Tag Archives: Mária Schmidt

A more fitting celebration of the 60th anniversary of ’56 in Washington

About a week ago I included a sentence about the reception Réka Szemerkényi, Hungarian Ambassador in Washington, was giving for the sixtieth anniversary of the outbreak of the October Revolution. I reported that to the best of my knowledge a number of important American officials serving in the White House, Congress, and State Department had declined the invitation over concerns about the alarming political developments in Hungary. In addition to their general concerns, they may well have also noticed the systematic falsification of Hungarian history, which includes the events of the ’56 uprising as well. Mária Schmidt, Viktor Orbán’s court historian who had already perverted the history of the Hungarian Holocaust, rewrote the history of the revolution for the anniversary. The result is a monstrosity that bears no resemblance to reality.

This assault on the revolution prompted a group of people in Washington to organize a gathering to celebrate the real events of sixty years ago. They chose not to celebrate with those who claim that executed Imre Nagy “died nicely but wasn’t a hero.” Yes, this is a direct quotation from the chief organizer of the anniversary, Mária Schmidt. Thomas Melia (who as deputy assistant secretary of state in the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, had extensive dealings with Hungary), former Hungarian Ambassador to Washington András Simonyi, and Professor Charles Gati of Johns Hopkins University organized the event that took place last night. About forty people attended, including Zbigniew Brzezinski, President Carter’s national security adviser; Charles Kupchan, currently special assistant to the president and senior director for European affairs at the National Security Council; Damian Murphy, senior member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee; Victoria Nuland, assistant secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs and her husband, Robert Kagan, well-known author, columnist and foreign policy commentator; Hoyt Yee, deputy assistant secretary, Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs; André Goodfriend, chargé d’affaires at the U.S. Embassy in Budapest between August 2015 and January 2016;  Jackson Diehl, deputy editorial page editor of the Washington Post, who writes many of the paper’s editorials on foreign affairs; and Pál Maléter, Jr. son of the minister of defense in the last Nagy government who was reburied along with Imre Nagy on June 16, 1989. Anthony Blinken, U.S. Deputy Secretary of State, couldn’t make it but sent his greetings.

Professor Gati briefly retold the story of the revolution, which is admittedly complex because the intellectual unrest that preceded it began as a factional struggle in the communist party between the Stalinists and the reformers but quickly led to a coalition government in which four parties were represented. This coalition government, which naturally included the communist party, decided to leave the Warsaw Pact. Gati emphasized that the revolution was “profoundly democratic—demanding freedom of the press and checks and balances (called ‘socialist legality’ )—and profoundly pro-Europe. These demands were at the top of the list presented by the students.”

One of the few pictures of members of the Nagy government: Zoltán Tildy, Imre Nagy, and Pál Maléter

One of the few pictures of members of the Nagy government: Zoltán Tildy, Imre Nagy, and Pál Maléter

Of course, we know that the Orbán regime’s narrative is very different: the revolution was transformed into an anti-communist crusade led by right-wing representatives of the pre-1945 period. Those intellectuals who were disillusioned communists were removed from the historical narrative prepared for the anniversary celebrations, as were social democrats and liberals. As if they never existed. They simply don’t fit into Orbán’s worldview.

Professor Gati then moved on to the situation in Hungary today and brought up the speeches of Péter Boross and László Kövér. “This Monday, the speaker of the Hungarian parliament blamed the United States not Moscow for crushing the revolution while another high official spoke of the heinous deeds of U.S. imperialism,” adding “I’m not making this up.” And, Gati continued: “Even in Washington, where Hungarian officials work hard to mislead us by praising transatlantic relations, on Sunday they somehow forgot to read Vice President Joe Biden’s message to their invited guests; I guess their feelings were hurt that they didn’t hear from President Obama.”

Gati told his personal story as a refugee after the revolution. “I came here penniless and was treated fantastically by everyone: the International Rescue Committee, Indiana University, and various employees of Columbia University, Johns Hopkins University, even the State Department.” He recalled that the quota for Hungarians (4,400) was quickly filled but that within days Congress was authorized to allow another 40,000 Hungarian refugees to come. He contrasted this behavior with the situation today. In Hungary they build a razor wire fence to keep refugees out and even in the United States some people contemplate building walls. “My hope is that the old spirit of generosity will guide us again someday soon. There is another Hungary there that deserves our attention and support,” he concluded. I think that every Hungarian refugee should join Charles Gati in remembering the generosity of Austrians, Germans, Brits, Swedes, Swiss, Canadians, Australians, and Americans in those days and feel profoundly sad at the behavior of the Hungarian government, which incited ordinary Hungarians against the refugees.

I should add that Anita Kőműves, a young journalist who used to work for Népszabadság, happened to be in Washington and was invited to speak. The applause that followed her words honored those journalists who paid for their bravery with their livelihood because Viktor Orbán doesn’t believe in a free press, one of the very first demands of the Hungarian students in 1956.

October 28, 2016

Mária Schmidt’s “Israelification of Europe” and Mária M. Kovács’s review

Well-known pro-government “intellectuals” often create blogs on which they write articles paid for by the Orbán government. Mária Schmidt, by contrast, offers her services gratis. She doesn’t need the few thousand forints the Orbán government coughs up. She is a wealthy woman who got even richer thanks to the good offices of the current administration.

On her blog, “Látószög” (Viewing Angle), she and a handful of other people post regularly. She herself writes at least one article a month, sometimes two. Her August piece is devoted to her favorite topic of late, Islam’s threat to Europe. The title of her article is “Israelification of Europe.”

Budapest Sentinel translated the full article, for which I’m most grateful because it has stirred up quite a controversy. I’m reprinting it below.

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Mária M. Kovács, history professor at Central European University, wrote a short article about this Schmidt piece with the ironic title: “The Bayerization of Israelization.” A year ago an article appeared in The Times of Israel by Emmanuel Heymann, a young Israeli who has written extensively on international relations, titled “The Israelization of Europe is under way.” In it he talks about waves of Muslim immigrants who “have enriched old Europe and positively transformed European societies.” But this immigration “also brought with it new challenges, most notably in integration and assimilation.” Religious enclaves in larger European cities have sprung up and many of the newcomers don’t feel part of their adopted countries. In addition, terrorism has reached the European continent and there are security concerns. Israel has had to face similar challenges throughout its existence. Perhaps now that radical Islam has reached Europe, Europeans will have more sympathy for Israel’s handling of its own problems. Israel and Europe share similar values, the values of liberal democracy, and Europe will also have to recognize that these values are incompatible with the “totalitarian political ideology of Islam.”

