Mazsihisz has decided to boycott; a portrait of Viktor Orbán by Miklós Jancsó

As usual, there are more topics than can be squeezed into the usual length of my posts. The news of the day is Mazsihisz’s decision to stick to their guns and boycott the Hungarian Holocaust Memorial Year unless there is a radical change in the government’s plans. Mazsihisz wants the government to abandon the memorial to Germany’s 1944 invasion of Hungary. The leaders of the organization also want to stop the erection of a new center devoted to the memory of child victims of the Holocaust. They object to being excluded from the planning stage of this project. Although the decision issued today doesn’t mention it specifically, the Jewish leaders are most suspicious of the intentions of the historian entrusted with the execution of the project– Mária Schmidt, whose views on the Holocaust are quite controversial. In addition, there is the problem of Sándor Szakály as the director of the Veritas Institute. The Jewish leaders object only to his comments about the Kamenets-Podolskii deportation but, let’s face it, his appointment is unacceptable altogether.

Photo Attila Kovács / MTI

Photo Attila Kovács / MTI

The first reports on Mazsihisz’s boycott have already appeared in the international press, and I assume that more will follow. We’ll see how Orbán gets himself out of the corner he’s painted himself into.

Now let’s change topics. Although I didn’t mention it earlier, the famous Hungarian film director and screenwriter Miklós Jancsó died at the age of 93 on January 30. Perhaps his most famous creation was The Round Up (1965). Those who would like to know more about the man who became something of an idol in Hungary can read several English-language biographies of him on the Internet. His obituary appeared in The New York Times immediately after his death. By contrast, the Hungarian government and Viktor Orbán were silent.

Orbán himself never said a word about his passing, and it took the government a whole week before Zoltán Balog, minister of human resources, announced that the government will give Jancsó a state funeral. The reason for the delay? Miklós Jancsó deeply disliked Viktor Orbán and I assume the feeling was mutual. Perhaps it was the open letter Miklós Jancsó and Ferenc Grunwalsky, another Hungarian film director, wrote to Viktor Orbán on April 14, 2002 that made Viktor Orbán hate the film director. Keep the date in mind. It was almost twelve years ago, right after Viktor Orbán made that infamous speech in which he declared that the election must be won. Otherwise, Hungary is ruined. His message was that if you are a Hungarian you must vote for Fidesz, the only legitimate representative of the nation. The other political side is the enemy. It was that speech that prompted Jancsó and Grunwalsky to write their letter.

The open letter was again made available online, and I recommend that Hungarian speakers read it. It is priceless. I really should translate the whole letter one day. It should be compulsory reading for those who think that the first Orbán administration was a great deal better than the second. Yes, maybe in degree because he didn’t have a two-thirds majority, but all the essential elements of the present Orbán regime were already there. And they were frightening even then.

The authors of the letter posed twelve questions to Viktor Orbán.

First. “Can anyone say about himself that if he does not become prime minister of the country then Hungary will go astray”? The answer is NO.

Second, can you say, Viktor, that if three million don’t vote for you then “our families, our children, our human dignity, our freedom, our faith and our homeland will be in danger”? The answer is NO.

Third. Hungary is not in bad economic shape, there is no natural disaster that would threaten us. There are no foreign enemies. Is it permissible to create a feeling of danger that is lurking against the country? The answer is NO.

Fourth. Do you have the right to incite people against each other, create mass hysteria and then talk about love? The answer is NO.

Fifth. Can it happen in a democratic country that the homeroom teacher in school asks the children for whom their parents will vote and that those children whose parents aren’t planning to vote for you receive indoctrination about changing their parents’ mind? Is it normal that the teachers demand answers to whether the children could convince their moms and dads to stand by the government? The answer is NO.

Six. Is it normal to frighten people with such an eventuality that all accomplishments, everything under the sun will collapse if the government is not in your hands? The answer is NO.

Seven. Do you have the right to defend your power that much? Do you have the right to appropriate the national colors? The answer is NO.

Eight. You consider yourself a prophet? You are NO prophet. It would be blasphemy on your part. In everybody there is a little messiah but the trouble begins when it comes to the surface.

Nine. Must the whole country live among constant slogans? The answer is NO. WHAT FOR?

Ten. Did you ever ask women what kind of life they want to lead? Did you think through what kind of role you assign to them within the family? We think YOU DIDN’T.

Eleven. Are you sure that your children want to live the way you imagine? Do you know that half the country doesn’t even have a chance for such a life? The economic crisis you talk about so much inflicted the greatest hardship on the poor. Did you think how as a young lawyer you would be able to bring up four children? Could you afford it? NO. Everybody knows that.

