Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s March 15 Speech

March 15 is a day of particular importance in Hungary. It is  when politicians make speeches under the guise of commemorating the 1848 revolution, for whatever purpose they might see fit. Of the three big national holidays, this is probably the worst. August 20 at least has (mediocre) fireworks and October 23 is probably too cold and wet for major speeches and it generally goes by without much potential harm to one’s sanity.

The main event this year was the second Teachers’ Protest, which drew large crowds to Kossuth Square and ended with a threat of a one-hour strike in case the Prime Minister and the President fail to apologise for the way education is and was handled by the government. That’ll teach them, a full hour of striking! If I were the Prime Minister, I would have just apologised and took the wind right out of their sails. But not Mr Orban, noooo. His only reaction was that he found it all very funny.

The second most important event was a speech by the Prime Minister himself. It was delivered in front of a remarkably small group of loyalist pensioners and Polish far-right lunatics, with another group of dissident pensioners doing their best to make as much noise as they could. I tell you, it is REALLY hard to tell the two groups apart if you don’t speak the language. The speech was astonishing. Originally, I was about to publish a translated version here, with my annotations, but I got slightly nauseous and decided that basically anything was a better use of my time than to give that much attention to this text.

Fortunately, Hungary Today has made a full English translation (thanks!), which I will be using now, to show some of the juiciest bits. I would recommend that you read through the whole thing, it is one of the few texts that really need no explanation.

Well, let’s begin:

Just as then in the decisive battles of the Freedom Fight, now also Hungarian hearts are cheered by the fact that we have with us a Polish legion. I welcome the spirited successors of General Bem: we  welcome the sons of the Polish nation. As always throughout our shared thousand-year history, now, too, we are standing by you in the battle you are fighting for your country’s freedom and independence.

A few notes here: General Bem was a true internationalist (this will be important later), fighting in three different conflicts in three distinct European nations (Poland, Hungary and Portugal), without much sense of national pride. He was also a refugee who settled in the Ottoman Empire who converted to Islam and became the governor of Aleppo. It is rather amusing to form an alliance with other anti-refugee, Islamophobic groups under the aegis of a Muslim refugee.

Furthermore, I have doubts over the notion that Hungary and Poland always fought side by side for freedom and independence. Three words: Second World War. One of the major characteristics of this speech is casual forgetfulness regarding this particular minor squabble.

Yes, we Hungarians have two revolutionary traditions: one leads from 1848, through 1956 and the fall of communism, all the way to the Fundamental Law and the current constitutional order; the bloodline of the other tradition leads from Jacobin European ancestors, through 1919, to communism after World War II and the Soviet era in Hungary.

It is cute that he elevates his deeply flawed, ridiculously worded and hopefully completely insignificant Fundamental Law with actual historic events.

Also, he once again forgets about the Second World War. This dualistic view of history is fascinating. In his world, an anglophile nationalistic revolution led by the urban liberal intelligentsia against foreign domination, an anti-Stalinist, but still very much autonomist/socialist uprising and the introduction of a deeply Christian conservative constitution and the following Putinisation of Hungary are diametrically opposed to revolutionary republicanism and socialism. But let’s not try to get between a politician and his history.

Modern European history has preserved both Hungarian revolutions among the glorious memories of the world: two blazing stars, two national uprisings bursting forth in 1848 and 1956 from Hungarian aspirations and Hungarian interests. Glory to the heroes, honour to the brave. Chroniclers have also recorded the revolution of 1918–19, but the memories of that period are not preserved on the pages of glory; indeed, not only are those memories written on different pages, but they appear in a different volume altogether. The 1918–19 revolution can be found in the volume devoted to Bolshevik anti-Hungarian subversions launched in the service of foreign interests and foreign ambitions; it features under the heading “appalling examples of intellectual and political degeneracy”.

Fuck that, let’s get right in between. These appalling examples of intellectual and political degeneracy established, for the first time in history, an independent Hungarian republic. They codified freedom of speech and assembly, separated church and state and provided free education and language rights to minorities. Of course, these are all things Mr Orban despises. He probably also bears a grudge for the revolutionaries having killed Istvan Tisza, the former Prime Minister, who was a strong supporter of the Austrian aggression against Serbia that started WWI, the privileges of the landed gentry and an opponent of minority rights and extending suffrage. The ridiculously ugly statue of Tisza was one of the first things that were rebuilt on Kossuth Square by the current government.

Of course, the two revolutions of 1918-19 were major clusterfucks. Especially the second one, which thought that mass killings of dissidents and violent disruptions of religious services were good for popularity (they weren’t) and that attacking Romania right after World War I would be a good idea (it wasn’t).

Also, 21st century historians don’t really think about the ‘glorious’ quality of events, just like how paleontologists don’t really discuss the ‘awesomeness’ of extinct animals. We, as a species, have been kinda over that for a good while now.