Mária Schmidt’s “Israelization of Europe” sends a very different message. Her Europe, as Mária M. Kovács aptly describes it, “is Zsolt Bayer’s frightening, dehumanized world full of demons.” In this world everybody is threatened by foreigners, people of other races and religions. No individuals exist in this world, only groups. And every group is homogeneous, with a common goal and common will.

Not only are the alien groups homogeneous; “the political leaders and members of the intellectual elite are also uniform.” In her view, the “whole European mainstream is made up of aberrant and mentally ill people who are so stupid that they can barely wait to be enslaved.” They want to “become victims” in order to escape from the guilt they feel for Europe’s past.

For years Zsolt Bayer has been saying almost the same thing. In Bayer’s Europe events are directed by conspirators. Immigrants who want to conquer Europe and all the European politicians, churchmen, and intellectuals who don’t share Bayer’s and Schmidt’s worldview are in effect collaborators.

“The Europe of Heymann and Schmidt don’t resemble one another. Heymann’s Europe is multi-faceted and able to handle political debate. Bayer’s and Schmidt’s Europe is led by sick, aberrant people with whom one shouldn’t, in fact mustn’t, find consensus. For Heymann the foundation of mutual understanding are the principles of liberal democracy. For Schmidt liberal democracy cannot be the foundation of understanding and empathy. The ideas of Heymann become an inexorable attack in Schmidt’s hands. She turns Heymann’s call inside out and attacks the very European and Israeli values in whose defense Heymann wrote.”

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Revisionist historian Mária Schmidt warns of the “Israelification of Europe”

Schmidt Maria3

“If people living in a given area are unable to defend their lands, they are going to lose them. Meanwhile they are forced to share their acquired and accumulated possessions with the invited or uninvited settlers, which leads to calculable social tensions. Because every community exists by the grace of its borders, and works by distinguishing between insiders and outsiders.” – Mária Schmidt, historian

Translation of Terror House director Mária Schmidt’s op-ed piece “The Israelization of Europe” posted by Látószög (Viewing Angle) on August 26th, 2016.

“If we want to be generous, we need borders.” – Paul Sheffer

When I first traveled in Israel, before the first intifada, in spite of being a blonde woman I walked alone in Jerusalem’s old town. Later, as I visited every ten years, I noticed that everyday life there became more tense, and the feeling of safety came to be in short supply. The little bus we took six years ago with friends and family for excursions in the Holy Land was stopped every 500 meters by soldiers who came on board and inspected it. The horrific security procedures at their airports have already become normal in other parts of the world. In spite of how painful it might have been for Jews who had broken out behind the closed walls of the ghetto, they had no choice but to encircle the territory of Palestine with border walls in hopes of controlling and identifying terrorists, whose ingenuity and determination grow day by day. Those who take Israeli lives with knives, with swords, with bombs, with guns. Those Muslim fanatics, who don’t value worldly life, and who believe their acts of evil to be tickets to paradise.

We are on the road to the Israelization of Europe. This is clear by now to everyone except the left-liberal elite. How and why are they anesthetizing themselves? How much will they give up to show that they are carefree, acting in good faith, and “humane”? We’ve already learned that no one is stupid for free, especially those who are used to getting paid handsomely for it. (It’s not an accident that Gerard Schröder became a lobbyist for Gazprom after he had signed an enormous contract with the company as Chancellor. It wasn’t an accident that Barroso ended up at Goldman Sachs after he had shown that he was sympathetic to their problems during the 2008 financial crisis. Tony Blair, the Clintons, the Bidens, the Kerrys, etc., all receive millions of dollars for their services as lobbyists, advisers, lecturers, or from the mandates of their sons and relatives.) I wouldn’t be surprised if in time we receive news of a new “accommodations” where one of our current “migrant-lovers” ends up in the services of Soros, or some Saudi company.

But until then let’s look a bit more thoroughly at exactly what we’re facing. Let’s try to answer the following question: Why has the West, so ashamed of its past, so effortlessly glided over Muslim colonization of a significant part of Europe which has for centuries meant threat, invasion, and the loss of millions of lives? Hungary lived for 150 years under Turkish rule, which hindered development and led to a demographic catastrophe (of 4.5 million Hungarians, only 1.5 million remained by the end of the Turkish occupation, many of which were slaves) which had to be remedied with the mass settlement here of foreign ethnicities. Spain, southern France and the Balkans were under Muslim domination for centuries. Because Islam, when it could and can, and where it could and can, came and comes as a conqueror.

“Every virtue, if taken too far, becomes immoral.” – Bernhard Vogel

Islam is one of the world’s religions. Its followers are found in every part of the world. In many places theocracy is operating at the same time as secular power. Elsewhere, following the principle of separation of church and state, they focus on moral and religious questions. In its past and present, the same kinds of acceptable and unacceptable elements are found in Islam as are found in Christianity. Why is it that Christianity has for decades been in the crosshairs of criticism, and recently on a daily basis is exposed to attacks by the advanced West, while, according to these same critics, it wouldn’t be suitable and in fact isn’t permitted to criticize Islam? In its disorientation of the late ’60s and early ’70s, the Western left-liberal intellectual elite found a new object of adoration in the Third World. They came across the Palestinians, and took them, and the whole region and Islam with them, into their patronage. They compensate with condescension their turning of a blind eye to the qualities of Islam which the Western world would not tolerate, and thus don’t consider them equal parties. This all means in practice that they use a double standard. The first is maintained for the European left, which considering the sinful nature of communism, sympathizes with all manifestations of left-wing terrorism. The other is for the “exploited” and “oppressed” Third World, where for them the denial of equal rights before the law for women and sexual minorities is no problem, nor are acts of terrorism as political pressure. This standard the other side of the political spectrum imposes on us and institutionalizes with incessant intellectual carpet bombing.

