Krisztina Morvai’s letter to the American ambassador to Hungary

I was hoping that the English version of this letter would be available on the internet because I assume that it was the letter's English version that was delivered to the American ambassador. However, I looked for it in vain, and therefore I will attempt a translation of it here.

First something about the ambassador. In the last nine years there have been at least four U.S. ambassadors in Budapest. None of them career diplomats. Three were women, all important fundraisers for victorious presidential candidates: Nancy Goodman Brinker (2001-2003), April H. Foley (2006-2009), and currently Eleni Tsakopoulos-Kounalakis. The fourth, George H. Walker III, is the first cousin of George H. Bush (2003-2006). Eleni Tsakopoulos-Kounalakis is too new for me to pass judgment on her performance, but neither George H. Walker III nor April H. Foley made much of an impression on me. Nancy Goodman Brinker, however, was an outstanding ambassador who has developed, it seems, a lasting friendship with the country and its people. Among other things she has become a collector and promoter of contemporary Hungarian art.

Eleni Tsakopoulos-Kounalakis presented her credentials to the President of Hungary, László Sólyom, on January 11, 2010, and immediately committed a diplomatic faux-pas. She said that Viktor Orbán reminded her of Bill Clinton of twenty years ago. Considering that at the last U.S. elections Orbán was keeping fingers crossed for the Republicans, this was an odd remark from an Obama appointee. In any case, anyone interested in learning a little more about Eleni Tsakopoulus-Kounalakis should read György Lázár's piece in Élet és Irodalom.

On election night Eleni Tsakopoulus-Kounalakis visited the headquarters of the three "democratic" parties that will be represented in the Hungarian parliament. She didn't pay a visit to the headquarters of Jobbik. And here enters Krisztina Morvai, who got mighty upset at the U.S. ambassador's discrimination against her party. Morvai's letter turned out to be a bit long-winded and not without dramatic flourishes, and therefore I won't be able to translate the whole thing. However, I hope you'll be able to get the gist of it.

First, Morvai told the ambassador that it was from the newspapers that she learned about the ambassador's visit to the headquarters of only three parties, the "ones you consider democratic." It seems therefore that "you think that the MSZP is a democratic party although its predecessor professed the ideology of communism that was responsible for the death of 110 million people." By avoiding Jobbik as a non-democratic party, "you offended the victims of communism in addition to approximately 850,000 Hungarian men and women who voted for Jobbik."

"Let me point out to you that your ideas concerning democracy are rather peculiar. In fact, they are outright wrong." Morvai enclosed with her letter a 290-page book in which the Civil Legal Committee, Morvai's creation, outlined all the illegalities of the Hungarian police on October 23, 2006. "I suppose that this volume cannot be found in the library of the embassy because your government and diplomatic corps didn't show the slightest interest at the time of the bloody police terror that took place in the fall of 2006 in Budapest." Then she describes her own version of the events according to which "the police, directed by the government to be rough, shot at the peaceful demonstrators." First of all, it sounds as if the police used live ammunition and not rubber bullets. Second, while there might have been some curious onlookers who got mixed up with the raging mob who in spite of repeated warnings didn't leave the scene, in general her description of the events bears no resemblance to reality. If that weren't enough she goes on about tortured prisoners, show trials, many hundreds of people who were beaten half to death. And so on and so forth. The truth is that serious crimes were committed by the "demonstrators" and thanks to the very lenient courts, especially when it comes to the right side of the political spectrum, practically no one got punished.

"Where was the American diplomatic corps which considers democracy so important during these shameful events, Madam Ambassador? Please check why the American Embassy didn't answer the letter of the Civil Legal Committee in which I asked the American and other western diplomats to raise their voices and use their international authority and condemn the Gyurcsány government."  Moreover, according to Morvai, the Americans are guilty in some other ways as well. They let the Gyurcsány and Bajnai governments rob the country blind, said nothing when they used "Israeli water cannons" to disperse peaceful people demonstrating on behalf of 100,000 hungry children, and let the Hungarian government imprison innocent people. "You consider a party democratic that trampled on all the values of democracy, on freedom, on human rights, and on human dignity?"

