“European God” and other atrocities in a Hungarian textbook

While the MSZP bigwigs are trying to figure out what they did wrong in the past instead of attempting to come up with a strategy that might be useful in the future, let us turn to another topic: a new “experimental” literature textbook for grade 9 students. A sample page from this book was made available on Facebook, compliments of the Association of Hungarian Teachers. Hungarian teachers flocked to the site and were horrified. An outcry followed. The text disappeared from the Internet in no time.

Rózsa Hoffmann’s tenure in the Ministry of Human Resources is coming to an end. One newspaper announced, I suspect with a certain glee, “The Hoffmann Period Is Over.”  Unfortunately, by the very nature of her job, her influence on Hungarian education, especially now that the Orbán regime will have another four years, will cast a long shadow. It will take years, if not decades, before Hungarian public education will recover from Rózsa Hoffmann’s messianic zeal.

Zsolt Semjén, chairman of the Christian Democrats, described the departing education secretary as someone who fought like a “Berber lion.” Well, the Berber lion wrote a farewell letter in which she inflicted her final wound, making sure that the choice of textbooks will be seriously restricted from here on. Many popular textbooks will no longer be available and will be replaced by textbooks issued by two newly nationalized publishers. I read about one Budapest teacher who broke into tears when she heard that they are taking away her favorite textbook for third graders.

Let’s see what kinds of textbooks these Fidesz-Christian Democratic experts have in mind for Hungarian kids, in particular the experimental literature textbook for grade 9 students. (I would like to think that the Facebook post was just a belated April Fools joke, but I guess from the response that it wasn’t.) Thanks to social media it seems this experimental book will  never be published, but perhaps without Facebook it would have been. The page the Association of Hungarian Teachers picked dealt with Greek gods and mythology.

Before I begin to translate selected passages, let me point out that it is hard to believe that this book was written for fifteen-year-old students. It is so simple-minded, save for all the sexual references, that I think a ten-year-old would be offended by it. I should add that I find it difficult to write in such a primitive style as the original Hungarian, but I will try. As for the run-on sentences, they are like this in the original.

A 19th-century Hungarian writer once said that he would like to live in a country where people tell tales. Well, ancient Greece was such a country. The Greeks recognized that it is sexual desire that moves everything in life; so they called it Eros (Amor or Cupid in Rome); they realized that love is always young and that love rejuvenates the soul and therefore they showed Eros as a young child; they knew that no one can force anyone to love; they knew that love is illusive and came to the conclusion that a man in love is happy, his soul soars, therefore they told tales about Eros’s wings by which he can fly; they felt that love can be painful and that’s why they said that Eros had a bow and with it he wounds his victims.

They saw that there are many wars in the world, and they began telling tales about a god who is the god of war and they named him Ares, the Romans called him Mars, but they also saw that often there is war between lovers, they fight a lot, and they thought that love is a kind of war, therefore they told tales about Ares who fell in love with the goddess of love and beauty, Aphrodite (Venus). They saw that at dawn the sun arrives and at night it disappears and that’s why they told tales about a god that is the sun and named him Helios who drives his carriage across the sky every day. They saw that the moon comes up and they saw that the moon keeps changing; they saw that every 28 days something happens like what happens to girls and that’s why they thought that the moon is a woman and they called her Artemis (Diana).

They were surprised how clever a human being can be and told tales about the goddess of wisdom, Palas Athene (Minerva), and they felt that while man is clever, his body sometimes is not at all clever, as if on top man was clever, but lower down he is a stupid animal, so they spoke of beings existing in the forests who are goats lower down but men above and they called them satyrs who are running around in the forest at night chasing women (nőkre fáj a foguk); they thought that everything in the world comes from these gods and therefore they told tales about the chief god, Zeus, who falls in love with every beautiful woman and that the world is full of Zeus’s children…. The Greek men also had jealous wives and that is why they told tales that Zeus’s wife, Hera (Juno), was not taken with her husband’s debauchery and watched over the unity of the family with watchful eyes (árgus szemekkel); they thought that Hera was the goddess of familial unity.

gorog istenek

But that is not all. On another page we can read:

What is polytheism? Our European God is alone, unknowable, almighty Lord above us and above nature. The gods of the Greeks were entirely different: there were more of them because they were born from myths of  natural phenomena and became anthropomorphic creatures similar to men.

