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.

A Bad Case of ‘Foot in Mouth Syndrome’

I am not dead yet!

I haven’t been writing much, because I haven’t really found anything to write about. I have always taken comedy rather seriously, and I can’t make myself write when I would just be repeating myself. Things are happening, but nothing interesting. A corruption scandal here and there, by-elections, quibbles and other events of no consequence whatsoever. I went to a nurses’ protest a few days back and heard passionate speeches, made to a crowd that was way too small, with lots of shouts of “enough” and “we’re not gonna take it any more”, which sounded just as toothless as the Twisted Sister song. I left when one of the speakers demanded that people give the optional 1% tax donation to the healthcare workers. Now that is a revolution right there. I really hope they know it deep down that appealing for charity is not quite the right way to pressure a government.

Anyways, this is not what I wanted to talk about. Mr Orbán, the ever-more right wing Prime Minister just had a wonderful little public appearance in Debrecen, the second largest city in Hungary and the centre of the impoverished Eastern frontier. He went there for a little propaganda event, to sign an “agreement of cooperation” with the local mayor to develop the city by throwing gazillion Forints at projects that he hopes would keep the city’s voters on his side, at least until the government finally manages to produce a scandal about which Hungarians will finally give a flying fuck.

Debrecen, also hosts one of the main refugee camps in Hungary, and a particularly horrendous one, where thousands of desperate human beings linger for years without hope of legal recognition or treatment worthy of human beings. FIDESZ has been conducting a major hate speech campaign against refugees in migrants in general, in line with the general position of the European Union, which, in order to weasel out of obligations established in a number of UN conventions, decided that there are just way too many refugees and they should be either drowned or kept far away. This is a reasonable request, as a supernational entity,which is one of the biggest economies in the world, with about 500 million inhabitants, cannot be expected to cope with the current amount of asylum seekers. I mean, in 2014, less than half as many people sought asylum in this prosperous, first-world conglomerate as the there are Syrian refugees in Lebanon, an excessively fucked-up nation of 4,4 million people. THE HORROR!

Mr Orbán declared that he wants to close the camp down and send everyone home.  This merely goes against the United Nations Convention relating to the Status of Refugees, Article 33(1), which prohibits the exact same action, but it’s not like he even gives a damn. I don’t think anyone should believe that he will actually do this blatantly illegal and immoral act, he just needs it to farm more “anti-EU freedom fight” sympathy among the unwashed masses that make up the Hungarian electorate. (Not that a healthy anti-EU freedom fight is a bad thing per se. But let us not kid ourselves, a team composed of the brightest minds of the Orbán government could not spell “exploitative relationship between the EU core and the periphery” if their lives depended on it)

The real gem came later, though, when an Index.hu reporter asked him about the International Day Against Homophobia. I will translate the exchange in full, so that you can savour every last bit of this proud example of bigoted small-mindedness.

-(index) As today is the International Day Against Homophobia, politicians worldwide, including conservatives declared: “Respect to the Gays” and the Government did not make a statement concerning this subject, therefore my question would be that as Prime Minister, what message would you have for the homophobes, and what actions will the Government take to ensure that in Hungary, non-heterosexual couples could hold hands publicly without fear

(wait for it, it is going to be epic)

– (Orbán, visibly annoyed) This is a question which makes one want to joke around, but I would spare us from anything of the sort. So… I would suggest that anyone, who makes public statements about this matter… to do this with reasonable care. Hungary is a serious country. It is fundamentally based on traditional values. Hungary is a tolerant nation. Tolerance does not mean that we would legislate slants of life different from our own as equal. We differentiate between them. Tolerance means patience, tolerance means an ability to coexist, this is the basis of the Hungarian Constitution, it clearly differentiates between a marital relationship between a man and a woman and other, different forms of cohabitation. We are going to keep this. By the way, I am grateful for the Hungarian community of homosexuals that they are not exhibiting the provocative behaviour against which numerous European nations are struggling, and which only results in the exact opposite outcome that they want to achieve. I believe that in Hungary, even though the Constitution clearly differentiates between marriage and other forms of cohabitation, the people with lifestyles different from our own outlook on life are safe, they are given the respect of basic human dignity that they deserve, and I believe that, if I am seeing the commuters of Budapest correctly, foreigners don’t feel that in this respect, Budapest would be a dangerous city. This means that this is good, this is how we can live together. If we steer this system towards any direction, even if we make more stringent regulations or the community of homosexuals start being more provocative, I think that the current peaceful, calm equilibrium will be no more. No-one would benefit from this. Everyone benefits from being able to coexist. I believe that as we are now, we can live together.

