Hungarian Participation Democracy's Ghost.

I have been a community development social worker and NGO activist from 1988 until 2007 back in Hungary. I am using the democracy development single issue movement points of view to let people understand the current affairs. During the first 7 years I wrote nearly 1000 articles about employment, democracy development, agriculture NGO situation. After this election I decided I turn my blog to English.

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We believe in independency

2014.04.18. 19:31 :: Saman

When I arrived in UK I read this statement on a big hanging panel as part of a newspaper's marketing campaign to promote the newspaper's independent opinion, although I don't remember exactly which British newspaper was.

I just took a big breath when I saw that but I also thought that I probably needed to become a Queen's subject to be a proper citizen again. As a social worker I was getting over a massive internal burn out. My latest campaign about the "Employment" was then same as any other at the time, but we only have achieved to be mentioned in one article by main media, compared to when I had organized the "Housing of youth", back then I was mentioned in the news more than 100 times. It made me wonder.What has happened with the media in Hungary between 1998 & 2006?

And that is what today I going to trying to explain, exactly what happened with the independent society control organisations and institutional leaders. I reckon that it was during the first FIDESZ government that they made a deal with the opposition MSZP which is called Halász-Zuschlág pact. And that was the beginning of the death of the Hungarian democracy. I will also explain the civil war against the independent NGO sector tomorrow, but first let’s take a look at what happened with these organisations.

As I stated in my last article in Hungarian in which I explained that, all those organisations are basically working against their original mission.

I believe our media should not cover any injustice as to not make all citizens blind of those facts. I also believe that we have a president, whose personal legacy is to leave the any fairness in the law destroyed. We suppose to have a public prosecution system serving the public interest and stooping any individual or collective "mafia" interest from the political parties, but we don't. We should have a justice system for this function. But the Media Council’s president was order to destroy the media independency quietly and all NGOs are selected by these parties, not allowing them to be independent for the last 16 years. The court of the constitution was forced to convert all "Prime Minister Ideas" through the system even if they were against the previous or current law. A couple of weeks ago someone who use to made business with our politicians died, in a police car eligibly of a "heart attack" just before he gave his testimony in a corruption case . And that is just not clever or funny! Probably in Mr Putin's country the political murder is normal, but I believe that all these past years of democracy in Hungary that is an OUTRAGE!! . Even the political parties can not show any democratic control and democratically change leadership . There is no such a thing as a scandal when a member of these parties leaders has a failure. Back in the parliament nearly all the law changing is rammed through in just a couple of days without a public national debate or the Parliament House having a say against it.

In this past election the main party didn't have a political programme or if they had they just care to share it with the rest of us, needless to say that the prime minister give no chance to be questioned by the public. In many democratic countries just before the election date there is always a televised debate between candidates which are normally crucial to gain the indecisive voters as well as to fully explain their political agenda. Apparently Hungarians have no need for that.

Back in my childhood when I was 14 by the Hungarian education law there was the right for any of the students or school citizen to question the educational body should we had a question. I found a community development team in the secondary school. They taught a forum technique for as called "Igazlátó Nap" which is quite tricky to properly translate but an approximate translation is "The day when you going to see the true". In this kind culture the message of "the man of a visualtrue/Igazlátó" just doesn't count. This message is completely strange and anew.

Even this objective goes against our basic cultural drive. We, Hungarians, worried about asking questions about public life. Since our first king, we live in a disenfranchised system. Mostly the people in powers don't really want to be questioned. This movement try to change this attitude. At the time we tried to show a model for the kids, helping them how to find solutions local problems, set goals, targets and to stand up with a question if needed. This forum technique starts with a blank page. When we had a question, we can then explain there what the problem, situation, the bad feeling behind is. We need to appoint a person who could be the speaker and one other individual who can give a relevant answer although the individual rising the question or problem remain secret. So many examples are showing in every organisation that if you exposed a problem, you will be punished. There is scientist Tamas Pal who discovered almost 30 years ago the reason as to why the Hungarians are not willing to stand up and help to expose any issue into the spotlight, to be assertive and give a chance to realise this need to be addressed they prefer to individually remain in silence worrying too much about it. That reason being Hungarian system will most likely kill you if you complain.

I believe that the communist dictatorship, the nationalist regime before this and the kingdom have all build up a culture against any healthy public speech.

The Igazlátó Nap protects public speech it by allowing the “owner” of the problem to remain anonymous. No one else knows who has this pain as it doesn't really matter! Even if your headmaster shouts on your face in a public forum clamouring "who has this problem", the speaker can only say: I have no idea! I am only the messenger!

But to organise now a forum in this way is a lot of work. A volunteer group invested maybe 500-1000 hour to build this, with number of questions being 20-30 coming from a public forum. On the first problem list we got around 150 questions. If you explore these numbers coming from just the 450 schools where we used for this forum, then you can imagine the student unions; teachers investing a lot of time and energy to rebuild something for our future. When I was involved on these student movements we gave this experience to around 15.000 kids. We felt, despite this not being part of our culture that it was easy to stand up with a question! That it was not too difficult to find out who it must be addressed to!

So we have a new framework. New constitution, new election system, new journalists, new president, new chairwomen at the top of the media authority and so on. But I believe they are only fighting for the rights of our silence! And huge amount of institutions budget is to protect that silent!. Between 1986 and 2005 we organised 450 Igazlátó Nap. In the last 10 years we were capable to organise none. These student movements no longer exist in this country. We have new institutions, but they all are against the citizen who has a question, who in fact wants to participate to create his/her own destiny!!!!

 

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