Political commentators in Hungary are buzzing about a lengthy article condemning the Hungarian far right in the prestigious and influential German weekly, Die Zeit. The title of the article itself is telling: "Under the flag of fascists." Christian Schmidt-Häuer obviously calls it as he sees it. He doesn't talk about the "radical right" or "the radical ones" as they are referred to in certain Hungarian circles. Rather, he argues that these people are neo-Nazis, that they are on the rampage, and that the rest of the population stands by doing nothing.
Schmidt-Häuer seems to be well informed and surely he must have had Hungarian informants who told him about the viciously anti-semitic website www.kuruc.info.hu where one can see the philosopher Gáspár Miklós Tamás's picture on a tombstone. He recalls in the article that the same website listed the addresses and telephone numbers of certain "Jews and foreigners." He is aware of the attacks against Gypsies and the attempts to blow up the houses of some socialist politicians. "Is this the home of legendary memories?" he asks, recalling the events of 1989 when Hungary opened the iron curtain and let the East German refugees cross over into Austria. A very important date for Germans.
A brief history lesson follows and the author comes to the conclusion that "today a large proportion of the Hungarian people are meandering in the maze of myths created after World War I." After that war Hungarian nationalist ideology viewed liberals and communists as the source of all the country's troubles; the Jews were accused of leading Hungarian culture astray. According to Schmidt-Häuer more and more people think that this was the case then and that this is the case now. One of the author's sources was László Lengyel, the economist and political analyst, who half jokingly told him that some Hungarian youths think that the Treaty of Trianon was signed last year and that Ferenc Gyurcsány is responsible for it!
The journalist admits that every country has its own far right whose members march here and there, but in most countries the moderate majority with the assistance of the law manages to keep these elements at bay. That is not the case in Hungary. Another problem is that the boundaries between the far right and the conservative majority are blurred. Schmidt-Häuer blames Viktor Orbán for this state of affairs. "The populist opposition leader Viktor Orbán who hopes to receive a two-thirds right-wing-conservative majority has in the past few years played the citizens against the parliament in order to overthrow the socialist-liberal coalition with the help of the street."
Finally, Schmidt-Häuer points out that, assuming Fidesz wins the next election, Orbán will have to continue Bajnai's austerity program. Then how will the far right react? What if they get even stronger in the future? No problem, Orbán would "slap them around them a bit and send them home" (just as Horthy tried). At least this is what Orbán said. The only problem is that we know how effective Horthy's slapping around of the Hungarian far right was!
As is predictable, the ever shrinking left-liberal side in Hungary felt justified when they heard about the article in Die Zeit. They have been telling the world for months that there is a neo-Nazi danger in Hungary but no one listens to them. They blame Orbán for the growth of the extreme right just as Die Zeit does. The other side is horrified at all "these lies." Once again, these liberal traitors of the national cause filled this German journalist's head full of nonsense. There is no Nazi danger in Hungary and if there is a growth of the far right it is because the government is unable to handle them. Not enough slapping around, I guess. As for the accusation that Fidesz and Viktor Orbán are not making it clear that the party has nothing to do with Jobbik and the far right, they bring up a recent statement of László Kövér who called Jobbik Fidesz's "enemy." However, the socialist-liberal side is not satisfied with this explanation. Of course, Jobbik is if not an enemy at least a rival of Fidesz. What they expect from Fidesz is a clear-cut statement that Jobbik's ideology is unacceptable and that Fidesz has absolutely nothing to do with them now or in the future. But I don't think that such a statement will be forthcoming: Orbán still hopes to get votes from the extreme right by telling these people what they want to hear.
Moderate and left of center Hungarians keep hoping that the far-right tide might be stopped somehow. The trouble is that they haven't got the foggiest idea of how to do it. They write articles about the dangers. Articles apearing in liberal dailies, weeklies, or monthlies that only liberal people read.