In addition to her book, Morvai also sent a copy of Jobbik's program which, according to her, demonstrates that Jobbik is the only party in Hungary that most clearly supports democratic principles. "You seem to be bothered by the unarmed Hungarian Guard that came into existence in self-defense at the time of police brutality." Then come a few interesting sentences. She compares the Hungarian Guard favorably to armed security companies hired by multinational companies or, even more interestingly to "a unified European police force" that is under consideration and which, in Morvai's opinion, lacks the approval of the peoples of Europe.

Then Morvai touts her credentials. She spent a year at the University of Wisconsin as a Fulbright visiting lecturer and subsequently four years in New York as an expert on human rights at the United Nations. She knows the American people, and she is sure that "they demand the representation of American ideals from you. They have the right to know which way their diplomatic representative in a former communist country behaves. They ought to know that you visited a party that is the successor to those communists who shot out innocent people's eyes. They ought to know that by your visit you may have increased this party's acceptance by the people." Therefore she is making this letter public in Hungarian and in English via the internet. She especially wants this letter to reach Hungarians living in the United States. She will ask them to give their opinion about the decision of an American diplomat to call MSZP a democratic party.

Can anyone imagine Ms. Morvai as the president of the Republic of Hungary, the post for which her party nominated her? As it is, she is an embarrassment in Brussels.

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Kuruc Joska
Guest
April 16, 2010 10:05 pm

Well, here is someone who can imagine her as Hungary’s president. And I wish that it would happen soon, otherwise your kosher comrades will steal even the last morsel of Hungarian land.

Sandor
Guest
April 16, 2010 10:26 pm

I also wrote my answer to this stupid letter:
“Open letter attacking your ambassador to Hungary
To Madame Secretary,
Ms. Hillary Clinton
U.S. Department of State
Dear Madame Secretary:
Presently your ambassador to Hungary, Ms. Eleni Tsakopoulos Kounalakis, is the subject of a brazen attack from Ms. Krisztina Morvai, the EU representative of the Hungarian ultra-nazionalist party Jobbik.
Ms. Morvai, with the now well-known overstated righteousness of hers, besmirches your ambassador by questioning her conduct and besmirches her own political opposition, by lumping them all together.
It is my opinion that your ambassador, Ms. Eleni Tsakopoulos Kounalakis, has performed her duties correctly, by avoiding even the appearance of giving any support by withholding her visit to the Hungarian nazi party, the Jobbik, and by doing so, it is an actual mark of honor for her conduct.
I must congratulate you for appointing such courageous person, who’s understanding and sober common sense does credit to your policy and your judgement as well.
Best wishes”

Paul
Guest
Paul
April 16, 2010 11:39 pm

morvai is completely justified in her outrage. diplomats have no right to dismiss the democratic will of the people, and play blantant partisan politics like that. who is ms Tsakopoulus-Kounalakis to tell the hungarian people which of its democratically elected parties are “democratic”? in a democratic country, that is THEIR choice to make. not hers.
this is a direct insult to almost one million hungarian people and reflects very poorly on the US government. im sure US diplomats have no problems meeting with party leaders of China – how “democratic” is that mob????

bbking
Guest
April 17, 2010 3:02 am

@Sandor: if you call such a great person’s letter “stupid”, that’s nothing more than your poor knowledge about Ms. Morvai.
In fact, the stupid is exactly you, for writing to Ms. Clinton a letter with a word “attacking”. I assume you also have very poor knowledge about the word “attacking”. Since everything can be fixed – I really believe, I think you should rather go back to school and learn a bit about words…
Ms. Morvai! This was needed, everybody in the world was waiting for such a letter, thank you!
And we really hope, that the new party called LMP – that is nothing more than a party in which are people from scientology and it’s the new-SZDSZ, will become very soon just a shameful part in Hungarian history.

John T
Guest
John T
April 17, 2010 5:55 am

“Ms. Morvai! This was needed, everybody in the world was waiting for such a letter, thank you!”
I don’t think they were somehow, but if it makes you feel better, then keep believing it.

