Hate campaign against immigrants, rev. 2.0

The Hungarian government simply refuses to stop its campaign against immigrants despite the obvious failure of its national consultation effort. At the end of April the government announced its intention to spend 2 billion forints on poisoning the souls of Hungarians by mailing them a questionnaire with leading questions designed to incite hatred and fear of possible immigrants and refugees. When the commissioner for refugee affairs of the United Nations received a translation of the questionnaire, she could only gasp. Yes, she had heard about it and knew that it was bad, but when she actually read the questions she was shocked and “deeply concerned by the way the government increasingly vilifies people who have fled from war zones like Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq and who desperately need safety and protection in Hungary.” Yes, this government vilifies people who would need Hungary’s help, and it is not ashamed to show its true face to the world. It may even be proud of its tough “Hungarians first and only” stance. Viktor Orbán certainly doesn’t see anything wrong with his government’s behavior. He is convinced that his is the right way and that it is a position that Europe as a whole should follow.

Most observers think that Viktor Orbán is spreading “the bad name” of Hungary and Hungarians, some of whom are utterly ashamed of their prime minister, even of the fact that they belong to the same nation as he does. What will the world think of them? Well, some foreigners have already asked: how on earth could you elect such a man to be your prime minister? Or, how could you give him that much power? Especially the second time around? Or, why are you quiet, why don’t you send him somewhere where he will be far away from power and politics?

Well, the fact is that the vast majority of Hungarians didn’t fall for Orbán’s xenophobic campaign. That’s the good news. Eight million questionnaires were sent out, and thus far only 200,000 have been returned. Among them, I’d wager to say, given the mood of the country, several probably included unprintable remarks about Viktor Orbán and his government. At any event, a 2.5% response rate–and that by government calculations–is dismal, pretty close to what direct marketers can expect. To improve the stats, Hungarians can now answer the questionnaire online, and they will have two more months to do so. By the end it is possible that a much larger response figure will be announced, the accuracy of which, of course, we will not be able to ascertain. Nor will we know how they answered the questions.

Despite the poor response thus far, it looks as if the officials working in the prime minister’s office still think that they might be able to squeeze some political benefit out of this shameful topic. They switched into campaign mode to sell the original idea more aggressively. Perhaps their famous “communication” wasn’t effective enough, and if they turn up the volume a bit they will shift the mood of indifference to the anti-immigrant propaganda into one of frightened acceptance. They plan to use stronger language and better methods to increase Hungarians’ awareness of the dangers of immigrant hordes. They already tried hammering home the slogan that “Hungary should remain Hungarian,” but it didn’t have the desired effect. What about appealing to fears that immigrants will take the job of the natives? It looks as if this is the new scare tactic of the government.

During a press conference Zoltán Kovács, undersecretary for public diplomacy and relations, announced that this new “information campaign” will also include plastering the country with anti-immigration posters. It didn’t take long for the Hungarian media to get hold of a photo of one such poster from a print shop that got the job of producing 333 large billboards with the message: “If you come to Hungary you cannot take away the jobs of Hungarians!” At first blush, this poster looks like a joke since would-be immigrants couldn’t possibly understand the text. The message is, I assume, directed at the locals. The population should realize that if Hungary accepts 700 or so political refugees their jobs might be in jeopardy. They should therefore band together and support the prime minister to prevent these alien, job-grabbing people from settling in Magyarorszag.

"If you come to Hungary you cannot take the jobs of Hungarians!"

“If you come to Hungary you cannot take the jobs of Hungarians!”

Yes, the hate campaign is on. There are two more posters  in the works, and Index learned that the government in this new campaign is concentrating on areas along the southern border where specific anti-immigrant messages will be sent. I’m not sure what they expect. Perhaps that the local inhabitants will chase the immigrants away or round them up to be taken into police custody. But if I were the government, I would be careful. All that hate might be translated into action, and one day a “true believer” might just shoot some of the people crossing the border in the dead of night, rationalizing his foul deed by saying that these people were either political or economic terrorists who had to be stopped, that–just like the prime minister–he was protecting the country he loves.

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exTor
Guest

“Hungary should remain Hungarian.”

That’s racist Orbánspeak for “Keep Hungary white!” Almost every potential refugee is at least as dark as the most predominant despised group in Hungary, the Roma.

Were the refugees white, there likely would be no talk about Hungary for Hungarians. But the refugees are nowhere near white and Viktor Orbán is speaking to the converted in his flock, whilst trying to keep Gábor Vona from poaching any potential strays.

