I was surprised by how grimy and sooty Budapest was. So many of its buildings, once gorgeous, were in an advanced state of decay. This city looked better before World War II, for sure, and certainly a century ago. Since escaping Communism, Budapest is regaining its glories, though not at the same pace as Prague. There's a peculiar local fad called ruin pubs, where hip types can drink and dance in these half wrecked buildings. Too creaky to boogie, I only glimpsed them from the outside, but they didn't look half bad.
In the subway concourses, there were many homeless, and they stayed there all day. Other aimless types loitered. The underground shops offered food, drinks, magazines and flowers. Some were owned by Chinese. At street level, there were many gyro shops run by Greeks, Turks or just plain Hungarians. According to the 2011 census, 7.3% of Budapest residents were foreign-born, but most were just ethnic Hungarians arriving from Romania, Serbia and Ukraine.
Before World War II, there were 200,000 Jews in Budapest and they had the largest synagogue in all of Europe. Half would be massacred by Germans and their Hungarian allies. In the countryside, a Jew's chance of survival was even worse. Many Gypsies were also killed. Estimates of Gypsies in Hungary range from 3.1 to more than 10%. Thanks to a high birthrate, that percentage is constantly increasing.
Hungary has gotten much bad press lately because of Viktor Orban. Newsweek compared him to Mussolini, and John McCain described him as "a neo-fascist dictator getting in bed with Vladimir Putin." When Orban became Prime Minister in 1998, he integrated Hungary into NATO so was seen as snugly in the Western camp, but with his second stint as Hungary's leader, from 2010 to now, Orban has made some bold moves against both Brussels and Washington. What has been most highlighted and lambasted is Orban's stance on the current refugee/illegal immigrant crisis, but some of his other decisions are even more rebellious against the hegemony of the AngloZionists, to borrow a term from the Saker.
Orban rejected the IMF's austerity measures, increased Hungary's oversight over its Central Bank, raised taxes for all banks and, in 2013, even kicked out the International Monetary Fund. Orban's moves against banksters have not been foregrounded by the international press because banksters and their allies don't want you to think too much about their rampant criminal activities.
Besides seeking closer ties with Russia, Orban has repeatedly stressed that sanction against Russia hurts all European countries. What he's advocating, then, is a Europe that must look out for its own interests in defiance of the suicide diktats from the AngloZionists.
In 2011, Orban banned GMO crops from Hungary and destroyed 1,000 acres of corn planted with Monsanto seeds.
Also of note is Orban's reaching out to Hungarians in neighboring countries. His government has provided monetary aid and even citizenship to all ethnic Hungarians (with the stipulation that one must speak the language to be naturalized). Thanks to the vindictive Treaty of Trianon after World War I, Hungary lost 71% of its land and 66% of its people. Not even Germany was truncated so ruthlessly.
Orban's government has revoked tax-exemption status from most Hungarian religious organizations, including all versions of Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu and Baha'i, all but three Jewish synagogues, as well as many Christian sects or denominations such as Opus Dei, Benedictines, Marists, Carmelites, Mormons, Jehovah's Witnesses, Seventh Day Adventists, Episcopalians and Methodists. The only ones to receive state recognition and support are those deemed traditional to Hungarian society.
Echoing Putin and other leaders, Orban has condemned NGOs as a fifth column. Though as a young man, Orban received a four-month scholarship from the Soros Foundation to study in Oxford, he is fingering the Budapest-born Soros as an unwelcome meddler in Hungary and the rest of Europe. Thanks for the chump change, George, but bug off!
What you have, then, is a nationalist leader, and in Europe, we haven't seen one in a long while who's so unapologetic without sounding shrill. In his speeches and interviews, Orban explains himself quite clearly and candidly. To Die Weltwoche, a Swiss newspaper, Orban said in November of 2015, "There are terms and concepts which for a long time could not be uttered, but which are once again beginning to form part of public discourse. For example, 'borders'--are they good or bad? We can once again say that they have their good sides. Or 'nation': this word can once again be used in a positive sense. "Christianity": most European leaders -- including myself -- are advised not to use this word too frequently, because most Europeans no longer feel Christian. Now, however, this word is once again returning to political debates. Or 'pride,' as in 'the pride of a nation': once again it has become a legitimate expression. A positive consequence of the migration crisis is that once again we are attempting to talk openly about our continent's identity--more freely than in the past two decades."
The refugee/illegal immigration crisis has also exposed the impotence of the European Union, "This negative impression over the EU's helplessness already existed before the migration crisis. The citizens of Europe saw it during the financial crisis and the crisis over Greece. They criticized their politicians for not being able to find a way out of the financial crisis. The stagnation of our national economies is still evident ["] European citizens are convinced that their leaders are not effective. The migration crisis has, however, created a new impression. This is not related to effectiveness, but to democracy."
With citizens having no inputs, and most European leaders unable to make decisions in their nation's interests, one is left to wonder who are behind all this mayhem? Orban, "It is hard to shake off this thought. We were debating for months, but the outcome was always the same: 'Let the people in.' And on top of this, in the first few months, for some reason no one was able to say out loud that this is an issue of the utmost importance for Europe. For months it was first regarded as a humanitarian issue, and then as a technical problem as to where the refugees should be settled and how they should be distributed. No one raised the question of whether the essence of the matter is more about our existence, our cultural identity and our way of life. I do not know for certain what is actually happening, and I do not want to blame anyone; but the suspicion arises that none of this is happening by chance. I am not brave enough to publicly talk about this as a certainty; the suspicion inevitably emerges, however, that there is some kind of master plan behind this."