John T
Guest
John T
April 17, 2010 6:05 am

Well, here is someone who can imagine her as Hungary’s president. And I wish that it would happen soon, otherwise your kosher comrades will steal even the last morsel of Hungarian land.
Mmm – if Ms Morvai represents the true Hungarian, then by all means elect her in the future. She appears to be an attention seeking loudmouth, so the position would suit her down to a tee.

John T
Guest
John T
April 17, 2010 7:05 am

“morvai is completely justified in her outrage. diplomats have no right to dismiss the democratic will of the people, and play blantant partisan politics like that. who is ms Tsakopoulus-Kounalakis to tell the hungarian people which of its democratically elected parties are “democratic”? in a democratic country, that is THEIR choice to make. not hers.”
Paul – I hate to break it to you, but the Ambassador is representing the US and if they choose not to visit Jobbik HQ, it’s up to them. Has she interferred in the democratic process – no she hasn’t. People have cast their vote and elected the MP’s they want.
But longer term, if the US decides it doesn’t want to deal with Jobbik and cools it’s relationship with Hungary, that is their choice. It no doubt has consequences for both countries.
Maybe it is an insult to the Jobbik voters – but tough luck mate.

Steve
Guest
Steve
April 17, 2010 9:11 am
The US ambassador has every right to “discriminate” Jobbik. Jobbik sides with Iran, with Russian nationalism, anti-Semitism. You cant dismiss these as “past” issues. If Vona goes out and speaks about calling in the Iranian guard, then its done. He said it, he took his side, its final, and its not the side of the normal world. You simply can’t disregard what a leader of a political party says. He has his responsibility as the leader, if it was a mistake, then let him say so. And Jobbik is not a democratic party. No it isn’t. It is law-abiding, but it isn’t democratic. Again, one simply can’t disregard the things Vona and other leaders of the party said. You can’t play politics assuming the others are totally stupid. You speak vehemently against the constitution a year ago, and want to be named to defend that same constitution a year later? You really think people are that stupid, and will let you? Jobbik supporters should remember, that a lot of the political gamblers (dictators, warmongers, etc) actually got their power using democratic means. Mislead people voted for them, and when they got into power, they demolished those democratic principles they used… Read more »
Paul
Guest
Paul
April 17, 2010 11:00 am

my problem is not with the diplomat seeking to meet with only her preferred parties – that is her right to chose. the inference that jobbik is “undemocratic” (as opposed to simply stating she disagrees with them respectfully) is what is insulting and unjustified.
steve, are you now suddenly an expert on what is “democratic” and what isnt? to me, being “democratic” means respecting the democratic process, and not breaking its rules (corruption, campaign spending limits, voter databases etc). jobbik’s creditials in these matters are superior even to those of the mszp/fidesz. just because you disagree agree with jobbik, you label them as “undemocratic” – it is hypocritical in the extreme. this is what i have a problem with.

Odin's lost eye
Guest
Odin's lost eye
April 17, 2010 11:18 am
John T and Steve Although I have written about this point before I would like to take opportunity to bring it up again. Hungary is amongst the six nations who had to make an unconditional surrender in 1945 to the ‘United Nations’. As a result 5 of these nations in had to ‘buy’ peace, remove their status as ‘an occupied enemy’ and restore ‘self government’ etc. all were compelled to sign the Treaty of Paris (1948). One of the clauses in the Treaty of Paris (1948) is that the newly restored states and their governments (Hungary included) were forbidden to allow the resurgence of National Socialism (the actual words in the treaty is fascist political parties). Since Jobbik is by any form of judgement a National Socialist party it is therefore illegal. Being illegal it cannot exist. Because the USA is one of the co-signatories as part of the victorious forces the US ambassador could not visit a party which by the peace treaty must not exist. The fact that it does exist is due entirely to the weakness of the previous government in that they did not suppress it as the treaty required them to do. Is this what… Read more »
John T
Guest
John T
April 17, 2010 1:23 pm

Paul – The explanation put forward by Odin’s lost eye likely covers the reason why. But if it doesn’t, then you need to ask yourself why Jobbik were snubbed.
I would also add that ethics and diplomacy don’t of course go hand in hand. I fully agree with your point about China and the regime that runs it. But China is a world economic and military power, so diplomacy continues and very little is done to confront its appalling human rights record. But compared to China, Hungary is irrelevant strategically – it threatens nobody and has nothing that the world can’t get elsewhere – at best Hungary will be an irritant rather than a threat to it’s neighbours (if for example it does attempt any miltary action in future, it will be attacking NATO rather than say Slovakia). So it’s easier for the US to make an ethical point with Hungary, even if you consider it hypocritical.