Twelve. In your opinion in the past few years how many young people became rich? Who could afford three or four children? In your experience could young people with a respectable job become rich? Could they buy real estate, factories, agricultural land, vineyards? NO. Everybody knows that.

In addition to these questions there are a few memorable sentences in this letter. For example: “Your key word is ‘akarat’ (Das Willen). One must will and dare and then all will become true. Better future, beautiful country, great dreams. Moreover, everything which is, will be. ‘Az akarat diadala’ (Macht des Willens). Viktor! This is the title of Leni Riefenstahl’s film about the 1934 party congress. An uncomfortable similarity in megalomania and in extravagant hunger for power. And meanwhile on the telephone the messages arrive from your office: ‘Viktor Orbán loves you.’… Such a leader, such a world existed before and it has no place here anymore.”

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Mr. Paul
Guest

Éva, can I ask you about the picture, you posted?

On the left side of the picture, I see Feldmájer, the former leader of Mazsihisz. They are all voting with cards but his card is a bit different, it is not fully purple, but white in the centre. Does this have any significance, meaning his vote was different from the others?

petofi
Guest

For the Opposition: What To Do

Print up leaflets. They should commemorate the death of Miklos Jancso.

And it should also say:

“Here’s what Miklos Jancso thought about Orban Victor.”
And include the open letter.

Now, distribute it, by hand if need be, thoughout the land.

HR-UP
Guest

Just for the record:
MAZSIHISZ stands for Hungarian Jewish Congregations’ Association.
It should lead the uprising against the neo-bad Orban.
To save Hungary, and even all decent FIDESZ supporters.

petofi
Guest

@ HR-UP

“To save Hungary, and even all decent FIDESZ supporters.”

There are no DECENT Fidesz supporters–if there were, they would’ve revolted a long time ago.

Wal
Guest

http://hvg.hu/itthon/20140209_MAZSIHISZ_kormany_emlekmu

Which government source would use the word “Kisantant” (Little Entente) in 2014 in a normal conversation? After “muszkavezető”?

Fideszniks apparently live a 100 years ago, with the same ideas, paranoias, visions.

Nice try with this unnamed source to make people believe that rewriting of history, pushing of the right-wing ideologues, setting up memorials to poke at the Hungarian Jews actually all take place in order to show that Hungary loves its Jews, despite all the lies spread about Hungary abroad by the member states of the Little Entente.

I guess source criticism (aka editing) is still not a strength of hvg.hu.

BülBül
Guest

How the Hungarian government “encourages” Hungarian citizens living in the US to vote in the upcoming elections (hint: these people are not the new, ethnic Hungarian citizens who can easily vote by mail, but “old” citizens who happen to live in the US).

Look, there is even a website for such citizens, it’s the information superhighway. Hungary uses cutting edge, smart technology to assist its citizen living abroad — Ferenc Kumin, Orban’s foreign media spokesman, could have said.

But all is legal. This is a country based on the rule of law, after all.

For people who do not speak Hungarian: the system is outrageous, worthy of Putin’s envy.

http://444.hu/2014/02/09/on-amerikaban-elo-magyar-allampolgar-akkor-inkabb-ne-tessek-szavazni-a-valasztasokon/

Marcel Dé (@MarcelD10)
Guest

Mr. Paul :
Éva, can I ask you about the picture, you posted?
On the left side of the picture, I see Feldmájer, the former leader of Mazsihisz. They are all voting with cards but his card is a bit different, it is not fully purple, but white in the centre. Does this have any significance, meaning his vote was different from the others?

All cards have a white label with their name on one side. It doesn’t mean a thing.

BülBül
Guest

origo.hu makes a ‘funny’ video about Orban’s facebook presence, Orban duly thanks for it. It is a thinly-veiled glorifying clip on the supposedly independent internet site origo.hu. Just so you know. Putin would approve.

https://www.facebook.com/orbanviktor/posts/10202518905366744?stream_ref=10

Minusio
Guest

Éva, you and the Jancsó and Grunwalsky letter confirmed what I began to see in Orbán from the year 2000 on. At that time, I had known, and become interested in, Hungary only for eight years. So what I, as a foreigner, could see then should have been visible to all, especially Hungarians.

Just in case someone wants to look up Leni Riefenstahl’s film, the exact title is “Triumph des Willens” (1934). [As a noun in nominative case, it’s ‘der Wille’, btw. But it’s of no significance to the post.]