Today, as then, the heartbeat of this revolutionary tradition moves and guides the nation’s political, economic and spiritual life: equality before the law, responsible government, a national bank, the sharing of burdens, respect for human dignity and the unification of the nation. Today, as then, the ideals of ’48 and ’56 are the pulse driving the life force of the nation, and the intellectual and spiritual blood flow of the Hungarian people. Let us give thanks that this may be so, let us give thanks that finally the Lord of History has led us onto this path. Soli Deo gloria!

Under the rule of Mr Orban, of course, there is less and less equality before the law (for instance, there is currently a dude in a wheelchair and a blind old lady on trial for attacking the Hungarian police at a border crossing. Both refugees, of course.), an irresponsible government and national bank (thanks to almost approved legislation, the latter will be able to make “public funds lose their public nature”), the burdens are not shared equally (especially not by Mr Orban’s friend, a billionaire handyman turned, well, liege lord) and the respect of human dignity does not extend to women, refugees, minorities, the poor or even counter-protesters, as we’ll see later:

Not even the uplifting mood of a celebration day can let us forget that the tradition of 1919, too, is still with us – though fortunately its pulse is just a faint flicker. Yet at times it can make quite a noise. But without a host animal, its days are numbered. It is in need of another delivery of aid from abroad in the form of a major intellectual and political infusion; unless it receives this, then after its leaves and branches have withered, its roots will also dry up in the Hungarian motherland’s soil, which is hostile to internationalism. And this is all well and good.

The ‘making noise’ bit shows that this was a direct reference to the counter-protesters who, in a Radio Télévision Libre des Mille Collines-esque fashion, were called parasites by their Prime Minister.

Europe is not free, because freedom begins with speaking the truth. In Europe today it is forbidden to speak the truth. A muzzle is a muzzle – even if it is made of silk. It is forbidden to say that today we are not witnessing the arrival of refugees, but a Europe being threatened by mass migration. It is forbidden to say that tens of millions are ready to set out in our direction. It is forbidden to say that immigration brings crime and terrorism to our countries. It is forbidden to say that the masses of people coming from different civilisations pose a threat to our way of life, our culture, our customs, and our Christian traditions. It is forbidden to say that, instead of integrating, those who arrived here earlier have built a world of their own, with their own laws and ideals, which is forcing apart the thousand-year-old structure of Europe. It is forbidden to say that this is not accidental and not a chain of unintentional consequences, but a planned, orchestrated campaign, a mass of people directed towards us. It is forbidden to say that in Brussels they are constructing schemes to transport foreigners here as quickly as possible and to settle them here among us. It is forbidden to say that the purpose of settling these people here is to redraw the religious and cultural map of Europe and to reconfigure its ethnic foundations, thereby eliminating nation states, which are the last obstacle to the international movement. It is forbidden to say that Brussels is stealthily devouring ever more slices of our national sovereignty, and that in Brussels today many are working on a plan for a United States of Europe, for which no one has ever given authorisation.

It is so forbidden to say these lunacies, that he has been parroting them for about a year now. He has been really feeling the consequences. I can almost see some low-level Latvian bureaucrat in the bowels of the European Commission furiously typing away at the second draft of a proposal to discuss whether the gross human rights violations of Hungary should be discussed over the water cooler, for the duraton of maximum two sentences, by air-conditioning maintenance staff.

Also, notice the conspiracy theory in the background. It is not clear whether this planned overtake of Europe is orchestrated by the EU or someone else. Maybe Sauron? Maybe Chayim Sauronstein? We might never find out. I do hope so.

Europe is a community of Christian, free and independent nations; it is the equality of men and women, fair competition and solidarity, pride and humility, justice and mercy.

Umm. In the European Union, there are exactly four Christian countries with established religion (UK (though there are few people who would call the C of E a religion. It is more like a local library that you joined once for some strange reason you can’t remember but can’t even find from across the street), Denmark, Greece and Malta) and roughly half of EU citizens don’t believe in any god whatsoever. So let’s drop the superstitions, shall we?

Also, it is funny to see someone championing he equality of men and women who is also a staunch opponent of gender equality and marriage equality, whose government does not include any women, whose Speaker of the House stated that the “highest level of self-fulfillment for our daughters is when they give birth to our grandchildren”, establishing the paternal ownership of daughters and the societal role of women as child factories in one short sentence. And let’s not even mention LGBTQ+ rights.

We shall not allow it to force upon us the bitter fruit of its cosmopolitan immigration policy. We shall not import to Hungary crime, terrorism, homophobia and synagogue-burning anti-Semitism. There shall be no urban districts beyond the reach of the law, there shall be no mass disorder or immigrant riots here, and there shall be no gangs hunting down our women and daughters.

