Fighting the Devil: Viktor Orbán’s speech on St. Michael’s Day

Yesterday Viktor Orbán had a busy day. In the morning he unveiled an enormous statue erected in Ópusztaszer to celebrate his own regime. In the afternoon he attended a gathering at Lakitelek where 25 years ago some 200 public figures, writers, and thinkers met to discuss the state of Hungary in 1987. Lakitelek is considered to be the beginning of the end of the Kádár regime.

Let’s start with Ópusztaszer; tomorrow I will write a few words about Lakitelek. The state-funded statue was erected to celebrate Orbán’s Regime of National Unity. In keeping with the self-aggrandizing spirit of the prime minister, it is a whopping 17 meters tall. The Hungarian government hired a sculptor from Subcarpathian Ukraine to create this monument to itself because, after all, Hungary is a world-nation (világnemzet). For the unveiling ceremony they chose the Day of St. Michael. Keep in mind that Orbán’s full name is Viktor Mihály Orbán.

It is also significant that the statue was erected in Ópusztaszer where, according to Gesta Hungarorum by Anonymus or “the anonymous notary of King Béla,”  Árpád, the founder of the Hungarian royal house, summoned all the notables to a meeting where they established a unitary Hungarian state. According to C. A. Macartney, who wrote a whole book on old Hungarian codices, Anonymus’s work is “the most famous, the most obscure, the most exasperating and most misleading of all the early Hungarian texts.” Since the description of this meeting in the Gesta Hungarorum depicts royal authority as it existed in Anonymus’s lifetime at the turn of the thirteenth century, the story of the meeting at Ópusztaszer is most likely the invention of the author’s fertile imagination. It is especially doubtful that anything monumental would have happened in Ópusztaszer since until recently the village was called Sövényháza.

However, at the time of Hungary’s millennial celebrations at the end of the nineteenth century Árpád Feszty, a man of not outstanding artistic talent, decided to paint a so-called cyclorama called The Arrival of the Hungarians. It was an enormous painting with a circumference of almost 120 meters and a height of 15 meters. It was clearly designed to be a money-making enterprise since people had to pay–as people still do today–for the privilege of viewing it.

During the siege of Budapest in 1944-45 the painting was damaged, but in 1970 the decision was made to restore it and set it up again at its original site in Sövényháza, which was named or renamed, take your pick, Ópusztaszer. Restoration was a slow and painstaking job and thus the Ópusztaszer Memorial Park was officially opened only in 1995.

So, setting up a statue celebrating the Orbán “revolution” in Ópusztaszer is a highly symbolic gesture for Orbán and his regime. It is supposed to signify the second establishment of the Hungarian state. The whole thing is bizarre even without Viktor Orbán’s speech on the occasion. Celebrating at a place that most likely had no real historical significance and commemorating a “revolution in the voting booths” that didn’t happen is bad enough, but when the prime minister compares himself to the Archangel Michael and Jesus Christ one really doesn’t know what to say.

But that’s not all. The Hungarian prime minister talked about the Hungarian nation as an ethnically pure group that is held together by kinship and blood rather than by association through language and culture. He kept talking about “őskép,” which in English is “archetype.” It seems that the Hungarian archetype is the large falcon or “turul” that according to legend is associated with the birth of the Hungarian ruling family, the House of Árpád.  Here is a choice sentence from Orbán’s speech relating to the turul and today’s Hungarians: “We are born into the turul just as we are born into our language and our history.” I didn’t realize that babies are born with language skills or with Hungarian history in their blood. And I really don’t know what it could possibly mean to be born into a bird of prey.

From the turul he moved over to politics and politicians. According to Orbán, “anyone who decides to enter politics must learn to read signs. The reading of signs is indispensable for governing. Someone who governs knows that everything has its ordered time. From signs he knows when to speak and when to be silent.” So, we have a prime minister who reads signs (and who presumably knows how to reference Ecclesiastes: To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven). One of the signs Orbán sees is that “the world of new laws is approaching the European continent.” I must say that this world of new laws is not going to be a pleasant place if Orbán is correct because the first commandment in this new world will be that “the members of strong nations unite while those of the weak ones perish.” All Hungarians “should be able to read these signs” and learn from them. They should all join the Regime of National Unity.

