Recently in the spotlight

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
Burgers in Debrecen, at Buri Buri.

Buri Buri – my favorite hamburger joint in Debrecen

One of the culinary high-points of our vacation in Hungary this summer was the hamburger we had in Debrecen at Buri Buri, a hole-in-the-wall burger place which serves extraordinary “street food”. My wife and I were tired and hungry. It was an unusually hot June evening and we wanted to eat outside. “How about a hamburger?” – suggested my wife. […]

by · July 12, 2015 · Culture
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
A scene from the 2006 German film The Lives of Others (Das Leben der Anderen).

Hungary’s Orbán government invests in spying technology for use abroad

Since November 2010, Hungary’s Orbán government has spent over 571,000 euros to purchase highly sophisticated spying technology from an Italian firm called the Hacking Team, and the software is used to bug cell phones and hack into private computers, according to a report published by the liberal 444.hu news site.  The data on the Hacking Team’s servers was stolen by a group of hackers this […]

by · July 9, 2015 · Focus
The Said and the Unsaid / maryampaintings.com

RCA Viktor: His master’s voice in Canada – From the medium to the message (5)

You must leave now, take what you need, you think will last, But whatever you wish to keep, you better grab it fast, Yonder stands your orphan with his gun, Crying like a fire in the sun Look out, the saints are comin’ through And it’s all over now, Baby Blue. -Bob Dylan Overview Man is a tool making animal […]

by · July 8, 2015 · Focus
Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras.

Hungary’s new left and the Greek referendum: Today Athens, tomorrow Budapest!

Greek voters rejected the dictates of the European Union and the International Monetary Fund in much larger numbers than initially anticipated. The decision was reasonable, understandable and, given the circumstances, it can certainly be appreciated. Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’s government received a remarkable mandate to continue the country’s economic and humanitarian war of independence. The results of the referendum […]

by · July 6, 2015 · Focus
Árpád W. Tóta

Árpád W. Tóta and the crisis in Greece: Let the Greeks drown!

In almost any country, except Hungary, publicist Árpád W. Tóta would likely be considered an ultraconservative for his rigid economic views. In Hungary, he’s a prominent opinion-maker of the left-centre opposition establishment. He sometimes reminds me of an enthusiastic member of an Ayn Rand college fan club, comprised of anxious freshmen who haven’t seen much of the world, beyond their suburban […]

by · July 6, 2015 · East
József Attila with his partner Márta Vágó (circa 1928).

Attila József: A fine summer evening (translated by John Bátki)

John Bátki’s 1997 anthology of translated Attila József poems is one of the many books that I bought in a small handful of English and foreign-language bookstores in Budapest’s city centre during the 1990’s. I always spoke Hungarian fluently, yet as a teenager born in Canada, but living within the relatively large expat community of Hungary’s capital, I found Hungarian […]

by · July 5, 2015 · Culture
Balpárt activists György Várnai and Ádám Galba-Deák show a sign of solidarity, along with a Greek tourist who happen to be visiting Hungary, in front of Greece's embassy in Budapest. Photo: Balpárt.

Young Hungarian left-wingers express solidarity with Syriza

There seems to be somewhat of a generational divide on the Hungarian left, when it comes to austerity and the debt crisis in Greece. While the mainstream left-centre opposition parties have remained largely mum about the increasingly dramatic stand-off between the Troika and Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’s Syriza government in Athens, and while some older, “big guns” of prior Hungarian […]

by · July 4, 2015 · East
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