Politics

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
Viktor Orbán in Tusnádfürdő. Photo: Szilárd Koszticsák/MTI.

Hungary’s prime minister suggests left-wingers are treasonous anti-Hungarians

Viktor Orbán warmed up his signature political dish today in the Transylvanian town of Tusnádfürdő (Băile Tușnad), where he gave his annual speech at a right-wing gathering of students, activists, politicians and policy-makers. Mr. Orbán returned to an old theme, and one which very successfully created a toxic environment for Hungarians both in Hungary and in the diaspora who were […]

by · July 25, 2015 · Politics
The Magician / Vesa Peltronen.

Tad Stahnke: Don’t be duped by Orbán’s charm offensive!

Tad Stahnke is the vice president of a Washington, D.C.-based organization called Human Rights First, which has launched campaigns advocating for the closure of Guantanamo Bay, as well as for LGBT rights in Vladimir Putin’s Russia and for anti-human trafficking initiatives. This time, the group is speaking out forcefully against a major visit to Washington D.C. by Hungary’s far right […]

by · July 15, 2015 · Politics
A Syrian refugee learns to ride a scooter...thanks to an random act of kindness from a Hungarian homeless man in Budapest. Photo: Szilárd Kalmár.)

Hungarians oppose new iron curtain on Serbian border

A poll produced for the political news weekly, Vasárnapi Hírek, on the Orbán government’s plans to erect a 175 km long fence along the border between Hungary and Serbia–in order to stop the growing wave of refugees and migrants crossing the frontier illegally–reveals some surprising results. The opinion poll was conducted by the Publicus Intézet and it shows that a […]

by · July 11, 2015 · Politics
Jason Kenney (left) goes out of its way to commend the Orbán regime.

Canadian government congratulates Orbán regime

In stark contrast to the Obama administration, as well as key Republican politicians, and governments in western Europe, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s cabinet has expressed absolutely no concern in public about the authoritarian, illiberal and xenophobic politics of Hungary’s Orbán regime. In fact, since 2010, the Embassy of Hungary in Ottawa has placed a special emphasis on cultivating a […]

by · July 4, 2015 · Politics
Authorities and private security firms enforcing eviction notices are an everyday occurence in Hungary. Photo: Balrad.

Poverty in Hungary skyrockets – Government to stop publishing statistics

The Hungarian Central Statistical Office (KSH) released data showing that over 35% of Hungary’s population lives below the poverty line. In the same breath, the KSH indicated that it would stop publishing statistics on poverty levels, because this term is too elusive. In fact, KSH now claims that when it published statistics on the poverty line, it would have been more […]

by · June 25, 2015 · 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