Polish visitors to the Hungarian national holiday in support of Viktor Orbán

Ordinary Hungarians know little about Polish politics. Even the better informed know only the names of the current and former prime ministers of Poland, and the liberally minded have bad memories of the Kaczynski era. Those who rely on the Hungarian media for information are aware that Viktor Orbán has been courting Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk to form an East-Central European axis from the Baltic to the Adriatic, but Tusk is wholeheartedly supporting the idea of a strong European Union.

And there is a general sense of the age-old friendship between the two countries and a vague notion of a Polish saying about Polish-Hungarian friendship which actually goes like this: “Polak-Węgier dwa bratanki–i do szabli, i do szklanki!”

Lately Viktor Orbán likes to talk about this traditional friendship between the two countries in the hope that the Polish government will stand by Hungary in her “war of independence” with the European Union. But Tusk’s response to Hungarian requests has been lukewarm at best.

Then, suddenly, the whole Hungarian media became full of the startling story that about 2,000 Poles are coming to Budapest to celebrate Hungary’s national holiday and support Viktor Orbán’s government. Because the liberal media suspected that the first “Peace Walk” in support of Viktor Orbán had been financed by the government, the very first question which was asked of the Hungarian organizers: “Who is paying for a fairly long trip from Warsaw to Budapest?” and “Who will pay for their stay in the Hungarian capital?” The answer from Zsolt Bayer and András Bencsik, two of the organizers of the March 15th extravagance, naturally was that all expenses will be paid by the the participants themselves.

 

 God, protect Hungary and Poland and defend Europe from the pestilence of left-liberalism and moral slough

There is a saying in Hungarian that catching a liar is as easy as catching a lame dog, but in our Google era the task is even easier. A few hours after Bayer and Bencsik denied any Hungarian financing for the Poles’  trip, a Hungarian blogger found a website on which one could read that the buses waiting for the Polish visitors at the railroad station are being hired by the Hungarians and the lunch they get is also being provided by the Hungarian hosts.

Marc 15-lengyel programIn Fidesz circles there seems to be a bit of an unease concerning the Polish visitors. Heti Válasz ran an article about Gazeta Polska, a Polish weekly that organized the trip, under the headline “Did embarrassing supporters defend Viktor Orbán?” Why did Heti Válasz feel that an explanation was in order? Because German and English-language papers describe Gazeta Polska as a paper espousing right-radical, extremist views. But, says Heti Válasz, both the German embassy in Warsaw and the leader of the social democratic Friedrich Ebert Stiftung in in the Polish capital call the weekly simply “right-wing nationalist,” close to Jarosław Kaczyński’s party, Prawo i Sprawiedliwość (Law and Justice).

The editor-in-chief of the paper is Tomasz Sakiewicz, who had an important position at the state television station during the Kaczynski era. He is both anti-Russian and anti-German. Heti Válasz claims that Gazeta Polska is not an anti-Semitic paper, but Népszabadság quotes from Tomasz Sakiewicz’s blog in which he calls on Poles “to defend their state, themselves, and their children from being slaves of antagonistic foreign ethnic groups (Germans and Jews).” The paper carries a strongly anti-communist message, but for the readership of Gazeta Polska a communist is anyone who doesn’t share their own ultra-conservative, clerical, and nationalistic views, an attitude well expressed by a Hungarian neo-Nazi who on one of the videos taken at the Milla demonstration yesterday told the reporter that participants in the Milla demonstration are “all communists.”

According to Népszava the readership of Gazeta Polska is practically identical to the listeners of Radio Maryja, a religious, conservative, Catholic radio station. The station has been the center of criticism and controversy since its foundation. Many claim that it is vehemently anti-Semitic, homophobic, xenophobic, and anti-republican. The statues of the Virgin Mary carried by some of the participants attest to the religiosity of the visitors from Poland.

Marc 15- Lengyelek feher szuzmariaval

Visitors also brought some Polish ethnic flavor to the Hungarian capital.

