Politics

This map, produced by Hungary's Office of Immigration and Citizenship, shows the flow of migrants arriving in Hungary.

Hungary to erect fence along border with Serbia

Péter Szijjártó, Hungary’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, announced Wednesday that the Orbán government has decided to erect a four metre fence along a 175 km stretch of border with Serbia, in order to stop the flow of refugees and migrants entering the country. Mr. Szijjártó pointed to the border between Bulgaria and Turkey as a precedent, and added that in […]

by · June 17, 2015 · Politics
Photo: newmusicworld.org

Boycotts and government PR: The debate on Hungarian state-sponsored klezmer concerts in North America

This past weekend, Anna Bayer, who runs a Facebook group called Hungarian Americans for Democracy, noted in what was a very tame post, that a North American concert of the Glass House Orchestra and Frank London, a musician and composer of Klezmer music, were being used by Hungary’s openly and virulently racist, authoritarian Orbán government as a public relations stunt, […]

by · June 15, 2015 · Politics
József Urbán. Photo: Tamás Thaler / Magyar Kurir.

Hungarian Catholic priest calls anti-immigration campaign “poisonous”

József Urbán is one of a very small handful of Roman Catholic clergy in Hungary who is willing to think outside the simplistic political and cultural parameters that define and curtail Christianity in much of Hungarian society. Born in 1964, Fr. Urbán is a Piarist priest and director of the order’s secondary school in Budapest. Historically, the Piarists (or, in […]

by · June 15, 2015 · Politics
András Stumpf.

András Stumpf and homosexuality: gay rights as understood by a young Hungarian conservative

András Stumpf is a prominent thirty-something conservative publicist, known most for his self-assured, sometimes aggressive and always irreverently outspoken style. He sometimes reminds me of a young, rigid, right-wing libertarian, who hasn’t come to understand that the world is full of nuance, and that these complexities require some sensitivity. Mr. Stumpf, who once worked for the Heti Válasz weekly, but […]

by · June 14, 2015 · Politics
Viktor Orbán in Kossuth Rádió's studios on June 12th, 2015. Photo: Szilárd Koszticsák / MTI.

Orbán: Hungary’s anti-immigration billboards are “mildly worded”

In his weekly Friday morning interview with the state-run Kossuth Rádió, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán asserted that the government’s openly xenophobic and highly controversial billboards telling immigrants to respect the country’s culture, not to steal the jobs of ethnic Hungarians and not to break the law are actually “mild” in tone. “They emphasize that Hungary is an open and friendly […]

by · June 12, 2015 · Politics
Photo: catalinivan.ro

European Parliament condemns Hungary’s Orbán government

The European Parliament accepted a strongly worded condemnation of Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s government for suggesting that it wanted to reintroduce capital punishment and for its overtly racist hate campaign against immigrants and potential refugees. While Mr. Orbán tried to rationalize and explain away his government’s rhetoric and policies when speaking in the EP a few weeks ago, it is […]

by · June 10, 2015 · Politics
Prime Minister Orbán speaking at the summit organized by the Union of Arab Banks, at the Budapest Hilton. Photo: Szilárd Koszticsák/MTI.

Hungary is an open and friendly country, says Orbán to Arabic bankers

Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s capacity to tell an audience one thing with seemingly deep conviction and dramatic rhetorical skill, and then tell another audience the polar opposite, with a straight face and without batting an eye, is singular, surreal and disturbing all at once. The Fidesz government has just launched a rabidly racist campaign with hundreds of billboards, suggesting that […]

by · June 9, 2015 · Politics
Viktor Szigetvári. Photo: civilhetes.net

Viktor Szigetvári: European People’s Party tolerance of Orbán is shameful

On Sunday, I exchanged a couple of emails with Viktor Szigetvári, chairman of Hungary’s centre-left opposition Együtt party. (Együtt means ‘Together’ in Hungarian and the party was previously associated with Gordon Bajnai, Hungary’s former prime minister.) I was pleased to see his activists engaged in civil disobedience, by defacing dozens of the xenophobic government billboards that now dot the landscape […]

by · June 8, 2015 · Politics
In this racist government billboard, the regime tells immigrants that if they come to Hungary, they  have to respect Hungarian laws.

Activists arrested–Orbán’s police guard racist billboards using surveillance

Six opposition activists who defaced the Orbán government’s rabidly xenophobic billboards were arrested at dawn, two of whom were kept at the Zugló police station for several hours. The three men and three women are all in their twenties and thirties. According to the activists who have since been released, police officers are being used to keep the growing number […]

by · June 7, 2015 · Politics
"If you come to Hungary, you have to respect our culture!" Photo: 444.hu

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, […]

by · June 6, 2015 · Politics