József Nyirő’s prose

Saturday I was thinking of writing an article on the literary merits of those three or four writers who are being “rediscovered” of late by the “rightist, nationalist, and Christian” government of Viktor Orbán. The adjectives are not mine. Orbán himself described his ideology and government in these terms. But then I would have had to rely on the opinions of others to a large extent.

I read Cécile Tormay at the time that I was writing my dissertation on the 1919-1921 period of Hungarian history, but I viewed her so-called “diary-novel” Bujdosó könyv (1920-21) more as a historical than a literary document. Even as a historical document, however, it must be regarded with serious reservations because, although written in diary form, it wasn’t a contemporaneous account of the events described. It reflects a conservative point of view with plenty of anti-Semitism in the mix. Anyone who’s interested in taking a look at it can do so here.

I read Dezső Szabó’s two-volume autobiography Életeim (My Lives), which was reprinted in 1965, and found his prose pretty impenetrable. In 1957 his best short novel Feltámadás Makucskán (Resurrection in Makucska), which I did not read, was reissued. In contrast to my reaction, I just heard a literary historian claim that as an essayist Szabó was one of the Hungarian greats. In fact, the historian considered him the equal of Endre Ady.

As for the literary merit of the two most controversial writers of this literary revival I really cannot pass judgment because I read neither József Nyirő nor Albert Wass. Therefore, I was pleased to read an article by Júlia Lévai, one of the founding members of Galamus, on Nyirő. She took the trouble to read a number of Nyirő’s short stories in a volume entitled Fagyöngy (Mistletoe, 1937). I must say I haven’t had so much fun in the longest time.

Lévai begins by saying that she is not a literary historian. In fact, her background is in music. So she approached these stories as an ordinary reader of Hungarian prose.  First, she noticed some of Nyirő’s mannerisms. For instance, every verb must have an adverb. Someone not only “keeps vigil” but “broodingly keeps vigil.” Nyirő is fixated with darkness. Someone looks over to a child “darkly.” People of the wilderness in general are “dark” or “burned poor” or perhaps “frozen black.” One of his heroes speaks darkly, sees darkly, darkly moves in the snow, and even thinks darkly. Another Nyirő hero can even “sit darkly.”

Nyirő also uses words in unusual ways. Almost as if he weren’t quite aware of their meaning. Lévai found a short story entitled “Vihar” (Storm) in which Nyirő discusses the relationship of God and man on this earth. The man in the story is angry at God because his hay-wagon tipped over and he angrily “shook up his pitchfork toward the sky.” This expression is odd even in English but in Hungarian it is really strange. One usually shakes up a pillow (felrázni a párnát).

Lévai picked a few examples from a large warehouse of Nyirő’s descriptions of animals. “The mother-bear folds the hands of her little ones, saying ‘Pray nicely for God to turn his wrath away from us.'” The same mother-bear “darkly pants.” Another “mother-bear trembling cries to the dreary world: My Lord, have mercy on us! Her little ones nestle to her groan: Have mercy on us! Father-bear waves his hand in resignation and sinks his head down as if he were thinking about his last will.” Moving on to wolves, “The wolf is turning grey from the horror and in his rage he snarls.” Perhaps my favorite: “The fish are now mute and cold because of fright.” (Lévai adds: “As if they were warm and talkative otherwise!”)

Nature also behaves oddly in Nyirő’s work. For example, “The rocks began to wail.” Or “Only the rocks believe in themselves.” Or, “The storm’s last burst of fury has become even more horrific and once more knocked the heads of mountains together.”

And, as Lévai describes it, the icing on the cake. This time about a bird: “It is distressing to see how the warbler is running around tearing her hair out and is looking around the bushes while she is screaming half mad: Did you see my children?”

Lévai makes some not too flattering comparisons between the half-mad warbler and “half-mad politicians running around with Nyirő’s ashes.”

