer in Hungary,” Helsinki Committee co-chair Marta Pardavi told Reuters. “There are more people homeless in Budapest – only the migrants are more visible.”

        Reuters.

        • Transit station. Yes it is for now. But Germany is fast becoming overcrowded with migrants. And many will be sent back here, where they entered the EU. No to migrants from the south, no from west.

      • I tell you what, you take in 10 migrants, then I will too. Until you take in the 10 migrants and actually do something to help the situation, keep the mouth shut!

        • I work to make the lives of my children better. I do not work for a migrants benefit. If they want living conditions, the state will provide tools for them to work.
          My family and my community first. Then everybody else. This is the natural order.
          You have no real experience with migrants so come here to deal with them or shut up.

          • You know nothing about me, and you have no idea what experience I have. I do have experience sponsoring refugees and even cared for them in my home for a period of one year for each and we struggled too! I understand that not everyone in Hungary can afford to offer help as many are just barely surviving themselves. I also know that the EU is sending aid and money to Hungary to help with the crisis, which someone is obviously pocketing. They are deliberately being herded to the city and into public places to incite fear and anger by not even giving them a place to lay their head and use the bathroom, deliberately to make them and the situation look worse than it already is. There are UN programs in place with budgets for the care and implementation of proper reception and processing of the refugees. It appears there is a whole lot of money that is not reaching the migrants in any way shape or form. It appears you have 0 experience and base your opinion on what you are being told, obviously too stupid and lazy to get the proper info yourself so, you should shut up!

        • Liz,

          They are camping near the train station in Budapest in the public parks, everybody knows that. They are waiting for a free ride for Austria or Slovakia. Do not lie about that.
          I guess you cannot be trusted.

          • How am I lying? I never denied the fact that the government is herding them into Budapest and forcing them to gather in the parks as they will not let them stay in the train station. You and I both know that not only would they love to get the hell out of Hungary as their treatment is aweful, but Hungarians want them to move on as well. What you and I also know is that they should be put in refugee camps in Hungary and processed there but the government wants them to be a pain and bother to Hungarians so they will continue to gain resentment toward them. This is how he keeps people like you focused on them and not the fact that Orban and friends are pocketing the assistance they are receiving to care for the basic needs of the refugees. There is nothing in either of my comments that makes me not trustworthy. You however, do not seem trustworthy either as you are defending a government that is screwing you. Doesn’t sound like a normal thing. Either you are very naive, or you are part of the problem. Are you recieving money to defend them online? Internet warrior for the government perhaps? I guess that will help you provide for your family too right?

        • Liz,

          Well yes they can leave, the way they came. To the south. But until that comes, they cannot go further. This is Hungary’s EU obligation. They need to go through medical and other health checks.
          By the way who are you to judge? I mean seriousely.
          And finally I do not care what you think about Orban or the FIDESZ. You can keep that for yourself.

  3. The left liberals are hypocrites, this is their only virtue. When a migrant needs help, they plainly ignore them. They shout, big mouthed liars.
    It is good that they aren’t in power in Hungary. I voted for the Orban government and I and many of us support them. DEMOCRACY.
    Those who want and cheer for the migrants, let them adopt a few migrants and let them provide for those people and give less to their own children.
    Yes the migrants will be shipped back to their country, to their family and nation. Then we can talk.

    • Being a hypocrite is a virtue? You are truly virtuous, then.

      I don’t know who you’re talking about when you write: “left liberals”, but the leftists I know are definitely not ignoring any “migrants”, they are out there trying to help them, or at least donating funds and goods to replace what the government is denying them.

      When you say these refugees should be “shipped back to their own country”, you are saying that they should be sent to their death in a war zone because you and the minority of people who voted for Fidesz in the last election don’t like brown-skinned people to be in your country even long enough to pass through to Austria and Germany. You’re not a Christian, that’s for sure!

      • By left liberals I mean the ex communist opportunists.

        The EU is weak, a weakling. International peacekeepers should be sent in those countries and then the migrants shipped back. Then social programs can be started and aid given to people.
        The Hungarian refugee camps are temporary in nature.

        But the f*kin EU has no military, it realies on the f*kin US to wipe its @ss. Shame.