Marc 15-lengyelek nepviseletben The spokesman for PiS, Jan Dziediczak, explained in an interview with the Hungarian television station ATV that the Polish right admires Viktor Orbán’s foreign policy because his political ideas are very similar to those of the Kaczynski brothers: an independent foreign policy, conservative values, strong family, strong and unified Poland. And indeed, not just the organizers but also the demonstrators are great admirers of Viktor Orbán. In fact, they wish that Viktor Orbán could be their own prime minister. After all, these people are euro-skeptics and they look upon Tusk as a “vassal of Brussels and Berlin.” It is worth remembering though what happened to the Kaczynski government after two years in power.

These Poles don’t believe that Donald Tusk represents true Polish interests. They would love to see Jarosław Kaczyński back, but the Polish right is anything but united. Therefore they look enviously to Orbán’s Hungary that to the outsider seems strong and unified. I’m sure that for those 2,000 visitors the sight of that huge crowd and its enthusiasm in front of the Hungarian parliament was proof that their image of Viktor Orbán is correct. But, surely, they were unaware of another huge crowd only a mile away from where they were standing. And that crowd wants Viktor Orbán to disappear and after his departure to have Hungarian democracy restored. Nothing is as simple as it appears to the casual visitor.

Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
tigerente
Guest

If he’s counting on the EU’s fear about the far-right’s rise so they let him do what he wants, shouldn’t this do a disservice to that goal? He’s already in the company of ultra-conservatives, not only at home but also from abroad. I guess he doesn’t give a damn.

Paul
Guest

Is there a general far-right rise in Europe? I haven’t researched this, but just from general impressions, the rise of the far-right seems to be mostly (possibly exclusively?) happening in the ex-Soviet countries.

tigerente
Guest

Well, there’s Wilders, Le Pen… The sentiment is not as prevailing as in Hungary, but in other countries there’s also nationalists dissing immigrants, for example. Thilo Sarrazin speaking of Germany doing itself in because of German Turks not integrating, Sarkozy appealing to right-wing voters by saying he’d pull France out of the Schengen zone… At least from an outsider point of view, it didn’t strike me as a problem exclusive of former Eastern Bloc countries. Perhaps it’s not as extreme in the West, but I’d think it’s still there.
Old Spiegel article about it. http://www.spiegel.de/international/europe/0,1518,719842,00.html

Paul
Guest

tigerente – well in the UK, the far right has virtually disappeared (or is in government – depending on my mood!), and in France Le Pen’s daughter only just managed to scrape together enough support to run in the presidential election at the very last moment.
I don’t know much about the German situation, but I suspect most of the far-right activity there is in/from the East.
Of course, practically everywhere has got its loony right factions, but they tend to get publicity because of their unexpectedness/novelty, not through any mass support. Whereas in Poland and Hungary the far-right is widely supported, and seen as a ‘normal’ part of the political spectrum.
I don’t know the figures and it’s far too late to start looking them up, but I suspect few, if any, countries have as high a proportion of their parliamentary seats taken by the loony right as Hungary does.
By May 2014, Hungary could well have a right-wing government, with a far-right opposition. Way, way beyond anything in any other European country.

tigerente
Guest

The article had figures about the percentage of parliamentary seats taken by right-wing parties (http://www.spiegel.de/international/europe/bild-719842-136031.html). Although I don’t know the particulars of all the countries listed, I get the idea that Hungary’s loons are worse than all the others, else they would have made as many headlines. I’m not sure about Poland’s far-right being so widely supported, though. I’d have to research a bit.
And what I hope is that by 2014 the government isn’t actually far-right. If Orbán ruins everything and the opposition doesn’t get their act together, maybe people will choose Jobbik instead.

lou cypher
Guest

He’s a megalomanic looney flying high on the rush of his admirers and supporters organized for mega-rallies.
there’s double rhetoric: a feverish, national line at home and a more reserved line in Brussels – although he changes tone already in the Brussels press rooms.
very soon the time will come when he’ll have to go one way or the other…can’t please both sides!

riviera1
Guest

Someone alert the western press!
Orban and Fidesz got 2/3 of 53% of the electorate–that’s 1/3 of total eligible voters. It is NOT the landslide victory and the overwhelming support of the citizenry that it is presented as–Just another of the sly lies typical of Fidesz and Orban.
Apathy, and disgust of the MSZP, is what brought this situation about, not wholesale support of Orban’s programme, which, as most know, was never revealed before the election.

