Sunday, December 09, 2018

Hungary is becoming a Cesspit

by Anastasia (writer), London, June 29, 2012

Credit: Tobi85
Jobbik's paramilitary Hungarian Guard

The most regressive forms of nationalism and anti-Semitism are once again on the rise in Central Europe.

It’s October 1944, the dying months of the Second World War. Across what is left of the areas of Europe it controls, Germany is anxious to bolster support. In Hungary the Arrow Cross Party, a local fascist movement, deeply anti-Semitic in tone, is allowed to form a government. The remaining Jews of Budapest, those who managed to survive Adolf Eichmann’s deportations to Auschwitz earlier that year, are once again in grave danger. In nightly raids armed thugs entered the city ghetto. Those they take are shot, their bodies thrown in to the Danube.

It’s the summer of 2012. We are back in Budapest, standing by the statue of Raul Wallenberg, the Swedish diplomat who saved thousands of Hungarian Jews during the Holocaust. Pig’s trotters have been tied round the memorial. The writing is on the wall – “This is not your country dirty Jews – you are going to be shot there.” The pointer is towards the Danube.

Yes, Jew-hatred is back in central Europe, back in one of the most tragic locations in Jewish history. According to the Federation of Jewish Communities a “wave of hatred” is breaking over the country, with anti-Semitism reaching levels not seen since the fall of communism in 1990. It’s depressingly familiar, with Holocaust memorials and Jewish cemeteries subject to vandalism.

It’s depressingly familiar in other ways too. Hungary, like many of the other nations of the New European Order, is deep in recession. Scapegoats have to be found. The anti-Semitism, so evident in the city streets, is a wave that is following from the onward progress of the ship of Jobbik. This far right party is effectively the inheritor of the Arrow Cross tradition, though it denies any such association. They are not anti-Semitic, oh no; they are only opposed to ‘Israeli investors.’

One wonders just exactly who these nefarious ‘Israeli investors’ are? One wonders also about the mentality and political logic of people opposed to any form of investment in a country fast sinking down the economic drain! Methinks they doth protest too much.

The reality is simple enough: it’s the rise of this movement that has legitimised hate speech. Commenting on this Andras Kovacs of the Central European University said;

People with hidden anti-Semitic attitudes become more openly anti-Semitic having seen that representatives of the political elite openly express views that they themselves did not dare express before.

Sadly all the high hopes of 1989, when the country struggled to free itself from communist tyranny, have died. In the place of a yearning for freedom and democracy more and more –surely a sign of personal inadequacy? – are turning to the most regressive forms of nationalism, all supported by a nostalgia for the Greater Hungary lost almost a century ago in the aftermath of the First World War.

As one Hungarian commentator said these so-called ‘patriots’ are turning the country into a bigoted little cesspit, whose neighbours are already complaining of the stench. One simply knows that a country is in deep trouble when it starts to believe that its future lies in the past. This is no brave new world merely a cowardly old one.

About the Writer

Anastasia is a writer for BrooWaha. For more information, visit the writer's website.
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4 comments on Hungary is becoming a Cesspit

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By ColonialBoy on June 30, 2012 at 10:50 am

Ana, I suspect you are correct - they yearn for the days that the Austria-Hungarian Empire was a major player in world affairs. Since then, they have just been in the "minor leagues". Of course, it is a bit of rose-tinted nostalgia - from what I have studied about that Empire, the Royals living in Wein thought of their Hungarian subjects as barely civilized louts living out in the wilderness.

I've never totally understood why the Eastern Europeans, who are largely firm adherents to the Christian faith (per the CIA World Factbook) have been so consistently anti-Jewish. Jesus himself was half-Jewish, his mother, the revered (formerly virgin) Mary was a pureblood Jewess descended from the House of David, most of the famed Apostles were originally Jewish peasants, and (per Genesis 22:18) G_d himself (herself?) told Abraham "and through your offspring all nations on Earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed me". Are the Hungarians so jealous of those brilliant, hard-working (chosen) people that they would disdain G_d's blessings on their nation?

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By Uttam Gill on June 30, 2012 at 09:29 pm

Ana, if this is happening in central Europe, then surely they are terribly wrong in engaging the future with archaic beliefs...The world has changed…who so ever try to weave future with generic belief will parish…Anti Semitism always thrive on generic belief which infuse regressive form of nationalism for a while but cannot hold a ground against the dynamics of change.

Ana thanks for keeping me at least abreast with many unknown facts about other parts of the world. Your articles are always very informative…. Keep it up

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By Anastasia on July 01, 2012 at 05:29 pm

CB, the anti-Semitism in places like Hungary and Poland belongs to an old medieval tradition. By this the Jews were hated for rejecting Christ and his followers who, in founding a new religion, had transcended Judaism. In practical terms, though, the Jews being different, and obviously different, attracted a lot of petty resentment. In times of crisis they became obvious scapegoats.

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By Anastasia on July 01, 2012 at 05:32 pm

Uttam, the world has changed. The pace of change gets faster by the day. For a lot of people that causes anxiety, and in their anxiety they retreat into more primitive forms of belief.

Again I appreciate your appreciation. Oh, I have a story tonight from your own country. It’s a tale of a worm. :-)

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