Welcome, once again. Here we are, once more…back at square one.
Oliver Moody, a journalist writing for The Times, has just completed a hatchet job on the Hungarian prime minister from Berlin. Yes, Berlin. What does it matter that he’s located 1,197 kilometres from the action?! A glimpse at the title of the piece: “Viktor Orbán hails pilot who flew under Nazi command as a national hero flying in heaven” reveals that it’s not only geography that causes him trouble. His knowledge of history is also twisted and bent.
The problem is that this is all old ground which has been regurgitated so many times that it’s becoming duller than the dullest thing imaginable. It’s hard to even work up the energy to point out to Mr Moody that the phrase ‘people in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones’ applies in essence to this topic, given the British Royal Family’s traditional, if offensive, connections to the Nazis and Hitler.
Once again, what we’re witnessing is high-handed British imperialism. The fact that it’s coming from what was once regarded to be a conservative organ of the press just adds insult to injury. Hungary is a country which is governed by a conservative government. The UK is a country governed by a conservative government. The Times is meant to be a conservative newspaper, yet apparently has no problem with filling its readers’ heads with lies from those who detest post-communist Hungary and every success that Orbán’s governance has bestowed on the country.
This piece of writing is yet another mendacious mosquito attack. A non-story, of interest to very few, it was created in order to attack a democratically elected, extremely successful prime minister. A man who, incidentally, always refrains from attacking others.
A story about the death of an elderly Hungarian man in itself would never merit a mention in The Times, so Mr Moody has taken a grain of a story, and twisted and magnified bits of it with the assistance of a woman who spends her days attacking anything and everything that is connected to the man whom the Hungarians have chosen to lead them.
A man who fought as a pilot during WWII, the last surviving member of his flying division, has died of old age. A man who fought for his country.
A journalist for The Times has decided to use a crowbar to force this obituary into a peculiar, Leftwaffe mould of what Hungary represents.
The article seeks to convince its readers that Orbán is to be feared, meddling with Hungarian history so that it casts a more positive light. We’re in the middle of a pandemic. To date we have lost over 12,000 Hungarians to the disease. The supply of vaccinations is, as we have all witnessed, nothing less than a disaster. Our economy, like others, has been kicked, hard, in the teeth. But Mr Moody is apparently convinced that the highest priority on the prime minister’s agenda is to play with the refraction of historical light beams.
Mr Moody clumsily attempts to connect past and present, eager to recognise evidence of fascism as a core trait of Hungarian leaders:
“…Vitéz (knight), a reference to a military order established by the right-wing dictator Miklós Horthy.”
Horthy was the Regent of Hungary. This was, after all, a monarchy without a king. Horthy’s prime ministers led national conservative governments. Admiral Horthy was the man who repelled Romanian troops who had invaded Hungary in 1919. Horthy was a foe of both the communists and the Hungarian national socialists. And yet Mr Moody dismisses him as nothing but a “right-wing dictator”.
Mr Moody’s source of outrage is Éva Balogh, a Hungarian living in the USA, a woman forever embittered by any sense of national pride in Hungarians, a woman who has dedicated her life to attacking the leader that Hungarians have chosen for themselves.
“…appalling that Mr Orbán had honoured a figure who fought for the Nazi occupation.”
“…his approach was complicated by his desire to ‘get Hungary off the hook’ for its role in the Holocaust.”
What this woman is desperately trying to do is hide from the world the steps that the Hungarian governments under Orbán have taken since 2010 to actively combat anti-Semitism. In Hungary, unlike elsewhere, laws have been enacted to make ‘uniformed crime’ (related to the creation of the Magyar Guard) punishable. Further, in Hungary, all hate speech is punishable and there is zero tolerance for anti-Semitism. The storm in a teacup that Éva Balogh is doing her best to stir relates to a statue which was erected to mark the day when Nazi Germany took over Hungary and installed a prime minister from the Arrow Cross Party (a party that was founded after the national socialist parties were banned). Horthy had been reluctant to help the Germans, and had resisted demands to hand over Hungarian Jews to the Germans. Horthy had also been attempting to escape from under the German shadow, with several secret attempts to work out a deal with the Allies.
That Éva Balogh should choose, as many Hungarian liberals do, to see the erection of a statue to mark the invasion of the Germans as somehow desirous of negating the depth of the collaboration of some Hungarians in the extermination of Hungarian Jews is a particularly twisted and peculiar spin to want to put on a historical event. The recognition of German invasion in no way reduces the responsibility of the Hungarian state at the time for its cooperation with what that invading force, but to deliberately ignore what Hungarian conservative politicians have said in relation to the topic is nothing short of shameful.
“[It] is the duty of every Hungarian government to protect its citizens regardless of their origins,”
“Hungary didn’t fulfil this moral and political duty during World War II. Hungary sinned when instead of protecting the Jews, we chose to collaborate with the Nazis.”
Viktor Orbán at a joint press conference with prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu during his visit to Hungary in 2017.
Which part of that speech fits in with Éva Balogh and Mr Moody’s definition of ‘getting off the hook’?
Mr Moody’s poor grasp, and decidedly biased source combine to create a woefully disappointing article. The Times isn’t what it used to be, it seems.Photo credit: honvedelem.hu