One cannot be terribly surprised that a blogger, László Szily, gave the following title to his post: “The moon menstruates every 28th day in Hoffmann’s textbook.” Or that 444.hu addressed the departing secretary as “Rózsa Hoffman, you European God.”

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33 comments

  1. As most Fidesz-accredited historians will tell you, the Spartans have long been recognized (in loony HungNat circles) as being direct ancestors of Vona’s blackshirts.

    The only thing which surprises me here is the failure to acknowledge Zeus’s direct connection to Der Führer. That’s one textbook writer who’ll be looking for another job tomorrow.

  2. after million many historical lies in horthy, rakosi, kadar times, teachers face traps everywhere.

    mesterhazy could have started every campaign speech with a pledge to truth and honesty…

    and with a rejection of the hoffmann lies…

  3. Oh, an OT:

    Remember when Janos Lazar promised to Mazsihisz that Viktor Orban will negotiate with Mazsihisz after Eastern about the German occupation memorial.

    Well, yes, but he did not say that the memorial will not stand. So the memorial will stand, but they, if they want to, can negotiate because Viktor Orban is generous and is always open to negotiations.

  4. Never mind that there was no ‘Greek country’ (only various greek city states).

    One of the complete idiotisms of Fidesz is that its history teachers who started to rewrite history right after they got to power in 2010 (although until 2014 there was at least theoretical opportunity to choose from many books) started to use present day (or at least ahistorical) terms for events and facts at the time of which such terms, concepts were not even known.

    Like the concept of a Hungarian ‘nation’ did not exist at the time of the Rákóczi war of independence (1703-1711) but new Fidesz-sponsored books started to connect the war with the ‘nation’, which of course did not emerge until much later in 19th century.

  5. Retrospectives are good. Scrum/agile practices in software development include a step known as retrospective that is conducted even when things have worked. Ester Durby has a great book called “Retrospectives, making good teams great”.

    1. Set the stage: get everybody’s head in the game.
    2. Gather data: what happened and how we responded.
    3. Generate insights: make meaning of the data.
    4. Decide what to do: same, differently, or try new things.
    5. Close the retrospective.

    Retrospectives are not about the blame game so I fear this group of self important people will not get it right.

    http://www.agilejourneyman.com/2007/01/agile-restrospectives-making-good-teams.html.

    I was trying to sort out in my mind why this list system doesn’t feel right and the last post was very useful with that process. People who *lost* the election, who were rejected by their constituents will get seats in parliament. That just seems wrong. It feels as if the system lacks individual accountability to the electorate.

  6. MSZP ATTACKS THE JEWS AS PARTY LAMENTS ELECTION DEFEAT

    An MSZP politician, Zsolt Török wrote the following on facebook:

    „Braun és társai a párton belül, Konrád György és társai azon kívül rendelkeznek sok jó tanáccsal, ötlettel. Csak már nem nagyon van több liba, hiába lenne még pár ötletük”

    Zsolt Török of MSZP: “Braun and his fellows within the party and György Konrad and his fellows outside have many excellent ideas and advice. The problem is there are not many geese left, no matter how many more ideas they have”

    (So why is this an attack on Jews? For starters, the second part is reference to a Jewish joke. In the joke the advice of a Rabbi doesn’t help saving the animals who are ill. They die one by one as the Rabbi gives many different ideas on what to do to save them. At the end of the joke when it is announced all the animals are dead, the Rabbi says: “That’s too bad, because I had many more excellent ideas”. Secondly Konrad is a famous writer and an intellectual and former SZDSZ founder, he has not much to do with MSZP. And Braun is an MSZP politician a mid-level leader within the party. So they have nothing in common to be mentioned like this together. Except they are both Jews. )

    But wait, there is more!

