Richard Field: Fear and Loathing in Hungary

The author is the managing editor of the Budapest Beacon and chairman of the American House Foundation, which supplies food to the Hungarian Red Cross for distribution to poor Hungarians in Budapest and the countryside and to Migration Aid for distribution to refugees, asylum seekers, and economic migrants. This article first appeared in the October 9, 2015 issue of  The Budapest Sentinel.

* * *

fear and loathing

Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orbán claims to be not only a good Christian but the savior of Christian Europe. And yet there is very little about his government’s policies that can be considered Christian. It lies. It steals. It bears false witness. It sows rancor and division among its friends. It sets convicted axe murderers free. It perpetrates unconscionable acts of political revenge. It distributes billions in EU and state subsidies to prominent Fidesz supporters even as it deprives millions of Hungarians of the means to feed their children. It prosecutes civil society and political opposition leaders on trumped-up charges, even as it turns a blind eye to ruling party politicians engaged in everything from influence peddling to prostitution to the systematic theft of state assets. And it spends billions of forints every year deliberately manipulating and distorting the truth. In short, there is very little about the current government that could be considered “Christian” and much that could be considered outright evil.

And yet the bulk of Hungarian society remains silent.  Why is that?  The answer is simple: fear.

Fear and loathing in the Carpathian basin

Hungarians fear losing their jobs. They fear being stripped of their pensions. They fear hostile government inspections resulting in draconian fines and business closures. They fear their personal and professional reputations being tried, condemned, and executed in the court of public opinion by state and pro-government media. They fear being denounced as “communists,” “internationalists” or “cosmopolitans” for daring to speak truth to power.

One would think that such an oppressive political climate combined with rising poverty levels would result in greater disaffection, if not open rebellion as it did in 1956. But EU membership serves as an enormous safety valve on Hungarian society. Anyone fed up with the “Christian nationalist” government of Viktor Orbán is at liberty to pack up and move to Germany or England, which is precisely what hundreds of thousands of Hungarians have done since Viktor Orbán and Fidesz returned to power in 2010.

For sure, the majority of those leaving Hungary today are economic migrants, for which the current government is not entirely to blame. East-Central Europe was one of the regions worst affected by the global financial crisis of 2008. But beyond the desire to make ends meet without having to resort to tax fraud or a life of crime is a desire to live in a “normal country” where one is not subjected to a continuous barrage of pro-government propaganda fundamentally at odds with Judeo-Christian values.

Building an “illiberal” state

Viktor Orbán’s government spends vast sums of taxpayer and EU money telling Hungarians what to think and how to feel. The government constantly seeks to justify otherwise irrational and immoral policies by claiming they are part and parcel of building an “illiberal” state, which it claims is necessary if Hungary and the Hungarians are not only to survive but prosper in a dog-eat-dog world of nation-states relentlessly competing with one another to control scarce resources. In fact, no consistent set of values–illiberal or otherwise–underlies the government’s contradictory and counterproductive policies.

In the absence of any moral absolutes, all decisions are taken on the basis of political expediency to which the government then seeks to ascribe a patina of moral legitimacy by invoking the necessity of building an “illiberal” state.

The “Christian nationalist” state

Viktor Orbán likes to remind people that his government is both “Christian” and “nationalist.” But how does that translate into actual government policies and programs?

In Hungary today the children of those unable to work are either taken away from their parents or left to starve. In the impoverished countryside, children unable to gain admission to parochial schools must settle for a second-rate education in run-down facilities that are literally falling apart. Families are stripped of their livelihoods and entire private industries destroyed in order to make it possible for the government to award lucrative concessions to Fidesz supporters. Even as legitimate refugees and asylum seekers are denied the right to enter Hungary, those prepared to purchase EUR 300,000 worth of government bonds (and pay a hefty commission to Antal Rogán’s business associates) are free to settle in Hungary.  Patients unable to afford private health care wait months, even years, for surgery for conditions deemed “non life-threatening” even as those admitted to hospital languish for weeks or months in decrepit, understaffed facilities, often without adequate medicine or food.

Viktor Orbán’s so-called “Christian nationalist” government is one where even fundamental considerations of right and wrong are subordinated to the overriding imperative of keeping Orbán and Fidesz in power. It doesn’t matter how many university educated Hungarians are forced to endure demeaning public work for starvation wages. It doesn’t matter how many underprivileged children go to bed hungry or drop out of school because their families cannot afford textbooks or proper clothing. It doesn’t matter how many people are stripped of their retirement savings or their livelihoods. All that matters is that no one be able to mount an effective political challenge to Viktor Orbán.

Elections that are “free but not fair”

The 2014 general elections, which OECD election monitors pronounced “free but not fair,” are an excellent case in point. In the run up to the election the second Orbán government used every means, fair and foul, to retain its two-thirds parliamentary majority. Beyond redistricting, it offered unprecedented financial inducements to parties enjoying no popular support to run candidates in order to further divide an already divided political opposition. It distributed over half a million Hungarian passports to people of Hungarian heritage living abroad in the belief they would all vote for Fidesz. Shockingly, it changed the method by which votes are tabulated so as to enable the Fidesz-KDNP political alliance to retain a two-thirds parliamentary majority with just 47 percent of the popular vote.

If Viktor Orbán gets away with it domestically, it is largely because, in addition to state media, his party controls a large number of private media outlets whose owners are only too happy to toe the government line in exchange for advertising revenues and lucrative government contracts.

And if he gets away with it internationally, it is because Hungary’s cooperation is required in order for the European Union to implement urgent structural reforms necessary to prevent the whole experiment from imploding.

The closing of the Hungarian mind

Perhaps the most pernicious effect of the second and third Orbán governments is not the generations of Hungarians lost to emigration or condemned to a life of grinding poverty and unemployment. It is the closing of the Hungarian mind to the very principles on which the European Union is based.

With the help of fringe academic “guns for hire” of the likes of Mária Schmidt and Sándor Szakály, the Orbán regime is actively rewriting the past to suit the present. In addition to exonerating Hungary and the Hungarian people for their role in one of the worst crimes of the 20th century, the government reassures the Hungarian people that it is perfectly reasonable and acceptable to harbor feelings of resentment and ill-will towards others.

If one experiences a growing sense of national paranoia and xenophobia in Hungary today, it is largely due to the government’s habit of blaming its failures on the European Union, foreign governments, multinational corporations, and even international relief agencies.

