Recently in the spotlight

Zsolt Bayer (left) receiving his award from János Lázár. Photo: MTI.

Hungarians return national awards to protest racist Zsolt Bayer’s medal

The Orbán government’s decision to award one of its own with a state medal–Fidesz founder and rabidly racist columnist Zsolt Bayer–has convinced a growing number of prominent Hungarians to return their state distinctions in protest. The message is clear and simple: if the singularly foul-mouthed Mr. Bayer can be recognized by the Orbán regime with the Hungarian Middle Cross–a publicist […]

by · August 22, 2016 · Politics
Reformed Great Church float with the building behind.

National Holiday and the Debrecen Flower Parade

August 20th is a National Holiday commemorating Stephen I. who ruled Hungary from 1000 until his death in 1038. When I was growing up in Debrecen this holiday was called Constitution Day, now it is again St. Stephen’s Day. It is also the day of the “new bread”, the first bake from the virgin harvest and in Debrecen, this is […]

by · August 21, 2016 · Culture
Mária Schmidt (left) with Desmond Child (right) at the Budapest House of Terror.  Photo: MTI.

Hungary’s recycled Desmond Child song an embarrassing start to 1956 anniversary

American songwriter Desmond Child’s piece Steps of Champions should have been a major media coup for Hungary’s Orbán government. After all, Desmond Child–an American-Hungarian dual citizen who had worked with music legends such as Bon Jovi, Aerosmith, Cher, Bonnie Tyler, Ricky Martin and Kiss–had been successfully enlisted by Hungary’s government to write the official anthem of the sixtieth anniversary commemorations […]

by · August 20, 2016 · Focus
Milán Schruff, Emőke Piti and film director Péter Gárdos.

Milán Schruff – a remarkable young actor from Hungary

A couple of weeks ago my wife and I saw the Hungarian film entitled Fever at Dawn (Hajnali Láz). This feature film was directed by Péter Gárdos based on his bestseller about his father’s quest to find healing and love after World War II in the short time the doctors said he had left. I was interested in the movie […]

by · August 19, 2016 · Culture
János Zuschlag: From Party Headquarters to Prison.

A review of János Zuschlag’s book From Party Headquarters to Prison (Part 1)

János Zuschlag was only 21 years old when he became a Member of Parliament for the Hungarian Socialist Party (MSZP) in 1998 and the country’s youngest MP. Nine years later, he was charged with fraud and received an eight year prison sentence. He spent six years behind bars, before being released in 2013. In the middle of the 2014 national […]

by · August 18, 2016 · Focus
Cardinal Erdő (right) is silent in the migrant issue and frequently disagrees with Pope Francis (left).

Migrant crisis and the shameful silence of Cardinal Péter Erdő

Standing next to a boat used by refugees to reach safer shores, Germany’s Cardinal Rainer Maria Woelki begged Europeans not to turn a blind eye to the plight of migrants. “Someone who lets people drown in the Mediterranean also drowns God — every day, thousands of times.” Cardinal Vincent Nichols of Westminster asked Catholics to protest against immigration policies that […]

by · August 17, 2016 · Politics
Casey Barrett's article in Swimming World.

Katinka Hosszú wins at the Olympics but loses at court

Katinka Hosszú represented Hungary in Rio and she had a fabulous Olympics. She won three gold medals and one silver, a truly astounding sport achievement! Last May an editorial appeared in the Arizona-based magazine Swimming World that questioned whether Hosszú uses performance enhancing drugs. The commentary by Casey Barrett was entitled: Are Katinka Hosszú’s performances being aided? Barrett indicated that […]

by · August 15, 2016 · Culture
Budapest's Living Memorial in Freedom Square. Photo: Christopher Adam

Budapest Living Memorial – An interview with Eszter Garai-Édler and Balázs Horváth

As a continuation of the presentation of the work of the Living Memorial group in Budapest, Eszter Garai-Édler and Balázs Horváth provide insight behind more than two years of activism and almost four hundred public forum sessions. The interview was conducted by Katalin Szlukovényi. * K.S.: What were your personal motives for joining the Living Memorial? Eszter: I got involved […]

by · August 15, 2016 · Focus
Living Memorial activists. Photo: jeumag.com.

From Memory to Presence — Hungary’s Living Memorial

There are no conflict-free communities. But it is literally a question of life and death how communities address their common issues and whether they can learn from previous mistakes. Inescapably, this question came into the foreground two years ago, on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the Holocaust in Hungary, full of commemoration events all over the country. The […]

by · August 14, 2016 · Focus
Placido Domingo and Viktor Orbán.

Meet Placido Domingo’s new friends – Europe’s authoritarian leaders

We all know and admire the art of Maestro Placido Domingo, the great opera singer, conductor and musical director. He was born in Spain, raised in Mexico; his singing career blossomed in the United States and continued in Europe. The 75-year old is well known in Budapest, he visited Hungary several times and the Maestro even considered bringing Ferenc Erkel’s […]

by · August 10, 2016 · Politics