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Liberal author condemns left-liberal hysteria over traditional Hungarian themes

July 27th, 2013

A former liberal MP warns left-wingers that by systematically rejecting romantic nationalist symbols they frame themselves as enemies of national traditions and values.

On Galamus.hu, Klára Sándor, a linguist and former Free Democrat MP warns liberal opinion shapers that their instinctive dislike and loud condemnation of what they perceive as primitive nationalistic superstitions will alienate people who are in no sense on the extreme right. Intellectuals who see nothing wrong with children learning about Celtic mythology from Tolkien are outraged if references to Hungarian tribes or their way of life enter the curriculum. She does not see anything wrong in cherishing the cult of the ancient Hungarian runic alphabet, now increasingly monopolised by the far right, nor for expressing the sense of loss felt by many about the post-World War 1 Trianon peace treaty which deprived Hungary of one third of its ethnic Hungarian population. To dismiss and despise such feelings is the surest way, Sándor argues, to perpetuate the ’us’ and ’them’ myth and prevent left-liberal culture from embracing the whole of Hungarian history – adding, of course, their own perspective. As a recent example she mentions the ridicule heaped on Gordon Bajnai when he tried to distance himself from the 2004 referendum at which Hungarians beyond the borders were denied citizenship, after the Socialists, including Ferenc Gyurcsány himself, argued that ’Romanians will inundate the Hungarian labour market’. The liberal left, she concludes, had better start working on a patriotic perspective that builds on the traditions that are so dear to many young people, not all of them on the extreme right.

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