    MSZP’s Zsolt Török continues:
    „Vonuljanak vissza! Elég volt már Konrád Györgyből, aki nagyon okos és nagyon tisztelem, csak elment mellette a világ. És tudomásul kell venni, hogy a Nagykörúton kívül is élnek emberek. Sőt, vidéken is! Én meg inkább azt a 9,5 milliót képviselném és nem ezt a szűk kört. Volt nekik is pártjuk: azt is szétverték. A miénket hagyják már békén!!!””

    “They should retire akready! It was enough of Gyorgy Konrad, he is very clever but the world went past him long ago. It must be understood that there are people outside the “Nagykorut” (this is an oft-used reference to the area where almost all of Hungary’s Jews live). What’s more people live in the countryside too! I would much rather represent that 9.5 million and not this narrow circle. They had a party already: they destroyed that too (reference to SZDSZ as the “party of Jews”). They (once again uses they) must leave ours alone!!!”

    So in my opinion every single thing points to the same direction. Naming Konrad and Braun and nobody else. Talking about “life outside Nagykorut” and how he much rather represent those people. How “They” had already a party once. This can only be SZDSZ. How “They” destroyed said party. The 9.5 million number Torok wants to represent is once again a reference to “inside Nagykorut”, as the population of this core area of Budapest is about 0.5 million.

    This is an outrage and a clear provocation of Jews.

    The comments were openly posted in here with many more in a similar tone:

  7. Great, true words:
    “Without jews Hungary is not known for much more than a whistling pear and baggy pants.”

    Truer words were rarely spoken.
    Of course, representing intelligence and integrity runs a distant second to being on the frontine of the feeding trough for politicians; so, full speed ahead into the ‘successes’ of Populism, and hating the Jew gets you there faster than the new # 4…this we know.

    Finally, into the horrors of Orbanistan, let us not forget the great Improver, who, had he thought of it, would have bettered Abe:

    “…Government of the People, by the People, for the People, shall perish from the land.”

    DEMOCRACY–R.I.P.

    (Hungarians never quite got the hang of it, did they?)

  8. Thomas :
    MSZP ATTACKS THE JEWS AS PARTY LAMENTS ELECTION DEFEAT
    An MSZP politician, Zsolt Török wrote the following on facebook:
    „Braun és társai a párton belül, Konrád György és társai azon kívül rendelkeznek sok jó tanáccsal, ötlettel. Csak már nem nagyon van több liba, hiába lenne még pár ötletük”
    Zsolt Török of MSZP: “Braun and his fellows within the party and György Konrad and his fellows outside have many excellent ideas and advice. The problem is there are not many geese left, no matter how many more ideas they have”
    (So why is this an attack on Jews? For starters, the second part is reference to a Jewish joke. In the joke the advice of a Rabbi doesn’t help saving the animals who are ill. They die one by one as the Rabbi gives many different ideas on what to do to save them. At the end of the joke when it is announced all the animals are dead, the Rabbi says: “That’s too bad, because I had many more excellent ideas”. Secondly Konrad is a famous writer and an intellectual and former SZDSZ founder, he has not much to do with MSZP. And Braun is an MSZP politician a mid-level leader within the party. So they have nothing in common to be mentioned like this together. Except they are both Jews. )
    But wait, there is more!
    MSZP’s Zsolt Török continues:
    „Vonuljanak vissza! Elég volt már Konrád Györgyből, aki nagyon okos és nagyon tisztelem, csak elment mellette a világ. És tudomásul kell venni, hogy a Nagykörúton kívül is élnek emberek. Sőt, vidéken is! Én meg inkább azt a 9,5 milliót képviselném és nem ezt a szűk kört. Volt nekik is pártjuk: azt is szétverték. A miénket hagyják már békén!!!””
    “They should retire akready! It was enough of Gyorgy Konrad, he is very clever but the world went past him long ago. It must be understood that there are people outside the “Nagykorut” (this is an oft-used reference to the area where almost all of Hungary’s Jews live). What’s more people live in the countryside too! I would much rather represent that 9.5 million and not this narrow circle. They had a party already: they destroyed that too (reference to SZDSZ as the “party of Jews”). They (once again uses they) must leave ours alone!!!”
    So in my opinion every single thing points to the same direction. Naming Konrad and Braun and nobody else. Talking about “life outside Nagykorut” and how he much rather represent those people. How “They” had already a party once. This can only be SZDSZ. How “They” destroyed said party. The 9.5 million number Torok wants to represent is once again a reference to “inside Nagykorut”, as the population of this core area of Budapest is about 0.5 million.
    This is an outrage and a clear provocation of Jews.
    The comments were openly posted in here with many more in a similar tone:
    https://www.facebook.com/torok.zsolt.35/posts/4160292981496