Says the man who just welcomed Polish far-right protesters at his own rally. Also, we should keep in mind that these momentous changes (especially homophobia and anti-Semitism, two concepts that are TOTALLY alien to Hungarians) would be brought on by the settlement of about 1500 refugees. Apparently, these refugees would work under the principles of homeopathy.

Of course I don’t have to spell out that none of these issues are caused by refugees, but finding the real answers would make for very bad race-baiting.

In 1848 it was written in the book of fate that nothing could be done against the Habsburg Empire. If then we had resigned ourselves to that outcome, our fate would have been sealed and the German sea would have swallowed up the Hungarians. In 1956 it was written in the book of fate that we were to remain an occupied and sovietised country until patriotism was extinguished in the very last Hungarian. If then we had resigned ourselves to that outcome, our fate would have been sealed, and the Soviet sea would have swallowed up the Hungarians.

This is just funny. He seems to have forgotten that both revolutions failed and Hungary remained a part of Austria until 1918 and deep within the Soviet sphere of influence until 1989.

These were just some choice bits that provoked some snarky thoughts in me that I thought I’d share here. Once again, I really recommend that you read the whole speech. It is an important document, a clear sign of how Mr Orban thinks, how he talks to the people who already support him.

In it, Mr Orban asserted the characteristics of Hungarians and that this and the cultural and ethnic purity of Hungary should be defended against foreign attempts at diluting it. He calls to arms against the European Union, against internationalism and using excessively hostile terms, attempts to excise social democratic, socialist, egalitarian and secular movements from Hungarian history. He asserts that the favoured nationalistic revolutions, which led to his power, were directed by the hand of God (therefore, I suppose, his power is also the result of Divine Intervention).

So, racist and racialist, agitating against international conspiracies and sub-human masses of ‘foreign’ people hell-bent on destroying the city on the hill he built with the grace of God, attempting to mobilise the people against for a struggle against these foreign threats. Also, aggressively anti-socialist, anti-republican and willing to manipulate ancient and modern history to serve his ideological purposes.

This really reminds me of a certain, wholly discredited set of ideologies that came to fruition exactly in the period Mr Orban forgot about. They had it really going between 1918 and 1945, but then their bastions lost the Second World War.

The same ideologies whose ardent supporters are being rehabilitated by the current Government of Hungary, that is attempting to erect statues of people who supported and/or co-authored the “Jewish Laws”. Whose historicising kitsch architecture is being reconstructed piece by piece, using astronomical amounts of public, mostly EU money.

I will give you a hint: Not the Sumerians. That would be BCE.

 

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Stand Up, Prisoners of Centralisation

The Hungarian educational system is a bloody farce, and it has been that way for decades now. It has long been suffering from the usual ills of the field: outdated and ever-expanding curricula that is subject to constant changes, low wages, excessive working hours and an aging workforce. These are the results of chronic underfunding, weak trade unions and the the Hungarian pathological fear of political action.

Hardly anyone wants to become a teacher and who can blame them? Who would want to work 32 hours (officially) and about a dozen more (at home) per week for ridiculous pay, in crumbling institutions that don’t even have money for toilet paper, surrounded by burnt-out colleagues who are considered dour even by Hungarian standards (the average Hungarian is about as cheerful as the death of Bambi’s mother), who can’t even be bothered to update their class outlines from 30 years ago.

The FIDESZ government, to their credit, has tried to change this situation. This is the most positive thing anyone could say about their attempts.

The grand idea was that all the problems would be solved by centralisation. By bringing the day-to-day operation of schools under the control of a bureaucratic monster called KLIK that would dwarf the kaijus of Pacific Rim, they could cut costs and exert the kind of manual control that gives Viktor Orban a hardon. Did the chalk run out? Call KLIK. Measuring the performance of teachers? Call KLIK. Paying the janitor? KLIK. Approving schoolbooks? KLIK. KLIK. KLIK. KLIK.

The reform had other bold ideas. Principals would have to be appointed by the Ministry (which led to some non-loyalists miraculously losing their jobs to more ideologically compatible candidates, even if the process was handled illegally. If the government does it it’s not illegal. If anyone insists, they’ll just change the law). Everyday PE classes were implemented, even though no schools had appropriate facilities The result? Theoretical PE classes with written tests. That’ll make the little fuckers move. Religious education was also made compulsory, and godless savages were given a choice to send their kids to Ethics classes, where they’d be taught the right kind of ethics (= conservative religious education with less overt references to God)

The implementation of this plan was handed over to a ministry run by a Calvinist pastor and a Secretary of State who was most famous for her unintentional but strikingly authentic Dolores Umbridge cosplay. They appointed a rural vice-principal as the director of KLIK and the dream team was complete. Three years later, none of this

Not surprisingly, this was an unmitigated disasters. Schools were not resupplied with chalk. Teachers had to add hours of self-evaluative paperwork to their already impossible and unbearable work schedule. Janitors got paid a few weeks late. Horrifyingly bad, often factually incorrect and sometimes overtly racist and propagandistic schoolbooks were approved, which didn’t even arrive to the schools in time. The already cracking educational system started to completely fall apart. The performance and knowledge of Hungarian students kept sliding down the drain and I predict that very soon even Taliban-run madrasas will provide better education, because at least they teach a foreign language and the students leave with a thorough understanding of at least one book.

