“The saddest video of the year”–Orbán’s encounter with Bözsi néni

Viktor Orbán traveled more than 300 miles to visit the town of Csenger, where he opened a swimming pool. The trip was actually a homage to the work of Imre Makovecz, an architect whose worldview and nationalism were close to Viktor Orbán’s heart. Personally, I don’t like either Makovecz’s architectural style or his shocking views. But Viktor Orbán embraced his architecture and was comfortable with at least some of his views. After Makovecz’s death, practically all the buildings built for the Puskás Academy, including the arena, were designed in the Makovecz style. So, it’s no wonder that Orbán took time to visit Csenger, because this is Makovecz land. Beginning in the 1980s Csenger’s center was rebuilt, mostly by Makovecz’s architectural firm. And once Orbán was in Csenger it was natural for him to take a look at another Makovecz-style creation, the Memorial Park in Nagygéc, where there are several Makovecz-inspired buildings, including the House of Survival, the Lookout, and the Visitor’s Center.

What captured the imagination of the public, however, was neither the swimming pool in Csenger nor the Memorial Park in Nagygéc but a short video Viktor Orbán shared with his admirers on Facebook. Antal Rogán’s propaganda team, which is attached to the prime minister’s office, decided that a visit to one of the six inhabitants of Nagygéc, a village that in fact no longer exists, would be a splendid idea. The plan backfired. Reactions to the video were decidedly negative. Pro-government media outlets opted simply to ignore it, while independent news sites wrote sarcastic articles about the encounter.

Nagygéc, once a village of about 700 inhabitants, was in the floodplain of the River Szamos/Someș, about 10 km from the Hungarian-Romanian border. In 1970 the whole village was destroyed, and the decision was made to abandon it. The inhabitants were given land elsewhere as well as a certain amount of money to build new houses and rebuild their lives. But a handful of people whose houses survived the flood refused to move. Today there are six inhabitants of the area that was once Nagygéc, two original villagers and four newcomers from Romania.

Nagygéc’s Hungarian Reformed Church is a historical monument. One part of it was built in the twelfth century and the other part during the reign of King Mathias (1458-1490). The church was close to collapse when a couple of years ago 560 million forints were spent on its renovation and the creation of the Memorial Park. The money, of course, came from the European Union. The rescue of the church was appropriate, but whether money should have been spent on a memorial park in the middle of nowhere I’m not at all sure.

But let’s go back to the video taken in the extremely modest abode of the widowed Mrs. Imre Csúcs, or as she is known to her friends Bözsi (nickname of Erzsébet) néni. Néni is an annoying Hungarian epithet used for older women, especially those of lower socioeconomic status. Her dwelling is a two-room adobe house which, as we learned elsewhere, she can’t afford to heat properly. She has some chickens and two very clever pigs. Later we also found out that she had started a little business growing cucumbers. It was to this poverty that “the good king” arrived with a bouquet of flowers. The video reminded most people of Mátyás Rákosi’s similar visits to the homes of industrial workers or peasants of cooperatives where short discussions took place about the blessings of socialism even though years after the war food rationing had to be reintroduced.

Bözsi néni’s house / Source: HVG

Judging from an article written after the video went viral, the actual encounter may not have been as bad as the video. But on the video Orbán seems to be singularly uninterested in Bözsi néni’s daily existence. People noted that the prime minister perked up only when he paid a visit to the pig sty to see the two pigs. Otherwise, commentators concentrated on a short exchange about the size of Bözsi néni’s pension. She wished that there were elections every year because in every election year her pension is raised. It was at this point that Orbán, in the fashion of a true autocrat, asked: “Do I raise it normally?” Bözsi néni did remember that she got a 1.6% higher pension the last time, but Orbán reminded her that this was not all. “And I sent you a check too, do you remember?” She remembered that “gift” as well. Orbán told her that if at the end of the year the numbers are in order “I will raise it again.” The reaction to this exchange was one of total disgust. Orbán acted as if it depended on his generosity whether pensioners receive an increase in their stipends or not when in fact the law orders the government to raise pensions, depending on the rate of inflation. In American terms, pensioners are automatically given an annual cost of living adjustment.