    Thomas is the new reincarnation of Mr. Paul/Johnny Boy. Welcome!

    There are tons of money thrown at various Amercian, British PR firms by Fidesz and its satellite entities so we can expect many of their people here. As this was posted at the start of the work day in Europe, this is probably not an Amercian PR associate though.

    I mean who doesn’t give a ***t about Mr. Török?? Who is Mr. Török anyway?? I did not even hear his name during the campaign.

    Mr. Török just concluded a campaign in which he lost, and resoundingly, he can blame a lot of people, but mostly himself.

    It’s ridiculous to think that the eighty some years old author Mr. Konrád, out of touch he is about the Hungarian political reality, could have any material influence on the results of the left.

    This a ridiculous blame game but quite natural, Mr. Török doesn’t wanna quit politics (not a bad business for some) so he finds scapegoats and posts stupidities on his facebook page. This is not a new-worthy item Thomas.

    Rather, let’s talk about Orban’s promise not to build the German memorial until after Easter and negotiations with Mazsihisz, which promise was broken the very next day after the election day.

  9. oneill :
    As most Fidesz-accredited historians will tell you, the Spartans have long been recognized (in loony HungNat circles) as being direct ancestors of Vona’s blackshirts.
    The only thing which surprises me here is the failure to acknowledge Zeus’s direct connection to Der Führer. That’s one textbook writer who’ll be looking for another job tomorrow.

    It is the truth, of course!
    According to my research they all originated in a remote walley of mount Taýgetos, the well known mountain which peak was used to throw off substandard offsprings – the rejects, so to say. Some of them miracuolusly surwived, they formed the Vona-tribe.
    You can see it yourself, just take a look at any picture of their gatherings and listen to the speeches to be absolutely sure…

  10. Chloe :

    “This a ridiculous blame game but quite natural, Mr. Török doesn’t wanna quit politics (not a bad business for some) so he finds scapegoats”

    Yes, yes “scapegoating” the jews is “quite natural”. As it never led to anything bad in the past, it is absolutely no problem, at least according to Chloe. Is there a contest for the week? About who can be more anti-semitic. There was a strong candidate few days ago as well. He was called “nemdedene”.

  11. kommentelo —

    I think you deliberately misunderstand my words.

    Is it not a fact that in most cases in politics politicians rarely admit mistakes, but rather they try to find scapegoats and blame others?

    Because that is my experience so far and I am pretty old now. That is the only reason why I said that it was natural. I don’t like it so, but this is the usual reaction.

    But please don’t be so self-righteous, you have been apologizing for Fidesz election system for quite some time now, so perhaps Mr. Konrad should not be defended exactly by you. You certainly have no idea what anti-semitism means.

  12. Whatever, Chloe. I maintain my position that scapegoating jews or anyone else is not natural, but disgusting and dangerous. And you even misunderstand the issue I feel. Mr. Konrád is not the one that needs defending, it is Mr. Braun who is a member of MSZP and could be very easily marginalized or kicked out. You know as well as I do that Török was Mesterházy’s pick for spokesperson and is a close confidant of Mesterházy ever since. If they are willing to speak like this publicly, there could be a serious change of course within MSZP of which this is just a small episode.