  4. Pingback: Monger Profile: Máté Kocsis | monger tree

  5. Looks like after the failed billboard campaign of hatred Orban applies plan B and is shepherding the refugees to public places to justify his campaign of hatred, to milk the EU for more aid, and to create a really big wave of hatred and disturbance to surf on it.

    He’s toying with human lives as always and the game really became terribly sly and dirty.

  6. One of the basic element of Orban’s campaign of hatred to use the word “hate” systematically by turning the inside out to hide his hatred and to shift responsibility to those who are unwilling to get involved in his dirty game.

    On this board and all on the other HFP comment boards the payed trolls are dutifully and systematically repeating the word “hate” and “hate Hungary and its people” in line with Orban’s lunatic fringe that possibly will worsen until once he will freak out in public.

  7. Avatar György Lázár says:

    Hun… Be careful, one day you might end up being a migrant needing help from good people.

    • I do not need help because I can provide for myself and I always have plans for the future. Maybe you will learn a lesson for this mass migration.

      • Hun,

        try to realize, that although you see it well that the wave of migrants can cause very serious problems to the EU member countries and the EU as a whole, actually it is not the wave of migrants that can or will bring down the EU but the lazy, ignorant, dilatory attitude of the EU in general toward this serious issue.

        Within this circle the possible worst and unprofessional thing that can be done at all is Orban’s muscle flexing and trolling toward the EU, his lacking of political charisma and experience, his selfish uncooperative paranoid fence building, and his fumbling arbitrary, absolutist decision making without any knowledge of politics and economics only his endless marching to explore a serious issue for his own political gain to stay in power competing with Jobbik by creating hatred and xenophobia within the whole populace without any mental capability and to plan or see the future or the serious consequences of his actions.
        He is creating kind of social disturbances in Hungary that he will never be able to handle in the future.

        That’s the problem which is bigger and more dangerous than the migrants and Hungarians already started learning the hard lesson you have mentioned, as the contra billboard campaign and other developments clearly show that they begun recognizing where the real danger lies. The same thing is happening here and on many other online discussion bards.

        • I’m not a Jobbik sympathizer. I do not like them.
          They are power hungry opportunists.

          I doesn’t want social instability, disorder, inflation and desises. I do not want to sacrafice my future and my children’s future for some migrants who do not care about the european ulture, values and do not respect the caregivers.
          So they wont stay. 100 000 illegal migrants in a half year? That is just too much. They have crossed the red line. I will protect my life and my family’s life and our land by gun if necessary.

          And wont live a poor life because some migrant is unable to provide for himself.

          • Hun,

            Looks like all you can do on this board is to repeat the same cliche of Orbans’s brainwashing propaganda, turning blind eyes to other vital questions. And how many times!

            Fear and hatred. That’s what he is trying to condition the whole nation. You are the living example of the mental and emotional destruction that Orban has carried out on the Hungarian populace either you are a paid troll, an A.I. or a blindfolded patriot. Thanks for your time illustrating the seriousness and the weight of Orban’s ravage. A born demolition man.

        • Rich,

          Fear and hatered? Are you not afraid when the crowd of immigrants is not checked against terrorists? 100 000 people is a financial stress, humanitarian stress on society. I’m anxious about the future, rightfully.

          I’m sorry but the issue of illegal immigrants is a national problem which overrules all other problems.

          This is about our and our childrens and their childrens future.

          I agree with the fence. And I’m glad that not the socialists are in government now because they would not care about the Hungarian nation.

          Every other problem is secondary.

          • I see that Orban is very successful in distracting you from what he really has in store for the Hungarian people. You claim that Fidesz cares and has the Hungarian people at heart? Why are so many unemployed, leaving for the west and fighting for simple freedoms in Hungary? Why are so many pensioners living without water and power? Why are so many companies and businesses closing down? Oh right because Orban and his buddies are getting rich and taking their riches from people like you and as long as you see him as your saviour and blame all your problems on migrants, refugees and the EU, he gets away with it. You lap it up like a thirsty dog.

          • Liz,

            If what you say is real and real in a significant manner, then this would be in the opposition media and in the radical left and right media. In Hungary nothing stays hidden.
            I follow the media.
            What you say is not present in any of these medias, in a significant number.
            In one word you are LYING.

            This is a free country, you can leave also.

