© Stefan Enders, Gypsies in Pècs, Hungaria

© Stefan Enders, activists of the nationalism party Jobbik Pécs, Hungaria

Are “forced labor camps” being created here, in the middle of the European Union, as the Hungarian daily newspaper Népszava wrote? Are unemployed people from remote villages being housed in worker camps on large construction sites? No one has to work against his will, but everyone who does show up for work is paid the legal minimum wage, says Karoly Papp, the state secretary in the Interior Ministry in charge of the program.

Orbán’s concept of moral renewal and economic rehabilitation for Hungary has several tenets: Those without work are to be given work; those who are already working should work more in the future, but without being paid more; in the interest of the country’s “stability,” those who hold political power today should be allowed to remain in office for as long as possible; and those who once had power and did not use it for the benefit of the people should now be punished.


Where is the country headed under this government? “I don’t believe that Hungary is on the path to a dictatorship, although this is perhaps what Orbán would like,” says the professor. “But our people tend to be somewhat relaxed, and our greatest contribution to European culture was probably the operetta. What is now taking shape here is an operetta dictatorship.”

It isn’t necessary to smell fascism behind every bush, says Heller [Agnes Heller]. “The worst thing is that the checks and balances are being eliminated in this country, and that the rule of the yes-men has begun.” In fact, she adds, now dissidents are even being treated as criminals.
The Hungarian authorities are investigating Heller and some of her philosopher friends, known as the “Heller gang,” for alleged embezzlement of research funds. But Heller, sitting in her apartment high above Guttenberg Square, laughs off the accusation.
What is most troubling to Heller, who survived both the horrific regime of the Hungarian version of the Nazi Party and the communists, is the disquieting feeling that the clique now running Hungary does so without “responsibility” — and without a sense of the “danger that violence could erupt.” “Orbán is extremely sure of himself,” says Heller. “It’s a typical characteristic of dictators.”

Full article “The Goulash Archipelago: EU Remains Silent as Hungary Veers Off Course” can be found in Spiegel

More of Stefan’s work here

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