Élet és Irodalom


Váhanie je dobré / Esej

“Európa má tvar môjho mozgu,“ napísal rumunský autor Mircea Cartarescu v jednom zo svojich fejtónov a svoje tvrdenie upresnil: „Byť Európanom pre mňa neznamená byť dobrý (lepší ako iný), ale byť zložitý, byť komplikovanou postavou plnou vnútorných protikladov, ktorá ich však dokáže spoznať a vyriešiť“. * Môj obraz Európy je tiež subjektívny, aj ja spájam Európu s rozmanitosťou, zložitosťou, komplikovanou protikladnosťou. Nech sa Európska Únia akokoľvek snaží nastoliť jednotu, fakt je, že Európ je veľa, že je to „skutočná konfederácia viacrozmerných Európ“ (Cartarescu), spolunažívajúcich v nesúčasnosti súčasného, pretože ich formuje nielen skutočnosť, ale aj predstavy, sny a spomienky. Dalo by sa […]

Zbytková demokracia / Esej

Ešte predtým, než než maďarský parlament stihol prijal doplnky k ústave, ktoré predtým zavrhol Ústavný súd, Ákos Szilágyi opísal mechanizmus rozkladu demokracie v Maďarsku. Na jar roku 2010 sa v jednom z členských štátov Európskej únie odohrala “volebná revolúcia”. Týmto štátom bolo Maďarsko. Maďarský ľud sa od víťaza volieb neskôr dozvedel, že svojimi hlasmi nepripravil o moc neschopnú len ľavicovú vládu, ale že zničil liberálnu demokraciu, ktorej základy položila revolúcia a právny štát po roku 1989. Postupne sa začali čoraz jasnejšie vynárať obrysy nového systému, ktorý nahradil zničenú liberálnu demokraciu a ústavnosť. Tejto populistická pseudorevolúcia dali názov “Národná spolupráca”. Zakladajúci […]


Photo: Peter Župník When I’’m asked where I feel I belong, in Hungary where I was born, in Switzerland where I grew up, or in Italy where I live, I answer: in all three countries, to varying degrees and intensity. If I can see that such distinctions may tax the enquirer’’s patience, I simply say: in Europe. But to be honest, I really don’’t know what that means, unless we’’re talking about biographical facts: that I was born in Europe as a European woman to European parents. Or that I find Europe by and large familiar, that I’’d probably be […]

Europe’’s secret name

Photo: Gareth Cattermole / Getty Images Give Europe a soul was the motto under which one of the Fathers of the European Union, Jacques Delors, launched a campaign for the cultural consolidation of Europe a few years ago. He was convinced that a common identity needed to be developed which went deeper than the Schengen Agreement and the common currency, otherwise individual interests could break the Union. While his intent was surely as serious as it was honest, the attendant expectations were somewhat naive. For, might one ask whether a soul could be prescribed, like cost saving measures or penicillin? […]

My Hungarians

Photo: Laszlo Balogh / Reuters Forty years ago I celebrated my thirtieth birthday in San Diego together with Herbert Marcuse and Reinhard Lettau. The birthday dinner was not very appetizing, red sausages and mashed potatoes, which were served to us in a restaurant called Der Wiener Schnitzel. An elderly man was sitting at one of the tables, all alone, who was also picking at his food. Lettau said that he was a Hungarian who had fallen ill because of his homesickness. A homesick Hungarian writer, whose lines had never been read by anybody, sitting in a depressing fast-food restaurant in […]

You Hungarian! Me German! Basta!

Photo: Victoria Bonn-Meuser/AFP/Getty Images In March 2011 I was invited to a book presentation in Portugal. Many people attended the evening event with the reading and the following discussion, the audience was patient. However, the question of a young man changed the friendly and open-minded climate of the interested public from one moment to the next. All of a sudden, we were reduced to being Germans and Portuguese who looked at each other in a hostile manner. The question was not nice. The young man asked whether we, and he referred to me as a German, were not currently achieving […]

From crisis to crisis

Crisis. For the past eighteen months this word has brought to mind mostly one thing: the financial crisis triggered by the collapse of Lehman Brothers and the shockwaves it has sent throughout the world leaving no country unaffected, including Hungary. While every effort is being made to avoid further risk on the global scale, Hungary – a country with a fragile economy – has started losing foreign investors and their financial trust. Ever since the crisis began in 2008 its moral aspects have been the subject of an intense debate, particularly the fact that the real cause of the crisis is what […]

The radicals

All the signs are that FIDESZ [Alliance of Young Democrats-Hungarian Civic Union, the largest opposition party in Hungary – tr.] will again have to fight on two fronts.  Chairman Viktor Orbán’’s much-vaunted politics of one camp under one flag, first launched over ten years ago, appears once again to be collapsing, as the spectacular advances being made by Jobbik [Movement for a Better Hungary – —tr.] are forcing the largest opposition party to devote its energies not only to challenging the liberal left but also to launch an attack on the extreme right party. Not that those who set the […]