Meanwhile, on behalf of a writer whose prose doesn’t sound exactly sterling and whose political views are at best questionable the Hungarian government is risking a serious diplomatic breach with Romania. Victor Ponta, the new Romanian prime minister, is not in a joking mood and demands an apology from Viktor Orbán himself for László Kövér’s disparaging remarks about the Romanian government. I think Ponta can wait till doomsday. His namesake is not the kind who apologizes. And indeed, Orbán’s spokesman, Péter Szijjártó, made it clear that no such apology would be forthcoming.

Real madness!

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Member

Oh, my … I was literally ROTFLMAO (rolling on the floor laughing my ass off) when I was reading Levai’s article this morning on galamus.hu. You poor foreigners you’re missing out so much fun – you have to learn this language.

One blog, I think the orulunkvincent.hu (it means: ” Vincent! We Happy?” from the movie Pulp Finction), regularly posts contemporary poems from right wing poets. OMG. I’m giving selfishly here the link for the Hungarian readers: http://orulunkvincent.blog.hu/tags/borzalmasvers

Ok, here is a random pick from 2008 written for the Viktor Orban’s birthday. No rhymes, I’m just trying to give back the meaning. I think it put’s the North Korean poets into shame.

Ma született Orbán Viktor,
Jöhet hozzá minden piktor.
Készülhet a hősről a kép,
Ki számára nincs ellenfél.
Egyedül vannak kormányon a szocik,
Politikájuk csak egy szócikk
Lesz a régi szavak szótárában.
A magyarok pedig a Nemzeti Vágtában
Ünneplik a Vezért,
Aki nem haragszik ezért.

Viktor Orban was born today,
Come all painters,
Let the picture be started about the hero,
Who has no match.
The “szocis” (MSZP) are in government by itself,
Their politics is only a paragraph,
In the old dictionary.
The Hungarians in a great gallop
are celebrating the Leader,
Who doesn’t mind this.

Thomas
Guest

Matt and Eva, thank you both! You made my day!

Guest

Mutt – is this real ?

It really sounds like North Korea – or East Germany.

A bit OT: I have a very good friend who left the “DDR” aka communist East Germany in the summer of1989 (!) just a few months before the Berlin Wall fell – he couldn’t stand life there any more. He often recites children’s songs and poems like this from his Fatherland in our local pub – sometimes the whole pub is shaking with laughter.

PS: In Nazi Germany children were also used in this way to “Hail the Führer”, bring him flowers and recite a poem …

Louis Kovach
Guest

Re wolfi above: Do you have to go out of Hungary for examples?
“Gyertek lányok öltözzetek fehérbe,
Szórjunk rózsát Rákosi elvtárs elébe,
Hadd járjon ő a rózsában bokáig,
Éljen, éljen a Rákosi elvtárs sokáig!”

Come girls dress in white
spread roses in front Rakosi comrade
Let him walk in roses up to his ankle
Ra, ra live Comrade Rakosi forever”

The entire (kudos to 2 or 3 exceptions) erstwhile Hungarian literati wrote similar odes……

Guest

I forgot:

This story of “half-mad politicians running around with Nyirő’s ashes” reminds me a lot of President Solyom’s (attempted !) visit to Komarno some years ago, when he was sent back by the Slovaks …

PS: Last summer we made a trip to Komarno, took a stroll though the pedestrian zone and went into a Cafe there. The waitress addressed us in German (she knows her tourists obviously) but immediately switched to Hungarian when my wife asked something in Hungarian. And now the nicest part: We asked about some Slovak € coins (a German friend of ours collects these from all countries) and after a minute she came back with a full set of them – that was rewarded with a nice tip …

Ovidiu
Guest

Eva “Victor Ponta, the new Romanian prime minister, is not in a joking mood ..”

Today the presidents of the upper and lower chambers of the Romanian Parliament wrote a joint letter to Kover asking him (very politely) not to come tomorrow in Romania and to postpone any intended visit until after the local elections so as not to interfere with them.