      • You obviously only read state news.
        http://atlatszo.hu/

      • You claim to follow the media, but you miss all of the news
        http://444.hu/2015/08/10/keves-penz-jut-magyarorszagnak-abbol-a-penzbol-amivel-az-eu-a-bevandorlas-problemajat-orvosolna/
        Maybe it is you who is the LIAR!

  8. Hun,

    nice try. If this discussion was a boxing match the referee would have disqualified you long ago.

  9. Hun,

    Liz did not lie.

    http://hvg.hu/gazdasag/20140602_A_magyar_csaladok_fele_ehezik

    Good you follow the Hungarian media. Not only you, though.

  10. Hun,

    your favorite Hungarian media for English speakers.

    http://bbj.hu/economy/report-47percent-of-hungarians-living-in-poverty_71293

  11. Hello Hun,

    I see you follow and trust the Hungarian media.
    Here.

    “The majority of Hungarians aren’t concerned with immigrants arriving in the country but rather by the number of Hungarians who choose to leave for elsewhere, according to a poll by Hungarian news website Vasárnapi Hírek and the Publicus Institute.”

    http://budapestbeacon.com/public-policy/hungarians-more-worried-about-emigration-than-immigration/23634

    Bad news? Anti Hungarian Hungarians?

  12. Hello Hun,

    look, the “Ministry of National Economy” is lying and is anti Hungarian.
    More Hungarian emigrants than African immigrants.

    “Even the Ministry of National Economy joined the guessing game by saying that half a million Hungarians have set up their tents for a shorter or longer period elsewhere.”

    http://budapesttimes.hu/2014/10/31/a-nations-lost-potential/

  13. Hun,

    what a great idea to build a fence and spent billions for a useless junk. Billions that could be used to handle the migrants in a more effective professional way.

    http://www.napi.hu/magyar_gazdasag/eddig_tartott_atvagtak_ejszaka_az_epulo_keritest.601546.html

  14. Hun,

    here something for you to play with.
    “But Hungary is now building a fence in an attempt to keep people like Ayoub out.”
    “Yet it’s not clear whether Hungary’s fence will change that. Many such fences elsewhere have failed to stop migrants, and this one is not particularly daunting.”
    ““We crossed a lot of walls. We will cross also this one,” says Ayoub, with a good-natured laugh, when asked if he worried the fence would block the way for refugees. He already crossed the fence on Bulgaria’s border with Turkey, with just a rip to his trousers. As for the razor wire on Hungary’s fence – that is no problem, he says. “If it’s sharp we put a blanket on it.”

    http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Europe/2015/0807/Hungary-s-answer-to-burgeoning-flows-of-refugees-a-wall

    Billion, billions for nothing that is proven to be useless.

  15. Make illegal border crossing punishable by death. Have armed patrols execute anyone caught scaling the fence. Bullets are cheap. Its that simple.

    • Ah, the typical left wing cultural marxist retort. Call anyone you dont agree with racist. When you lefties stop being so delusional, naive, brainwashed, foolish, and irresponsible?

      • I don’t call you racist. I call you a murderer because you want to gun down and kill people, women, children without even knowing them, just because their presence cause social and financial problems.

        I call you an extreme rightist fascist because you publicly deliver a call to the legislation to introduce a law of state-murder in times when due to social and moral human evolution the capital punishment i.e. governmental state-murder in the EU is right out.

        I call you an anti Hungarian hate monger because with your stand you jeopardize the lives of more than half million Hungarian emigrants and economic refugees seeking shelter in west Europe as you are trying to set a new standard on how to handle refugees in general, as Hungarians will be the next scaling the fences from inside out as soon as the country gets totally surrounded with it.

        I call you a war monger because any sane people can easily understand that firing the first shot in a highly critical social and strategic situation will have serious consequences and might trigger a chain reaction, war, even WW3.

        I call you a brute who commits a crime of inciting to murder on a public discussion board and I sincerely hope the legislation will soon make it a crime punishable.

        And in the end I call you a fool who cannot even be bothered to use his brain before posting messages or just an ugly trouble maker troll. These two are not mutually exclusive, though.

  16. In December 2014, Kocsis attracted international attention by proposing mandatory annual drug tests for children between the ages of 12 and 18, politicians and journalists.

  17. Pingback: How a 16 year old Afghan refugee saved the life of a Hungarian homeless man

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