A morally rudderless ship of state 

To live in Hungary today is to be forced to endure cognitive dissonance not known since the darkest days of Communism. Everyone is expected to follow the letter of the law—everyone, that is, except for Fidesz politicians and their supporters who are virtually immune from prosecution. New laws are adopted by the Fidesz controlled parliament in clear violation of existing laws and even the Basic Law bestowed on Hungary by Viktor Orbán and the Fidesz-KDNP alliance in 2011. The government announces one day that state ownership of banks is a good thing, only to announce the next day that it’s a bad thing. Viktor Orbán announces one day that his government is committed to combating racism, only to announce the following week that it was a mistake to allow Roma to settle in Hungary in the first place. Recently, the government lectured Hungarians on the importance of registering asylum seekers and keeping economic migrants out at any cost, only for the Hungarian people to learn the following week that the government had in the meantime allowed tens of thousands of migrants to pass through Hungary without registering them.

In such a topsy-turvy world, where fair is foul and foul is fair, Hungarians find themselves adrift in a morally rudderless ship of state. Without a moral compass to guide them or a leader prepared to point in the direction of true north, Hungarians are condemned to be tossed about on a sea of interminable fear and loathing until they drown in a vortex of self-pity and resentment.

Ignorance is bliss

Unlike US President Barack Obama or German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who endeavor to educate the citizenry about what is happening at home and abroad, Orbán deliberately keeps Hungarians in the dark in order to exploit their deepest, darkest fears.

Europe’s refugee crisis is an excellent case in point. Instead of explaining that the migrants are refugees fleeing overcrowded camps in Turkey, Jordan, and Lebanon, Viktor Orbán told the Hungarian people they were “economic migrants” coming to take their jobs, disrespect their culture, violate their laws, vandalize public property, spread infectious diseases, and commit acts of terrorism.

Having spent over HUF 1 billion dehumanizing the “economic migrants” within the framework of the so-called “national consultation on immigration and terrorism,” the government felt at liberty to disregard its international obligations and do as it pleased. Instead of investing in infrastructure necessary to receive and temporarily shelter tens of thousands of refugees, it spent that money on xenophobic propaganda and building a fence along the Serbian border. It even forbade the Red Cross and other international and domestic aid organizations from aiding refugees outside of Hungary’s overcrowded, understaffed refugee camps. As a result, thousands of refugees were forced to wait for days out in the open in so-called collection areas without food, water, shelter, or services of any kind.

After playing a cruel game of cat and mouse with migrants—telling them one day they could board trains to Austria, and the next day they couldn’t—the government deliberately staged an act of premeditated violence for the sake of demonstrating to the Hungarian people just how determined their government was to save them from the ravages of the economic migrants/terrorists.

A crime against humanity

On September 16th a phalanx of heavily armored Hungarian riot police deployed at the Hungarian-Serbian border at Röszke, reacted to a few cast stones by spraying a crowd of otherwise peaceful asylum seekers with pepper spray and water cannon. Many were crushed as hundreds of men, women, and children, temporarily blinded, reeled back violently from the border crossing gate.

Not surprisingly, a dozen or so youth responded to this outright provocation by throwing rocks, bricks and just about anything they could get their hands on at the police on the other side of the border.

What followed was the worst violation of human rights to take place in Europe since the end of the Yugoslav civil war.

Withdrawing some 150 meters from the border, Hungarian riot police allowed thousands of refugees, including women and children to enter Hungary, only to launch an unprovoked, surprise attack on them by commandos wielding rubber batons who “hit and beat everybody they could get their hands on” including members of the international press.

Without proper spin, this unprovoked attack might have cast the Orbán government in a negative light. Fortunately, international government spokesman Zoltán Kovács was on hand with a MTI television crew. To the moans of the scores of people wounded in the attack Kovács proudly announced that the Hungarian police had “defended the country with their bodies.”

Bombarded that evening in their living rooms with images of angry Arab males throwing rocks at police, it is little wonder the majority of Hungarians agreed that police had somehow reacted in a “measured and proportionate manner” as announced that afternoon by the national police magistrate’s office.

Former Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsány was the only opposition leader to denounce this unconscionable act for what it was: a crime against humanity. But even then, one suspects Gyurcsány did so primarily for personal political reasons, as he himself was accused by Fidesz of violating the human rights of anti-government demonstrators in 2006.

Apart from Gyurcsány’s press conference of Friday, September 18th, neither the former prime minister nor any other member of the political opposition has dared to criticize the government for what really happened at Röszke, despite appalling accounts of police brutality offered by Australian photographer Warren Richardson and other members of the international press.

Pandering to the radical right

Apart from not wanting to be burdened with caring for tens of thousands of refugees, the only plausible explanation for Viktor Orbán’s actions is the desire to win over supporters from Jobbik, Hungary’s radical right-wing party. From this point of view, Orbán’s position was a resounding success, but one secured at a very high price in terms of Hungary’s reputation abroad and its relations with its neighbors.

Instead of acting in a cooperative and concerted manner with other EU members, Hungary rejected an earlier EC proposal, electing instead to build fences, first along the Serbian border and then along the Romanian, Croatian and even Slovenian borders. In other words, instead of acting in a concerted manner with Hungary’s allies, Viktor Orbán decided to dump the problem on neighboring Croatia and Slovenia. What he did not count on was Croatia responding to this unneighborly act by bussing refugees en masse to the Hungarian border, where they were met with border guards and soldiers armed with semi-automatic machine guns. Fortunately, they didn’t shoot. This time.

Fair is foul and foul is fair

Even as the government tried to present its harsh treatment of refugees and asylum seekers as a virtuous defense of Christian Europe, it ignored and even discouraged genuinely virtuous, Christian behavior on the part of civil society.

In response to government inaction, the Hungarian people took it upon themselves to feed, clothe, and even shelter the tens of thousands of refugees passing through their country. Migration Aid volunteer Edit Frenyó recounts how anonymous donors provided a steady flow of food, clothing, shoes, bus and train tickets, sleeping bags, tents, and personal hygiene products to hundreds of volunteers across the country for distribution to the migrants.

At the main transit station at Budapest’s Keleti station, hot and cold food prepared by volunteers at nearby soup kitchens was distributed daily to the thousands of migrants arriving on trains from Szeged and Debrecen. Even pensioners living on fixed incomes brought bread and milk because, unlike the “Christian nationalist” government of Viktor Orbán, they could not bear the sight of hungry children.

The miracle at Herceghalom

On September 4th, the day thousands of migrants stranded in Budapest decided to walk to Austria, hundreds of volunteers lined the road to provide them with food and water. That night, as the exhausted migrants bedded down by the M1 motorway in the vicinity of Hegyeshalom, hundreds of volunteers appeared out of nowhere to distribute food, clothing, blankets, even push carts and baby strollers.

Perhaps it was this spontaneous demonstration of sympathy for the refugees that induced the government to send hundreds of busses to transport them to the Austrian border. In Hungary, however, Christian charity has its limits. Despite the pleas of Austrian authorities, the Hungarian bus drivers refused to cross into Austria, thereby leaving the exhausted refugees no choice but to walk the final few kilometers to safety in the pouring rain.