Crazy nastyass Orbán don’t care. The reason why I highlighted this astonishingly homophobic tirade, apart from it being a perfect cocktail which mixes the best forms of hate, othering, petite-bourgeois crudeness, ignorance and a sense of superiority, is the honesty. This topic does not come up in Hungarian political discourse too often, and therefore I am sure there was no prepared answer to give. Orbán gave us his opinion, which would have been laughed out of North Carolina, and that is pretty damn pathetic.

All I hope is that the “homosexual community” will break this horrible equilibrium and Orbán will see his precious dream of an oppressive and regressive Hungary crumble in front of his eyes and he will die a broken old man. I’d like to live long enough to savour that when they finally put him in the ground, I’ll stand on his grave and tramp the dirt down.

Now everyone go and watch Pride. It is a gorgeous, wonderful piece of cinema and a perfect palate-clenser after all this hate.

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.

A Tale of Two Protests

Keyboard Thrower

Hmm, this was interesting. In the last post, I mentioned that two protests were organised for last week. The first, on October 23 was meant to give voice to a general anti-establishment sentiment and intended to draw in the people who are more aligned to NGOs than to political parties. The second was about the mind-numbingly idiotic internet tax the Government is implementing so that, as it was revealed recently, they can finance a wage hike for the police and the armed forces.

The first one, which I did not attend, seemed like a regular liberal snoozefest, (I am always uncomfortable when I have to use terms like right, left and liberal in a Hungarian context, due to their fuzzy definitions and confusing layers of meaning) with a few talking heads giving speeches to a crowd of a few hundred like-minded people. The event failed to gain any attention whatsoever, but it was important to at least try to mobilise the voters who are sick and tired of the political establishment. After all, most Hungarians have simply stopped participating in elections and it is a fairly safe guess that this is caused by the terrible options presented to them.

The second one, on the other hand, was rather fascinating. The turnout was massive, about 8-10000 people, I popped down to have a look after the march started towards Heroes’ Square. The original plan was to ask protesters to bring obsolete IT equipment that would be deposited in front of the FIDESZ offices. It was a fun idea, but then the organisers decided to throw it out the window (lol) because it would count as littering, which is a felony, and Hungarian protest organisers have this perverse desire to be proper at all times. So there were loads of people with keyboards and even CRT monitors milling around. This will be important later.

The protesters were a mixed bunch, with the usual angry pensioners and alternative twentysomethings mixed with more average folk, families, well-dressed yuppies and even a few nazi here and there. There was a demonstration by football ultras earlier during the day and apparently a few of them joined the protest, though I really did not see any signs of them, and they are not the most discreet of all people. There was a moderate amount of chanting, some with troubling nationalist undertones, which are, unfortunately, a staple of Hungarian protest culture. There were EU flags as well, which betrayed the charmingly naive notion that many anti-government Hungarians have about the EU and the West as a whole as a positive, benevolent power.

The crowd stopped at Heroes’ Square, where everyone was asked to lift their phones in the air so that the drone could take a nice picture that can be used for bragging later. Then the organisers, after a brief speech and a little bit more shouting closed the protest by asking the assembled people to sing the National Anthem (Hungarians, why do you have to make everything nationalistic? The people on the other side of the debate are as much Hungarians as you are, this exclusion bullshit is really tiring. Especially if your campaign invokes the European Union, the epitome of (however failed) internationalist idealism in the 21st century.) and then peacefully disperse. Many people did not agree with the peacefully disperse bit and thought that, well, we were supposed to go to the FIDESZ headquarters, so we should go there no matter what the organisers say.

While most of the protesters went home, a crowd of about 2-3000 people stayed and surrounded the nearby party offices, that are located in a slightly dilapidated former villa just off the square. For a while, the people were just shouting at the empty building (which I found a rather amusing performative reimagining of Hungarian politics), but then someone threw a mouse at the blinds. slowly the pace picked up and the building was pelted with all kinds of IT equipment, from laptops to modems, but mostly keyboards. Hence the illustration.