The Western elite is convinced that the turban-wearers and burnoose or robe-wearers’ minds are not developed, and that Muslims are reliant on their patronage, for which they expect gratitude. They do not presume that Muslims think in long-term strategies, and that they thoroughly plan and precisely implement their steps. The occupation of Europe is an old project of theirs, the implementation of which is launched through excessive demographic relocation, placing ideological pressure on the shoulders of the West with their conscious and aggressive political and economic power, and above all, with the threat of turning off the oil tap. They buy weapons from the West which they use against each other and against the West, and they buy cutting-edge Western technology while flooding Western cities with migrants. They use a part of this migrant community as a fifth column, as hidden terrorist cells, as pressure points, and as a political “ace-in-the-hole.” Whenever and for whatever they need to. Western progressive intellectuals are truly playing the role again of the useful idiot, as they were in service of the goals of Lenin, Stalin and Mao. If in anything, in this they are practiced.

In Hungary in 2013, 19 thousand asylum-seekers were registered. In 2014 their numbers grew to 43 thousand, and last year to 177 thousand. The numbers speak for themselves. And we aren’t even a migration destination country!

This kind of large, quickly expanding foreign community with a different culture, different language and different religion is impossible to integrate. It wouldn’t succeed even if they weren’t arriving with instructions and intentions to demand their own schools, and churches, and separate cemeteries, and ritual butchers, and community centers, so that they can keep and care for their own customs and live uninterrupted in their own closed world and develop their own communities. Of course, the accepting state would be responsible for financing all of the above. Additionally the Quran schools and prayer houses, and the preachers who are responsible for the replacement, recruitment and activation of the extremists, will be paid for in large part by the Saudis. The internet culture and social applications which support and allow separation and the exclusion and outlawing of dissent will also move toward the closing off of their own groups. With the help of their satellites they will have their own television stations, so that they can receive in their own language the ideological ammunition to shame and reject the way of life of those receiving them. No other voice reaches them, only the noise of their own group’s extremists. So they have less and less chance of integration; the majority live on welfare and stay poor. Of course, it’s not the kind of poverty they knew back home in their leaky houses, but the meaning of this will quickly slip away, since in their new homes they will have become affluent. But this standard of living will remain unattainable for most of them, because their lack of language skills or professional skills will make them incapable of getting a good and therefore well-paid job. The spirit of Western tolerance will describe a whole new generation on an ethnic or “cultural” basis while assisting in the emergence of an inferior religiously and ethnically based social class. 26 percent of Somalis, 34 percent of Iraqis, 42 percent of Afghans and 62 percent of Iranians had employment before the great migration waves. Today the statistics are even more abysmal.

“The opposite of good is good intentions.” – Kurt Tucholsky

Chancellor Merkel doesn’t fret on these questions. “We can do it!” (Wir schaffen das) she says, while thinking of what kinds of logistical steps are needed to spread all over Europe these migrants who still don’t want to assimilate. But she is indifferent to how the regularities of coexistence might be formed, because she represents the kind of Germany which is ashamed of its past, ashamed of its present and can hardly wait for, as a citizen of the globalized world, for someone, say, the Muslims to conquer them and absolve them of their Nazi past, of their eternal perpetrator status, which by themselves they are unable to let go of, unable to move past. (Adolf liked Islam too, and did business with his uncle Arafat, Chief Mufti of Jerusalem.) How great it would be, if they could finally play the role of a victim! Well, wouldn’t it be an enviable status? They don’t look for an answer to the question, that if to them Western Christian culture is worthless, because in the European Union’s proposed constitution they couldn’t even refer to it, and if Europe is not Christian anymore, then what is it? What is the community of values to which the newcomers must adapt, that they must accept, embrace? What do we require of them? How will they have to form their communities so that we will be able to live with them? Or will we adapt to them? Do they have no such duty? Where does the practice lead where we excuse the terror attacks that threaten the existence of our communities as psychological disorders? And if this doesn’t satisfy popular opinion, then comes the common mantra: that misery and the colonial past are responsible for terrorist acts. However, as they advertise it: “This is a war led by Allah between Muslim nations and the infidel, pagan nations.” The command is clear. “Kill the infidels,” as Allah said. “Then destroy the idol worshipers wherever you find them.”

We’re familiar with this spurious intellectualization. But we also know that the poor things aren’t terrorists, and they know other methods of suicide that don’t involve the destruction of others. We also learned that some people can take up arms to war and kill in God’s name, for its defense, or its diffusion. Hatred of unbelievers or followers of other faiths was not foreign to our culture in our past. Today, however, we fight religious wars in the form of culture wars, and we fiercely continue bloodless struggles. In this war, the “tolerant”, that is the left-liberal elite and their lackeys, proclaim that they don’t differentiate between cultures and values. In other words, there is only one type of culture and one type of value system, and that is theirs. With their full arsenal they propagandize that those who are arriving here have the same values, intentions and ambitions as they do, and they consider the same things useful and valuable as they do. If our values and culture are no different than theirs, then how can we expect them to adopt them? The equality of women, for example? I wonder if the Western left-liberal elite is simply stupid, or if some suicidal tendency has taken away their common sense and is spreading like an epidemic in Europe’s “credible” institutions, think tanks, universities, and in the air-conditioned left-liberal witches kitchens? And where are they coming across Soros’s dollars? The progressives have a particular tendency for guilt. They consider victims everyone who comes from a different part of the world or who has different colored skin, and they swoon that now finally they can prove how good, humane, tolerant, and multicultural they are! They look in the mirror and their very humanity looks back at them. Great! They can finally be proud. Because the Dutch, Germans, Swiss, etc. have not been able to be proud lately, because of all the sins of their ancestors. However, if they had been proud on an occasion or two of something like, say, a European Championship football match, they would have fallen immediately into the sin of nationalism, which is already almost racism, an unforgivable sin punishable by excommunication! This is how Western Europe is populated, brimming with fine good people!

