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Critics of Hungary criticised

April 16th, 2013

Mária Schmidt accuses Hungary’s foreign critics of applying double standards. The conservative historian suggests that the widespread western criticism of recent legislative developments in Hungary is inspired by left-wing intellectuals who have not yet done their homework.

Hungarian intellectuals are far more critical towards their national history than their Western counterparts, Mária Schmidt writes in Mandiner. While Hungarian historians are preoccupied with shameful instances of their national histories, scholars from the West try to focus on the periods and achievements which they can be proud of, the conservative historian and a former aid of PM Orbán notes.

Schmidt finds it highly disturbing and unfair that Hungary has been constantly criticized for the allegedly undemocratic reforms introduced under the Orbán government. Austrian intellectuals who worry about what they see as the rise of anti-Semitic public discourse like to forget that many Austrians welcomed the annexation of their country by Nazi Germany, supported Hitler and did little to protect Austrian Jews from persecution, Schmidt points out. She adds that French intellectuals who bash the Hungarian government do not seem to be bothered by the fact that as a civil servant during the Second World War, former Socialist President François Mitterrand cooperated with the Vichy government, and they are also forgetful of President de Gaulle’s anti-Israeli statements as well as the over hundred thousand civil servants he abandoned to the murderous revenge of the victorious Algerian rebels. It is as a result of biased criticism from left-wing intellectuals that Hungary is becoming isolated in the international arena, Schmidt contends. She concludes by recommending that European intellectuals focus more on their own national histories, rather than applying double standards against Hungary.

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