I will continue yesterday’s discussion of Viktor Orbán’s speech at Tusnádfürdő/Baile Tusnad because I didn’t cover some important topics. Moreover, at the time of the post’s writing I had access only to Orbán’s speech and not his answers to questions from the audience. Since then I have read a summary of what transpired in the hour and a half after the prime minister finished his speech.
I should emphasize that the Tusnádfürdő extravaganza was organized not by RMDSZ, the largest Hungarian party in Romania, but by the Erdélyi Magyar Néppárt (EMNP) headed by Tibor T. Toró. So, the enthusiastic crowd came from the more radical right in Transylvania, from those who enthusiastically supported or most likely initiated the reburial of József Nyirő whose political sympathies lay with Hitler and later Szálasi. The other important speaker was László Tőkés, who is the chairman of an organization called Erdélyi Nemzeti Tanács which is in close alliance with EMNP. An RMDSZ politician who was originally chosen to deliver a speech was forbidden to participate.
By way of background, Tasnádfürdő is in the Szekler region. The Szeklers live in the counties of Hargita/Harghita, Kovászna/Covasna and Maros/Mureş and for a numbers of years have been demanding territorial autonomy which the Romanian majority refuses to grant.
I think László Tőkés’s speech was a window into the mindset of these people. His speech was sprinkled with statements such as “we now are in a community of the Szekler Autonomous Region” or “we are gathered in Tusnádfürdő of the Szekler Autonomous Region.” These and similar claims give you an idea about these people’s sense of reality.
And as long as I’m bringing up Hungarian minority politics I might as well return to a part of Viktor Orbán’s speech that I didn’t touch on yesterday. It was his close to incomprehensible discourse on the concept of the “world nation” (világnemzet), a word that at least until now didn’t exist in the Hungarian language. Among the compound words starting with “világ,” “világcég” means “international company” and “világnyelv” means “language widely spoken.” For example, today English is a “világnyelv.”
I guess a “world nation” means that there are Hungarians all over the world but regardless of where they live they all belong to the nation. That is simple enough, but what are we going to do with the following claim? “We must find a way that the Hungarian from Budapest, or rather from Felcsút, the Hungarian who lives in New York or in Argentina will all prosper.”
In my opinion, he can look high and low but he won’t find a way to achieve this, How could he? He has no power over the lives of those who live on a permanent basis in other countries. But it seems that his mind works differently from mine because he claims to have found the key to solving this problem. What is necessary, in his opinion, is “a strong Hungary.” He will draw all these people “into the new political and economic order that is being built by the two-thirds majority.” How, may I ask? But such practical questions don’t seem to occur to his admirers.
The same thing is true about Orbán’s deputy, Zsolt Semjén, who went even further when he claimed that if the Hungarian minorities totally assimilate sometime in the future in Ukraine, Romania, Serbia, and Slovakia, Hungarians altogether will disappear from the face of the earth. What is the connection? Why does the fate of the Hungarians of Hungary depend on the Hungarian minorities in the neighboring countries? There are, of course, no rational answers to these irrational statements, but that doesn’t seem to bother these people.
In the last couple of days I have been listening to a lecture series on the structure and the laws of the European Union. One of the lectures concentrated on the EU’s stages of development from its beginnings. The lecturer emphasized the fact that the Union even today is an entity in constant change. Something still in the making. The trend is toward closer and closer integration, especially since the crisis of the eurozone. Viktor Orbán will not be able to stop this trend and he can only lose this war. He may win a battle or two, but he will not succeed in transforming the European Union to his own liking.
It seems that Orbán was carried away during the Q&A session when he revealed the “secret”of how he fools the European Union. For example, the EU insists on changing certain passages in the new constitution. Eventually the Hungarian government obliges but at the same time they change a few more words here and there. The final result is that the European Union would have been better off if it hadn’t insisted on the changes at all. What upright behavior! And he is even proud of it.
And, continuing my random thoughts, here are a couple of corrections to Viktor Orbán’s figures. He claimed that since 2010 the Hungarian national debt was reduced through his efforts from 85% to 79% of GDP. A lie. Not since the mid 1990s has the national debt been at 85%, and at the moment it is climbing to a new cyclical high. It currently stands at 81.3% of GDP. Paying back the IMF loan early actually means borrowing money at a higher interest rate to repay a loan with a considerably lower interest rate. But according to his admirers, including László Tőkés, sending the IMF packing is a patriotic act. As Tőkés said, “as in 1989 a young man sent the Soviets home today the same man with graying hair sent the IMF home.” Another lie. Viktor Orbán didn’t send the Russians home in 1989. Their departure had already been arranged between the Németh government and Mikhail Gorbachev’s Soviet Union.
