NY Hungarian Consul General Ferenc Kumin is not a proud CEU alumnus anymore

The Hungarian Consulate in New York City does a fabulous job of informing the public about every event, visit or meeting conducted by their diplomats in the Big Apple. The Consulate’s homepage, personal internet pages, tweets and Facebook pages report every little happening.

On March 16th, sixty alumni and friends attended the Central European University (CEU) Alumni Reception at the Consulate building in Manhattan. The reception featured CEU’s Canadian President and Rector Michael Ignatieff. He talked about his strategic plan to renew academics while achieving financial sustainability. He took audience questions and comments regarding everything from business education to community engagement.

CEU’s Canadian President and Rector Michael Ignatieff spoke at the Hungarian Consulate in NYC.

Consul General of Hungary and Budapest CEU alumnus (!) Ferenc Kumin also talked. He was the host of the evening and immensely proud to support University President and Rector Michael Ignatieff.

Consul General Mr. Ferenc Kumin hosted the CEU event – now he does not stand by his Alma Mater.

Several photos were also taken and the CEU Alumni Newsletter reported in detail about one of the liveliest meetings the Consulate ever hosted. I expected that the Consulate would also post photos and report about this successful evening. Not at all!

CEU alumni enjoyed the event.

Meanwhile, in Budapest, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán launched a ferocious attack on the CEU claiming that the “Soros University” was nothing but a bunch of “cheaters.” His government is preparing the legal framework for the possible closure of the institution.

Mr. Kumin and his Consulate in New York suddenly wanted to forget the CEU event they had organized just days before. It seems that he is not a proud CEU alumni anymore. The Consulate removed every reference, photo or text which would indicate that the CEU evening with Rector Ignatieff ever took place!

During Stalin’s dictatorship it was common that photos were altered and faces of non-desirable (or executed) politicians were removed. Under Hungary’s Viktatorship subservient diplomats are willing to make an entire event disappear if that is what’s expected from them.

I wonder, what Mr. Kumin’s CEU classmates think of all this?

György Lázár

13 Comments

  1. Mr. Kumin has forgotten a long time ago everything he ever learned about the rule of law and democratic principles at the CEU. For reasons only known by him, he transformed himself from a Homo Sapien into an ordinary parrot, who specializes in repeating whatever comes from his masters mouth.

    In its fascination with rewriting, or falsifying history, the Orbán regime follows the path of all autocracies. Orbán has his own “in house” staff of historian, within the Prime Minister’s office (headed by Sándor Szakály), whose job is to sanitize and whiten the the dirty laundry of the national-christian era (1920-1945), represented by Admiral Nicholas Horthy, when it was acceptable practice for Hungarian civil servants to confiscate the property of hundreds of thousands of Hungarian Jews, and send them off, in cattle cars, to the gas chambers. (The unfortunate victims of course were also mislead about the nature of their final destination. They were told, that they were going to work camps to liberate their spirits.) Arbeit macht frei ! Dig ?

    Like all autocracies, the Orbán autocracy must also base itself on a lie, and control access to the truth. Without this insistence, it would cease to exist. Kumin is a servant of this latter principle, as is Hungary’s diplomatic core to Canada and the US. Those who cater to these “parrots”, and assist in their “PR” activities, do nothing but prolong the suffering of ordinary Hungarians.

    As we know, History, has not come to a halt yet. Forecasting its future with any degree of precision is well nigh impossible. But one thing we can say with some degree of certainty. Many of these parrots will quickly change their feathers when the change comes, and metamorphose into birds of paradise. Right, Mr. Pozsgay, Szűrös, Áder, Orbán, Kövér, Bencsik, Kerényi, Gorka et al ?

    • Peter Sandor says:

      Andy, Did you really write this?
      How come Horthy was only a witness at Nürnberg. He was also financiallly supported by grateful Jews till he died in Portugal. Did you really not know Horthy stopped the rounding up of Jews so the Germans had to arrest him and occupy Hungary to start large scale deportations? Fake news par excellence!

    • Peter Sandor

      So, “the Germans had to arrest him [Horthy] and occupy Hungary to start large scale deportation.. ”

      I’d call this fake history or “alternative facts”, been produced in large quantities in Hungary.

  2. What is appalling is that all of this is played out before the eyes of the world, without a global roar of opposition, in unison.

    But since Trump is daily doing comparable things with impunity in the US, who knows what’s going on with the moral fibre of the planet?

    My bet is that the decent majority in the US will prevail over the deplorables; I’m not convinced there exists a decent majority in Hungary.

  3. Tamás Bereczky says:

    Ferenc Kumin is a twat. Has always been.