I’m not sanguine about the lack of response to the Fidesz survey. The only thing that counts is the vote 3 years hence. Orbán aint sweating the down popularity numbers. Lots of time to fix that.

MAGYARKOZÓ

Kingfisher
Guest

“Hungary should remain Hungarian”

Orban is championing Jobbik’s campaign slogan from a few years back.
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exTor
Guest

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Krisztina_Morvai

There is no doubt that “Magyarország a magyaroké” has racist overtones and, given Jobbik’s fanbase, the slogan plays to a general Magyar racism.

According to the English-language Wikipedia article on her, Krisztina Morvai is not a member of Jobbik, however the citation is a 2009 Budapest Times article, which is now deadlinked.

Perhaps Morvai was lying. Has she now officially joined the ranks of the likes of the exalted Gábor Vona?

MAGYARKOZÓ

István
Guest
Here is my speculation on the likely results of many of the two hundred thousand returned surveys. These answers were developed with the consultation of local Jobbik and Fidesz party officals: How important is the spread of terrorism as far as your own life is concerned? I don’t really think much about it so I am not concerned. In your opinion could Hungary become the target of terrorism in the next few years? Sure we could become a target because we are a Christian nation. Do you agree that mistaken immigration policies contribute to the spread of terrorism? Yes I agree. Did you know that economic immigrants cross the border illegally and that lately their numbers have increased twentyfold? Yes I knew that because I saw two strange looking men crossing Mária Valéria bridge in Esztergom. Do you agree with the opinion that economic immigrants endanger the jobs and livelihoods of the Hungarian people [magyar emberek]? Yes the feketék will take all the jobs, they say Hungarians are lusta, I say they lie! In your opinion did Brussels’ policies on immigration and terrorism fail? Yes it is for shit. Would you support the government in its effort to introduce stricter… Read more »
Realitycheck
Guest
Ron
Guest

Funny but it would be funnier if somebody would make a spoof (website) on National Consultation on Fidesz, or soccer stadiums, or on hiring foreign soccer players, and be more successful than the real thing..

Alex Kuli
Guest

“At the end of April the government announced its intention to spend 2 billion forints on poisoning the souls of Hungarians…”

The well was poisoned long before Orban came along. He is a product of his environment, not a shaper.

googly
Guest

Alex Kuli,

Believe me, it’s a lot more poisoned now, after 5 years of Orbán, and it will be even more poisoned after 3 more years of Orbán. He shapes the environment more than anyone since Kádár.

Alex Kuli
Guest

Would be interesting to have this debate in person some time. I lean to the view that Orban is not shaping society so much as he is pouring out old hatred that had been bottled up by the cork of civility 60 years ago or so.

Brit in Hungary
Guest

This poster does not read as if it is targeted to refugees. And it’s not simply racist, in the sense of wanting to keep ‘dark skinned’ people out – it seems to apply as much to ‘foreign’ ex-pats, students, family members as asylum seekers (who are in fact in detention camps so cannot work). I think its actually fascist. So what now?

Joe Miano
Guest

I came to Hungary 16 years ago. I have taught English as a native speaker during that time. Many of my students have gone on to be successful business people in foreign countries and into good jobs here in Hungary. So maybe my presence helped. It is sad that Orban is in control here and all I can say, is THINK PEOPLE, THINK ! In three years, vote with your brains not out of fear.

petofi
Guest

Three cheers…no 30 cheers….no! 300 CHEERS FOR THOSE WONDERFUL YANKS!!!

If Blatter is gone, can Orban be far behind??

googly
Guest

He’s not gone yet. Notice the date he gave for his departure. He can do a lot of damage in that time, especially with his shredder.

Sz79
Guest

I live in the south, and I can tell you that on several occasions I have actually seen refugees coming from the border. Just this morning in fact, and more importantly, even before reading this post, I also saw some very angry, vigilante-looking eyes watching these people. You have no idea how on the spot you are and how worried I am for these poor souls coming here.

gdfxx
Guest
I think comparing the US situation with that of Hungary is absurd. Hungary – actually Orban – is protesting the allocation of a number of refugees by the EU. Hungary does not have an immigration law and does not encourage immigration (except for ethnic Hungarians). On the other hand the USA has an immigration law (after all its vast majority is made of immigrants or descendants of immigrants). There are about a million immigrants allowed into the US legally every year (based on today’s version of the law). These are from all over the world, of all colors and ethnicity. On the other hand there is a mass of immigrants who arrive to the US illegally (either by illegally crossing the border or by arriving with a tourist visa and never leaving). It is estimated that the majority of those here illegally are from Central and South America. They are poor souls indeed but they are here illegally. Their number is estimated to be between 11 and 16 millions. It is estimated that the number of school age children of these illegal immigrants is around 6 million. According to a decision by the US Supreme Court these children have to… Read more »
googly
Guest

