Orbán, my dad and me


I’m going on a road trip with my dad. To see if we can overcome
our political differences. I’m nervous too. We come from different ends
of the political spectrum. We can joke about it. But talking politics
often ends up like this. I feel like you hate me. I feel it …
maybe I’m paranoid. I feel like Orbán has driven a wedge
between me and my own dad. My dad’s name is Janos. He escaped communist Hungary in the 70s
and came to Britain to work as an engineer. That’s me. I grew up to be a video journalist
for the Guardian. My dad retired and returned to his homeland, becoming a supporter of Hungary’s nationalist
prime minister, Viktor Orbán. Newsreader: Viktor Orbán
has eroded checks and balances, undercut the free press,
inflamed racism, xenophobia … He’s condemned in the international media and there have been protests against him in the streets this winter. I’m on the side of the protesters
and think Orbán has taken the country to a darker place. But he’s won three elections in a row
with big majorities and I’m hitting the road with one of his supporters, my dad. My dad returned to Hungary in 2009. Two decades after the fall of communism,
the country was in a mess. Then Orbán came to power. And his basic political principle: Hungary is a small country
that has always faced a struggle for its survival. We’re in Budapest, it’s the anniversary
of the Hungarian revolution of 1956, against a brutal communist dictatorship. Russian tanks invaded to crush the rebellion. For my dad,
these communist-era divisions persist today. We are on our way east to Miskolc, a city that has lost a quarter of
its population since the 1980s. We are meeting two young women
who decided to come back to their home city. I wanted to show my dad
that you can be pro-Hungary without necessarily supporting
Orbán’s version of nationalism. Klaudia and Lily are part of a group of young people
trying to kick start a revival in Miskolc, through culture. They call themselves the ‘Miskolc Alternative Generation’. They had a lot in common,
returning to their homeland, sharing a sadness for its decline
and a hope for its future. And they really connected
by avoiding politics. We don’t really like talking about politics
because we feel that once you choose a side, it is really difficult to get out of it
or to get far from anywhere … I don’t really know how to explain. No. There is plenty of outspoken
opposition to Orbán. I took my dad to see a protest against Orbán’s
new homelessness law. So far, so good. I suppose that in many respects
we are in ground zero right now. So, not only there is an unprecedented far rightwing hegemony in Hungary, but also the opposition is in a terrible state. Very hard for anyone to talk about
anything else now than this paranoid fear from migration. Of course, Orbán was once a young man too. 30 years ago, as communism was falling,
Orbán was a student activist. My dad was watching all of this from England. We are driving south
across the Great Hungarian Plain. It was my turn to cross the political divide
and meet the local mayor from Orbán’s Fidesz party. The work programme is Viktor Orban’s welfare policy
for the parts of Hungary that you might call ‘left behind’ and here it’s being used
for some unexpected ventures. I was starting to understand my dad. Us ‘lefty liberals’, as he calls us,
tend to think we have the monopoly on virtue. We talk about populist leaders
who represent fear and lies. But for my dad, Orbán represents hope. But something else was building up in me. A sense that I was, in his eyes,
lacking something. We were now looking for the farm
where my dad spent his childhood summers. I’ve never seen this side of my dad before. I was feeling vulnerable too. And by now, we were both tired. I am taking shots of the fucking house,
with the sunlight in the background because that’s how it looks nice,
not from a fucking fence, OK? You don’t know how to make a film, OK? I’ve sat here listening to you, criticising me. Something about this road trip,
the intense mixture of the personal and the political,
really got to me. I think you hate me,
that’s how I feel. I’m telling you,
I feel like you hate me. I feel it,
maybe I’m paranoid. You don’t like it when people
call you paranoid about migration. But we drove on,
to the sausage festival. Our argument was still fresh
and I didn’t feel like talking to anyone. But the organisers had other ideas. We didn’t talk any more
politics that night. Every person here in this area
is making sausages and everybody has got his
own secret recipe even from grandparents to parents,
from parents to child. Suddenly a lot of things
kind of made sense. My dad is a product of his
family recipe and so am I. So, how are you feeling after last night? I’m feeling a bit worse
for wear this morning. So the pálinka did the damage, mostly. Do you think the film will be successful? And a lot of scenes are collected? Will be a big job to cut it together. But to be honest,
I’m worried that whatever I do, you’re not going
to be happy with it or someone’s not going
to be happy with it. Don’t worry about that. As long as you do what I say,
there’s nothing to worry about. I’m worried, I can’t win, you know? Work programme cheese. I don’t think I changed my mind
on anything political either. So was it all pointless? I guess I was hoping I would reach
some kind of resolution but maybe the process
is what matters. It’s the process,
it’s the fact we did it. There was one thing left to do. Orbán weaves a powerful story out of
the things we’ve seen on our road trip. It comes with a fair share
of what I would now call cognitive distortion keywords. These words are divisive. And they exclude people like me. But standing here with these people,
with my dad, I felt something else. Whatever Orbán says,
we are not that different.