There still was no notable police presence, at least not from my vantage point, which I found weird and troubling. As two of the blinds slowly crumbled under the hail of obsolete technology. At one point, a guy jumped up the balcony, tore off the blinds and kicked in the window. Then he stopped and got back into the crowd. Despite all the anger, the crowd never turned into a mob. Most of the damage was done by a few individuals, with vocal support from the rest. The building was never stormed and this timidity was another interesting bit of the events that I can’t really explain.

After a while the police showed up and slowly and steadily, without any violence, regained control over the street. The protest quietly dwindled away.

The reactions were disappointingly predictable. FIDESZ condemned the vandalism and claimed that they are open to discussion (HAHAHAHAHAHAHA) the pro-government press went into attack mode against the protest and the US Government as well, just for the hell of it. The opposition media declared a revolution, that this will break the back of FIDESZ and so on and so on. Yeah, sure. The opposition condemned the vandalism and said something not even they cared about. Former PM and monomaniacal madman Ferenc Gyurcsany tried to latch his failing party onto the protest, but it seems that he failed to poop into the punch bowl this time.

Myself, I will wait it out. There will be another anti-tax protest today. If that manages to draw the same or larger crowds, or causes more of a ruckus, I might start to believe that this could be a timid beginning of something.

Call me cynical, but I have no expectations about this place or its inhabitants.

Ooh, and, just to add to the Hungarian Political Zombie Outbreak, aka the Walking Dead Who Are Not Actually Dead But Everyone Wishes They Were Actually Dead and Gone Forever, disgraced former mayor Gabor Demszky made an appearance and sadly managed to sneak into a few photos in an attempt to fuck everything up once again. For those unfamiliar with him, he was a completely useless mayor who lead Budapest into ever deeper decay for over a decade while his closest associates and underlings stole everything. He is the kind of guy who, if the smiling MSZP official stole the chair from under him, just stayed there trying to maintain a sitting position while awkwardly clawing at the desk.

 

Congress of Baboons is Back!

I am going to start with a seemingly controversial statement: in the time that the blog was on hiatus, nothing happened in Hungarian Politics. Nothing at all.

I mean things were going on, there was some character development and the plot got a bit more complex, but it’s all like that dreadful second season of The Walking Dead, with zombies and a lot of annoying dialogue and whining. There were some minor ‘scandals’, which the greater public ignored, and unvbelievable acts of stupidity and ignorance have been comitted by both the government and the opposition. I could make a list, but there is no point to write about these in retrospect, because they failed to affect anything.

What I find fascinating is that this lack of plot development does not mean a lack of activity. For a the first time in a long while, there are two long-running protests happening in the city centre. One is agains the horrendous Nazi Occupation Memorial which I blogged about before. Yes, it has been built and it is astonishingly bad art. And, what is my beef with it, bad anatomy as well: the sculptor obviously had no idea what a bird’s leg looks like and confused the knee with the ankle. Since its sneaky unweiling, which coincided with the likewise sneaky removal of the barriers around the Soviet WWII memorial (a smart move, as I’m sure the fascists still haven’t noticed), there have been daily protests by groups of opposition pensioners, with some help from politicians scavenging for votes. A small protest camp, with two tents has also popped up right in front of the Parliament. It isn’t quite Occupy Budapest, but it is always nice to see people using public spaces to express political opinions instead of passively accepting their fate like most Hungarians tend to do. Of course None of these protests will accomplish anything or achieve any measurable level of support even amongst the friends of the protesters.

The municipal elections are looming, and the Opposition is still fighting very hard to lose. For some reason, they still believe in the Grand Coalition, even though it failed miserably in two elections so far, just this year. It is actually getting really funny to see how this idea is disintegrating. For newcomers, the Grand Coalition was the idea that if the main opposition parties team up and form a united, democratic coalition, they will beat FIDESZ. The maths did add up, but reality kinda ruined the party. MSZP managed to seem temporarily alive by clawing its way up onto the rotten corpses of its coalition partners (I am dead certain that this Grand Coalition idea was a highly successful MSZP plot to avoid its long-awaited demise); DK, aka. disgraced former Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsany and his army of grumpy pensioners, chased away a lot of voters and Egyutt was quietly sitting in the corner, listening to the greatest hits of Coldplay. Fast forward to today, and the Coalition has become an even bigger mess. MSZP is very proud of its position at the top of the heap of rotten corpses, and it is refusing to compromise in many municipalities. While it got what it wanted, it fails to realise that by maintaining a shaky, but definite hegemony in the opposition, its presence is actively preventing the opposition from being able to actually oppose the government in elections. The inactive voters are the key to removing FIDESZ, and they are not going to vote for MSZP. Egyutt has completely disintegrated, its useless saviour Bajnai has once again left politics to collect humongous wads of cash at a French corporation and DK is hanging around. It gets chaotic in the capital and is downright insane in the countryside, where the even alliances with the fascists are not that rare. the Coalition has gone as far as to support anti-Roma hate speech in order to justify running a violently racist former police chief for mayor in the city of Miskolc, just because the guy is more popular than the FIDESZ candicate.