Perhaps not since the aftermath of the Second World War, when tens of thousands of Hungarians were driven from their homes in neighboring countries, has there been such a spontaneous demonstration of compassion and solidarity on the part of ordinary Hungarians. And yet not one word of praise or recognition had been bestowed on them by the government. Instead, jealous of anything that might detract from the great leader’s image as the sole wellspring of all that is good and just, the government of Viktor Orbán has sought to take credit for their actions.

Enough is enough

The time has come for Viktor Orbán and his fellow kleptocrats in the guise of illiberal Christian crusaders to make way for a new generation of leaders–one committed to the liberal values underpinning the European Union and to promoting the public weal instead of lining their own pockets. Unfortunately, given the extent to which Viktor Orbán and his Fidesz minions have completely taken over Hungary economically, socially and culturally—right down to when and where you can purchase groceries or cigarettes and what textbooks your children may study from—one wonders whether such changes will come about in Viktor Orbán’s lifetime.

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dos929
Guest

Congratulations Eva… In my opinion this is perhaps the most important article appeared lately on your blog… I consider it being such as it shows the horrors of the Orban regime and Orban himself. Hungary today, thanks to Orban and his cronies, is not that much different from the essence portrayed in Orwell’s ‘1984’. Shame on you EU for that you not only let this regime to carry on their ‘business as usual’, but even financing it, as without the EU help this awful regime would have collapsed by now…

Guest

I agree with dos929 completely. EU money does not come to Hungary, but solely to Orbán and his thieving friends. It cannot continue to feed this loathsome government, while mildly reprimanding it for the countless criminal actions it perpetrates.

By doing so, the EU is shooting itself in the foot and undermining its own foundation and basic concept of a group of countries joined together to practice and enjoy living safely and securely within the framework of democratic principles.

Hungary under Orbán is clearly no longer a democracy and has no right to enjoy the benefits of EU membership. EU money coming into Hungary disappears without a trace, and some of the latest new “laws” were invented specifically so that it is now also illegal to try to find out what happens to it.

By continuing to fund Hungary, the EU is actively supporting an evil dictatorship – the antithesis to its very raison d’etre.

Thank you Éva for a brilliant article.

Miklos
Guest

Sounds like Mr. Orban is the new anti Christ. Hope Mr. Field has a gun, and is brave enough to shoot this terrible person, so he will be relieved to blame Orban for everything.

Zsuzsa
Guest

Well said and thank you.

Zorgas
Guest

This is clearly an insightful article by someone who has not only been trying to open the curtains and let the sun shine on some of Hungary’s shadowy, rotting corner, but who chairs a foundation that has been a primary donor to social welfare organizations, and from the sound of it, who has been out in the field where these societal struggles are taking place.

He is not only calling the Orban regime despotic, vindictive and corrupt, but providing examples. However, I fear that these words will wash over the back of this Teflon mafia, like so many other words have before.

Member

Excellent article. This is written by someone who not only talks the talk but also walks the walks.

I found somehow fitting to put a quote here from Cory Booker, a Democratic Senator, previous mayor of Newark. Orban’s fake obsession with Christian values could not be questioned better.

“Before you speak to me about your religion, first show it to me in how you treat other people; before you tell me how much you love your God, show me in how much you love all His children; before you preach to me of your passion for your faith, teach me about it through your compassion for your neighbors. In the end, I’m not as interested in what you have to tell or sell as in how you choose to live and give.”

german1971
Guest

The Letter of James is the most controversial text in the New Testament.

Most theologians would like to remove it.

The brother of Jesus, James/Jakab/Jacob gave humanity hope from the spirits of the best human beings, and not from misty heavens.

Member

Excellent, exact summary of the execrable state of Orbanistan.

Webber
Guest

“ruling party politicians engaged in”… (peddling?) “prostitution”
Someone, tell us more about that! I missed something somewhere along the way.
The rest of it was all stuff I remember, but that particular item I missed.

Bowen
Guest
Bowen
Guest

Needless to say, an investigative report which contained an allegation like the following would be major news in other countries. Hungary’s different, though, of course (something to do with “Christian Nationalism”, I believe).

“On one occasion, a group of politicians ordered a group of prostitutes. In the end, the encounter did not take place, but it was only due to a misunderstanding. The group included an underage girl who said in her testimony that the scheduled dates were somehow mixed up, and she and the two other girls went to the agreed venue one day before the politicians showed up. “

Webber
Guest

A related issue – the Serbian government has announced that it has found no terrorists among the refugees who have passed through Serbia to date. That means Serbia is looking at refugees. I would bet that Turkey and Greece are also screening for terrorists.
http://www.b92.net/eng/news/politics.php?yyyy=2015&mm=10&dd=13&nav_id=95703

The Hungarian government, of course, has been suggesting through the media that there may be a lot of terrorists among the refugees, and even that it caught a terrorist. This was a lie.

clive75mercer
Guest

This is an excellent article, that will probably remain unread by the Hungarians who should wake up to the lies the disgusting “Orban” person and his vile Government continue to feed them. What makes the situation even more despicable is that the Roman Catholic Church in Hungary remains silent, presumably because it is complicit in the “Orban” regimes rape of true Christian values.
As for electoral manoeuvring, it is worth noting that Britain has a fairly Right Wing Government, elected by 38% of those who voted in the general election, the other 62% are consigned to be represented by a relatively uncoordinated opposition. The minority Government does pretty well just what it wants too, but the Anglican Church has expressed criticism. It won’t make any difference, but at least they are critical. And rightly so.

Laszlo Sipos
Guest

It is HEGYESHALOM,not Herceghalom.If you saw what we volunteers saw in the past few months,you would say that the article is an understatement.The cruelty of the currnet Hungarian government is on par with that of 1956.I was at the same border crossing helping the Austrians at Heiligenkreutz as they helped us in 1956.The Hungarian side had armed military and police and token government workers collecting their pay to further abuse these poor people.The volunteers on the Hungarian side saved many lives. I have never been so verbally abused in my life,mostly by Hungarians online and at Keleti.The refugees have been polite and grateful and the locals have been nasty,insulting and threatening.To the readers on here,please do not send me abusive comments if you have not been here to help because you have NO idea what it is/was like.

Webber
Guest

Laszlo Sipos – Nagyon szépen köszönjük!

Guest

“The Hungarian side had armed military and police and token government workers collecting their pay to further abuse these poor people.”

He who pays the piper calls the tune.

german1971
Guest

LASZLO Sipos, beautiful report. You are my hero.

Can we borrow you, to do similar great acts of humanity in USA?

