Civilization 5 offends my Hungarian sensibilities

This post was written on a horse, while reading about Empress of Austria and Queen of Hungary.

I understand Americans learn very little of Eastern Europe, so I don’t hold it against Civilization 5 for making Budapest a city-state instead of an actual civilization.  Sure sure, it hurts, but Americans get such lousy education these days  I can’t expect the Firaxis team to know that Hungary is one of the oldest  and best countries in Europe.

What I absolutely cannot dismiss, for its outright heart-piercing egregious nature, is the kind of city-state Budapest is: …militaristic. How is it that Bucharest, of Romania, is a “cultured city”, but Budapest is not? What has Bucharest contributed to the world?

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Explaining Jobbik, the 'Tea Party' of Hungary

w:Treaty of Trianon

Image via Wikipedia

I would like to interrupt my regularly scheduled video game posts to comment on the recent right wing party’s victory in the Hungarian Parliament. Hungary now has a new Prime Minister-in-waiting; Viktor Orbán, and a new ruling party; Fidesz.  Fidesz, the center right party:

made history as the first Hungarian political party to capture a two-thirds majority in the 386-seat parliament since Hungary’s first post-communist elections in 1990.

Fidesz defeated the ruling Socialists who have been  in power for eight years, amid public anger over scandals and the economy.

Sunday’s election results give the ruling Socialists 59 seats and the far-right Jobbik Party, 47 seats

via Business Weeks Hungary’s Center Right Sweep Parliamentary Elections

I couldn’t help but notice how “Jobbik” has been portrayed over the past couple of weeks. Jobbik  voicing “anti-Semitic and anti-Gypsy rhetoric“? I don’t claim to be an expert, but when I was in Budapest over Christmas, I encountered people my own age who were very sympathetic to Jobbik. I am talking about people who work in ad agencies, PR firms, TV stations and soon-to-be lawyers. One law student, attending a prestigious law school in Budapest, is being taught by Krisztina Morvai, a fellow leader of the Jobbik party (to note, how can Morvai be anti-semitic when she has had 3 children with a “Jewish” man? Also to wonder, if someone is pro-Palestine, does that make them anti-semitic? ). The Jobbik supporters I met weren’t anti-semitic, and no more anti-gypsy than any one else in Hungary, …or Europe for that matter.  Why would my generation of  college-educated, internet browsing individuals be sympathetic to a party that was “Hitler-esque”?  I don’t want to use the word “slander” to describe the media coverage, as that is what Jobbik is calling all this negative attention, but I have to agree the coverage certainly isn’t balanced.

What really gets me are the media sources, which are almost entirely from “socialist” countries.  It makes sense then that any news reaching the US about Jobbik would  have a negative spin. None of the stories talk about Jobbik’s economic policies, or ideas on agricultural reform, or how to root out corruption in government.  I would like to take this moment and explain a few things about Jobbik:

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Hungarian Rhapsody: my family's escape from Communism

A Communist statue still standing in Budapest, extremely ironically called the "Statue of Liberty"

A Communist statue still standing in Budapest, extremely ironically called the "Statue of Liberty"

Today is the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, a historic occasion the West marks as the collapse of communism. Months before the wall came down, Hungary had opened its own “Iron Curtain” of guard towers, mines, and electric fences that lined the border between Austria and Hungary. A family friend Lajos used to have the job of patrolling this border, and told me the story of how one day he threw off his body armor and gun, and told his fellow patrol guard and good friend that he couldn’t do it anymore. He ran for the border, and told his friend he could shoot him if he wanted. Needless to say, Lajos wasn’t shot, but he never saw his friend again.

Communism was never a natural fit for Hungary.  The country’s aristocratic past, as part of the Austro-Hungarian empire, never dimmed from memory.  After the 1956 uprising, Goulash Communism was instated to appease the populace.  It was because of this little bit of capitalism that my mother was able to open a flower shop in Budapest.  Still, the relationship with Hungary’s Communist leaders remained strained.

When the border between Austria and Hungary was opened in May 1989 (some say the Sopron Picnic in August was the official opening),  many Eastern Germans used this route through Hungary to get to Austria and back to West Germany.

I thought I would throw other Eastern-European nations into the media mix today by sharing the story of my Hungarian -American exodus.

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