I have the feeling that it is safer to talk about the present than the past. It is becoming quite obvious that one cannot have a rational discussion about events a hundred years ago. And when it comes to earlier times, the situation is even worse. Yesterday as I was trying to learn a little more about the history of the Voivodina I encountered an article on the Internet which began with the statement that the Serbs inhabited the area already in the seventh century. When I read something like that I immediately … Read the rest
Because there was considerable interest in the ethnic composition of Greater Hungary I thought I would spend a little more time on the subject. You may recall that I included the famous ethnic map of pre-World War I Hungary (minus Croatia-Slavonia) based on the 1910 census. You also may recall that in English one could read the following caption underneath: “Ethnographic Map of Historical Hungary based on the 1910 census, showing the effects of the centuries of foreign colonization of Hungary which altered the ethnic composition of the previously homogenous … Read the rest
I know that I wrote about both topics in the last couple of weeks, but unfortunately they don't want to disappear from Hungarian politics. The latest reverberation occurred this morning when a Fidesz old-timer, László Mádi, was sacked. I know that this is a pretty strong word but Mádi is one of the five original Fidesz politicians who have been serving Fidesz in the Hungarian parliament since 1990. As Tamás Bauer (SZDSZ), a former colleague and adversary, said this morning, "Mádi has been a faithful workhorse serving his party in the last twenty years." Yet a … Read the rest
A few days ago, the ombudsman who is supposed to defend the rights of minorities announced that the assimilation of non-Hungarians to the Hungarian majority has been so rapid that soon enough no minorities will be found within the borders of Hungary. Of course, he wasn't talking about the Roma population but Germans, Slovaks, Croats, Romanians, and so on. Their numbers were small in the first place because, as I mentioned yesterday, territories with mixed populations were given to the successor states. Moreover, assimilation of small populations is pretty well inevitable, especially … Read the rest
A few weeks ago one of the Hungarian television stations, ATV, began a new program. Every Monday night there are discussions with politicians about topics that in one way or another are related to the elections and the election campaign. This week the topic was the Hungarian government’s attitude toward the Hungarian minorities living in the neighboring countries. This is a very complex question. Although the Hungarian constitution mentions the government’s obligations toward Hungarians living outside the borders, just what these obligations are and how they are best met remain … Read the rest
The Constitutional Court rendered its decision on the property tax the central government introduced a couple of months ago. Originally the idea was to introduce property tax on all real estate. In the course of public discussion about the feasibility of such a tax it became obvious that official real estate records were so poor that it would be almost impossible to introduce such a tax any time soon. And that wasn't the only problem. MSZP, being a leftist party, was extremely reluctant to lend its name to a law that would tax every piece of property … Read the rest
MDF came out with its program (actually, "Material for Discussion") with the catchy title "Munka és méltóság = Modern Magyarország (Work and Dignity = Modern Hungary), a nice alliteration in mathematical form. As one of the commentators said, it could just as well have been called "Critical Mass of Reforms," but that title was already taken by Lajos Bokros when he introduced his lengthy plan for necessary economic and social reforms in Élet és Irodalom (January 23, 2009). In any case, Bokros's name often appears in the footnotes.
The authors of the … Read the rest