The European Summit has begun: Viktor Orbán arrived with a plan

Here are a few examples of what a government-led hate campaign can do. About three weeks ago a Facebook group was formed where venom spews out from hundreds of comments. Some people openly discuss killing all the refugees. Then “there would be silence,” one of them wrote. A few days later a proud owner of an expensive Porsche with a Slovak licence plate threatened two women with a hand grenade because they gave a lift to a Syrian family on M1 on their way to Austria. A week later some students of a private high school in the New Buda district of Budapest spat into the dough of scones (pogácsa) the school was going to donate to the refugees. And today we learned that in a school in the third district a boy in the seventh grade held a knife to the throat of a half Nigerian-half Hungarian six-grader demanding that he leave the country because he was “an immigrant.”

This shameful anti-refugee propaganda intensified after the clashes between the security forces (TEK) and the refugees at Röszke. The more I read about this incident the more convinced I am that the members of TEK, which most people call Viktor Orbán’s private army, actually provoked the incident in order to reinforce the population’s antagonism toward the refugees. The more Hungarians fear these people the more grateful they will be to their brave, unyielding prime minister. The strategy has worked. Hungary’s reputation may have suffered immeasurably, but Fidesz’s popularity has shot up. Since the refugee crisis Fidesz has gained 300,000 new followers. The same strategy is working in Slovakia. I suspect that Robert Fico’s uncompromising stand in Brussels has a great deal to do with the fact that there will be national elections in Slovakia in six months’ time. As it stands, Fico’s party (Smer-SD) has gained support since the beginning of the crisis.

Over the weekend the Hungarian media learned that Viktor Orbán was ecstatic over the political gains he had achieved as a result of his position on the refugee crisis and his determination to keep the country Christian and ethnically pure. The next day Ipsos’s poll came out, confirming that the prime minister’s strategy was indeed a great political success. We don’t know, of course, how long Orbán can hold out against Brussels. What will happen if Hungary eventually has to permit EU officials to establish “hot spots” where uniform standards will be applied in determining who is granted asylum? As it stands now, one reason for the refugees’ refusal to be registered in Hungary is the low percentage of positive decisions about their status. While in Germany more than 40% of the asylum seekers succeed in gaining asylum status, in Hungary in the past few years that number was 9%.

The establishment of “hot spots” would also mean the presence of large refugee camps in the country to house the refugees until their cases are decided and they can be moved to a community that would handle their integration. In this case, the Hungarian government’s efforts to keep refugees out of the country would have been in vain.

Yesterday it became clear that, despite Viktor Orbán’s protestations, refugees will be coming to Hungary. Moreover, although the ministers of interior of Hungary, the Czech Republic, and Slovakia voted against the plan, the fourth country of the Visegrád4–Poland, on whose support Orbán counted–voted with the majority. Thus Orbán can no longer rely on a united front by the Visegrád4 countries.

Viktor Orbán arrives at the summit / Reuters / Photo: Francois Lenoir

Viktor Orbán arrives at the summit / Reuters / Photo: Francois Lenoir

Before the summit began Viktor Orbán gave a press conference in which he emphasized certain parts of the agenda that are close to his heart. According to the press release issued by the Hungarian prime minister’s office, “the most important issue [of the] EU summit is the protection of the Greek borders.” If Athens is unable to secure them, then Europe should be allowed to step in. If Greece’s borders cannot be defended, “he must obtain support [from the EU] to enable Hungary to enforce the Schengen Agreement.” And, he added, “if they do not support us in this effort, they should state clearly that the Schengen Agreement is no longer binding, and we should then organize a corridor through which migrants may reach Austria or Germany.”

I doubt that the matter of the Greek borders will be the most important issue at the summit. Although Donald Tusk also talked about strengthening the borders, he emphasized that this by itself will not solve the problem. And defending the borders of Greece, a country that is made up of an incredible number of inhabited islands (variously cited as between 166 and 227), is well nigh impossible. More important is support for the United Nations agencies that operate refugee camps in Syria and Turkey. One reason for the recent influx of people from Syrian and Turkish refugee camps is that, in the last few months, life in the camps became very hard due to a lack of food and other necessities of life. The UN can no longer provide adequate support due to a lack of money. Donald Tusk indicated to the prime ministers that this question “can no longer wait.” The member states will have to make financial sacrifices. The goal is to collect one billion euros for the United Nations World Food Program from the 28 member states.

Viktor Orbán also has his own six-point plan of action. (1) EU countries should offer help to Greece in defending its own borders. (2) Determination of asylum status should be determined outside of the Schengen borders. (3) The European Union should draw up a list of safe countries. (4) In order to gain additional monies each member state should raise its contribution to the EU budget by 1% while they should reduce their expenses by 1%. This would produce three billion euros. (5) Certain countries should create “special partnership agreements.” For example, such a partnership could be developed between Turkey and Russia. (6) The refugees should be distributed worldwide to ease the pressure on Europe.

Whether Orbán’s plan will be discussed is hard to tell. Commentators believe that Brussels should respond to these ideas, some of which, in my opinion, deserve consideration. It’s too bad that Viktor Orbán, instead of discussing a joint problem with the rest of the European Union, decided to build a fence by which he managed to alienate everybody. It may be too late for a constructive plan from Hungary.