The last 68-ers, the progressive party’s dying mummies.” – Houellebecq

In certain areas of Africa and the Near East, it took decades for people living there to get off their carpets and out of their tents, leave their dirt roads and cross into the age of skyscrapers, supersonic airplanes, television and internet. In a few years they had to be pulled forward centuries. This is a huge task, a burden, but also an achievement. This kind of turbo-modernization results in a state of shock, which the severing of tribal ties and forced integration into the alienating world of big cities only makes worse. Islam, in this context, provides a solid ground for those masses who end up in a disorienting world. Because Islam is law, rights and instruction. Roots and guidance. Patterns of behavior and a value system. In the context of someone coming to Europe, all of this could not be made any more important and indispensable for someone also having to deal with linguistic, racial and cultural differences. This all increases almost to the point of unbearability the identity crisis those migrants will face who left their homes for the false promise of an easy and successful life, and also for those who came by their own will. Upon arrival they will find that the kafirs, the unbelievers, the antisocial, barbaric, unclean, uncircumcised, depraved masses will not accept them. They will humiliate them with some kind of immigration procedure, they won’t give over their wives and daughters to them, the food and drink will not be what they are accustomed to, and the money they give them won’t be enough to provide them immediately with what they need to live comfortably. They will always be expecting gratitude from them everywhere, and expect that they should know what good people they are for having accepted and helped them. However, they know, and have learned, that if they were actually good people, then they would be Muslims.

In the tribal culture in which most of the influx was socialized, women are property to be bought and sold. The family, the tribe, the man’s good reputation and honor, are all dependent on the obedience and good behavior of the women in the family – meaning, her virginity and marital fidelity. This explains the practices of female genital mutilation and the death penalty for extramarital sexual relationships. Wearing of the headscarf, hijab and burka are compulsory. All of this, spiced with forced marriages and polygamy, is incompatible with the culture of gender equality practiced in the West. While the left-liberals supposedly advocate for same-sex marriage, the denial of basic human rights for sexual minorities by Muslims goes unnoticed. As does the European Jewish community, whose existence, independent of the Palestine-Israel conflict, is a thorn in their eyes. Let us not forget that most migrants’ mentality and worldview remains tribal, regardless of whether they also use 21st century technology developed in the West.

Let us note the argument of the migrant-lovers. They reference humanity, that is, morality, and at the same time demographic and labor needs. They argue that guarding the borders is impossible, and also that international laws dictate that we let everyone in. These are all lies. The fences raised on our borders meant noticeable and immediate relief from the pressure of immigration. They were forced to alter their itineraries, and the entry into Hungary’s territory became ordered, regulated, and lawful. These refute the empty dreams of the liberals that the borders are unnecessary, dreams that are contemptuous of the limits of democracy. If people living in a given area are unable to defend their lands, they are going to lose them. Meanwhile they are forced to share their acquired and accumulated possessions with the invited or uninvited settlers, which leads to calculable social tensions. Because every community exists by the grace of its borders, and works by distinguishing between insiders and outsiders.

The protection of EU borders is entrusted to Erdogan by Merkel and the union leaders panting at her heels, as they entrusted Kadhafi with Libya and Morocco, to crack down ruthlessly on African immigrants if need be. We wash our hands, and we pay. This way we stay good people and can educate everyone on democracy, humanity, and Europeanness.

I agree with Konrád György, that “after Nazism and communism, Islam is the third totalitarian ideology which seriously threatens Europe.” I also agree that “today’s refugees are not singular people who desire to be European citizens. Rather they are a faceless mass, which will in time develop into a parallel society. Along with the growth of their confidence, conflicts will also proliferate, because the Bible accepts the Quran, but the reverse is not true. Europe cannot be good and moral if it is also weak.”

The progressive intellectuals disregard all of this, without exception, and support Muslim migration. Because they feel that finally their opinion matters, and they can see themselves as important and as chosen, like they once did in the Maoist, Trotskyist and Communist movements, in the sit-down strikes and demonstrations of ’68. In the leftist salons they always spoiled that part of the intelligentsia which unscrupulously served progress, whatever class-warrior or multicultural costume they wore at the time. The progressives, who by now have become the politically correct Western mainstream, have for us caused the greatest damage by wanting to deprive us, European citizens, of our self-esteem and self-confidence. And this can hardly be approved of.

September 4, 2016

The Orbán regime and culture: oil and water

When I heard that Mária Schmidt was appointed government commissioner in charge of the “Memorial Year of the 1956 Revolution and War of Independence,” I swore that I would refrain from being popping mad every time I heard yet another crime against the memory of those days. I said I would just ignore the whole thing, although I knew this would be difficult given the amount of money–13.5 billion forints ($49,245,000)–that the Orbán government is spending between October 23, 2016 and October 23, 2017 for the sixtieth anniversary of the event.

Ten years ago, at the more important fiftieth anniversary when scores of heads of states gathered in Budapest to commemorate the event, Viktor Orbán made sure that the whole thing ended as a major embarrassment for the government. He cared neither about the country’s reputation nor the memory of 1956. Perhaps, when his followers along with skinheads and football hooligans turned downtown Pest into a veritable battleground, he was dreaming of another revolution. He himself, however, fled from the rally as soon as he delivered his incendiary speech.

Now, for the sixtieth anniversary, the Orbán government will celebrate themselves and their regime for a whole year while rewriting the history of the 1956 uprising to match their own ideological agenda. The work has already begun. As early as January, at a symposium organized by the Foundation of the Sins of Communism, Bence Rétvári, undersecretary of the ministry of human resources, mouthed off about anticommunism being one of the foundations of democracy, in connection with 1956. The only trouble with that interpretation is that the revolution was not an anticommunist uprising. It was a revolt against Stalinism, something we will never hear about in the “Memorial Year.”

I’m sure Viktor Orbán was mighty upset that he wasn’t the prime minister of Hungary in 2006. Although he is trying to compensate now, I can tell him ahead of time that the sixtieth anniversary of an event is nothing like the fiftieth or the hundredth, no matter how much money he throws at the project. Moreover, this government is known for its incompetence, so we can anticipate many mishaps along the way.