Our Obama is getting close to the Orban disease. Obama is not lifting a pinky to help the refugees or stop the Putin

Member

I am afraid you are on the wrong blog. This is a blog about Hungary where a Hungarian man talks about how he personally helped refugees in Hungary. You may want to find a site about the USA where you can share how you helped the refugees as an American in the USA and how much abuse you took for it.

Thank you Mr. Sipos for getting involved!

Laszlo Sipos
Guest

Actually I am a dual citizen (USA and Hungary) who was born in Hungary and fled with my family in 1956.My mother is Slovenian.Now our attention shifts to Slovenia where the refugees are being herded.Although most of the abuse came from Hungarians (including the government),others in the EU and especially the Iron Curtain member states are to blame too.It is the rich abusing the poor as so often happens.I am active member of Democrats Abroad here so support Obama is most things,but not his military policies which he inherited from Bush.Americans love the military,but if they actually saw and had to treat injuries caused by bombs,they would rethink their aggressive policies abroad.Sad to say that most expats ignore these refugees although it is always expats (many Americans) who are the ones helping.People on this site can help too by supporting causes which help instead of hurt refugees.

Guest

Thanks everybody – Lajos too!
Again, and very welcome, a scathing article on the idiocies (?) of the Fidesz regime that we experience every day!
Whenever I read the Hungarian news I expect to hear about another crazy law, another tax, another corruption case or just a general lunatic happening from the Fidesz mafiosi – but my neighbours just keep toiling and moiling away, they must have realised by now that it’s no use complaing, nothing will ever change – except for those few lucky ones which make it to the West!

Just an addition re the corruption (probably posted the link before):
http://bbj.hu/opinion/editorial-appearance-of-corruption-becomes-routine_105784

Drac
Guest

Since Lajos Simicska said it out, we can say it too. This is a geci state. It’s not enough for the rulers to rule and syphon off billions upon billions they deliberately want to cause pain, suffering, humiliation at the same time.

Winning in itself has never been enough for Fidesz, the defeated (anybody who is not a madly loyal fidesznik) must also suffer in some way, for only this personal suffering (that little geci poke one receives from the powerful) makes them internalize the very fact that they are defeated. And only this internalization can keep them defeated. They must know that they are irrelevant non-entities, nothing.

exTor
Guest

Can you locate that Simicska ‘geci’ reference?
It would be good to have, Drac. Köszi.

MAGYARKOZÓ

Álmos
Guest
exTor
Guest

You’re right. Forgot the mantra: ‘Google is our friend.’
Thanx for the link, Álmos. I found quite a few others.

MAGYARKOZÓ

Álmos
Guest

HS also wrote about the incident.

Guest

Exactly, Drac!
Wasn’t it Laser Johnny aka Lázár Janos who said:

If yiu have nothing, then you are nothing!

And if you are not one of us then you are nothing anyway!

Reality Check
Guest

OT. Very disturbing photos of border fence’s impact on wildlife. Very graphic!

https://www.facebook.com/magyarinfo/photos/a.10150201675448467.330467.85568463466/10153607702603467/?type=3&fref=nf

Member

OrbanStain

Orban protecting the EU and white christian civilization from the migrant hordes.

(For this alone he already deserves to burn forever in the very depths of the Hungarian Hades he is crafting.)
comment image

Member

This is so very sad and disturbing…

Istvan
Guest
Thanks Eva for posting the essay. I did not agree with Field’s statement about the violence at the Serbian border being the worst human rights violation since the Civil War in Yugoslavia, I thought the comparison was way over the top. Having been part of NATO forces operating in that theater for three months in a logistics role and having seen some of the remains from atrocities carried out in Kosovo I think the comparison is simply inappropriate. What we saw in Kosovo was as bad as what took place in Uganda, but less extensive. I think there is more involved than fear and the EU escape valve in why Fidesz remains in power, there is also a patronage system that provides some benefits to people connected to the tentacles of Fidesz, and policies that have popular support. My own extended family members in Hungary praised Orban for passing the law that forced banks to convert $14 billion of foreign-currency home loans to forint and imposed some pricing limits for fresh lending. I thought to be honest some of my family members that took out these loans were foolish as I did with people here in the USA that took… Read more »
petofi
Guest

Istvan,

can you lay down your drum and stop beating it every chance you get?

Ok, so you were an American soldier…WE GET IT ALREADY!!!

Istvan
Guest

No

exTor
Guest

I’m not getting your second-last paragraph, Istvan.
I dont understand the Inquisition connection.

MAGYARKOZÓ

Istvan
Guest

The Inquistion was an inherent part of Christianity, just as much as charity is. There are many faces of Christianity, so the reality is the current practice of Christian nationalism within Hungary can also be seen within the Christian tradition.

Richard Field
Guest
It certainly was not my intention to make light of what happened in Kosovo or elsewhere in the former Yugoslavia. Perhaps “disintegration of Yugoslavia and constituent states thereof” would have been a more accurate description. Furthermore, I’m sure there are even worse human rights violations taking place in neighboring Ukraine. However, as you may have noticed, my “diatribe” was not about what happened in Bosnia or Kosovo or eastern Ukraine, but rather what has been happening in Hungary. On the subject of the most Christian “rescue” of foreign currency based mortgage loan holders, the initial rescue was limited to those in the envious position of being able to pay off their loans, which no doubt included a large number of government officials and politicians with access to capital. As for the remaining 90 percent of FX loan holders, had the government pursued responsible fiscal policies, the Hungarian-Euro exchange rate would have remained at HUF 250 or thereabouts (although granted the Swiss franc would have strengthened against both currencies). In fact, many FX loan holders complain they owe more after the forced conversion to forints than before! I’m afraid I do not follow your comment about the Inquisition never existing in… Read more »
Istvan
Guest
Mr. Field the reality of those bailed out of their FX loans was that the policy was deeply supported by those who benefited from the policy. Moreover, the concept was more broadly supported in Hungary as part of an ideological attack on foreign banking interests. I did not like it, similarly I did not like many of the loan bailouts here in the USA post 2008 inclusive of companies and individuals. Just like in Hungary only a relatively small minority of debtors were saved by these policies, but they were wildly popular because of near universal dislike of banking and the debt industry in the USA. Ideologically the Fidesz government has a component of corporatism to it, the roots of that odd aspect of the Orban government are related to the problems of the rapid transition from a command economy to market based economy. It appeals to many people my age in Hungary, in their 60s and 70s or older, who disliked many aspects of communism, but who liked other aspects of the Kadar economic system creating a cradle to gave vision of society that no longer exists. I explained my Christianty reference a above, nationalism has always been provided… Read more »
TeamBritanniaHu
Guest
Thanks for this. A very detailed appraisal, but rather one-sided on the nature of the border incidents. The trouble is that some of this obviously biased reporting plays into the hands of those who want to deflect all criticism from Orbán. Sky News was also caught out over its reporting of the incidents at Bicske. They’ve also tried to discredit the BBC as part of a western ‘liberal’ conspiracy with the media on the front line. As far as Christianity is concerned, the Islamophobic remarks are clearly not based on anything in the New Testament. At the time when Islam was being founded, Christian soldiers were beheading pagans across Europe if they did not convert to Christianity. The early Christian history of Hungary is also tainted by the state terrorist tactics used to secure east-central Hungary for the occidental version of Christianity, whereas the Ottoman occupation benefited both Lutherans and Calvinists alike in establishing themselves as free ‘national’ churches, outside of the reach of the Hapsburg’s reign of terror and inquisition which began with the expulsion of Jews and Muslims from Spain. Then there was the case of Transylvania, the only state here Jews, Muslims, Catholics and Protestants of all… Read more »
petofi
Guest

