Hungarians deface government’s openly racist billboards

It’s reassuring to see that there are some residents in Budapest who will take a bucket of paint and a brush to erase the words on the Orbán government’s virulently racist and populist new billboards, which tell immigrants (in Hungarian), and in no uncertain words, that they are not welcome. Two such billboards went up yesterday in Budapest’s 13th District, near the Dagály public pools, where children, families and pensioners in the neighbourhood cool off on scorching summer days. The billboard read: “If you come to Hungary, you have to respect our culture!”

The words are in Hungarian, so they’re obviously not meant for foreigners, but rather for local Hungarian voters to see what a tough, Jobbik-like stance Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s government will take with all the outsiders. It’s part of a “national consultation on immigration and terrorism,” which is an opportunity for the cabinet to connect the two together and once more demonstrate to wayward right-wing voters, who are slipping away to Jobbik, that Fidesz can be relied upon to keep Hungary racially pure.

"If you come to Hungary, you have to respect our culture!" Photo: 444.hu

“If you come to Hungary, you have to respect our culture!” Photo: 444.hu

Fortunately, there are many Hungarians, especially in Budapest, who find this completely opportunistic pandering to the far-right intolerable and embarrassing. After all, how long will it take until these same billboards and  “national consultations” are directed not against immigrants and refugees, but against Hungarian Jews or Roma? If it suits Mr. Orbán’s political interests, then it won’t take very long at all.

Within one day of the billboard going up, local Hungarian activists added a coat of paint to it, and erased their government’s totally tasteless and xenophobic message. Reportedly, both billboards appearing in the 13th district have now been defaced.

The government's defaced billboard on June 6th. Photo: 444.hu

The government’s defaced billboard on June 6th. Photo: 444.hu

There have been other forms of protest as well. Blogger and journalist László Cink decided to print one of the government’s planned posters, which reads “if you live in Hungary, you have to respect our laws,” and put it up in front of the luxury home of the leader of the Fidesz caucus in parliament, Antal Rogán. As well, a whole range of parodies and internet memes have been created, including one government poster, which reads “we hate everyone!”

The government, however, is taking its xenophobic initiative seriously…so much so, that based on the responses received from the first 100,000 participants in the “national consultation,” Mr. Orbán’s cabinet intends to “close Hungary’s southern border.” How they plan to accomplish this remains a mystery, but the goal is to turn away immigrants and refugees entering the country from southeastern Europe.

Meanwhile, government spokesperson Zoltán Kovács noted that 400,000 people have now participated in the anti-immigration national consultation, and that the bulk of the respondents expect a “more assertive and tougher” approach on the issue of immigration.

I wonder what respondents would say if and when the government decides to launch a similar national consultation on Roma and Jews.

26 Comments

  1. Liladiadal says:

    After all, how long will it take until these same billboards and “national consultations” are directed not against immigrants and refugees, but against Hungarian Jews or Roma? If it suits Mr. Orbán’s political interests, then it won’t take very long at all.

    No, it only takes a pathological Orbán-hater to come up with an idiotic suggestion as this one

  2. Charlie London says:

    So let’s get this straight, Liladiadel?

    You are an Orban lover?

  3. Charlie London says:

    (Not just a holocaust denier?)

  4. Self hating parasites, move out of the country if you don’t like it.

  5. Even the billboards being defaced it was the most successful National Consultation ever. The Quaestor and other financial scandals together with all the other crimes committed by Fidesz and Orban are dropped and forgotten now. Cheap magician’s cheap tricks still work well. People are busy defacing billboards by erasing words instead of painting :
    “What about Quaestor and other crimes committed by the government” over the blank area. They are only blanking it out the same way as Orban does it with the sheeple’s brain. Orban IS the great eraser.

    Now, Orban is rolling on the floor laughing. He has been using the same old magician trick since 1994 the Fidesz’ financial scandal when he fought his way out of trouble in similar fashion deflecting attention away by creating an enemy.