The celebrations hadn’t even started when the first blunder came to light. For some reason this government thinks that songs celebrating an event or an idea have a beneficial effect on the population. For example, in 2013 Tibor Navracsics’s ministry of public administration and justice gave its blessing to a theme song for the Day of National Togetherness, June 4, the anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Trianon. The song as well as the lyrics turned out to be “horror itself.” Here are a few lines from the lyrics: “I dreamed of a peach tree under which everybody dances / I stood in a large circle with you, in the soft grass on a dewy field / Our hands touch, the soles of our feet step on each other / The light of happiness burns in our eyes./ Join the circle! / Dance as your blood dictates, feel the heart of the earth beating with you because we are all in one together.” At that time Bálint Ablonczy, a right-wing journalist, suggested that the government “should leave that culture thing alone. It is not your thing.” Since then the infamous song has died a quiet death.

Unfortunately Viktor Orbán didn’t listen to Ablonczy. On the spur of the moment during his trip to the United States he asked Desmond Child to write a song celebrating 1956. Child is of Hungarian-Cuban extraction and, although he speaks no Hungarian and has had little to do with the country until now, he decided to become a Hungarian citizen. Child agreed but either was not inspired or was simply lazy. He merely re-orchestrated a song he wrote for the University of Miami Hurricanes in 2007, “The Steps of Champions.” That’s bad enough, but what got the goat of Hungarians was that the Orbán government allegedly paid Child 50 million forints ($182,388) for his work. The Hungarians who negotiated with Child–Mária Schmidt and Gábor Tállai, one of her co-workers at the House of Terror–knew nothing about the background of the song. As for the price, they thought it was dirt cheap. As Tállai said, “anyone who knows anything about this profession will think that it was a steal.”

The Hungarian negotiators claim that they paid Child $182,388, while the composer, who is all upset, claims that he received no money for the re-orchestrated piece, now called in Hungarian “For a Free Country”(Egy Szabad Országért). He did his work gratis. He wrote on Facebook: “I’m extremely surprised and disappointed how a part of the Hungarian media has launched a full-blown and unworthy attack against the project, my person and my family life. I feel especially hurt that they would politicize even this sincere tribute to the 1956 Hungarian Revolution which lives forever in our history to promote their own current agendas.” Considering that Child knows no Hungarian, someone must be feeding him the lines about the antagonistic and unfair media which tries to politicize the sacred anniversary of the revolution. Who is telling the truth? We don’t know.

And then there are the Hungarian lyrics written by Tamás Orbán, editor of light entertainment at Duna Televízió, which is part of MTVA (in English: Media Services and Support Trust Fund), which can best be described as the Orbán news factory. He is perhaps most famous for his Hungarian lyrics for a TV series for children, “The Smurfs,”called “Hupikék törpikék” (Gaudy blue little dwarfs). 444.hu found quite a few hilarious lines, such as “you have been worn away between many fires”; “you don’t need to know the past in order to gain understanding”; “this landscape is not a map”; “neither misfortune nor enemy can tear us apart.”

fishes

The enunciation of the singers is also problematic. The line “Magyarország halld szavunk, hány arc és név” (Hungary, hear our pledge, how many faces and names) sounds very much like “Magyarország, halszagú , hányatsz és mész” (Hungary, fishy smelly, puke and leave). So a lot of people are having loads of fun with this new hymn of the revolution. But don’t worry, this atrocity will soon be forgotten like others before it. There was, for example, the Hymn of the Republic that was supposed to replace the national anthem. I remember that many of its words were either historical or archaic and that we as children had no idea what they meant. One line went: “Hullt a pór, hullt a gyereke” (The peasant fell, and also fell his child). “Pór” is an old-fashioned word for “paraszt,” peasant. Well, we didn’t know “pór” but we knew “por” (dust) and dust falls, doesn’t it? We didn’t bother with the nonsensical “dust’s child.”

No one will remember the lyrics of the tribute to 1956 and no one will sing it, although I’m sure that the state radio station will blare it at least once a day. But it will simply not stick. Orbán and Company should have left “culture” alone. Not their thing.

August 21, 2016

Viktor Orbán’s favorite party failed to gain the Austrian presidency

On Tuesday Viktor Orbán, who seems to have an iron constitution, took the day off because, as his office announced, he was sick. Yesterday a humorous little piece appeared in Sztarklikk with the title: “That’s why Orbán fell ill.” Surely, the author said, Orbán needed to be revived with smelling salts after learning that Norbert Hofer, the candidate of the far-right Austrian Freedom Party (FPÖ), had narrowly lost the Austrian presidential election. Well, smelling salts might be a bit of an exaggeration, but Orbán’s disappointment had to be great because it is a well-known fact that Heinz-Christian Strache, the leader of FPÖ, and Viktor Orbán greatly admire one another.

At the end of September when Viktor Orbán visited the Austrian chancellor, Werner Faymann (SPÖ), and his deputy, Reinhold Mitterlehner, in order to temper months of quarreling between the two countries, the Hungarian prime minister was also planning to meet Strache. Unfortunately, apparently to the great sorrow of Orbán, the planned meeting had to be cancelled in the last minute. The reason was straightforward enough. Strache is persona non grata in mainstream Austrian political circles, and when the Austrians found out about Orbán’s plans they expressed their strong disapproval. In fact, Deputy Chancellor Mitterlehner, whose party, the Austrian People’s Party (ÖVP), just like Fidesz, belongs to the EU’s European People’s Party, refused to meet with Orbán if he insisted on going through with his original plan. Reluctantly, Orbán cancelled the meeting.

Apparently Orbán is convinced that Strache is a man of the future. Strache’s threat to build a fence between Austria and Hungary to keep Hungarian workers out of his country didn’t seem to dampen his enthusiasm for the man. Strache might not like Hungarians working in Austria, but several times he expressed his admiration for Orbán, who is “one of the few honest politicians who don’t want to sell out or destroy Europe.” He added that Orbán is the only European politician who has any brains when it comes to the migrant issue.

The Hungarian government has had strained relations with Austrian politicians of the two governing parties, SPÖ and ÖVP. Even a cursory look at the political news of the last few months reveals repeated insults being exchanged between Werner Faymann and Péter Szijjártó. Although Faymann resigned as chancellor on May 9 of this year, most likely to the great relief of Viktor Orbán and Péter Szijjártó, it looks as if his successor, Christian Kern, will be no better from the Hungarian point of view. In fact, I suspect that the new Austrian chancellor will be an even more severe critic of the Hungarian prime minister, whose views are practically identical to those of Heinz-Christian Strache.

