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First reactions to Brussels attacks

March 24th, 2016

As terror strikes in Brussels, Hungarian commentators – from staunchly liberal to stout conservative – seem to agree: this means war. And a long one at that.

Europe has become a utopia of accountants, Magyar Idők proclaims, but utopias only exist in books, and ‘the lion and the yearling will never play together’. We ourselves have made the continent a dangerous place, Levente Sitkei asserts in the pro-government daily’s editorial, because we did not remember to keep our gun powder dry. The author also senses what he calls a major breakdown in our attitude to law, which allows petty criminals such as Salah Abdeslam to escape justice and to parade themselves as the new Osama bin Ladens. Sitkei welcomes the fact that France that has been able to make a great leap away from liberty, equality and brotherhood. He praises the French for having widely accepted the curbing of privacy and other liberties after the Paris attacks (see BudaPost  November 16, 2015). He calls the leading officials of the European Union ‘bespectacled functionaries of a land of bureaucrats’ for whom the facade is more important than common sense. Magyar Idők’s author does not believe in the possibility of a common solution to the problem and is quite pessimistic about the future of Europe altogether. He suggests that all we can aim to do at the moment is to stand on the defensive, ‘strive to survive, and pray’.

In Magyar Nemzet senior journalist Csaba Lukács thinks it is time to reevaluate a lot of things in Europe. Multiculturalism is a beautiful idea, but in an age of mass migration and parallel societies, it does not offer an answer to a situation where one of the ‘components’ is resolute about destroying the other, the conservative paper’s editorial warns. Lukács believes that now it should be clear for everyone that Europe is at war, and the secure Europe that we used to hold so dear does not exist anymore.

In Népszabadság András Dési agrees. In an editorial in the left-liberal paper, he writes that in a sense we are indeed at war and after the ‘black Tuesday’ in Brussels it should be obvious to everyone what a ruthless enemy the free, democratic world is now facing. But Dési also asserts that just like the French, the Brits and the Spanish, the Belgians will never succumb, and in this, too, we must stand with them.

On 444.hu Márton Bede counts on a prolonged war. If the brigade of Molenbeek was able to strike twice, he argues, then Muslim terror groups in Western Europe have gained in strength, and the blessed period of the last two decades in Europe is over. Our continent, he concludes, will be on the front lines of the great war of our age along with Syria, Afghanistan, Nigeria and many other places. Bede also cautions, however, against adopting an over-pessimistic attitude. He reminds readers that in the 1970s and 80s, when the IRA in Northern Ireland, ETA in Spain and the RAF in Germany were waging a more extensive war, and terrorism in Europe was a much bigger threat, the continent was able to prevail.

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