The leader of the main Hungarian party-DAHR/RMDSZ (and minister of culture in the former govt.) Kelemen Hunor, declared today that “The presidents of the Parliament’s chambers now agree with what RMDSZ has said for a long time : Kover visits (his involvement in the elections) are not welcome, we don’t need “help” form Laszlo Kover”

We will see tomorrow if Kover rejects the request. He is expected to be present in the Mures-county to campaign for Szasz Jeno and his party.
It may escalate to “persona-non-grata”, judging by the media comments and despite the very polite and reasoned tone of the letter.

LwiiH
Guest

I repeat myself again, the arrogance of these guys is astounding. They always claim that they are ordinary EU citizens and should be free to go where ever they wish, a completely bogus argument that for some reason Hungarians swallow. As a member of the Hungarian parliament diplomatic protocols do apply….. Even if Kover was an ordinary person, Romania still has the right to refuse entry. I don’t know why these idiots keep pushing the buttons of neighbouring countries.. ah yeah, distract the masses from their corruption and incompetence. Which reminds me, the police officials that got busted for graft… 100,000HUF a month or so…ooo man, those guys missed the real gravy train… if they had of been involved in the real corruption for real money they would have never been busted.. but hey, now Kovacs can go out and say.. look were fighting corruption!!!!

Ovidiu
Guest
LWiiH “I don’t know why these idiots keep pushing the buttons of neighbouring countries.” It may be madness but there is method in it. It has become apparent these days as many puzzled here in Romania over the question “What does Kover really want ?” By provoking, pushing buttons, it triggers reactions against the Hungarian govt. which in turn polarizes the Hungarian minorities in those countries. Thus conflict forces them to take sides and support Fidesz and their puppet ethnic-parties. It is a perverse logic of creating conflict because it is useful and such a strategy is not stoppable since, if it doesn’t succeed at first, one can simply escalate in ever more provocative statements until the govt. of those countries will be forced to react because of the pressure of the public opinion. Fidesz goal is to radicalize the minorities living in the neighbouring countries, to have them disengage from being a part of the internal politics of those countries and thus (because lack of representation) to reorient themselves toward to Budapest (thing which, btw, happened too in the 1930s when the Hungarian-Romanian parties existing back then withdrew from the Romanian political stage, but it happened back then because… Read more »
petofi
Guest

I had thought that Matolcsy was the worst. Then I discovered that Szijarto and the marvels of the ‘boulevard kacsa’. After that came the slimy Gyro. But not one of them reaches up to the pure asininity of Laszlo K. Are the Hungarians preparing to march into Romania?
Kover is making ‘sudetenland-like’ noises.

The little I heard Ponta write or speak was eloquent and reasonable. He must think that
he enterred some sort wild circus tent with grotesque maniacs jumping out at him.

What on earth has Hungary done to get these madcap morons? How can the Fidesz rank and file not see these grotesque creatures for what they are?

Nero fiddled while Rome burned…but we don’t even get the music!

Member

petofi :
What on earth has Hungary done to get these madcap morons? How can the Fidesz rank and file not see these grotesque creatures for what they are?

They voted for them.

Lutra lutra
Guest

Here’s a thing – in any other profession where you have control over people’s lives (policeman, doctor, airline pilot, etc) you have a whole raft of training and tests to make sure you have the technical and mental competence to act appropriately. For politicians, nothing.
At least the last MSZP government was packed with technocrats who had proved their abilities elsewhere. The comments here seem to prove that the FIDESZ government is a sort of giant “care in the community” scheme, giving jobs to those who would otherwise be unemployable.

enufff
Guest

the country is run by football hooligans..

