Entries RSS Feed Share Send to Facebook Tweet This Accessible version

Opposing views on the rival March 15 celebrations

March 17th, 2012

Left-wing commentators are appalled by PM Orbán’s new slogan: “We will not be a colony.”  Their right-wing counterparts welcome the presence of the Prime Minister’s Polish supporters at the celebrations on the anniversary of the 1848 Hungarian revolution.

On  Thursday 15 March, addressing a huge pro-government crowd in front of the Parliament building, PM Viktor Orbán said the revolutionary youth of 1848 rebelled because they did not want to be a colony, and “this is precisely our slogan today.” He said Europe as a whole must beware of unspecified modern colonisers that might end up dominating it. The PM added however that youthful revolutionary ardour must be coupled with the maturity of the older generations. In a rival rally held at the same time by opposition NGOs, left-wing speakers accused the government of leading the country towards tyranny.

In Népszabadság, Róbert Friss finds it absurd that even as the Prime Minister was addressing the crowd, Mr Barroso, President of the European Commission may have been studying his latest letter in which the Hungarian premier asked him to help accelerate talks on an IMF standby credit for Hungary. “Who wants to colonise Hungary?” Friss asks. “Whom does he mean by the international financial power the Union must beware of?  Is it not the same one he expects money from?”

In Népszava, Zoltán Simon believes Mr Orbán’s rhetoric is aimed at winning over supporters from the radical right-wing Jobbik party. Another reason he suspects behind the prime minister’s words is that Viktor Orbán must explain why his government has to introduce painful measures to reduce the public deficit. Highlighting the international pressure on Hungary may just serve that purpose.

In Magyar Nemzet, Csaba Lukács compares the Western supporters of Hungary’s left-wing opposition to the one-time pro-communist Westerners who used to praise the Soviet Union. In the Paris daily Libération, leftist readers were called upon to fly to Budapest and join the anti-government demonstration. Lukács believes while the prevailing sentiment was once to praise the Soviet Union, now it is about dreading a right-wing dictatorship, nevertheless “the choir and the methods are the same.” He reminds those French supporters of the Hungarian opposition, that the police actively protected the anti-government demonstrators from a group of skinheads who were harassing them. “Which is rather strange, if we accept the dictatorship tale.” He remarks that thousands of Poles who sympathise with the Hungarian government actually came to Budapest on the anniversary, unlike French left-wingers who just issued messages from Paris.

In Magyar Hírlap, deputy editor-in-chief László Szentesi Zöldi contrasts the official ceremony with the Prime Minister as the main speaker and thousands of Polish sympathisers, to the anti-government demonstration where a “poor twit” was proclaimed  the alternative president of the republic (See BudaPost, March 15). He suggests that ”Europe’s true spirit” is represented by the Polish participants at the official ceremony, who expressed their solidarity with Hungary at a moment when she is facing “unfair treatment” by the European Union.

Tags: , ,