Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The double standard

Bad, Bad symbol (EU says)
EU approved!

Both fascism and communism killed millions of people during the 20th century. The European Union had tried to ban the swastika a few years ago by an initiative by Germany due to the rise of right-wing extremists and neo-nazis in Germany and in Europe. However, when it comes to communist symbolism such as the red star and the hammer and sickle, the EU openly supports those who wear such symbols by defending them saying that it is their freedom of expression to do so. This in spite of the fact that many EU member states such as Poland, Hungary, Moldova and Lithuania have actually banned the use of such extremist symbols.These countries all suffered under the communist jackboot.

It is a well-known fact that fascism killed millions of people during the Second World War. It is another well-known fact that communism killed up to 100 million people if not more during the 20th century. Many Central and Eastern European countries suffered greatly under communism and their memories of the experiences with the hideous ideology are still quite painful to many. Europeans effected by communism have still never forgotten nor forgiven, Hungarians included.

The speaker of the Hungarian parliament, László Kövér, attended the Parliament Presidents Conference in Strasbourg last week. In his speech at the conference, he said that it was unacceptable that the European Court of Human Rights ruled against Hungary in a recent case. Hungary wanted to fine a few Hungarian citizens for openly displaying totalitarian symbols (communist red stars) by wearing them in public. The European court also ordered the Hungarian government to pay the red star wearing offenders damages.  The decision by the court has now basically legalized the use of communist symbols in Hungary.

Kövér also argued that the European Court of Human Rights used double standards when it overruled the Hungarian criminal code which bans the use of totalitarian symbols. He also added that the court ruled in favour of the individuals who violated the criminal code by displaying communist symbols on their clothes. Kövér quoted the politician Václav Havel who said there is no difference between the swastika and the hammer and the sickle.

The decision by the European Court a few months ago angered many Hungarians and the Hungarian government. The decision by the court shows that there is a double standard when it comes to the use of totalitarian symbols as it appears that the EU supports communist symbolism.

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