Matt L
Guest
Matt L
April 17, 2010 1:59 pm

Given the context, Morvai is no bigger a clown than Sara Palin. Its unfortunate for Hungary that Morvai has a better chance of being elected President.

Eva S. Balogh
Guest
April 17, 2010 2:55 pm

Matt: “Its unfortunate for Hungary that Morvai has a better chance of being elected President.”
Let’s not be that pessimistic.

Steve
Guest
Steve
April 17, 2010 3:13 pm
@Paul “steve, are you now suddenly an expert on what is “democratic” and what isnt?” Not suddenly, i have seen what Miloshevic did to Serbia, so i do know what nationalistic fanaticism is. Sure, Hungary is not Serbia, but interestingly, the nationalistic fanaticism works the same way. I do see the same events and steps that have happened there prior to the war, happening now in Hungary. But there is a big difference, Jobbik did not win the election, not did it get into coalition with the winner, and it will ever. Morvai deserves respect for her work on human rights, especially for speaking up against the brutal beatings on 23 October 2006. That she deserves. But the thing is, her role as fighter for human rights is just only one in the whole agenda that Jobbik is. The anti-semitism, the twisted pro-Iran rhetoric just makes Jobbik unfit to be an European party. As i said, Jobbik is law-abiding, there are currently not much problems with that. But its not democratic. Its not, because the speeches Vona gave, tell that it is not. Maybe if ten years passes, and Vona behaves and speaks like a democrat, then he may be… Read more »
GDF
Guest
GDF
April 17, 2010 6:44 pm

Paul: “my problem is not with the diplomat seeking to meet with only her preferred parties – that is her right to chose. the inference that jobbik is “undemocratic” (as opposed to simply stating she disagrees with them respectfully) is what is insulting and unjustified.”
Respectfully? Since when do nazis deserve respect? Insulting nazis should be the duty of any of the ambassadors representing the U.S.A.

Karl Pfeifer
Guest
Karl Pfeifer
April 18, 2010 6:37 am

@kuruc@”your kosher comrades will steal even the last morsel of Hungarian land.”
kuruc is the most interesting poster. With kosher kuruc implies that the Jewish communists or the Jews are stealing Hungarian Land. And there was already under Horthy a precedent how to avoid this. There were several zsidotörveny, laws discriminating against Jews.
So why kuruc don’t you propose to pass again similar laws?

PassingStranger
Guest
PassingStranger
April 18, 2010 10:06 am

@karl. And they still say Jobbik is not anti-Semitic.

Paul
Guest
Paul
April 18, 2010 12:25 pm
GDF: “Respectfully? Since when do nazis deserve respect? Insulting nazis should be the duty of any of the ambassadors representing the U.S.A.” jobbik is not the NSDAP (i am very sick of pointing this out to ignorant foreigners). democracy is about respecting others’ point of view and freedom of speech, even if you disagree with them. may i point out that the mszp, being the ACTUAL successor party of the hungarian communists, are not discriminated against on this basis by western democracies in such a manner. they are not accused of being “undemocratic” by representatives of major world powers. may i also point out that american diplomats do not frequently boycott and insult many truly undemocratic parties, such as the chinese communist party. jobbik is not legally, or ideologically, the successor party of any dictatorial regime. the “undemocratic” slur used against jobbik is completely baseless (jobbik’s strong committment to democracy is clear in both their program and their conduct during the election – in contrast to fidesz/mszp’s campaign spending infringements, voter databases and widespread corruption). the loose and frequent use of this smearing word makes any TRUE democrat very suspicious of whoever is throwing it around so loosely. its sole… Read more »
John T
Guest
John T
April 18, 2010 12:39 pm

“jobbik is not the NSDAP (i am very sick of pointing this out to ignorant foreigners).”
Paul – whether you like it or not, “ignorant foreigners” see some parallels between the two. Only time will tell whether you or they are correct of course.