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exTor
Guest
Listen up folks, there are many ostensible antiOrbánists here who are effectively lining up full-square behind Viktor Orbán, when they caution against letting in refugees on mass, because there could be terrorist plants amongst them. These cautionists are making Orbán’s point, but differently. Orbán says keep the migrants out, the cautionists keep the refugees out. When it has been suggested to some commenters that their words were starting to sound racist, the rejoinder has been to impugn the suggestion with the taint of ‘political correctness’. The reality is that racism, whether overt or slight, is still racism, and to call it out as such is not pigeonholing, it is straight-out correct categorizing. The mislabeling of ‘political correctness’ is the frequent tactic of the right, but it’s not right. So-called ‘political correctness’ is not incorrect, so-called ‘political correctness’ is the necessary social tool that facilitates many things, for example discussions about theoretical positions. Everybody knows that something can happen with the numbers of people coming to Europe, however it is not possible to vet everybody, contrary to what the cautionists may believe. Cant stop one or two out of 10,000. If a Near Eastern group [eg: ISIS] wanted to bring terrorists… Read more »
gdfxx
Guest

Dear Magyarkozo, I would like to call your attention to the fact that members of jihadist Islam do not form a race, they belong to a terrorist movement. Thus calling those who oppose it or are concerned about it it racist false. Jihadist terrorist are from all groups, white, black, Asian, men, women, mostly young but not exclusively. The only common thread is a desire to kill as many nonbelievers as possible.

In any case, there is only one race we all belong to: the human race.

exTor
Guest

I have replied a couple of times to the issue of Islam and race. Amongst other things, I have said that the terms ‘racist’ and ‘racism’ are broadening to include antipathies directed at more than just race.

To be sure, Islam does not equal race, however within the context of the Near East [Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, etcetera] Islam = Semite. Mostly.

While it is true that those who worry about terrorism are not necessarily racists, arguments proposed by those worriers often have soft (and not so soft) racist undercurrents. I am not the only one who has noticed.

MAGYARKOZÓ

Zsuzsa
Guest

Exactly. Well said exTor.

Guest

I to tally agree!

And now something totally OT:

Thanks for all those recipes on your blog, Zsuzsa!

My wife is Hungarian and she also likes to cook – we’ll sure find some ideas in your cookbook.

gdfxx
Guest

” One reason for the recent influx of people from Syrian and Turkish refugee camps is that, in the last few months, life in the camps became very hard due to a lack of food and other necessities of life. ”

Recently I quoted here a report that I heard on the Hetes Studio radio program, on Klubradio (which cannot be called an Orban loving media organization). They had interviewed a Turkish journalist. The journalist stated that only 200 thousand of the Syrian refugees to Turkey were in refugee camps. The rest of the approximately two million refugees were all over Turkey, working, trying to make a living. Two of the reasons for those trying to get to Europe were the deterioration of the Turkish economy (thus fewer jobs) and the Turkish authorities ethnic oppression of the Kurds, that apparently affected the Syrian Arab refugees too.

Since I found Klubradio to be a reliable source of information, I have to assume that their source in Turkey was also reliable.

István
Guest
I think that the dynamics of the European refugee crisis will go on for years, not only because of the civil war in Syria, the ongoing civil war in Egypt, the fact the Islamic State currently controls more of Iraq than the Shite government does, and the fact that the government the US and the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) established in Afganistan only were able to achieve a stalemate. But also because of global warming that is severely impacting large parts of Africa which in turn create civil disorder and refugees. The terrorism threat while real is small comparatively to the potential negative impact mass flight to Europe will have on the economies of the EU. Millions upon millions of euros are being lost in Central Europe and Austria simply due to the disruption of normal trade. Millions more are being spent on security and transport related to the refugees by multiple nation states. Generosity will crumble in the face of economic reality eventually and EU borders will tighten in some manner. The refugees are without question in their vast majority people simply looking to survive. If there are Islamic State sympathizers among them they are likely few in… Read more »
Member

How would you vet thousands of refugees at once? How come that with all the proper settings there are still terrorists operating in North America and in Europe? How ill you vet all who are already in? How would you stop the recruitment of ISIS from those who are inside. Even in Canada we had white people recruited for ISIS. Should we check for some specific genes? In Hungary now they start to check students and journalist for drugs, so maybe some checking of genes at the school entries would help. By the way a newly released study determined that of 91 former NFL players who had their brains examined posthumously, 87 were found to have the brain disease, chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE).
My point is that we can filter as much as we want, sometime it takes only one crazy to commit a crime.

gdfxx
Guest

Although I am not sure what the CTE has to do with the topic, I think that based on the results (that I also read about), the NFL should be dissolved and American Football prohibited (especially for minors in schools, where Friday Night Light is the main event of the week). But chances for that are about as high, as canceling soccer as a sport in Brasil.

But anyway, talking about quotas of refugees: let’s assume that all countries will accept their quote. What happens after that? Is the EU going to consist of two classes of inhabitants, one that can travel and work anywhere in the EU and an other one that can only work where s/he was part of the quota? How is this going to be enforced? There are no border controls, but those who are not supposed to be moving to another country will be checked as if they were on parole? And at the border those who look Syrian will be verified? Did the EU governments describe the procedures they plan to follow? Or it is like some multi-thousand page laws in the US that were approved without the lawmakers knowing what was in them…

Member

Sorry that you missed my point. It is not the CTE that has to do anything with the topic, but brain injuries. The idea that people should be filtered based on some perceived danger. CFL players should not get life insurance because they are prone to brain damage. Syrian refugees should not be allowed into EU as some of them maybe turning into refugees. Man should not be allowed to drive as it is proven that more man cause drinking and driving accidents than women (women are less likely to sit behind the wheel drinking). The point is gdfxx that we cannot avoid all the dangerous based on proven statistics, because statistics remain as such and does not imply to all.

gdfxx
Guest

Well, if I had a life or health insurance company, I would not insure professional football players. Most of them end up with injured brain, so insuring them is almost 100% risk for the insurance company. And those companies are in business to make money based on actuarial calculations.

