5részes Foreign Policy elemzés.

Mert a külföldi médiának még mindig jobban hiszek… és ez egy érzelmi dolog, tehát nem hagyom, hogy uraljon, és természetesen több forrás olvasása után alakítok ki véleményt. Tessék, nektek is, egy másik input, emeljetek be belőle, vessetek el részeket belőle, de ne hagyjátok figyelmen kívül.


The fences he ordered built at the border with Serbia and then with Croatia; his use of the army to turn back refugees; his scathing rhetoric; his passage of emergency laws that criminalized the very act of seeking asylum — all have been denounced across Europe, but they’ve done wonders for his standing at home.

Why is Hungary different? To be fair, Poland, Slovakia, and the Czech Republic have all resisted the idea of accepting Muslim refugees, but unlike Hungary they don’t have to deal with 300,000 refugees crossing their territory and overwhelming their infrastructure. Yet both Croatia and Slovenia, which have had to deal with refugees diverted from Hungary, have behaved and sounded more like Germany than Hungary. In Slovenia, the army fed the refugees and walked them to the Austrian border. Croatia’s interior minister explained his country’s policy by saying, “Nobody can stop this flow without shooting.”

That is not the view I heard in Budapest, including from people otherwise suspicious of Orban. Istvan Gyarmati, a retired diplomat who now runs ademocracy promotion institute in Budapest, told me that “now everyone agrees that Orban was right about the refugees.” It would not be long, he predicted, before Merkel realized that she had a policy and political catastrophe on her hands. I asked Gyarmati how he thought the problem should be resolved. That was easy: “The alternative is to keep them out of Europe.” Once they had fled the war zone for the safety of Turkey or Jordan, they no longer needed asylum or could legally claim such status. They were just migrants. I heard the same argument — which does, in fact, correspond to the letter, if not the spirit, of the Geneva Conventions — from several government officials. When I pointed out that this meant building a wall around Europe, they shrugged.

After Gyarmati had finished blaming the refugee problem on Merkel, he then admitted that there was a reason Hungarians were behaving differently from Croatians or Slovenians.

“Hungary is intolerant,” he said. “In the past, our rulers turned the people against Jews, against Slovaks, or Germans.”

“Hungary is intolerant,” he said. “In the past, our rulers turned the people against Jews, against Slovaks, or Germans.” He cited a poll in which Hungarians were asked how they felt about various minorities. Most respondents didn’t like them. The pollsters included the “Pirezians,” a made-up group. Hungarians didn’t like them either. Orban thus stands at the end of a long line of exploiters of Hungarian nativism.

Perhaps a more generous way of describing the problem is that “diversity” appears to be a virtue only to people who live in diverse societies. Like much of Eastern Europe, Hungary is a monoethnic society.

Only 1.5 percent of Hungary’s population has foreign citizenship, and one-third of these people are ethnic Hungarians. Outside of tourist districts, you don’t see black or Asian or Arab people on the streets of Budapest — not to mention in the rest of the country. That struck most people I spoke to as a precious asset to be preserved. Hungarians look at Germany and France and see what they call “parallel societies,” where Turks or Algerians live in their own worlds, suspicious of their hosts and threatening to them. And those are rich countries; Hungary has a stagnant economy that cannot offer jobs to newcomers. Why would Hungary want immigrants who don’t want to integrate or simply can’t?

So it still needs to be acknowledged that resistance to accepting and resettling refugees from Middle Eastern wars, at least in the monoethnic societies of Eastern Europe, is natural, logical, and inevitable. Making a home for these desperate wanderers may be the right thing to do, and it may remind the world of all that is best in Europe, but you will not convince people in such countries that it is good for them. They will have to be convinced, rather, that it is necessary and that the alleged alternatives, such as a Fortress Europe, are worse.

Perhaps Hungarians really are unusually resistant to outsiders, but the Hungarian difference probably has much more to do with Orban himself. He has abetted and legitimated the national fear of the outsider — and thus made it worse.


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