László Bartus: A couple of slaps in the face (Népszava)

Below is a translation of an article that appeared in today’s Népszava (Hungary)László Bartus is the editor-in-chief of the Amerikai Magyar Népszavathe oldest Hungarian-language paper in the United States.

* * *

Because I was the one who once managed to shut down kuruc.info, which was using a server in the United States, I know that the U.S. government does not have the authority  to forbid the operation of an objectionable website. That is legally and physically impossible. We are talking here about a civil contract that is the outside the purview of the American government. The owner of the server spells out in his “privacy policy” to what extent he allows the use of his server for racist, homophobic, or pedophiliac content.  But if the American server owner doesn’t know Hungarian, he has no idea that the site doesn’t conform to the terms of the privacy policy. This was the case with kuruc.info and its American server owner.

Since the server kuruc.info used at the time was very close to my apartment, I simply visited the owners and asked them whether they had any idea about the contents of kuruc.info. After requesting the services of an official interpreter, the owner whose name happened to be Joshua announced that he had never in his life read so much filth. Kuruc.info was immediately shut down. However, within an hour kuruc.info was back in business. They found another server whose owner also didn’t have the foggiest idea what was being spread on the Hungarian-language website. If he knew, he most likely would also have shut down kuruc.info. Thus, it should be clear by now that within half an hour kuruc.info would be functioning again from another server. This fact should be known to Viktor Orbán because, after all, this incident took place during the previous administration and was widely discussed in the media.

Getting rid of kuruc.info cannot be approached by a futile chase of server owners but  by eliminating the activities of the editors.  The website is edited in Hungary and not in the United States. So, instead of demanding satisfaction from the United States the Hungarian government could easily gather the editors of the website at any time which would mean the end of kuruc.info.  If the Hungarian national security office hasn’t been able in the last ten years to discover the persons responsible for the publication of kuruc.info it should be disbanded because of incompetence. According to news reports one of the editors is a member of parliament who is scraping together his meager livelihood at the taxpayers’ expense.  If there are no legal grounds for the editors’ arrest, the present government with its two-thirds majority could easily take care of that. That is, if it had any such intention. But it doesn’t.

I’m reminding people of all this not because anyone thinks that Viktor Orbán in his letter to the fifty U.S. congressmen is really worried about kuruc.info. Rather, the Hungarian prime minister in his answer makes the United States responsible for anti-Semitism in Hungary. As if it were kuruc.info’s responsibility that there is anti-Semitism in Hungary. Orbán insinuates that Hungarian anti-Semitism is being assisted from the United States. As if the renting of a private server would mean active assistance. He implicitly accuses the United States government of being a supporter of anti-Semitism. This is slander and outrage. The foreign ministry of a democratic country doesn’t permit sending such a letter to members of a foreign legislature.

Stepping on it

But the problem is even greater than this calumny. Orbán’s own letter actually proves that the government winks at the far right. This letter sends a message to the anti-Semites. In an indirect way he insinuates that American Jews are behind Hungarian anti-Semitism. And the real target is him, not the Jews. Orbán’s  tone resembles the style of kuruc.info.  It makes the American congressmen sound ridiculous, he cynically mocks those who express their concern over the human rights of the Hungarian Jewry. To put it mildly, this is not done in the United States. This style reminds people here of Hugo Chávez and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Orbán cannot speak with American congressmen as he does with Előd Novák, Jobbik MP, in parliament. Such talk is understood in the United States for what it is. The Hungarian prime minister is causing immeasurable moral and material damage to Hungary. A statesman cannot send such an insolent answer, especially since the Americans wrote a very polite letter in which they spoke highly of Hungary and talked exclusively of the anti-Semitism of Jobbik, not that of Fidesz.

Orbán should explain why the government parties tacitly support the cult of Miklós Horthy who was responsible for the deportation of the large majority of the Hungarian Jewry. Why do they include Albert Wass, an anti-Semitic war criminal, in the national curriculum? Or why does László Kövér during a memorial service ask Hungarians to embrace the intellectual heritage of a fascist writer? And what about the “freedom fight against international capital”? Only anti-Semites speak of “colonizing international finance capital.”