Who is guiding Viktor Orbán and Fidesz on this journey into the new world? Orbán turns to the New Testament for answers. First, there is Archangel Michael himself on whose name day on September 29 according to Hungarian folklore shepherds must give account of the sheep they took care of between St. George’s Day (April 24) and the Day of St. Michael. Moving from the benign to the violent, Orbán cited The Book of Revelation 10:7-10: “Now war arose in heaven, Michael and his angels fighting against the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought, but they were defeated and there was no longer any place for them in heaven. And the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the Devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world–he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him.”

What did Orbán learn from this passage? Michael was full of love and serenity and thus there was no place for Satan. “We, the Hungarians of National Unity, should oust all discord from Hungarian life with our own love, service and serenity.” This is a truly odd interpretation of the passage. Who are the Devil and Satan in Hungarian society who must be cast aside? Where is love and serenity in this biblical passage?

And what other models should the prime minister follow? He should be a good shepherd à la the parable of the lost sheep (Lk 15:4-6): “What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he has lost one of them does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost, until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost.'” So, Orbán continues, he as prime minister has come to report to the Hungarian people about all his accomplishments. “We can rejoice because we have found our lost sheep.” I assume he’s claiming that he found the right answers to the country’s ills.

According to him, “there are two traditions, two outlooks, two sets of ideas, two kinds of hearts in Hungarian politics. One rejects national unity, the other finds it to be its starting point. One gives up on the lost sheep, the other constantly looks for them. One turns people against people, the other builds on national unity.”

Finally, he recalled the glories of 2010 when “the overwhelming majority of Hungarians said yes to national unity.” What he didn’t add was that at the moment only 15% of the Hungarians are standing behind him, whether he’s looking for lost sheep or ready to fight the Devil and Satan.

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Paul
Guest

I’ve seen the ‘cyclorama’ The Arrival of the Hungarians, it’s actually pretty impressive (whatever its artistic or historical merit).

At the time (10 years ago), I knew very little about Hungary, and more or less accepted the story this portrays. Since then, of course, I’ve read a great deal more and my reaction to it now would be a great deal less believing (if not downright cynical!).

But I suspect that, on viewing it, the great majority of Hungarians see a realisation of what they ‘know’ to be (more or less) the truth. Just like all those who unthinkingly accept that the ‘Szent István Korona’ was sent to to old Pisti by the Pope and worn at his coronation (I’ve actually been told that I am just repeating Jewish/Communist propaganda when I pointed out that this wasn’t true…).

Propaganda is easy when the people you are trying to convince already believe what you’re saying and are entirely disinclined to even consider if it may not be the whole truth.

Member

Every county fair in Hungary has this joke with a huge tent with a “The Arrival of the Hungarians” sign on it. Very catchy. You pay the fare and enter … The tent is very dark inside, you can’t see nothing. Then suddenly on the other side you see a sign : “The Departure of the Hungarians”. That’s it.

I think this is probably the best allegory about periods of Hungarian history.

The cyclorama is monumental kitsch. But it’s very cool, especially when you are with kids. You are basically inside of a huge ribbon. It was kind of honest the way it depicted the so called “arrival”. These guys were raping and pillaging all the way and beyond. One part of the picture actually shows the great hunkies running with naked women on their shoulders. At this point of the picture the sound effects are full of female screams. Now you know where the great genetical mix of the Hungarians comes from.

Guest

Here is a photo of the statue (from Hungarian Ambiance)–well, I couldn’t get it to ‘stick’ but you can see it there. Perhaps it is an unfortunate view of the Turul bird sculpture, but I thought it resembled a vulture.

Member

Gretchen :
Here is a photo of the statue (from Hungarian Ambiance)–well, I couldn’t get it to ‘stick’ but you can see it there. Perhaps it is an unfortunate view of the Turul bird sculpture, but I thought it resembled a vulture.

Ah, what a site. Check this link out below. The great Shaman earlier performed a cleansing ceremony in the Hungarian Parliament.

http://www.hungarianambiance.com/2012/09/autumn-equinox-ritual-will-be-performed.html

Petofi1
Guest

“…overwhelming majority of Hungarians..” Wasn’t it 2/3 of 50% of the voting public? Doesn’t that come to 33% of the electorate? Is that overwhelming?

