Thursday, 28 March 2013

Real Hungarian students protest discrimination

A day late with this but still well worth posting. Readers of this blog will remember the posting of notes on certain Jewish academics' doors telling them the university does not belong to Jews but to 'the Hungarian students'.

On Tuesday students and academics conducted a day of protest about it. This is the text (in English) they put out.

Conversation about discrimination and tolerance
Tuesday, March 26, 2013, 17:00-19:00 (Main lecture theatre in Building D)
The putting up of anti-semitic stickers in the university on March 14 was an attack on the human dignity of our colleagues and our students. In connection with this an official police investigation has begun and the rector of ELTE and the dean of the Faculty of Arts have released official statements condemning discrimination. The university Senate has taken a standpoint concerning the moral position of ELTE and every student, educator and worker in the Faculty of Arts can sign this statement at the offices of the university secretaries.
The School of English and American Studies (SEAS) is holding a forum on Tuesday, March 26, 2013 at 5 o’clock until 7 o’clock in the main lecture hall of Building D (Múzeum krt 4).  As part of a series of “Tolerance Days”, the programme will consist of a discussion on the theme of discrimination through two short presentations and the conversation which follows them. It will also offer an opportunity for the student occupiers of room 047 to present the democratic forms of ordered debate and decision making which they use.

We will not tolerate discrimination and the infringement of human rights in silence!

                                                      HATE SPEECH

And the debate on Facebook goes on. Here, here and elsewhere. Very pleased to see friend and leading poet Gyözö Ferencz among the speakers.

A note from Budapest: The second speaker was the sociologist Kovács András, who has just been awarded the Széchenyi Dij. There’s a video of highlights from the event here: It’s just a shame the  dean of BTK did not consider it worth his while attending the event. More than a hundred people did though, despite the awful weather – it had been snowing all day.

But good for them all. Real Hungarian students are not fascists. Real ELTE is a home of learning not hate.

Monday, 25 March 2013

Child Helga and her father

from here

Should we close the door to keep the dusk out, asked child Helga. No, best let it in, grumbled her father. I like a bit of dusk in the hall.

Are there demons in the night sky, asked Child Helga. Several, said her father. You think you've left them in the office, then here they are.

Are we better people at night or during the day, asked Child Helga. It depends on whether you trust the moon or the sun, said her father.

Does mother live in the moon, asked Child Helga. She is the moon, said her father. That's her on the floor right now.

What is the moon's history, asked Child Helga. Never quite as silky as it looks, said her father.

Where does the night sleep when we're in bed, asked Child Helga. Under the bed of course, said her father.  It just about fits there.

Are the shadows on the stairs safe to touch, asked Child Helga. You have to glide over them the way your mother does, said her father.

When I wake in the morning am I still me, asked Child Helga. Shall we wait and see? said her father.

How big will I grow, asked Child Helga. Big as a house, big as two houses, just a little bigger than you are, said her father.

Why do we have to have night, asked Child Helga. So we should have something to talk about in the morning, said her father.

What is a star, asked Child Helga. A piece of light that keeps shouting at you, said her father.

What is my head for, asked Child Helga. So your body should have something to hang by, said her father.

Where does the grass go at night, asked Child Helga. It runs into the fields and spreads all kind of gossip, said her father.

Why do my nails and hair keep growing, asked Helga. So you may have a house to live in if all else fails, said her father.

Why do I need to eat, asked Child Helga. One must have objects of amusement, said her father.

Are cats the same as dogs, asked Child Helga. In every possible way except for the exceptions, said her father.

Why do children play, asked Child Helga. To keep alive, said her father.

Who made the world, asked Child Helga. I did, said her father, but now you have to remake it all over again.

Do you dream, asked Child Helga. I think I am, said her father.

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Time Lines: few lines and fewer

No technology is without cultural or psychological effect and such effects will sooner or later work their way through into the arts, including literature.

Twitter is a facility that allows its users to send a message of up to 140 characters, including spacing and punctuation. It's quick and easy to use, one doesn't have to be a geek of any kind to use it. You just need a computer or a smart-phone. Use it for what? See below the main body of the blog.

