In this first one, we are interested in the age old friendship between man and dog and its importance to political campaigns. Recent years have seen a rise in the number of politicians with harsh rhetorics posing with their beloved pets. We are particularly fascinated by the fluffy images of tough anti-migration politicians: why is it important for them to show a human side next to the harsh, and sometimes brutal, migration politics they promote?
The Big Dog
Regardless of the outcome, the elections foresee a dark time for migrants and refugees. In case Fidesz-KDNP wins two thirds of majority in Parliamentary seats, they will continue to divert the nation’s attention from crises in housing, healthcare and education, towards the Great Danger: migration.
If the words of Orbán are to be believed, “no migrants” will be let into the country. Those ones living in here will find their life impossible by racism that crosscuts different layers of society. Other casualties include NGOs that provide quality integration and legal help for asylum seekers. Third country citizens found to “help migration” might be banned from the country, and Hungarian citizens may face a “restraining order” from approaching the Schengen border, including the airport.
Viktor Orbán is, undoubtedly, the big dog in Hungarian politics.
After the victory in Hódmezövásárhely, the likelihood that left-liberal opposition parties would team up up with Jobbik is discussed more and more seriously. This is an unpleasant mathematical and strategic reality. Such cooperation is possibly the only chance to take down the Big Dog, and prevent Fidesz from further destroying democratic institutions.
Whether or not strategic voters need to be weary of Jobbik’s support of fascist groups and their leaders previous fascist pronouncements is the question on everyone’s mind.
When cooperation with Jobbik is almost the only possible solution to bring down Fidesz, it is the kiskutya-Vona that we like to see. But it is good to keep in mind, little dogs can cause serious injuries for many as well. Even tough Jobbik campaigns with left wing arguments, such as healthcare or jobs, it is still a dangerous, xenophobic party in a battle with another extreme right party, Fidesz.
When an Index-journalist recently asked Vona about the presence of László Toroczkai in the party, Vona simply replied that a “people’s party” can include many types of voices. While we understand that cooperation with Jobbik might be a necessity in order to bring down Fidesz, we think that the discussion needs to include an element of the open fascists in the party. One such figure is Toroczkai, who is no less than one of the vice-presidents of the party.
The mayor of Ásotthalom, also of course posing with a puppy in his Facebook profile picture, has reached international fame with his migrant-hunting action video. He is on a self-commissioned crusade against muslims, and thus has many loyal neonazi-fans across Western Europe.
For many liberal intellectuals in Budapest, Toroczkai stands a beacon of “racism of the countryside.” Ironically, some of those Budapest intellectuals often resort to same sort of language whereby “Christian” and “Muslim” civilizations are naturally in a fight with each other.
Toroczkai is the proud director of the so-called “field guards”, informal militias who patrol the border. Toroczkai also likes to post pictures on his Facebook page, such as this one, of migrants he has caught.
We do not know whether he field guards are the ones responsible for the systematic violence at the border - people who have been beaten up at the border are able to only say that it is people who “wear uniforms”.
Kutyából nem lesz szalonna
There is a famous Hungarian saying: kutyából nem lesz szalonna. In English, you’ll never make bacon out of a dog. Such is the case with Jobbik, as well, no matter how much the party presents itself as “left wing” and not racist.
According to Vona, “nobody has to be afraid” of a people’s party, Jobbik. He claims that Fidesz is “upholding” the problem of migration, whereas Jobbik would “solve” it - presumably with the tactics of László Toroczkai? In the light of “solving migration”, it’s ridiculous to think nobody would have to be afraid of Jobbik gaining ground.
And those afraid would not necessarily be only migrants and Roma. In terms of the other undemocratic tactics, we only have Vona’s word to trust. For instance, it remains to be seen, what Jobbik thinks of Hungarians who work in the sphere of migration.
Claiming to be different from Fidesz, Jobbik nevertheless shares the discourse of “different civilizations” which is so much shared in Hungarian public discussion. In other words, it’s a choice between extreme right and extreme right, where one side is incredibly corrupt and in absolute power, while the other side wants to implement a social program. Cooperation with the latter is, unfortunately, the only way of getting rid of the former. Even so, however, the violence openly advocated by Jobbik needs to be a part of the discussion.
It is totally understandable that under a machine of propaganda, our society is tired of hearing about migration. Nevertheless, if migrants are beating bloody at the border, we think it should still remain on the agenda.
If Jobbik, riding on it’s leader’s affectionate, caring and muted image would seize political power, not only the now tamed Gábor Vona, but people like László Toroczkai would also become a prominent politician. Despite Gábor Vona’s withdrawal from a loud anti-roma and anti-semitic rhetoric and rebranding as a person with a passion for health care and education, we cannot choose to ignore his past, and his party’s present. No one can mistake Vona’s promise to govern with a “Hungarian heart, sober mind and clean hands”. Vona’s Hungarian Vizsla puppies will grow up to hunt down the enemy.
No matter how many puppies, as a Hungarian syaing goes, a dog will never be made into a bacon.