Can you imagine spending Christmas locked in a prison cell, unable to see or even speak to your children or parents, condemned to years in prison for the ‘crime’ of defending your country from crooked socialist politicians and your Christian values from militant leftists? That is exactly the plight of 13 Hungarian patriots, unjustly locked away solely on the word of two police informers. And the injustice of it led to our decision to take action to help them and their families.
So we turned our annual Christmas dinner from an internal Templar event into a fund-raising dinner to raise money for the thirteen members of the Hungarian Arrows, a direct action street movement that spearheaded the resistance to the attacks on Hungary by the last socialist regime and its collaborators ten years ago.
The long legal process against them, begun under the now utterly disgraced socialists, came to its conclusion when the Arrows’ charismatic leader, György Budaházy and twelve former activists were jailed for terms of up to 14 years.
Many analysts had expected the staunchly anti-leftist government of Viktor Orban to step in to quash the charges, which were not backed up by a shred of evidence beyond the self-serving claims of the two paid turncoats. Unfortunately, it appears that intra-patriotic rivalries made it convenient to allow this grotesque miscarriage of justice to go ahead.
Many of those now in jail are married with children, which makes the sentences especially harsh, especially at this time of year. So when the KTI heard about this we felt strongly that it is our duty to give them the benefit of our experience in supporting political prisoners and jailed freedom fighters, acquired in Northern Ireland and under other supposedly ‘tolerant’ but in fact totalitarian regimes.
We therefore set up meetings with several patriotic organisations we know in Hungary, got them on board and together organised a fund-raising dinner, Held in a smart, modern venue in the heart of Budapest, the event involved not only a meal, drinks and speeches, but also a very fine display of traditional Hungarian folk dancing.
Among the speakers were members of the prisoners’ families, leaders of the Movement for the Defence of Hungary, the Betyársereg (Bandits’ Army) and the Identitisz (Identity) youth organisation, several well-known political figures from the country’s vibrant patriotic movement, and a leading clergyman of the Calvinist Reform Church.
All of the nearly 100 guests in attendance bought their tickets to the event, but since the KTI paid for the hire of the venue, the meal and the dancing display, every forint of the several thousand euros raised from ticket sales and the collection went direct to the prisoners.