Athena Institute

Magyar

Hungarian Government Awards the Culture of Hate

2013-03-19
One cannot do much with the excuses of the minister who gave the awards (“obvious incompetence”). The question is whether the government withdraws this message or not. If the government does not withdraw this message, it will be impossible to wash off the accusations that they are coquetting with the far-right.

Since its foundation in 2010, the Athena Institute has been following and analysing the Hungarian - and now the European – extremist groups. The Institute has warned countless times about the importance of the enabling environment that makes it possible for extremist organisations to spring to life and flourish. It might be tiresome, but this is exactly why it is paramount to repeat again and again why it is unacceptable to openly or subtly support extremism.

We have shown that the Roma serial killings were not committed in a vacuum. Our thoughts about the culture of hate were quoted by the Secretary of the governing Norwegian Labour Party after the Breivik attacks. We have shown how different organised groups block sound government policies, humiliate and intimidate the authorities. We have given a detailed analysis of symbolic violence turning into physical attacks. We have assisted the Hungarian authorities via our investigative activities. Just a week ago (!) we described what happens when both politics and the justice system fail to do their jobs.

And after all this, the Hungarian Government acknowledged the “life-work” of a “telecaster” and the singer of a “band” by giving them state awards to celebrate the 15th of March, 2013.

The government did not give a medal to the police officers, prosecutors, judges, teachers, NGOs, journalists or national security officers who have been working in their own fields for years to push extremism to the fringes in Hungary; but to a telecaster who frequently spreads hostile anti-Roma and anti-Semitic propaganda on his show and a racist, irredentist, chauvinist singer whose band wrote a marching song for the Hungarian Guard, an extremist group banned by the court in Hungary.

One cannot do much with the excuses of the minister who gave the awards (“obvious incompetence”). The question is whether the government withdraws this message or not. If the government does not withdraw this message, it will be impossible to wash off the accusations that it is coquetting with the far-right.