Why is it difficult to be an Islamaphobe?

Have you seen where all the great mosques are located?….IN or ON (See the Temple Mount in Jerusalem) the religious site of other religions that had inhabited them previously. (In this regard, it is instructive to revisit the arguments some years back, over the American Islamic Association wanting to build their new headquarters as close to the site of the Twin Towers as possible…)

So tell me again that Islam is peace-loving and non-aggressive…

Reality Check
Guest
All the great Mosques? Really? If you need to exaggerate to make your point, making your point is pointless. Christian of course had no qualms about “desecrating” pagans sites and even converting synagogues to churches. Regarding the park 51 community center. They did not want to build it as close as possible, but rather several blocks away. Stop making stuff up. Did you know that Muslims also died in the attack? Did you know there was a Muslim prayer room in one of the towers? http://www.businessinsider.com/there-already-was-a-ground-zero-mosque-2010-9 “Multiple news organizations, like the Washington Post, debunked the fearmongering, pointing out that the “stated point of the project is creating a world where Jews, Christians and Muslims connect again in a way that builds mutual understanding and respect. This is precisely the opposite goal of the 9/11 terrorists.” Conservatives like Orrin Hatch supported Park51. And New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg spoke up in favor of the center as well, saying that freedom of religion should be tolerated.” http://thinkprogress.org/security/2012/12/10/1308331/fox-news-ground-zero-mosque-back/ “There was no sign of protest at the Park51 community center last night. It opened its doors to the public in lower Manhattan Wednesday, without the opposition that had surrounded the project for a… Read more »
petofi
Guest

It is through the generosity of Judaeo-Christian practice that Islamists will make ever-increasing in-roads until, through democratic means, they takeover western municipalities, regions, states and provinces.

Democracy will be ‘wormed’ from the inside out.

Reality Check
Guest

You are paranoid. How is a small percentage of the European population, most of whom are not political, going to take over?

You fear the wrong demographic, Europe is not threatened by Islamization, but rather by the far-right and their retro politics.

Guest

“Democracy will be ‘wormed’ from the inside out.”

Actually, that is exactly what is happening under Orbán, here in Hungary.

Fidesz is desperate to stay in the EU, just exactly so that it can use humane democratic means to become a tyrannical undemocratic dictatorship.

ER1956
Guest

Petofi reads the news correctly.

“Reality Check” must question the credibility of the Muslim leaders. Have you found enlightened reform-minded imams?

Or Islamic activists?

Ordinary Muslims can be very good people. The leaders are rarely having decency.

Almost all of them are closely aligned with the anti-western, anti-americal russian instigated line.

Reality Check
Guest

Petofi is not talking about just the leaders. Petofi makes generalizations about all Muslims.

And I guess you are not very well read either.

http://mediamatters.org/research/2014/08/21/muslim-leaders-have-roundly-denounced-islamic-s/200498

http://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/muslim_voices_against_extremism_and_terrorism_part_i_fatwas/0012209

http://news.yahoo.com/french-imams-rail-against-crazies-seized-religion-232602712.html

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/01/07/muslims-respond-charlie-hebdo_n_6429710.html

You have look a little harder, because the lamestream media ratings are better when they cater to Petofi’s fears.

And what percentage of those refugees have been violent – very very very few. A percentage that is far lower than the non-refugee population. How many terrorists among them – none ID’d.

petofi
Guest

@Reality Check

When the Eiffel Tower will be blown up, and central London
will be flattened with a suitcase bomb, I’m sure you, RC, will be one of those asking that the terrorists be ID’d…

ER1956-2015
Guest

Tarik Ramadan or Abu El Fadl constantly advocate on the behalf of Islam.
And it is remaining empty talk.
I am questioning the credibility of these stars.
When are they ready to denounce all extremists?

Reality Check, your name is a good start. Your arguments are not.

You sound like a misinformation generator.

Reality Check
Guest

And if that happens it will be the fault of all the Muslims in Europe or just the few that were involved.

Couldn’t they do this even without the current refugee influx?

I find your collectivization of guilt disgusting.

Terrorism will always be a threat from one group or another (Christian, Muslim, or whatever).

petofi
Guest

@Reality Check

Just because you may know how to read, doesn’t necessarily mean that you are discerning…

Reality Check
Guest

Far more then you. You seem to have a poor ability to think critically.

Webber
Guest

Petofi…aaaactually…..
Have you seen what they’ve done with the mosque in Pecs? It was a Catholic church the last time I visited. Has been for several hundred years, now.
I wonder what happened with the mosques and synagogues in Spain? Hmm…
And what happened, I wonder, to the mosques and minarets of Budapest? Of Belgrade? Of Kragujevac?

Webber
Guest

The Great Mosque of Pécs, as it appears today:comment image

exTor
Guest

Wow. Makes me want to be religious, at least of the Islamic persuasion. Beats the RC church that I sometimes went into on Saturdays in the 1950s when I was taking Hungarian lessons that ultimately never went very far.

That church, on the southwest corner of Spadina and Dundas West, which is the middle of the biggest Chinatown in Toronto –there are three– has been demolished. In its place stands a small mall [bevásárlóközpont].

MAGYARKOZÓ

exTor
Guest

Listen Reality Check, there’s no point in maintaining a running dialogue [read: argument] with certain people. Petofi is –sad to say– an unthinking Islamophobe. If he weren’t ostensibly antiOrbán, he’d be standing beside VO cheering him on as he holds back the 2nd coming of the Muslim hordes with who knows how many sleeper terrorists insinuated amongst them.

MAGYARKOZÓ

petofi
Guest

@exTor

Pardon me, ex, but I think that sometime back I had served you with an eviction notice from the tenderest parts of my mind (..”unthinking”..).