The best illustration of what a miserable bunch the Grand Coalition is would be their campaing for the mayor of Budapest. Their opponent is Istvan Tarlos, who isn’t really all that popular and is generally viewed as a thuggish asshole, who is a little bit of a renegade even within FIDESZ. The person they decided to run for office was Ferenc Falus, a distinguished doctor and former health chief for the country. This was Egyutt’s idea, and it was of course a terrible one. Falus was a disaster. Not only did he lack a political programme for a long time, he even embarrassed himself by trying to look like the awkward dad who thinks that he is down with the kids. And now, just today, it has been announced that even though he was hailed as the Coalition candidate for most of the campaing, he is stepping down in favour of socialist turned conservative turned sad joke and unrepentand Thatcherite Lajos Bokros. Since the campaign of Mr Bokros received most media attention when he was seen as a pathetic old loser begging for votes in public squares, I am not quite sure how these morons runnign the show are planning to build up a successful campaign for him in less than two weeks, but we’ll see.

As usual, FIDESZ will win, because with such opponents, they can basically do anything. Despite the ranting, the horrible policies, the creepily close ties with Vladimir Putin, despite everything. The good news is that the opposition is really on its way out and maybe after these elections, they’ll fade into obscurity and something less terrible will emerge. I maintain that a newly emerging political force could easily take FIDESZ down, as long as it stays far away from the current opposition and its enablers in the intelligentsia. Until then, nothing will happen in Hungary.

Unless there is a meteor strike or a vampire pandemic like in The Strain. God, that is one great missed opportunity series.

But I will write about these enablers in the next post, which will come very soon.

Same Old, Same Old

Well, well. I haven’t written in a while, because I am lazy. I know I should but I have quite a few things going on at the moment. A quick recap since the last post: FIDESZ won two elections with a landslide, which only surprised people who did not look at the opposition. The Grand Coalition, as it could be expected, failed miserably. They didn’t even try again at the EP elections, where MSZP suffered a humiliating defeat and the other parties hopefully reached the equally humiliating conclusion that they were tricked by a shambling corpse. MSZP dominates the opposition in parliament (kinda like how Moldova dominates Europe between Ukraine and Romania), even though at the EP elections, it was clear that it doesn’t actually have more support than Egyutt or DK, who now must feel particularly stupid.

Jobbik reached its zenith by coming in second at the Ep elections, but this really doesn’t mean much. If I manage to get to the Nazis article I’ve been planning for a while, I’ll explain what I mean. In short, they will never achieve any real power. Also, amusingly, their main financier was outed as an alleged Russian Agent. The party has taken a strong pro-Putin turn lately. I guess the fences surrounding the Soviet WWII Memorial were removed knowing that the nazis wouldn’t bite the hand that feeds them.

LMP has gotten into parliament. Full stop.

FIDESZ has so far been true to its own campaign promise and it is continuing its arrogant steamrolling of everything and anything. What I find interesting is what makes waves and what doesn’t. This year, there were two and a half major scandals around the party. The half one happened when the media got wind that Antal Rogan, the mayor of District V and notorious bonvivant lied in his income statement. Specifically, it seems that his flat magically grew in size. This case went absolutely nowhere, partially becasue some higher-ups in MSZP were markedly against pressing the matter. Knowing Hungarian politics, they probably made a deal with FIDESZ to ensure that they wouldn’t be destroyed. (Despite all the posturing, the big parties can be quite cordial with each other, if it benefits them. During the previous government, a FIDESZ-MSZP coalition voted to ban press from most of the parliament, after some journalists caught MPs smoking in non-smoking areas on hidden cameras). Anyway, the case of Rogan’s Magical House will never be solved.