The situation is now so dire that the teachers actually started organising. I know it sounds crazy in the country where the university teachers and managers gleefully worked against the student protests, but it is happening. It started from a secondary school in Miskolc, the fourth largest city in Hungary (this is almost miraculous, not only political action, but one that is not started in the capital) and has gained the approval of hundreds of schools and thousands, if not tens of thousands of teachers. They are planning a protest on Saturday, we shall see how it will go. I am not holding my breath, I have been disappointed too often.

The government’s response was the usual. At first, they ignored the requests and continued parroting that everything was perfectly fine. Then they called a roundtable discussion, but only included their own loyalists, even if they had nothing to do with the matter. Later, they declared that the current hollow shell occupying the Secretary of State for Education post will be replaced with another hollow shell. They even went so far as to saying that KLIK, which they were praising until the last moment, will be disbanded. We have currently reached the highest known stage of government reaction: Viktor Orban has declared that the teachers must be following orders ‘from the outside’, because it makes no sense for them to protest.

What happens now could be exciting. A miners’ group has already declared that they’ll join the protest and railway workers are also preparing for an unrelated strike. I will not make predictions, but this could be a hopeful moment.

And then on Saturday, there’ll be hours and hours of boring speeches under EU flags, after which everyone will peacefully go home…

I sincerely hope that this time, I won’t be right.

Them Refugees Again

What happened in Paris on Friday was absolutely horrific, a crime against humanity, civilisation and practically everything even half-decent that our species represents. No doubt, it will be followed by an “appropriate” response, some curbing of civil rights and some bombs lobbed at the general direction of the Daesh. I would be interested to see if there is anyone who genuinely thinks that this is the right way to go. We have been fighting the War on Terror for 14 years now, by eroding the basic liberties of our populace and bombing shit out of at least a dozen countries and as far as I can see, Salafi-takfiri terrorism has just become immeasurably more popular and powerful. One would think that fighting a war for such long time and seeing your enemy grow stronger would make some folks look for fresh ideas instead of doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

Protip: are you sure, I mean REALLY sure that Saudi Arabia is a reliable ally that should be showered with weapons and money? Or Turkey? Or the other Gulf States? I mean, we have concrete evidence that they are directly aiding the Daesh, but hey, a friend of a mortal enemy is our closest ally, or so the saying goes.

Though I get it, France was hit hard and now Hollande must pull out his John Thomas and show the world that he is a manly man and he can squirt a steady stream of smart bombs right out of his testicles that will cover the lands between the Mediterranean to Zagros Mountains in mansplosions. I don’t support it, but I understand the basal urges that, for some reason, still dominate political thought, even though certain tropical bird species have managed to evolve more sophisticated displays of dominance. But who are the leaders of the free world to compete against bower birds, they build stuff, that is so girly.

Anyways. This horrific act of terrorism was a very good opportunity for certain leaders of the East-Western World to jump on their hobbyhorse and start spouting their usual anti-refugee hate speech. In case you haven’t been listening to the news in the past months, the refugee crisis still haven’t been resolved. France says that they are completely saturated and can’t take more people, Australia claims that they have no racial problems and they don’t mean to create one, The UK says that accepting refugees might lead to acts of violence against them, Brazil only wants to accept Christians and there is a general fear that the refugees might spread Bolshevik ideas among the populace.

Pardon, wait a minute, I skipped a few decades. Sorry. The above issues were all raised (apart from the Bolshevik one, which was just part of common discourse at the time) at the Evian Conference of 1938, when the West was debating what to do with all the Jewish refugees fleeing from Nazi persecution. My bad.

Contemporary politicians are basically saying exactly the same fucking things. I kid you not.

So, it can be said that if you had better things to do than to follow news recently, you haven’t missed a thing.

As a response to the Paris attacks, Mr Orban, the wise leader of the great state of Hungary decided that soldiers and assault-rifle clad police officers should patrol Budapest, because there was a real danger of a terrorist incident. This was, of course, pure theatre. Then, today, he decided to go on the most poisonous tirade heard so far.

