the view from the Czech republic

Tabery_westeast_468wEric Tabery at Eurozine:

A glance into western media makes far from pleasant reading for people in our region. At times it seems as though we never belonged to the free world – according to our friends to the West – and that the last 25 years were nothing more than an anomaly, a strange pause while we gave freedom a try.

Now we yearn to return to what the essayist and dissident Milan Simecka, just before the fall of communism, termed “that comfortable unfreedom where those in power know how to stop time and maintain stasis”.

Are we really condemned never to learn how to live freely, as some in the West believe? Have the Hungarians and now the Poles too gone down the road to totalitarianism?

And why are these westerners so upset, when the French came close to electing Marine Le Pen and when various flavours of extremists are on the rise in many countries? Are we being held to a double standard?

The fact remains that Hungary has become an authoritarian state where the leading political party does not throw its opponents into prison, yet has set up the rules and the state apparatus such that the entire country is controlled by one political force.

more here.