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Hungary’s ‘cold civil war’

August 30th, 2014

A moderate writer likens the bitter feud between the pro-government camp and the opposition to the bitter warfare raging in Gaza and Ukraine. Peace is a distant dream, he believes.
We don’t have to travel to Palestine or even to neighbouring Ukraine to experience the efficacy and absurdity of hatred,” veteran literary historian Béla Pomogáts writes in Népszava. He assures readers of the left-wing daily that he finds the pro-government side more “spectacularly” guilty of diffidence and hatred, but reminds them that the venom of the past decades of Hungarian history is reciprocal. This is not a war, of course, he continues, but the psychology of the conflict is to a great extent similar. Any opinion which diverges from that of our own group is considered hostile and is automatically rejected without so much as a cursory examination. To make things worse, people who challenge our own, fondly clung to views are immediately ostracised. The opponent “must be annihilated, his or her professional credibility must be destroyed, and he or she must be exposed to vicious slander,” Pomogáts writes bitterly. Such attitudes, he finds, are not confined to political groupings; they have poisoned private lives and literary circles as well. Peace, he believes, can only come in the distant future, when all sides decide to examine their consciences and realise how senseless and self-destructive this ‘cold civil war’ is.