He emphasised the possibility of terrorists entering the EU amongst the refugees (as if they really couldn’t enter in about every other possible way imaginable, and I haven’t even mentioned the fact that most of the perpetrators were Europeans so they didn’t exactly had to enter the Union) and said that implanting people from countries against which we are fighting a war (I don’t recall being at war with Syria) is daft. He railed against the “suicidal drives of the intelligentsia” and constantly referred to the refugee crisis as a “mass migration”, a word that invokes images of the barbarian invasion of Rome. (I hope no-one mentioned to him that the Magyars also arrived as part of a mass migration). He said that immigration increases crime, leads to thefts and rapes and destroys cultures and traditions [citation needed]. All he needed was  “Would somebody please think of the children” at the end of his speech.

But this are pretty standard lies, just more plainly spoken and concentrated as before. The interesting thing was what happened afterwards. The opposition parties did not even attempt to challenge the dominating discourse. They just tried to chip away at the edges of this ridiculous edifice. LMP said that Diverting the problem was not a solution, Jobbik and KDNP, being fascists, supported the government, and MSZP tried to feebly suggest that we should only blame the terrorists for acts of terror and from this mediocre start, switched to the absolute lunacy of calling for a united European army, intelligence service and border control force.

And that was it, basically. In the Hungarian parliament, there isn’t a single power that dares to actually oppose the government in any substantial way. No-one tried to deconstruct the childish hate speech of the Prime MInister, to use actual facts and statistics to refute his clearly made-up statements and attack his ethno-nationalistic notions of the state, peoples and culture of Hungary.No-one tried to paint refugees as actual people and instead they were making suggestions on how to solve a terrorism problem that Hungary does not have at all. It is not the task of Hungarian opposition MPs to solve the refugee crisis, the war on terror and to make hamburgers fall from the sky to feed the poor. They are given a prime target in the person of a transparently bigoted, corrupt government and it seems that they have no idea what to do with a target. “It is round and has a flat face, maybe it is a table? Or you could try sitting on it. What do you think, would it float? Hmm, I tried throwing it, but it didn’t fly too far. And what are these colourful circles? Dunno, I licked them and they don’t taste nice.”

Argh.

The State of Affairs in November 2015

I am trying to fight against it, but it seems I just have to start every post with a bit of a disclaimer about why I am a horrible blogger. This time, I will make it a whole post.

I started Congress of Baboons to give a highly sarcastic picture of Hungarian politics to people who aren’t necessary Hungarians themselves. I wanted it to be informative, non-partisan and amusing. It is not that easy to balance these three aspects.

I could have drifted towards the informative side, but there are other resources for that, like the brilliant Hungarian Spectrum and I have no wish to compete with them, not that I ever could with my laziness.

The non-partisan thing is of a different matter. I don’t have any allegiances towards any of the political parties in Hungary, as none of them come even close to representing my views. The issue here is that the political spectrum does not exist any more. FIDESZ, even if it lacks an absolute majority in parliament, holds absolute power over the country. The opposition is nowhere to be seen, even Jobbik has been sidelined by the forceful post-fascism of the Orbán Government. MSZP, in its confusion, has basically started to support FIDESZ in its treatment of refugees, and I can’t even remember what the other parties are called. They are gone.

In such an atmosphere, how can one remain non-partisan? I don’t want to write yet another FIDESZ-bashing whine central, because, frankly, the topic is boring as fuck. Yes, we know that they are terrible, it is pretty damn obvious to anyone who is capable of complex thought. They just tried to sneak through a law that would have allowed the secret service to force news organisations to hire their agents. This failed, because unlike most MPs, some journalist actually read the proposed text and now they’ll have to remove it. I am sure they could pass it if they wanted, but since the media is either on their side, or too gutless to actually try to influence public opinion, it really does not matter at all.

And amusing? I can joke around all day, but that doesn’t provide substance.

So here we are, in 2015, and I am not really sure what to write about. So I’ll do a sweeping overview, in bullet points:

