Why this story matters:
In the last weeks of the election campaign, Fidesz politicians exploited the topic their voters find most distressing: migration.
They try to use fear of the unknown to persuade Hungarians to vote for what they know too well -- Fidesz.
The videos emphasize the alleged dangers of migration -- terrorist attacks, culture clash and the inevitable Islamic regime.
Against the background of seemingly casual shots of veiled women walking the streets, politicians conduct monologues in Vienna and Molenbeek. They give grave testimonies of how much life has changed following the migration crisis -- needless to say, for the worse.
In Hungary, the videos were met with criticism, memes and parody. They might have had the desired effect under Communism, when travel and access to information was restricted, but not now, when Hungarians know how life looks like in Western Europe.
In fact, many choose to start their lives anew in the mentioned cities, as they offer better employment opportunities and living standards than Hungary.
Details from the story:
- Janos Lazar, Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office, travelled to Vienna and uploaded a video about one of the city’s “once famous” neighbourhoods. According to the politician, 20 years ago there were no migrants there.
- “Today, some white and Christian people still live here, mostly elderly pensioners, but the rest of the population consists of migrants,” he told the camera. If the opposition wins the elections of April 8, he warned, Hungary could soon look the same.
- Incidentally, a few days after, Vienna was awarded the title of the most liveable city -- for the 9th time.
- Lazar’s video about Vienna caused outrage in Austria. On her Twitter account, Renate Brauner, Vienna’s Executive City Councillor for International Affairs, protested against the portrayal of the capital city. “We are bewildered and shocked that a politician verbally attacks the capital of a neighboring country in such a way (…) Personally, I can only wish Hungarian cities to be like Vienna -- the city with the highest quality of life in the world,” she wrote.
- Another emerging “director”, Tamas Deutsch, a Fidesz MEP, travelled to Brussels. He visited the Molenbeek district, which, in the video, he called the “capital of jihadists”. While showing the streets, he emphasized the “connection between migration and terrorism”.
- Istvan Hollik, a Christian Democratic People’s Party MP -- the coalition partner of Fidesz -- did not want to miss out on the trend. Upon returning from a trip to Stockholm, he interviewed a Hungarian lady in Budapest, who had lived in Sweden for 40 years but moved back to Hungary a few years ago, because in the Swedish capital “it's risky to even go to the market”.
- In his video, Istvan Hollik used images of burning cars, bombings and street riots -- as if a civil war was occuring in Sweden.
- Attila Szilva, a physicist and a member of Momentum, an emerging opposition party, invited Hollik to his home in Uppsala, Sweden, and proposed to shoot another video there. In an open letter, Szilva declared that, as a Hungarian living in Sweden, he found the video about Stockholm very misleading.