Focus

Red Baron. / P. Klein

Gábor Halmai: Illiberal Democracy and Beyond in Hungary

Gábor Halmai teaches law at Eötvös Loránd University in Budapest and also serves as the director of the Hungarian Human Rights Information and Documentation Centre. Professor Halmai is currently based in Washington, D.C., where he is a fellow at the National Endowment for Democracy. * In his speech, delivered before an ethnic Hungarian audience at the 25th Bálványos Free Summer […]

by · September 3, 2014 · Focus
Imre Kertész

Stop abusing seriously ill Nobel laureate Imre Kertész!

This week, in a reversal of their previous position, Mr. Viktor Orbán’s Fidesz party declared that the writings of author Imre Kertész, recipient of the 2002 Nobel Prize in Literature, are actually in sync with their philosophy and are putting him up for a high state award. Historian Dr. Mária Schmidt wrote a lengthy article declaring Mr. Kertész the Hungarian […]

by · August 15, 2014 · Focus
Ágnes Kunhalmi

Socialists set Ágnes Kunhalmi and Ferenc Falus up for failure

The democratic opposition’s election campaign ahead of the October 12th municipal elections in Budapest is the very epitome of a political train wreck. It is certainly true that Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s decision to completely transform the Hungarian capital’s electoral system a mere four months before the vote would have thrown a wrench into the plans of any political party, no […]

by · August 14, 2014 · Focus
Reuters / B. Szabó

Hungarian democracy in a nutshell — The Jewish contribution to the European integration project

I am speaking about democracy in a nutshell today, because pretty well that’s all is left of Hungarian democracy by today. In fact, it is even quite loose in that nutshell, after having shrunk so small. On December 31 2013, in the late night hours, as the country was well on its way to get drunk and celebrate the new year, […]

by · August 3, 2014 · Focus
Yellow stars in Budapest remind Hungarians of the Holocaust and the houses where Jews were forced to live after June 1944.

Behind Hungary’s ‘Potemkin Village’ antisemitism flourishes

Seventy years after the murder of 600,000 Hungarian Jews, Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s government appointed an ambassador to Italy who declared that Jews were “agents of Satan” and has erected a monument in Budapest with the aim of denying Hungary’s role in the Shoah. It is a surreal turn of events for a government that sought to use the Holocaust […]

by · July 30, 2014 · Focus
Budapest's Living Memorial in Freedom Square. Photo: Christopher Adam

Captive of the Past? A Pro-Government Historian’s Defense of the Indefensible

Mária Schmidt, a prominent Hungarian pro-government academic, wrote that “the historian cannot project the ideological schemes of his age on the past and cannot observe the past’s narratives with today’s sensibilities.” Ms. Schmidt took issue with the much-maligned “left-liberal intellectuals” who she believes are trying to insert a type of “intellectual terror” into any discussion of twentieth century Hungarian history […]

by · July 29, 2014 · Focus