JGrant
Guest

“So what I, as a foreigner, could see then should have been visible to all, especially Hungarians.” Minusio! It is precisely because you are a foreigner that it is obvious. Living with it here it is not nearly so easy to see it. Also, having presumably grown up with being accustomed to democracy a lot more than the average Hungarian is, your standards are different and you are likely to be more sensitive to potential abuses of power. I have spent the last 20 years warning people in Hungary about stuff that has now happned. And they always laughed at me and even now have no honesty to admit that I was right. Such is life: none as blind that do not want to see.

Having said all that I don’t on the other hand believe that it will go on like this forver, As I have written many times before on this blog, no nation will forever stay on its knees. There will come the day when they get up and that day will be stormy, but necessary.

tappanch
Guest

@BülBül

I just tested the system at
https://kerelem.valasztas.hu/vareg/KulkepviseletNevjegyzekbeFelvetelKerelem.xhtml

If you know anyone’s
1. Name and (if female) maiden name
2. Mother’s maiden name
3. Birth of Date (the check digit is easy to obtain by trial and error),
4. Place of birth

you can make him/her a voter who can vote only in person, at an embassy or consulate abroad.

Since you can give your own e-mail address as notification address,
you can hijack another person’s vote.

The # of voting places you can register yourself or anyone else:
4
China
3
US – LA, NY, DC
Romania
Ukraine
Russia
2
Australia
Brazil
Canada
Croatia
Germany – Berlin, Munich
Serbia
Slovakia
Slovenia
Spain

1 place only!

UK !!
Holland, Switzerland, Sweden, France
etc.

tappanch
Guest

Here is another trick of Orban’s.

If you do not have a Hungarian address, you have to register now.
The registration is valid for 10 years, i.e. for 3 elections.

But if you cast your vote or someone else casts your vote for you at any election,
the registration is extended by 10 years.

The only extra data you have to know to register someone else is
her/his Hungarian passport number or naturalization number

https://kerelem.valasztas.hu/vareg/NevjegyzekbeVetel.xhtml

tappanch
Guest

The Reform Jewish community Beth Orim, which is not recognized as a religious denomination by the Fidesz state, has joined the Neolog denomination in boycotting Orban’s memorial celebrations..

http://www.betorim.hu/udvozlunk/index.php

Minusio
Guest

@ JGrant

“I don’t on the other hand believe that it will go on like this forever…”

No, nothing goes on forever, just like trees don’t grow into the sky or linear projections in economic forecasts are silly. But there have been lots of ills in history that lasted for more than a generation or even much longer. Take slavery, the 30 Years War, the Turkish occupation, some colonies, etc.

I have maintained here and elsewhere that this unspeakable football coach (because I took him for one when I first saw him on Hungarian tv, not understanding a word of Hungarian) called Orbán has all chances to stay on as long as he predicted, i.e. 10-20 years. I could support this with a lot of arguments. But you know them all.

Guest

There is a nice description of Leni Riefenstahl’s very influential film (even on non-Nazis …) on wiki:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Triumph_of_the_Will

A bit OT – Orbán hasn’t yet progressed as far as Hitler:

The first film by Riefenstahl (made in 1933) also showed Ernst Röhm, the SA leader together with Hitler in a prominent position – but Röhm was killed in the night of the long knives and so he had to be eradicated from history …
In Germany all copies of that film were destroyed – only one survived in Britain. Of course this is typical for dictatorships, Stalin and Mao did similar things. Wonder if anything like this will happen in Fidesz some day – or has happened already?

tappanch
Guest

@wolfi

Angyan was the only Fidesz MP out of 200+ who left Orban for reasons of conscience.

We have not seen a single penitento yet.

‘Ndrangheta, Camorra and Cosa Nostra have been less successful keeping the omertà than Fidesz.

Marcel Dé (@MarcelD10)
Guest

@wolfi: I don’t think the H. word is appropriate at all.

I fumbled upon an old piece of anti-Putin opinion the other day, and I kept reading ‘Viktor O.’ instead of ‘Vladimir P.’ …

http://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/63047/michael-mcfaul-and-kathryn-stoner-weiss/mission-to-moscow

Guest

tappanch :
@wolfi
Angyan was the only Fidesz MP out of 200+ who left Orban for reasons of conscience.
We have not seen a single penitento yet.
‘Ndrangheta, Camorra and Cosa Nostra have been less successful keeping the omertà than Fidesz.

Do you think that the Italian gangs have more than one member in two hundred getting qualms?

