A vicious public backlash

Hungary is in a tragic mess.

When Zoltan Fenyesi offered a free holiday at his guesthouse to a group of refugees, he thought the act might become an example of Hungarian hospitality. By introducing them to his neighbours in Ocseny, a village of 2,300 in south-west Hungary, he hoped it might also prove the refugees posed no danger.

Instead his offer last month provoked a vicious public backlash. A fraught town hall meeting called to discuss the invitation was captured on camera by local media, Mr Fenyesi received death threats and the clashes sparked an anguished national debate over how far ordinary Hungarians should go in fending off foreigners. In the process, Ocseny has become a byword for racial fear.

Viktor Orban, in a very Trump-like move, supported the protest and brought it to national attention. Yeah, that’s what we need, more fear and hatred of foreigners!


the populist-nationalist Fidesz government is sending leaflets to every household in a “national consultation” over an alleged plan by George Soros, the Hungary-born billionaire investor, to flood Europe with refugees.

And poison the wells and make bread out of the blood of children.

Zoltan Fenyesi has been subject to threats, including threats to cut off his head.

“What happened [in Ocseny] was not civil disobedience or resistance, but the first step towards lynching,” wrote Andras Sztankoczy, a conservative columnist, in a Hungarian newspaper last weekend. Despite the threats against Mr Fenyesi, Mr Orban said there was “nothing wrong” with the protests.

Many sides, many sides.

Although he fears for his safety, Mr Fenyesi makes a point of continuing to live his life in Ocseny as before — frequenting the same pub and speaking with his neighbours. But something deep in Hungarian society has changed, he says, adding: “What our government is doing will leave a scar for generations.”

It’s like that here too. The hatred and contempt Donald Trump has stoked will be with us for generations.

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