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.

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…