Did you read the slip of tongue of the newly appointed head of the National Election Commission?
Votes of entire villages in Transylvania will be sent by bulk mail, and “nobody will check” eligibility. She corrected her live interview in writing later.
Yes, I’m collecting material for a future post on the subject
I don’t need to read more to understand what is going on here. These words are being used as weapons of control and people need to know what is going happening in both thinking and actions. I therefore reject these terms as they are literal and slavish translations that have a proper translation to English and when that proper translation is used properly in English they have the proper (eye opening) effect on people. They (non-Hungarian nationals) truly understand that the meaning isn’t the meaning of nation as they understand it to be.
As I’ve said before, my children attended Hungarians schools and this but one (of the many) points where I have to re-educate them and quite frankly I find it very tiresome. So you see these words are being use to propagandize the younger generation so that instead of having a modern understanding or real meaning of these terms, they are sucked into the same cesspool of thinking that this country has been suffering from for far too long. Their (mis)education will lead to the same problems… To combat this we need to change the vocabulary. I reject these slavish translations.
I was in the thread on the “ethnic slant”, do educated people call von Neumann “Magyar” ? Note Minusio in July 27 8:51 talks about “the Jewish” “the more well-to ” Franz List is there as a teaser
thanks for the link. Csaba Asztalos claims the meeting was set up by Universitate Vara “Balvanyos”. He complains that Orban turned it into an election rally. Asztalos says UDMR can deliver the votes. Why is Orban cosying up to PPMT ?
Political community – fine. Isnt “tolerance” simpler ?
Haha. That is exactly the problem with Spider (Pók). 🙂 She (?) is referring to the inkblot tests (misspelled the name). When you are shown all kinds of random funky images and you tell what do they remind you of.
(Looks like some tiger bees got into the hive…) Paul and CharlieH at each other!
Simmer down, boys, I enjoy both your posts.
Let’s face the real problem: with Orban and Fidesz at the helm, Judaeo-Christian values
no longer rule. That’s serious. Fighting a group like that requires commitment, cohesion, and brains. Let’s get to that…
Most people here, I think, have pretty much the same goal, but the discord and irascibility between posters of the last few weeks is pretty much a microcosm of what is going on in the Hungarian opposition generally.
It’s all about frustration, especially for those who live here permanently and have suffered/are suffering here.
I think most of that frustration is the sure and certain knowledge – despite the fact that some are in denial – that Fidesz will win the next election – maybe with another super-majority, or maybe in some kind of apocalyptic coalition with Jobbik.
The great mass of undecideds is another source of frustration. The fact is that most of these simply will not vote, while some will vote for Jobbik as a protest, and some will even return to Fidesz.
‘Normal’ politics doesn’t apply here – appealing to people’s pockets, logically explaining the issues etc. Factors such as ‘patriotic duty’, the need to be ‘normalis’ etc, apply in a way that is incomprehensible to the outside world.
This is why I believe that Kirsten’s entirely sensible ideas about sourcing opposition suppoort – all of which would be sensible in a rational society – are a non-starter here. A strange kind of ‘democracy’ has taken root, in which only the winners and the patriotic matter (and the losers, for that matter, are scum).
So what ARE we to do? Paul’s pessimism is on the ball, and is useful in terms of setting out the problem. But we have to move on, impossible though that seems. And this is why we HAVE to let dissenting voices in. Without understanding their motivations, there is no prospect of convincing anyone – and then the opposition, and this blog, will just seem like (generally) articulate and well-meaning despair trying to punch its way out of a paper bag.
Dear Dr Balogh,
Thanks for the link. Is it “a real phony” ? The university is supported by …Malta Lovagrend. The Hungarian Bailiff is Sandor Milesz, Orban’s friend. The Grand Master is Csaba Kiraly, Jobbik.
@LwiiH: tradutore traditore… I think these words cannot be used, or explained, out of context.
In France for instance, nationality equals citizenship. In the UK, you have British citizens, nationals (overseas), and subjects. In Hungary – and Poland, Romania; Bulgaria etc. – you have Hungarian citizenship (állampolgárság) and state-recognized… nationalities (nemzetiség). Ethnicity is yet another matter…
All this relates to the way each European state was founded, although it can be sustained there are only roughly three different traditions. Did the State create the Nation, or did the Nation create the State ? And in the latter case, how was this ‘Nation’ defined?
I am working on Orban and christianity. I need more space than a mobile.
