Europe,  Terrorism

Anders Behring Breivik’s Hungarian connections

Cross-posted from Eva S. Balogh at Hungarian Spectrum

The horrible massacre in Norway by a thirty-two-year-old fanatic shook the whole world. Every newspaper is full of the details and the latest developments concerning Anders Behring Breivik. One can find over 3,000 articles just in English on the subject, and the Hungarian media is no exception. In the last three days more then 700 articles appeared about the Norwegian terrorist, whom the Hungarian journalists simply call "the Norwegian butcher." 

Hungarian interest in the case owes something to the fact that Breivik's rambling 1,500-page "testament" has several references to Hungary and Hungarians. His knowledge of the country, its politics, and even its history shows that the Norwegian terrorist's interest in the country was not casual.

One of the reasons for his initial interest was that his "best friend" was a certain Peter whose parents arrived in Norway from "the marxist Soviet Union." Breivik is most likely mistaken here because Peter's parents were in fact Hungarian. He and Peter celebrated Peter's thirtieth birthday in Budapest. That was in 2009, but he also visited the Hungarian capital earlier.

I suspect that Breivik knows more about Hungary than the average European or American. He mentions the names of György Lukács and Imre Kertész. Naturally, he has a very low opinion of Lukács, the Marxist philosopher whom he considers guilty of developing what he calls "cultural Marxism." On the other hand, he is an admirer of Kertész. According to Kertész, a civilization that doesn't declare its values unequivocally or lets these values slip will start on the road toward ruin. According to Breivik's comment on the quotation, it is a very "timely" warning.

Another interesting discovery is that Breivik seems to know something about Hungarian history. Or at least he is familiar with the name of János Hunyadi (1407-1456), the hero of the Battle of Belgrade/ Nándorfehérvár against the Turks that kept the Turkish armies away from Hungary for almost another 100 years. Breivik bemoans the fact that Hunyadi's name is not known outside of Hungary although "he most likely did more than anyone else for the prevention of the Ottoman conquest of Europe. He slowed down the Muslim advance and thus saved Western Europe from Islamic rule." He is most upset that "our children don't learn anything about him … when in a wider sense he saved even the North American and Australian civilizations."

The anniversary of the Battle of Belgrade (July 22, 1456) was just declared to be a "day of remembrance" by the Hungarian parlliament. Apparently the suggestion for its celebration came from the Batthyány Circle of Professors (great supporters of Fidesz), Sándor Lezsák, a minor poet and nowadays Fidesz member of parliament, and István Simicskó, undersecretary of defense. The supporters of the bill emphasized the religious aspects of the struggle between the Ottoman Empire and the international forces under János Hunyadi. Christianity's victory over Islam. I wonder what the members of the professorial circle are thinking now after reading the reports of Breivik's admiration for Hunyadi as a defender of Christianity against Islam. In any case, ordinary Hungarians who are not well versed in history are convinced that Hungary suffered for 250 years under the Turkish yoke in order to save Europe from Islamic conquest. 

Breivik is also familiar with the Hungarian extreme right. He met a few Hungarians who were among the founders of an organization called "European Military Criminal Court–The Temple Knights" in 2002. The Knights were planning a "preventive war against Europe's cultural-Marxist and multicultural regimes … in order to prevent or eliminate the current Islamic colonization/occupation." Breivik is convinced that there are several thousand people who are ready fight for such a cause all over Europe, including Hungary. If I were working for the Hungarian National Security Office, I would start cracking!

Breivik knows about the existence of three far-right parties or organizations: Magyar Igazság és Élet Pártja (MIÉP), Hatvannégy Vármegye Ifjúság Mozgalom (HVIM) and Jobbik. He is aware of Jobbik's antisemitism and anti-Roma propaganda, and at one point in his writings he suggests that the best solution for the Roma problem in Europe would be the establishment of a country for them. A few days before the killing spree Breivik wrote e-mail to several far-right organizations all over Europe. Among the recipients was László Toroczkai, the leader of HVIM, an openly revisionist group. In the e-mail Breivik called attention to his "study" published on the Internet under the title "2083." Toroczkai doubts that he ever met Breivik. He further claims that he didn't read the e-mail until after the event and that he hasn't yet read the 1,500-page manifesto.

Breivik has a very good opinion of Václáv Klaus, the euroskeptic president of the Czech Republic, because Klaus declared several times that only nation states can guarantee democracy and not "empires or such conglomeration of states, as the European Union." In that case he must also have liked Viktor Orbán, who was called "the secret weapon" of euroskeptics in the European Union. After all, Orbán is also convinced that nation states are superior to a unified Europe, which he is already burying.

The Hungarian far-right organizations, akin to their western counterparts, are somewhat embarrassed and try to distance themselves from Breivik's unspeakable act. MTI asked two "experts" about their assessment of the situation, and these two men made pronouncements on things they couldn't possibly know anything about. One of these experts confidently announced that "the Hungarian connection shouldn't be overemphasized." Barikád, Jobbik's on-line newspaper, was delighted and immediately published an article containing this information. The same expert announced that in Hungary one shouldn't worry about similar terror attacks because terrorism is not part of the Hungarian culture. He seems to have forgotten about the murders of Romas in the past few years.