    There is even talk in the press of a “Rendpárti MSZP” too, whatever that means. Do you think this is the right direction? Because it will lead to MSZP becoming Fidesz2. Mesterházy is centralizing all power and puts all his men into every important position. Just look at the list of people who made it into parliament on the MSZP list.

  13. Economy.

    Could you imagine a democratic country where the Treasury would suspend publishing
    the weekly debt data just because the numbers are too frightening to the public and
    some voters may reconsider their vote for the ruling party?

    This is exactly what the Hungarian Treasury did.

    Gross debt in billions of forints; debt/2013 GDP:

    2013-12-31: 21,998.6; 75.6%
    2014-03-21: 23,736.7; 80.6%; published on 03-25
    2014-03-28: 24,321.9; 82.5%; not published on 04-01
    2014-04-04: 24,396.9; 82.7%; not published on 04-08
    2014-04-11: 24,487.4; 82.9%; published on 04-15

    THe gross debt has increased by 11.3% since December 31 alone.

    It has grown by 35.7% since 2010-05-31 (Orban’s takeover) if we

    add 2,555.9 billion forints of the nationalized retirement funds

    that were spent to “reduce” the debt.

  14. It is fun to play with the oecd data on taxes in various countries.

    Look at the data on “Tax burden on Labour Income” showing the tax burden

    at different scenarios

    Hungary is almost the worst in the in the OECD universe in the

    single person at 67% of average wage
    single person at 100% of average wage
    2 earner couple with no child category.

    It is even more revealing if we compare Hungary
    with neighboring Slovakia.

    The tax on labour is much smaller there.

    The gross wage of the Slovaks, who used to be poorer than Hungarians
    is some 30% higher than the Hungarians’ [I have to check the latest data].

    This comes with lower taxes.

    http://www.oecd.org/ctp/tax-policy/taxingwages-hungary.htm

  15. kommentelo —

    I have no idea where MSZP is heading. Probably the MSZP leadership does not know it either. Most probably it is not heading anywhere.

    Török may have been handpicked by Mesterházy but Török has been utterly silent during the campaign, I would doubt he has any material influence within the party (as spokespeople usually do not).

    I also maintain that MSZP could not be a law and order (rendpárti) party even if it wanted to, it’s not in its political DNA of its supporters. Moreover, law and order people will hear about the ‘left’, the ‘socialists’, ‘commies’ and just run out of the world. Not surprisingly this putative turn was immediately denied by Mesterhazy himself (who has supposedly raised it in the first place a day before).

    I think this facebook post is blown out of proportion by some of the Fidesz trolls here, but it is no evidence for any turn within MSZP. I think it is just evidence of stupidity and irrelevance of people like Török.

  16. @Chloe

    “…it is no evidence for any turn within MSZP.”

    But it surely is.

    Hungarian is an expressive language: ‘ki bocsajtani’, meaning, ‘allowed to go out’, is a technique whereby the message seeps out. This can later be excused by Mesterhazy
    by a variety of excuses if the said message meets with failure. Torok was chosen for this service; so let’s not excuse Mesterhazy. So, just face it: anti-semitism is a great seller
    in Hungary and MSZP wants in on it.

    In response to such sickness, I must bring the gift of great words to this blog to commemorate
    the death of America’s greatest President, Abraham (a jew?) Lincoln:

    “OUR SCORE AND SEVEN YEARS AGO OUR FATHERS BROUGHT FORTH ON THIS CONTINENT A NEW NATION CONCEIVED IN LIBERTY AND DEDICATED TO THE PROPOSITION THAT ALL MEN ARE CREATED EQUAL •