Not at all, this is another matter entirely. By “political community” Szűcs roughly means what we call “the State”, i.e. the collective system by which political matters are decided, and those who take part in that system. Something that (re-)appeared in Europe between the 13th and 14th centuries.
I think you have reached your daily SMS quota.
Because ideologically Fidesz is closer to them.
Sorry, just to conclude this thought … IMHO we need to actually stare into the abyss, confront the irrationality that will keep Orban in power, and try and work out what to do about it without compromising on basic values like compassion. This is what Gyurcsany tried (unsuccessfully) to do.
For example, there is NO comparison with Thatcher (for the first 10 years) and the Tories having 18 years of uninterrupted absolute power in Britain, between 1979 and 1997. There, liberal frustration was about the fact that a substantial (not a majority but enough to maintain constant absolute majorities in parliament) number of people voted ENTIRELY with their pockets. Greed really was good, and there wasn’t a jot of care for those less fortunate (“Get on your bike” etc … ) or the wider good of society. When Thatch introduced the poll tax, a policy that definitely DID hurt her supporters, she was very soon toppled.
BUT in Hungary, it is those who are suffering the most who will keep Orban in power. Flat taxes, stealth taxes, cronyism … none of these seem to really matter to people, in comparison with abstract feelings like patriotic duty. So there isn’t even an economic debate to be had (even if there were an open forum for that). This is evidenced by the way in which so many poor people voted in the referendum to overturn Gyurcsany’s health reforms, measures that immeasurably helped the very poor people who then overturned it.
So, the challenge IS … without wearing the same nationalist garb, how does one engage with such an odd approach to democracy?
thank you for the link to Gabor Torok. How can a political scientist indulge in such intemperate.language ? The new gerrymandered (see California 2000) constituencies may be hard to model..computerwise. Count 2m home + 0,5 abroad. Ladies and Gentlemen: We have a winnet !”
For a moment I thought that the grand master was Csaba királyfi himself.:)
There is an interesting “development” about the IMF money. According to 168 ora Tibor Szanyi (MSZP) submitted a statement to MTI. (Can’t wait for the non-reaction of the Fidesz Troopers.)
“THe MSZP would like remind everyone that the “installation” of the IMF loan [at the time when MSZP requested the loan] were for security purposes. Because of it it was only 1/3 of the loan that was “moved” for bridging. According to Tibor Szanyi, now they only have to talk about the “remains of what remained”. If we do not consider the purchase of the MOL stocks, the money lent was not even used up, so the repayment was never a question. THe cost of the MOL purchase is almost as much as the sum of the last remaining payment, around two-millard Euros – contained the statement.
According to the socialist politician this year the government borrowed twice as much money from the dollar markets by issuing government bonds on top of doubling the interest than what they try to “sell as final repayment” to the IMF.”
Read the whole article in Hungarian here:
Dear Dr Balogh,
Why would Orban choose ideas over votes ?
I believe the “catastrophe” is already happening since the 2010 elections. The country went through all the political parties, got disillusioned and the first populist won big. We are “lucky” it wasn’t the JOBBIK.
If the catastrophe is bankruptcy, that ain’t gonna happen soon. The Fidesz will finance this pigsty for a long time from bonds.
Oh, they promised to lower the debt? It’s not a loan, silly – it’s a bond! Hungarians will be happy that finally the difference is explained.
In this country anything goes: they stole the private pension funds while they protected them, the strengthened the constitutional court while they packed it and cut it’s powers and now they nationalized the credit unions while they helping them by adding 100B HUF capital. It’s not a rape, it’s unorthodox sexual advances.
They only have to fear abrupt changes. That usually wakes up the average Hunky. So if something flares up they will spray some money on it. But they can bring down the people’s living standard below the Mongolian sheep herder’s, as long as they do it gradually, say in 20 years. That’s just the way of life for this proud but unlucky nation. At least so they think.
Of course the financial crash will happen eventually when the economy is run down completely and nobody will want the bonds. But I’m afraid that will not happen soon.
So predicting a revolt in the next few years is a very optimistic view of the future.
Now top this negativity if you can!