As far as the migrants are concerned, I never advocated their exclusion because of potential terror danger. But I did advocate the checking of their backgrounds, to make all the efforts to filter out the potential terrorists. That has a much better chance of success (if done properly and not rushed through).

I also did raise at one point the basic question: if the entire population of the underdeveloped countries starts to migrate toward a better life in the developed countries, what is going to happen? My guess is that it may result in a drastic lowering of the living standards for all, to a level much closer to that of the underdeveloped world than that of the developed one.

István
Guest
There is no perfect approach to the situation Europe and Hungary find themselves in. Here in the USA before anyone buys a gun in a shop we are checked against a data base of convicted fealons, it takes a short time. It is not perfect as is evident by the number of people with mental illness who buy guns and carry out terrible crimes. But the fact is the technology exists, our passports are now scanned and stored. My very physical location while on Eva’s website is avaiable to my government if they want it. So initial reviews of thousands can be done, the relatively small number that trigger concern based on established algorithms can be placed in detention pending further review. It is my understanding from the EU documents I have seen the plan is to rapidly distribute the refugee asylum seekers without any significant vetting to member states and only then will they be vetted as part of the asylum process. If that iturns out to be the actual EU position it is a grave mistake. There is a big cash economy in Europe, just like in the USA and refugees who want disappear into will do so.… Read more »
Member

But you see refugees unlikely to carry passports as you suggest, and even if they did, terrorists have a very sophisticated network to access weapons, printers, scanners. If they want ti fabricate false documentations they would and they do.

Webber
Guest

You might add that terrorist organization could, possibly, just BUY a Hungarian permanent residence permit through the official Hun. govt. program, which will enable them to travel anywhere they like in the Schengen area.
Why bother sending somebody on the long, tiring, and rather expensive trip as a refugee to Europe when with a bit more money but far less effort you can just buy residence in Hungary?

Nádas
Guest

Another consequence of the flight of so many people from their home countries is brain drain. Talented professionals will leave and likely never go back unless they’re forced to. This further worsens the situation at home and sends the country on the slow spiral toward failed-nation status.

Guest

Brain Drain – Exactly what has been happening in Hungary during the last 100 years?

petofi
Guest

“Vengeance is mine,” sayeth the Greek and the Turk; and Europe is flooded with an alien culture under the direction of Imams who have given the direction–Breed and Vote.

Webber
Guest

Mike Balint – please look at Petofi’s comment above, and reflect on what I wrote to you below. Petofi – neo-nazis would delight in your comment – especially your use of the verb “breed” for human beings. Subhumans, in your view, apparently.

bimbi
Guest

The use of the word “breed” here is in the imperative, i.e., it is conceived as an order and is not used as a noun. It seems that Petofi sees orders being given to immigrants to multiply – breed – and when the numbers are increased to use that power at the ballot box.

petofi
Guest

@Webber

Get back in your cage…first off, I was characterizing an Imam.
But it is typical Hungaricum to pick on a word or a translation and hang up an argument on it.

Try this on for size: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muslim_population_growth

Hang up your halo, sir, and try researching a bit…

History101
Guest

Petofi, we all have to try to follow and appreciate your concerns.

Your experience and visionary insights should be embraced.

I appreciate all your input.

exTor
Guest

I think that you’ve been PUNKT, petofi.
This is SZARKÁZEM with a capital SZAR.

MAGYARKOZÓ

petofi
Guest

@exTor

Your continuous judgementalizing is tiresome.

Try examining an opposing view before you kick at it…

But you have awakened a thought on a possible, Western, immigration policy in the future:
Do not allow immigration from any country who’s rate of birth is higher than one’s own (among other concerns, of course.)

exTor
Guest

Once I got over my surprise, petofi, I had to laugh.

You are totally clued-out on this one. I defended you and you didn’t get it. History101 mocked you and you didn’t get it.

I was witty and smart and stylistic and a lot of other things in my pointout, yet you chose to slag me instead. And for what?

I guess that I should feel hurt and aggrieved, rather, I am amused. I dont always dump on you, petofi. I mostly ignore you. This time I was helpful.

MAGYARKOZÓ

History101
Guest

And who may have orchestrated the Saudi disasters?

Guest

“Breed and Vote”

Some imams forbid voting. They claim that the law is in the Quran and cannot be changed or superseded by elected law makers.

Guest
Mulling over the pros and cons being hammered out in the comments following Éva’s recent series of pieces on the refugee crisis in Europe, I have come to some interim conclusions. None of us can know what surprises the future will bring and the unfortunate fact is that at times of dramatic change projections from past facts and trends can be very misleading in trying to judge what will happen in the future. What is clear however, is that it is far to late to stop the tide of misery currently inundating Europe, and given the massive resupply potential from its rear, its is more than likely to increase, rather than decrease in the future. In this respect Orbán and other East Europeans are trying to close the gate after the horse has bolted, which is of course a completely a futile and self-defeating exercise. On the other hand the immense political profit Orbán gained by unscrupulously inciting the Hungarian electorate against the unfortunates seeking entry into the wealthier half of the EU is simply disgusting. It is also clear that any effort to register and track the refugees and would-be immigrants whilst resettling them among members of the EU… Read more »
exTor
Guest

Your ironic selfdeprecation notwithstanding, Mike Balint, this is a reasoned piece, not unlikely many of your comments.

Moi a rosyist? Perish the thought. No pollyanna here.

The reality is that there is a complex of motivations behind the people moving into Europe. Having smartphones should not disqualify refugees.