Odin's Lost eye
Guest

Petofi within Hungary such brutal speech is very much approved of by hoi polloi (the great unwashed). It shows in their minds that Hungary is back on the road to greatness and the leadership of firstly Eastern Europe and in the next 5 or so years the whole of Europe.
They are becoming very aggressive towards non-Hungarians.and this encouraged by the Viktator’s stand against the E.U. whom they honestly believe is seeking to take over their land. If the Romanians do not allow the Hungarian Government to re-bury a man who after the 2nd Vienna award abandoned his birthplace (and any pretence of his Romanian citizenship) and then abandoned his country and went to Spain via Germany. Then there will be ‘Big Trouble’

Karl Pfeifer
Guest
It is not real madness but calculated provocation. This government had only one declared aim, to destroy every democratic opposition. After two years they have no achievments for the people. On the contrary. But they hope with “national” provocations to achieve national and ethnic unity. Yesterday György Schöpflin said* so in Magyar Hirlap: “The ethnicity is considering itself as community, disposes with a common historical consciousness and a system of traditions, speaks a common language and has a common future consciousness! If this is true, than lets recognize that there is a Hungarian ethnicity.” my quick translation This way we can understand, why Orbán said a week after a Jobbik MP has implied in parliament that Jews committed ritual murder, that he will protect the “Jewish minority”, according to this opinion, Jews cannot be Hungarians. So there will be no ethical commission in Hungarian parliament and more and more anti-Semitic speeches will be heard and no measures will be taken by the parliament against those MPs who do so. And of course the provocation of Kövér in Romania is also calculated. Orbán wants to offend as much as possible the European Union and he is so conceited that he admits… Read more »
Lutra lutra
Guest
It’s a pity that most people in Hungary seem to fall for the Fidesz b-s. Reanimating the notion of Jews as some form of “fifth column”, demonising the Roma for their involvement in (generally) petty crime while turning a blind eye to the corruption and disrespect for the rule of law among the rich and powerful and harking back to a “golden age” that seems to shift in terms of when it was and why it was so golden at every turn are not the acts of a government that is sure of itself. Time and time again, Orbán has shown that he has no strategy, and is just thinking one step ahead. Sure he knows where he’d like to go but he doesn’t know how, and refuses to take well-intentioned advice from those he considers to be his enemies. The worst aspect of Hungary nowadays is that “too clever” is no longer a figure of speech but a veiled threat. This is a long way from the world of bad irredentist literature, but I can imagine that Orbán will be used by future political scientists as an example of how not to run a country, just as Nyirő seems… Read more »
Member

Karl Pfeifer :
It is not real madness but calculated provocation.

I agree. I think Hungarian politicians shortly become the pariah of most westernized country. Soon no one will talk to these idiots as even to be associated with them would reflect badly on anyone. I have a feeling that they will not allow Kover to cross the border. I am not sure how the romanians can stop him, but I think they may will.
As my father often says “I am not mad at Orban, as clearly he is a sick man, but all the people who surround him, they are the danger. Orban couldn’t of get where he is without the support of this group.”

Member

Sorry, I posted this on the wrong thread.

Member

OT
Hungarian standard in downtown Budapest. I am not sure in how many developed countries of the world would it be possible that a human looking couple freely and loudly without hesitation, out in the open without any provocation would call a reporter a “filthy, Jewish bitch”, and to make their point they would spit on the woman also.
I can only hope that the reporter will file charges with the police for assault, and the footage will be released to the public without the blurring in order to identify these pig looking animals. I felt it is important to share this info as I am not sure that without proper attention given to this issue, the current Hungarian police and judaical system would not throw this issue aside. Please, do not forget that the current government that runs this country does allow anti-Jewish sentiment to freely fly in the parliament, as well as glorify past politicians and literary figures who glorified anti-semitic ideas or applauded the holocaust in indirect ways.

Here is the footage from NOL: http://nol.hu/belfold/videobizonyitek__inzultaltak_a_noltv_riporteret

Ron
Guest

Sorry nothing will happen, if the government is doing this as well.

http://www.politics.hu/20120605/parliament-adopts-resolution-against-extremism-racism/

Guest

Some1: Usually ‘alternate’ spellings are easy to understand, but here the spelling might be ironic: “judaical system” or ‘judicial system’. ‘Judicial’ pertains to the courts, “judaical” pertains to things Jewish.

