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Iron Curtain Mark 2

by DoDo Tue Jun 23rd, 2015 at 03:16:36 PM EST

The latest insanity of Hungary's right-populist government is an anti-refugee campaign copying the worst of Western European far-right parties. The campaign itself is quite bizarre, and prompted some push-back from unusual quarters.


From the beginning of this year, there has been a very big increase in refugees from Kosovo, most of whom enter the EU via the Serbian–Hungarian border; while Syrian and Iraqi refugees also arrive on the route.

The right-populist government of Viktor Orbán and his Fidesz party jumped on the occasion to start an anti-immigration campaign, with the worst slogans Western Europeans are familiar with: they should not take away the jobs of Hungarians, should learn "our culture" (what, corruption and swearing?), their numbers should be limited (even if Hungary's per capita share of refugees is still so low that the country could take in more in a proportional redistribution of arrivals at all EU borders). And now a fence shall be erected along the Serbian border, because walls are sooooo successful at stopping immigration. While this is far from the first of its kind (the Greek–Turkish border has had anti-immigration fences for years), it's quite symbolic considering that the Iron Curtain (the one-time Warshaw Pact border defences) was first opened in Hungary.

The real reasons for the anti-refugee campaign are quite transparent: on one hand, Fidesz needed a distraction from a high-profile scandal of the collapse of a fraudulent brokerage firm whose leader had the best high-level connections in the regime; on the other hand, they reacted to losing a by-election to the candidate of far-right Jobbik by going no-holds-barred far-right themselves.

However, this campaign is quite odd and out-of-place in multiple ways:

  • The government plastered the country full with billboards with the ugly xenophobic slogans, as if we would have elections (yet the next one is due in three years).
  • The whole rhetoric is imported: while anti-immigrant and anti-refugee xenophobia is dominant in Western Europe, they have no tradition here (local racists focus on Roma).
  • The oddest import is that about foreigners taking away jobs: Hungary is no destination for the refugees and legal and "illegal" immigrants but just a transit country.

The xenophobic campaign prompted some unusual reactions. One of note came from the Catholic Church: while for years, the top clergy kept mum about all the misdeeds of the Fidesz government due to its pro-clerical measures, now Hungary's Catholic Archishop made it clear that attacking refugees is anti-Christian, quoting the directly relevant Bible passage.

And yesterday in the Budapest subway, I photographed a billboard paid for by the UNHCR, an unusual direct intervention in politics:

(It says "Cricket player - Hungarian national team - Refugee".)

I'm unsure what the medium-term result of the xenophobic campaign will be, but I am rather certain that it won't be major voter gains for Fidesz from Jobbik.

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And now the Orbán government unilaterally suspended Dublin III.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Jun 23rd, 2015 at 03:23:18 PM EST
Unfortunately the EU can not do anything about it. They are really busy fighting the real enemy: syriza
by rz on Tue Jun 23rd, 2015 at 03:51:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If other countries follow, Dublin is dead, and probably ID free traveling for all of us (what ID free traveling we had, that is). Much easier to keep us all under control then.
by Katrin on Tue Jun 23rd, 2015 at 03:53:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Now they back-pedalled and claim they only want to send refugees back who entered Greece before leaving it (and Schengen) again and entering Hungary.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Jun 24th, 2015 at 05:48:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Propably some cunning anti-austerity plan. Wasn't he sold here as an anti-austerity hero or something?
by IM on Tue Jun 23rd, 2015 at 04:13:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Where "here"?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Jun 23rd, 2015 at 05:14:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
ET
by IM on Wed Jun 24th, 2015 at 06:45:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Link.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Jun 24th, 2015 at 05:46:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I have a admission in this thread.
by IM on Thu Jun 25th, 2015 at 11:08:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Then you should have no difficulty quoting it.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Thu Jun 25th, 2015 at 11:17:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
very funny
by IM on Fri Jun 26th, 2015 at 09:32:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]


Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.
by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Fri Jun 26th, 2015 at 10:51:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Was it perhaps deleted, somehow? All I see in this thread is the request for the link in support of the claim and the comment that contradicts the claim.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.
by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Thu Jun 25th, 2015 at 07:18:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
No, it was noted that the only Fidez policy the EU objected to was reasserting sovereignty over the central bank. Which was, not coincidentally, the only sensible Fidez policy.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Tue Jun 23rd, 2015 at 10:38:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The far right positions Hungary is taking have been standing, mainstream policies in the US for decades.
by rifek on Tue Jun 23rd, 2015 at 03:34:28 PM EST
Yes, the European far-right still has a long way to catch up with even the American centre-right regarding immigration.

On this subject, the film Borderline said everything that has to be said – and it was made 35 years ago...

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Sun Jun 28th, 2015 at 05:59:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/jun/22/migrants-hungary-border-fence-wall-serbia

I betcha Donald Trump can help.  He'd get the Syrian and Afghanis refugees to pay for it too.

Solar IS Civil Defense

by gmoke on Thu Jun 25th, 2015 at 06:21:30 PM EST
Now the Polish government says they want to refuse entry to all refugees except Christian ones. They will doubtless backpedal too, but the pressure is increasing.
by Katrin on Fri Jun 26th, 2015 at 02:53:18 AM EST
That's... remarkably stupid, even for Kansas Poland.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Fri Jun 26th, 2015 at 03:08:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, it's a measure against the islamisation of the west. They are being over-run by Muslims, I guess. And now the government "is taking the legitimate worries of the population" seriously. I don't believe that it will make more of the racists vote mainstream "conservative", but obviously the entire EPP spectrum thinks that. And accepts throwing human rights under the bus.
by Katrin on Fri Jun 26th, 2015 at 03:23:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yup, and they'll be really surprised when the pogroms start.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Fri Jun 26th, 2015 at 03:39:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It already has, in Greece.
by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Sat Jun 27th, 2015 at 01:43:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]


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