Government: No comment on Horthy statue
Facing exactly the sort of international critical scrutiny with a shaky reputation for civil rights, the sitting government will offer no comment on the recent erection of a statue depicting former Kingdom of Hungary regent and known Nazi sympathizer Miklós Horthy.
Prime Minister’s Office Chief of Staff János Lázár responded as such in a press conference yesterday, but speaking on a personal level labeled the act as “political provocation.” Lazar diplomatically suggested that analysis of the period between the two World Wars should be left to historians rather than politicians.
About 1,000 citizens, some wearing the emblematic yellow star, protested the statue’s unveiling on privately-owned land in downtown Budapest on Sunday while a few local politicos did their best to distance themselves from the event.
Speaking in his official capacity as District V mayor (and not, presumably, as Fidesz caucus chairman), Antal Rogán said, “I consider the statue unveiling ceremony of [Jobbik caucus co-chairman Márton Gyöngyösi] a political provocation and I condemn it. This provocative action will obviously give the western European left-wing media an excuse to cry anti-Semitism and paint a malicious picture of Hungary.” He would later repeat similar sentiments yesterday.
Rogán was correct in some respects, namely that charges of anti-Semitism would be launched from various points on the globe, though it seems one need not necessarily be a left-winger to acquire a rapid distaste for Jobbik polemics.
“It is a historical travesty to publicly honor a man who introduced anti-Jewish laws in 1938, who sided with Adolf Hitler before and during World War II and who did nothing to prevent the murder of Hungarian Jewry,” fumed World Jewish Congress president President Ronald S. Lauder. “Jobbik has once again shown its true colors: It is an anti-Semitic, fanatic and anti-democratic party. It is high time Hungary takes decisive action against the party and prevents statues of an associate of the most evil mass murderer of all times.”
Perhaps in direct response to Rogán’s initial statement, Lauder went on to opine that “[some Hungarian politicians] seem to be concerned with their country’s reputation internationally but deny that a problem exists within their country that needs to be dealt with urgently, and that is the growing anti-Semitism and racism propagated by the extreme right which falls on fertile ground.”
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