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12 Handy & Humorous Hungarian Idioms -

1. While you might say “Cool!” Hungarians say “Zsir!” or “Király!”, meaning “Fat!” or “King!”. 2. While you might say “It’s not as good as you think.” Hungarians say, “Nem kolbászból van a kerítés”, meaning “The fence is not made from sausage”. 3. While you might say “It’s all Greek to me.” Hungarians say, “Ez nekem kínai”, meaning “It’s Chinese for me”. 4. While you might say “Yeah right, and pigs fly!” Hungarians say “Majd ha piros hó esik!” meaning, "When red snow falls!" 5. While you might say “A leopard can't change its spots” Hungarians say, “Kutyaból nem lesz szalonna”, meaning, “You can’t make bacon out of a dog”. 6. While you might call something “Useless” Hungarians say, “Kevés vagy, mint mackósajtban a brummogás”, meaning, “You’re as little as the roaring in a Mackó cheese (which is a type of cheese that has a small bear on the label). 7. While you might say someone is “naïve” Hungarians say, “Kenyérre lehet kenni”, meaning, “You can spread them on bread”. 8. While you might say “Far, far away” Hungarians say, “Az Isten háta mögött”, meaning “Behind God’s back”. 9. While you might say “She’s jumping for joy!” Hungarians say, “Örül, mint majom a farkának.”, meaning, “She’s as happy as a monkey about his tail”. 10. While you might ask children “Why are you crying?” Hungarians ask, “Miért itatod az egereket?”, meaning, “Why are you giving drinks to the mice?”. 11. While you might shout “You’re blocking my view!” Hungarians shout “Apád nem volt üveges!”, meaning “Your dad wasn’t a glassmaker!” As in, you’re not transparent, so get out of the way. 12. While you might say “It’s not worth the effort” Hungarians say, “Annyit ér, mint halottnak a csók”, meaning, “It’s worth as much as a kiss to a dead person”.

Republican congressman Andy Harris’s real Hungarian roots – Hungarian Spectrum

So, Zoltán Hariss was never a forced labor inmate in the Gulag. Instead, he got involved with a very bad cause and ultimately served under the Hungarian branch of the SS. I suspect that Andy Harris is not entirely familiar with the true story of his father’s involvement with the Hungarian Nazi movement, which applauded the extermination of Jews and sent more than 400,000 people to die in Auschwitz. But if he is ignorant of his family history, it would be high time to learn the true facts.

The Plot Against George Soros

It began in 2008, when Orbán decided to seek reelection. His old friend Bibi — as Netanyahu is known — introduced him to the two people who would guide his success. Before long, Finkelstein and Birnbaum were applying their formula to Orbán’s election campaign — and then turbocharging it. Enemies were easy to find in Hungary. The country was an economic basket case and had to be bailed out in 2008. Austerity measures were demanded by their creditors at the World Bank, the EU, and the IMF. Finkelstein and Birnbaum told Orbán to target “the bureaucrats” and “foreign capital.” Orbán won the 2010 election with a two-thirds majority as the country shifted to the right. Birnbaum is still amazed today how easy it was: “We blew the Socialist party off the table even before the election.”

Viktor Orbán’s belligerent, apocalyptic speech against neighbors and allies – Hungarian Spectrum

“Let’s understands the depths of the change that has occurred in the last ten years. Let’s not be afraid of what we see. Yes, we are the ones we have been waiting for, those who will change the future of Hungary. We can hope that our generation, the fourth generation of Trianon, will fulfill its mission and will take Hungary to the gates of victory. But the decisive battle must be fought by the fifth generation of Trianon that will follow us.”

Viktor Orbán’s belligerent, apocalyptic speech against neighbors and allies – Hungarian Spectrum

Once he finished with the treasonous left-of-center, he moved against the “West, which raped Central Europe’s thousand-year-old borders and its history.” The Great Powers squeezed Hungarians into an area with indefensible borders and deprived the country of its natural resources without any moral compunction. “We will never forgive them,” he promised. And after Hungary suffered all of these atrocities committed by the West, “we were thrown to the communists without any pangs of conscience.” The enemies of Hungary wanted to destroy the country, but “Hungarians are stubborn” and “were not ready to assist at their burial.” Hungary is alive and kicking, while “there is no Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, or Soviet Union. There is no British or French Empire. What remained of them are wrestling right now in the multicultural grips of their vengeful colonies. The justice of history cannot be avoided.” It is duty of the Hungarians, he continued, “to preserve the Carpathian Basin,” in which “every new Hungarian child is also a new guard post.”