Ivan, you may consider my ideas too ‘rational’ but I believe there is no use in trying to establish a political system that requires quite a bit of rationality based on irrational “Hungarian romantic national thought”. So, either we buy into this national paradise self-image of OV’s Hungary, or we believe in more universal human values. I prefer the latter. I even believe that Fidesznomics is doomed to failure. And because of that, I suggest to approach the problem not from the frustrating amounts of madness that are being expressed every day. That can even grow further in the next months. I consider it more important to have good strategies worked out for the moment when the tide turns. Two or three economic challenges, given the increasing number of people with money annoyed by OV, and it might be difficult for OV to retain his unquestioned power. But to be able to use such opportunity, the democratic opposition must have some functioning infrastructure including the programme and networks in place. And as regards the wider public, there is one thing that Nazi Germany indeed teaches: how quickly people can forget their national fervor and embrace Western values. Cynical, no doubt. But it shows that these nationalist romantic ideas also have a quite opportunist component, and that the realistically available options matter. Which is why the democratic opposition must be such ‘option’ in the first place.
Dear Dr Balogh,
11:14 Andra posts link in which he claims UDMR could deliver Szekely votes to Orban 12:32 I ask why he cosies up to Toro/Tokes ….your reply 12:57 “because ideologically closer to them” (PoK splinter party). I ask 1:32 why does Orban choose ideas.ideology over votes
I think everyone has seen the duck walk and the duck quack so they realize it’s a duck and it’s not going to lay a golden egg any time soon. I have to say that my recent ventures around the country have left me with a more positive feeling that OV won’t get much of that undecided vote. My sense is that the undecided have decided that OV and his gang of thugs are wacko. People are *undecided* only because they are worried about speaking their minds for fear of the current regime.
There was comment a day or two ago from Paul about Debrecen being run down. Can’t say that I noticed anything except that the center town renovations are older than when they were first built.
As for foreigners in Debrecen, I think it’s the city’s saving grace that the uni is able to attract so many of them. I’ll be there on Friday Paul if you want to point anything that I should be looking for….
He doesn’t have a choice. the RMDSZ doesn’t take orders from Budapest (or Bucharest).
Although it is an OT point I never heard about Afghan’s in Debrecen. However, there is a Detention Center for Refugees, incorporated from April 2010, and the numbers are increasing since. and it seems that criminality is not increasing, but serious protests are held, because of this.
But as to the comments from Paul’s in-laws, how is it possible that at night Afghan’s are running wild, while they should be in the Detention Center’s.
May be it is an unorthodox Detention Center?
“So predicting a revolt in the next few years is a very optimistic view of the future.”
There would have been another option – strictly theoretically speaking – that the yet Orbán-free financial power joining forces with civilised, open minded, technocrats and maybe with that very few politicians who counts from both sides, and throw out this Inversed Robin Hood (took from the poor and gave to his rich vassals) and his merry robbers once and for all, and make a clear(er?) slate.
Of course, it should have happened already before the remaining pieces of the bounty has been taken apart and away by the hungry hordes of Orbán, now precisious little remained intact what was once called Hungary…
Theoretically speaking, as I said.
RMDSZ supporters are not likely to be as enthusiastic about voting at all on the Hungarian elections as the more nationalistic followers of Toro and Tökés. At one point there was even talk about RMDSZ running In the Hungarian elections. That sure didn’t sound too loyal an approach from Fidesz’s point of view. Those who support Tőkés will surely vote for Fidesz. An RMDSZ voter may not.
So? What can I do?
Do you want my 15 yr old Thinkpad?
A pad here is the equivalent of 3 months unemployment pay.
60 000 ft versus 22 000 ft
I’m still pretty sure, that the Transilvanian/Romanian Hungarian citizens with voting rights should vote to their own represenatives, – if at all – but definitely not mixed up with Hungarian domestic poltics.
Since there is a sizeable ethnic group with their own – and significantly different of mainland Hungarian – aspects, problems and so on, they definitely should be represented by they own MP – s.
In such case they could support Orbán or whoever they please in the Parliament, I have no problem with that, but mos significantly, this solution would provide equal and equally democratic rights to Hunngarians in both side of the border.
As opposed to the present, when apparently they only being used an masse in a selfish political game as mere ballast. Curious, though, how came, that so far they seem happy in the role of pawns, simply tools used by Orbán against democracy in Hungary?
Is this really what they are only good for?
I think Hungarians have to look for those values first in their own History, in their own intellectual production. Much like the German post-war political class did, actually. They didn’t ’embrace Western values’, they searched in their own past for paths that had been disrupted, fields that had been left fallow.
A Hungarian example? Using István Bibó to criticize OV’s constitutional frenzy:
Nation “a politically organized body of people under a single government; the people who live in a nation or country”.
Marcel De: To the extent you can identify such ideas in your history. 🙂 German national romantic thought cannot have been of much use, and I had to learn already the sad fact that OV attended Bibo college. Apparently this has not made an impression on him.