Maurice Vega

100 Responses

  1. Good job, this documentary has captured and portrayed emotions very well, yet it falls short in the informational aspect. There's more to the nationalist vs globalist. Theres more to the division of power, influence and effectivity of the EU.
    Thumbs up to the editor.

  2. Great job, although I tend to agree more with your father as far as not wanting to exchange one tyrant, "the Soviet Union" for another, "the EU". However, the thing about tyranny is "Today's Freedom Fighter becomes tomorrow's Tyrant." Hope all Orban supporters are at least a little wary of this…..

  3. nyugodtan írjátok magyarul, a kommentelők több mint 90%-a magyar! nem kell túlgondolni, kb senkit nem érdekel kis hazánk rajtunk kívül!

  4. As a Hungarian it is still the hardest for me, to understand people, who say they "had to tolerate or escaped from a communist regime" when they were young , but can't see that now they support a political system that uses totally the same tools as communism, to manipulate people…

  5. Basically, its a video about showing the human side of white supremacists racists… aww they're actually nice, decent people, they just have a different view on things than us. Sounds like when the white media tries to show the human side of the "opioid epidemic" because its mainly affecting worthless trailer trash whites. Where was the compassion for black victims of drug use? F*ck up…. the guy's a worthless degenerate racist. Nothing else.

  6. Orban isn’t disliked because of his migration politics… he and his mates steal all our money, the corruption in Hungary is unstoppable. while most of us suffer from day to day, the education system is horrible, hospitals are basically non-existent, wages are enough for nothing, ten thousands of people leave the country every year and the list just goes on. If you don’t live here, you have no idea what you say when you support Orban , the geci. It may look good from the outside, but Hungary is rotting on the inside. Now you can call me names as you do if you don’t agree with this. There is no solution yet, but O1g has to be stopped.

  7. 22:19 "We Hungarians have suffered enough from empire"

    So why Orban wants to have closer ties with Turkey and Russia, both of whom historically oppressed Hungarians?

  8. Really nice pictures of Hungary, it's good to see other people see my homeland as beautiful as i do. I've never understood, why my grandparents like Orbán this much, but now i know, he was an other man, a kind of rebel, a savior of the nation after communism and Gyurcsány. Thiswhy they can't see Orbán had became to a liar, corrupt, power-hungry monster. But he is still better than Gyurcsány…..I hope there will be once a change. But thanks to the video, i loved it! <3

  9. Your dad is one of the immigrants, whom idealize Hungary, because they not live in here. Right now in Hungary we live in a feudalistic country, we have landlords, whom rule above the laws and the others are secondline citizens, politic is going through our everyday life, ruins our family life. We are worthless, only the politicians are counting.

  10. It's funny how everyone seems to love Orbán – except for the people who currently live in Hungary and experience the consequences of him being our prime minister. I don't value the opinions of people who can't see past their biased goggles and are viewing everything from the outside.

  11. I think the resolution is the point where we can understand each other regardless of political views. This road movie was a clever attempt to reach the point of mutual understanding.

  12. Wow, it's astonishing how well this dad depitcs the average dad here in this country. Everything the youth tries to do and say out loud is "cognitive distortion", but every damaging nationalist move Orbán does is 100% true. This dad doesn't have much respect and empathy for his son, and what he does. Sadly, this is the average behavior here…

  13. I think many of you in the comments are losing the point his father's trying to make. By today's standards Orban is not a very honest, democratic leader, but for his father, he represents the bigger picture for long-term hope and national unity. First it was the Germans, than the Russians, and now many fear (with valid reason) that Islam is the next threat. Their entire ideology is backwards and oppressive, and the argument for open borders and blind acceptance of migrants is not a smart one. For the father, this is far more important than some behind the scenes corruption or restrictions on rights etc. We have to respect those with more experience than us even if we disagree.

  14. I think a lot of Guardian readers should look at this and see the similarities between Orban's voters and working-class Labour voters in Britain. I think a lot of left-behind regions in Britain would like to see the government opening farms and cheese factories and such to try to reinvigorate local society, if private investment cannot be found. I'm sure there are a lot of older British parents who would like to take their children to see the farm/factory/mine they used to work at. And anyone who reads the Guardian knows that its news and opinion pieces are shot through with a constant (and often justified) fear of global capitalism as an empire that seeks to subjegate the world. Orban's Hungary just happens to have less fear of capitalism and more fear of some kind of EU homogeneity. I think most Guardian readers generally would reject Orban's aversion to migrants and multiculturalism, but other than that, Orban's party is not that different from what Jeremy Corbyn stands for.