I am, indeed, an Islamophobe, but far from an ‘unthinking’ one.
Must one be ‘unthinking’ to be an Islamophobe?

It must be easy to make pronouncements from up high, when you are sitting, budha-like, atop the hill of your ignorances…

Istvan
Guest

petofi’s public position on the inherent nature of Islam being extremist and hostile to the west is very common and not just in Hungary. I know Petofi dislikes my references to the US military, but with what are called blue on green attacks where an Muslim ally fires on western forces has created a similar perspective within the US military, but it is not publicly discussed. It was made worse by the attack by the 2009, mass shooting at Fort Hood, Texas. Nidal Malik Hasan, a U.S. Army major and psychiatrist, fatally shot 13 US army personnel and injured more than 30 others. I have had private discussions with many retired and current officers who share petofi’s perspective. If the jihadists have had victories, creating this fear of allowing Muslims to be part of a multicultural society is among their greatest victories.

Webber
Guest

It used to be that fundamentalist (mostly Protestant) Christianity was also rather common among officers of the US military – much more prevalent than among ordinary Americans – , especially among the a.f.’s officer corps (why, I do not know). Is that still the case?
Could be a correlation in attitudes there.

Richard Field
Guest
Sorry to have to contradict you opinion with our facts, but I can assure you there is nothing biased about the Budapest Beacon’s reporting of the police attack on defenseless asylum seekers at Röszke. Röszke was not just one of many “border incidents” as your dismissive comment would suggest. It was THE border incident where as many as two thousand refugees, including women and children, were attacked by several hundred members of Hungary’s crack anti-terrorism units. Many of the refugees were seriously injured and in all likelihood several victims died of their wounds, if not at the scene of the crime or in a Hungarian hospital somewhere handcuffed to a metal bed frame, then in the days that followed as they made their way to Austria and Germany. But don’t take our word for it. Ask Australian photojournalist Warren Richardson or the scores of western journalists there, including the Polish anchorman or the four man Serbian television film who were beaten by TEK commandoes Better yet, ask Ernő Simon or any of the UNHCR representatives who witnessed the whole thing, that is until they were blinded by tear gas! There’s a reason why both the United Nations High Commissioner for… Read more »
Guest

That is just so terrible and worrying. I am particularly concerned about children who may have been separated from their parents. Have they been accounted for? Are there organisations dealing with their safety? I know that human traffickers, for slaves and for sexual exploitation, are also acitve on the fringes of this mass migration, and where are the police, in curbing their activites?

Guest
Mr: Field: As one watching events in Hungary unfold I found your piece a hard-hitting stab at the country’s scary slide into more autocracy and paranoia pumped up by pervasive propaganda. If this ‘post-communist’ democratic country continues on its ways it cannot bode well for effecting the continuation of well functioning pluralistic and free societies in Europe and throughout the world. Where a country needs statesmanship and statesmen all we see is an infestation of crass cronyism. I hope someone in the EU reads the opinionated indictment. It may just wake up and shake the diffidence out of the politicians who apparently let Hungary go on its way of simply flouting democratic principles. If the EU continues to ‘sleep’ on it there just could be hell to pay. And from what I’ve seen of refugee attitudes to Hungary the country just may rue the ‘relationship’ they just crafted with them. The contempt the government of Hungary showed them no doubt will be felt by many for a long time to come. Hungary, in fact, could have sealed its own doom with the hatreds they engendered. If a ‘whirlwind’ lashes back on them it just arguably would be because of their… Read more »
Guest

Rather OT but maybe interesting re “They’re taking our jobs away!”:
A family member of mine is a truck driver for the German post office and he just told me that he has six new colleagues – middle age Hungarians (between 40 and 55 years old) who don’t speak any German except hello and thank you …
His boss has taken to using google translate to give them their orders.
The post office is very happy though – they’ve been searching in vain for German truck drivers …
These people (there are also a few guys from Romania) are also very happy with the money they get, especially when they do the night shift – they get the standard, union agreed pay which isn’t bad.

PS:
Of course there are many drivers working for private companies which are paid much less …

Guest
Re: ‘In such a topsy-turvy world, where fair is foul and foul is fair, Hungarians find themselves adrift in a morally rudderless ship of state. Without a moral compass to guide them or a leader prepared to point in the direction of true north, Hungarians are condemned to be tossed about on a sea of interminable fear and loathing until they drown in a vortex of self-pity and resentment’ Mr. Field’s essay is a powerful censure of the current regime and reality of life in Hungary today. Well at least we can see that one media organ can play some great notes. There’s probably a lot of ‘gnashing of teeth’ in one specific political cohort in the country directed at the BB now. Hope they can weather the storm. It’s tough that one party seems to have a stranglehold on power and a great desire to check certain maneuvers to another direction within the country. Just shows the tough road ahead in diverting the movement from a seeming more intense level of autocracy. Hungary watchers should hope VO does not follow the example of Assad. A man hell bent on holding on to power regardless of the moral consequences. VO… Read more »
Tyrker
Guest

I wholeheartedly agree with István and Team Britannia.

This could have been a very powerful article if it weren’t for the silly and completely unfounded allegation that the spraying of the stone-throwing savages at Röszke II was “the worst violation of human rights to take place in Europe since the end of the Yugoslav civil war.”

As TeamBritanniaHu says, “some of this obviously biased reporting plays into the hands of those who want to deflect all criticism from Orbán.”

Bowen
Guest

OK, so what do you want? Second-worst violation of human rights in Europe?
Fifth-worst violation of human rights in Europe? Feel free to choose a ranking of your liking.

Anyway, it was an abysmal violation of human rights (and don’t call mothers, fathers, children, journalists and aid-workers “savages”).

ER1956-2015
Guest

I suspect that Tyrker is also only a misinformation troll/generator. Can these people ever convert to truth and decency?