  • The refugee crisis has been diverted towards less functional states. The government openly declared that brown people are not welcome in Europe, because they might change our Christian culture. This, of course, ignores some facts, like how there are currently more refugees in the city of Istanbul than in the EU or that even the whole population of Syria moving over wouldn’t really change the demographics of the Union in any meaningful way. But one shouldn’t let facts get in the way of some good old-fashioned racism. The fences have been built, the thousands of helpless people are diverted further along the borders of the Union, with winter fast approaching. Meanwhile, the EU as an organisation might start working on the Latvian translation of the first preliminary proposals for conducting a study on the viability of setting up a small test-run of the quota system by mid-2018.
  • It has become clear that outside pressure will not be a factor in Hungarian politics. The EU and the US might make some snide remarks, but as long as international debt obligations are not in danger, Fortress Europe is maintained and there are no attempts to upset any of the Core-dictated other status quos (stati quo? statae quo? I don’t speak any Latin), or start housing Russian or ISIS forces on Hungarian soil, nothing will happen. Stop waiting for it.
  • On the other hand, the international cabal of Jewish lizard people are also highly unlikely to pounce upon poor little Hungary in order to steal its fertile soils and clear waters. Not that we won’t hear about them every day, increasingly from Government sources.
  • State funds are being diverted towards shady sources at an ever-increasing pace. Basically, there is now an established pseudo-feudal network of clients that effectively control most of the country, including its agriculture, culture culture, gambling, you name it.
  • Hungarian society has been more or less tamed. While it has always been as rebellious as a moderately used straw mattress, it remains remarkably content. The vassals are of course happy, the bourgeoisie is content with a favourable income tax and being supplied with ample opportunities for consumption and the poor are either dependent on the vassals for their survival (you just have to fall out of their good graces once, and even your wage slavery is gone and you can join the criminalised sub-underclass). It is all bread and circus, or the threat of taking away what little bread and circus is left.
  • Public services are collapsing. There is a chronic shortage of workforce practically everywhere. Education is in complete ruins, so is healthcare. The lack of funding for public transportation even made the rabid thug István Tarlós, the mayor of Budapest critical of the Government. Everything is still chugging along, but the wheels can come off at any minute.
  • At one point, the above two issues will have a major clash. We shall see what will happen then, but I really don’t have high hopes. Still, this is the only hope one can have, because the country has had enough of attempts by “Parties of Moderate Progress Within the Bounds of the Law”.
  • At least this is not Putin’s Russia or Erdogan’s Turkey. Many bad things can be said about the Government of Hungary, but at least it isn’t violent or murderous.

This should be it for now. I would love to see some comments on how y’all see the current state of affairs.

I promise I’ll try to write soon.

When the Hate Keeps Piling On

These pesky FIDESZ folks, they just can’t give up. I would really like to write about anything but the government, but every other party seems to have vanished off the face of the earth. I have to admit that Egyutt pops up now and again for yet another piece of performance art politics, but I think even they are tired of that shit by now.

FIDESZ is really no fun. They aren’t particularly imaginative and their brand of 19th century rural backwater conservatism is, frankly, tedious as fuck. For instance, there are still echoes of that masterful display of bigotry by Mr Orban I wrote about last time. Klara Ungar, the out lesbian leader of an irrelevant liberal party, as a response to the PM’s remarks, decided to make an attempt at gay-shaming some FIDESZ bigwigs. Don’t ask me what she was thinking, I do not know or understand. One of the “accused” was Mate Kocsis, the mayor of the VIII district, who gained national fame by spearheading the criminalisation of homelessness and who continued his streak of brilliance with his novel approach to tackling drug use, which can be summed up as “Let ’em all get AIDS”. His witty retort was “I am no faggot“, along with a suggestion that Pride should be moved to the parking lot of a wholesale market at the edge of the city. Another ignorant bully, Istvan Tarlos, jumped into the fray and declared that homosexuality is unnatural and he would also like to ban Pride, because its provocative nature does not fit the historical city centre.

I personally am very happy that these fine gentlemen, who no doubt spent countless hours studying zoology, psychology evolutionary biology, anthropology and gender studies and who most definitely aren’t living examples of the Dunning-Kruger Effect, feel such discomfort at the thought that the arc of the moral universe is bending far away from them, and that in their own lifetimes, they will see their whole hate-filled little world crumble into dust.

And it isn’t all over. Not content with casual homophobia, the government decided to go against another target: refugees. This would have been a perfect occasion to call for a revolution against the European Union, which seems to have decided that the United Nations Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees does not exist and that one of the most prosperous financial entities in the known Universe simply cannot cope with a fraction of the number of refugees that nations like Lebanon or Pakistan are housing.

Well, it has to be said that it is a bit hard to cope with refugees if, as per the Dublin Agreement, the poorest nations in the Union should be the ones caring for the refugees while the rich, relatively unaffected core are content with whining against their legal obligations to assist people fleeing from hellish conflicts that are, at least partially fuelled by the aforementioned core nations.

I would have been the first person to congratulate Orban Viktor if he stood up and denounced the “only good brown person is the one floating face-down in the Mediterranean” policy, but unfortunately, that did not happen. Instead, the Government started a national consultation.

What is that, you ask? A national consultation is basically an unregulated referendum. The government prints out and mails a questionnaire, which they will evaluate. The best thing about it is that the only authority overseeing the process is the Government itself. If they want to use leading questions, they are free to do so. In fact, the questions were as leading as a badly trained seeing eye golden retriever that spotted an overturned food truck. The results aren’t monitored either, so the government can just declare whatever result they wish.

But it gets way better. Yesterday, an anonymous informant working in a copy shop sent a picture to Index, which was a propaganda poster ordered by the Government. It said, in Hungarian:

If you come to Hungary, you can’t take the jobs from Hungarians

At first, I was sceptical, but then the Government confirmed that yes, this is their work and are proud of it. There will be others as well: “If you come to Hungary, you have to respect our culture” and “If you come to Hungary, you have to respect our laws”. Of course, none of these are in Pashto, Arabic or Tigrinya, hence one can easily guess that the target audience might not be the refugees themselves. Or maybe the marketing company, which is no doubt owned by a friend or relative of a FIDESZ just can’t give two shits as long as the money is flowing.

