Articles by: Christopher Adam

Birthright Hungary participants meets with Prime Minister Viktor Orbán and other Fidesz officials during their stay in Budapest. Photo: Birthright Hungary.

Ideas from Israel: A look at Finkelstein and Birthright Hungary

Hungary’s Fidesz government has long been an admirer of the Israeli right, and of the Likud party in specific. This is an open secret in Hungarian right-wing circles. Despite the Fidesz party’s occasional antisemitism — aimed to placate the more extreme elements of the Hungarian right –Prime Minister Viktor Orbán and his inner circle is quite fond of the language, […]

by · August 22, 2015 · Focus
A photo of Aziz, after his courageous and compassionate intervention in Budapest. The photo was sent to us by Szilárd Kalmár, who knew Aziz personally during his stay in Budapest.

How a 16 year old Afghan refugee saved the life of a Hungarian homeless man

On Thursday, a homeless man in Budapest’s economically disadvantaged 8th District became agitated as he waited outside a small soup kitchen in Bérkocsis Street. The man may have been intoxicated, as he waited for his meal in Budapest’s relentless heatwave, with temperatures soaring to above 36 Celsius. According to eyewitnesses, the middle aged man became impatient and broke the glass […]

by · August 14, 2015 · East
András Heisler, President of the Hungarian Federation of Jewish Communities (MAZSIHISZ) greets János Lázár, Minister of the Prime Minister's Office. Photo: Péter Gyula Horváth.

Hungary’s government warns Jewish community about Muslim refugees

Officials from Hungary’s Orbán government, including Minister of Human Resources Zoltán Balog, met with Jewish community leaders this week to discuss new efforts to improve Holocaust education in Hungarian schools and to alert Hungarian Jews to the fact that they too may be “impacted” by the continued wave of refugees, arriving primarily from war-torn Syria and Afghanistan. Based on the […]

by · August 13, 2015 · Politics
The two Vic(k)tors: Victor Ponta of Romania (left) and Viktor Orbán of Hungary (right).

Growing diplomatic row between Hungary and Romania

In the doldrums of summer, there is a growing and increasingly public conflict between Hungary’s Orbán government and the Ponta administration in Romania. In just the past two days, the diplomatic representatives of the  two countries, serving in Budapest and Bucharest, have been summoned by the respective foreign ministries of the two EU member states and both are claiming that […]

by · August 11, 2015 · Politics
Syrian and Afghan refugees in II. János Pál pápa tér, a park in the 8th District, after being evicted from the Keleti railway station by police. There is no sign of tents, fires being lit, knife violence or fighting, as Mayor Kocsis claimed on Facebook. Photo: Zoltán Balogh/MTI.

Fidesz mayor Máté Kocsis and the hysteria around refugees in Hungary

Máté Kocsis, the Fidesz party mayor of Budapest’s 8th district, is among the most avid Facebook users in Hungary, and in his case it’s not a press secretary posting updates on his behalf, but the mayor himself. Sometimes he gets himself into trouble, like when he engaged in a homophobic tirade earlier this year, after a liberal politician outed him […]

by · August 5, 2015 · Politics
Mayor Orosz, in his signature military fatigues. Photo: Hir24.

Érpatak: a Hungarian town living under far-right terror

I imagine that most of our readers have not been to, and perhaps never even heard of the northeastern Hungarian town of Érpatak (population: 1,700). The small town is run by far-right mayor Mihály Zoltán Orosz, who made a national name for himself by causing a scene at last year’s Gay Pride parade in Budapest, where he showed up dressed […]

by · August 3, 2015 · Focus
French photographer Bruno Bourel, who relocated to Budapest in 1993, created a series of photos on Jégbüfé.

Jégbüfé: Reflections on an authentically retro Budapest confectionery

Amidst all the kitsch, the tacky souvenir shops, the tourist traps and the overpriced “traditional Hungarian” restaurants along Váci utca, Budapest’s main pedestrian mall, there’s a little haunt called the Jégbüfé (Ice buffet), located just a block away, right near the foot of Elisabeth Bridge. When you go to the Jégbüfé, think more communist era retro, rather than old world […]

by · July 31, 2015 · Culture
Dr.Yama Nayab, sits with his daughter in Szabadka (Hungarian-dominated northern Serbia), waiting to cross into Hungary. Dr. Nayab was a surgeon in Afghanistan. Photo: Sima Diab/The Guardian.

It’s in Hungary’s interest to accept more refugees and immigrants

I increasingly believe that it is in Hungary’s enlightened self-interest to begin accepting many more of the Syrian and Afghan refugees, rather than stoking fear within Hungarian society and creating a siege mentality, which seems to be the tactic du jour. There is the humanitarian argument, where one might reasonably expect a greater degree of compassion and understanding from Hungarian […]

by · July 29, 2015 · Focus
Muslim prayer in Budapest. Photo: Ahmed Miklós Kovács.

The Hungarian far-right and Islam

Traditionally, Hungary’s extreme right was not openly Islamophobic. In fact, the Hungarian right-wing in general tended to differ markedly from conservative politicians in North America and much of western Europe in its support for Palestinian nationhood and its criticism of Israel. At the time of the war with Hezbollah back in 2006, I wrote a response to a piece published […]

by · July 27, 2015 · Politics
Afghan and Syrian refugees arrive in Hungary by the hundreds each day. Photo: Molnár Edvárd/MTI.

Budapest residents organize aid for refugees through social media

Refugees from Syria and Afghanistan transiting through Hungary have become an everyday sight for Budapest residents, especially those living close to the Keleti railway station and major squares in the 7th and 8th Districts. Police seem to be focused on removing them as quickly as possible from these areas (out of sight, out of mind), but a growing civilian ‘army’ […]

by · July 26, 2015 · Focus