Most of the commentators were nauseated because of cheap propaganda, and some of them wrote caustic remarks about the encounter. I found one on, of all places, alfahir.hu, Jobbik’s internet news site, which dubbed the meeting of Orbán and Bözsi néni “the saddest video of the year.” Here is a village of six inhabitants with no future. Even its present is “just, just.” Interestingly, this is not the first public appearance of Bözsi néni. Half a year ago Vasárnapi Hírek published a report about her. It said that she has money to heat only one room and even that only at night. The mention of the little raise in her pension “breaks one’s heart and clenches one’s fist.” According to the author, “Nagygéc is not only a little village condemned to death but the perfect, terrifying symbol of this whole wretched country and this vile and hypocritical regime.” Where from the millions coming from the EU they build a memorial park instead of building a road and bringing in gas and plumbing. “A memory country (emlékország) which sends messages to the past instead of to the future.”

Grotesque? Sad? Both, I’m afraid.

May 9, 2017
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Observer
Guest

OMG.
Yes “the perfect, terrifying symbol of this whole wretched country and this vile and hypocritical regime.”

Even non Hun speakers can see the primitive script and performance, AND obviously Orbán liked the idea and approved the video release.

What would all the B néni-s say if they new and could comprehend that the folksy fat guy stole 100 billion ($ 355 mil) more from them last year. Put primitively – they got a cheque for 10k but had to pay him 12k back (children and students excluded).

Observer
Guest

Re Makovetcz:
A dour, humoless, pretentious later day fascist of the looney Hun nationalist model.

His buildings, some really ugly, were said to have many design faults, e.g. rain water drainage, due to which “many are rotting”.

ambator
Member

Right on!

Ferenc
Guest

ref.”many design faults, e.g. rain water drainage”
I once heard the story about another architect, who was chairing a meeting in a by himself designed special room with a glass roof. It started raining, buckets were brought in and placed to catch the drops. Meanwhile the architect continued the meeting as all was normal… This happened in Budapest!!
Wish to have seen it with my own eyes, it happened before mobiles had cameras, so unfortunately even a video isn’t available.

dos929
Guest

Amongst the lies and half-truths let’s not to forget that it wasn’t Gyurcsany that took back the 13th month extra pension, but his successor PM Bajnai, who did this with heavy heart as the country couldn’t afford it in the midst of the world recession… But facts never mattered to Orban and his cronies and history can be re-formed by them as soft clay… In the true tradition of Orwell’s 1984 history and facts can be re-written at any time and as many times as “needed”…

Member

In the meantime, in Orban’s home county Fejer, the mayor of Perkáta, (from Orban’s party) will inaugurate a new sculpture to Horthy on May 20 – alongside with the “Chief Captain” of the “Hungarian Guard” and the infamous Lóránt Hegedűs jr, whose wife is a prominent Jobbik MP.

https://fehervarkukac.hu/szobrot-kap-perkatan-horthy/
https://jobbik.hu/kepviseloink/hegedus-lorantne

Member

“Job vacancies in Germany hit an all-time high [of 1.064 million] in the first three months of 2017”

“To counter the shortage, German companies have also designed training schemes for young people from other European states including Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria and Spain, where youth unemployment is high.”

http://www.reuters.com/article/germany-economy-employment-idUSL8N1IB2CX

Member

About a year ago I read an article in a local german paper.

It was about a hospital in Herdeke where 15 hungarians without german language skills where employed.

To quicken the integration and learning the language, the hungarians, besides getting classes, had to share flats with Germans.

Guest

Winston, this seems to be a business idea:

I’ve seen ads by some Hungarian in Konstanz who asks for all kinds of workers to come to this beautiful part of Germany (directly on the Swiss border – so there’s even a chance to make more money moving there):
Nurses, hairdressers, salesgirls, electricians,carpenters – you name it …
And he offers rooms in a large house so they have contact with other Hungarians and Romanians which helps them, because they can help them.

He makes a nice amount of money from subletting these rooms – they come at a price of course …

Member

The integration and organization above was all paid by the employer, the hospital, because they desperately needed workforce.

Member

Is this Trump’s self-indictment ?

Dear Director Comey:

“While I greatly appreciate you informing me, on three separate occasions, that I am not under investigation, I nevertheless concur with the judgment of the Department of Justice that you are not able to effectively lead the Bureau.”