For writers the possibilities seem limited by the brevity but they need not be.  There is a Jennifer Egan novella, Black Box, that is told all in tweets. It's a very skilful piece of work written almost entirely in arch commentary on the action, such as:

"Shall we swim together toward those rocks?" may or may not be a question. 
"All that way?" will, if spoken correctly, sound ingenuous.

That is a tease in itself and, in what is primarily a feminist thriller, it serves as an extra layer of suspense.

The introductory 13 tweets that serve as an "unsatisfactory preface" to time lines, an anthology edited by James Knight (aka @badbadpoet), offer many hostages to fortune by making grand claims. Hostages are unavoidable in the making of claims for a new medium so while I don't feel obliged to believe most of them (eg "The tweet is the sonnet for the 21st century") I am perfectly happy to note them and see what follows in the poems, bearing in mind that, as Knight puts it,  the tweet itself may be no more than a building block in a bigger, albeit short text. This slightly weakens the case for me because there is nothing particularly new about short texts in themselves: it is the formal limit of the 140-character "sonnet" that is new and there are in fact very few 140-character texts in the book.

Given that, the six poets explore various possibilities in both prose and lineated verse. The excitement lies in genuinely short text where a perception is refreshed through inventiveness. Here is one of Richard Biddle's.
Whispers, that's what these ciphers are. Shadows cast from the mind to the page, lit by a moon the size of a penny.
Biddle (@littledeaths68) presents a discovery about ciphers and whispers, sets it in the traditional context of page and moon, then adds the penny at the end that brightens the perception into freshness.
That freshness is a start but it's hard to achieve.

The ways in which tweets may produce genuine poetry seem to me to employ various proportions of the following:  precision, enigma, surprise, discipline, incompleteness.

The ways in which tweets may fail are through: generalisation, grandiosity, cheap philosophy, overuse of stage effects, overuse of randomness, and over-closure.

The book, which is handsomely produced,  contains a fair mixture of virtues and vices. The editor himself has some of the best pieces with his packages of thirteen that present consecutive images as part of a fragmentary narrative, each episode sharp, for example:
A handshake on the other side of your eyes. Chainsaw promises. We apologise for the recent disruption.
There are three sentences here each bearing tangentially on the other. Somewhere, the reader might think, there is a chain of events to which this is annotation.  The annotation is fascinating because it is incomplete yet not quite arbitrary.

Some of @sandcave's lineated verse, though a little heavy at times, holds up without the support of Twitter Theory. Some of it concerns love and romance. Lots of drama going on in Mina Polen's poetry,
A boa embraces me, suffocates me with its selvatic heat, seduces me with its silkiness, invites me to be delirious about lianas and humidity
              - from Serpents
Mandy Gibson is reaching beyond Twitter to possibly longer fictions. There are nice clear touches throughout her work

I know Aksania Xenogrette (@gadgetgreen) from her tweets but what she publishes here are longer, less enigmatic texts, in both lineated verse and prose. They're full of energy and are, I think, predicated on performance. She is clearly interesting.

It was very gracious of James Knight to send me the book. I think there is something to get excited about in Twitter but I'd like it if his next anthology - should there be one - focused more on the possibilities of  the tweet itself. That is what the preface is about and that is where the best of the texts point. It is where a greater excitement might lie.


Uses of Twitter?

Twitter was sold as a form of social networking, so if you desperately wanted to know where Stephen Fry happened to be at any time of day you could discover it by grace of Mr Fry himself.

At notable public events it is a form of chatting to others interested in the event: anyone can drop a remark into a conversation whose subject is locatable through a hash tag. It was fun at the opening ceremony of the 2012 Olympics.

It serves as brief signal for action, very much like texting except you were communicating with anyone out there not a single person. I think it was used in the 2011 riots. It can just as easily advertise an event or draw attwntion to it though anticipation,

For the intelligent reader Twitter may be used for linking to interesting articles and reviews, the links being neatly abbreviated to fit the 140 character format and still allow for a comment. I find this very useful.

It serves as a way of fomenting rumour and counter-rumour. That rumour may be filled out by linking to a longer text. Twitter in itself doesn't allow for too many subtle shades of opinion. Hence the links to articles that explain at greater length.