A few days ago Kern announced that “it is an illusion to think that the refugee problem can be solved by European countries adopting authoritarian systems as the Hungarian prime minister, Viktor Orbán, has done.” Szijjártó, as is his wont, responded immediately and rashly. According to him, what is an illusion is any hope that with a change in the Austrian chancellorship insults from Austria will cease. Kern’s statement, he said, compared Hungary to Hitler’s Germany. “It is unacceptable for anyone to use expressions in connection with Prime Minister Viktor Orbán that are in any way attached to the most monstrous and darkest dictatorship of the last century.” Not the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

Magyar Idők, the government’s fervent supporter and often unofficial spokesman, followed the Austrian presidential race with great interest, keeping fingers crossed for Norbert Hofer. A day before the second round of the presidential election, Magyar Idők was pretty certain that Hofer would win. The paper also noted that The New York Times compared FPÖ to the Hungarian, Polish, and Slovak government parties. (I don’t know whether the author of the article considered this an insult or not.) An opinion piece that appeared on the morning of the presidential election ran under the headline: “The Freedom Party is the symbol of success while the left is that of failure.”

Heinz -Christian Strache and Norbert Hofer before the presidential elections / Photo APA / Hans Klaus

Heinz -Christian Strache and Norbert Hofer before the presidential election / Photo APA / Hans Klaus

After the election Mária Schmidt, a historian who has great influence over Viktor Orbán, bemoaned the fact that public discourse in Austria is now dominated by baby boomer leftist politicians of the pro-German tradition. She recalled that Orbán in his first term was the first foreign leader to receive Chancellor Wolfgang Schlüssel of Austria, who was at that time considered a pariah in the West because he included the Freedom Party of Jörg Haider in his coalition government back in 1999.

Viktor Orbán’s friend Zsolt Bayer is also disappointed, but he is optimistic that “a new healthy young Europe is coming” that will replace the 70-year-old dying Europe that is full of bedsores. This youthful new Europe will come “from the mountains of the Alps, the fields of Burgenland, from Hungary, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, and Poland.” For Bayer, the Freedom Party of Strache and Hofer is not the depository of far-right views but, on the contrary, the embodiment of “normalcy.” So it’s no wonder that Viktor Orbán and his fellow “normal” far-right friends were disappointed by the election results.

May 26, 2016

ANGELA MERKEL AND GERMANY FROM THE PERSPECTIVE OF THE HUNGARIAN RIGHT. PART II

We left Mária Schmidt berating German journalists for being largely responsible for Hungary’s unsavory reputation in the West. She accuses them of being in the pay of the CIA, the German intelligence, and rich Arab countries. Here she relies on a book by Udo Ulfkotte, former editor of the Frankfuter Allgemeine Zeitung, titled Gekaufte Journalisten. Schmidt describes him as someone who is being deliberately passed over in silence because his revelations are so embarrassing to the German media.

So, who is this man? According to Wikipedia, the only source I found for information on his career, he spent a good twelve years in Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Oman, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, and Jordan. He was born into a Christian family but at the age of 21 declared himself to be an atheist. While in the Middle East he converted to Islam, which he later abandoned. He is now a born-again Christian.

As for his activities, I found an article by David Vickrey in German-American Opinion: Politics and Culture in which Ulfkotte is called a “fake journalist” and a “Putin propagandist.” According to the author, Ulfkotte “distinguished himself as a racist and anti-Islam hatemonger, demanding that all Muslims be deported from Germany in order to create more Lebensraum for ethnic Germans.”

Indeed, he was pretty well ignored in the last few years, but lately he was revitalized by two events: the Ukrainian crisis and the rise of the “Pegida movement” (Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamization of the Occident). He began writing in Russian propaganda outlets and appeared as a speaker at Pegida gatherings. Earlier Vickrey reported that at one event organized by young social democrats protesting Ulfkotte’s speech on the dangers of immigration, he choked and threw a 15-year-old boy against the wall. Currently he is in hiding because, he claims, he received threats against his life.

Mária Schmidt seems to believe every word Udo Ulfkotte has ever uttered. She even managed to drag Boris Kálnoky of Die Welt into the controversy when she claimed that Kálnoky, whose parents left Hungary in 1947 and who learned Hungarian only as an adult, actually confirmed Ulkfotte’s allegations when in an interview on a Hungarian television station he said that he and his fellow journalists were told that, when writing about the migrants, they should concentrate on families and children. Later Kálnoky expressed his regret that Schmidt had misunderstood him. Perhaps his not quite perfect Hungarian was the reason for the misunderstanding. He was simply referring to readers’ interest in the travails of refugee families on the road.

That didn’t deter Mária Schmidt from retelling the story that Kálnoky denied. She reiterated that German journalists are instructed to present a positive picture of the migrants. In Germany “what really counts is the never-ending war against racism, anti-Semitism, and Hitler.” This from the woman who was entrusted with the establishment of a new Holocaust center, the House of Fate, specifically devoted to the children who were victims of the Holocaust. She has the audacity to complain about this “never-ending” fight.  Has she thought through what she is saying here? I guess if I confronted her about the exact meaning of this sentence she would tell me that I had taken the sentence out of context. She was talking only about “the leftist generation of 1968” who today think that they are the only ones who can make judgments about this issue. And then what? Would this be an acceptable explanation?

The much criticized selfie with a Syrian refugee

The much criticized Merkel selfie with a Syrian refugee

About half way through her text Schmidt completely lost her logical faculties, writing such sentences as “when as is her wont Chancellor Merkel talks about the sins of Europe and Germany, does she know that in the 17th and 18th centuries the Saracens (Muslims) carried off masses of Christians from Italy and sold them as slaves?… Perhaps she hasn’t heard of an Afghan custom which has been related by many ever since the 19th century that [the Afghans] cut off all four limbs of their English, Russian, and American prisoners of war?”