  15. if orbán is a nationalist i am the second hitler. I hate that guy cuz he is corrupt and stealing a lot of money and i voted for the jobbik cuz i dont want him in power…but calling his racist xenophobic or other lies wont help anything cuz they are not true….he is in power yet i have good iranian and arab friends at the universtiy. They are not hate or anything at all…..the problem is that the american politics is nothing but screaming to others that " RACIST SEXIST XENOPHOBIC HOMOPHOBIC" without any proper argument or discussion. We dont hate immigratns we have many. Orbán dont hate immigrants he hate the idea that some1 tell us whom we should accept.
    It would be great if instead of adopting the american politics (which is to hate and scream at eachother witohut any meaning) We could just argue about how much money he is stealing ? Cuz for me the biggest problem is that he making himself and his friend rich from the money of hungary….

  16. Sometimes, life gives you lemons and you make lemonade. Other days life gives you Orbán Viktor and instead of making anything out of it, you have to move to another country. (Netherlands for me)

    For Orbán, life should give a one-way ticket to a country far away where he can harm no one anymore.

  17. Very enjoyable piece, and I am stuck in the middle. Values such as home and family are the very roots of humanity, and need to be respected. I feel for the immigrants, but they are being thrust upon an unwilling host, and that cannot work.

  18. Borzalmasan dühítő, jól bemutatja az idősek valóságtól való teljes elszakadásását, tudatlanságát, tájékozatlanságát…. Pont azok a dolgok amiket mond a papa, pl "50 év múlva lehessen itt élni" ez van most Orbán miatt veszélyben.. Csak nem 50 év távlatban, hanem kb már most élhetetlen itthon

  19. vén szarházi de azért a kinti nyugdíjból szeretne itthon megélni!!!!!!!!!! nem tudom h akkor is így beszélne ha a magyar nyugdíjból kellene megélnie "értelmieségiként"

  20. the trouble is that the msm(to which the guardian belongs) has so totally distorted the definitions of concepts: they have merged xenophobia(fear of foreigners) with islamophobia(fear of islam); so a person,or a group, who loves people from all over the world but hates islam,is referred to as xenophobic, extreme right. furthermore, the msm has made no effort to define extreme right; they slap on the label on anyone who is afraid of islam,despite the fact that they appreciate and respect many other religions.orban,and the visgerad nations, have stated many times that they welcome people from other nations,but not islam.

  21. p.s. they have furthermore distorted the definition of race and religion so a person who loves africans but hates islam will be termed racist.

  22. I am surprised by the way the son talks to the father… He clearly has no respect for what this man has gone through… Leaving the country back then was not like leaving today! I wonder if the son gives any thought to the fact that the father always questions what he does… And declares that he never does anything right… Hmmm… Long Live Hungary!

  23. Azt ugye észrevettétek, hogy az öreg vagy 40 évet élt külföldön, majd úgy tért haza, hogy nem 'felejtett el magyar' mint a pár éve kint élő fiatalok többsége?

  24. Like the filmmaker, I am also half-Hungarian, but his Hungarian is so much better than mine! And, like him, I find the current Hungarian government too right wing. I enjoyed their road trip. All those jars of pickled vegetables made me miss my late Hungarian great-aunts, who pickled everything. Hungarian food is so delicious.

  25. Ez a stílus, a hangvétel, a vágás, a narráció, a kép, szigorítóan magyar, szigorítóan igaz. ? nagyon jó film lett ?

  26. To be honest, I don’t care about what happens to any country in 50 years, as we need to think about what happens to the Earth in 50 years. Because everybody can put his/her country up somewhere if we destroy the planet itself.

  27. I am an American who has been living in Hungary for a while, and I sympathize more with the father's perspective, but I appreciate this video showing the reality of Hungary today and without any preaching or editorializing. It is very well done.

  28. It is great. They do not agree but both countries actually democraticly rejected mass immigration..just recently.

    In fact Hungary does not accept mass global immigration, but the UK does not even accept immigration from within the EU.

    I would listen to the father. He lived in both countries, was an immigrant himself and also higly educated in a field where facts are more important than emotions.
    Also lived in a Soviet satelite state as well as in the UK..both for decades.
    He just seem to be a more objective source of information than a liberal jurnalist who had seen definitely less than his father.

  29. En meg sose lattam fideszes tuntetest de ez valami vilagi?? eppen eleg volt ennyi belole. Szep munka a vagas jol meg van csinalva.

  30. I think he only supports Orban's migration policy, and not the maffia sized thefts of public funds and massive corruption that Orban's government is doing nor the high taxes, Hungary is the 3rd highest taxed country in the EU after Belgium and France, soon it will become the first. The problem is there are not alternatives, the opposition consists of the nazis and some leftist parties.