Earnest
Guest

The more I read and learn about Hungary, the more sick and disgusted I feel. I keep passing this billboard (it’s everywhere I look in Budapest) with opposition leaders in a police line up setting. And if that’s not enough mud slinging there even has to be a clown to further ridicule the people portrayed. It symbolizes the absolute lack of respect Hungarians have for people who don’t belong to ‘their’ group and it’s a clear proof of how morally deprived this country has become. And Hungarians? They don’t even realize how absurd Hungarian politics are. They couldn’t care less of what is happening in their own country. Brainwashed zombies. When will Hungary finally wake up?

Guest

The article on Putin linked by Marcel sent shivers down my spine – if Orbán manages to do only a small part of what Putin did, Hungary is doomed to stay out of civilised Europe for a long time …

Joe Simon
Guest

The Jancso letter is indeed “priceless”, as Eva wrote. Priceless for its naiveté. Orbán is a politician, a forceful politician. And so he should be, he has to be. I was in Hungary in the 1990s when the MSZP got elected. People were aghast at this resurgence of Kádár nostalgia. This is what OV is up against !!! Let him carry on the fight!!!

beygli
Guest

Joe Simon, oh my, you dumb man, all the people feeling nostalgic about Kadar whom Orban is supposedly up against (the panelproletariat of Laszlo Köver fame) are actually voting for Orban. He knew he had to get them and he did with his rezsicsökkentés and anti-EU, anti-bank, anti-whatever politics.

Orban is only fighting the voters who would like to move Hungary towards a modern Europe, who do not want to get bogged down neither in a 1978, nor in a 1937 world view.

Orban is successful, but he is not fighting Kadar, he embraced him.

Ervin
Guest
Janos Ader, every diplomat’s favorite moderate Fidesznik just signed the bill on Paks 2. Ader stated in a press release that the bill – according to Ader – can not be questioned from a constitutional point of view and – again according to Ader – no referendum could have been written out, thus he decided to sign it. Let’s state it clearly: Ader lies. Ader – at the very least – could have sent the bill back for further discussions, given the secrecy and legal abuses surrounding the deal and the parliamentary process. Ader also lied because he said that the no referendum was possible. The section of the Basic Law he is referring to, art. (8) (3) (d) says that no referendum may be written out about an obligation stemming form an international treaty. According to the Paks 2 treaty, however, the treaty itself doe not enter into force just by the approval of it by the Parliament and thus at this moment there are no effective Paks 2 treaty obligations because the treaty has not yet entered into force and until such time a referendum could have been written out. Ader did what an efficient cog in the… Read more »
tappanch
Guest

Supporters of the democratic opposition – “Összefogás” (Unity), be careful…

The brand new parties

CENTRUM Összefogás Magyarországért
Összefogás Párt
Megújult Magyarországi Roma Összefogás Párt

will be on the ballot box, and they are not the opposition!

http://www.valasztas.hu/hu/ovb/18/18_0.html

Összefogás Párt just announced to sue the democratic opposition.

http://nol.hu/belfold/az_osszefogas_part_feljelentette_az_osszefogast

tappanch
Guest

The election commission registered 60 parties for the election, as of today

Fidesz made it financially attractive to create and register your own party.

http://www.valasztas.hu/hu/ovb/

tappanch
Guest

The Összefogás Párt is the party of the ex mayor Szepesi of Monok (2006-2010), who restricted the welfare payments to the poor in his village.

He received 4.3% of the votes in his home district, the 11th electoral district of Borsod county in 2010.

petofi
Guest

tappanch :
@wolfi
Angyan was the only Fidesz MP out of 200+ who left Orban for reasons of conscience.
We have not seen a single penitento yet.
‘Ndrangheta, Camorra and Cosa Nostra have been less successful keeping the omertà than Fidesz.

I can think of the following difference between Orban’s iron grip and that of the traditional Don:

The mafia leader gets money from his underlings–they must ‘kick up’ from money they make, be it loan-sharking, dope-peddling etc. Orban is the source of blessings–tobacco shops; contracts; connections; positions…etc. all come from the wave of the little porky arms of Viktor.

petofi
Guest

(Joe, are you of the ‘Simple Simon’ fame? Yes, I thought so.)

When the Orban chapters will be written….it will be revealed that few knew that Orban had it in for ALL Hungarians; that he contrived to brink the whole country down for past sins–real or imagined. And then, even Kover and Rogan and Lazar–all in chains as they will deserve to be–can honestly say, “We never suspected!”

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