It can also be used like a well, down which you drop a small elegant stone and wait to hear the distant splash. This can be insomniac activity. Mea culpa. I myself write Twitter texts and take them seriously at the time. Sometimes for longer than that.

There are other uses of Twitter but this gives an idea of some of the main ones.

Monday, 18 March 2013

Standard English and Post-Colonial Me

Standard English, fits-all-sizes dog

I have a cold so feel a bit muzzy, nevertheless have read two books today, written two short pieces on them, trying to get the hang of them, and translated a little more so it's not quite a wasted day. All the same I have hit the bed three times now and sort of folded myself away.

I wanted to think a little more about the Open University event with Rachael Gilmour at Senate House last week.  Although she was talking very intelligently, in fact rather beautifully, about the fascination of people - immigrants, children of commonwealth parents -  writing in their own forms of English it was essentially a continuation of Post-Colonial Studies by other means.

I don't question Post-Colonial Studies - it is a serious and valid approach to the writing produced by English speakers from all points of the old empire - but it assumes certain things by the very act of positing its thesis.

And the model simply doesn't work, not just for me, but for Europe as a whole. It doesn't work for writers whose work cannot be described in its terms.


Hungary was not part of the British Empire, though it was part of other empires at various times. For a short but far-from-secure period it itself was empire.  But the history of Europe - Britain's true Dark Continent - doesn't figure in such readings.

It doesn't fit the agenda. It is not institutionally useful in the way, say Wilfred Owen is, when people want to talk about the Great War.

Rachael spoke chiefly about Daljit Nagra and his ironic use of domestic Indian-emigré language. It makes for an interesting study in how to define oneself by self-exoticising in a knowing way. People in Britain have a residue of feelings about India and Britain's role in it. They have no such residue about Europe except as a site of foreign wars or holiday resorts.

So what language should we non-colonials use when writing? For us - those of us with no connection to the British Empire, who cannot be regarded as victims of it, who form no local communities and who did not have English as a ready second language - there is nothing but Standard English. We have no constitutency outside it. We can't even go round pretending to be regional. We write, as best we can, out of the language that has served, and continues to serve, as an official lingua franca, but is also the language of the poets and novelists we have read, who also assumed they were writing a lingua franca. Only it was called Standard English.

At the beginning - at the point when Post-Colonial Studies was just rising to its dominant position - I was included in Bloodaxe's New Poetry anthology of 1993 as part of a complex and ideological mosaic. But even then I could see I didn't quite fit. (I kind of get into Holocaust Studies, God help me, but that's far from cool stuff now.)

There are excellent poets that can serve as useful Post-Colonial Paradigms: there are others who exist only as Existential Condition. This is not a reflection on the quality of either party's poetry but a reflection on the way it is read or presented.

Fortunately - naive as this sounds - we are also human and may be heard by other human beings as they wade through the human existential condition.

Friday, 15 March 2013


Popular anti-Fascist demo. Banner: Fascism, never again!

I wasn't going to post on this subject again, not so soon anyway, but when I posted the ELTE story yesterday on Facebook there was, quite rightly, cries of incredulity. That incredulity does the commenters great honour because, frankly, it is almost incredible. I tried to address the incredulity by posting as follows. I am doing this so it may be available to users of Twitter too. 

Why? Because it is important. Here is the text. Ludwig is that excellent German poet, Ludwig Steinherr, whose poetry is an example of deep humane intelligence. We met at StAnza and I immediately liked him as well as his poetry. It is he who first cried: Incredible!

Re: the posting anti-Semitic texts on the doors of 
Jewish members of faculty at ELTE

It is incredible in many respects, Ludwig. I have tried to write about the causes before. 

They involve the trauma of two major historical defeats - by the Turks in the 16th century and the loss of 2/3 of the state after the First World War. Other military defeats have contributed to a sense of grievance that is only complicated by the country's linguistic isolation. The deep psychological headline guaranteed to appeal to patriotic hearts is: 'Heroic Hungary Stabbed in the Back Again'. 

This leads to a latent anti-Semitism that is mostly suppressed but can easily be brought into the open when the political circumstances are right. The post 1945 Communist regime was mostly led by Jews as was the 1919 Bolshevik revolution. Jews are therefore associated with both high capitalism and radical left politics. They have suffered deeply for it.