  31. Orbán isn't a nationalist
    Is a socialist pretending to be conservator
    Anyway…. Hungary has the shitties situation ever
    You have a corrupt socialist main party
    Then the nationalist Jobbik who became a joke
    Then the socialist party who isn't afraid to have socialist in it name
    And that's it
    Basically that's it
    Another 100 years of struggle

  32. MSZP (the Hungarian socialist party) is the one responsible for the devisivity of Hungarian politics. their tactic: incite deep hatred and make big promises

  33. Hi John – I really enjoyed your film. It was very touching – great balance of the personal and political. You should be really pleased with your work. Keep up the good work!

    Thanks

  34. Haaat en nem ertek eggyet apukaddal de nagyon durva hogy csak nezem a Guardian uj videoit es elokerul egy video Magyarorszagrol. Nagyon szivmelengeto. ❤️

  35. Hey there, Hungarian here. At 12:42 the subtitle says "We will take back the state's assets" however the guy talking actually said we will buy them back. I know it's the same thing but "taking back" makes it sound like as if we intend to do that by force like the communists did, even despite the fact that there's no mention of such intentions

  36. Verbal aggression – it is very Hungarian. "You are nothing, you are wrong, I'm right." This is the father. Making this documentary is a self-torture for the filmmaker son. Curiosity and wish to understand – this is the way to solve problems. Hopefully, this message comes through. I respect the effort, thanks.

  37. Csak az maradt ki a hírből hogy Orbán elnyomó hatalma az ami sokakat költözésre kényszerít ezzel beteljesítve saját félelmét a nemzet halálát… Előre 50 évre kiírtotta Magyarország fejlődési lehetőségeit és azokat az embereket akik a lopáson és az önös érdekeiken túl tennének valamit az országért. Orbán Viktor Európa és Magyarország pestise aki mindent elpusztít.

    It's missing that Orban's autoriter oppressive regime makes lot of people to move and with this He is fulfilling his own fear the death of the Hungarian nation. He prekilled for 50yrs Hungary's possibilities of development and the people with progressive mind and plans who would do something for this country over their selfish interests. Viktor Orban is the Plague of Europe and Hungary who devours everything.

  38. ''Hungary is a small country that has always faced a struggle for it's survival''
    It's not like they had an empire or something.

  39. guardian trash , is it so hard for liberals to accept that some people do not want to suicide their nations and states? if it is, to bad for you. we dont want you here, we are tired of socialist and marxist trash into our countries of europe. dissapear and never come back

  40. Sorry but his dad is a huge hypocrite. He just chilled in England, raised a family there, barely learned English and probably sent money to his family in Hungary yet he now supports someone who is extremely anti immigration.

  41. Very unfortunate that many people here try to either portray the dad as "fascist", or the son "pro-immigration". The father said NOTHING in support of Orban's authoritarian laws, and the son also said NOTHING which would indicates he supports mass influx of immigrants. This video was exactly made against this partisan, extremist view of things.

  42. I'm Australian, when i was 16 i lived in Hungary for a year, its an amazing country and the people are so great. I don't always agree with the politics (being from a rather liberal country) but i honestly believe they will come out better! Szeretlek Magyarorszag

  43. Listen to your father. He's trying to protect your people, your country the legacy of your ancestors. Your belief system of hyper-individualism and globalism will lead to the destruction of Hungary and erasure of the Hungarian people. The Hungarian people have a duty and right to exist and be a majority in their own nation.

  44. A kedves édesapa 30 éve minek számított Angliában? The beloved father what considered to be 30 years ago in England? … A migrant…

  45. Hello! does anyone by any chance know in which occasion did Orban made the speech at the end of the video? I am collecting quotes for a project and that tiny extract is quite comprehensive of his rhetoric. If anyone could tell me it would be really nice!

  46. Soon switched off when it said he was a lefty journo working for the guardian , drivel, go Orban you can do it kick all the immigrants out !!!

  47. So the hungarian old guy is afraid the hungarian culture will disappear? Then he will know how the people before the hun's invasion felt like. Karma.

  48. Go to the Hungarian hospitals and schools and rely on the police. Then tell me it’s all good in hungary.

    I also don’t get how someone who claims to be Hungarian, but lives most of his life in the UK can make judgement on immigration to Hungary. Completely wrong.

  49. Aranyos az apukád, de szornyunek találom, ahogy gondolkodik. Sajnálom, a családommal már nem is beszélgetunk a hazánkról.
    Ok is elhiszik ennek az aljas, beteg ember gonoszságait.

  50. Thank you for this film! You can be proud of your dad!!! As a German with similar hungarian roots as you, I always search for documentations that show the society and people living in Hungary. What I missed three years ago, to film my grandmother in her kitchen for 30 minutes as she told me about her life as a young women after WW2, I like to give you a advice: go on with your dad! His thinkings aren't so wrong as someone might say! I think I like him 😉 Tell him greets and go on! Waiting for the next video …

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