Civil Sphere and Grassroots Protests in Hungary: December, 2011

(The Contrarian Hungarian) Earlier during the life of this blog, I tried to report about every grass-root action organized by the Hungarian civil sphere. But the time I would have had to have available to keep at this task was rising exponentially, and the change of pace was noticeable even over shorter periods: what used to be outrageous in Hungarian news in September and October, by December was a standardly recurring event. For example, in September I had time to describe in great length the story of how the photographers of Index, Origo, and Blikk were banned from the Parliament. The same journalists have been banned from reporting from the parliament several times since then; perhaps they themselves are the only ones who know the precise number of the bagatelle incidents that got them banned from documenting the work of the Parliament. Just this December, I wrote a post about the manipulation of the news on the Hungarian public media. Since then, three more instances of manipulated or falsified news footage appeared on public television (there are three I am aware of, I may have missed other cases). This is  a standard weapon in the psychological warfare employed by the Hungarian government against its own people: when they do things so outrageous that it is unbelievable, they repeat the act until it becomes all too believable.

But the Hungarian protester is a similarly methodically persistent kind: they are on the street to show that it is not in their name this government rules on every single occasion that the situation changes for the worse. They are not too tired to show up every time their government breeches against the norms of democracy, human decency and common sense. As the first three protests of December went by, and news of others in the making were received, I thought perhaps what needs to be shown about these protests is not their size, or their energy, but even more importantly the consistency with which they express dissent – and the consistency on the part of the government as well to simply ignore not only its political opposition in parliament, but the civilian movements that had sprung up against it as well. The protests taking place in December in Hungary are really best presented in their pattern of recurrence: as the repeated efforts at civilian resistance to the egregious acts of its government. Here is, then, the list of actions organized by the Hungarian civilian sphere during the month of December: …

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Live feed from the ongoing protest @ the Opera House:

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