HAIKU, MAUI EUROPEAN AFFAIRS
Major ecological disaster in the making in Danube river basin
Red Sludge Puts Red Smudge on Hungary's Face
Toxic spill devastates several villages in Hungary, threatens other countries downstream
Triple whammy of despair grips the land
HAIKU, Maui, Oct 10 - Even before the Berlin Wall came down 21 years ago, signaling the beginning of the end of the Red Soviet Empire, Hungary was the West’s poster Red child. While other Soviet minions were starving (e.g., Poland), Hungary was practicing "goulash communism." It paid lip service to the communist master’s ideology, while putting food on the table capitalist-style. Hungary was the first "offshore" software "outsourcing" country (in 1980s), for example, well before those two terms were even invented (see "Renaissance II" - Eastern Europe, June 1996).
These days, Hungary is again the West’s poster child. Except that now, a river of toxic red sludge has put a big red smudge on the erstwhile poster child’s face (see the photos). Having already buried three Hungarian villages and forced evacuations of several others, the industrial mishap is threatening to become an ecological disaster possibly even greater than the recent Gulf of Mexico oil spill. Several countries downstream the largest European river, the Danube, are bracing themselves for the worst. The red sludge devastated creeks and rivers near the spill site and entered the Danube River on Thursday, moving downstream toward Croatia, Serbia and Romania.
The BBC reported today that in the Marcal River, one of the feeder streams to the Danube, "all life ... is said to have been extinguished." It said emergency crews were adding gypsum and other chemicals to try to reduce the toxicity in another feeder, the Raba River. Another avalanche of toxic waste is expected any time now as more retaining walls around the site are about to collapse.
Triple whammy of despair grips Hungary
But that’s not the worst of it. The red sludge is just the icing on the cake the New World Order has served the population of this small central European country. Hungary is also in the midst of an economic and psychological depression. So it’s a triple whammy of despair.
Hungary is a country "gripped by recession, polarization and the near-ubiquitous feeling that its people are doomed to be victims of calamity," notes the Washington Post in an Oct 9 article. Here’s an excerpt:
"There have been too many national cataclysms for Hungarians to be able to overcome their pessimism," says sociology professor Antal Bohm. "This catastrophe is simply one more in the series."
Some of the recent gloom is understandable. Hungary's economy contracted by almost 7 percent last year... Nearly 2 million people are groaning under growing debt as the strong Swiss franc makes their loans in that currency insupportable.
Hungarian households' foreign currency loans equaled 26.2 billion euros - $36.46 billion at the end of June, with nearly 80 percent in Swiss francs, says the National Bank of Hungary. Of the 1.8 million people with such loans, 400,000 are behind on their payments - with 100,000 in arrears by three months or more.
Bohm, the sociologist, puts those facing poverty at around 30 to 40 percent of the population, adding: "This isn't a situation they imagined they'd be in 20 years after the change of system."
"Tempt not a desperate man," Shakespeare warned centuries ago. For, desperate men to desperate things. A few turn on themselves...
The gloom translates into the EU's second-highest suicide rate, after Lithuania - more than 21 out of every 100,000 people in 2007, according to EU statistics.
... but most angry people turn on the society that has made them desperate. Despair is an age-old fuel of the revolutions. And the masters of the New World Order in the West are laying the foundation for them by making more people miserable, both here at home in America and around the world (see Poverty Up in U.S., Again, Sep 2010). Such as in Hungary...
With the hard times comes the need to find scapegoats, allowing the far-right Jobbik party to emerge third-strongest in April national elections after a campaign tinged with anti-Semitic and anti-Gypsy rhetoric and marches by a black-uniformed militia founded by its leader.
Those militia have been banned. But a party ad referring to "Gypsy criminals" was aired on state radio and television before recent municipal elections. The ad also described corrupt politicians, banks and multinational companies as "parasites" sucking on the country's blood - language used by the Nazis to describe Jews.
Lest we forget, Hungary was a Hitler ally in World War II (see *NOTE below). The intolerance and racial hatred some extremists now preach, the Horthy government and its troops practiced in northern Yugoslavia which they occupied in WW II along with the German army. That is why they were treated harshly by the Soviets after the Red Army routed out the Nazis from Hungary at the end of WW II.
When the Soviets finally left 20 years ago, the Hungarians were looking to the West as the new Messiah that would liberate them from their communist captors. Instead, they were enslaved anew by financial usury. Nothing new there. Check out this writer’s 1997 column Wall Street's Financial Terrorism about the taming of the "Asian tigers."