Member

Gretchen :
Some1: Usually ‘alternate’ spellings are easy to understand, but here the spelling might be ironic: “judaical system” or ‘judicial system’. ‘Judicial’ pertains to the courts, “judaical” pertains to things Jewish.

bahaha Thank you. Yes, I am very clear between the difference. I guess I was thinking “jewish” and typed accordingly. Spell check is certainly not helpful in cases like this. Thank you for correcting it.

Karl Pfeifer
Guest
Thanks some1 This reminds me Easter Monday 1994, I walked with my wife, who does not speak Hungarian, the Pozsonyi út in Budapest and saw a bookshop with some books on Hungarian war criminals. I entered the shop with the intention to buy one. An elegant man, about 45-50 years old stood there and cursed the Jews. I bought the book and left. The fellow followed me and shouted, “you will not rule Hungary anymore” and a few things about Jews not fit for printing. My wife asked me to translate. She asked me, why do I not call the police. I’ve told her, because thanks to the Hungarian liberals this is part of freedom of opinion. And I could as a foreign journalist who speaks Hungarian be accused to have invented the story. The next day a conference started in Budapest, “50 years Hungarian Holocaust”. During the coffee break I told Randolph L Braham and other scientists what I have experienced. Maria Schmidt who was present tried to tell them that I have invented the story. So you have great tolerance for anti-Semitism and at the time denial of it. Mrs. Hankiss (Fidesz MEP) tried to convince the MPs… Read more »
Member
Dear Karl, your post made me actually very emotional. Your family’s tragedy is not unique and that is what makes it so frightening. I want to confess here something. My kids do not speak Hungarian. They do speak French extremely well, next to English of course. THis makes it very hard for their Hungarian grandparents to communicate with them I know, but decided not to teach them. My younger daughter was about ten months old the first time we visited Hungary, and yes I did speak to her Hungarian until that point. As I was walking around the Muzeum korut, I came across some argument amongst a group and an older gentleman. THe group started to to call the old man dirty Jew, they called on him to saw a yellow star on his jacket and complained about how Hitler did not do a good enough job. The old man was so scared. I was with my ten month old, and was to scared to interfere. I still think of the old man…. A couple of days later as I was walking in downtown I came across with several election posters that were spray painted with either with the star… Read more »
Thomas
Guest

I tried to teach my daughter Hungarian, but becasue of her language learing disablility I gave up. She loves to go to Hungary where she has tons of English speaking friends, yet I feel I must show her the ugly side of this otherwise wonderful country and culture. She needs to know her past, and needs to understand why I left.

Guest

Just this morning I received a post from a friend (in Colorado) quoting a Hungarian colleague “it is better if you don’t speak Hungarian so you don’t have to understand what people say to one another on the street”. The colleague also mentioned that “people in the countryside were starving and many hatreds springing up from the heavy past because of the stress of the corrupt dictatorship”.

Karl Pfeifer
Guest

Some1, I had a well doing uncle and aunt in Switzerland. They went there before the 1st World War. After the 2nd WW they employed the cook of the General Manager of MÁV. A wonderful cook and a pious catholic.
The daughter of my uncle, my cousin who was borne during the 1st WW in Switzerland learnt Hungarian. Once she heard the cook saying about somebody “real Hungarian” and she asked her, “Is Mr. Székely (I changed the name) a real Hungarian?”. The answer was “no, he isn’t”. Then she asked her “Is Mr. Kutvary (I changed the name) a real Hungarian?” The cook answered “yes he is”. My cousin told me this story and added, interesting Mr. Székely has taken care that his children learn Hungarian, while Mr. Kutváry is married to a swiss lady and his children do not speak Hungarian.