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Istvan
Guest
No I suspect President Trump has not effectively indicted himself. One reason is that legally the sitting President likely has full immunity from criminal indictments. I base that presupposition on a sentence in the discussion of the Senate’s impeachment power in Article I of the Constitution, which says an impeached official, after conviction by the Senate, ”shall nevertheless be liable and subject to indictment, trial, judgment and punishment, according to law.” Effectively this reflects a position by the Constitution’s framers, what we call in the USA original intent, that any prosecution to follow impeachment and removal from office, thus protecting a sitting President against criminal prosecution. Alexander Hamilton in the Federalist Papers also referred to an impeached President who ”would afterwards be liable to prosecution and punishment in the ordinary course of law.” The issue of criminal prosecution of President Nixon was explored and rejected in favor of beginning the process of impeachment. As those familiar was the impeachment process know in the USA it is a political not criminal proceeding with a very high bar for removal from office. The Republicans simply would not allow that to happen prior to the midterm elections when they retain a decisive majority.… Read more »
wrfree
Guest

Re: Nixon, impeachment..etc et

I saw Dean chiming in on the Comey situation….. reminded me also of this….

https://youtu.be/sh163n1lJ4M

If they ever manage to ‘pin’ anything on Big ‘T’ (Teflon) VO down the line this is what he’ll sound like.. Based on past experience everyone can check the vid vault know where that will be going.

Member

Mr Comey, you assured me that I am not under investigation, but I do not trust you, so I fire you. You betrayed your previous chief, I behead you lest you betray me too, you independent-minded, and this is a warning to all of my vassals.

“I am always fascinated by why Hungarians seem to believe they have a grasp of the intricacies of the situation in the USA”

I used the word “self-indictment” in the political, and not in the legal sense.

Republican Congress and Trump are in mutual dependence now. Republicans block impeachment as long as Trump delivers their political and economic agenda. But if the political fallout is large enough, they can suffer in the 2018 midterm election.

Guest

A few remarks:
First, whose car is this, featured prominently? Surely not the neni’s …

Even her in the rich West you see many houses like this, looking like uninhabited ruins, and suddenly an old woman appears (not as often a man, they die much earlier …).
The grass is not cut, the cat (or even cats – because they don’t have the money to neuter the females …) also look sick and very hungry, the windows are never opened and wet on the inside because there’s no insulation, the roof is falling in etc …

Often half of the house is already coming down …

Though there is a gas line it’s not connected (too expensive) so there’s apile of firewood, given as a present from the village, somewhere in a corner …
A sad, sad sight – maybe a million people living like that?

Our neighbour just told us that in our main street in the village this winter 10 people died – so there are 10 more empty houses, the young ones long ago all moved either to Budapest or to Western Europe.

Hungary is becoming the land of the “ghost villages”!

A film from here would look even more horrible!

Observer
Guest

Wolfi

The thing is of course staged, clumsily, e.g. not only the car (imagine B néni driving, or paying the costs!), but her hair was professionally made (where in this hamlet?) and even the pigsty was very well swept.

The house is not too bad by Hungarian village standards – it’s not cracked and tumbling down, eaten by saltpetre up to mid windows, with leaking roof or a trash dump in the yard.
There is much worse and a lot of it, all visible just off the main roads.

Reminds me the anecdotal “Santa simplicitas” of Giordano Bruno when a B néni added a stick to his pyre praying for his heretical soul.

Guest

Observer, yes I’ve seen worse houses being lived in by some poor soul – but still: no running water, no gas – in a “Central European” country as Fidesz so often proudly declares.
A bit OT:
My wife just told me the latest joke going round:
O’s next visit will be to some Csaba bácsi – and instead of a raise in the pensions he’ll promise the pensioners cheap viagra …
But he won’t mention that all that money comes from Brussels.
Btw I got that joke and my wife also laughed heartily at the “Nagy géci in Nagygéc”.
Whoever chose that village for this visit must have selected it on purpose imho! 🙂

Totally OT:
Now I see new comments repeated three times!
Strange …

Ferenc
Guest

that latest joke comes from KAP! (Kovács András Péter, stand-up comedian) visiting Berci bácsi:
https://444.hu/2017/05/08/kap-parodiajaban-orban-vikor-permetezot-visz-berci-bacsinak-es-megigeri-az-ingyen-viagrat
https://www.facebook.com/KAPvagyok/ (post from May.07)

Member

Wolf, kudos. There is no other weapons than humour and you get it. 😂

Guest

Albrecht, I’m sure you know about “gallows humour” …

Good night from the Balaton, at least it’s getting warmer – and tourists are arriving in Hévíz!

ambator
Member

Hála Simicska Lajosnak mi tudjuk, ha ő nem is, hogy Orbán valóban nagygéci.
Sorry English-minded friends, I apologize for the untranslatable pun.

Ferenc
Guest

A ‘Nagy Geci’ Nagygécen… (reference 2015.Feb.06 Simiscka)

Ferenc
Guest

The ‘Big F**khead’ at Nagygéc…

Jean P.
Guest

Eva: “The trip was actually a homage to the work of Imre Makovecz, an architect whose worldview and nationalism were close to Viktor Orbán’s heart.”