The first main scandal was the memorial to the Nazi occupation of Hungary, that horrendous pseudo-romantic piece of shit that I already wrote about in an earlier post. Despite protests from multiple organisations and foreign Governments, they just started building it. The reaction was furious, especially from the MSZP/DK-aligned pensioners who include a number of Holocaust-survivors. The  bulding site was vandalised every day for about a week, but the direct action stopped when police was sent to guard the area. Now there is a standoff between a varying number of police and protesters. The quite cool makeshift memorial, made up of stones, photographs and documents was rebuilt across from the building site and things seem rather calm at the moment, but I guess after the construction finishes, there will be quite a few random acts of violence against the statue. The issue is that the matter received a disproportionate amount of attention. Yes, it is a horrible and offensive piece of crap, but then again, it is just a bloody statue. It won’t really hurt anyone and it won’t make matters worse. It will not allow Viktor Orban to pull a Dark Willow and try to destroy the world by funneling magical essences through the central effigy.  But it is really convenient for both sides. FIDESZ can divert attention from its truly henious acts and the “Democratic Opposition” can mobilise against something that wouldn’t be as divisve as real issues, like refugee or Roma rights, for example.

The second one just started, and it could get juicy. Emphasis on “could” because it won’t. After a series of articles were published by the news portal Origo showing that the Minister of Douchebaggery (actually he has a not much less ridiculous title, the Minister Responsible for the Prime Minister’s Office, or at least this will be his role in the new government, not sure how things are at the moment), Janos Lazar participated in luxurious “missions” (aka. vacations) on taxpayer money. As a result of the articles, Lazar had to back down and pay back 2 million HUF (about 8900 USD) and I’m sure he got pissed. He’s like that. A few years ago, he sued a commenter who said that it’s a shame that he wasn’t the person who died in a car crash involving his convoy. The media, even the servile right-wing media erupted in outrage and a protest was organised for yesterday where about 1500-2000 people showed up, which is basically the number that the semi-dormant protest movement can mobilise.

Oh, also, the same Minister has launched a major attack against NGOs recently. This is not a Putin-esque complete crackdown, it is just that a financial regulating body was let loose to pester them while Lazar is trying to claim that Norway is attempting to meddle in Hungarian affairs because non-government-aligned NGOs can also receive money if their applications are decided favourably by the fund. There is some backlash against this as well, but there is no sign of it gaining momentum. People will grumble and then move on when there is something else to grumble about.

The scary thing is that there is a complete stalemate, or rather an equilibrium. The government, I think, is really not committed to destroying democracy on an ideological level. They don’t have ideology apart from their aspirations to live like the late 19th-early 20th century landed gentry: wealthy, outwardly pious, insular and openly (even theatrically) nationalistic. They attack anything and anyone that they perceive as an attack against their privileges and lifestyle but they want no more and no less. Meanwhile, the opposition is still completely devoid of ideas. When FIDESZ throws them a bone, they chew on it for a while, but they are incapable of taking the initiative in anything. MSZP is only active because it still has a little bit of momentum left and DK is surviving due to the bizarre personality cult of Ferenc Gyurcsany. Egyutt, which never had any basis in reality to begin with has completely lost its way after even they realised that Gordon Bajnai is not exactly the super-intelligent technocrat genious, just an awkward accountant. And LMP, well, they exist somewhere. And everyone is happy. FIDESZ has what it wants and its mere existence provides enough fuel for the continued activities of all the others. Of course, for example DK would like to be in charge, but they still have the next best thing. And it’s not like they can lose any more voters.

And this, in short, is why the one group that is well outside this game is so popular. The one that pursues its own agenda instead of jumping from outrage to outrage, the one that organises even when the elections aren’t a week away, the one that can’t give two shits about what FIDES or MSZP or anyone else is doing, the one that is interested in changing the status quo. And that group are the nazis.

We are still fucked.

Yay, campaign!!

I am still alive. Honestly, I had a bunch of ideas, started a number of posts but they never went anywhere. Until now, hopefully.

So, where are we and what are the baboons doing? It is just about two weeks until the election, and we are in the middle of the weirdest political campaign I have ever seen in my life. Hungary has a strange system to begin with, where the official campaign only lasts a month or so, but whatt is happening now is much more peculiar.

