This is how democracy is killed in Hungary today

Dear Editor,

Roberta Flack wrote a hit “Killing Me Softly With Your Song.” This month you could say that democracy in Hungary is being killed softly with a smile.

My Hungarian wife follows politics more closely than I can. She said that as of October 1, restrictions take effect on speaking in public about politics.

I got an unsatisfactory reply and no satisfactory clarification from a Fidesz (governing party) friend who added that the public must be protected from unrestrained speech.

On October 1, I made a sign that said in Hungarian “Do not be a sheep, talk about politics, break the law” and stood in front of Sopron City Hall hoping to attract people to form a demonstration at least in the near future. I invited a reporter from our local paper, Kisalföld. A few students of environment protection had talked with me briefly but were gone by the time the reporter arrived. She said in effect, “is this all?” and left.

Quickly a pleasant middle-aged woman from city hall approached me and told me that I needed a permit. I asked her if she was kidding since I was advocating breaking an unjust law. She held her ground told me that I could be fined and ripped down my small sign I had taped to a large monument in our main square.

My wife panicked at the threat of paying a fine. We have enough to live on but not much extra.

Two days later I tried to buy an ad in Kisalföld and in the Hirsztar, a local advertising weekly. Both very pleasantly refused my attempt to buy a small ad with the same message “Don’t be a sheep, Talk about Politics, Break the law.”

Some people gave me a thumbs up when I bicycled through Sopron with my sign, but most people just shrug and ask, “Is there such a law.”

That is how democracy is killed today. No bloody police truncheons, just very pleasantly, with a smile.

Dr. Richard von Fuchs

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *