Hungarian Spectrum celebrates its tenth anniversary

It was exactly ten years ago, on June 27, 2007, that I posted my first article on Hungarian Spectrum. It was a short description of Hungarian farmers questioning the minister of agriculture on the whereabouts of EU subsidies for which they were waiting. Since that time altogether 3,580 posts have appeared on the blog, most of which were written by me.

It was at the urging of a good friend that after some hesitation I decided to embark on the project. By that time I was confident that I knew enough about Hungarian affairs to write worthwhile posts on politics. I was also frustrated by the lack of English-language information on Hungarian politics on the Internet. Yet I was unsure of my own ability to write blog-style prose. It is one thing to write articles on history and an entirely different matter to write a blog for the general reader interested in current politics. My first attempt was a rather scholarly treatise which was immediately rejected by my friends as not the kind of stuff blogs are made of. After a more or less successful switch to a more journalistic style, I began an enterprise that has completely transformed my life in the last ten years.

I knew that it would take time for people even to find Hungarian Spectrum on the Internet, and if they did find it there was no guarantee that they would be interested in what I had to say. There was another danger. I know of so many people who decide to write a blog but who, after a burst of initial enthusiasm, find that keeping up the regular publishing of new material requires more discipline and perseverance than they ever thought necessary. “If you want to create a successful blog, you must write frequently, preferably every day, otherwise your readers will abandon you,” I was warned.

So, I made the jump and the rest is history. Just as “exTor,” one of our faithful readers who carefully researched the beginnings of Hungarian Spectrum, noted, the first comment didn’t arrive until August 9, 2007, that is 43 very long days later. I remember the day well. It was a real breakthrough because in the first few weeks Hungarian Spectrum barely had any readers. I must have visited the site at least three or four times a day to find out the number of visitors. I remember distinctly one particular day when I had nine readers, but at the end of the day I came to the conclusion that actually there was only one “reader,” me.

I no longer remember how long it took before I received a personal e-mail from an American expat who told me that Hungarian Spectrum was a real hit in the expat community in Budapest. I was astonished since this was the first positive feedback I had received. People are talking about Hungarian Spectrum in Budapest? As time went by, not only did the readership grow substantially but the blog also acquired the reputation of being a reliable source of information on Hungarian politics. After two years I received my first invitation to give a lecture on the Hungarian far right at a conference in Washington. Because of the blog I came into contact with present and past Hungarian politicians and scholars, some of whom have since become personal friends. Hungarian Spectrum is also read by foreign diplomats in Budapest and elsewhere. Given the number of e-mails I receive from journalists from all over the world I know that Hungarian Spectrum is an important source of information.

Hungarian Spectrum has 2,337 subscribers who receive the daily posts in e-mail form. More than 2,000 people follow it on Facebook and another 1,300 on Twitter. In addition, it has 2,000-3,000 hits daily, but when there is a “hot topic” like the recent one on Hungarian politicians’ comments on the Treaty of Trianon, that number can easily double. The readers come from all over. For example, in the last few minutes we had visitors from Romania, Poland, the Netherlands, Sweden, the United States, Hungary, Germany, Spain, Serbia, France, the United Kingdom, Finland, and Australia.

I’m especially grateful to those readers who contribute to the quality of the blog with their thoughtful comments. I’m immensely proud of the civilized manner in which political discussions are conducted on Hungarian Spectrum, in stark contrast to many other sites. And there is one more thing that I find gratifying: the absence of nationalistic clashes between Hungarian, Romanian, and Slovak readers.

Starting Hungarian Spectrum was one of the best decisions of my life. Although writing an article practically every day is a lot of work, it is also immensely satisfying. I really love what I’m doing, and that by itself is a gift to be treasured.

 June 27, 2017
Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
Member

A heartfelt congratulation Éva!!! I look forward to read your blog in my email every single day. I don’t know how can you keep up your energy and receive, disseminate all the accurate and valuable information? I hope you live forever (even if this is a little selfish wish)!!!

Robert
Guest

I love being part of the readership, but more acutely, a part of the community. Thanks for keeping me informed and very much interested in things going on, at home and all over the world. But also, on a personal level, thank you for trying. I’m very much like minded. X

ambator
Member

Best wishes and congratulations for the ten years as well as for the incredible amount and quality of work you have produced. I truly admire your tenacity and cool objectivity at all times.
I often wondered when will you find it fitting to publish the best of the Spectrum in a book form. After ten years I believe it is about time to consider it.

