Germany’s Deutsche Welle recently reported on the deteriorating situation for artists and intellectuals under the Orban regime in Hungary in their online article: Hungarian intellectuals face government pressure.
Hungarian Filmmaker Bela Tarr felt persecuted by the Hungarian government. So, he told the German daily Der Tagesspiegel:
“The government hates intellectuals because they are liberal and oppositional. It has insulted us as traitors.” Apparently, he also suggested that Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s administration was reducing overall support for the arts and driving film production companies to bankruptcy.
Then, within 48 hours, Tarr retracted his statement and completely disassociated himself from the paper and the interview. Hmm…interesting. Government intervention, anyone?
Concert pianist and conductor Andras Schiff is also feeling the punishment of making public anti-Orban statements.
“I am absolutely persona non grata in Hungary now. I don’t believe I’ll ever perform in Hungary again, or even visit, ” Schiff said. “A lot of the attention has focused on the new media law but the problems run far deeper. Even more worrying are changes to the national constitution that are being drafted and the rise of anti-Semitism, homophobia and xenophobia in Hungarian society.”
Then we have the five anti-Orban Hungarian philosophers who are being dragged through the mud and accused of misappropriating grant funds.
One thing can be said of Orban: he is smart enough to know that revolutions are often stoked by the courage, insight, daring, and dissidence of artists and intellectuals. And he is using the age old weapon of censorship against Hungary’s finest.