Syria is coming apart. Whole neighborhoods have been rubbled. How can their inhabitants not be bonafide refugees? How can one vet individuals when one would have to rely on the Assad regime for ‘information’.

I got it long ago, Mike Balint. I still get it, however my thought processes are not predicated on negativity. I dont end my posts with blips like “let’s not be surprised if things turn out very much [not for the best]”.

Your mindset often leads to questionable comments.

MAGYARKOZÓ

Guest

@exTor
September 24, 2015 at 3:47 am

My mindset is different from yours in that I am an inveterate skeptic, iconoclast and rationalist who happens to have the disconcerting habit of being able and willing to simultaneously see both or more sides of the coin.

Actually, this is just the application of the scientific method to everyday thinking. As Keynes said, when facts change, so do my opinions. Bertrand Russell’s writings have been my intellectual anchors all my life.

Works for me, though I realise that this way of thinking and acting can be at once frightening and disconcerting, or even repellent for most others, who tend to be motivated by preconceived fixed ideas, ideologies or religions.

Hence my questionable comments.

Webber
Guest
Mike – I don’t have rosy expectations at all. I expect there will be horrific Muslim terrorist attacks periodically in Europe for some time to come. I thought that before the current refugee crisis. I suspect the worst attacks to come will be carried out by “native born” European Muslims. I also think the demonizing of refugees will, sooner rather than later, lead to the murder of refugees (whether Muslim or not), perhaps in Hungary, and surely in Germany (thinking the Kebab murders there a few years back). I think those who graphically “warn” us of what we all already know will incite people to violence against refugees (many of whom are Christian, incidentally – thanks to Tappanch for the figures on that). Whether the inciters want this violence to happen or not is another question that doesn’t interest me as much. With some people (not you) the desire to act against refugees in a violent manner is palpable. You know very well the potential for violence among native European neo-nazis. They are waiting for an excuse. They are getting that excuse now from people demonizing refugees. My comments are just directed against bigotry and violence – whether from native… Read more »
Webber
Guest

P.S. I may be bigger pessimist than you are. I believe that where there are people, there is trouble, and that murder and other horrific crimes are unavoidable. No fence can stop them. No society can be free of them. Only those with totalitarian tendencies pretend that we can eliminate crime from society with more policing, more stringent efforts, more limitations on freedom. As a pessimist, I see a lot of people with totalitarian desires around me.
I also see some people painting a heterogeneous group of refugees as a homogeneous source of terror. That sort of dehumanization, too, seems totalitarian to me (this is something I should not have to tell you, I guess…)
As to you being a rationalist – apparently we don’t share the same rationale. Or rather, we follow different rational lines of thought sometimes (isn’t that human?)

Guest

@Webber
September 24, 2015 at 5:22 am

I am in broad agreement with what you are saying, and these are exactly the sort of undesirable consequences that I was thinking about, among others.

As to your last sentence about “rationale”, I think that the differences between us are more a matter of style and rhetoric than substance. I hasten to point out that being a rationalist is not quite the same as having a rationale for this or that. Your rationale in arguing the case on these pages involves a strong ideological orientation in certain directions, which is of course perfectly OK, and I respect that, though I may not share it fully.

By the way, it s not a matter of pessimism on my part than realism; I try to see things as they are, from as many angles as I can, before I make up my mind about them. And then, if the facts of the situation change, so do my opinions.

Incidentally, how can a person of your talent, experience and intellectual capabilities bear to live in a place like Hungary?

Webber
Guest

Very nice of you, but I’m actually sub-average in most things (fixing a bicycle, for instance – can’t do it).

Guest

@Webber
September 24, 2015 at 5:22 am

OT

By the way, rationalism is essentially the rigorous application of the scientific method and the principle of falsifiability to abstract thinking and argument in particular, and human discourse in general.

Humanism is a closely related concept mainly concerned with applying the same to ultimate issues like the existence of God and the nature of the universe, or the kinds of ethics that ought to characterize decent and kind behaviour by humans to one another.

Of course, as a rationalist, I am perforce a humanist too [notwithstanding the racist, bigoted and reactionary closet nazi that I am …. :-))) ].

exTor
Guest

Perforce? OMG, haven’t heard that forever !!!

MAGYARKOZÓ

Guest

@Webber
September 24, 2015 at 5:13 am

Now that you describe your stance in these terms, I cannot but agree with you unreservedly.

exTor
Guest

Your ironic selfdeprecation notwithstanding, Mike Balint, this is a reasoned piece, not unlikely many of your comments.

Moi a rosyist? Perish the thought. No pollyanna here.

The reality is that there is a complex of motivations behind the people moving into Europe. Having smartphones should not disqualify refugees.

Syria is coming apart. Whole neighborhoods have been rubbled. How can their inhabitants not be bonafide refugees? How can one vet individuals when one would have to rely on the Assad regime for ‘information’.

I got it long ago, Mike Balint. I still get it, however my thought processes are not predicated on negativity. I dont end my posts with blips like “let’s not be surprised if things turn out very much [not for the best]”.

This mindset often leads to questionable comments.

MAGYARKOZÓ

Guest

Just an example:
A Syrian doctor from Homs went to Saudi Arabia for some time – when his job was finished he realised that he couldn’t go back – so he took his wife and five children to Germany where they arrived in June last year. After some months in a camp they now have their own three room apartment.
Here’s a report on one of the daughters how she manages the gymnasium:
http://www.spiegel.de/panorama/gesellschaft/fluechtling-aus-syrien-am-gymnasium-du-musst-schneller-lernen-a-1054335.html

Guest

And finally, in relation to possible unpleasant surprises in the future, it might be well worth remembering Murphy’s law: if anything can go wrong, it will.

tappanch
Guest

Orban, the “defender of Europe” now “contemplates” letting through any migrant to Austria.

http://index.hu/kulfold/eurologus/2015/09/24/a_zsebebe_nyul_europa_hogy_kint_tartsa_a_menekulteket/

But this is already happening on the ground:

Yesterday, there was a new record: more then 10,000 [10,046] counted migrants entered Hungary (and probably left for Austria) on a single day.