It may be his admiration for Makovecz that has held Orban from building scyscrapers as autocrats tend to do.

https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2951762

Ferenc
Guest

“building scyscrapers as autocrats tend to do”
To my knowledge there are plans to build such at a location originally to be used for buildings/venues for the Olympics.

Ferenc
Guest

Expect investigative reporters to dig into the project of the Memorial Park in Nagygéc, here’s the first one I found:
https://vastagbor.atlatszo.hu/2017/05/06/bayer-zsolt-otletebol-epult-emlekpark-a-6-lakosu-faluban-562-millio-eu-s-penzbol/

Short summary:
-idea for park from Bayer Zsolt (2010)
-costs 562 million HUF (100% EU funding)
-completed 2013-2014
Not (yet) revealed info:
-companies involved / yearly visitors

Info about Nagygéc itself:
-inhabitants: 1980 – 22 / 2011 – 10 / 2017 – 6
-public utilities: electricity
-missing utilities: water, gas, sewage, public transport

No info found, if flood protection is implemented to avoid the area to be awaiting future flooding by high water from the Szamos/Somes river.

Ferenc
Guest

A 2011 article about Nagygéc (so from before the Memorial Park): http://index.hu/belfold/2011/07/24/ahol_meg_az_isten_is_gaal/
2015 website from the project: https://eaop-megmaradas-temploma.made-in.hu
Public announcement about project: http://kozbeszerzes.hu/data/hirdetmeny/portal_15909_2014.pdf

name in bistro
Guest

This was a total bullshit small video but the liberal media successfully made a huge fuss about it. It really went viral because of the liberal media.

Nobody would’ve seen it, now hundreds of thousands have seen it including retired people who like what they saw. They do like Orban, the good king, Orban the new Janos Kadar, they like the respect they get from Orban who will give them money, ok?

The commies only took money away (remember Bokros and Bajnai) but Orban only gives. These videos should be ignored and not distributed by the liberal media.

Do you seriously believe Feket-Győr of Momentum who spends more time caring for his beard than this lady spends in his vegetable garden and combs his hair just so will be able to defeat Orban?

The elections are decided by 3m pensioners and over 6m rural voters. Mock them (and politicians who cater to them) at your peril.

Observer
Guest

You see guys, we were unhappy with Doggo etc, now what about this idiot?

Ferenc
Guest

It’s just ‘one of the Doggos bollocking in a bistro’, never come with valid arguements, so best NEGLECT

Guest
name in bistro should not be condemned without due process before the inquisition. I will assume the role of advocatus diaboli and submit the following in his defence: He may be a troll but he is not an idiot. He is writing coherently, he uses no fouler words than bullshit and he has some valid points I shall mention and some untenable points I shall also mention. 1. ”Nobody would’ve seen it (the video), now hundreds of thousands have seen it including retired people who like what they saw.” True. 2. ”The elections are decided by 3m pensioners and over 6m rural voters. Mock them … at your peril.” True. 3. ”Do you seriously believe Feket-Győr of Momentum who spends more time caring for his beard than this lady spends in his vegetable garden and combs his hair just so will be able to defeat Orban? No, we don’t believe that, but for other reasons. 4. ”they like the respect they get from Orban who will give them money”. They get neither respect nor money from Orban. He has maded them believe that they do. All in all his comment is a blend of plausible and implausible as most other… Read more »
Guest

Your opinion of Hungarian pensioners is extremely low – do you really think that they’ll be moved by this kind of BS?

When they look at their pension slip and see the amount and then compare it with other sums …
They know what O has given them at least my wife does and I have to blush when she calls out some words counting her pension money …

PS:
Orban the new Janos Kadar
That’s a good joke – or is it?

Ed Lo
Guest

Well, you must understand that most pensioners (who rarely if ever use internet) have no idea about the world.

They only have access to Fidesz controlled TV (increasingly the basic cable packages don’t include independent RTL only Fidesz-owned TV2), radio and print media (such as municipal papers).

They, at least many of them, really have no idea in rural places about what’s going on in Hungary, except for the propaganda (that migrants want to rape our daughters, Jews like Soros want to exploit long-suffering Hungarians).

They are far away from the action and always have been. The care about the price of bacon and potato and suchlike.

Orban knows how to speak their language while urban politicians don’t.