Before the elections Orbán promised to take care of extremists. Quoting Miklós Horthy, he announced that a couple of slaps on the face and he will chase them all the way home. By now the situation has come to the point that he should slap around some of the people, including himself, within his own party because they speak the language of the anti-Semites. But instead he apportioned a couple of slaps to the United States which most likely is greatly appreciated by the Hungarian extremists. But those who are laughing now might cry later because perhaps now people in the United States understand that in Hungary the greatest problem is not the kuruc.info and not Jobbik. The problem lies elsewhere.

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Guest
July 5, 2012 5:26 pm

London Calling!

László Bartus – Thank you.

What a pity Orban’s strangulation of Hungary’s media prevents this from being published in Hungary. The people of Hungary should know.

The power of your words, the integrity and emotional attachment to Hungary are palpable.

That you have unstitched the lies of a leader of a nation – no less – is just awesome.

Thank you

Regards

Charlie

Guest
Öcsi
July 5, 2012 5:34 pm

I fully agree with this statement: “The Hungarian prime minister is causing immeasurable moral and material damage to Hungary.”

And I’m doing my part. Because of the current political situation in Hungary, I decided earlier this year not to visit like I usually do. In fact I will not visit Hungary (or should I call it Orbánia) until Viktor Orbán is history. Also, I will not buy anything produced or manufactured in Hungary. (I thought I would miss the wine but I don’t. There’s lots of excellent stuff out there that is not Hungarian.) I will not encourage anyone to go to Hungary. I will inform them about the rabid antisemitism, homophobia, xenophobia, racism, etc. that goes unchecked in this EU (really??) nation.

I feel sorry for the good people there. Some of them are my friends. However, as Edmund Burke wrote, “all that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”

Viktor Orbán, j’accuse!

Guest
LwiiH
July 5, 2012 6:01 pm

@Charlie, OV’s message is for domestic consumption. It’s been my experience that even the most well intended Hungarian has little if any understanding as to how the US or Canada is organized. They know almost nothing w.r.t the separation of powers, the responsibility of the federal (or national) government verses those of individual states or provinces. Heck, they are even shocked to learn that neither the Canadian nor the American federal governments issue drivers licenses. Given this lack of understanding… and couple this with governments which are far less authoritarian and you’ve an opportunity that is ripe for exploitation.

Guest
gdfxx
July 5, 2012 6:32 pm

I agree with Bartus’ letter (as I agreed years ago with his actions against kuruc.info).

Unfortunately, I doubt that members of the US Congress will read or care about the opinion of the publisher of a Canadian-Hungarian paper.

As far as Orban is concerned, if he didn’t care about threats from various EU organizations and the IMF, does anyone think that he’ll care about Bartus’ opinion piece? The way things go though, he or his jobbik friends may send someone with a poisoned umbrella after him…

Guest
gdfxx
July 5, 2012 6:36 pm

Öcsi: “And I’m doing my part. Because of the current political situation in Hungary, I decided earlier this year not to visit like I usually do.”

I heard this from some Transylvanian friends of mine, previously yearly visitors. Kolozsvar/Cluj is now accessible by plane from several other European capitals, there is no need to land in Budapest first.

Guest
petofi
July 5, 2012 6:44 pm

It is becoming abundantly clear just how sick a person Orban is: he will strut and fret upon any stage to be noticed. He will surround himself with nincompoops like Matolcsy and Kover who, for sure, will keep the spotlight
on the mini-Hitler personality that’s not so hidden in the Orbanster. Anything
to make a fuss. And the more that suffer the greater his notoriety; and, presumably, his sickly, cackling pleasure increases thereby.

When will people wake up and notice that there is something desperately wrong with this little man.

Guest
July 6, 2012 2:35 am

London Calling!

Öcsi – I just wanted to commend you on your action.

I’m sure it will make your contacts inside Hungary realise how serious this diplomatic faux pax is – almost implying that the President of the United States’ administration is anti-Semitic and racist – and then taking another perfidious route.

Loathsome Orban – (and of course that loathsome Martonyi – who I believe is the author of these hopeless letters.)

Democracy in action – well done.

As I’ve said before here – it is our only power.

A pity that more people inside Hungary don’t exercise it.

Regards

Charlie

Guest
July 6, 2012 2:41 am

London Calling!

….and you made me think too.

I am staying in Hungary shortly – my partner is visiting her family.

I always try and buy things in Hungary – to support their commerce.

But I will ensure that I am as self-sufficient as possible – and buy the minimum inside Hungary as possible.

Small (tiny!) protests – but protests nevertheless.

Regards

Charlie

Guest
July 6, 2012 5:47 am

Thank you, Eva, for publishing this!

