Coronavirus and irresponsible Hungarian National Holiday celebrations in New York and Los Angeles

On March 7th Hungary cancelled celebrations of the March 15 National Holiday due to the Covid-19 coronavirus.  Opposition parties, the Momentum Movement, Democratic Coalition, The Socialist Party, Párbeszéd and green party LMP – all agreed to cancel the events.  They did this “in the interest of protecting the health of attendees”.  Budapest Mayor Gergely Karácsony cancelled the event planned at City Hall. “Nothing is more important than the safety and health of Budapest residents.”    A week before of the National Holiday most Hungarian cities, villages and civil organizations have cancelled planned events.

And how about the March 15th Hungarian events in the United States?

On March 13th the Consulate of Hungary in New York City held a ceremonial “oath taking” event to celebrate the National Holiday in front of large crowd at the building of the Consulate General of Hungary (223 E 52nd St, New York, NY 10022).  Mr. István Pásztor, Consul General of Hungary welcomed 16 new Hungarian citizens at the citizenship ceremony.

Consul Pásztor led a ceremonial oath taking event on March 13, 2020 in New York City.

A week before Governor Cuomo had declared State of Emergency in New York State and asked to avoid gatherings.  New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio urged citizens to act responsibly.  Strangely, the organizers (and the participants) had not heard about this.

In Los Angeles on March 15th the Consulate participated in an unusual event held in the closed yard of a rarely used St. Stephen Catholic Church (3705 Woodlawn Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90011). Consul Széles Tamás gave an uplifting speech and most of the participants were not Hungarian Americans.  They had recently arrived from Hungary.  The Zemplén Néptánc Együttes, a folk dance group, arrived from the small town of Sátoraljaújhely and the Flaska banda, a Hungary based folk music group provided the music.  Local children were present, the Hungarian Scouts were led by local leader, Mr. Alpár Oriold.

Social distancing Hungarian style – March 15, 2020 Los Angeles National Holiday celebration.

The City of Los Angeles has asked citizens to practice „social distancing” and cancel non-vital gatherings.  City Council President Martinez called for extreme caution and Los Angeles Mayor Garcetti introduced several measures.  It seems that all this escaped the attention of Consul General Tamás Széles.

Participants of the Los Angeles event on March 15, 2020.

I hear that Hungarian diplomats were told to organize nationalist “show events” in the US.  Quite often the audience is also “imported”, Hungarian visitors pose as Hungarian Americans.  The purpose of these events is to shot photos and videos for propaganda purposes so Hungarian TV viewers can see Hungarian American crowds in the background endorsing the nationalist policies of Viktor Orbán.

György Lázár

Leave a Reply

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