spectator
Guest
Yeah..! But if it’s not the “worst”, would it make it any better? Dear Tyrker, it was a low and dirty act, and not any specification of the degree would make any significant difference. It was bad. It was unnecessary, undeserved and unneeded..! Yes, it was! By the way, just what exactly the “stone-throwing savages” correspond in your vocabulary? Because as I have seen the refugees answered – let say responded – to the savage behaviour of the TEK’s (the Hungarian task force) action, as is they’ve been treated as criminals only because of their existence! Let alone, the TEK had no legal reason to be involved on the first place, and even used weapons (classified as such, in Hungary called ‘vipera’) what has been banned by law, so the response – in my evaluation – more than rectified. Come on now! Those people haven’t committed any crime yet – besides crossing the Orbanian razor wires – against any Hungarian! Or any HUMAN BEING for that matter! Just how dare you, or Orbán treat them as criminals? Just because one or other joker changed the law from one day to another..? You – and your leader – may stuff it… Read more »
Guest
It is simply not so that such a factual and straight-forward article, by Richard Fields “plays into the hands of ….Orbán”: What plays into Orbán’s hands is the bickering amongst his opponents, over small details. Field’s article is a factual and hard-hitting account of exactly what is wrong with the hypocritical Fidesz gangsters, who use their office as “leaders” of a country, to do whatever they please, and to strip the nation of its resources for their own personal gain, and that includes stripping the integrity of the Christian chruches here. How will Hungary return to anything even mildly resembling a normal democracy, if such articles did not appear, whether they are flawed or otherwise? Shame on the Christian priests here for their cowardice and lack of any real Christian humanity and humility. Shame on them. I think that demonstartions should be organised in front of any and all churches, all over the country, to show how strongly we disapprove of Hungary’s religious leaders who support un-Christian tyrants and their most un-Christian ideals. I think the Pope would be on our side! For me, Field’s essay is a call to rally the oppositon, into a united front, and I am… Read more »
bimbi
Guest

Congratulations and thanks to Richard Field for his honesty in stepping forward and writing this summary of the disgraceful Orban regime. (I wish I had written it myself, but it was done here so much better!) It is very important to spread the truth and get the message across on what this man and his government is doing, day by day, month by month. This Too Shall Pass! And the sooner the better.

spectator
Guest

So, we know all this, and condemn the bastards just as well.

What’s now, if I may ask?

exTor
Guest
“And yet the bulk of Hungarian society remains silent. Why is that? The answer is simple: fear.” This caught my eye when I again looked at the article by Richard Field. I decided that I would opine on just the quote, then I read the posts (by István, TeamBritanniaHu and Tyrker) that expressed reservations about a certain aspect of the Field article, namely its tendency to overstate. If I can say anything about Field’s writing, it is the impression that a near histrionic tinge shades the import of his words. Overstatement is tricky; it verges on lying or, if not absolute falsification, then misrepresentation. What I dont get is why Richard Field overplayed his hand. His was a winner from the getgo. He didn’t have to persuade us, the converted. We’re hip. As for fear in Hungary, forget it. No such thing, at least not to the extent that Richard Field would have us believe. Hungary 2015 is not the Nazi Germany of the late 1930s, just prior to World War Two. Viktor Orbán does not have to intimidate the populace into backing him on his antirefugee stance. The people are solidly behind him thanks to his blue-billboard propaganda messages,… Read more »
Curly
Guest
“As for fear in Hungary, forget it. No such thing, at least not to the extent that Richard Field would have us believe. Hungary 2015 is not the Nazi Germany of the late 1930s, just prior to World War Two.” I agree with the second part of this statement: Hungary is not Nazi Germany. But as far as the first part goes, Field has a very good point. Fear is there and in exactly those areas that he mentions. Losing your job if you say anything. Losing your business if someone else wants to take it (and then emerges, backed by a Fidesz politician). In my own experience, parts of the population believe what they are told, but a very large slice is suspicious of the government and don’t trust them (anyone in power) not to take revenge if they feel offended or threatened. All this is based on experience and what is missing is the courage to take a stand. But can you blame them when all past experience shows that “you can’t win”? It is easy to say what Hungarians “should” do if one is independently wealthy, has a nice foreign pension coming or is otherwise not beholden… Read more »
exTor
Guest

Everything you say is true, Curly. I’ve read enough about Orbán to realize that both he and his regime are vindictive if they feel they’ve been crossed.

My point, which I evidently did not make clear (or clear enough), is that there is no potential antiOrbán flood –the loathing part– out there in Hungary that would drown this government if only they (the loathers) weren’t dammed by their fear of Orbánista reprisals.

There’s not much chance that Orbán will be swept away. There are not enough people (sad to say) who dislike him. Indeed, with his ‘deft’ handling of the refugee situation, his popularity has increased.

While the number of people potentially victimizable by the Orbánistas may number in the many thousands, as a % of the entire electorate it does not amount to much.

Sorry, that’s just the way I feel. Nobody can win this argument because there can never be any numbers. My gut feeling is that Richard Fields is playing ‘wishful thinking’ here. It’s part of our complaint about RF’s factual looseness, which undermines his article.

Aint gonna be no revolution notime soon.

MAGYARKOZÓ

petofi
Guest

@ exTor

Hi, ex-baby, it’s your resident racist here.

re, “…his regime are vindictive if they feel they’ve been crossed.”

Not quite. Maybe you’re out of touch out there in Csepel-land.

With Viktor, it’s not quid pro quo: his great love is to instill fear before-hand; before there might be a reason for it. He’s the great Intimidator.

Take a gander at the recent history of Esztergom…and learn of Orbanism in action. What result politically? At the next regional election, Fidesz took every district–not a one voted against them.
So, smarts? Or, fear?

Guest
There most certainly is fear in Hungary! Your denial of such incomprehensible. Éva herself has been threatened. Does that not imply that there is fear in Hungary? And while the situation here is not as extreme as in Russia, with Putin murdering journalists, here it is done by simply destroying someone financially. Is that not a grounds for fear? Viktor snaps his fingers, and one of his tax chappies starts looking into the finances of an opponent and with or without cause or legal grounds can trump up charges, take away a person’s business and his or her livelihood, all while his mafiosa commit crimes on a daily basis, with no consequences. There is fear by exclusion, from education opportunities for example. Many programmes for studying abroad are now restricted to Fidesz followers only. Lauder school has far fewer, if any, children accepted on to international exchange programmes now. Teachers from other schools, who are not signed up Fideszers, have their educational programmes restricted, while those who are Orbanites are promoted. Speaking out against the regime in schools where most of the principles are Fideszers, are grounds for dismissal. But you say there is no fear? Any business which VO… Read more »
Webber
Guest

exTor – “As for fear in Hungary, forget it. No such thing, at least not to the extent that Richard Field would have us believe.”

Field is right. That you don’t know it is interesting. Every Hungarian – every single one not in Fidesz – knows it extremely well, and even most Fideszniks know it (and some of them approve of it). People aren’t talking for very good reasons. Everyone – literally everyone – has stories of people who have lost their jobs or been blacklisted, and the harassment is very public.

exTor
Guest

http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/will-israel-go-fascist

Quite by chance I came upon this link googling ‘fascists in israel’. The piece is a review of Goliath: Life and Loathing in Greater Israel. Nice titular connect to the current HS article.

Some Spectrum posters have posited a Netanyahu/Orbán similarity. Reading the review of GLLGI will bring to mind Hungary in more ways than the fact that their respective parties are rightwing.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1948_Palestinian_exodus_from_Lydda_and_Ramle

http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2013/10/21/lydda-1948

The reviewer (Scott McConnell, a founding editor of The American Conservative) mentions a 1948 incident known to some as the Lydda Death March. This was part of a forced depopulation of a town, which name was Hebaicized to Lod, where now sits Ben Gurion Airport.

The winners get to write the history. The corollary is that the power that be (Fidesz in Hungary, Likud in Israel) gets to tell the ‘truth’, the story that motors the country. Here it’s Christian, there it’s Zionist.

As I read the review I kept thinking that Richard Field’s piece, as good as it was, would have been a whole lot better were it written like the review. Reading it was like reading Hungary.

MAGYARKOZÓ

ER1956-2015
Guest

Before the Israel bashing, instead of deceiving the public, extor may read this report:

Before the Israel bashing, misinformant exTor may try to read:

http://www.pipelinenews.org/2011/jul/05/eichman-39s-trip-to-the-middle-east-in-1937-nazi.html

Jon Van Til
Guest

I forwarded this eloquent article on to a number of friends and colleagues. I would like to share two responses: 1) “Thank you for passing this article along and getting the word out about a state that is morally rudderless but a people that is not. What more can be said?” 2) “What do you know about the Budapest Beacon and the Budapest Sentinel ? Are they print pubs in Budapest? Who reads them? Are they like Solzenitzhin’s samizdat? And if Orban is such a vile leader why are they not shut down? Is Field protected by his American citizenship?”

Webber
Guest

Yes, Field is a bit protected – because he’s not a Hun. govt. employee (unlike those employed in education, the administration, and a huge no. of other positions), he’s not employed by a Fidesz-controlled firm, and because his firm (assuming he has one) doesn’t depend on government contracts or contracts with firms associated with the government.
I would bet, though, that there has been a hate-campaign against Field, and it would be great if he could tell us a bit about that. I’d bet he’s even experienced a little personal harassment at home or on the street.

Webber
Guest

Yep, Field has already experienced a little hate-campaign, and judging from what’s starting to come up on line, he’s at the center of a new one. Here’s a piece about the previous attacks against him:
http://budapesttimes.hu/2011/05/16/field-leaves-hungary-citing-fears-of-hate-groups/

So, just tell me there’s nothing to fear in Hungary if you express certain opinions in the press…
And Field is independently wealthy. Imagine the pressure on people who depend on their jobs in Hungary!

Tyrker
Guest

I’ve found another English-language version of this article in The Budapest Beacon, which contains an arguably racist remark about Orbán that is conspicuously missing from the text reprinted here on Hungarian Spectrum. It’s in the sub-section entitled “A morally rudderless ship of state.” See if you can spot the difference yourself.

http://budapestbeacon.com/featured-articles/op-ed-fear-and-loathing-in-hungary/28402

(The remark is also present in the Hungarian version of the article, also available in The Budapest Beacon.)

Guest

Richard Field should be praised rather than criticised. His comprehensive factuality far outweighs his occasional blunder.

Those who maintain that there is no fear in Hungary have understood absolutely nothing about what is going on.

If you criticise Fidesz/Orban you will loose your job. It has been amply demonstrated.

Webber
Guest

“If you criticise Fidesz/Orban you will loose your job. It has been amply demonstrated.”
And that, along with Field’s exposure of hatred disseminated by Fidesz, is one of the most important parts of his piece, in my view.
Hardly any critics of Fidesz, foreign or Hungarian, mention this most essential part of the nature of the regime.
Hat’s off to Field from me for saying it

Guest

London Calling!

In passing. Just visiting!

Point one:

Adding to your narrative that ‘Orban himself is half-Roma’ is entirely justified and not remotely “arguably racist” – especially when he himself is an agent of Hungarian-Roma persecution. They are all Hungarians after all.

Point two:

Richard’s article exactly chimes with my experience of ‘fear’ in Hungary – especially in the rural hinterland. In addition it is refreshing to read such a cogent analysis of what’s going on in Hungary. So much chimed with my experience and understanding that I had to take the batteries out of my chime meter.

Entirely 100% apposite.

Point three:

It is sad to read contributors who are knocking nine bells out of each other without the usual courtesies and respect. Where has the incisive scything humour and wit gone?

Desist.

Regards

Charlie

exTor
Guest

“… who is half Roma …”

The difference between the two versions of the same ‘morally rudderless ship of state’ section is a four-word subordinate clause. It is not racist, Tyrker [@ 5:21 AM]. It is a mislabel.

The belief that Viktor Orbán has Roma blood in him is a national myth [nemzeti hitrege]. It was a mistake for Richard Field to have included it in his nonHS versions, however its inclusion does not make it racist, anymore than someone mistakenly calling me a Jew (or an Arab or whatever) is racist if that person is talking strictly about ethnic or racial identity.

MAGYARKOZÓ

petofi
Guest

Sometimes I read the comments before actually reading the piece before-hand, as I have done here. It’s interesting how some commenters–like exTor–take their large brush and paint over the piece until it is unrecognizable.

Now, having read Field’s offering, I heartily agree with it. I really don’t know what all the fuss is about. Field is spot on; and kudos for taking the time and making the effort.

exTor is a minimalist of some sort, and I picture him repeatedly taking out his 5cm-high soapbox to raise himself up and deliver himself of his pronouncements.

ER1956-2015
Guest

Long live the Petofi Spirit!

anseret
Guest

Awsome post Eva. Thank you.

Guest

This tall column of interesting comments is a formal mess. There is no chronology and it is difficult to figure out what logic is applied at its expense.

Let us have the chronological format back.

exTor
Guest

Each format is problematic, Éva, but overall this format is better. That’s the way I see it, intuitively. Is there no way to insert a ‘toggle’ option, in this case where the reader can toggle between ‘chronology’ and ‘theme-nested’ posts?

As you know, various sites offer readers the option to chose between most recent and oldest posts, as well as (for sites like those within the New York Times) options for most liked responses, etcetera.

MAGYARKOZÓ

Guest

@exTor Do not rely on intuition. Look into the reality. The present format is unable to produce theme nests. It screws them up. We have lost chronology without getting anything useful in return.

exTor
Guest

Not quite true, Jean P. The current setup allows a reply to a specific post (as with Éva’s reply (above you) to my point) or a reply to the article.

Nested replies are indented; article replies are left-aligned, which (if one thinks about it) is perfectly appropriate for HS.

I understand your point. I sometimes feel the same way about the lack of chronology, however the nesting of responses is the better way to go, the minor lack-of-chronology irritation notwithstanding.

Unless there is a lot of people clamoring for a change, I dont see Éva switching to your point of view. Things are basically okay this way.

I’m nesting this under you. … (–: …

MAGYARKOZÓ

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