  4. Kevindaryan Lujan says:

    While I understand the author’s point of view and I share his anger and frustration as a CEU alumni, throwing the blame on an individual who has been supportive over the years seems unfair. All because he is not speaking out on behalf of CEU or because he is distancing himself because of the potential political ramifications it can have to be associated with CEU at this time? I simply do not agree… I do not believe he should have to sacrifice his career and his livelihood. However, I do agree on the author’s view on how dangerous this all is and the need to address Orban’s attack on academic freedoms. I will say this though in the author’s defense. Evil succeeds when good men do nothing, I will not think less of Mr. Kumin, I have met him and found him to be a very reasonable individual and believe he certainly has his reasons. The focus of our energy should be on building bridges not attacking allies. Maybe today he cannot speak out, but time and time again he has lent a helping hand to CEU, when he did not need to. So I plead with the author to continue his fight and his activism for our great university, but not by attacking our best and brightest in this difficult time of self reflection and let him make his own choices. Thank you both for your contributions to CEU.

  5. With all due respect for the author and his efforts to support CEU, I believe that Ferenc Kumin was sincere when he spoke about his pride to be CEU graduate on several occasions. Ferenc and his team were hospitable hosts that evening and on other occasions in the past and we are thankful for this.

  6. Pavol Jakubec says:

    While the matter is, indeed, lamentable and reminiscent of totalitarian past, this is an oversimplification. Under standard conditions diplomats act upon orders – they are representatives, not policymakers. I am afraid that this action has very little to say about Mr. Kumin´s being a proud alumni or not. It is quite unlikely that this was his “call”. Frankly, I would wonder what are a proud alumni´s options in a situation like this.

  7. It’s an eternal dilemma between personal wellbeing and moral values. What is one’s price for serving wrong or evil? Evil men were privately pleasant hosts (Göring), entertaining companions (Göbels), music lovers (Gauleiter Frank).
    Actively serving the Orbán regime is always bad and often a crime, so those otherwise pleasant accomplices should be nicely charged and, eventually, politely banned from holding public office, escorted to jail and have their property confiscated, as the case may be. Who knows what F.Kumin has been involved in, if in any crime, but the principle applies to him too. Nothing personal, it’s only justice.

  8. Miklos Banfi says:

    As Observer pointed out in his first sentence – there is a huge moral obstacle in Mr. Kumin’s actions. White washing his spineless actions to me is unforgivable. Yes, it must be awfully painful to be on his spot, as a beneficiary and advocate of CEU, and now on a nick of time turn his back on all this and serve his dictator with a smiling face. All his affiliation with CEU and his conduct as a Consul is insanely contradictory. Trash!

  9. PUZZLING ABOUT QUISLING

    Agree that we should not be defending or condoning collaborators and accomplices in any way. What an idea, that any decent person could be Consul General for the Orban regime?

    I left Hungary at 3 in ’48, so I never underwent the character test to find out whether I would have been a collaborator or a dissident during the Soviet-dominated decades of Hungary. Now we are in the Orban-dominated days and the test is again in effect for those who live in or serve the interests of this vile and evil regime.

    But a (milder) test is on now also with the (equally vile and evil, but far more dangerous) Trump/buffoon regime — milder only because in the US and Canada many checks and balances are still in place, the degree of personal risk in opposition is still far lower, and, I believe, there is a higher proportion of decents over deplorables in the population.

  10. @ Peter Sándor

    Yuup, I wrote it all by myself Pete, and only after I did my homework 🙂 Horthy by his own admission was an anti-Semite, and ordered in writing, that his Order of Vitéz, should not admit a single Jew into its ranks, and serve as a guardian of Hungary’s ethnic purity. (I’m not going to go into footnoted citations from his works – been there, done that. Let his approval of the deportation of 460,000 Jews to Auschwitz, speak for him. By the time he was arrested, the 460,000, and tens of thousands in forced labor on the front-lines were long dead. Horthy stopped the deportations when the all the Jews in the countryside were exterminated, the allies were knocking on his back door, and Roosevelt warned him, that if he continues to assist in the murder of the Jews, he’ll hang’im by the balls at the end of the war.) The reason why Horthy served only as a witness at Nürenberg is, because Stalin took him off the list of criminals, in order to calm the jitters of the anti-Communist electorate in 1945, 1947, who started not to believe the fake news Stalin and his Hungarian disciples were spreading in all over the world.

    And oh, Horthy had Jewish friends in Portugal ? What the hell does that supposed to prove, other than one simple fact – the Jews are just like us, they are not united into a common front. It’s only the anti-Semites who think they are all alike.

    Glad to see you are reading the HFP, and have put yourself on the path of reason, and fact based scholarship. Any time you need some help with the mythologies you are reading in Orbán’s media, come here and I’ll happily enlighten you. After all, what are friends for, if not to help us see the light. 🙂 God save the Queen 🙂

  11. @ Serge Sych

    “Ferenc Kumin was sincere when he spoke about his pride to be CEU graduate on several occasions”

    It’s impossible to empirically verify the sincerity of Mr. Kumin, at the moment you are referring to. Your lack of doubt doesn’t prove anything, it’s as useless as evidence, as my doubt, that if push came to shove, the young man would sell his soul to the devil. Of his spineless cooperation with Orbán’s assault on civil society, and the rule of law, empirical evidence is plentiful and irrefutable. He will be remembered as the weather vane that turned as the wind blew.

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