Mike
Guest

Ran away from Hungary in 1956 as a fourteen years old boy, because even then I already had a gutful of their visceral, vicious grassroots antisemitism which was hopelessly and irredeemably widespread even among the ranks of the ghastly and thoroughly disgusting Hungarian communists. Visited in 1975, and came away more disgusted than ever. Was invited to visit again in 2003 and found a ghastly explosion of Jew-hate which my relatives and acquaintances barely noticed, did their best to minimise and bagatellise, and certainly refused to acknowledge in all of its horrific extent. I clearly foresaw that it was going to lead to what it is today, and in the end to much, much worse even, and left Hungary in a hurry and with a tremndous sense of relief. I shall never retun there again. I have nothing in common with them apart from acident of birth, language, and an appreciation of their poetry. I am glad that I am the only one in my immediate family who understands Hungarian, and good riddance to that nasty little country with its nasty people, horrible society and nauseating government.

Member
Mike : Ran away from Hungary in 1956 as a fourteen years old boy, because even then I already had a gutful of their visceral, vicious grassroots antisemitism which was hopelessly and irredeemably widespread even among the ranks of the ghastly and thoroughly disgusting Hungarian communists. Visited in 1975, and came away more disgusted than ever. Was invited to visit again in 2003 and found a ghastly explosion of Jew-hate … I clearly foresaw that it was going to lead to what it is today, So, it is not the communists and it is not the not-communists. Interestingly all anti-communists preach that all communists (or communists sympathizer) are jews. My point is that this hate towards each other has nothing to do with the various demographic groups, it is something that is entwined into Hungarian society. When you follow Hungarian history (or other countries history for that matter) you ca find that most “dictatorship” kept itself on power by diversifying the society. Sometimes it had to do with class in society, sometimes it had to do with ethnicity, religion or combination of any of these. Unifying a group against a “common” enemy always worked. This is a lesson that Orban… Read more »
petofi
Guest

Since I was a post-war baby, I didn’t understand Hungarian jews in Canada who refused to speak Hungarian, let alone go back to visit. In the last two years that my wife and I have
lived in Hungary, I have come to understand. The hate, the greed, the envy, the sheep-like following of those who cater to these ‘victims’ romantic notions of greatness…there’s something desperately wrong with this magyar community. Perhaps this escape into the past is one way of escape?

Louis Kovach
Guest

Dr Balogh writes:>Do you think that the situations are comparable? There was very, very hard dictatorship during those years. If someone refused to publish something for Rákosi’s birthday easily could end up in jail. These right-wingers were, I assume, under no pressure to write those poems Mutt Damon called our attention to.” The situation is definitely different now in Hungary! M. D cited N Korea and Hitler which were closer to the Rakosi regime. But one did not have to be an “a** licker” even then. Many did it for economical reasons. But as I stated kudos to : Nagy Lajos, Füst Milán and Tersánszky Józsi Jenő who did not submit, although some state that TJJ wrote something that was satirical and not included in the anthology odes by Hungarian writers.

Thomas
Guest

Dr Louis, you are missing the point. Nobody said that during Rakosi everybody had to write odes to the great leader (although I can imagine situations where there was no way around it). But the point is this, today, this idiotic master pieces come to life without being solicited or forced. It just shows that common sense, or for that matter any sence, is lost. So there is no reason to compare, today, in the ‘democratic” Hungary, or outside of Hungary to write anything like these in order to support unsupportable idiologies (in my opinion) is worse than it was in a dictatorship. An comparison one draws is only a cover up.
Kisd could say it: you did it too, so now I can do it! Great argument.

Member

Louis Kovach, at your opinion, what is the turning point when Hungarians should take responsibility for their current actions? My sister-in-law is a psychologist and once she told me that the best character exercise is to take out the “if”, “but”, “because” from your vocabulary for a day. I think most Hungarian politicians would fail, and with all due respect, so would you when you are talking about Hungary’s current political climate.

