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Singer-songwriter to leave in distress

April 3rd, 2013

A left-wing commentator would prefer to see Viktor Orbán leave his country, while his right-wing counterpart criticises Peter Gerendás for making what he describes as his ‘market failure’ a political issue.

Guitar player and singer-songwriter Péter Gerendás announced on Easter Sunday that he would leave Hungary because he saw signs of “growing fascism,” and because he could only get humiliating jobs which failed to allow him to make a decent living. On Easter Monday, in reaction to letters from friends and critics, he said his reasons were not political and warned against political parties using his departure for their own political purposes. Commentators on both sides have tended to ignore his second Facebook-post and offer a political reading of his departure.

In Népszava, Iván Andrassew thinks the governing parties are to blame for chasing away more and more people from Hungary. He paints an apocalyptic vision in which a paranoid power structure ends up driving everyone abroad. In the end, he writes, only he and PM Orbán will be left behind. He would personally much prefer if instead of all the others, it was PM Orbán who chose to leave the country. “Today, he could still leave in peace,” he concludes, darkly.

In Magyar Hírlap, deputy editor László Szentesi Zöldi thinks Gerendás’s problem is that his music does not attract a sufficiently wide public. He condemns left-wing personalities, including former PM Ferenc Gyurcsány, who claim Gerendás has to leave because of his Jewish origins. The Budapest Klezmer Band, for example, consists of excellent Jewish musicians who regularly fill the concert halls and do not contemplate leaving. Gerendás, he continues, was a regular signatory to all kinds of public appeals on behalf of liberal causes, and in fact used to perform at left-wing party rallies and got a bearable number of contracts as long as “his people” were running the government. Now he is exposed to the hardships of the market, which is regrettable, but “of course Mr Gyurcsány does not offer to bail him out at his own expense,” though he could well afford to do so.

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