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It’s either Orbán or a democratic Hungary -Comments

The 18th of April 2011 is a black day for Hungarian democracy and for the Republic of Hungary. The consequences are manifold. In 2003, I was talking about how a democratically elected government could be impeded by the shadowing Fidesz party. The main opposition party had a well-oiled power machine working in the background, which was supported by national institutions such as the Hungarian Radio, the Prosecution and the Central Bank of Hungary. The leaders of the aforementioned institutions forgot their prime responsibility and civic duty towards the country. Instead, they chose to serve the interests of Fidesz. They ruined everything: they impeded the government at every step of the way. Our side did not quite understand the dangers we were about to face. People said I was exaggerating things. After the 2002 general election, I was convinced that a reelected Fidesz would have grave consequences regarding the fate of the nation. On the one hand, I knew that all they were interested in was undermining the democratically elected government. On the other hand, I was aware of the memo written by Orbán and László Kövér, in which they analyzed the causes of their defeat. The conclusion they drew was that they were too soft on the enemy. Should the opportunity arise once more, they would not make the same mistakes. It is obvious that their goal was to annihilate us. This fact alone shows that Fidesz is an enemy of democracy. I assumed that back in 2002, and I know it now. I understood that Fidesz had a deeply distorted view of politics. They regarded power as a question of life and death. They left me no choice but to treat them in the same way they treated us. Their renewed ascendancy to power would gravely endanger the Third Republic. So I used every means I could to try to stop them. Maybe the concessions I made were too much. During the election campaign of 2006, we had to face an inveterate demagogue, whose populist behavior and irresponsible promises secured the backing of the people. We did not promise anything. We did not promise better welfare, but there was no word about cuts being implemented either. Of course, back in 2006, I wasn’t aware of the parlous state of the budget. This, in itself, raises a serious question. A certain part of the concessions I was compelled to make was of my own volition, of my own intention. The rest was intuitive. Respectable Democrats and analysts disagreed with me. They said that there is no difference between Gyurcsány and Orbán. They said that there was not too much to choose between us. They thought that Gyurcsány was merely a counterpart of the antidemocratic and populist Orbán. They thought that if they could somehow get rid of one of them, they could bring down the other as well. I thought that a modern, forward-looking and reform-oriented Gyurcsány administration could silence the critics. Unfortunately, it wasn’t meant to be. Things had changed as of 2006. Fidesz, now defeated for the second time in a row, launched a frontal attack. The events at Őszöd threw a lifeline to them. From then on, there was no stopping them. They said that everything was a lie and that we were living in a dictatorship. The Right did everything it could to bring down the government. In the beginning writers, artists and intellectuals of the Left understood the true meaning of my words. They understood what was at stake. My speech at Őszöd wasn’t an analysis, nor was it a confession. It was a heated monologue told with passion and filled with dramatic exaggeration. It was a piece of rhetoric. But, alas, the never-ending attacks and foul-mouthed broadsides finally made their impact on the nation’s psyche. They started to believe that we were the bad guys. When the police tried to carry out its civic duty and protect the people from the barbarism of a bunch of thugs, they talked about the ’police of the dictatorship’ and the ’hussars of Gyurcsány’. A large chunk of the Left Liberals couldn’t see or wouldn’t see the essence of the politics pursued by Fidesz. They put us in the dock and exonerated the opposition. They didn’t mind the two-thirds majority, either. Renowned and famous public personalities, whose words carry a lot of weight, told us that Orbán was a respectable democrat. „Strange though his words may sound at present, it is a perfectly legitimate behavior if you are in opposition”, they said. That is what the directors and managers of leading companies thought in private meetings. „Well, for now, he is being a populist, but he will come to his senses once he becomes prime minister”. When the special tax was introduced in 2010, their words stuck in their mouths. But, after a while, when the initial consternation was gone, they welcomed this noble act, and praised Orbán’s brave move. We shouldn’t deny that, by now, a sizeable majority of these people have also lost a big part of their moral and professional credibility. The party closest to us in Parliament could not bear the pressure anymore. They believed that a compromise with Orbán was still possible, only if Gyurcsány wasn’t standing in the way. If he steps down, we will welcome you, they said. And now, here they are, down and out, weakened and defeated. The morally ’purest’ swapped benches. They became traitors. They were humiliated. Their former supporters are now lying low and bossing them around. And they are still sitting amongst us. A large part of the civilian population, civic platforms and the Green Party still think that, in the name of democratic virtues and ideals, Orbán can be reasoned with, and a middle way forward could be found. Yesterday, Orbán reached his goal and introduced a new constitution. The constitution of tyranny. A constitution, which has come about as a result of Orbán’s thirst for power, and his contempt for the constitution. The Fidesz took the entire country hostage and made sure that no democratically elected administration can govern the country without being affected by the damaging alterations Orbán left in his wake. In attaining his ambitions, Orbán received help from many quarters. He was aided by respectable democrats, who thought that Orbán was their partner in building a better democracy. But all he was craving was making a scrapheap out of Hungary, on the top of which he could boss around everyone and make everyone dance to his tunes. Orbán wanted to change the country. Well, he did, yesterday. Hungary is not what it was the day before yesterday. It has become a worse place to live, to work and to love. The fact that he could succeed is our responsibility, too. The weak, the stray, the calculating, the moralizers, the dreamers, the small-timers and the bought-off. They all need to take their fair share of responsibility. And the list is too long to continue.
It’s high time we came to our senses! Orbán is building his empire of tyranny, the Hungarian equivalent of Belarus. He is building a unipolar world, in which there is no room for discussion, where the ’nation’s beloved leader’ is surrounded by his loving children. He is the person who is going to deliver us from our woes, and give us back our long lost respectability. There is only one small problem left. Brush aside those recalcitrant who are standing in the way. Someone, in the political sense of the word, is indeed standing in the way. It’s either Orbán, or the democrats. I think it is Orbán. Things have become much more simplified. There is no need for tactics anymore. Past injuries aren’t interesting now. We, the democrats, are left alone. Whether we like it or not, we must work together. There is no need to write long analyses about Orbán and ourselves. It’s either him or the Republic. It’s either him or the democratic Hungary. It’s either him or us.
Ferenc Gyurcsány, kapcsolat.hu, April 19, 2011

Last Updated on Friday, 30 August 2013 09:11

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