David
Guest
David
April 18, 2010 2:47 pm

“jobbik is not the NSDAP (i am very sick of pointing this out to ignorant foreigners).”
History repeats itself; first as tragedy, then as farce.
NSDAP and the Arrow Cross were the tragedy; Jobbik the farce.

Steve
Guest
Steve
April 18, 2010 5:27 pm

@Paul
As you are surely a Jobbik supporter, you can’t see things clearly enough.
You always go on and explain how Jobbik is democratic, “just because it said so”. Jobbik is currently respecting the law, but it is not the same as respecting the democracy.
You should remember the history: Hitler too came to power trough democratic election, and (mostly) respecting the written law. But as he came to position to change the law, he dismantled the democracy and built the most horrible dictatorship in history. That same “recipe” was used in Serbia, and in different places throughout the world, and what people right now see in Jobbik, is that same tendency.
You can tell that you are democratic as much as you like, but people wont believe you. Because the leaders of Jobbik publicly told things that a democratic leader wouldn’t ever say.
Its not just the law that matters, the observable intention matters too.

Paul
Guest
Paul
April 19, 2010 2:19 am
have i ever said “just because it said so”? no – i judge on ACTIONS and EVIDENCE. you have completely ignored jobbik’s conduct in the elections – and most of what i just wrote. did jobbik break the campaign spending limits? no. does jobbik maintain illegal voter databases? no. does jobbik’s program (and “rhetoric”) support increased anti-corruption and political transparency measures, as well as the decentralisation of powers? yes. you honestly think jobbik will “dismantle democracy”? or are not “respecting the democracy”? with what evidence? (reporters referring to jobbik as “facist” is not evidence. it is bias – the enemy of free debate.) jobbik have never said any words to this effect and never will. what most people “see in jobbik” is the disgusting picture the media paints – until they bother to acquaint themselves personally with the party and sees the media lies for what they are. “As you are surely a Jobbik supporter, you can’t see things clearly enough.” are you trying to imply that anyone who supports jobbik is too dumb to be critical of them? would you make this statement about an mszp or lmp supporter? i was not born a jobbik supporter. i had never… Read more »
Alias3T
Guest
Alias3T
April 19, 2010 5:15 am

I’m inclined to lay off on Ms Morvai. She’s an unwell and deeply insecure person. She’s useful to the thugs at the top of Jobbik, and someone that damaged needs to take her self-esteem from wherever she can get it. Vona’s flattery and the adulation of the crowd for “Dr” Morvai Krisztina is her therapy.
She’s not the key to Jobbik; she’ll never be president. The moment she becomes inconvenient to the party, they’ll drop her without hesitation.

PassingStranger
Guest
PassingStranger
April 19, 2010 6:42 am
@ Paul. You are quite right Paul, that actions speak louder than words. I have been to Jobbik rallies, and they are full of anti-Semitism, hatred towards gypsies, and the presence of uniformed thugs such as the Garda and the so -called Nemzeti Orsereg, that even more openly flirts with the Arrow Cross than the Garda. Gabor Vona cracks anti-semitic jokes, Lorant Hegedus and Krisztina Morvai rant against Jewish bankers. The racism and anti-Semitism is abudantly and openly present in Jobbik, and it is pathetic to refer to a party programma as evidence to the contrary. The programme is a white-washing exercise, used to present the party as “normal”. But which normal democratic party has a paramilitary wing? The leader of which normal democratic party will go into parliament wearing the uniform of an outlawed organisation? Which normal democratic party in Europe you know of supports thugs and criminals like Budahazy? Jobbik actions speak far louder than words. Like the communists before them, they will simply re-define the word “democracy” to suit their purposes. They do this much the same manner as communists attacked liberal democracy before 1989, and islamic radicals do nowadays. Morvai uses the language of democracy and… Read more »
John T
Guest
John T
April 19, 2010 2:07 pm
“If Solomon wants to buy land (in Hungary), well… we’ll have a few conditions. Firstly, Sol you’ll need to prove that you’ve lived in Hungary for ten years. And not only that you’ve lived here ten years, but also that you’ve lived off the land […] that farming is your profession. You’ll need a certificate that you’ve passed an advanced Hungarian language test in Rigó utca [the state language centre – editor’s note] in front of an examination board consisting of members of the Hungarian Guard. You’ll need to graduate at a college of agriculture, the exam rules of which we are yet to figure out. But we already have our first must-answer question: list all the kings of the Árpád dynasty, with dates, within one minute, backwards. And when you’re done, get up to the President’s palace where dr. Krisztina Morvai will be waiting for you. She has two stamps. One says “Our Kind” and the other “Your Kind” and she will decide which one you belong to.” Paul – this has been published on a number of internet sites, part of one of young Gabor’s speeches apparently. The language is very provocative, primarily directed at Jewish investors, but… Read more »
PassingStranger
Guest
PassingStranger
April 19, 2010 2:57 pm