That letter is very clear – whether it will be read by the people responsible for the rise of kuruc etc is not really certain …

@Öcsi and Charlie:

I understand your boycott – but I’m not sure it will help the Hungarian people. So I’m trying a different strategy: I tell everybody I know about these problems and the bad image that Hungary gets by allowing the antisemitic and other antidemocratic (homophobic eg) propaganda. The interesting fact is, that many younger people know about this – in German we would say: Ich renne offene Türen ein …

But they also don’t know what to do – many of them just consider leaving Hungary for work abroad (or for good …).

PS: Many young people are leaving Hungary – even here from Héviz where chances for getting a good job are high …

Guest
July 6, 2012 6:26 am

London Calling!

Wolfi – yes I take your point – but we all feel so helpless.

Strategy Modified:

1. I will maintain my mini-boycott in the hope that an apology will be forthcoming – yes I know – vain hope!
2. I would like to obtain the link to the original in Hungarian and when in Hungary I will print off copies and will ensure at least my partner’s circle are fully aware. (I have full internet in Hungary now fortunately – and internet radio! – Wow! Little England here we come!)
3. Fortunately the article stands on its own – so it just has to be read.

Eva Can you help please?

How I explain the phenomenon of an Englishman – who can’t speak a word of Hungarian – becoming so involved in Hungarian politics I know not! I will cross that bridge when I come to it.

Ok at least I know ‘Angol’!

Regards

Charlie

Guest
Sackhoes Contributor
July 6, 2012 6:44 am
Guest
July 6, 2012 7:18 am

London Calling!

Thank you Sackhoes!

Eva – you have my email? Do you allow an email contact?

Regards

Charlie

Guest
July 6, 2012 8:11 am

I would like to send an email I have received? but you need to contact me first?

Regards

Charlie

Guest
Öcsi
July 6, 2012 8:32 am

wolfi : @Öcsi and Charlie: I understand your boycott – but I’m not sure it will help the Hungarian people. I’ve been helping the Hungarian people most of my life. In the late 50s and early 60s we used to send bags of used clothes to relatives because it helped them. We used to send razor blades in the mail because relatives said they couldn’t buy good blades there. I travelled to Hungary every chance I got. I encouraged friends to join us and many did. I’ve been to more cities and towns in Hungary than any of my relatives or friends who live there. But now I’m totally sick of what is happening there. The country is run by idiots and, rather than challenging them, young people flee to other countries and older people disengage from politics. And the educated classes? Too often I’ve heard racist and homophobic comments pass their lips. For too many, ‘buzi’ is as common a word as ‘damn’ Not a winning strategy! So, no, I’m not going to help the Hungarian people until they learn to help themselves. Tough love is all I can give now.

Guest
Respect Beauty
July 6, 2012 10:07 am

Eva S. Balogh :

gdfxx :
Unfortunately, I doubt that members of the US Congress will read or care about the opinion of the publisher of a Canadian-Hungarian paper.

You would be surprised if you knew who are reading this blog. I’m sure that the congressmen will at least hear about it.

I have sent this blog to the staffer of a couple congressional staffers.

Guest
Karl Pfeifer
July 6, 2012 10:12 am

Thank you Mr. Bartus and thanks Éva for the translation of this article. It should be sent to the 50 congress members.
I am against boycott. Such one would only help Orbán to declare “we are alone”, “the whole world is against the Hungarians”.
Orbán and his ilk should be boycotted, they should not be invited and if the come to the USA no official reception should take place.

Guest
July 6, 2012 10:29 am

Dr Balogh: “You would be surprised if you knew who are reading this blog. I’m sure that the congressmen will at least hear about it.”

Yesterday Obama was touring Ohio and I went to one of the events. He yelled over “Hey Louis, what do you think of the Hungarian Spectrum?”

Guest
July 6, 2012 10:49 am

Louis, are you sure that it wasn’t Gingrich the Newt who called you or maybe governor Perry?

Guest
Öcsi
July 6, 2012 11:06 am

Karl Pfeifer :

I am against boycott. Such one would only help Orbán to declare “we are alone”, “the whole world is against the Hungarians”.

Hungarians have wallowed in that sentiment for a very long time. It’s a favourite pastime. I think they should get over it already. Besides, only the wilfully ignorant will not search out international news sources.

