Go West: A Brief Yet Defeatist View of Hungarian Mentality Via Its History – by someone who may or may not have the right to produce such writing

Hungarians hate everyone but themselves, and with the latter things aren’t even that clear. We’re a funny people like that. When we see someone higher up we will fall all over ourselves to lick and clean their boots, to put it very politely. I’m sure it stems from the empire, when alliance with the those closest, or as close as possible, to the emperor meant you at the very least had some measure of security in your life. Or maybe it comes from when we were riding through the steppes, wherever they may be (if you recall, no one is sure where exactly we’re from. Most scholars’ money is on Mongolia, we prefer a “slightly mystical valley from which we went West.” 

Since either selective memory or dementia kicked in by the time we arrived (or else we’d been traveling for so long each generation forgot more than the next), by the time we settled down, even the descendants – the great-great-great-great sons of those who’d initially left – had forgotten where we came from and pretty much tethered their belongings and livestock to the ground because everyone at one point or another gets tired of traveling, albeit only for a little while. 

Which may or may not explain why we’re such jerks. When we set up camp permanently we gave up one of our most fundamental needs, to travel, to move around, to hunt and gather, but mainly to kill for a living. We forgot what it was that brought us into this new valley in the first place, and as with all things you repress, it made us cranky and unhappy. Then, our neighbors near and far, at varying points in the new country’s history, decided to do unto us as we had done to either them or their neighbors, and henceforth defeat followed defeat. By the time they lay claims to our land, we’d forgotten again, and all that remained was a bitter taste in our mouth and nothing left to fight, except to help the enemy, who was now ruling over us, repeating either what we’d done to most peoples as we were leaving the original valley that begat us, or what had made us move in the first place. Resigned to the will of whatever higher power had defeated us, we submitted ourselves to our fate, alternately cursing God (some of us), and asking Him for help. 

Is it any wonder then that our thoughts are so bitter and always bring us and those around us bad luck? That we commence things with an attitude of, whatever we commit ourselves to, it’ll always bring us and everyone else we associate with impossible luck? 

And yet, I am speaking out of line, attempting to be an impostor, for my father’s people were neither of this nor of the other land. They came from another place, farther away, by an entirely different route. And maybe I am part of my mother’s people after all, when I unwittingly take on their attitude by claiming that having lived here for generations is not enough? That we are still that other thing as well, because that other thing defines us more, marking us as outsiders. And the everlasting question remains, who am I in all of this, and how much of this country can I / am I allowed to actually claim



  1. I know of a similar story on the island that I am based and it sucks. Sometimes, people are ignorant of history and their roots making them to interpret wrong politics, race, and identity. Kudos to you for coming with such a brutally honest post.


    • I think I have the advantage of belonging but also being an outsider, as I didn’t grow up here. Gives you a different perspective. It’s sad when people reinterpret their history to suit their needs. Even sadder that it happens the world over. Good thing is, my friends aren’t like that. So there’s hope.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. This was an interesting read. I started dating a girl whose father is proudly Hungarian. It’s interesting to hear an different opinion than his for once. I like the absence of any self/national-aggrandisement in your writing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you. There is a lot of populism here, (almost) more so when you live abroad. And Hungarian fathers of daughters are in a league of their own. Learn the language if you truly want to impress him. Hungarians, it seems, went from self-deprecating to seeing themselves as the Guardians of Europe and Its White Values. Which is also a reason I wrote this. I can’t ever defend populism, or get behind authoritarianism, which is the other thing here. But then I’m only half Hungarian. And I’m huge on sarcasm and irony. Feel free to ask if you have any questions, here or in private.

      Wishing you guys good luck.

      Liked by 1 person

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