Nagy Magyarorszag

Orbán began his speech with the following two sentences: “We know the stations. We also know the painful stations of the Hungarian Calvary of Sátoraljaújhely.” To understand what the prime minister was talking about, we must go back in time to 1934, when the “Hungarian Calvary,” consisting of 14 stations, was erected on a hillside just outside of town. Each station symbolizes an important city or region lost to Hungary after World War I. Visitors begin their walk at the station depicting Kassa (Košice) in Czechoslovakia. Following the route, they visit cities and regions in Austria, Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia, and Romania, only to return to Kassa, encircling present-day Hungary. In brief, this was and still is an irredentist monument, one of the many erected between the two world wars.

For the new right, Hungary is now what Venezuela once was for the left | Nick Cohen | Opinion | The Guardian

You could say that in elected dictatorships, the state purges the civil service and judiciary and controls the media and Britain has not reached that point. But instead of looking at the terminus, notice the direction of travel. Johnson has suspended parliament and purged his party of dissenting pro-European voices. Attacks on the independence of the judiciary and civil service are now standard for a right that cannot tolerate constraints. Britain is not Hungary. But if you want to stop your country heading that way, is it not more effective to start fighting back at the first sign of danger rather than waiting until it is too late?

March 30, 1988, the birthday of Fidesz, in the news – Hungarian Spectrum

Stumpf “informed György Aczél, who was already on his way to meet [János] Kádár, on the phone” about the news. In this version, Aczél met Kádár for dinner that evening, where he managed to convince the general secretary that Fidesz was “in good hands” and that the student organizers were harmless. Aczél, according to Varga-Sabján, assured them that “all obstacles had been removed, Fidesz is allowed to operate.” He adds that, in the wake of Kádár’s explicit permission, “it is understandable why Viktor Orbán and his associates were awarded Soros scholarships for their preparation” for a political role in the government.

Rebellion in Gyergyóditró: The exclusiveness of Szekler nationalism – Hungarian Spectrum

Gergely’s article, titled “Let the pro-migrant politicians be bakers in the Land of Szeklers,” is in full sympathy with the inhabitants of Gyergyóditró because what happened demonstrates that “there is an existing problem.” He claims that “the land of the Szeklers is a closed but tolerant community,” in which it can easily happen that someone from a neighboring village will remain “a stranger” for the rest of his life. Szeklers can handle “exceptions,” but they cannot tolerate mass settlements due to the bad experiences of the past. They are not xenophobes and racists, but they do have to worry about the two Sri Lankans because soon enough four other bakers will arrive from Nepal. The owner of the bakery is importing cheap labor from Asia while 30% of Romania’s population works abroad because of the extremely low living standards in the country. Instead of looking down on the allegedly backward people of Gyergyóditró, we should understand their plight, concludes Gergely.

Orbán, the new Jesus, delivers his Sermon on the Mount – Hungarian Spectrum

Given the superiority of Christian liberty over liberal liberty, western Europe can be saved, in Orbán’s view, only by abandoning traditional liberal concepts and turning to its Christian heritage, which is alive and well in East-Central Europe, mainly because these countries managed to keep migrants threatening European culture out of their countries. And in that region Orbán’s Hungary has a very special place. Let me quote this much-debated passage verbatim: “We shouldn’t be afraid to declare that Hungary is a city built on a hill, which, as is well known, cannot be hidden. Let’s embrace this mission, let’s create for ourselves and show to the world what a true, deep, and superior life can be built on the ideal of Christian liberty. Perhaps this lifeline will be the one toward which the confused, lost, and misguided Europe will stretch its hand. Perhaps they will also see the beauty of man’s work serving his own good, the good of his country, and the glory of God.” First, let’s go to the original, which Orbán failed to identify, the Gospel of Matthew, (5:13-15). 13 “You are the salt of the earth; but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trodden under foot by men.” 14 “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden.” 15 “Nor do men light a lamp and put it under a bushel, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house.”