In this long harangue there are a couple of sentences that deserve more attention than the horror stories about cut-off limbs: “Does she [Merkel] believe that there were no mass murders on other continents? That at other places there was nothing to be ashamed of? … When will the Western European elite end this fruitless ritual of self-recrimination and self-abandonment?” Here Schmidt first of all equates the Holocaust with other mass murders and, second, pretty well tells the Western Europeans to forget about what happened to the Jewish population of the European Continent.

In the last few weeks Viktor Orbán accused Angela Merkel of not being democratic enough because she doesn’t listen to the people. Hungary is vastly superior to Germany in this respect: they introduced several national consultations and at the moment Fidesz is collecting signatures against the quota system. Schmidt decided to chime in and teach Merkel a thing or two about democracy. The proof that “Merkel can’t stand democracy” is that she prefers grand coalitions, and therefore it is practically impossible to distinguish the right and the left “especially if they are both gray and boring.” Schmidt is convinced that the reason for these grand coalitions is Merkel’s lack of democratic commitment. What she most likely purposely neglected to say is that in all three cases the reason for these grand coalitions was the refusal of the greens and the social democrats to form a government with the communist party (Linkspartei), not Merkel’s anti-democratic impulses.

What else is Merkel guilty of? Merkel and the ruling elite’s goal is “to replace the Germans and Europeans with a multi-cultural, globalized, and Muslim population. The only thing that matters is cheap labor.” In fact, Merkel can’t stand either the Germans or the Europeans in general. “She especially hates the Germans who will always remain Nazis and collectively guilty.” She is not a compassionate person when it comes to her own kind. “She never quotes from German books. She never talks about German history. And when she does, it would be better if she didn’t because it is always about the Holocaust.”

“Western Europe with its media and politicians see value everywhere except in their own. What moves them is self-hatred. And the greatest problem is that they have completely depleted their democracies.” The migrant crisis for this people comes in handy because again “they can prove their ideological commitment against racism, fascism (whatever they mean by it), and clericalism, while they affirm their allegiance to multiculturalism.”

I’m trying to be charitable, but on the basis on this text I consider Mária Schmidt to be guilty of Holocaust relativism, if not much worse.

Angela Merkel and Germany from the perspective of the Hungarian right. Part I

German-Hungarian relations are troubled, due primarily to Viktor Orbán’s relentless attacks on Chancellor Angela Merkel, whom he accuses of being largely responsible for the arrival of close to a million asylum-seekers in Europe. On one occasion he denounced her for “moral imperialism,” and he even meddled in internal German politics when he sided with Horst Seehofer, minister president of Bavaria, in his debate on the migrant question with Merkel. A few days ago vs.hu learned from reliable sources that a scheduled meeting between Angela Merkel and Viktor Orbán at the Malta summit was cancelled at the last minute by the German side. Apparently several meetings between German and Hungarian ministers were also cancelled during the month of November.

The pro-government media naturally follows Viktor Orbán’s lead, so anti-German, specifically anti-Merkel, articles abound in the Hungarian press. Back in October Zsolt Bayer, the prolific anti-Semitic, foul-mouthed hack, wrote an open letter to Angela Merkel in four parts in which he called her a liar who mixes up “the friendly face of the European Union with the snicker of slobbering idiots.” Hungarians who are angrily watching this refugee crisis unfold don’t understand how Angela Merkel could  join “those who are destroying Europe.” He labeled her an untalented person who in no way can be compared to Konrad Adenauer or Helmut Kohl. The Germans who now promise to integrate the refugees from the Middle East didn’t even manage, in 25 years, to integrate the East Germans. The former GDR is today a wasteland with hopeless old people. “So, what are you talking about?,” Bayer asks Merkel. “You are not a doddering leader of an embroidery club.” But listening to some of her idiocies, one can question her sanity.

In Bayer’s opinion the “soul of the German nation was crushed after World War II and all [Germans] are victims of a tragic mistake.” Germany’s political leaders think that divesting the Germans of national character or rights is the only antidote to Nazism. This is nonsense. Instead, Merkel should utter the “magic word, ENOUGH.”

Well, one can say that Zsolt Bayer cannot be taken seriously. He loves to hear his own voice and tries to shock. Still, one must not forget that Bayer is “one of them,” one of the founders who brought Fidesz into being. And, by the look of things, he remains close to Viktor Orbán.

This must be Schmidt's favorite picture. She herself picked it for this article

This must be Schmidt’s favorite picture. She herself picked it for this article

Using Bayer’s rants as a reasonably reliable source for the thinking of the top leadership is justified by a long tirade by Mária Schmidt on the same topic. One would think that one cannot top Bayer. Well, Mária Schmidt managed. The “learned” historian, the close adviser of Viktor Orbán, spewed out her venom not only against Merkel but also against Germany. In her essay she goes as far as to glorify the communist interlude that made East Europeans superior to the effeminate westerners. Schmidt has never sunk so low to please her boss. A complete translation of this incredible piece would be warranted to understand the Hungarian right’s current mindset.

Schmidt’s essay is titled “Útban az önmegsemmisítés felé” (On the road to self-destruction). The title bears a striking resemblance to that of Thilo Sarrazin’s book, Deutschland schafft sich ab (Germany destroys itself), which created such a controversy when it was published in 2010. Because of the length of the piece I will concentrate here only on passages relating to Angela Merkel, Germany, and western attitudes toward “the inferior” easterners.

The first staggering claim is that western politicians were “irate” when East Europeans didn’t allow Gorbachev to finish his reforms. “Why didn’t we wait until he fashions the existing order into socialism with a human face?,” she claims they asked. These western politicians were disappointed and angry that “we ruined their peaceful and comfortable world” by allowing the East Germans to leave Hungary and join their fellow Germans in the West. The “idiotic” Hungarians thought that they did the West Germans a favor, but “it was exactly this gesture that caused the unbridled hatred of the German media and intellectuals toward us.” We forced them to join their “poor relatives” who were safely tucked behind the Berlin Wall.