Louis Kovach
Guest
Re Some1: I responded to Wolfi who wrote: “It really sounds like North Korea – or East Germany. A bit OT: I have a very good friend who left the “DDR” aka communist East Germany in the summer of1989 (!) just a few months before the Berlin Wall fell – he couldn’t stand life there any more. He often recites children’s songs and poems like this from his Fatherland in our local pub – sometimes the whole pub is shaking with laughter. PS: In Nazi Germany children were also used in this way to “Hail the Führer”, bring him flowers and recite a poem …” That he does not have to leave Hungary for “sound like”s, those existed in Hungary also in prior times. I do not know who composed the atrocity translated by M.D. it was (is?) probaly a nonentity. However, the odes to Rakosi were written by the (even today) claimed preeminent writers of the country. None of you commented on Wolfi posting that his comparison with North Korea or Hitlerite Germany is incorrect exaduration. Concerning the Hungarians responsibility for their current actions, it is IMHO any time. They can try to convince their compatriots not to vote… Read more »
Karl Pfeifer
Guest

Louis Kovach,
yes some Hungarian writers wrote poems for Rákosi and Stalin. One of those writers ís Sándor Csóori, who is considered a good national writer today.
Now Nyirö was not only a writer, but a politician, who made propaganda for the Szálasi regime at the beginning of 1945, who was one of the leaders of the arrow cross-Hungarist emigration after his flight from Hungary.
And that makes him different from those who wrote poems for Stalin and Rákosi.

Louis Kovach
Guest

I am sorry K.P. I do not understand why S.Csoori is selected as an example among the 100s of Hungarian literati who wrote the odes to either Stalin or Rakosi.

If generic background is needed on the Hungarian literati’s activity between the two wars, then I recommend:http://mek.niif.hu/02100/02185/html/448.html

Guest

Louis, you must excuse me – I can’t follow you …

I’ve read your last comment several times – I don’t get it and some words I don’t even find in any dictionary, like exadulation ???

I’ve found adulation = excessive or slavish admiration or flattery – what is the connection here ?

Anyway, as another commenter also remarked: The way Orbán and Fidesz behave and the way they are “admired” by their fans reminds an observer of the totalitarian regimes of the past – doesn’rt matter whether left or right, in many respects they were similar …

PS: Would you also be so kind to explain this sentence:

“That he does not have to leave Hungary for “sound like”s, those existed in Hungary also in prior times.”

Louis Kovach
Guest

Re Wolfi above: You wrote; “It really sounds like North Korea – or East Germany.” Thus my comment on ‘sound like”

Sorry it was going to be “exaggeration” But I went phonetic. 🙁

Kirsten
Guest

wolfi, the difference is that now this is from the “bottom of people’s hearts” :-). The fact that the admiration is deeply felt by the citizens and not extorted is claimed by the totalitarian regimes, too (and I know the DDR from personal experience), which may be an important information for Mr Kovach. Why should we believe that it is different in today’s Hungary? Unfortunately – thanks to OV – independent surveys of people’s opinions are rare, instead people are bothered with personalised questionnaires. Erich Honecker would have called that the ultimate freedom of people to express their opinions, I am quite sure. And true believers do not mind as this IS their opinion. But the rest may feel the consequences of their behaviour. And that is not so far from authoritarian regimes of all kinds.

Member

Dr. Kovach, you are absolutely right. On Planet Hungary an army of sycophants was always available for all kinds of regimes. Pressure or just stupidity – doesn’t matter. We’re pretty good at it.

But this wasn’t point … I believe professor Balogh wanted to highlight the phenomenon how politics take precedence over value in Hungary under this government. How mediocrity even garbage is elevated to the level of national treasure and nobody says the emperor is butt naked. Contra-selection has never been so rampant in the country – not even in the ancient regime during the Kadar era.