Daniel
Guest

Congratulations, Eva. Your contribution to better understanding of Hungarian affairs in these critical times is invaluable. Information in English is scarce at best, and their reliability is often questionable, as there are few that truly understands the complex situation in Hungary. This is why people from all over turn to you as a source. HS is up to date, reliable, factual, and usually can be understandable for people who know not much about Hungary, while still being informative for experts. We owe big thanks to you and wish you the very best.

C.B.L
Guest

C.B.L

C.B.L
Guest

Congratulations from a daily reader in Australia who keeps Hungarian relatives and Australian friends informed about Hungary on the basis of the information gathered from your blog.

sunyilo12
Member

Dear Eva,

My sincere hope this terrific run can continue for many years to come! Your intellectual energy is nothing short of incredible and thousands of readers are beneficiaries of it. I wish you the best of health to carry on – as you can count on the support of this community to keep going – and hope we’ll have an opportunity to meet in person, after all we probably live within 100 miles.

Csaba K. Zoltani
Guest

Spectrum refers to a range over which a system varies. It is unfortunate that the usually well written HS blog contradicts this definition since it consistently reports everything from a single political view, indeed it never reports anything positive about Hungary.

Member

Professor Balogh’s praise is not a birthright: It has to be earned.

Nor is Professor Balogh’s insightful, exhaustive and tireless scrutiny a birthright: Hungarians should be grateful for it. It might even eventually help end and reverse Hungary’s decline into rogue nation status.

We all have so much to be grateful to you for, dear Éva.

dos929
Guest

Csaba > it isn’t Eva’s ‘fault’ there isn’t much positive to write about Hungary during the past decade, especially since the Orban regime got hold on ruling the country… Eva’s HS blog that is written in her eloquent English is a most valuable contribution for understanding events in Hungary. And I must add that the number of readers is probably much greater than what is quoted by Eva, as surely I am not the only one who passes on to others the HS links. We all must be grateful to Eva for her tireless and informative work that indeed deserve recognition not only by her faithful readers but also by the diplomatic circles that are using HS as a valuable and historical source of information. Keep up the excellent work Eva!!!

kinyílott-a-pitypang
Guest
kinyílott-a-pitypang

Mr. Zoltani, in Budapest only about 10% that one in ten is satisfied with how things work.

People are livid and would prefer change but many also know that the system is rigged so they just gave up hope that change is possible.

There is actually reason to be pessimistic and depressed.

Moreover Orban’s system is kinda unique within the EU – in that it is fundamentally built on corruption.

Orban is personally running the racket and his family (via fronts and shell companies) is getting rich beyond belief. The level of corruption cannot be comprehended by any sane notion of the term ‘greed’.

Meanwhile public services are at African levels. And the media (much of which is operated by Fidesz via taxpayers money) is producing propaganda and simply avoids anything that may be deemed as critical of the government.

I_reborn
Guest

” in Budapest only about 10% that one in ten is satisfied with how things work.” scientifically speaking or limited to the opinion of left-lib residents? Perhaps the “intellectual=leeches” community?

stephen gergatz
Guest

Congratulations Prof. Balogh on a decade of in depth journalism. You are truly a service to humankind. Stephen Gergatz, M.D.

I_reborn
Guest

Journalism? Are you kidding?

“Journalism is the production and distribution of reports on the interaction of events, facts, ideas, and people that are the “news of the day” and that impacts society to at least some degree”

To start with Eva’s self declared definition of her blog is “opinion”. There are no hard facts here, just slogans and accusations thrown around without the slightest effort to provide underpinning proves.

Please use the right words when describing the activities on this blog: Hatemongering, unfounded labeling, baseless criticism, interference in the political life of a foreign country….
and
FAKE NEWS

exTor
Guest

Positiveness speaks for itself, Mr. Zoltani. That’s why I now live in Hungary after many decades in Canada. The good things that one may derive in Magyarország dont need to be enumerated, nor do they need to be corrected. The Hungarian negatives, however, do need attention.

The major negative in Hungary is the government of Viktor Orbán. It is not for nothing that most articles posted by this forum’s facilitator Éva Balogh point to either Orbán or to Fidesz. She is not a mindless hater, she knows full well what is up in the country that I’ve chosen to reside in. Éva brings a mindset honed by the best of Western sensibilities. She knows that what is good for Europe, for Canada, for the US must also be good for Hungary.

What is paramount is the salience of the illiberalness of Viktor Orbán, the harm that will befall Hungary if he is not stopped. That is her mission.

MAGYARKOZÓ

I_reborn
Guest

You are right on that “She is not a mindless hater” rather a well paid Soros surrogate who gets her material from the Gyurcsanyats and publishes it without the slightest idea of the life of the average Hungarian people.

