The silly season, if there even was such a thing this year, is definitely over. There are so many topics that it is hard to choose.
Late yesterday afternoon MTI reported from Washington that although the IMF is keeping in touch with the Hungarian government and the European Commission, it hasn’t fixed a date for the continuation of the negotiations about a loan. Gerry Rice, director of IMF’s foreign relations, reminded his audience at a press conference that the negotiations that took place in July were “constructive,” but for an … Read the rest
In the last few days I have been thinking about the aggressiveness that is spreading rapidly in Hungarian society. It is not new. Even in the Kádár regime I was often struck by the primitive behavior of some people on occasions that didn’t warrant such a reaction. The driving habits of Hungarians clearly show a lack of self-control and easy irritability. The language has also become unbelievably coarse. Curse words are so common that people no longer even notice that the language they speak would exclude them from polite society … Read the rest
This time the plan is named after Sándor Wekerle (1848-1921) who was Hungary’s prime minister and finance minister three times. Whenever I hear his name two things come to mind. First, that he was the first Hungarian prime minister who was not titled, and second, that he was the brave man who forced through the Civil Marriage Bill of 1894. Mind you, he immediately lost his job afterward thanks to the opposition of the powerful Hungarian Catholic Church.
Sándor Wekerle, 1848-1921
An interesting footnote to this Civil Marriage Bill. It … Read the rest
At the Tranzit Fesztivál in Kőszeg Brigadier-General János Hajdú, head of the new Anti-Terror Unit or TEK, received a telephone call in the middle of a round table discussion. He got the news that the three Hungarians who had been taken hostage by anti-government forces in Syria had just been released. The youngsters who were present applauded mightily at this latest triumph of TEK.
But let’s start at the beginning. On August 13 in Damascus, sometime between 9:00 and 11:00 a.m., armed men stopped a car in which three Hungarians … Read the rest
Just this morning Péter Róna, an economist who spent most of his life in the United States and Great Britain, said in an interview that he had given up trying to make sense of the Orbán government’s so-called economic policy. A few days earlier Ádám Gere, an American-trained economist and a follower of Friedrich Hayek’s economic philosophy, refused even to consider “whatever this gang is doing in economic policy.” When the reporter inquired whether Gere meant the government when he was talking about this bunch [társaság], Gere answered that it … Read the rest
Yesterday the neo-Nazis held a “review of the troops” on Heroes’ Square in Budapest on the occasion of the fifth anniversary of the establishment of the notorious Hungarian Guard (Magyar Gárda). The police originally forbade the gathering, giving the usual excuse in such cases: the meeting would interfere with traffic. This was a pretty lame excuse because there is no traffic to speak of on the square. What they should have said is that the Hungarian Guard had been officially disbanded. They could have added that it is also against … Read the rest
This will be a lighthearted post because, let’s face it, there are many occasions for laughter in Hungary, mostly at the expense of the government. It is enough to look at some of the Hungarian blogs or videos on YouTube to know that Hungarian humor is not dead.
Here are two recent stories that you may find amusing. One involves the infamous Terrorelhárító Központ (TEK). For those not familiar with this new police unit, it is the creation of Viktor Orbán for his own and the president’s protection. He made … Read the rest