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Eva Fodor on Populism and Academic Freedom in Hungary

“It's about people who represent very specific values: national pride, a focus on the local and the strengthening of Hungarian identity,” Belgian newspaper De Morgen quotes our Co-Director, Eva Fodor, in an article covering how Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban is building a shadow state to guarantee his power in case he loses the upcoming elections, including the transformation of Hungarian universities

She talked about how much of what is happening now reminds her of the communist times. “It's the same pattern, but with a populist and not a communist content. The funny thing is, many of the people around Orban grew up at that time themselves, they all studied in universities with no academic freedom, where we had to study Marxism and Leninism, write in a certain way and only refer to certain thinkers,” she said, adding that “we didn't need to be told that: you just knew that, people internalize things like that very, very quickly. I think the current government also wants to achieve this. Only: we now live in a completely different world than in the sixties. It is now much easier to access other ideas, literature, arguments for a completely different worldview.”

Eva Fodor also talked about hopes related to the new American administration, mentioning that “so much needs to be reversed: from the rule of law and universities to school textbooks at primary school.”

Read the article (in Dutch, subscription required) here, or without paywall (also in Dutch) here.

Photo: Flickr / Annika Haas (EU2017EE)
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