The campaign is a bit weird in its obfuscating simplicity. It can’t be an effort to turn public opinion against migrants, because Hungarians already despise them. It can’t be aimed at the refugees because they can’t understand a word of it. Itis most probably a show of force, a demonstration of the government’s position, even if it should be pretty damn obvious by now.

And this is the shit I have to deal with. Reflecting on the opinions of gobshites and publicity campaigns on the intellectual level of South Park’s Skeeter:

This is below my level. This is below Hungary’s level. It is even below the level of them arthropods sifting through the muck of brackish puddles. My kingdom for a post-kindergarten political discourse.

A Bit about the Hungarian Media

Yesterday, I was shown the cover of the new Heti Válasz, a horrendous right-wing propaganda weekly. The person showing it to me was bemused by the fact that it featured a collage of three faces: Pablo Iglesias Turrión, Alexis Tsipras and Viktor Orban, with a caption: “The Daredevils of Europe”. This image was, of course, implying that these are the three brave politicians who stand up to Brussels, and the International Capitalist Pigdogs in general. Of course, I am sure that the accompanying editorial failed to mention that FIDESZ is an authoritarian bunch of ultraconservative footpads and the other two parties are democratic, socialist and open formations that are fighting against exactly the kind of politics FIDESZ represents. (Though I heard that Podemos is kinda problematic, but I’ve been lazy to look into the matter)

I could have easily dismissed this cover as yet another example of ridiculous propaganda, and taken as an example of the ever greater depths the right-wing media descends into. I actually did so yesterday. Then I came home, opened 444 (an alternative, progressive  online portal) and realised that they are making the EXACT SAME COMPARISON, but from a different angle. They use the rhetorics of the FIDESZ government, eg. “freedom fight”, “unorthodox methods”, etc. to ridicule  SYRIZA and their struggle against the murderous nonsense of austerity.

This is just an example of how utterly messed-up the Hungarian media is. It is the elephant in the room that few talk about, simply because elephants don’t like to talk about themselves. They prefer to chew and shit and break some stuff now and again. Also, they can’t talk.

Anyway. here’s a quick rundown of the key players: There is the state media, which is basically a government mouthpiece, and has been one for ages. It does not even try to fake a sense of independence, just tows the party line, regardless of the actual party. One of the two commercial TV stations mostly ignores politics (their news programmes are usually about rural murders and kittens) and the other, RTL Klub used to be the same but then switched to poking the FIDESZ with a stick, but just because of a tax dispute. There are rumours that the dispute has been settled and they’ll go back to business.

The print media is equally hopeless. Hardly anyone reads newspapers any more (apart from the tabloids, whose tits and celebs content has no bearing on the country), and with good reason. These papers are extremely insular (Népszabadság, the leading opposition daily has a single page for foreign affairs, where they publish fluffed-up  reports from news agencies. Trust me, it would be worse if they tried to write about, let’s say ISIS, as they can’t tell the difference between Salafism and Political Islam and they are too lazy to actually read things not written by their friends) and dominated by uncritical intellectuals who only put on pants and leave their homes to bore people to death at protests, but whose words are seen as divine revelation to those who already share all their views.

Then there is the electronic media. Here, the alternative opposition and the nazis are dominant. The latter were, as usual, the only political group smart enough to realise that the internet is useful, and built up a major portal whose name I won’t utter and a strong base of people who will gladly fill comment sections with vile hate speech. The alternative opposition is centered around index and 444, who are closely related to each other. The former is becoming more and more  boring and it proudly hosts some of the most vile misogyny in the history of the nation. The latter is a gawkerised hellhole, which mostly scavenges foreign media outlets, from Buzzfeed to the New Yorker and rephrases their articles into flashy quotes.  Their opinion pieces are a continuation of the great anti-intellectual traditions of the print media, just with younger writers, one of whom, for instance, had the gall to publish a winding, multi-page prognosis about how Hungary will become like Latin-America, based on his personal, no doubt very deep understanding of said continent he acquired on his holiday road trip. These portals are also highly opinionated and view anything and everything with the condescending glint of the 29 year-old hipster who is too cool to stand for anything, (Also, don’t get me started on any news outlet that spreads the gospel of free market capitalism. Unless it is the Economist, which is evil, but a kind of respectable evil, due to the intellect and professionalism of its writers, their critical attitude and ability to reconsider erroneous judgements.)

