Canada granted political asylum to writer Ákos Kertész. ( Ákos Kertész is not to be mixed with writer Imre Kertész. The latter Kertész got a literary Nobel prize for his Holocaust piece “Sorstalanság”/Fatelessness, while the former Kertész got “only” the highest award of Hungary, that is the Kossuth Prize).
So Ákos Kertész will never return to Hungary and “good riddance!” is really the best response I can think of. But then let’s see whom Canada rewarded in such a way and what message this sends to Hungary and Hungarians.
Kertész wrote this verbatim in the US weekly Amerikai Népszava on the 29th August 29, 2011: “Hungarians are genetically subservient”. He also claimed that “now only the Hungarians can be blamed for the Holocaust as the Hungarian nation remained the only one which, unlike the Germans, had failed to admit, confess and repent for their sins”. He also likened Hungarians to pigs who “like to wallow in the mud, happily grunting and guzzling swill, without worrying about the butcher who will soon slit their throats.”
Kertész was repeatedly called on to apologize for a long time but he defied all these requests. There was a lengthy debate on the so-called Left how Kertész could possibly mean “genetically subservient” in a non-racist way, the semantics of the word “genetically”, how this could be interpreted in some other way than what it means and why Hungarians are genetically subservient indeed just like Kertész put it, etc. Though many of his “left-wing” comrades stood by Kertész, as one could really expect them to, still some of them, e.g. Ákos Mesterházy, the editor-in-chief of far-left-(liberal) weekly 168 Óra, also said straight away this statement of Kertész simply cannot be defended, “the writing is ghastly” and Kertész had better apologize.
In the end, after several weeks of heated discussions, Kertész eventually issued a statement: “Correctly there doesn’t exist such a sentence (that Hungarians are genetically subservient)”. Yes, this is what he considered as an apology. However Hungarians didn’t think so. The Budapest City Council stripped Kertész of his honorary Budapest citizenship a few months later. There were also demands to strip him of the Kossuth Prize but unfortunately this did not happen. I guess it’s not a big surprise that the international media echoed Kertész : “ they launched a witch hunt against me and they fuel the extremists” and that “I’ve been subject to constant harassment and threats; I was attacked in the street and my life was in jeopardy.” Soon Kertész left for Canada and he applied for political asylum.
After this decision of the Canadian authorities, the issue is not the rabid anti-Hungarian stance of some Jewish writer and his cohorts. The issue is that Canada condones this.
Now I do wonder how the Canadians would take that if a notable, decorated Canadian writer wrote, say, “Canadians are genetically inferior” and then if he insisted on that. Would they get upset at him? If yes then what would Canadians think in the hypothetical case this writer would flee to Hungary and then Hungary would grant political asylum to him?
Canada has not confirmed yet since last week if they provided asylum to Kertesz indeed. “We are not going to summon Canada’s ambassador merely based on the words of Ákos Kertész”, Hungarian Foreign Ministry spokesman Gábor Kalota said.