Just some usual false statement from the Viktator. But what is truly alarming is his nazi-like
statments of national unity and Hungarian ‘purity’. How can people buy this horse-shit?

Paul
Guest

It wasn’t two thirds of any vote, they actually got around 53%.

It wasn’t the voters who gave them their ‘two-thirds majority’, it was the crazy Hungarian ‘proportional’ voting system.

Julie
Guest

This passage makes me nervous: “We, the Hungarians of National Unity, should oust all discord from Hungarian life with our own love, service and serenity.” So anyone who disagrees with the government, causing “discord,” should be ousted from Hungarian life?

Forgive me if this is a stupid question, but does Orban write his own speeches? Could this be his own wordsmithing?

Member

Anti-Orban cartoons on facebook
(no newspapers in Hungary would dare to publish them)

http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=524877870859324&set=a.491405167539928.128122.488221671191611&type=1&permPage=1

Member

Check out how classy our prime minister is. The photos were taken on the Lakitelek meeting. The fat guy in the white undershirt is his majesty Orban the 5th. Nice boobs, Vic!

http://orbanviktor.hu/galeria/a_lakiteleki_talalkozo_25._evforduloja/

petofi
Guest

tappanch :
Anti-Orban cartoons on facebook
(no newspapers in Hungary would dare to publish them)
http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=524877870859324&set=a.491405167539928.128122.488221671191611&type=1&permPage=1

There should be a way of sending this to Orban’s website…

Member

Mutt :
Check out how classy our prime minister is. The photos were taken on the Lakitelek meeting. The fat guy in the white undershirt is his majesty Orban the 5th. Nice boobs, Vic!
http://orbanviktor.hu/galeria/a_lakiteleki_talalkozo_25._evforduloja/

Honestly? Who is dressing this man?

Karl Pfeifer
Guest

tappanch :
Anti-Orban cartoons on facebook
(no newspapers in Hungary would dare to publish them)
http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=524877870859324&set=a.491405167539928.128122.488221671191611&type=1&permPage=1

This is an anti-Kövér cartoon.

oneill
Guest

“We can rejoice because we have found our lost sheep.” I assume he’s claiming that he found the right answers to the country’s ills.

Alternatively several of his MPs who had gone awol have now promised to be good boys and do what the shepherd tells them.
Or perhaps he is delighting in the increased Fidesz vote in 2010?

There is a danger in over-analysing The Chief Shepherd’s Speeches. They are, after all, only aimed at the sheep and not anyone with a fully functioning brain.

Kingfisher
Guest

This statue looks a surreal monstrosity: an immense carved phallus with a anatomically inaccurate bird of prey on top! There is a good piece by Véléményvezér (http://tiny.cc/tlqhlw) who argues that this ludicrous speech means that Orbán is banking on winning the election by concentrating on the religious hard-core believers (believers in Fidesz and its world) who aren’t going to question his the total lack of results.

Guest

I cannot read the text in this link but the illustration is revealing. Close correspondence between the silhouette of the Opusztaszer turul and the eagle in the emblem of the Third Reich.

http://mariablogja.wordpress.com/2012/09/30/a-naci-mihaly-arkangyal-legioja-szellemet-idezte-meg-szektas-toborzobeszedeben-orban-viktor/

Member

Mutt :

Gretchen :
Here is a photo of the statue (from Hungarian Ambiance)–well, I couldn’t get it to ‘stick’ but you can see it there. Perhaps it is an unfortunate view of the Turul bird sculpture, but I thought it resembled a vulture.

Ah, what a site. Check this link out below. The great Shaman earlier performed a cleansing ceremony in the Hungarian Parliament.
http://www.hungarianambiance.com/2012/09/autumn-equinox-ritual-will-be-performed.html

Turuls, Shamans and God. PR firm from London and from the USA. At least no one can say, Fidesz is not trying.

petofi
Guest

Should have a closer look at those “PR” firms in London and the USA….fair chance that they’re some
‘cover’ outfit used to siphon off some government funds…

petofi
Guest

AN ASPECT OF MSZP CORRUPTION:

Why are they not spending on full page ads in Neszabadsag and Nepszava and Magyar Nemzet
to pose the question:

“What is there about the ‘szabadsagharc’ that is worth
paying 5% more annually for government financing?
WHAT IS VICTOR ORBAN REALLY AFRAID OF?”

