Recently in the spotlight

László Zábori.

Holocaust-denier and Kuruc.info author works as high school teacher in Budapest

A small Jewish activist group called The Voice of Six Million Souls has long been working to uncover the identities of the people behind the neo-Nazi Kuruc.info website, which is known for publishing the most revolting examples of Holocaust denial and hate speech of any Hungarian publication. Some months ago, I had been in touch by telephone with this group, as it is well-known that the owner of Kuruc.info’s domain (which is registered […]

by · June 16, 2015 · Antisemitism
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
Conference participants listen to presentations on Day 2.  Photo: C.A.

The Hungarian Studies Association of Canada’s 2015 Conference (Photo report)

The Hungarian Studies Association of Canada (HSAC) celebrated its 30th anniversary this year, at a conference held at the University of Ottawa from May 30th to June 1st, 2015. A member of the Canadian Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences, the 2015 HSAC conference was especially dynamic, with 29 presenters coming from across Canada, the United States, Hungary, Romania, […]

by · June 11, 2015 · Culture
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
Alan Shepard's letter to the Hungarian Free Press.

Concordia University’s president writes to the Hungarian Free Press

When I returned to Montreal last weekend, I found an unexpected, but certainly much appreciated letter in my mailbox from Alan Shepard, the President and Vice Chancellor of Concordia University. I received my B.A. (Honours) in History from Concordia in 2003 and our readers may recall that in early March, we reported on a panel discussion hosted by the University […]

by · June 10, 2015 · Diaspora
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