The many paradoxes of little Gergely

It’s hard to refrain from laughing out loud reading Gergely Karácsony’s article in Project Syndicate.

In his piece on the Soros blog, entitled “How Democracy Can Win Again,” Karácsony waxes sentimental about begging his parents to take him to the Austrian border as a kid to see the East Germans crossing over to freedom. Karácsony was “swept up by the atmosphere of unbounded hope for our future.”

Awww, isn’t that sweet?

This is a man who is in coalition with Hungary’s former Socialist prime minister, Ferenc Gyurcsány, the man who embodies Hungary’s unfortunate post-communist era. Karácsony knows him well, as he was an advisor in the PM’s office in that last Socialist government.

I wonder if little Gergely felt a sense of “unbounded hope” when PM Gyurcsány infamously confessed to lying day and night to win elections at a party meeting in the now-famous lakeside village of Balatonőszöd.

I wonder if young Gergely asked his parents to take him to downtown Budapest to watch in 2006 as special police forces beat and fired rubber bullets on peaceful demonstrators under the watch of PM Gyurcsány.

But Karácsony’s coalition with the post-communists is not the only unlikely alliance he made in his tireless quest for power.

Does Mayor Karácsony feel swept up by hope when he recalls the anti-Semitic, anti-Roma remarks of leaders of the far-right Jobbik, his other coalition partner?

It was a Jobbik MP, Gergely Kulcsár, who rose to notoriety for spitting in the “Shoes of the Danube Bank” Holocaust memorial and then bragged about it to his fellow party members in a group chat. Back in 2012, Márton Gyöngyösi, now a Jobbik MEP, suggested that an assessment should be undertaken to determine the number of people of Jewish origin in Hungary, and in the Hungarian Parliament in particular. These stories are difficult to stomach.

But not for Mayor Karácsony, who seems to forget about such things rather quickly. In an interview in 2019, one year after touring the country saying that his party would refuse any cooperation with “far-right, extremist” Jobbik, a party “full of Nazis,” Karácsony said that, in his opinion, drawing up a list of MPs who are Jewish cannot be considered Nazism.

Perhaps the richest part of Karácsony’s essay is when he says many of today’s problems “owe much to the mismanagement and abuse of the post-1989 privatization process and transition to a market economy.”

Do you suppose he wrote that with a straight face? That process was managed by and resulted in the obscene personal enrichment of Socialist leaders, the very establishment on which young Gergely cut his teeth.

Sometimes, the cynicism with which these people play their international audience for fools is staggering.

Photo credit: Horváth Péter Gyula