You are also right that “What is paramount is the salience of the illiberalness of Viktor Orbán, the harm that will befall Hungary if he is not stopped.” If you meant that the Country will not be occupied by primitive foreign hordes, my daughters and perhaps your female relatives will not be raped and enslaved as sex objects to be baby factories, you and I will not have to worry about being beheading for not converting to the invadors’ religion, being homosexuals, eating pork, drinking wine and pálinka, play poker or ulti, going to the movie theaters and visit team parks for pleasure rather than sticking our ass upward five times a day. If that is “harm”: I want to be harmed!

And last “That is her mission.” Or maybe, just maybe her livelihood? Eh?

wrfree
Guest

You know I would hope perhaps one day a publishing house would gather all the essays and/or cull the best and put them into a compendium as the blog writings are almost virtually a day by day diary of Magyar current events……especially for those who do not know the ‘difficult’ language and yet want to understand what is going on in the country.

Jon Van Til
Guest

A book of the most significant essays, or an accessible web page presenting them, would provide an enormous and lasting contribution. Eva would of course call the shots, but who would be available to execute this considerable task?

wrfree
Guest

Prof Van Til…may I make a suggestion? Personally I would be more than willing in passing along a contribution towards that effort. Perhaps those who have publishing contacts either here in the States or in Europe could put out feelers on the possible publication of book, periodical or web page would be accessible.

If a book and if it gets published of course I would love an autographed copy if the esteemed Prof would oblige! Perhaps others who have know her for quite awhile would like it too. That book would be based on courage in service toward providing ‘ information with integrity’.

Guest

I don’t remember when I discovered HS (quite a few years ago) but I’ve been a reader ever since and usually start my day reading the latest post (if not, I catch up later). The funny thing is that I spoke of this blog to some Hungarian expats living here in Belgium and even though they read Hungarian-language news sites (the few that are still independent and objective), they do follow Eva’s blog too. Thank you for your amazing job, Eva!

Peter
Guest

Congratulations, and keep writing! After living in Budapest for 4 years, I have transitioned back to the US, and am grateful to be able to keep up on Hungarian political issues via your daily posts.

Ferenc
Guest

Congratulations and a big big THANK YOU for all the insightful information you have provided for everybody interested in Hungarian matters. And that since 10 years on a daily bases, amazing!!
Eva you deserve some sort of a medal/award for all you’ve done on and with Hungarian Spectrum!! Wish you all the joy and good health to continue as long as you wish!!

Member

Thank you for providing the world with this great source of information.
Considering how masterly fidesz parrots use doublespeak and “pávatánc” any source discerning and pointing at that is invaluable contribution. We all badly need that.

Observer
Guest

Congratulations!
Thanks!
And deepest admiration for the incredible achievement quantity and quality wise. Although I live in Hungary the thorough screening and compilation of sources offer a quick insight
Fighting this utterly corrupt and immoral regime rotting the country is patriotic cause which obviously many of the readers concur with.
Keep the good work and God bless you !
(from an atheist)

Bowen
Guest

Thank you so much for this blog. I’m not sure whether you ever had any journalistic ambitions, but Hungarian Spectrum is one of the most important sources of news on Hungary in English.

This blog has been very valuable to me and my family, and has helped us make very important decisions, such as that to leave Hungary behind for the present time, and continue life elsewhere.

Some might criticise this blog for offering too much criticism of Hungary, or being too pessimistic. But how else can you treat Hungary these days? It’s been in a desperate state for years now, and things are unlikely to improve.

If you want to find information about Hungary that makes everything seem like everything is wonderful, and rosy, then there are already lots of those. Mostly sponsored by the government.

One of the most important things this blog does, however, is to treat its readership with respect and credit people with having intelligence.

Long may it continue. And we should all thank Eva Balogh for actually having enough love for Hungary to continue writing about the country, day after day.

David North
Guest

Congratulations and thanks for your hard work.

Boti
Guest

Best analysis of Hungarian events – in any language. Many thanks.

exTor
Guest

comment image

This may have been one of your easier articles, Éva, for it came from the heart, just as all the congratulatory appreciatory posts are heartfelt. You can deservedly bask in them. This may be a difficult act to follow.

MAGYARKOZÓ

Peter Fitzwater
Guest

Congratulations on your first 10 years, Eva. May many more follow.

Miksha
Guest

Congratulations, Éva, and thank you for working so hard to give the news and events of Hungary deep context. As one of your many readers who lives outside Hungary but has family, friends, and in-laws there, I can tell you that your analysis and thoughtful words have greatly helped our understanding of everyday life and difficult daily political issues. Many thanks!