But actually my point was much more cynical. The point was that even in Nazi Germany, people who “deeply believed” the ideology could later claim that Germany has “always belonged to the West” and supported “Western values”. I therefore think that also currently you will find peace marchers etc. who just jump on bandwagons, which is why it is of utmost necessity to create an attractive political alternative independently on whether we will be presented one Hungarian “unique” approach to life after the other. I simply do not believe in this “uniqueness” from the start, even if it occupies such central place in the Hungarian “unique” definition of its nation.
Not in my book. The first one is fit for ‘State’, or ‘commonwealth’ – a word that cannot be translated in many languages. The second is fit for ‘population’.
The Austrian Empire was a State but not a nation. Poland was for a long time a nation without a State. And so on. In Western European ‘nation-states’, the State – a ruling monarchy, a revolution – founded the nation. In most of Central Europe including Germany, the nation founded the State. A strongly ethnicized idea of nation.
A nation is a story, a binding tale between people and times. It can change. And in the Hungarian case, I’d even say it has to change.
[Slightly OT] Kirsten mentioned Romanticism thus reminding me that since a nation is a story, it is not doomed to be stuck to one artistic form. Are there readers of Krúdy among you? He had magnificent ways to intertwine both the ‘provincial’ and the ‘metropolitan’ souls of Hungary. Forget Wass and Nyirő. This guy should have a bridge.
But there was Kant and Goethe and even Heidegger. And Adorno was mistaken in saying you couldn’t write poetry in German after Auschwitz, even if it took a Romanian (Celan) to prove him wrong. And Wagner’s music wasn’t left to nazi nostalgics. But I don’t think it was easy at all – In the 80s I was a soldier in Berlin, and had access to the archives of the French occupying forces; I remember being struck by the resistance of ordinary people to ‘Western democracy’ until the mid-50s, at least in speech.
I don’t think you can overcome your past by dismissing it entirely. But of course this mustn’t prevent anybody from referring to outside influences.
PS: I read Bibó’s name was given to the college after Orbán graduated. 🙂
Ahoj there, I hope i’m not OT. Here in Italy there’s a lot of speaking about these latest events happened to Orbán and especially regarding the speech you’re discussing here. I’m trying to find some full transcription of the speech possibly translated in english and/or the video of the speech with english subtitles. Can anyone help me?
The official speech in Hungarian is here :
Hard to say if there will be an english translation : the 2012 address had not been published at all on kormany.hu, and the 2011 was only available in Hungarian.
Marcel, I sent Roberto an e-mail. I gave him the link. So, don’t think that I forgot about him.
A bit OT:
Has anyone red this lately: http://factcheck.hu/fact/Fidesz_is_not_rehabilitating_the_Horthy_era
The whole site is “almost funny” in the way they try to invalidate the articles they comment on – of course no mention of Bayer Zsolt and other Fidesz luminaries and the praie for those fascist writers.
And even more OT:
It’s been unbelievably hot here near the Balaton (and in all of Central Europe the hot winds from the Sahara are felt …) – how do you manage the heat ?
We’re staying inside most of the time and even switch on the A/C intermittently …
I didn’t think you had.
Wolfi: Lots of water, and try to avoid the alcohol. In stead of the A/C try a ventilator. I know it is pushing hot air, but at least there is some draft.
As to the website, i noticed this before, and it did not make sense to me. Then I noticed that it is powered by Nezopont Intezet, which is more or less pro-Fidesz.
Today, I noticed a website from the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung Bp (www.fesbp.hu) In May 2013 they had a publication (in German) and impact of the pensions of the figures of the government. Conclusion without these pension Hungary is doing worse than 2010. (page 2 of PDF)
Click to access Nachrichten_aus_Ungarn_mai_2013.pdf
Wolfi re factcheck. The funny thing is that one goes to “About Us” and of course they don’t tell you who they are. I have the feeling that it is the government that is behind this site. Most likely the crew around Ferenc Kumin, the man who is reponsible for propaganda abroad.
Oh, I see. Nézőpont! That is practically the government. The government pumps incredible amount of money into Nezőpont.
Thank you, Ron, for that link to the report – it was written by Farkas Zóltan from HVG btw.
It is very scathing, obviously most of the points have already been discussed here, but for someone who is looking for info in German it is a very good source.
Btw I liked the description of Orbán’s politics as “paternalism” – though even “Feudalism” might be appropriate …
Einen schönen Abend noch!
OT I noticed that the KSH adjusted their trading balance downwards. Situation is worse compared to last year. What is with these jokers. First saying we do well, and turn the corner, and then (not even a month later) they have to adjust the figures again.
Click to access kul21305.pdf
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