Odin's Lost Eye
Guest
Ah Mr Lucifer (Lou Cypher) the real problem is that he is caught between two very large rocks and a very hard place. The two rocks are firstly the financial situation and the second is the E.Us insistence that Hungary obeys the rules of the E.U.. The hard place is his determination to succeed in his megalomania to be the Hungarian Messiah. If he withdraws Hungary from the E.U. he is right up ‘sh*t creek’ and in a barbed wire canoe. A quick look at the maps will show why. The E.U will slap huge tariffs on Hungary’s exports to the E.U. and large transit tariffs/deposits on the rest. He could load directly onto barges and ship down the Danube invoking the Danube convention but the Viktator has refused to dredge the river. The standard average depth required is 2meters 60cm, in Hungary I have been told it is only 2meters 20cm. I know 40cm does not seem much, but it is quite a few tonnes of cargo per barge. Apart form that I think Hungary only has 3 dredgers I only know of one for certain. Even then he will have to pay for unloading and transhipment. Air Freight… Read more »
lou cypher
Guest

well he recently tried to schmooze with the russian brothers but w/o much success – fellegi came back empty handed (as he did from china).
guess we’re still looking east, to our barbarian and victorious (sorry, revolutionary) ancestors riding the wild horses – somewhat resembles goulash communist romantics 🙂

Eva S. Balogh
Guest

Just read that the far-right Magyar Hírlap signed an agreement with Gazeta Polska. They will exchange news. So, they found each other.

Darek
Guest

Here in Poland people who are thinking like a patriots, who want to learn history, Poles who see that polish goverment is not a polish, want to tell all Hungarians: Be brave! You have real national goverment, which must be strong. Dont kisses ass of Russia, Germany and UE! We are with you: Lengyel, Magyar – két jó barát, együtt harcol, s issza borát

Member

Darek, you have to get your head out of the sand. You are not my friend and not Hungary’s friend. My REAL polish friends are sick of you and form your medieval thinker friends. Better, take Orban to Poland, he is all yours. Maybe you can all start to raise pigs, and celebrate happy medieval times with your wine. For the rest of Hungarians that day would be a new National Holiday.

otto
Guest

Darek, you’d better polish your English 🙂
Ms Balogh, this is a very accurate and balanced account of the situation in Poland. Thank you.
Mr Sakiewicz and his herd are in reality a small but very noisy and quarrelsome group. We hoped they would stay with Orban but alas! they are back. On their mission from God. Very proud of themselves 😉
Sakiewicz himself is a hysterical and insolent liar who attracts similar personalities. Besides his weekly Gazeta Polska, he launched a daily paper right before the last election (to support Kaczynski), and so on the last day before we went to vote we could read an enormous heading “Smolensk was an assassination!” These people love to write and speak about “the truth”, their own “independence” and take pride in being “politically incorrect”. They are pompous par excellence. You know the type, don’t you? But they can do nothing, they are not really important. More of a curiosity in fact.
Poland is changing in a good way. People, especially young people, are getting fed up with nationalistic and religious rhetoric and the omnipresent Catholic Church. I fact, I’m glad to say, the far right in Poland are in retreat. Very clearly 🙂

M. form Poland
Guest

I am both surprised and disgusted by the way in which the author of the blog tries to stick a label of extremist and antisemitic views to “Gazeta Polska” and its editor.

Member

M. form Poland: “I am both surprised and disgusted by the way in which the author of the blog tries to stick a label of extremist and antisemitic views to “Gazeta Polska” and its editor.”
@ M. form Poland, I am both surprised and disgusted that you do not. THis was the quote: “Heti Válasz claims that Gazeta Polska is not an anti-Semitic paper, but Népszabadság quotes from Tomasz Sakiewicz’s blog in which he calls on Poles “to defend their state, themselves, and their children from being slaves of antagonistic foreign ethnic groups (Germans and Jews).””
So, M form Poland, did Sakiewicz wrote this on his blog or not?