Kirsten
Guest

I read the comments about teaching children of emigrants Hungarian or not with great interest. The fact that they do not learn Hungarian actively I do not wish to comment, as this is a personal decision and people who wish to do so can learn the language later in life. But the explanations for that I find disturbing. Why punish a language for the fact that a group of speakers of that language indulge in hate speech? Certainly more relevant ideas have also already been voiced in Hungarian. In the extreme, only people who share these nationalist ideas will be left as speakers of Hungarian, making odd appearances in the neighbouring countries, reviving the middle ages in anyaorszag – the worst fears of the nationalists will come true: the nation is shrinking! I hoped that the open minded Hungarians will reclaim the country and the language and not abandon it. (This is really not about teaching children Hungarian or not but about the ‘why’.)

Ron
Guest

As you may know a Chess Official from the United Arab Emirates was beaten up in Hungary. On pestiside here: http://www.pestiside.hu/20120606/hungarian-lawmen-ponder-next-move-in-alleged-beating-of-arab-chess-player/

And this is how the news was brought in the UAE:
http://www.thenational.ae/news/uae-news/hungarians-launch-inquiry-into-assault-on-uae-chess-officials

Mike
Guest
Some1 : So, it is not the communists and it is not the not-communists. Interestingly all anti-communists preach that all communists (or communists sympathizer) are jews. My point is that this hate towards each other has nothing to do with the various demographic groups, it is something that is entwined into Hungarian society. When you follow Hungarian history (or other countries history for that matter) you ca find that most “dictatorship” kept itself on power by diversifying the society. Sometimes it had to do with class in society, sometimes it had to do with ethnicity, religion or combination of any of these. Unifying a group against a “common” enemy always worked. This is a lesson that Orban certainly mastered, and currently uses or allowed to be used. Hmm. (1) I would rather put it as follows: Most were Jew-haters among both the commies and the non-commies in the fifties, and the Jewish commies were among the worst, primarily because they could never reconcile the universalism of their proletarian internationalism with the particularism of their own inescapable Jewish identity. The ranks of the so-called “anti-fascists” on the left of Hungarian politics are to this day full of antisemites, and that is… Read more »
Member
Mike : Most were Jew-haters among both the commies and the non-commies in the fifties, and the Jewish commies were among the worst, primarily because they could never reconcile the universalism of their proletarian internationalism with the particularism of their own inescapable Jewish identity. I cannot agree with such a blank coverage. My father’s family become communists, but they did not hurt anyone I guarantee it. My grandmother was probably 40 kg. They became communists (I told this story before) because it was an alternative coming from the Soviets, it were the Hungarians who put them to the ghetto and wanted to put them on the train. It were the Hungarians who rounded up my grandfather and sent him to forced labour. It were the Soviets who actually freed my father’s family (My grandfather from forced labour was freed by the Americans.) THe Soviets did not harm my family. Yes, I do know about the rapes and all, but it did not happened to them versus what they got from the Hungarians. I was never a communist myself, very much the contrary, but to say that the Jewish communists were the worst is an awful statement, and only feeds the… Read more »
Mike
Guest

Apologies.The generalization about Jewish communists is clearly far too sweeping and ought to have been carefully qualified.

At the same time I do speak from some experience, as – among others – there were quite a few high ranking communists among my relatives who were just as acutely uncomfortable with their Jewishness as my “capitalist” parents. I myself was exposed to many years of nasty antisemitic bullying in school when I barely knew “on which tree grew Jews”, and when all around me Jewishness was something to be disparaged, dismissed as though it was no issue at all, and at all times to be carefully hidden. It was a sick situation which I thankfully escaped in 1956.

I ended up in a wonderful overseas country, where I still live with my family, but also returned to the fold through living in Israel for many years, where I served in the army through three wars as a combat infantry NCO, first in the regular national service and later as a reservist, in a somewhat delayed response to the antisemitism I experienced in Hungary as a child and early teenager.

Mike
Guest

Nyirő József.

Brings back memories of my dad’s library which had a complete collection of Nyirő works. Weird how my dad was such a great Hungarian patriot, having magyarized his name during the Great War and voluntarily taken up the Catholic religion, together with my mom, well before the Holocaust. On my dad’s prompting I did read Úz Bence and a few other of Nyirő books, but found them to be merely dead boring.

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