I say associated, but most usually it is a matter of smearing. The ghost of anti-Semitism is easily woken. In today's politics, as encouraged by the Fidesz government, the two extremes of Jewish stereotype have been joined by the spectre of a 'criminal' left-liberal opposition also associated with Jews. 

The government project may not be anti-Semitism in itself, but the bonding of the nation to support the government - in fact the identification of the nation with the government, so that all opposition to the government may be portrayed as anti-Hungarian. 

The direction the current government is travelling in is, in my view, proto-fascist, with the rehabilitation of the 1930s, the introduction of fascist writers into the school syllabus, the renaming of streets and the erection of statues to 30's figures.

This development is not simply a concern for Jews but Hungarians themselves, and for Europe in general. The anti-Europe rhetoric in Hungary is increasingly fierce.

ps Jews constitute c 1% of Hungary's population. The attacks on the Roma are more overt and often physical. Roma constitute somewhere between 5-10% of the population.

This is a brief and crude summary, but I do try to understand the way anti-Semitism works and what it picks on. I think it is foolish to turn a blind eye to it. One has to see it then to counter it.


I really don't want to turn a national crisis into an exclusively Jewish one. The anti-Semitism is as much symptom as agenda. Being of a Jewish family - one deeply and directly affected by the Holocaust - I am naturally concerned by the drift of events in Hungary, but I don't forget - not for a second - that I am of Hungarian birth and that anything that happens in Hungary, to the country itself and to its long suffering and decent people is of concern to me. Fascism is not just a Jewish or indeed Roma matter.

Thursday, 14 March 2013

Fast forward to a fascist Hungary


Excerpt from a letter of protest at ELTE - the Oxbridge of Hungarian universities at Budapest. The Hungarian original is given below my English version.

We past and present students at ELTE [University, named faculty] were outraged to discover the following note stuck to the doors of [the named professors, director, and senior lecturers] this morning. 
"Jews! This university belongs to us, not you! Greetings,  Hungarian students.'
[Mi, az ELTE BTK Művészetelméleti és Médiakutatási Intézet jelenlegi és volt hallgatói fel vagyunk háborodva attól, ami ma reggel az Intézetünkben történt. Magukat "magyar hallgatóknak" nevező ismeretlenek "Zsidók! Az egyetem a miénk, nem a tiétek! Üdvözlettel, a magyar hallgatók..." felirattal ellátott matricát ragasztottak Gruberné Welker Ágnes főeladó, Dr. Heller Ágnes professzor emerita, Dr. Poszler György professzor emeritus illetve Dr. György Péter intézetigazgató névtáblájára.] 

Some kind of enquiry is being undertaken. Student adds: If you thought we could sink no lower, think again.


Ferenc Szaniszló, presenter for Echo TV, the TV channel of the proto-fascist newspaper, Magyar Hirlap for which Mr Zsolt Bayer (often referred to here) writes his hate-pieces, receives the Mihály Táncsis Prize for outstanding journalism together with 400,000 Huf. 

Some choice quotes from Szaniszló (source):

In 2009, in the course of a programme he suggested the world prepare itself for a mass exodus of Jews once Israel runs out of mineral oils, that is "if there's any place on earth that still likes them." 
In a programme in March 2011 he referred to the Roma as "freeloading humanoid apes." 
He has asserted that Hungary is gripped by "gypsy terrorism" 
Last autumn he suggested that it was the IMF that caused the toxic red-sludge disaster of 2010 and that NATO planes had deliberately bombed the mining storage pits. 
In considering the gypsies and Jews he declared: "When it comes down to it some people just have to get out of this country"

My translation of course.  Lay your head in the nation's lap! Give the man a prize!

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Rushing, reading, reporting

Photo courtesy Peter Daniels. You see Ken, Eleanor, myself and Chris at the breakfast

Ten days since the last post. In that time we have been to St Andrews for the StAnza festival, going up on Thursday and retuning on Sunday. On Monday I went into the university, on Tuesday it was London for a dialogue on translation with Rachael Gilmour at the OU, actually in Senate House at the University of London. Today I have been home reading, judging and writing the report for the Alan Sillitoe Open Poetry Competition.