10,000 a day = 3.6 million a year !!

tappanch
Guest

Last week, 30,000 migrants arrived in the island of Lesb(v)os in a week.

The three ferries transporting them to Athens have a total capacity of 5,800 a day.

http://greece.greekreporter.com/2015/09/23/migrants-and-refugees-leave-lesvos-island-as-thousands-more-arrive/

tappanch
Guest

Almost 10, 000 Syrians registered to become the citizens of Liberland. The fictitious republic is an unclaimed island on the Danube between Croatia and Serbia. The overall number of applicants has grown to almost 0.4 million in the last 6 months.

Source : washington post

Guest

@tappanch
September 24, 2015 at 2:45 am

— “Orban, the “defender of Europe” now “contemplates” letting through any migrant to Austria.” —

A bit of OT:

Orbán is a typical Hungarian, just more cunning and ruthless than most.

Hungarians are full of themselves and with relatively few exceptions are brainwashed from earliest age with false history and mythology into ignorance of their actual past and of the real world around them, and socialized into social misfits full of not just xenophobic, antisemitic and anti-Roma hatreds, but hatreds and inability to get on with even one another.

Hungarians therefore see themselves very accurately reflected in Orbán, who for them is consequently an extremely sympathetic persona: after all, his mentality, behaviour and attitudes absolutely typify average Hungarian mentality, behaviour and attitudes. He is therefore able to read Hungarians very accurately, like an open book, and to play like a virtuoso pushing their buttons, and that is no doubt the most important reason for his enormous political success there.

Guest

OT

Something has been puzzling me for a while now, and I wonder if some fellow posters could dispel the mystery for me.

Why would a person living in wonderful, free, open, prosperous, huge and awesome countries like Canada or the US give it all up and go and live in a country like Hungary?

I must confess that I am completely baffled by this (as by the way I am equally baffled by Americans leaving all behind to go and live in Israel, but in their case I can at least understand that they got brainwashed and socialized into Zionism or that they failed in some way in their country of birth).

exTor
Guest

You may or may not be alluding to me, Mike Balint, with your seemingly whimsical cerebral projection.

I cant speak for others; I dont find the US and Canada the capitalist paradises you imply and I dont find Hungary the hellhole a few would have it be, the opinions of some about the Magyar mindset notwithstanding.

As for any other info, you will have to await my memoir, which is decades away. I’ll still be slaving away over a hot keyboard well into my 90s.

MAGYARKOZÓ

Guest

@exTor
September 24, 2015 at 4:10 am

A bit of an exaggeration that I imply the US and Canada being capitalist paradises.

I am fully aware that both are mixed economies in which crony capitalism has a very large role, particularly in the US.

The other side of the coin however is that the American way encourages capitalist enterprise and innovation more so than most other countries, which then leads to healthy capital accumulation through profit generation, which then finances further enterprise and innovation, and so on, in an ever expanding virtuous circle.

This hasn’t got too shabby a record in lifting enormous numbers of people out of utter poverty, and putting an end to the short, brutish and nasty existences they used to have before the onset of this evil thing called capitalism.

Now, none of this implies that capitalism does not need to be carefully regulated and harnessed in the public interest, though this must be done with a very light handed touch, so as not to kill the goose that lays the golden eggs.

exTor
Guest
Melbourne? I dont know why, but I thought that you reside in Perth. Something must have given me that idea, Mike. Can you locate your street for me? I love doing the Google Maps thing. I see that Aussies also, as do many Canadians, say klicks for kilometers. I like the kay spelling, which logically links to the source. Interesting geography there, especially with the bays. I never really paid much attention to the layout of Melbourne, except superficially. Always thought that I’d end up in Oz, but only for a short time. Lots of beautiful places around the world. Every place is a beautiful place if things click for you when you happen to be there. Back to the perhaps mundane. I’m impressed that you taught creative writing and composition. Not sure how that worked when Hungarian is your first language and you were a “teacher in English, Hebrew and even in Arabic”. Your now facility with English (and other things) is admirable and it shows in your posts. So, according to you, the default setting is ‘distrust’ when it comes to the Near East media, where “misinformation, disinformation, slanted/badly biased information, [etcetera]” are the norms. Accordingly, you’d be… Read more »
csopper
Guest

Mike, I’m sorry to say but this is a very childish question.

Obviously the US is not the same experience for all 330m people.

It’s great if you live on the upper east side between Park and Lex, less great if you live in rural West Virginia and have no health insurance.

Same as in Hungary, district XII is almost better than most of the US, but if you live in Putnok in BAZ county, life is less fun.

Some people find Minneapolis or even Boston unbearably boring.

And conversely, there are many Hungarians who if they worked so hard as they are working being immigrants in the UK or the US would have much better lives in Hungary.

The world is not as black and white as you imagine: “oh, life is so great in the US and Canada, so bad in Hungary”.

Guest

@csopper
September 24, 2015 at 5:07 am

Fascinating.

And anyway, best of all I now happily collected another interesting moniker: childish.

I can therefore proudly declare myself “a childish, racist, bigoted and reactionary closet nazi, and not just a mere “a racist, bigoted and reactionary closet nazi.”