Member

I think I am not alone in saying that this blog is a really important voice online for many of us. Here’s to another successful 10 years!

PS. After you’ve shown your gratitude to Eva, I encourage you to go here next: http://hungarianspectrum.org/donate/

petofi
Guest

Good work, Eva.
Keep on going on–you will need be a material witness against those who now rape the country continually…

Istvan
Guest
Sometimes I read Eva’s blog in amazement at the scope of her discussions on Hungary. She has a laser focus on the problems the rule of Orban has generated for Hungary, but generally less discussion of the dilemma that the transition of Hungary from a command economy into a world market has created. As an American conservative who has some reverence for markets none the less I am deeply concerned about the dominance of Hungary economically by the combined power of oligarchy driven capitalism coming from the Russian model (there is a different variant in China too) and the multinational corporations coming from the EU and my own country the USA. Eva explains well and frequently issues relating to Hungary’s own Fidesz dominated oligarchy and crony capitalism, but not how that sub-sector interfaces with multinationals and in some cases may even benefit those corporations. There is a very well subtitled speech by PM Orban where he plays the card of Hungarian independence via the EU due to the foreign invasion of Islamic refugees, Orban even claims in the speech to defend the rights of the LGBT community and equality between men and women. Here is a link to it https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=EbINrdyAXlE… Read more »
Ferenc
Guest

Re: the video
even the (in) heavens were crying

wrfree
Guest

‘Shall we be slaves or men set free?’

Ironic to bring in the ‘peculiar institution’ into Magyar freedom narratives.

If the perception and treatment of migrants is any indication Magyarorszag almost acts like a slaveholder in the sense of looking at their nemesis as inferior beings grasping for stations in life that should always be beneath them. When a focus is put on them it is always in the manner of detestation. But they can be useful in pointing a new awry direction for the country.

As the lack of empathy is stunning, it is beyond belief that VO can understand true ‘slavery’ as a concept. Being white, VO is way out of his element in trying to understand what it means to be a slave.
The slavery he appears to envision is a manufactured one brought upon by his own behavior and attitudes. It is useful propaganda.

I_reborn
Guest
@Istvan, this is an old video. A year in European politics is such a long time that no matter what he said in March 2016, today’s reality is that the unelected bureaucrats unleashed their terror against the Visegrad-4 countries which will result in a major crack in the unity of the EU. It is unfortunate that while the liberals demand to have unfettered freedom of whatever, they want to dictate to four democratically elected governments how to run their respective countries and if they do not comply they try to blackmail, force or even financially penalize them for not bowing to their will. The main argument being echoed day after day that “Hungary is not following European norms and customs” that is full tolerance of Islamic terror on the streets of the metropolitans of Europe. Brussels wants to rape every EU nations by forcing them to accept nomad hordes that are incompatible in every aspect of life with their population. Compared to such political and social disaster the economical facts are so irrelevant today my friend. I used to say that I slept in road side motels off the autobahns of Germany, in five star hotel in Hawaii and in… Read more »
Kati
Guest

Dear Éva, Not sure if it’s appropriate at all but I’m sending you a great-big hug from Hungary as a Thank You with heart-felt admiration gratitude and respect for all you do! Your capacity and stamina that’s needed never stops to amaze me and even serves as a model. Wishing us all many happy returns of the anniversary!

Eszti
Guest

Dear Eva, I’m one of the silent many who read your posts every day from my inbox, and I find them invaluable and frequently provocative. Ten years is an amazing effort, and I wish you at least ten more — with hopefully some more positive political and social change contained in those. Please keep up the hard work, it’s very appreciated.
udv, eszti

LizFrommer
Guest

Interesting first article on farmers and subsidies… some current farmers are still laughing at the “subsidies.” Some in the community, however, have taken things into their own hands which is refreshing to witness. You can read more here: http://budapestupclose.weebly.com/

Gretchen
Guest

I too wish to add my happy good wishes to the rest of yours. I began following HS when I found it some years ago, hoping to improve my understanding of Hungary’s history–and hence its current situation, how that has come about. My wish certainly has been fulfilled! Éva’s respectful blogs–respectful of the truth–are echoed in the respect shown by her commenters, to her, to the subject, and to each other. I am very grateful for this bouquet.

Guest

I congratulated yesterday already and would like to repeat it – after reading all the others I think wecould call Eva’s blog “world wide spectrum” almost!
The breadth and width of the HS readers is really astonishing – there sureley aren’t many sources on Hungary as widely read by people of different backgrounds all over the world!

wpDiscuz