Events in Hungary have moved on, particularly in the light of the amendments to the constitution, voted in on Monday, by which all the objections of the constitutional court to the government's more harmful proposals are wiped out, as are the powers of the constitutional court. This time the world is looking and listening. So there are reports everywhere, for example in The Independent, The GuardianThe Daily Telegraph, The Irish Times, the BBC, The New York Times of course (with Krugman and the excellent Kim Lane Scheppele too), Reuters, The Financial Times (£), The Washington Times, The Christian Science Monitor, Der Spiegel,  Deutsche Welle, Fox News, Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, and a great many links to more stories on Politics.Hu

This is no longer the Fidesz government's dirty little secret and I doubt whether accusations of 'liberal-left narrative' are going to stick against The Telegraph and The Financial Times.

StAnza is a marvellous poetry festival, possibly the best of the big three that includes Aldeburgh and Ledbury. I may just be saying that because I have just returned from it. On Thursday evening I read with the Canadian poet Ken Babstock, a marvellously witty, knowing, tangential poetic intelligence. On Friday I took part in the breakfast discussing poetry as design with Andrew Roberts, Ken Babstock, Eleanor Livingstone and Chris Hamilton-Emery, going straight on to a round table in which I talk to a group of 12-14 people in a nearby art gallery (I talked about collaboration and tweeting chiefly) and at 5pm I chaired a reading  and discussion with the German poet Ludwig Steinherr and the Romanian Robert Serban.

Photo Peter Daniels: Ludwig Steinherr, myself, Robert Serban

In between attended readings by Mark Doty, Erin Moure, Alvin Pang and Deryn Rees Jones, taking in Alvin on Wiszlawa Szymborszka and Zöe Skoulding on Lynette Roberts. After the evening reading we go for supper with Alvin and hi fellow Singaporean, Joshua who is doing national ervice and heading for a high political career. Then it's back for a drink at our The Greyfriars, a lovely friendly place.

On Monday straight from university (in Clarissa's case from school) to Cafe Writers to see Kerry Shawn Keys whom I had missed at StAnza, and his partner , Lithuanian poet, Sonata Paliulyte. Martin Figura teases me that I am too posh to do a reading from the floor so I stand up and do my translation of Baudelaire's Spleen which takes a few crude liberties with the original, all for the sake of art, naturally.

Tuesday lunchtime down to the University of London for the dialogue with Rachael Gilmour, which is lovely, but not much detail for now. Rachael speaks first about the complexities of intralinguistic poetry in England, concentrating on Daljit Nagra. She is sharp, perceptive and reads a well organised and illustrated intelligent paper in a clear informal manner. I just speak from a relatively personal view. Daljit seems to be the post-colonial paradigm, I'm just an existential condition. I will say a little more about this because it is interesting material.

On Friday to Leeds.

I want to get back to this blog properly and will do so, it's just difficult trying to do everything at once.

Sunday, 3 March 2013

By their supporters you will know them

There is a reply to Zsolt Bayer's article (see the previous post) in the Mandiner by Eszter Babarczy here. It is in Hungarian and I won't translate it, just to say that it begins with Bayer's use of the term fehér keresztény "faj" (meaning white Christian "race") and argues that, even in inverted commas, the term "race" suggests a nazi ideology. She then picks him up on the idea that everything is the fault of the '68 generation and mocks his mathematics in apparently conflating the '68 generation with the perpetrators / victims of 1919.

It's OK, not a great article, not fully thought through, and it lays itself open. My own feeling is that Bayer's racism and anti-Semitism is perfectly real but subtler in its expression - more a case of association and demagogic temper  - than she tries to show.

It is subtle in expression but violent in temper and effect. The true beasts of his field hear his call and howl back in their own less subtle way. And that howling is what you get from the mass of comments almost all by supporters of Bayer.