Guest
London Calling! “…….The Hungarian prime minister talked about the Hungarian nation as an ethnically pure group that is held together by kinship and blood…..” For me this underlies many of the problems in Hungarian society. All this ‘purity’ nonsense almost sanctions the Hungarian Guard’s raison d’etre together with the abuse of minorities and anti-Semitism – not to mention the ludicrous Turanian beliefs that he supports. He fails to see the connect between this sort of rhetoric – and some of the shocking attitudes in Hungarian society. He like many of Fidesz (Matolcsy comes to mind) is living in cloud cuckoo land. All this ‘allegorical’ nonsense strikes me too as having parallels with the personality cults of Stalin and Lenin – and even Kim Jong-un. Just one step away from Orban-statues, as he strengthens his belief in his myth and self-aggrandising. I thought I was joking when I suggested that when the ‘Orban era’ is over all his statues will end up in the statue park outside Budapest. The statues really do look pathetic out of their context – and ‘Stalin’s Boots’ set high on a plinth looks so funny! (That statue was originally 8 metres high – so Orban’s Turul… Read more »
Member
Member
Member

Eva S. Balogh :
I don’t know who wrote the speech but the biblical reference is not even correct. There are two parables: one is about the good shepherd and another about the lost sheep. Orbán mixed it up. The good shepherd is in John while the lost sheep can be found in Mathew and Luke.

It is not the first and not the last thing he mixes up.

Member

Breaking news: Hungary’s biggest firm and the second-largest company in Central Europe by revenue, refiner MOL Nyrt. said they would lay off 700 people, respectively. THat is 8% of MOL’s workforce.
Let’s clarify, the Hungarian government that is the largest shareholder of MOL is letting go 700 people. The money that was invested in MOL is from the money the previous government borrowed and Fidesz used up to purchase MOL. Not only the stock lost its value since it was purchased, now Fidesz kicks the workers aside. Didn’t Orban promised new jobs?

Pete H.
Guest
oneill : “We can rejoice because we have found our lost sheep.” I assume he’s claiming that he found the right answers to the country’s ills. Alternatively several of his MPs who had gone awol have now promised to be good boys and do what the shepherd tells them. Or perhaps he is delighting in the increased Fidesz vote in 2010? There is a danger in over-analysing The Chief Shepherd’s Speeches. They are, after all, only aimed at the sheep and not anyone with a fully functioning brain. “We can rejoice because we have found our lost sheep.” I thought he was referring to the ethnic Hungarian minorities that had currently signed up for citizenship. Regarding the Turul bird, as an ornithologist it looks more Griffon or vulture to me than eagle. Although it has some characteristics of all three. The various depictions I have seen do not look like any extant european bird. He has really stepped up his courting of the far-right with references to “Hungarian blood” and the unveiling of the Turul bird statue. Is this a real personal conviction or just a way to gather votes from the far-right for a party that losing it’s previous… Read more »
petofi
Guest
Some1 : Breaking news: Hungary’s biggest firm and the second-largest company in Central Europe by revenue, refiner MOL Nyrt. said they would lay off 700 people, respectively. THat is 8% of MOL’s workforce. Let’s clarify, the Hungarian government that is the largest shareholder of MOL is letting go 700 people. The money that was invested in MOL is from the money the previous government borrowed and Fidesz used up to purchase MOL. Not only the stock lost its value since it was purchased, now Fidesz kicks the workers aside. Didn’t Orban promised new jobs? Some1 : Breaking news: Hungary’s biggest firm and the second-largest company in Central Europe by revenue, refiner MOL Nyrt. said they would lay off 700 people, respectively. THat is 8% of MOL’s workforce. Let’s clarify, the Hungarian government that is the largest shareholder of MOL is letting go 700 people. The money that was invested in MOL is from the money the previous government borrowed and Fidesz used up to purchase MOL. Not only the stock lost its value since it was purchased, now Fidesz kicks the workers aside. Didn’t Orban promised new jobs? Who among you readers believe that, when Orban bought the MOL shares,… Read more »
Guest

London Calling!

….and of course that’s where most of the Private Pension money went – a massive loss; and investment money no longer available to individuals.

If Orban’s government intends paying them back – it will have to come out of future taxation – an incredible burden on the young.

Regards

Charlie

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