What I would like Hungarians to learn is that there are real consequences to how they vote and who they elect. If it’s “business as usual,” they will have learnt nothing. It will be like the pre-1989 days when one’s vote really didn’t matter, or count.

If you’re waiting for a diplomatic boycott, it won’t happen while Hungary is an EU member.

Guest
petofi
July 6, 2012 3:32 pm

Louis Kovach :
Dr Balogh: “You would be surprised if you knew who are reading this blog. I’m sure that the congressmen will at least hear about it.”
Yesterday Obama was touring Ohio and I went to one of the events. He yelled over “Hey Louis, what do you think of the Hungarian Spectrum?”

Ahh, yes, Louis, another of those lovely Cleveland Hungarians, eh? We’ve heard about you post-war escapees to the hinterland of American. Remember the film, “The Music Box”?
Based on fact, as you well know.

Guest
July 6, 2012 4:57 pm

Petrivics: “Based on fact” as you claim. “It is loosely based on the real life case of John Demjanjuk and, as well, on Joe Eszterhas’ own life, since he later discovered that his father was a former Nazi collaborator in Hungary.” Now you may know (or more likely not) that Demjanjuk (not Hungarian) was acquitted by the Supreme Court of Israel.
Istvan Eszterhas was a writer (hmmm maybe he will also be so popularaized here that his work will become compulsory reading in Hungary).

But, again, sorry your “generalization” for Cleveland is uncalled for. There are many third, fourth generation Hungarians there. The major Hungarian settlement in Cleveland occurred in the early past of the XX century.

Next will you accuse me of being the member of the Stern gang? :-)

Guest
Sackhoes Contributor
July 6, 2012 5:14 pm

Actually, Obama yelled over and said: Thanks for the Barack Palinka!

Guest
July 6, 2012 5:29 pm

Louis Kovach :
Dr Balogh: “You would be surprised if you knew who are reading this blog. I’m sure that the congressmen will at least hear about it.”

Yesterday Obama was touring Ohio and I went to one of the events. He yelled over “Hey Louis, what do you think of the Hungarian Spectrum?”

Really…you log-in just to write this?

I think Obama yelled : hey, you bug mouth go back to HUngary and suffer with your own kind!

Guest
July 6, 2012 5:38 pm

Thank you Eva & Bartus for this piece.

—-
We only boycott CBA. It has caused some inconvenience and I feel stupid at times doing it especially people around you do not understand what is all the fuss about …

Guest
petofi
July 6, 2012 6:01 pm

Louis Kovach :
Petrivics: “Based on fact” as you claim. “It is loosely based on the real life case of John Demjanjuk and, as well, on Joe Eszterhas’ own life, since he later discovered that his father was a former Nazi collaborator in Hungary.” Now you may know (or more likely not) that Demjanjuk (not Hungarian) was acquitted by the Supreme Court of Israel.
Istvan Eszterhas was a writer (hmmm maybe he will also be so popularaized here that his work will become compulsory reading in Hungary).
But, again, sorry your “generalization” for Cleveland is uncalled for. There are many third, fourth generation Hungarians there. The major Hungarian settlement in Cleveland occurred in the early past of the XX century.
Next will you accuse me of being the member of the Stern gang?

Interesting that you brought up Demjanuk. He was, as you obviously known, staunchly defended by an Israeli, Yoram Sheftel, and yes, the Israeli Supreme Court “….restrained ourselves from convicting the appellant…because of doubt…”

How different is that approach to our own Budai who violently accuses on the slightest pretext?

Guest
Karl Pfeifer
July 7, 2012 1:56 am

Louis Kovács Petöfi was before magyarization Petrovics

Guest
Pete H.
July 7, 2012 10:17 am

Cloudfare currently hosts Kuruc.

Cloudfare Terms of use Section 11, Item 1. Prohibited Uses

“upload, post, transmit, or otherwise make available any content that is unlawful, harmful, threatening, abusive, harassing, tortious, defamatory, vulgar, obscene, libelous, invasive of another’s privacy, hateful, or racially, ethnically, or otherwise objectionable;”

Cloudfare
+1 (650) 319-8930
665 3rd St. #207
San Francisco, CA 94107
USA

Some of you might politely let them know they are hosting an antisemitic, racist, and homophobic site.

Guest
Ron
July 7, 2012 11:54 am

If Cloudfare is hosting Kuruc.info. Just provide them the following link: http://kuruc.info/r/40/27066/

It is in English, and explain very well what this website is all about.

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