No Awards for Freedom of Speech

It seems there is no free speech in a democracy without a price tag attached. Hungarian author Akos Kertesz, who was awarded an “honor” by the city of Budapest in 2002, is being threatened to have it stripped from him for speaking out in an American Hungarian newspaper. Even the President of Hungary is looking into having honors revoked from those who say nasty things about their Magyar fellows. The charge to charge the man with libel was led by a leader of the FideszChristian Democratic party. There is something hypocritical both of those terms “Christian” and “Democratic” as played out in this progression of events.

What Kertesz penned was “Hungarians are genetically subservient … They do not feel the slightest remorse for the gravest of historical crimes, they shift their responsibility to others and always put the blame on others … They are unable or unwilling to learn … they envy and, if possible, kill those who succeed in life through work, learning and innovation.”

Kertesz’s made a couple of mistakes here. 

First of all, he must have forgotten that Hungarians have long memories. Dare I say the T word?  

The second mistake he made was submitting his thoughts to an American Hungarian newspaper, the American Nepszava. Had he had his wits about him, he would have published in in an English newspaper. After all, the 2010 Eurostat report shows that 74.8% of Hungarians are monolingual, making Hungary the most monolingual country in the European Union. He would only have had a 25.2% chance of anyone being able to read it. Must have been a slip in critical thinking.

Some Americans learned our lessons during the Bush years. If you want to speak out, stay out of the country while you do it. 

Akos Kertesz should not to be confused with Imre Kertesz, the author of Fateless.

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1 Comment

  1. I guess he was given the award by the previous government, now in opposition. Usually everyone gives it to their comrades, so to speak. This American Népszava published several critical articles on the current policy of the Hungarian government and was discussed (attacked) extensively. I think it's ironic (but understandable, given the conditions) that only those dare to express their opinion who live abroad.

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