FIDESZ modified campaign regulations and exploited all the loopholes to completely dominate the scenery. Its main tactic is to use its almost complete control of the Hungarian media and advertising companies to spam the country with posters and it has muldiplied its outreach by using proxy organisations that can mount campaigns that are not restricted by the regulations that govern how a party can campaign. The biggest of these is  CÖF (Civilian Unity Movement), a group of pro-FIDESZ journalists and automatons that organises the irregularly occurring “Peace Marches”, during which tens of thousands of well-coordinated pensioners stroll through Budapest to express their undying, religious devotion to Viktor Orbán and his government. But, the interesting thing is that none of these posters actually say too much. CÖF had/had a campaign featuring personal attacks on the Grand Coalition, but Fidesz has been content with merely flooding the streets with the faces of its candidates. The most brazen of these features the Beloved Leader himself, with a caring, fatherly smile, looking down at his people, with the slogan “The Prime Minister of Hungary”. They don’t even feel the need to make an attempt. Although, a former MSZP scapegoat jailed for some petty fraud (to protect the bigger fish from persecution) did release a damning book just now, through a FIDESZ-affiliated publishing house, detailing the corruptness of MSZP, but frankly, everyone knows that MSZP is corrupt to the bone and this will matter little in the long run.

And what is the Grand Coalition doing? You guessed it, also nothing. After spending much of the past year destroying or swallowing all the upcoming political formations (and incorporating the conservative, Thatcherite austerity wizard Lajos Bokros into their little group of unsavoury former bigshots who no-one wanted to see again) and most of the past months squabbling over who will run for what office (and realising a month before the election that they shouldn’t use their original name, because another party has had it since 2006), they have settled into sitting around quietly. I haven’t heard a single statement from PM-hopeful Mesterházy in a long-long time. He did release a brief stab at the governemnt about its delayed response to the Crimean crisis, but that was basically it. The Coalition, which won’t even have a united election night event, has been unable to win over any new voters in a long time, at least according to the most recent polls and I have the feeling MSZP is content with the destruction of all other non-nazi opposition parties and has hunkered down to survive the election in order to remain the cancerous growth that is destroying any chance of having a decent left-wing in this country. Oh, and on their poster, they managed to use the same hackneyed19th century patriotic slogan “Talpra Magyar” (“Arise, Hungarians”) as the nazis. Because no-one has invented any new political phrases in the past 170 years…

(As a sidenote, I have to quote my sister who once said that the first step into making Hungarian politics better would be to ban all 19th century rhetorics from the Parliament. I could not agree more.)

Talking about the nazis, Jobbik has been running an interesting and active campaign. They have been doing their best to appear cuddly to the outside world, while continuing with their nazi bullshit when they think no-one is looking. Gábor Vona, their lead guy has appeared in the company of adorable puppies on Facebook and is trying his best to look like a charmless Colin Farrel on the election posters. All their communication is positive (as opposed to the Grand Coalition, whose ads feature despearate and hopeless people being desperate and hopeless), all their slogans are about success, action, justice, solutions, with just subconscious indications of their Christian-Nationalistic aims: a cross and a map of Greater Hungary in the background of the family scene, transparent traditional floral patterns on the posters, etc. I have been saying for a long time, that even if they are nazi thugs, they know what they are doing and are very good at outreach and communication. No surprise that their popularity is higher than ever. This does not make them less evil. Just recently, a group of far right thugs affiliated with Jobbik (and also with FIDESZ, as they were the same bunch that tried to disrupt the university occupation last year) made an attempt to disrupt a release party for a bunch of harmless hipster T-shirts that feature national icons in unconventional ways. They failed miserably, but this just shows that “smoother words, nicer suits, don’t be fooled, they’re still wearing jackboots”.

And what about LMP? The good news is that they haven’t split in a good while now and have been consolidating themselves as the non-MSZP, non-nazi opposition, having a strong and constant media and public presence. The bad news is that I don’t have much mroe to say about them. I am still unsure how much they know about what they want to do besides their broad slogans about “fighting corruption” and “green politics”. But I have to admit that I they have been growing on me, much like back hair. But this is mostly due to the lack of options.

4K, the other party I’ve been following has imploded. they failed to collect enough signatures and will only have a handful of candidates running for positions. Their campaign was not helped by the ridiculous gimmick of having their pretty blonde female spokesperson post a picture on facebook, her naked torso covered by a placard saying “3000 more signatures until Sunday and I’ll throw away the placard”. Not even the self-aware nods towards sexism were enough to chase the sour taste from my mouth. I still like these folks, but placing attention on weed (their previous media stunt was a rather misguided “weed is not a drug” campaign for legalisation) and boobs might not have been the best idea ever. See you guys in the coming decade.