I find it amusing that the only people who will understand these posters as they come over the southern or eastern border are the ethnic Hungarians from Vojvodina and Transylvania who are much more likely to take good jobs that could have gone to local Hungarians. Actually, it’s not so amusing, because when they get here they are treated rather badly by many locals, who make fun of the way they talk and their humbler origins, and are resented by many for “taking” those jobs. The ones I know quickly change the way they speak, if they can, to blend in and avoid the subtle discrimination. It’s not as bad as it used to be, though, probably because so much of the hatred has been redirected to the tiny number of immigrants who aren’t ethnically Hungarian.

Kingfisher
Guest

Yes, the discrimination of ‘Hungarian Hungarians’ against Transylvanians coming to Hungary for work has been documented academically.

“…the vision of national inclusion preferred by elites has been met by the reality of economic and national exclusion engendered through labour migration”

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1469-8129.2007.00280.x/abstract

So, in fact, these signs may have the unintended (?) effect of humiliating ethnic Hungarians coming across the border from Serbia and Transylvania for work.

Guest

A bit OT(but not too much):

Has anyone else seen the fabulous movie “Kalandorok” with Rudolf Péter?
http://hu.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kalandorok_%28film,_2008%29
It was produced before Romania joined the EU afaik, so you have as a recurring theme “the hordes of immigrants” waiting at the RO/HU border, following the hapless Hungarians who want to go back to Hungary without alerting the Romanian police.
A hilarious tragicomedy …

nwo
Guest
While it is obviously despicable and a huge waste of money, Orban and FIDESZ are playing from the same political strategy “book” as so many politicians across Europe and the U.S. Representative Steve King (4th district IOWA) on his internet homepage features: “Illegal Immigration Stories”. The strength behind so many of the “right wing” protests parties that have become so strong in Europe built on xenophobia. This, to be clear, is not to excuse or exonerate Orban, it is to put this all in context. Like everything he does, all these “controversial” policies and statements are done for two reasons: to enrich himself and his circle or to improve his popularity at home. This anti-foreigner campaign certainly is about the latter and probably has some element of the former involved as well. What is so sad and cynical is how this language and viewpoint contrasts so much with the history of Hungarians since at least the 19th century who have been both economic and political migrants/refugees across the world. Anyway, these policies and campaigns will offend many and bring further ignominy on the country and the Government, but in the end just like the death penalty debate, Orban will not… Read more »
petofi
Guest

“…the strength behind so many of the ‘right-wing’ protest parties”…is..R-U-S-S-I-A

Farm
Guest

Speaking of Russians in Hungarian politics, there’s an interesting store front managed by a Hungarian pro-Kremlin left-wing organisation (MIKSZ) which is also pro-Assad.

http://kosullo.tumblr.com/post/120523549799/ismeritek-a-thokoly-30-alatti

buddy
Guest

The funny thing is that their cultural center is called “Sham,” which in English is a synonym of “fake” or “false.”

Kavé
Guest
The majority of refugees arriving in Hungary are in transit to more prosperous countries in the west of Europe, where most of them already have a connection to family. Some are Syrians and Iraqis who are fleeing the total destruction of their societies who fit the definition of “refugee” and who are most likely to experience the “hospitality” of a Hungarian detention camp. The Albanians from Kosovo who came across the border with Serbia during the winter when FIDESZ began his hysteria campaign were holding Serbian passports and on their way to join their employed compatriots in better paying, more stable parts of the EU. The Africans living here are almost all employed in areas such as limo-driver and hotel backroom work where their skills as speakers of English or French come handy – but few stay if not married, since the pay is so laughably low compared to what one can find driving four hours west of Budapest. Relatively few Transylvanian Hungarians seek work in Hungary anymore: the pay scale for labor is just about equal to that in Romania, less so for teachers and service sector workers who do not usually migrate for jobs. No, those signs are… Read more »
buddy
Guest

The Two-Tailed Dog Party made this hilarious spoof of the questionnaire on immigration and terrorism:
http://www.tiikoni.com/tis/view/?id=d0542e6