And now that the poor relatives, East Germans as well as other East Europeans, have joined the European Union, it is time to re-educate them. The East Germans live in a world that is even worse than it was during the 45 years of Russian occupation as far as freedom of speech is concerned because now they have to conform to the rules of “politically correct speech.” Two former East Germans, Angela Merkel and Joachim Gauck, lead Germany, but they so desperately tried to conform that they became more Wessis than the original Wessis: “they have given up their national identity and try to hide their Christian values.” The conclusion Schmidt draws at this point is that perhaps those years behind the Iron Curtain were beneficial in some respects. “They strengthened our resolve against outside forces and hardened our belief in our own value system.” While East Europeans have their national identity, “West Germans are citizens of the world–Europeans, and the German Federal Republic is simply a comfortable place of residence to which they feel no particular attachment.”

Merkel’s Germany is a place where “newly announced opposition parties face a ban and the elite immediately label them far-right regardless of who they are and what they want.” Anyone who opposes them is called “fascist.” Merkel prefers to form “coalition governments” that greatly resemble the former SED, the East German unity party. As if Merkel would purposely choose a coalition over a purely CDU government. Merkel “is unfamiliar with the history of her own country, the region, or for that matter Europe. In fact, she has only limited knowledge of the world. In her view, as in that of the German elite, only the compulsory Walk to Canossa for Auschwitz can fit.” Her speeches are “hopelessly shallow and common.” They remind Schmidt of the 70s when activists from the youth movement of the German Communist party spent their summer vacations at Lake Balaton. Schmidt and her friends used to make fun of them because “it didn’t matter what the topic was, they kept repeating the party’s official line.”

Germany today is being governed by the left media and intellectual elite. Merkel “talks their language, she meets their requirements. She doesn’t really formulate policies because for such a task she is too irresponsible, barren of ideas, without any accomplishment.”

At this point I’m about half-way through Mária Schmidt’s masterpiece, but I guess there is enough here to digest and discuss. This is the Orbán regime’s way of “making friends and influencing people.”

To be continued

Jewish conspiracy theories in the wake of the refugee crisis

István Gusztos, who often writes opinion pieces for gepnarancs.hu, pointed out a few days ago that, although one cannot equate Fidesz with its media empire “mostly financed from taxpayers’ money,” one cannot help thinking that the conspiracy theories propagated by Magyar Idők, Magyar Hírlap, Echo TV, Lánchid Rádió, and 888.hu cannot be separated from the “official” position of the party and the government. It might be the case that some of the reporters at these media outlets go too far, but by and large Fidesz and its media work hand in hand. We know from one of the reporters at HírTV how pleasant life has been around the station since Viktor Orbán and his once favorite oligarch parted ways. No longer do they get weekly instructions from Fidesz headquarters telling them what they have to write about.

Lately George Soros has frequently been invoked by Viktor Orbán and other Fidesz politicians as the real culprit behind the refugee crisis. In fact, in this case the pro-government media anticipated and prepared the ground for official anti-Soros pronouncements. Magyar Idők began excoriating Soros in late September, when János Csontos wrote an op-ed piece about the “outrageous suggestions” of George Soros concerning the refugee crisis. By the time Viktor Orbán joined in, a month later, the accusation had spread far and wide that Soros was actually funding individual asylum seekers in their quest to reach Europe. For anti-Semites, of course, Soros’s name is code for the “evil influence of Jews and Jewish capital.”

By mid-November two favorite conspiracy theories circulated in Hungary. One was that the whole refugee exodus is a Zionist conspiracy; Jews and the Israeli state are jointly responsible for the crisis. The other theory, which I heard from Mária Schmidt, the director of the House of Terror and Viktor Orbán’s adviser on matters concerning history, claims that rich Arab countries are providing loans to the migrants, who will have to pay the money back from “the generous aid provided by European governments.” I don’t think I need comment on this nonsense from the learned historian.

Viktor Orbán and his fellow politicians reinforce the ignorant public’s outlandish theories, which then gain legitimacy by their repetition. It is therefore not at all surprising that Fidesz officials can occasionally be caught expressing totally unacceptable thoughts that derive from the party’s own more subtle anti-Semitism. One will never catch Viktor Orbán saying anything that can definitively be labelled anti-Semitic. He knows exactly how far he can go. Instead, as István Gusztos aptly said, party officials hand off their anti-Semitic propaganda “as contract work” to Fidesz media outlets. And they, in turn, “plant” anti-Semitic ideas into the heads of ordinary local Fidesz politicians, like the mayor of Szentgotthárd (population 10,000) at the Austro-Hungarian border.

An internet news site called nyugat.hu got hold of a recording of the Szentgotthárd local council meeting at which the mayor, Gábor Huszár, said: “Everybody should accept from me that what happened in Paris is clear proof that certain business circles–and here I can state that the Jewish state is behind [the attack] because it wants to turn Christian Europe against Islam.”  This leaked anti-Semitic comment was especially embarrassing, coming as it did after Péter Szijjártó’s visit to Israel, where he kept referring to the excellent relationship between the Israeli and the Hungarian governments.

Zion

Naturally, the Israeli embassy in Budapest  immediately responded. Gábor Huszár’s words “are proof that there are still those who haven’t learned from history and still repeat negative views on the Jewish state, Israel, and Jewish people.” The embassy finds it unfortunate that “a public figure, the mayor of Szentgotthárd who should be a model in his electoral district, puts forth such untrue and ridiculous claims.” Official Fidesz could only muster the lame response that Gábor Huszár expressed his anti-Semitic views as “a private person.” It was Lajos Kósa, the newly appointed leader of the Fidesz parliamentary caucus, who came up with this brilliant reply. How could Huszár be a “private person” while presiding over a Fidesz-majority city council?

Behind the scenes, however, Fidesz most likely moved with lightning speed. Although Huszár himself was unreachable when ATV wanted to find out more about his opinion on Israel’s role in staging the terror attacks in Paris, his secretary assured the television station that a statement would be released soon about the incident. And indeed, after a few hours Huszár apologized for “the unfortunate phrasing.” Opposition parties demanded the man’s resignation. DK was the most direct in its condemnation of Fidesz as the source of the general approval in rightist circles of the various conspiracy theories.

There is no question that Viktor Orbán’s accusations against Soros are linked, even if indirectly, to the Zionist conspiracy theories. And yet, despite the mayor’s apology, the attacks on Soros continue. Yesterday both Lajos Kósa and Antal Rogán railed against him in parliament, this time charging him with being responsible for the citizens’ initiative accepted by the European Commission.