I translate a few choice phrases from the comments:

A zsidó meg leírta,leírja és hangoztatja, hogy ők a kiválasztottak. - The Jews have written, continue to write and claim that they are the chosen people..
BZs nem cigányozik, nem zsidózik (akik, ugyan vannak bőven, itt is!).Ő csak azokat nem szereti, akik zsidóságuk, cigányságuk mögé bújva próbálnak megúszni vétkeket, bűnöket. - Bayer does not accuse gypsies, or Jews (though there are plenty of them here). He just dislikes those who try to cover their crimes by hiding behind their Gypsy or Jewish identity
Aki a fekete kisebbség érdekeit védi, az kóser, aki a cigány kisebbség érdekeit védi, az kóser,aki a muszlim bevándorlók érdekeit védi, az kóser, aki a zsidó (saját magát fajilag meghatározó) kisebbség érdekeit védi, az is kóser. Aki az ezek közé be nem sorolható, lassan kisebbséget alkotó fehérek érdekeit védené, sőt egyáltalán a létezésüket is még feltételezni meri, az már viszont tréfli. - Those who defend the black minority are kosher; those who defend the gypsy minority are kosher, those who defend Muslim immigrants are kosher, those who defend the Jews (who define themselves by their race) are kosher. Those who would defend others, meaning the soon-to-be-minority of white people, who even dare defend their very existence are called scum. 
*[GS Hungary's population 2013 projected at 9.95 million; Jewish population between 50,000-100,000, ie less than 1%; Roma population of Hungary c 5-10%; Muslim population of Hungary c 0.03%,; black population of Hungary: negligible]
Esztike, kicsi vagy te a Zsótihoz!!! Menjél szépen oszt főzz meg a családnak!! - Eszti baby, you're no match for Zsolt, now go quietly and cook a meal for the family.
..erkölcstelenek vagytok, hazudtok, loptok, másokat besároztok, hatalmaskodtok...Mentek a böszme után, becsületes jószándékú magyart még egyszer nem vertek át, hitetlen kutyák! - You have no morals, you lie, you steal, you besmirch the names of others, you play the big guy...go follow the monster you faithless dogs. Decent, honest Hungarians will not be bossed by you again.
Tökmindegy hogy nevezzük őket, Magyarországon is van fővárosi zsidó szubkultúra, amelyik a rendszerváltás óta megpróbálja a saját képére formálni az országot - Who cares what you call them, there is a Jewish subculture in Hungary too that ever since the change of system [1989] has been trying to shape the country in its own image.
...jó az neked, hogy napi 24 órában epét hánysz tök feleslegesen? Nem lenne netán számodra testhezállóbb a Negev-sivatagban médiaelméleti órákat adni a sűrű sorokban türemkedő érdeklődőknek? - Do you think it healthy to spout useless bile 24 hours a day? Wouldn't it suit you better to give lessions in media studies to rows of attentive listeners in the Negev desert?

Which all goes to show, of course, that Bayer's supporters are by no means racist, sexist or anti-Semitic. These commenters are in a vast majority on the website article. 

This is Bayer's constituency that he looks to manipulate from his Fidesz base with full support from prime minister Orbán.

Friday, 1 March 2013

Hungary, Hungary: students, liberals, losses


Almost two weeks since my last posting. Sometimes I feel I should seriously consider the existence of this blog if posts are going to be so rare. But for now I continue.

I continue now because news continues to filter in from Hungary and I feel someone has to log it. Here are three items.

1. Students Union versus students at ELTE

HÖK students with Jobbik flag

ELTE Budapest is the top university in the country and many of its students who have formed themselves into a group called HaHa have been conducting a sit-in for the reasons reported here:

HaHa organised the action to demand the restoration of the number of fully state-financed places at least to the 2011 level, halting funding cuts, cancelling student contracts, restoring the autonomy of universities and colleges and guaranteeing state-financed positions in all faculties.

This is not a sit-in supported by the official students union, HÖK, which has a fascist Jobbik leadership.  Here is how one English language site puts it:

...for years the Hallgatói Önkormányzat (HÖK) of ELTE’s faculty of arts (BTK) has been keeping tabs on incoming students’ alleged religious affiliation, ethnic background, sexual orientation, and political views. For good measure they also assessed the sexual potential of female students. What one ought to know about this particular HÖK is that it has been a breeding ground for Jobbik politicians and activists.

Here is a Hungarian source giving the background, fitting some names to the Jobbik group.