What is missing from any of these? Actual journalism. People with a certain awareness of the surrounding world going out into the open, finding stories, then researching and writing them. Even basic fact-finding is missing from most news reports, especially when it comes to foreign affairs, as all the journalists do is look at news agency reports and then just translate anything they find interesting, without even thinking about what they are writing. They can’t even be arsed to instill a slight sense of doubt about breaking news, and present every single bit of information as fact. I was following the live feed of 444 about the recent terror attacks in Paris and I really began to question my hobby, as the experience was excruciatingly painful. But if this brings the clicks, then what can they do?

So, basically, we have people talking out of the government’s ass, talking about other people’s asses and talking out of their own asses. The national media is intent on suppressing change, because that serves the government’s purposes. The international media conglomerates that run the commercial television channels are simply not interested in change, because they just want to enjoy the status quo. The warring sides of the newspapers have no time for new ideas or any ideas for that matter, they are too busy building fortifications of empty rhetoric. 444 and the rest of the alternatives laugh at the idea of change and the fascists are fighting for a horrific change, but change nonetheless.

And once again, the fascists are winning.

I am getting tired to reaching this conclusion, but I have to keep doing it, because the fascists are actually winning in Hungary, while everyone is too busy being distracted by nonsense.

The Day of Grumpiness and Boredom

As the continuation of the protests against the (now abandoned) internet tax, a mass demonstration was held at Kossuth ter, in front of the Parliament on Monday. The event was named “The Day Of Public Outrage” by its organisers, as a reference to the general discontent felt by anti-government folk over the horrendous policies of the current government.

There were some troubling signs right from the beginning. Hungarian protest organisers, maybe fuelled by an ingrained, subconscious attachment to the mythology of 1848, think that excessive amount of public oration is a good thing and no demonstrations can take place without speeches. On Monday, there were no less than six speakers, whose cause was not helped by the awkward titles they gave to their speeches, eg. “I am Nothing”, “I am Angry” and “We have grown up”. But hey, who was I to know in advance, they could have had six little MLKs lined up and ready to stoke up the flames.

I arrived near the starting time, when people were already gathering. The crowd was more mixed than before, at the anti-tax protests, with a higher number of older participants. There were a bunch of EU flags (damn, I really should write that bit about why I found this naive adoration of a deeply flawed and harmful organisation troubling), and, fortunately, relatively few Hungarian ones. I even spotted some teenagers with an anarcho-syndicalist flag, which was rather refreshing.

Then the speeches started. I do hate being right all the time. They were horrendous. The PA system wasn’t really well thought-out and the sound bounced all over the square, creating a garbled cacophony that served no cause whatsoever. The six speeches went on for a whole hour, chasing away a significant number of people. Generally speaking, one would think that a demonstration is about the crowd demonstrating its common beliefs and shared goals and taking action to achieve its goals. Putting a bunch of individuals on a stage to project their personal opinions over thousands of people is not what mass demonstrations should be about. Talk for 15 minutes (Lincoln could summarise the American Civil War in ten sentences, expressing disdain for shitty and harmful policies really shouldn’t take a whole hour), fire up the crowd then hand out the torches and pitchforks and let the masses do the rest.

Instead, the masses were treated to an hour of tedium, then were told to go home. A few people, maybe two thousand or so, stayed and continued chanting. A vanguard of pensioners even broke through the barricades surrounding the stage and tried to enter the parliament, but were stopped by police. Thus started a few hours of mild scuffles, when a small portion of the already diminished crowd tried to force its way through lines of massed riot police. It is fascinating how the most furious and active participants of a supposedly “outraged” crowd didn’t even resort to actual violence. After a while, as the police grew more numerous and the number of protesters dwindled, the event just ended.

When it comes to protests, Hungary is sadly not Burkina Faso, nor is it Mexico or Greece. People here don’t know how to protest and have no concept of how direct action works. This is especially true of the organisers of public demonstrations, to whom the excessive babbling is the protest, after which they bugger off and disappear off the screen, when the real protest should be starting. If they actually want to achieve something with these protests (though, knowing the alternatives, the removal of the current government, however delightful, could turn out to be a complete clusterfuck), they have to re-think their methods. No government was ever stopped by people listening to awful speeches and then going home. There is a need for direct action that actually disrupts the normal functioning of the state apparatus.

I am not against such demonstrations, don’t get me wrong. I would ask every single person who reads this to attend as many protests as they are able, no matter how badly organised they are or how pointless this all might seem. I firmly believe that direct action is the single most democratic act any citizen can perform, much more so than even participating in elections.

But, and this is a big but, if the current movement does not reform itself, preferably from the bottom up, if it fails to transcend the liberal desires for being proper, well-behaved and generally unobtrusive, it will dwindle away and die just like the ones that came before it. There are promising signs. The crowds are big, the anger is building up and there is more disdain for the police than before (also, people are less afraid of the piggies). I do hope that they’ll succeed. And after that, what happens, happens.