Hungarian architect, dissident Laszlo Rajk dies at 70 - The Washington Post

Rajk turned his own home into a “samizdat boutique,” where issues of the clandestine journals could be purchased. Rajk was blacklisted in 1981 by Hungary’s communist regime and mostly banned from working under his own name for a decade. The same year, he co-founded AB Fuggetlen Kiado, an independent publisher of mostly Hungarian and Eastern European dissident authors but also works by anti-authoritarian writers like George Orwell, or those writing about the region, like British historian Timothy Garton Ash. Miklos Haraszti, a fellow dissident and former Representative on Freedom of the Media at the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, said Rajk was a “pioneer” in the launch and strengthening of Hungary’s democratic opposition. “Rajk was a pioneer in making Hungary the second strongest country, after Poland, in the production and dissemination of opposition ideas,” Haraszti said. “It was his authority, enterprise, diligence and talent which guaranteed their continued existence.”

One by one, historical events are rewritten by the Orbán regime – Hungarian Spectrum

The Budapest Festival Orchestra was performing an all-Beethoven concert on August 18, and Iván Fischer decided to give away 400 tickets to the German visitors. And they came. As he said later, they could easily be spotted by their casual outfits. Once the concert was over, a large group of diplomats from the West German Embassy thanked Fischer for his gesture. They told him that during intermission they had distributed pamphlets to the refugees informing them of the narrow window of opportunity at Sopron the next day. Of course, the concert was just one of the places where the German refugees could be reached, but this story is further proof of the joint domestic and international effort to help the refugees. I should add that Prime Minister Miklós Németh paid several visits to the Zugliget temporary shelter. Opposition leaders were giving the government advice on possible ways to solve the problem, as László Kovács, deputy to Gyula Horn, wrote in an article yesterday titled “On the background of the opening of the borders.” But this is not how the Orbán government wants Hungarians to remember the summer of 1989. As we know, Helmut Kohl’s government felt enormous gratitude for what the Germans considered to be a courageous and humane gesture involving considerable danger considering the still fluid political situation in the Soviet Union. As Boris Kálnoky relates in his article “Merkels überraschend neuer Ton bei ihrem Orbán-Besuch,” Zoltán Balog, former politician and apparently future bishop, said at a two-day conference on the Pan-European Picnic’s thirtieth anniversary that “this praise of the Germans for the former communist dictatorship disturbed us, dissidents even then, and it bothers us to this day.” He claimed that “without our pressure, the communists would never have changed.”

Bernard-Henri Lévy Interviews Viktor Orbán - The Atlantic

“You can’t talk like that. I have the best relations in the world with Israel.” “Fine. But with Jews?” “The same. Let me tell you something. There was a time in Hungary’s history when we didn’t have enough farm labor and had to bring in Czechs, Ruthenians, Roma, and so on. So that by the middle of the 19th century, the Magyars were becoming a minority. And do you know how we settled that? Through a grand alliance between Magyars and Jews, which together made up a little more than 50 percent of the population.” He speaks of this alliance in the manner of a captain of industry describing a shift in the majority of the board of directors. And when I ask him about the source of the Magyar strain of anti-Semitism, which was, after all, one of Europe’s deadliest, he counters with this astonishing response. “Béla Kun.” Kun was a Lenin ally who, in 1918, founded the short-lived Hungarian Soviet Republic. “Yes,” he insists. “Béla Kun. The Jews played a large role—an unfortunate fact, but a fact nonetheless—in his abortive attempt at a Communist revolution. And that is what undid the fine alliance in Budapest between the Jewish and Magyar people.”

Ancient DNA suggests that some Northern Europeans got their languages from Siberia -- ScienceDaily

"Studying ancient DNA makes it possible to pinpoint the moment in time when the genetic components that we see in modern populations reached the area since, instead of predicting past events based on modern genomes, we are analyzing the DNA of individuals who actually lived in a particular time in the past," Saag explains. Their data suggest that the Siberian ancestry reached the coasts of the Baltic Sea no later than the mid-first millennium BC -- around the time of the diversification of west Uralic/Finnic languages. It also indicates an influx of people from regions with strong Western hunter-gatherer characteristics in the Bronze Age, including many traits we now associate with modern Northern Europeans, like pale skins, blue eyes, and lactose tolerance. "The Bronze Age individuals from the Eastern Baltic show an increase in hunter-gatherer ancestry compared to Late Neolithic people and also in the frequency of light eyes, hair, and skin and lactose tolerance," Tambets says, noting that those characteristics continue amongst present-day Northern Europeans.