You have made my day, csopper!

:-)))

csopper
Guest

Mike, I don’t know you at all but given the immediate arguments which came to my mind I think you have to agree that your fantasy that people are all shiny, happy in North America and are all miserable losers barely getting by in Hungary (Africa, Latin-America etc.) is childish. The world is complex.

There are maybe a 1-1.5 million people in Hungary who live more or less in line with Western-European middle-class living standards. For them life is not so terrible if they don’t follow current events to closely.

I also know a lot of indigenous middle-class Western Europeans who would hate to live in paradise that is the US – as you might have heard the US is not uniformly popular in Europe.

And so on and on.

Guest

@csopper
September 24, 2015 at 8:20 am

Please do not put words in my mouth or attribute to me ideas that I do not entertain and never expressed.

Where did you get the idea that I have a “fantasy that people are all shiny, happy in North America and are all miserable losers barely getting by in Hungary”?

You appear to have a striking propensity to malevolently misconstrue, distort and misrepresent what you read.

Well, I suppose we all have our little foibles, and good luck to you with yours.

István
Guest
In some cases after the fall of communism in Hungary people I knew here in Chicago returned to make money, or so they thought. Having returned to Hungary during the Kadar years many times these people convinced themselves the average Hungarian could not function in a free market economy and they had huge advantages. Really for the most part it was what could call a petty bourgeois delusion on the part of these returning American Hungarians. Someone with real capital like Soros was much more strategic in their thinking and understood globalization and the flow of capital never over invested in Hungary. For some American Hungarians on the far right, actually in some cases older former Arrow Cross members or even Hungarian SS who slipped through the cracks the returning vision was to fight having Hungary become social democratic. There were a few who became Jobbik supporters eventually. There were a few who returned simply because it was cheap, and in retirement their social security payments could go a lot further living in small town Hungary. Very few of the declassed lower nobility from historic families that had settled in the USA returned to establish residence that I know of,… Read more »
Guest

@István
September 24, 2015 at 7:08 am

Thank you István. Your very sensible, well thought-out and thorough response is greatly appreciated.

I am baffled no more.

Member

I am not there yet, but I do have a handful of friends who went back to Hungary.
Family, childhood friends, cheap living, cheap retirement, nostalgia, investment opportunity, familiarity, cheap private healthcare.

Guest

@Some1
September 24, 2015 at 7:13 am

Thank you Some1. Interesting.

I suppose it is something very individual, a matter of a person’s make-up or alkat, as they say in Hungarian.

Works for some people just fine, doesn’t work for others.

I am just one of those for whom it wouldn’t work in a million years, notwithstanding childhood and early teens on Svábhegy, with glorious vistas of Budapest from the verandah, and some serious partiality to hot csabai, abált szalonna, meggyes rétes and csúsztatott palacsinta.

And of course, when a Hungarian girl is beautiful, she is really and truly stunning.

:-))

Member
It definately wouldn’t work for me either Mike. My life in Hungary was somewhat traumatic, even though I love it and wouldn’t trade my experience for anything in world as it has made me the person I am today. I simply could not risk what my father did taking us there. I have thought of buying a little vacation place there in my town so we can go for extended periods of time, but I know I couldn’t trust that it wouldn’t be taken from me or stolen somehow. I still get scared when flying anywhere to another country, I am always looking over my shoulder while out of the country etc. So, for me and what my family went through, I wouldn’t do it. For others, they have their own experiences and motivations. It is okay and it doesn’t mean they don’t love freedom and democracy, it means they love their homeland. I am a Canadian first, I was born here, and although I have a very strong connection to Hungary and love my family there, I would never give up being Canadian for anything in the world as it was that, that protected us and brought us back… Read more »
exTor
Guest

Your fears are overblown, Liz Aucoin. If you own property in Hungary, you would not looze title to it. Your house might be broken into, however, but that’s another matter.

You could always buy property in Csepel —many houses for sale here— and have your Csepel relatives help to look after it when you’re not here.

Csepel is unique. As you know, it’s a part of Budapest [District XXI], yet it feels apart from Budapest. With a population under 100,000, it feels like a big town.

As for your anxieties with respect to Hungary, based on your early-life experiences here, perhaps some professional counseling is in order.

My first-six decades were spent in Canada. My final-four decades will likely be spent in Hungary. Viktor Orbán (currently) notwithstanding, I dont foresee any major problems with Magyarország.

Too bad you’re so wound-up when in Hungary.

MAGYARKOZÓ

Guest

@ Mike Balint September 24, 2015 at 3:46 am

For fun.

petofi
Guest
@Mike re: why go back I just got back from a month in North America–partly in Lancaster, Pennsylvania; but most of my time in Toronto & Ottawa. My sister leant me her apartment in a posh district in a high rise. There are available services in the area but one must go by car to get groceries etc. In fact, with one exception, the only person I met with daily was the commissionaire at the door. It was a sparkling but dry existence. In fact, I had to go regularly to Tim Horton’s (a donut shop in the area) to meet up with signs of life. So this is the point: in supposedly one of the most livable cities in the world, life is largely tasteless. In fact, in my morbid way, I thought I had died before my time. Happy I was to return to Budapest–resolved to ignore the politics–and revel in the sense of community all around me: the fruit seller; the little coffee shop; the baker; the drug store…all within two blocks. Once I left my building, there was life all around me. And people would meet me and share a word, or pet my dog. I… Read more »
Guest

So glad to hear this, Petofi. You are absolutely correct. I live in the suburbs of a large American city and it is the same as the high-rise in Canada.