Liviu
Guest
I know it’s not the same thing, but a remark pops into my head: so it’s OK for Hungarians to ‘steal’ the jobs of Western Europeans (the Hungarian community in Holland is very large, for example), but Hungary HAS to remain Hungarian! Holland, UK or Austria are allowed to dilute their ‘ethnic fiber’ with workers from Eastern Europe (Hungary included), but that should never be the case for Hungary. That’s plain hypocrisy in my view. I don’t recall the exact figures (I don’t think they’re available yet), but the number of refugees assigned to Hungary is in the hundreds. How can THAT tip the job or ethnic balance in HU? I myself am Romanian, we will be assigned a larger number of refugees, yet this is not a problem there. There is barely any talk of the quota system in RO. The thinking goes “We’ve been allowed to travel & work freely throughout Europe, it only makes sense to allow other people to do the same in RO, as long as this is part of a wider European plan” But on the other hand we’ve got other ‘fake’ crises to occupy the news and public discourse so our attention is… Read more »
Xam
Guest
You are trying to be rational. But politics is also about the irrational, the human factor (eg. the irrational fear by ordinary, uneducated, backward, poor people). “It’s about the feeling in our guts which tells us that what Orban does is good because he works for us, wants to protect us, whereas the leftists… “. Every such idiocy like this immigration issue is a battle with Jobbik and the Left and the latters are losing it. Romania is fundamentally different from Hungary because in Romania it seems to me that there is a consensus among the security branches that Russia is bad and Romania must be “friends” (ie in a political sense) with the US, EU etc. Also it’s a much more militarized country, with a giant security apparatus which never downsized from the Secu era so whatever these people think matters much more. The Hungarian public is more divided as we are much farther away from Russia proper, so Orban and Jobbik are staunchly pro-Russian and people just don’t fear Russia and thus there is no political consensus about trying to be more pro-EU, pro-West. I’m not sure which is better in the long term, though, the Baltic people… Read more »
petofi
Guest

Hungarians FEAR. Mostly, they fear for their jobs and daily bread. This, they have come to understand through repeated actions of Orban, depends only on our one true leader. Therefore, whatever he says; whatever he wants the people to believe…they snap to it and do so at peril of their jobs and food. Simple.

What’s nearest Hungarians is their own skin–and they will do whatever, believe whatever, to maintain it…no matter how downright ugly it all seems.

Brave Hungarians.

Fearless Hungarians.

Honourable (sic) Hungarians!

Hajra Magyarok!!

googly
Guest

Liviu,

Orbán makes the distinction that Hungarians in the rest of the EU are legally there, as part of the price those countries pay for being allowed to exploit Hungary’s market with their huge corporations using unfair tactics to push smaller Hungarian firms out of business (not totally wrong, in my opinion). He might also say, in Hungarian with no reporters around, that he would be glad to see Hungarians expelled from those countries, because they are needed here in Hungary. This is not just talk to keep the nationalists happy, as you can see in his university policies.

Of course what he doesn’t say is that he’s glad to get rid of those Hungarians who might foment unrest against his autocracy, while also not having to worry about finding them jobs. This might be reversed if the EU ever decides that it doesn’t want an autocracy as a member, and we get kicked out of the EU entirely.

Guest
Tough to see Magyarorszag’s xenophobic stand on immigration from my perch. But I guess it typifies the country’s mindset now which has veered away from so-called ‘democratic’ ideals. They’ve seemed to have thrown in the towel on all that. It looks as if Magyarorszag does not wish to pay a price to defend the existence of freedoms in the country and throughout the world. With the behavior we see it is apparent the country retreats in that responsibility. Democracy isn’t a word in the Magyar vocabulary anymore. It is a word lost in a dust heap of abject policies withering it away. Alas Magyarorszag’s on another course which in the end I believe will will debilitate her greatly. It shows to me that the country is not up to dealing competently with the today’s pressing global issues affecting all nation states. She looks to be a jumble just waiting to internally crumble. I fear there are absolutely no stewards who can see the country through all this. They simply do not have the measure of the times. I shake my head not understanding why all this is occurring. You’d think history would have made them wiser in how to comport… Read more »
esztikki
Guest

This reminds me of the Australian advertisements taken out by the government in AUSTRALIAN newspapers warning “boat people” that they will not be settled in Australia under ANY circumstances… as if boat people were latte-sipping in Sydney cafes in order to read that. As if advertisements would be enough to stop people willing to risk everything else for a different chance?