2005 óta a BTK HÖK elnökei mind Jobbik-tagok voltak - Szávay István, Nemes László, Garbai Ádám -, és szinte az összes alelnökre, illetve több aktivistára ugyanez igaz. Bár az egyetemen szigorúan tiltott a politikai tevékenység és „véleménydiktatúra” – erre maga Garbai hívta fel a figyelmet a Hallgatói Hálózat által kezdeményezett egyetemfoglalássalkapcsolatban –, az információi szerint gyakoriak az ilyen megnyilvánulások a BTK HÖK rendezvényein.

The article  tells us that ever since 2005 the presidents of HÖK -  Szávay, Nemes, Garbai, and, almost all the vice-presidents and the majority of activists - have been members of, or allied to. Jobbik.

And then a list comes to light. Here is a Hungarian source:

A hallgatók neve, középiskolája, telefonszáma és pólómérete mellett egy-egy rövid „jellemzés” is megtalálható, például: „Egészséges világlátású klassz csaj”(1) ; „Szerintem cigó”(2); „Latinmániás minifeminista”(3); „Vicces gyerek udvari bolondnak jó lehet”(4); „Langy fideszes”(5); „Csúnya zsidó feje van”(6); „Vízilabdásokat kedveli, Pista, repülj rá!” 

My translation of some of the comments above: (1) "Classy chick, healthy world views", (2) "A gyppo I reckon", (3) "Latinmaniac minifeminist", (4) "Funny kid would make good court jester", (5) "Lukewarm Fidesz supporter" (6)"Ugly Jew mug" etc. [I haven't translated the seventh, too obscure]

And back to the English one, that quotes some other epithets with one overlap, the language a little awkward, not quite racy enough.

I must admit that I was unfamiliar with many of the descriptions. Although I could figure out what “cigó” and “libsi” could mean, when it came to “ratyi” I had to look it up on the Internet. Among the notations: “atheist, acquaintance of Demszky” (SZDSZ mayor of Budapest between 1990 and 2010), “stupid Lutheran girl, revisionist, Transylvanian picture,” “he has an ugly Jewish head,” “ugly broad who bicycles,” “little liberal fag,” and so on. I urge people who know the language to take a look at the original text. Some of the notes also described actions of the student association. For example, the almighty HÖK leaders who decide whether someone can have a room in the dormitory remarked that “we aren’t going to give him a place.” 
Beside each name there was a hidden question whether the person is Jewish or not. Answer: I for igen and N nor nem. Party preferences were noted too: A = MSZP; B = LMP, C = Fidesz, D = Jobbik.

My bold type. Add to that from the Hungarian above (my translation)

HÖK now says that, yes, the list existed, but that it has been tampered with. Jobbik doesn't usually see the need to tamper with with its clear agenda, but this is, perhaps, a little inconvenient. The fact remains that the official students union is dominated by fascist students.

2.  Rant

Zsolt Bayer with the prime minister Viktor Orbán

From today's Magyar Hirlap, the far right daily in which we find the writings of Zsolt Bayer, a co-founder of Fidesz,  who has appeared in this blog before.

It's a long piece in which he denies ever having written that gypsies are animals, nor did he ever say that Jews should be buried up to their heads in the earth as they were in 1919, nor did he ever claim that Jews had wormed their way into the heart of the nation. No, he cries, it's all a lie.

What he says is that he meant only gypsies that were murderers and only those Jews who took every opportunity to damage the nation, "a situation that has not changed since 1919" he wisely adds.

Having got this off his chest he goes, as is his wont, on the rampage. He speaks of France as a lawless country in which immigrants have taken the laws into their own hands so the real French are cowed and want the army not the police to handle them. These immigrants herald the downfall of Europe.

He goes on to castigate what he calls the 1968 generation for its 'politically correct' support of the global market, multiculturalism and liberal democracy. Let me give you the rest in his inimitable Hungarian, and then I will translate it.

