János Lázár’s xenophobic video provokes outrage in Austria and Germany

March 8, 2018

An unapologetically xenophobic video posted on János Lázár’s Facebook page has caused a media uproar in Austria and Germany.

Subsequently removed by Facebook, the video features the Minister Overseeing the Office of the Prime Minister standing in the Favoriten part of Vienna, spouting xenophobic vitriol. Against an impeccably clean backdrop of well-dressed people of all races peacefully going about their business, the leading Fidesz politician announces:

“I am in a once renowned part of Vienna. 20 years ago there wasn’t a single immigrant. Today there are only old, white Christian pensioners. Everybody else is an immigrant. The number of immigrants in Austria increased by 700,000. A large number of them live here in this neighborhood of Vienna. We can see what Budapest might look like in twenty years if the political opposition admits immigrants. We are working to prevent this phenomenon. I tried to ask a few immigrants how they like living in Vienna, but nobody could answer because nobody speaks German. Experience dictates that if immigrants come, a city is born within a city. And immigrants define the nature of this community. There are a number of schools in Vienna where there are no longer any white Viennese, only the children of immigrants attend. And these immigrants have completely altered the city’s appearance. The streets are visibly more dirty, and the neighborhood is visibly poorer, and there is a lot more crime. They have visibly altered this neighborhood in their own image. The white, Christian Viennese moved out and the immigrants took over the running of this part of the city. I looked around this part of the city this afternoon and saw that there is much more untidiness and dirt, garbage, filth in the streets. And the few Viennese that live here tell me that there is a lot more crime and that people live here in greater fear. From that point of view, Hungarian city-dwellers stand before an important decision. If we let them in, and they live this way in our cities, then crime, poverty, filth, and an unacceptable environment could be the consequence. If we let them in, this process will be unstoppable.”

Intended to incite fear and hatred of immigrants among Hungarians in the run-up to the April 8th general election, the video features images of reasonably well-dressed foreigners and their children coming and going.

Online daily 24.hu reports that the video has been roundly condemned by a number of Austrian and German media outlets.

Referring to Lázár’s “walk” as a  “scandal,” German magazine Focus observes that the video is “replete with xenophobic rhetoric.”

Comments posted by readers of online tabloid krone.at reportedly ranged from astonishment to outrage over the fact that the Hungarian politician was using Austria for his own propagandistic purposes.

“I don’t like Vienna either, but what right does a Hungarian politician go there and denigrate our country?” asked one commentator.

“Why are there so many Hungarian guest workers in Austria?” asked another.

Observing that the images in the video do not support Lázár’s allegations, Germany’s Die Welt refers to the high-ranking government official as “a confidante of Viktor Orbán” and “the right-wing nationalist prime minister’s right hand.”

Austrian print daily Die Press points out that the racism espoused in the video is consistent with Orbán’s election campaign.