    NOW WE ARE ENGAGED IN A GREAT CIVIL WAR TESTING WHETHER THAT NATION OR ANY NATION SO CONCEIVED AND SO DEDICATED CAN LONG ENDURE • WE ARE MET ON A GREAT BATTLEFIELD OF THAT WAR • WE HAVE COME TO DEDICATE A PORTION OF THAT FIELD AS A FINAL RESTING PLACE FOR THOSE WHO HERE GAVE THEIR LIVES THAT THAT NATION MIGHT LIVE • IT IS ALTOGETHER FITTING AND PROPER THAT WE SHOULD DO THIS • BUT IN A LARGER SENSE WE CAN NOT DEDICATE~WE CAN NOT CONSECRATE~WE CAN NOT HALLOW~THIS GROUND • THE BRAVE MEN LIVING AND DEAD WHO STRUGGLED HERE HAVE CONSECRATED IT FAR ABOVE OUR POOR POWER TO ADD OR DETRACT • THE WORLD WILL LITTLE NOTE NOR LONG REMEMBER WHAT WE SAY HERE BUT IT CAN NEVER FORGET WHAT THEY DID HERE • IT IS FOR US THE LIVING RATHER TO BE DEDICATED HERE TO THE UNFINISHED WORK WHICH THEY WHO FOUGHT HERE HAVE THUS FAR SO NOBLY ADVANCED • IT IS RATHER FOR US TO BE HERE DEDICATED TO THE GREAT TASK REMAINING BEFORE US~THAT FROM THESE HONORED DEAD WE TAKE INCREASED DEVOTION TO THAT CAUSE FOR WHICH THEY GAVE THE LAST FULL MEASURE OF DEVOTION~THAT WE HERE HIGHLY RESOLVE THAT THESE DEAD SHALL NOT HAVE DIED IN VAIN~THAT THIS NATION UNDER GOD SHALL HAVE A NEW BIRTH OF FREEDOM~AND THAT GOVERNMENT OF THE PEOPLE BY THE PEOPLE FOR THE PEOPLE SHALL NOT PERISH FROM THE EARTH •”

    May these words somehow transform the sick souls of Orban, Kover, Pinter and the rest
    of the wild bunch.

  17. Economy.

    One cannot be careful enough with government data.

    In the previous note I wrote down the official numbers about gross debt:

    2013-12-31: 21,998.6; 75.6% of GDP
    2014-04-11: 24,487.4; 82.9%;

    Let us calculate the ASSUMED GDP behind the %!
    It is not the fixed 2013 GDP as I thought.

    2013-12-31: 29098.7
    2013-04-11: 29538.5

    This translates into a 1.51% quarterly GDP growth or a 6% yearly GDP growth, together with 0% official inflation. This is ridiculous.

    We can safely say that the assumed GDP they use to calculate the debt/GDP % is a completely false number.

  18. Let me also mention that another official number from the Central Statistical Office, KSH is
    29,114.4 for the 2013 GDP at current prices. The difference is only 15.7 billion forints, I admit.

  19. There is some misunderstanding here. Thomas has nothing to do with Mr. Paul and and Johnny Boy. What he writes about Zsolt Török is unfortunately true. Török’s remarks on Facebook are unquestionably anti-Semitic.

    Quite aside from this he always struck me as an idiot who should have never been named spokesman for MSZP. Another mistake of Mesterházy.

  20. OT:

    How to blow EUR 300m (HUF 90bn) on real estate, violins, paintings and other assets without any control whatsoever?

    The National Bank of Hungary is doing this. Not even the Supervisory Board can (wants to) review the purchases.

    The robbery of the century (well, that is after Paks II and the necessary Danube dams).

    These people are now completely outta control.

    http://index.hu/gazdasag/2014/04/16/mnb-csr/

  21. To return to the text book passage. Eva if you put your translated text into what is called a text analysis system that is now used to estimate the reading level of the text in the USA it appears to be at about the 9th grade level. That does not mean the actual content is well written by any means.

    Teachers whether they are elementary level or secondary level teachers always hate text book changes because of the work involved in lesson planning for which they are rarely paid. I assume the Hungarian text book industry will eventually be destroyed and replaced by iPad type devises that are reader interactive, meaning students answer text related question on the iPad and the answers are graded and submitted to the teachers computer immediately.