Guest
@petofi September 24, 2015 at 10:35 am Yes, I suppose it is different strokes for different folks. Here in Melbourne, we are terribly lucky to live in a suburb of cottages on quarter acre blocks among huge parks and a large shopping mall plus entire shopping district at walking distance nearby, full of a huge variety of small shops, many of which are Chinese-owned these days. The population of the suburb hails from 130-odd countries from around the world, and we all get on with each other famously on a live and let live basis. The influx of Chinese and Indians have raised tremendously the standards in our schools, one of which became by far the best high school in the state for maths and science. The weather is typically Mediterranean, like in Greece or California south of San Francisco. Both roads and public transport are excellent, the city itself is twenty clicks to the west from where we live, as are the mountains and forests to the north east and the bay beaches to the south east, while the ocean beaches are sixty clicks to the south, just a short drive down a freeway. So yeah, we are very… Read more »
Örs-Őrs
Guest

Orban just can’t stop winning.

And the articles about his unstoppable winning streak can’t stop appearing.

Has there been any remotely similar political genius in world history??

MSZP-Jobbik-Liberals (the latter is a reference to Gabor Fodor’s one man ‘party’) all praize Orban on immigration.

http://index.hu/belfold/2015/09/24/orban_viktor_megnyerte_az_mszp-jobbik-liberalisok_triot_is/

D7 Democrat (@D7Democrat)
Guest

“Has there been any remotely similar political genius in world history??”

If he is your definition of “political genius” then how about:
Hitler? Stalin, Pol Pot? Idi Amin?

Not that difficult to use racist and religious hatred as a populist policy tool as those particuliar gentlemen have previously proven.

one word
Guest

sarcasm

spectator
Guest

“Has there been any remotely similar political genius in world history??”

Yes, it was.
After his “unstoppable winning streak” he committed suicide in his bunker in Berlin.

gdfxx
Guest

It will be interesting to see, how the VW scandal will affect this whole issue. VW, the largest German company is in such trouble that some are talking about bankruptcy. Its value dropped 30% and I am sure it affects the rest of the German (and the world) economy. All these extra workers may not be necessary, and the 500,000 or 800,000 or who knows how many migrants may become welfare recipients, together with countless others in Germany. No good news for anyone…

one word
Guest

Take it easy. The auto industry is in trouble because the global economy slowed down significantly not because there’s a problem with diesel engines. This is a media hysteria.

People has been saying for 20 years that Japan was a basket case, that its gonna go bankrupt in the next quarter. I don’t know if you have been there lately. Journalists underestimate the resilience of competitive economies.

Germany is not like Hungary where Audi or Mercedes summer shut downs can move GDP figures. Its GDP is some 2.700 billion euros. While industry in Germany is significant, service industry constitutes about 70% of the economy, this is where most refugees will be employed. Don’t worry about Germany, it’s got one of the most diversified and competitive economies in the world.

gdfxx
Guest
one word
Guest

I rather trust my knowledge than Reuters. This is a media sensation which will blow over. There will be another sensation in a few weeks. Exxon and BP survived intact after the spills and devastation they caused just as the US or UK economies.

Do you even know how many plants VW has in the world?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Volkswagen_Group_factories

If VW push comes to shove and the the Germans wanted it they wouldn’t even feel a thing because they would cut back or rearrange production at Hungary (Győr) or Poznan or Bratislava or Mlada Boleslav etc.

Don’t worry about Germany, worry about Hungary which is terribly uncompetitive and is losing something like 100.000 able workers per year.

I tell you what, even if General Motors would be shut down for ever the US would survive without a glitch. VW is a big brand and a giant corporation therefore its importance in a diverse economy is overrated.

gdfxx
Guest

I guess we’ll see.

The VW stock price went from $255.20 on March 16 and $169.20 on September 15 to $112.15 today. It looks like BMW and Daimler are also affected.

Interesting read here: http://www.theguardian.com/business/live/2015/sep/24/volkswagen-scandal-vw-germany-counts-cost-of-crisis-after-ceo-quits-live-updates

Rod
Guest

Yes I thought about Gyor and the Audi plant when I heard the news. Even though the VW scandal only affected diesel models it seems for the moment to be generally destroying the sales here of all VW / Audi cars.

Guest

Afaik Györ produces many Diesel engines for the whole VW enterprise – so it might get hurt if people won’t buy Diesel equipped cars …

On the other hand new engines with better (but more expensive …) technology might be built there.
It’s much too early to speculate about the outcome of this scandal – only that it will cost VW a lot seems to be sure.

Guest
Re: “The question is as with many things in life to find a balance. That balance point will still be unfair to some and that is inevitable. Neither the extreme policies of Orban nor the confused plans being hatched by the EU for mass numbers of refugees settling across Europe achieve that balance point. Hopefully some effective balance between humanity and security will be realized because new waves of refugees will likely be coming yet again in the Spring” A question of balance……You know from what we are seeing now it is a global game-changer that will particularly affect the political, economic, social and cultural character of Europe for generations. But if we view the times now I’m afraid the look down the road is going to be pretty treacherous. In the case of the Magyars, the Slovenes, the Czechs and other CE countries who do not agree with refugee settlements the ‘great migration there could wind up as a disaster simply because of the rage that will be directed against the invaders. In the case of Hungary I’d say that if refugees do get settled there they will rue the day and stoke hatreds against their ‘hosts’. Could be… Read more »
Istvan
Guest

Yes Rikard I would not want to be a Syrian refugee family placed in Ozd Hungary, would you?

D7 Democrat (@D7Democrat)
Guest

Europe now falls into two categories- Primitive and Civilised.