So, what will happen? FIDESZ is bound to win the election, with the active collaboration of MSZP. I hope that during the next election, there will be a left-wing opposition formation, something that Milla could have morphed into if it decided not to sell out whose first priority will be to viciously and brutally attack MSZP and completely destroy it. Afterwards, we can talk about getting this place out of the Central Asian personal cult hell FIDESZ has installed. If the Russians don’t decide to annex the whole former Eastern Bloc by that time.

Oh, as a side-note: Fuck you Vladimir Putin, fuck you with a corroded rail spike.

Side-note number II: you can follow the blog on Facebook, at https://www.facebook.com/baboonshungary I should have advertised this before… oops

On Statues

At this point in time, all levels of government are absolutely enamoured by the idea of statues and memorials. They are so shiny and ideologically driven and they are really good for allocating state funds to friends and relatives.

Of course, this is not an exactly new thing. If one goes to Kossuth Square, the symbolic centre of Budapest, one can see about five thousand different statues and memorials. Well, one could, if the place wouldn’t be completely torn up, but I’ll return to that some other time. What you need to know is that it’ll be returned to the pre-1944 state, because YAY FASCIST HUGNARY. Before the rebuilding started there were at least four completely separate memorials to the 1956 revolution in this one place, alongside a statue of a post WWI Prime Minister, a 18th century revolutionary, Lajos Kossuth and 1848 revolutionaries, an MP killed by the Communists, a national poet and at least a dozen different memorial plaques dedicated to a mixed bunch of people, including ethnographers and cavalry officers.

You think this is crazy? You ain’t seen nothing yet. FIDESZ and other nationalist-conservative-theocratic affiliates have gone completely apeshit in recent years erecting weird statues left and right. My personal favourite is a four and a half metre tall monstrosity that was put up by some loony nationalist mayor in one of the suburbs. Its central figure is non other than God, who happens to have wings and two halos, one triangular, one circular. The wings are visible on the back, alongside a near life-sized copy of a Scythian deer ornament. The words of the national anthem are inscribed on the wings and there are also 24 bells commemorating the 64 counties of the Kingdom of Hungary. To this date, I haven’t seen a better representation of contemporary Hungarian nationalistic thought than this weird mixture of Christianity, romanticised  pan-steppe animism, irredentism and kitsch.

But things are about to change. The Hungarian Right has always hated the fact that there was a Soviet Memorial on a square near the parliament, which wasn’t torn down due to a bi-lateral agreement with Russia stating that the Russians would keep the Hungarian memorials on their territory, and Budapest would keep this single one. The first attempt to counter-act this relatively (by Soviet standards) modest obelisk is putting that evil bastard Ronald Reagan next to it. He is striding towards the memorial in a pose reminiscent of Frame 352 of the Patterson-Gimlin bigfoot footage. I like to take American visitors to see it just for the shock value. But now, a new project is starting to take shape: a memorial to the German invasion of Hungary in 1944.

I won’t really bore y’all with historical details, but this needs a bit of an explanation. Hungary was a staunch ally of Nazi Germany and when things were definitely looking pear-shaped, its bumbling puffer fish of a Governor tried to weasel his way out of the alliance. He failed, the country got invaded and the country that was already famous for enacting the first anti-Jewish law of the 20th century became known for deporting so many of its own citizens in such a short time frame that the death camps got overwhelmed by the sheer volume of new arrivals. Hungary fought with Germany until the very end and there was at least one unit that surrendered a day after Berlin.

How will the memorial to this invasion look like? A four-metre tall statue of the Archangel Gabriel (symbolizing Hungary as “God’s Man, God’s power and Divine Power”), surrounded by broken Greek columns, being attacked by the Imperial Eagle. This is meant to symbolise the innocent, soft and holy Hungary being attacked and consumed by a stronger and more aggressive foe. I can’t even begin to describe everything that is wrong with this, but I will just post the official sketch of how it should look like, via 444:

While I am not against neither the ornithologisation of history nor Dadaist art, this is just fucking insane.

Meanwhile, a nincompoop member of the Catholic Taliban has issued an open letter to the heads of the main university of economics to remove the statue of Marx, because he was evil. And it’s still quite a few months until the elections…