    If Hungary is not moving in this direction with text book development it will be falling behind the more advanced nations of the earth. It should also be noted that as this technology advances teachers will become more efficient and the numbers of teachers will likely be reduced. Whether we are in Finland, Hungary, or the USA elementary and secondary education is a big cost for tax payers and there is great pressure to drive down costs. The use of computerized text books is part of that drive for cost containment. Does it create a dehumanization of education, yes I think so. But the market economy and the public sector linked to it is in an endless search for cost reductions and this development is just another aspect of that reality.

  22. This blog has been visited by a few bitter fidesz loyalists, leaving behind the usual predictable confusing but always immoral reactionary thoughts.

    They need a lesson in decency, before they could be regarded as a member of humanity.

    Lots of Hungarian carry a heavy burden of destructive memories.

    In the free era of Europe, the angry Hungarians must come out of shells.

    Europe is free. Let us focus on the defense of freedom. Let us liberate all Hungarians from the poisonous ideologies of the past. From the poison dished out under Horthy and by the Soviet supported oppressors.

  23. @Seal driver:

    An old joke: The pope has a near death experience and comes back, so the cardinals ask him:

    Did you meet god?

    And he answers: Yes, but I have to disappoint you – she is black …

  24. jobb szabadnak mint rabnak lenni :
    This blog has been visited by a few bitter fidesz loyalists, leaving behind the usual predictable confusing but always immoral reactionary thoughts.
    They need a lesson in decency, before they could be regarded as a member of humanity.
    Lots of Hungarian carry a heavy burden of destructive memories.
    In the free era of Europe, the angry Hungarians must come out of shells.
    Europe is free. Let us focus on the defense of freedom. Let us liberate all Hungarians from the poisonous ideologies of the past. From the poison dished out under Horthy and by the Soviet supported oppressors.

    Someone said this to me the other day: “It’s hard to be ethical on an empty stomach.”
    This was backed up later by a pensioner who had to sell 1/2 her apartment to get into an old age home at a preferred rate–50,000 of her 90,000 pension. She’s had to live on 40,000/month ever since. I think many others have been painted into a similar corner, and even worse. Many younger Hungarians are life and death to carry on from month to month, even with two salaries if they have a kid or two. So ‘threats’–real or imagined–have a hard-to-imagine (for westerners) impact. Bekemenet numbers swell under such influence: the numbers of opposition participants shrivel up when they know they’re being filmed by strange men from every side.

    If the police, courts, and the standards of society worked well, this would not happen.
    At least, in supporting Fidesz, the hapless citizen can imagine that his place is secure–that he can always appeal a ‘wrong’ by referring to his loyalty to the Fidesz party.

    All this smacks of the 15-16th century, when the Medici achieved complete control over Florence and marginalized their rivals, the Pazzi.

    It’s hard to conceive that 500 years of development in law and government can be swept aside
    as it has been in Hungary.

  25. I heard that they ordered a recount in Kunhalmi’s district!!!! Kunhalmi requested it, maybe she reads Éva’s blog!!

  26. Why does the Hungarian Catholic Church not speak out on something like this? The idea of a “European God” is an anathema and fundamentally at odds with the catholicism of the Church and an insult to the Church’s understanding of its own origins in the meeting of Judaic and Hellenistic belief, thought and cultures.

  27. kommentelo :

    I heard that they ordered a recount in Kunhalmi’s district!!!! Kunhalmi requested it, maybe she reads Éva’s blog!!

    I don’t know about Kunhalmi but I know that some other people working for MSZP do.

  28. Election commission allowed recount in 2 out of 76 precincts only. The fidesz margin was cut from 60 to 56. Kunhalmi will appeal to the kuria to get a full recount in the district

  29. GW :
    Why does the Hungarian Catholic Church not speak out on something like this? The idea of a “European God” is an anathema and fundamentally at odds with the catholicism of the Church and an insult to the Church’s understanding of its own origins in the meeting of Judaic and Hellenistic belief, thought and cultures.

    A good question.
    Maybe more to the point might be why a pope with a reform reputation won’t go anywhere near the Hungarian situation. How dangerous exactly is the Hungarian Catholic Church? What have they got on Mother Church that they appear untouchable?

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