Falkában vetitek magatokat a kiszemelt áldozatotokra, mint nyáladzó, undorító hiénafalka. És nem eresztitek. Nektek csak a halál a megfelelő büntetés. A halálban hisztek, a társadalmi nyilvánosság előtt végbemenő kivégzésben, amelynek során áldozatotok végképp magára marad, tönkremegy, barátai megtagadják, munkáját elveszíti, vége lesz. Ez a célotok. Közben a külvárosokban és a falvakban gyűlik a bűn, a kín, gennyednek a sebek, a többségi társadalom segítségért üvölt; amíg ezt olvassátok, magyar öregasszonyokat és öregembereket gyaláznak meg éppen, vagy tán meg is ölik őket. Míg ezt olvassátok, a Nyugat külvárosaiban bevándorlók milliói rúgják fel a törvényt, és elmebetegek hiénafalkái mentegetik őket. 
Míg ezt olvassátok, Európa ismét közelebb került önnön végzetéhez. Ti, és csakis ti vagytok ezért a felelősek. Bűnötök mérhetetlen, és az lesz büntetésetek is. 
Még nem is sejtitek, micsoda szörnyeteget élesztgettek. Sőt már fel is ébresztettétek. Azt pedig végképp nem sejtitek, hogy értetek majd csak mi fogunk szót ejteni. Mi, kijelölt áldozataitok. Mi vagyunk az egyetlenek, akikhez majd fordulhattok segítségért. Csak mi fogunk elbújtatni titeket. Ugyanis mi önsorsrontóan jók vagyunk. És ezt vegyétek nagyon komolyan, ti, nyomorultak.

You have fallen on your specially selected victims in a pack, like a salivating, repulsive pack of hyenas. And you will not let the victim go. You want nothing less than the victim's death. You believe in death, in slow motion public execcutions in the course of which your victims are left isolated, ruined, rejected by their friends, without a job, until they perish. That's what you want. In the meantime, out in the suburbs and villages, crime and suffering increase, wounds grow septic, and society at large is screaming for help; and all the while old Hungarian women and men are being humiliated, maybe even murdered; and all the while, in the the suburbs of the West, millions of immigrants reject the law while mentally deficient hordes rush to defend them. 
While you read this Europe approaches ever closer to its extinction. And it is you, you alone, who are responsible for this. Your crimes are boundless, and you will receive due punishment. 
You have no idea what monster you are bringing to life, have in fact already woken. And what you have not begun to guess,what you will only later understand, is that we are the only people who will stand up for you. We, your selected victims. We are the only people you will be able to turn to when you need help. We are the only ones who will hide you. Because we are decent to the point of self-destruction. And you'd best take this seriously, you scum. [literally 'miserables', but with the force of 'miserable bastards']

So that's you, you miserable pack of hyenas, you Jews (sorry, only those who are bad for the country), gypsies (only those who are criminals, of course), politically correct multiculturalist liberal democrats. It - is - all - your - fault. And you pick on poor lost creatures like Mr Bayer. Shame on you!

3.  Loss

Ádám Nádasdy

Back to ELTE. Ádám Nádasdy , one of the leading poets in the country is to lose his job. He is not only a poet but a leading translator of Shakespeare into Hungarian. Even more than that, in the eyes of many, certainly at the university, he is the greatest living expert in English and German historic linguistics, a teacher whose lectures everyone wants to attend. He is the  founder of a school "at the best faculty in the best university of the country".

The School of English has written to ask for continuation of his contract. It is signed by everyone in the School.

He is sixty-six years old and is entitled as a professor to teach there until he is seventy. He looks remarkably young and is vastly productive and influential.

The reasons for "letting him go" are likely to be political. He is, no doubt, one of Bayer's hated liberals. What is more he is gay and he writes for a magazine, Magyar Narancs, that is critical of the government. Ergo he must go as soon as possible. There is no other reason for him to go and he himself doesn't want to go. 

It may be that the governing body of the university that has been so tolerant of fascist activism in the university is less tolerant of those who are amongst its greatest scholars and teachers, never mind the poetry and the translation.

This is the way Fidesz and its supporters go about their task of eliminating opposition. Termination of contracts. Financial intimidation and strangulation.

I know Ádám Nádasdy personally and have translated his complex, playful, sad, elegant, beautiful poems. I have gone in awe of his knowledge, his humour and kindness.

It's just another first-rate disgrace.