Latefor
Guest

How about rebuilding their economies?
How about training their politicians?
How about educating their people?
How about finding logical solutions to this humanitarian disaster?
How about stop blaming each other and look at this heartbreaking problem? (Do you really believe that these poor people would leave their homes, their memories etc. if they could stay?)
How about helping them to re-establish, re-build their war-thorn countries and let them go home! We are dealing with helpless people, not just inconveniences who can be shoveled from country to county! What’s going on? The richer countries are picking the better “quality” ones and the “left-overs” will be divided between the ex-communist countries?
How about finding a solution instead of creating more disasters all over Europe! How about it, “big boys” out there?

Koriand
Guest

“How on earth could you elect such a man to be your prime minister? Or, how could you give him that much power? Especially the second time around?”

I dislike very much M. Orban’s new anti-immigrant rethoric. But when i read that, i can’t stop thinking to G.W. Bush. It’s true that Orban is dangerously harming the hungarian democracy. But everyone who knows the hungarian people knows that it will recover from Fidesz as soon as it’s gone (in 2018 ?).
When will the world recover from G.W. Bush ? Me, never, i fear 🙂

Webber
Guest

G.W. Bush II: I agree in general terms with your feelings about the SOB. Oddly, however, he was very good to immigrants. He fast-tracked citizenship for those who served in the US Army, for example. He was never vile about immigrants.
Indeed, he even campaigned a little (a very little) in Spanish.
You can justly accuse Bush of a lot of things, but not of being a bigot.

Andy B.
Guest

Hypocrites….
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Webber
Guest

Whose the hypocrite? What makes you imagine people here opposed citizenship for Hungarians abroad?
FYI this is not an MSZP blog.

MAGYARKOZÓ
Guest

I was puzzled by poster’s poster. Without the backstory, neither the poster nor the supposed point [‘hypocrites’] being made by Andy B makes sense.

Can someone elucidate in terms understandable to outsiders? Thanx.

MAGYARKOZÓ

Webber
Guest
Magyarkozó – here’s your explanation: Back in 2004 when Fidesz backed a referendum on giving citizenship to Hungarians abroad, the then ruling MSZP/SZDSZ coalition argued against it in fairly foul ways – saying that “millions of Romanians” would ask for and get Hungarian citizenship, that the country would be overrun by Romanians, and that they would take work from Hungarian citizens, and they would come to Hungary to “enjoy” the great social services in the country and would thereby destroy them (don’t laugh – the argument was actually made, ridiculous as it is). People in both SZDSZ and MSZP made such ridiculous, hateful arguments against dual citizenship in the press (including János Kiss). The worst (not incl. Kiss) were every bit as bad as the sickening Fidesz campaign against migrants now. The poster Andy B. put up is full of some fairly hateful, xenophobic, and stilted (indeed lying) arguments for voting against dual citizenship in the referendum that were made by MSZP and SZDSZ in those days. Andy B. is right to point out that SOME people criticizing Fidesz now for xenophobia are hypocrites – particularly SOME people in MSZP (some in that party did not make those arguments, of… Read more »
Andy B.
Guest

I don’t agree with Fidesz’s stance on immigration. However, the current leftist (leftist???) “human rights activists” are as phony as a campaign promise. Hypocrisy…

exTor
Guest

Thanx for the explanation, Webber. Many details fell into place. I wouldn’t necessarily categorize the allowing of voting to Hungarian citizens residing outside of Hungary as Fidesz lying. In this case, I believe that it is a legitimate change-of-mind. It’s not major and it’s consonant with what other countries allow. The question is whether nonresident-Hungarian voting benefits or hurts the government. My sense is that expat Magyars tend to congregate on the right side of the political spectrum, hence they would be a plus for Fidesz, but perhaps not for Jobbik. I think that the expats might be a bit too sophisticated for Jobbik. Perhaps Éva, who is closer to the expat-Magyar scene, could give her opinion on how she sees it.

MAGYARKOZÓ

lol
Guest

One has seen more corruption in his short life already then one could ever dream to witness, and they were all so plain to see… Any reasonable person would think the things happening here (well, not only here…) are just fiction. Growing up I’ve seen the impossible becoming reality all around.
Like this one, even the name of the campaign reads National Consultation of Immigration and Terrorism. I cannot believe my eyes. Either they are trying to incite people or they want to discuss our open source couter-espionage system we are clearly to establish… I mean srly:)

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