The only way to save off financial slavery is to stay debt free. Alas, that also means forsaking greed and materialism. Both are the drugs of choice the New World Order masters use to lure the people into slavery. And the rising poverty in America is the best example of how effective these enticements are. And how brutal the consequences.
Hungary’s red sludge nightmare is only the latest example of the West’s failure to deliver prosperity and happiness to its devoted disciples. And devoted they were... these Hungarians, even to the point of being subservient.
When this writer traveled to the Balkans as war correspondent in the early 1990s, he had to enter the former Yugoslavia through Hungary. Belgrade airport was closed to the UN sanctions, and later also during the NATO bombing. Hungary, which was then hoping to become a NATO member herself, was going out of its way to please its new western masters. This writer has witnessed some incredible examples of inhumanity on the Hungarian-Yugoslav border.
In July 1994, for example, thousands of people, including women and small children, were kept for days waiting in their cars to cross the border in scorching summer heat without water. The Hungarian customs officials were deliberately stalling their entry into Yugoslavia. The only reason this writer was able to jump the line and get across after "only" about a four-hour delay was by bribing a Hungarian customs official. With his Ray-Ban sunglasses and a green uniform, this young man could have easily passed for a Nazi guard in a Hollywood film.
Meanwhile, back to the red toxic sludge, Hungary’s prime minister Viktor Orban told the media that the northern wall of storage pool "was showing numerous cracks and seemed ready to fail completely." Engineers fear a second wave could be even more toxic than the first because the sludge remaining in the reservoir was more concentrated.
"If another wave comes, I was thinking of standing on top of the kitchen table," Maria Gyori, a 79-year-old homemaker in the town of Devecser, told the Associated Press. "Maybe the sludge won't go that high."
The people living in former communist countries are used to being up to their necks in red tape. But it’s a novel experience trying to avoid getting mired in red sludge.
Blame game begins
After disasters strike, the blame game begins. Hungarian police have now confiscated documents from the company, and the National Investigation Office was looking into whether on-the-job carelessness was a factor in the disaster. Authorities have begun questioning people in the case and looking for witnesses who can provide information about the reservoir's operations and maintenance work.
Orban, the prime minister, told the media the disaster could have been avoided, citing human error as a factor.
"Hungary has never experienced any tragedy like that and we are all astonished," Orban said. "Huge damage has occurred, we've lost lives, and the region's future livelihood has been lost. Someone must be to blame for this. The responsibility and the punishment ... must be commensurate with the damage caused and the costs of those damages."
He said a request from the company to allow production to begin again would not be granted at least until a government Cabinet meeting on Monday.
"Monday, Monday...Monday Monday, can't trust that day,
Monday Monday, sometimes it just turns out that way
Oh Monday morning, you gave me no warning of what was to be
Oh Monday Monday, how you could leave and not take me.
Every other day, every other day,
Every other day of the week is fine, yeah
But whenever Monday comes, but whenever Monday comes
You can find me cryin' all of the time."
(An excerpt fromThe Mamas and the Papas hit song "Monday, Monday")
The Mamas and the Papas' lyrics seem to fit the likely mood of the Monday government meeting in Budapest. As does a sign hand-painted on a Wall in Prague, Czechoslovakia, during its so-called "Velvet Revolution" in 1989. It read: "Those who deformed us cannot reform us!" A government that has produced enough red ink for a whole country of 10 million to drown in it is hardly one that can be expected to remedy Hungary's red sludge disaster.
*NOTE: Admiral Miklos Horthy, the dictator of Hungary (1920-1944) initially remained neutral, but his fear of Stalin's Communist Russia pushed him to ally with Hitler's Germany and join the war beside it in late 1940. In 1941 Hungary participated in the German invasions of Yugoslavia and Russia. As Germany began to lose the war Horthy began negotiating with The Allies. As a result, the Germans occupied Hungary, but Horthy still maintained a limited control. When Russian forces invaded Hungary in October 1944 Horthy declared armistice and was immediately imprisoned (in Germany) by the retreating Germans. After the war he retired to Portugal as Hungary became a Communist dictatorship puppet of Russia until Communism collapsed in the late 1980s.
Bob Djurdjevic is a writer and consultant based in Haiku (Maui), Hawaii. He is a free-thinking humanist. Which means he is neither Republican nor Democrat. You can find more of his research and columns at www.truthinmedia.org (geopolitical) and www.djurdjevic.com (business) and his personal web site www.yinyangbob.com.
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