Sunday, May 27, 2012

Citadel

Walking down Vaci street to Vorosmarti Ter I met an old acquaintance in the city tour business. He complained about gangsters running the country:

- They try to destroy the lives of everyone except their friends. If you don't have a million Euros you're nothing. I've given up expecting things to get better. These past years have been the worst in my life by far.
- For me too. But things will get better. Greece is standing up to the liars and thieves of the European Union, at Camp David last week they already backed down, at least in words. In the U.S., the law was overturned that allowed the government to kill, torture, abduct, secretly imprison without trial or representation. Your buses go up to the Citadel, right? What's happening up there?
- The owners are all in jail.
- I'm not surprised. What did they get them on?
- Something about taxis at the airport. I only read a few lines in the newspaper.
- When was that?
- A few days ago.
- You know, I first stayed there in 1996. This year I was usually the hotel's only guest. The same people have worked at the hotel for decades. They told me they liked me to be there, mostly because they cooked the books to show I wasn't there and pocketed my rent. I was a profitable guest. One day they asked me to pay the balance, and the next day said it was all over, everything ends, time to go. Leave today. Do you know anything about the Citadel?
- No. Only from the news.
- According to the receptionist, the one who liked to talk with me, this family that runs it is always fighting the city. Their contract with the city giving them the right to rent the castle and grounds was never signed. It's been in court since, unresolved. He said the city had shut down their taxi company, and the city forbid them to use the terrace they built in the castle courtyard. They operate a radio station from the Citadel the city won't give them a licence for. I'd be sitting in the lobby and the police would come in and demand the station be turned off. When they left it would resume broadcasting. Then the police came and broke down the door to the equipment room and carried away the transmitter. A new one was then set up outside the Budapest City limits, also without licence, and the station was back on the air.
- Now they're in jail.
- The previous holder of the Citadel was murdered, according to the receptionist. The current bosses, their problem was, he said, they didn't have the million Euros to hand over. He was a failure but his bosses were bigger failures.
- I didn't know any of this.
- I like to talk. I used to meet like this all the time, acquaintances, friends, walking down the street. Something happened to all these people I used to meet, talk with. What you said about gangsters destroying the lives of everyone not with them. I'm used to the idea that gangsters help their friends, hurt their enemies, but ruin the lives of everyone not in their gang? That's new to me. It explains something I've been wondering about, why the EU, the American government deliberately destroy the world's economies. Conspiracy theorists say they want to cause riots and respond with repression, make everyone a slave. But maybe they are clearing the field. Destroying all normal life, all capacity for normal business, and then without competition their companies expand into the vacuum.

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