Democracy Digest: Orban Says West Under Attack

Orban reiterated his government’s narrative that Hungary was in chaos before he took over in 2010. He paid a backhanded tribute to George Soros, saying that if the Hungarian-born US billionaire “had not launched his migration program, we would never have made it into the headlines”. He called all progressive causes – gender ideology, pro-migration, wokeness – a “biological virus” that undermines the nation state, and “if the nation state is defeated, the West will go under.” Orban called the foreign policy of the US Democrats part of this virus that is leading us into war, omitting to mention it was Russia that invaded Ukraine. Finally, he advised his fellow politicians in attendance – among them former Czech PM Andrej Babis and Slovenia’s Janez Jansa – that if they want to win elections, they need to put this slogan on their flags: “No migration, no gender, no war”. He urged participants to take back the liberal strongholds of Brussels and Washington, hoping for Trump’s return to the White House and a far-right victory in the European elections in 2024.

Elsewhere in Hungary, protests in Budapest demanding better pay for teachers and a 21st-century education system that includes an Education Ministry not part of the Interior Ministry turned violent on Wednesday evening when students clashed with police in front of Orban’s office in the Castle District. The PM’s office has been cordoned off for months, purportedly due to “construction work” in the vicinity. Opposition politicians have several times tried to pull down the barricades, which they argue obstructs the media from putting any questions to politicians arriving to see the PM. Journalists are also blocked off from government politicians at the parliament. The students began their protest on Wednesday in downtown Budapest, ending their march in front of the PM’s office up in the Castle Hill. They brought along whipped cream sprays to hand to police as “child protection sprays”, urging them to use those instead of tear gas. The police were not amused. When the students started to remove the cordons, they replied with tear gas and batons. One student beaten up was barely 16 years old, the media reported. The opposition Momentum party’s deputy leader was handcuffed and held in custody for hours. This was the most violent clash since last year’s election. The pro-government media dismissed the protests as organised by “far-left activists”.

The three-day visit of Pope Francis appeared to meet all expectations in Hungary, as both those who are pro-government and those who are critical found the messages delivered by the head of the Catholic Church “positive and reassuring”. Orban’s activity on social media hit record highs as he introduced his populous family to the pope and posted family photos with him, although stealing the slogan of the LGBT community “family is family” caused uproar, given it trended as a line for criticising his government’s restrictive family policies that practically banned adoption for same-sex couples. The government rolled out its disingenuous “peace narrative”, underlining that the Vatican and Hungary are the only two countries in Europe advocating for peace in Ukraine. It also welcomed Francis’s praising of its family policies and condemning gender ideology in his speech. The other side, however, highlighted how the pope urged people to open their doors to migrants and the poor. The pope also found time to meet Metropolitan (bishop) Hilarion, a representative of the Russian Orthodox Church in Budapest, with whom he discussed peace and offered help in the repatriation of Ukrainian children.

Source link

Tags: No tags

Comments are closed.