  6. Miklos Banfi says:

    National consultation? haha. Bulk of the respondents? Taylored by the Kubatov list accompanied by some xenophobic marketing? Nice job boys… Again. Now you can invoice it to the EU financed budget…

  7. Liladiadal says:

    Wow, Charlie London, the intellectual black hole of this Commie-sympathizer blog.

  8. Charlie London says:

    Confirmed.

  9. Pingback: Activists arrested–Orbán’s police guard racist billboards using surveillance

  10. Andrew Ludanyi says:

    Mr. Adam Christopher your latest diatrabe against the Orban government is not only a distorted propaganda piece but also a reflection of conceptual ignorance. Please sign up for a class in Political Science 105 or Anthropology 100 so that you understand that “culture” and “law” is not racism. Racism discriminates and abuses “others” on the basis of their genetic affiliation, skin color or other physical identity markers. Urging new arrivals to respect the culture and laws of the society that they enter is NOT racism.

    • Christopher Adam says:

      Mr. Ludányi,

      Please be serious. If Romanian authorities put up similar signs, referring instead to the country’s largest ethnic minorities, and suggested with such billboards that they were not respecting the country’s culture, that they were taking the jobs of honest Romanians and that they did not abide by the law of the land, you would not consider that racism?

      • Christopher,

        Comparing ethnic Hungarians (since you referred to Romania’s largest minority) to immigrants is a total different ball game. Those people are not immigrants. The goalposts i.e. borders as you know had been moved against the people’s will. No referendum etc. Also, comparing immigrants to other minorities in Europe such as Catalans, South Tiroleans, Basques etc. is a non-starter.

        Perhaps you should have used Hungarians abroad as an example. Mind you, in the UK UKIP had vans going around with a similar message as few months ago. Not to mention the anti Eastern European rhetoric everyday in the newspapers. It’s not just in Hungary specifically you see these messages.

        • The UKIP example fits, Norbert. And of course UKIP’s scaremongering against Hungarian and other Central-European immigrants is a manifestation of that party’s xenophobic and discriminatory outlook. So to the extent that these new governmental billboards are comparable to UKIP’s rhetorics, they are similarly revealing of a xenophobic and discriminatory outlook. Except in this case we’re not talking about the populist rabble-rousing of an anti-system opposition party, but about official communications by a national government. All in all, if the comparison was meant to make the billboards seem less reprehensible, I’m not sure how it was supposed to do so.

  11. Liladiadal says:

    Mr. Christopher Adam,

    Your latest response by equaling the autochtonous population in Europe that had contributed for centuries to what European civilization and culture are today with newcomers from Asia or Africa betrays your utter ignorance of history.

    • Christopher Adam says:

      Liladiadal,

      What you wrote is irrelevant. It doesn’t matter whether a minority is indigenous to a region or not. What matters is how a government treats or criminalizes minorities today. And Romanian nationalists can, at any time, criminalize and scapegoat their Hungarian minorities, and can stoke hatred against them…just like Orbán is doing with immigrants.

  12. Charlie London says:

    Some Hungarians wouldn’t recognise racism if it smacked them in the face – including those ‘Trianon’ Hungarians.

    Ditto antisemitism.

    Most people outside Hungary would understand, for example, how Orban’s latest ‘consultation’ is racist.

    And thankfully many people inside Hungary do too – relatively few questionnaires have been returned.

    Some contributors on here just don’t get it.

    We once had a very effective poster campaign here in England:

    The poster showed two identical brains of identical size and a third much smaller brain.

    Under the first it said “the brain of a white person”.

    Under the second it said “the brain of a black person”.

    Under the third much smaller (tiny!) brain it said:

    ” The brain of a racist “.

  13. Liladiadal says:

    Christopher Adam,

    Of course you find it irrelevant, as you have no grasping of historical tradition and nationhood whatsoever (which is not the same as ethnicity). On the other hand, nobody forbids those bleeding-heart liberals to take with them one or two or a dozen of those refugees illegally entering Hungary to provide shelter for them – in their own house, of course, and not on the taxpayers’ money.

  14. Charlie London says:

    Goodness Liladiadel…..your ignorance knows no bounds.

    Hungary is getting well paid to process their immigrants by the EU….