@John T. That, was part of Gabor Vona’s March 15 speech. The last sentence is reminiscent of Mayor of Vienna Karl Lugar’s remark “I decide who is a Jew”.
The opposition to selling land or housing to foreigners is based purely on mysticism and is against the direct interest of many Hungarians. What if you are Hungarian and want to SELL your house or plot of land? A great many Hungarians have benefitted from selling their homes at inflated prices to Irish investors. Under Jobbik, they will have to sell it at substantial losses to a smaller market of penniless Hungarians.

John T
Guest
John T
April 19, 2010 3:20 pm

PassingStranger – indeed. Where there is a buyer, there is a seller and most sellers have been Hungarian so far.
And in the scenario you outline, the market goes downward until it is worthless. It will achieve the objective of keeping the land Hungarian of course. But at what cost – lots of smallholders struggling to survive on their plots and finding their crops are too expensive to sell anywhere outside Hungary. Ultimately, you’ll have the same mediocrity that existed under Communism. Again, the irony is darkly amusing.

Odin's lost eye
Guest
Odin's lost eye
April 20, 2010 6:02 am

John T. Do not worry what the ‘Trolls’ tell you about Jobbik not being a National Socialist party. Remember the old ‘acid test’ of “If looks like a cow, gives milk and goes ‘Moo’, it is a cow!
Using this test look at the pronouncements of the leadership of Jobbik and compare these with the pronouncements and actions of Nazi in Germany, the Fascists in Italy, the Falange/Carlist in Spain and the Arrow Cross in Hungary and the Estado Novo in Portugal. At that point you can ’rest your case’ as they say in court.
The U.S. ambassador to Hungary would have cleared her actions with the State Department in Washington. Because of the sensitive nature of her mission it would have been cleared at very high level, perhaps even with the Oval Office its self.
Finally remember the unofficial words to the old march called ‘Colonel Bogey’ (it is on Wikipedia). There is one thing for sure Morvai has the same condition as old Goebbels for sure.

Sandor
Guest
April 20, 2010 11:03 pm

To Paul: “are you trying to imply that anyone who supports jobbik is too dumb to be critical of them?”
I am afraid, it is more than just a supposition, or an implication. It is my definite opinion to be so. If anyone is dumb enough to support them, then he is surely dumb enough to be sycophantic towards them.
But dumb alone will not do. He must also be evil. And as I see, he is. They are.
To bbking: I call them, as I see them. If I see it to be stupid who the hell are you to doubt my judgement? The letter is stupid and so is anyone else, who agrees with it. And if you don’t like it you might as well just lump it.
To kuruc joska: “otherwise your kosher comrades will steal even the last morsel of Hungarian land.”
The last time I looked, all the land was still there and nobody carried away any of it to Israel. Or anywhere else. Only a blind dolt like you and your comrades in stupidity can claim such idiocy.

Sandor
Guest
April 20, 2010 11:08 pm

Since we are discussing this ugly duckling of Hungarian politics, let me call your attention to the Morvai website: http://www.morvaikrisztina.com/

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