Leaving in hordes: Emigration from Hungary – Hungarian Spectrum

It turned out that the number of Hungarians who since 2006 have tried their luck in the richer countries of the European Union is much higher than earlier estimated–close to a million. Determining how many subsequently returned home is close to impossible, but according to numbers provided by host countries of immigrants from Hungary, about 600,000 Hungarian citizens might currently be working abroad.

Distorting the Holocaust in Hungary – Tablet Magazine

So at which point does Paul Bogdanor suggest that we should have started resisting? Who could have risen to the challenge? Uncle Fisher, the blind friend of my grandmother? The Jewish concierge of our yellow star house, who betrayed my father to the Arrow Cross when he came home to see my mother from forced labor? The rich Jews who tried to bribe their way onto the Kasztner train? The mothers who aborted their children? My aunt, Elvira? The 100,000 converted Jews who didn’t believe themselves to be Jewish? People like Bogdanor can glibly speak about Jews taking a chance to escape or fight. But is he serious? Perhaps most illustrative example I know of concerns my mother, who at one point found herself among a group of 200 women rounded up by four Arrow Cross men and being marched toward a collection camp. When my mother made a run for it, the young recruits took shots at her but missed. The ensuing confusion was the perfect opportunity for some or even most of the others to try and do likewise—make a run—but instead, they stayed put and awaited their fate.

Distorting the Holocaust in Hungary – Tablet Magazine

The German Army physically occupied Hungary in March 1944, and Eichmann arrived with only about 200 SS men. In June 1944 the Budapest government designated around 2,000 apartment buildings for Jewish occupation, each building marked with a yellow star. My home in the suburbs was taken over with all its contents by neighbors and my father’s business by his foreman. We were allowed to go out between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. wearing a yellow star, and the concierge was to report to the Arrow Cross (the Hungarian Fascist organization, which toppled the government of Miklos Horthy, which had refused to transport Hungarian Jews to death camps) on all our movements. People committed suicide. Supervision and enforcement of these edicts were taken overenthusiastically by the 22,000 Hungarian gendarmes and later the Arrow Cross.

A Letter From Viktor Orbán's New Nationalist Hungary – Tablet Magazine

Last spring, they told me, when the government first sought to outlaw the Central European University, mass demonstrations were held in support of the university all over the city, and some professors in Hungarian institutions, both in Budapest and elsewhere, signed a petition of protest on Facebook. Very soon after that, the rector at one university in Budapest called together all those who had signed, wanting to know who had initiated the petition, on whose computer it was composed. The rector at a university in another city told one young woman professor who had signed, “You have two young children, think about them.” Such veiled threats of reprisal for speaking out are not new, my friends told me. It’s well-known nowadays that anyone who is considered a critic of the regime will not receive research or fellowship support from government-backed institutions if they apply for it. So people are becoming cautious. “’Don’t talk about this to your friends,’ that’s what I sometimes tell my son,” he said. Are people actually afraid? I asked. “Not afraid, exactly, but cautious. It’s a bit too reminiscent of the Kádár regime,” he answered.

A Letter From Viktor Orbán's New Nationalist Hungary – Tablet Magazine

According to Heller, who is known the world over for her philosophical writings, today it is Fidesz that has become the extreme right-wing party, not Jobbik. “Everyone says that we have to protect the country from the anti-Semites. But for God’s sake, I’m the Holocaust survivor! And with that experience behind me, I say that if there’s no collaboration with Jobbik, then Fidesz will remain in power. If Fidesz remains in power, it will be a tragedy for Hungary,” she stated in a long interview in the liberal weekly Magyar Narancs on Nov. 30.  She is convinced that if Orbán retains power, he will destroy the last remnants of democracy in Hungary, starting with the free press. “We should pay attention not to what Jobbik said five years ago,” she says, but to what it says now. “Just hold your nose and do what’s necessary to oust Fidesz.”

A Letter From Viktor Orbán's New Nationalist Hungary – Tablet Magazine

On a mild fall day in early October, a couple of blocks from the CEU in downtown Budapest, I glimpsed a photo of a laughing George Soros on the wall of a bus-stop shelter. It was part of a large poster, where paid advertising would normally go. Across the top of the poster, above Soros’s head, ran a line in large block letters: “A SOROS-TERVRŐL,” ABOUT THE SOROS-PLAN. And beneath that, “6th question. The aim of the Soros Plan is to squeeze the languages and cultures of European countries into the background, in order to facilitate the integration of illegal immigrants.” This is followed by a question in larger letters: “What do you think about this?” And on the bottom, running along the whole width of the poster, a banner headline: “Let’s not remain silent about it!”