These rural people only understand feudalism and similar power structures and this is what they expect. Orban provides this to them which means Orban creates a world in which they feel comfortable.

This video is not a joke, it’s deadly serious. Believe me it works for rural people.

Guest

For some people it might work, you’re maybe right – so let Hungary continue on its way down the drain, which Bözi neni’s house doesn’t even have btw, just look at the picture …
On the other hand, my wife and her older sister (75 years …) every day open 444 and index on their smartphones (given to them by their sons as Xmas presents) and comment on facebook etc …

So maybe there is hope – if not, just let the old Hungarians die – the younger ones will have left the country anyway!

6 people left in a typical village – how long will it take until the number is ZERO?

Ferenc
Guest

“increasingly the basic cable packages don’t include independent RTL”
I can hardly imagine this (RTL is overal the most popular station, see the TV viewers data), but on the other hand it doesn’t seem impossible!
Are you sure? Can you show some proof?
If so it can only mean that OV&Fidesz have stong influence/power over the providers.

Guest

Afaik the situation is that in the basic package (that we have) there usually is RTL included – but not some of the dozens of extra programs that show movies etc …
All together there mst be more than a hundred channels now in Hungary, some very specialised like for hunters and anglers …
But we don’t watch tv often – it’s too boring …

Observer
Guest

Ferenc

Orbah giveth (your monies), but before he giveth, lo and behold, he taketh (you monies again) and much more for himself. And God saw it was not good, but Gods minions saw it was good for them and they taketh with great anger.

wrfree
Guest

Re: “A memory country (emlékország) which sends messages to the past instead of to the future.”

What a woeful outlook for the Magyars today. I’d think Bozsis and Bacsis would be hard pressed to figure how ‘art’ helps them to enjoy their days. They’re just looking on to get the next meal. To survive.

Ironic that Makovecz’s tree idioms which filter his work is probably the next best thing to analyze how the country has fared from the Kadar years. Appears to be a continuing descent into decrepitude in those boring pastoral countrysides. And it’s all shown in the memory of trees which dot the landscapes and stand as organic witnesses to what has been occurring to the heart and soul of a nation. Slash a tree open and the ruin is all there. A Magyarorszag with trees too too weak to stand in the indifferent and insensitive political world the country runs around in.

Ferenc
Guest

OT
Peterke vetoed today in the EU Foreign Affairs Council (FAC), of course it concerns migration. Tomorrow have to be taken and agreed final decisions/actions. Could be interesting…..
http://hvg.hu/itthon/20170510_Szijjarto_botranyt_robbantott_ki_vetojaval_a_kulugyminiszterek_tanacsaban
FAC agenda (incl.link to tomorrow’s press conference): http://www.consilium.europa.eu/en/meetings/fac/2017/05/11/

Ferenc
Guest

Seems Peterke was just bollocking around yesterday and basically for gaining some national attention. Why? Who knows, strategy of the Bollock Brothers………
The whole item was not on the agenda!
Here’s a report about it: http://hirtv.hu/newsroom/veto-1394854

Member

Bozsi neni is just like millions of other voters all over the world: I don’t give a damn about principles, just give me cash in hand.

Orban’s response was a tad unsettling. Bozsi neni said that when her daughter asked her why she is a dedicated Orban voter, she replied, “Because he always raises my pension before the election. I wish we could have elections every year.” (Not the exact translation.)

A responsible PM would have responded, “Well, thank you, but I certainly hope that’s not the only reason you vote for us! Do you like what we did in x, y, and z areas? How about our track record in z, y, and x? And I hope my administration can persuade your daughter to vote for my party next year… tell me, what issues are important to your daughter and your grandkids?”

Instead, Slicko Vicko fires back with, “Look at all the other pork you got from me!”

Doggo
Guest

I would like to congratulate the experts and geniuses here who foretold the imminent firing of James Comey, the FBI director nominated by Obama.

Oh wait, no, you didn’t predict that, geniuses. You predicted Gorka and Bannon to be dismissed, while both still serve at the White House. Clearly you don’t understand the Trump administration as well as you have claimed.

Excuse me if I remain unconvinced of your other claims about how beloved Soros is and the great support Soros and his businesses and interests enjoy by the current US govt.

Ferenc
Guest

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Ferenc
Guest

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you’ll meet them soon in the kennel, no not the dogs….

Member

OT:
Back when Petra Laszlo was kicking migrants, who’d have thunk that Nemzet 1 TV would be offering up on-target interviews exposing Fidesz as a bag of hateful air?
But that’s what they just did. For Hungarian speakers:

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