Until today only the Magyar Távirati Iroda’s summary of Viktor Orbán’s speech at Kötcse was available, and MTI’s reporting on such events is not always reliable. But today atlatszo.hu published the complete text.
First, I guess I ought to say a few words about Kötcse. Every year the Fidesz leadership makes a pilgrimage to Kötcse, a village about 10 km south of Lake Balaton, for a picnic. Besides the actual picnic there are political speeches, capped with one given by the prime minister himself. Orbán’s speeches at Kötcse are at least as important as his yearly addresses in Tusnádfrürdő/Băile Tușnad. The difference is that the speeches he makes in Kötcse are not advertised and are normally not published, whereas the speeches at Tusnádfürdő are broadcast far and wide and are translated into English in record time.
Perhaps the most significant Orbán speech at Kötcse was delivered in September 2009. It foreshadowed Viktor Orbán’s long-term plans for remaking Hungary. In it he also stated in no uncertain terms that he was planning a political system that would be in place for a couple of decades. He painted a picture of the future in which there would be none of those endless and useless political debates. I wrote about this Kötcse speech three times. First, when I read the MTI summary of it and was already alarmed and twice in February 2010 when Viktor Orbán allowed its publication in a pro-Fidesz literary magazine.
In these speeches Orbán almost always tries to explain that his audience is in an extraordinarily privileged position: they are getting a glimpse into the inner workings of his mind and are allowed access to his most private thoughts. Moreover, here among friends and comrades, he is able to express himself freely. Here he can talk about matters “about which it is not advisable to speak in public.” Indeed, Orbán is correct. Enlightened people are not xenophobic and don’t advocate racial purity.
Of course, even in this speech Orbán remains careful not to sound either xenophobic or racist. He chooses his words carefully. But the overall impression is still that of a highly prejudiced man. He wouldn’t go as far as the fundamentalists who talk about “a crusade” against Islam. He, as “a moderate man,” would speak only about the problem of the “Islamization of Europe.”
Orbán sees himself as the standard-bearer of this defensive war: “this is what Europe demands of us, Hungarians.” Not just from Hungarians in general “but from the elected officials of this country.” Although he and his fellow politicians have faced many challenges and conquered them, he believes that this current crisis is the greatest demand he has had to face to date. Because as a result of this crisis and his response to it a new era will begin: “The Christian-national idea and mentality will regain its dominance not just in Hungary but in the whole of Europe.”
One often has the feeling that Viktor Orbán doesn’t have a grasp of Hungarian intellectual and political history and doesn’t realize what the “Christian-national idea,” fashionable in right-wing circles during the interwar period, meant. Otherwise, he wouldn’t appeal to it constantly. The “Christian-national idea” was born in the early twenties and had more to do with anti-Semitism than with Christianity.
Viktor Orbán, it seems, wants to spread the gospel of the “Christian-national idea and mentality” across the European Union. He wants to be in the forefront of European politics, someone who can reshape the face of Europe just as he did that of Hungary.
Orbán’s explanation for this mass migration is telling. It is not, he claims, the wars and terrorism in the Middle East and Africa that made masses of people run for safety, first to the neighboring countries of Turkey, Jordan, and Lebanon and then farther west, given the hopelessness of their lot there. According to him, the origin of this mass movement lies in globalization. “For years we have told them that ‘the world is a global village’ … we have talked about universal human rights to which everybody is entitled. We forced our ideology on them: freedom is the most important thing, we said. We bombed the hell out of those who didn’t accept our ideology…. We created the internet, we declared the freedom of information, and we told them that every human being should have access to it. We sent them our soap operas. They watch what we do…. We sent our TV stars into their homes…. they now think that our virtual space is also their space and that in this virtual space everybody can meet anybody else. … These people, partly because of our culture lent to them or forced upon them, are no longer tied to their own land and to their past.”
In Orbán’s ideal world, the people streaming into Europe should have remained ignorant of the world, they shouldn’t strive for freedom, and they shouldn’t be the beneficiaries of the kinds of human rights we are entitled to. What can one say, except to express outrage. It is shameful that this man is the leader of a European nation that is so proud of its love of freedom.
To be continued