Liberal authors interpret the Prime Minister’s remarks on ‘ethnic homogeneity’ as an expression of an old style racist and nationalist way of thinking.
Addressing the General Assembly of the Hungarian Chamber of Trade and Industry on Tuesday, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said the ethnic and cultural character of Hungary should be preserved, as large change would diminish the value of the country and plunge it into chaos. He acknowledged a broad diversity in Hungary, but added that this should be kept within certain, European limits. Exaggerated ethnic ‘mixing’, he said, would bring problems. And ethnic homogeneity would be an asset for Hungary in the future, which citizens of multicultural societies would find attractive.
In an angry commentary on HVG.hu, András Hont likens the Prime Minister’s words to racist diatribes in the early 1940s. He doesn’t discuss Mr Orbán’s words about negative phenomena in multicultural societies, but devotes his comments to the Prime Minister’s words on ethnic homogeneity. Such expressions have not been uttered in public since World War Two, he fulminates. Hont concludes by admitting that he never agreed with Mr Orbán’s views over the past decades, but this time he is disgusted by them.
The online version of Heti Világgazdaság also reproduces Facebook remarks by two writers who read the Prime Minister’s words as directed against other ethnicities living in Hungary. György Dragomán, a Hungarian writer born in Romania recalled on Facebook on Wednesday that the expression “homogeneous Romanian Socialist Nation” became fashionable during his preschool years in the dictatorship of Nicolae Ceausescu. He added, ironically, that “a lot of great things resulted from this”. Another writer, Krisztián Nyáry, remarked that Greater Hungary numbered a mere three and a half million inhabitants after 150 years of Ottoman rule, and was repopulated by millions of foreign settlers in several waves over the following hundred years.