Orbán is undoubtedly the head of Primitive Europe- every nazi fruitcake sees him as their leader, how they wish their own PMs and presidents would authorise the spraying of pepperspray in babies’ faces, the starving of humans on the basis of their ethnic and religious identity but only our sadistic dictator can get away with it.

exTor
Guest
http://www.nytimes.com/2015/09/17/world/europe/syrian-refugee-tripped-by-hungarian-journalist-is-welcomed-to-spain.html In a piece related to the New York Times article link provided by Éva, there is a good picture of Petra László as the running Syrian father approaches. On the other side is a videographer. Please link to the article. I still cannot get pictures (or embedded links) to upload to the Hungarian Spectrum website. Some people, mostly defenders of László, have said that she did not trip Osama Abdul Mohsen, the Syrian. That is probably true. Mostly. I downloaded a video from YouTube, which I was able to study frame-by-frame. Evidence shows that Mohsen was being held back by a Hungarian cop, who was grabbing his jacket. The cop, realizing that it was futile to continue holding Mohsen’s jacket, let it go. That caused Mohsen to start loozing his balance. Which is what you see in the above-link photo. Petra László has her left hand up to brace for what she senses will be an impending collision. That is one of the well-known photos of the incident. Per a frame-by-frame analysis, it is clear that Mohsen is starting to go down EVEN BEFORE László lifts her left leg. Mohsen’s downward trajectory is not surprising, given that he’s carrying… Read more »
Tyrker
Guest

Honestly it was never clear if she had tripped the man or not.
However, it has always been clear – and still is – that she kicked a child.

spectator
Guest
Without the obvious “help” from the female scumbag there, he would certainly be able to regain his balance totally, after a few more undisturbed meters, he had the momentum for that. Remember, he is a sportsman, and fair to assume that he was active soccer player once. He certainly noticed the motion to trip him and tried to dodge the foot coming up, while hardly been able to broke free from the policeman seconds earlier and ran on earnest, and it was too much, finally. Then has he lost the balance and fell. From my point of view totally unimportant if the “pride of the Aryan race” – disgusted as a Hungarian woman with a camera – actually made contact or she missed her kick completely: she wanted to kick a man with a child in his arm, who hasn’t done a single thing against her, or against anybody, as much as I can tell. And if it wasn’t enough, just take a look at the very last few frames: she turns and calmly filming the man and his child on the ground… The clip originally contained more of it, but the person who edited the film and presumably made… Read more »
exTor
Guest

I rereviewed my downloaded video after reading your post, spectator. You are correct in saying that the intent to trip the father was there, regardless of whether Petra László succeeded.

My frame-by-frame viewing of the video shows that Osama Mohsen was beside László when she started to lift her left leg. Mohsen did not see this action. Even if he saw László’s leg lift, he did not have time to react.

I now think that Petra László did make contact. She either contributed Mohsen’s fall OR she caused Mohsen’s fall. Petra László is culpable.

Cant wait to visit a little schadenfreude on her.

MAGYARKOZÓ

spectator
Guest

Appreciate the note – and the effort to double check! Thanks!

exTor
Guest

The two initial kicks by Petra László, first on a young boy and second on an even younger girl, were clearly visible. Neither was of an consequence, the one on the girl was somewhat more movement-impeding, causing her to stumble a bit.

In her fake apology (likely mostly written by Mariann Őry, a scribbler for the far-right rag Magyar Hírlap), Petra László said that she was startled by the refugees who broke through the police line. She stated that she feared for her safety, hence her malreactions.

She lashed out at two youths, each much smaller than she, each clearly no threat. She did not seek to ‘protect’ herself against any adults running by.

Against the boy (first), she used a karate-style rear kick that connected to his thigh. Then, against the girl, she used a karate-style round kick that landed on the girl’s shin. Neither ‘defensive’ move amounted to much.

Petra László lies. Her actions were not defensive in nature, they were offensive. She meant to take out her rightwing hostility to immigrants on those who were no threats to anyone, least of all to her.

MAGYARKOZÓ

Guest

I remember a second video where Petra László hit a child – what about that?
http://444.hu/2015/09/08/kislanyt-is-megrugott-az-n1-operatornoje/

Totally OT again (or not?):
Another sad story about the refugees.
Several refugees are in critical condition in German hospitals, one teenager died, after eating deadly amanita mushrooms (death caps, in German Knollenblätterpilz) which look similar to button mushrooms (Champignons).

This has also happened in Germany to immigrants from East Europe (I remember a case with a family from Russia where mother and several children died) – seems in many countries the deadliness of these mushrooms is not known …

Tyrker
Guest
Guest

I already commented on pol.hu some days ago that Hungary will be fenced in real soon it seems – very convenient … (Though not for me, my family and friends from Germany who like to visit us in Hungary, but we’ll manage! )

spectator
Guest

The feature quite typical on the perimeter of the forced labour camps and mental asylums for the dangerous kind, so I guess its only proper that Hungary will get the right infrastructure in the required size, finally…

Thank You, oh, Viktor!
Hungary Performs Better!!!

Member

Shame on the MSzP and the Liberals. I am beginning to sympathize with those who regularly castigate them as spineless and brainless. Perhaps also heartless, like Fidik. Even if not all the proposals made by Orban and others in Brussels are incoherent, no credit or credence whatsoever should be given to Orban, for either his words or his actions, which have been, without exception, inhumane and duplicitous.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/viktor-orban-hungary-refugee-crisis_5601b038e4b0fde8b0d021e3

Tyrker
Guest

An excellent analysis by a Welsh social anthropologist living in Germany:

http://www.eth.mpg.de/3932117/blog_2015_09_07_01

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