Júlia Lévai's open letter to Hungarian government spokesman Zoltán Kovács of January 14, 2017

January 15, 2017

“Naturally there is no point in demanding you speak the truth. . . . You obviously are not going to do this since the point of your program is to further manipulate the masses who for years have been kept ignorant of the facts of the situation due to your selective sharing of news. The point of my letter is to inform you that not only blinded people are living in the country, but educated, humanistic citizens aware of their rights, and not in small numbers.”

Translation of writer and journalist Júlia Lévai’s open letter to Hungarian government spokesman Zoltán Kovács appearing in daily online hvg.hu on January 14.

Dear Mr. Spokesman:

You made the following statement on ATV Start expressly pertaining to Hungarian civil organizations in relation to the financial exposure of an alarming government program:

1.  “No Borders is one of these partially autonomous organizations also informally connected to a number of civil organizations as well.” The No Borders Network is a radical left-wing formation which has no organization in Hungary.  You have no right to mention this when talking about screening Hungarian civil organizations in that no Hungarian government has the right to screen this.  Secondly, even if Hungarian organizations were connected to No Borders, it would still be irrelevant since it is a sponsored organization, and not the patron of others. You and your colleagues must know this, as you happen to be dealing with the matter now.  If you cite this organization as an example when talking about domestic civil organizations, you are either deliberately stating a false example or speaking from ignorance.  Regardless of which is the case, your actions are proof of behavior unworthy of your position.

2.  You call “meddling” that point of view which says that asylum seekers are acting within their rights to cross Hungary’s territory.  Although you do not refer to them as asylum seekers but rather illegal immigrants, the fact remains that those arriving are asylum seekers.  That asylum seekers who are not prohibited by a valid court decision have the right to enter the territory of any country is not “meddling” but a basic condition enshrined in international charters to which Hungary is a signatory, as well as in its co-opted constitution.  You should know this, since if you did not, you would be unsuited for your position.  So when you behave as though you did not know this, elementary logic dictates you do so to assert an external point of view (presumably that of those in power).

3.  You also asserted the following:  “It was clearly visible at Röszke [on the Hungary-Serbia border] that domestic civil organizations were inciting people to commit crimes.”  Without allowing that such acts took place (they did not, since neither those organizations regularly present at the border nor the authorities experienced anything of this nature), and assuming they did, you would have no right to cite this as an instance pertaining to Hungarian civil organizations. Hungarian civilian organizations demonstrably distributed food and clothes and helped the sick.  Meanwhile from autumn 2016 onwards it is public knowledge that they were not granted access to the refugees (bottles of water and sandwiches for example had to be passed to them over the fence, and Hungarian doctors also had to measure temperatures and blood pressure and distributed medicine through gaps in the fence.)

In addition, given the extraordinary vigilance on the part of Hungarian authorities, it is inconceivable that if any provocation was experienced on the part of Hungarian citizens, it would not have been broadcast across the entire government media to the country’s people.  Nothing of the sort happened, and you should know this.

4.  According to you, the Hungarian civil organizations in question – whose descriptions are not in any way comparable to No Borders – have no right to express an opinion, to have any ranking (in what? JL), or to attempt to “realize concrete political steps” because “nobody elected these civil organizations.”  You should know that in democratic countries, including our own, laws ensure every citizen the right to express their opinion, assemble, and participate in public affairs, as well as establish organizations – in other words, engage in politics – so much so that the parties founding your government came about as the result of free civil organization, and a good number of members on its list (so not personally elected) ended up in parliament.

One needn’t obtain an electoral mandate in order to speak out on public matters.  If, in relation to these facts, you act as though you are not aware of their existence, then again one can only assume that you are deliberately speaking contrary to your own knowledge.

Naturally there is no point to demanding you speak the truth and not act as though the No Borders is an example of Hungarian civil organizations, or as though the assumed cooperation with Hungarian ones is tantamount to a criminal association.  You obviously are not going to do this since the point of your program is to further manipulate the masses who for years have been kept ignorant of the facts of the situation due to your selective sharing of news. And so I won’t do this.  The point of my letter is to inform you that not only blinded people are living in the country, but educated, humanistic citizens who know what their rights are, and not in small numbers.  For this reason you may not for a minute claim that you are speaking exclusively to your beliefs when you make pronouncements.

The government opposition also hears you, and its members understand perfectly well what your activities mean.  I’m telling you that it is not fortunate to persistently and prolongedly treat them as though they were stupid.