Hungarian Rhapsody 2020 – Open Letter Campaign

In early April 2020, three civil societies released an Open Letter to the European Commission in response to Hungary’s so called Authorisation Laws adopted under the disguise of the government’s handling of the COVID pandemic. The letter is intended to express the frustration of 51% of Hungarian voters who in 2018 did not authorize Viktor Orban to continue to hold Hungarian democracy ransom. The letter is addressed to the European Commission, and through it the European Union, and urges them to take concrete action against the Hungarian government. Unfortunately to date, beyond empty words and seldom political statements not much else has been done or achieved. Do we expect this Open Letter to serve as an eye opener for EU officials or to spring them into action?

Probably not, our intention instead was to initiate a grass root action by Hungarian citizens, rather than simply relying on MEPs as go-betweens. Several hundreds of Hungarian citizens delivered the Open Letter from their own personal email accounts to every member of the European Commission and then to every single member of the European Parliament. Several additional civil societies also joined in this campaign, but overall and in its heart, this campaign has truly been an example of direct action taken by concerned individuals. The letter was composed, edited, translated and the entire campaign organized in a matter of days (and most importantly with great dedication).

The campaign has attracted more publicity within Hungary than expected, including private individuals openly promoting it on their own social media accounts, which is remarkable and unexpected given the current Hungarian political climate.

True to the attributes of rhapsody as an artistic form (which is the title of the campaign, Hungarian Rhapsody 2020), the Open Letter intends to express the emotions and passionate questions Hungarians have to the EU, rather than attempting to be a complete summary of Orban’s wrongdoings or offering solutions necessarily. That said it seems as if the letter and its message have achieved its purpose, because it managed to directly mobilize several hundred private individuals over seven days and MEPs have already reassured us in writing that the state of Hungarian democracy will remain on the EP’s agenda.

We understand that restoring democracy and democratic values in Hungary won’t happen overnight and requires the concerted efforts of several allies. It’s a battle that has to be fought both in Hungary and in Europe. This campaign, however, has proven that individual citizens taking an active role in shaping political outcomes do play a role, and a very critical one indeed, transforming our society and maintaining democratic values.

The campaign team
Edit Siev-Weisz

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Open Letter to the European Commission

Dear European Commission

This open letter is from concerned Hungarian citizens who have never given Viktor Orbán and his government the authority to rule the country with arbitrary and unlimited powers a mere 30 years after the fall of Communism. The Prime Minister’s favorite narrative is that he enjoys the support of a 2/3 majority of Hungarians, which mandates him to do just about anything he and his government want. This, of course, is untrue, in fact in the 2018 parliamentary elections; 51% of voters did not vote for the Fidesz-KDNP coalition! Viktor Orbán does not have the backing of 2/3 of Hungarians! Orbán and his party, Fidesz, have become Hungary’s omnipotent rulers through a distorted and fraudulent electoral system.

How much longer will you and the EU tolerate Orbán’s rampage? What are you waiting for? Why are you still financing this corrupt Hungarian government, which has built a billionaire empire of oligarchs, acquired companies and used public money as its own from European Union sources to build its own economic base that sustains it?

You are well aware of the serious corruption of the Hungarian Government. There have been detailed reports on Orban’s and Fidesz’s wrongdoings. A thorough investigation has been carried out by the European Parliament, perhaps others are still underway.

How many more reports will you need before you act to put a stop to wrongdoings that have so blatantly been
going on in Hungary for the last 10 years on your watch?

Why are you continuing to effectively sponsor the transition to a dictatorship from EU taxpayers’ money within one of your member states and a NATO ally?

What more needs to happen before you draw a firm line and take concrete actions? Political witch-hunt, show
trials, imprisoned journalists and political opponents? Or worse? What is going to be your red line?

As Hungarian citizens of the European Union, we have never consented to the sustained attacks on and demolition of the fundamental rights and liberties that are simply indisputable in any functioning democratic society!

2020 will go down in world history as the year of the Corona virus. A plague that paralyzed the world. For Hungarians, this period will not only be recorded as the year of the deadly pandemic. It will enter Hungarian history as the shameful year when the Hungarian government, callously took advantage of a severe epidemic and completely undermined democracy.

Dear European Commission,

We ask that you do not stand idly by in this destruction!

We urge you to take immediate action to force the Hungarian Government to return to the framework of democracy and to restore the rule of law.

Sincerely:
Hungarians who believe in democracy

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Konkordancia Hungarica

Szilva

Kanadian Freedom Fighers

Stuttgarti Pilvax

5 Comments

  1. Miklos Banfi says:

    Thanks Chris, you put it out. I guess, the KMH is a better medium, to discuss it as it is happening.

  2. Minek kell tortennie, hogy konkret intezkedesek tortenjenek? Mi lesz az utolso csepp a poharban? Koncepcios perek, bebortonzott ujsagirok es ellenzeki politikusok? Vagy meg rosszabb? 

  3. The problem is that the word “democracy” itself and the meaning of it is becoming hijacked by ideological zealots who believe that it is outright undemocratic for anyone but their own ideological faction to be elected and govern. It is also “undemocratic” for their ideological faction not to have full control of the means of persuading the masses, such as the media. This is the real threat to democracy!

  4. András B. Göllner says:

    The EU’s tolerance of the Hungarian government’s systematic and 10 year long violation of its fundamental charter is a disgrace. The Union’s ongoing financial support of a government that steals at least one quarter of that money, and funnels the rest into projects that are ensured to keep Hungary in a backward, economically peripheral status is a crime against humanity. Viktor Orbán has turned Hungary into an assembly line manned by cheap labor, and has won the undying support of Europe’s financial, and commercial establishment. Hungarians are too weak to resist, the EU is too much under the control of bankers who are only interested in a favorable return on their investments rather than in the state of Hungary’s democracy.

    The reason the EU finances Hungary (it has just given Orbán almost 6 billion Euros – close to 4% of Hungary’s GDP, and twice the amount it gave to Italy to battle Covid) because Orbán protects the funds of its fortune hunters, the multinationals, the German automobile industry, the German bankers. For the latter, a cowed, docile, obedient working class, a smooth assembly line operated by lowpayed, undemanding workers is all that matters. (Hungary has the lowest average wages in the OECD, the highest tax bite on those wages, the slowest social mobility, the sharpest increase in the share of working poor of total employment, and is the only EU member, where green anergy use as a share of total energy consumption is lower today than it was a few years ago.)

    The EU has not and will not do anything more than issue tepid statements, devoid of any force, because its business elite is handsomely rewarded by the Orbán regime’s drift towards fascism. Hungarians have to take control of their own lives into their own hands rather than wait for Europe’s fortune hunters to come to their rescue.

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