Member

@M
Moja droga polską bratanek! The sheer fact that your compatriots happily joined a demonstration, organized by the most famous Hungarian anti-Semite, Zsolt Bayer, to cheer a foreign dictator, should give you a clue about the readership of GP.
If it smells like it, looks like … you know the rest.
Let me say something here. We, most of the Hungarians, don’t consider this deranged, extremist bunch the representatives of the Polish nation.

M. form Poland
Guest

“So, M form Poland, did Sakiewicz wrote this on his blog or not?”
I never heard of it before and I cannot find it in google. However, I am not sure what words should I use, since it is a translation. Anyway, it would not really suit his point of view (which I may not know very well, but occasionally I do read some his texts).
What I did however find was something like this:
“Poles can defend their state, protect themselves and their children from becoming slaves of unfriendly nations (ethnically), if they vote for Polish political parties”
(“Polacy moga obronic wlasne panstwo, uchronic siebie i swoje dzieci przed byciem niewolnikami wrogich etni, Obcych, glosujac na polskie partie polityczne.”)
Sounds familiar, eh? Except that there was no metion about Jews… Only that it was not written by Sakiewicz, but by one of visitors on his blog, just like You, Darek or myself. If this is the factual basis of Szabad Nép’s claim, then it shows interestings mechanisms of (mis)information (or rather libel). One of… how many?
You can check it here:
http://tomaszsakiewicz.salon24.pl/398238,credo-konserwatysty

w111mil@gazeta.pl
Guest

The “Népszabadság quote” on Gazeta Polska is a lie.
By the way, the participants have paid 340 zl.

Member

“the participants have paid 340 zl”
Hundred bucks? For a return trip, meals and accommodation in Budapest? I guess the entertainment was free. This was an awesome deal …

Bredfan
Guest

Hmm … latest news from Warsaw. Sakiewicz just called on “true Poles” to boycott Polish State TV’s main News program “Wiadomosci” for not mentioning the famous Orban support raid on Budapest last week. In fact he suggests to boycott the companies advertising before the main News program.
Aren’t these guys insane enough to stay home and keep their worldview just for doctors?
In fact, right wing in Poland present themselves as victims of Government/UE/Berlin/Moscow/Jew/mason/…name it.., only true representatives of Polish Nation. Which of course is a lie and Polish society voted against them in EVERY single elections (also municipal)since their 2-years rules in 2005-07 (yes, they were unable to rule 4 yrs).We kind of understand how the Orban-free part of Hungarians must feel like every morning ..reading about the new populist ideas of the Government, dividing the society due to the ancient law of “divide and rule”
As for the Orban’s Polish supporters visit … frankly saying we were hoping they will stay in Budapest and never come back 😉

Lukasz
Guest

I have attended the March 15th event and I’m proud and happy to support you Hungarians. Especially if so many have their horizons so limited by EU protagonists. This shortsightedness will change with time so keep your faith in the future.

Eva S. Balogh
Guest

Bredfan: “As for the Orban’s Polish supporters visit … frankly saying we were hoping they will stay in Budapest and never come back”
And sane Hungarians were hoping that the Polish visitors would take Orbán back with them to Warsaw.

Member

“This shortsightedness will change with time so keep your faith in the future”
The communists kept repeating the same for 45 years in both Poland and Hungary. How many years do you want, Lukasz? Oh, wait in Poland you are already kicked out of power …

Member

Bredfan: “olish society voted against them in EVERY single elections (also municipal)since their 2-years rules in 2005-07 (yes, they were unable to rule 4 yrs)’ I guess the Polish people are smarter than the Hungarians. My polish friends here in Canada also do not support this right-wing crazies. Nice to have your comment Bredfan.

Forever Grand Vacations
Guest

I am both surprised and disgusted by the way in which the author of the blog tries to stick a label of extremist and antisemitic views to “Gazeta Polska” and its editor.

Bransons Nantucket
Guest

Sane Hungarians were hoping that the Polish visitors would take Orbán back with them to Warsaw.But could this possibly happen?

wpDiscuz