    That’s money from us, inter alia, in England.

    As Hungary is a net receiver of EU funds – and a net embezzler too, then it could be argued that they cost Hungary nincs.

    And Orban and his Mafiosi are creaming of the usual 20% in ‘blatters’ too.

    Yes….. What papers do you read?

    You and Orban really need to know what ‘liberal’ really means as an English word. Go back to the Hungarian and see what got lost in translation.

    Maybe you should have gone shopping instead?… Oh oops they’re closed.

  15. Charlie London says:

    Go to church this morning did we?

  16. Charlie London says:

    Norbert.

    When you use the ‘well the UK does it’ then it’s OK then argument you are clutching at straws.

    UKIP in the UK is a busted flush. They got just one seat in parliament even with all that publicity.

    I say ‘even with all that publicity’ advisedly – because the public were able to make a free choice with our free press.

    Did you hear that? Free choice with a free press.

    (We have a free pluralistic media here and this comes with some dreadful abuses – but people here – just as in Canada – have the media tools to find out what’s really going on.)

    But in Hungary? In Turkey?

    No.

    So you have to see these things in context.

    And not use Orban’s technique of finding a remote country that does something (like hanging) and then say if they do it then we can.

    Orban uses this technique comprehensively. And will always find justification for anything he dreams up.

    Democracy requires responsibility. The electorate has to be responsible.

    Hungary signed up voluntarily for the EU, and the population would be well advised to understand that.

    If you get chucked out then don’t blame anyone else but yourselves.

    As Orban continues to exploit the goodwill of all the EU countries – with the tacit support of the population – don’t go bleating that you are hard done by.

    You will have to go – probably after Merkal has sorted out Greece.

    Jean-Claude Junker’s “Hello Dictator” will soon be “Goodbye Dictator”.

    So Norbert – argue in context and if you must use UK examples at least compare like with like.

    And don’t think for one minute that the British will do anything other than stay in the EU. They will.

  17. Charlie London says:

    Where is your evidence of ‘anti eastern rhetoric every day in the newspapers.

    You take the English Guardian every day in England do you?

    Explain please.

  18. Charlie London says:

    And finally you say the goal posts were moved ” against people’s will”.

    Rollocks.

    Trianon occurred because your government took some (more) wrong decisions.

    History is written by the victors.

    You got into alliance with Hitler and Trianon lands were ‘retrieved’ by the allies.

    (You were not invaded as Orban likes to think – he has pre 1944 amnesia. You named Hitler Adolph Korond (now Kodaly Korond) and Mussolini Korond (now The Octagon) in their honour. And we have all seen those happy pictures if The Regent escorting Hitler through Hungary. Invaded? Rollocks.)

    Trianon?

    Suck it up and stop trying to change the past.

  19. Thank you Charlie London for explaining the facts to the Hungarians. As an expat in a half dozen countries over a 15 year period, my time in Budapest was the most miserable in my life.

    Yes, they met Hitler at the border with open arms. I have never, ever met such an entitled lot as the Hungarians. They proudly exclaim that they are the most pessimistic people in Europe, as if that is a badge of intelligence.

    Whiny, xenophobic and greatly uninterested in historical fact. Ick. I’d love for them to close their borders if it would keep them in.

    • Patrice, pardon me, but your comment does not seem to lack a hint of xenophobia either, to say the least.
      I’m not saying I’m surprised that you had bad experiences in Budapest.
      But that does not mean that almost all Hungarians (or two thirds of them anyway) are happy with the things the ruling party does.
      And it’s never the _people_ of a country who decide to close the borders, to keep themselves in. Are you really wishing millions of people misery?

  20. How distasteful it is to listen to rich expats who are ignorant and too lazy to learn the language and too arrogant to try to get to know a culture from inside. Who play golf instead of reading newspapers, throw around with their dollars to show off how much money they have and how empty they are inside. There is nothing more boring that meeting one of these artificial living-in-a-bubble people at a party and hear their “expertise” about the entire world. Sigh.

  21. Charlie London says:

    Are you having a pop?

    Quite a few assumptions there.

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