Piketty Thinks the EU Is Bad for Eastern Europe. He's Half Right. - Bloomberg

A billionaire owner of a private German company might stash them in an investment account in some offshore area or they could be reinvested in the Polish subsidiary that made them, pretty much from anywhere. What matters for a country is its ability to tax these profits adequately. In their race to be competitive foreign investment destinations, most eastern European countries don't overburden the corporations. And, given the prevalence of foreign companies -- as Piketty points out, they account for more than half of corporate assets in eastern Europe -- the foreigners end up contributing less to the construction of east European social safety nets and infrastructure than they do in their own countries. Instead, the local populations, who already earn less because relatively low wages are what attracts investment to the region, contribute more than people in wealthier countries in the form of consumption taxes.

Enterprise fund spending

▸ Enterprise funds. The House report on the bill offered a highly critical assessment of the Hungarian-American Enterprise Fund, one of several such equity and credit funds established to promote business development. The report said that the fund had failed to notify Congress before investing $4 million in a new merchant bank. The bank, called EurAmerica, paid three of its managers annualized salaries of almost $400,000 each. The report reverberated from Washington to Budapest as the president of the Enterprise Fund, Alexander Tomlinson, resigned and the organization cut the salaries of EurAmerica's officials. AID moved to tighten oversight of the enterprise funds, which had operated with considerable latitude since their creation. Chairman David R. Obey, D-Wis., of the House Foreign Operations Appropriations Subcommittee also had questioned the legal costs run up by the enterprise funds. Since their creation, several of the funds had been represented by the New York-based law firm Weil, Gotshal and Manges. According to an article in the Legal Times newspaper, the firm had reaped hundreds of thousands of dollars in fees from the arrangement.

Hungary: The War on Education | by Jan-Werner Müller | NYR Daily | The New York Review of Books

The number of university students has been declining dramatically since 2010; meanwhile, the age at which students can legally leave school has been lowered from eighteen to sixteen. Orbán, as part of his self-professed turn to “illiberalism,” has put forward the notion of a “work-based state.” In theory, such a state is the opposite of a polity where financial speculation generates most of the wealth. In practice, this idea has meant public works programs—especially for Roma—that critics view as highly exploitative; it has also resulted in an attempt to create a workforce primarily of manual laborers, where everyone knows their place and can at most aspire to employment by German industry (Mercedes is currently spending a billion euros on a new plant in central Hungary).

Vélemény: Gyáva -

During Tickets and all other activities of terrorist attacks in the bus terminal - topped with the words TEK up Janos Hajdu-chief presented to the Prime Minister late-night spectacle . The counterterrorism megfogalmazásunkat probably indignantly rejected, as was a serious exercise. But the commando techniques rarely is often presented to the public and foreign visitors. Sharp right position for the enemy unexpected, but well-rehearsed devices are the most important advantages. This only endangers the public initiation.

Budapest's non-stops remembered

he sweet-natured but infinitely weary Egyptian Copt who sometimes has to serve us through an anti-personnel grille in his shop door when street activities get lively around 1am. The two painfully thin grizzled men with missing teeth (one customer, one salesman) in the shop with only two shelves – 12 boxes of biscuits on each shelf – who challenged me to a series of mathematical match puzzles they had stretched out across the counter at 3 o’clock one difficult night. Or the mildly busy 24-hour shop around midnight where a man and woman, both in their 20s, were intently watching a porn channel on a TV set near the ceiling, ringing up each purchase and silently handing back change without once taking their eyes off the carnal congress on the small screen.

Hungary's Tokaj wine region revives Jewish heritage | Reuters

Alongside the plaques, however, there is a push to rediscover the wine-making region's Jewish roots. Hundreds of Hasidic Jewish pilgrims flock annually to Mád to visit the Baroque synagogue and the newly restored rabbi's house. The plaques marked the first time that any Jewish family was given public recognition in Tokaj. "This is a unique story: as far I know this is the first time that a (Jewish) family is remembered this way with a plaque in the Tokaj region," Mariann Frank, who leads a project to revive the region's Jewish traditions, said.