Dear friends and partners!
The Director of our Center tried to summarize some important details about the COVID-19 pandemic. He also raised some questions about this situation.
Unfortunately, our Center could not organise the annual summer seminar this year, therefore we tried to find a new way to reach all of you and spread the basic idea of our Institute, namely thinking about our future, thinking about Europe and the World. Feel free to express your views, opinions or feelings about the pandemic! Fell free to react to the questions of the Director! Write us about your thoughts!
We hope you would like to participate in our online debate. We will post the best essays on our homepage, and we are going to invite the best writers to our online debate with our Director.
We are waiting for your comments, essays, thoughts etc. to firstname.lastname@example.org (Deadline: 31.8.2020)
György Odze director
and the TEAM of the TCPA
It was an unprecedented crisis though not unpredictable. For years health risks in China were a potential time-bomb for the whole world. It was only question of time and luck when would this blow in to our faces. The Hungarian political life – as a whole and as other nations as well– acted late and in a hurry. However, after a week of doing nothing Viktor Orbán realised that he can make an opportunity out of the crisis by showing his real face: the militant and strong leader who likes to be in the frontline or create his own frontline if necessary. He has a two-third majority in parliament which enables him to act as he pleases but this was not enough for him. He raised the „Emergency Situation” rifle which allowed him to rule by decree and he used it effectively against the „liberals”, the media and „people who spread rumours”. There was an incredible rise in importing Chinese stuff, including almost 20 thousand ventilators in secret deals.
However, other players of the political game could not benefit from the situation. Oppositon leadears had no idea how to handle the situation so at the end Fidesz could gain another victory – this time not at the polls but in the game of popularity figures.
The health risk might be over but nobody knows now how to handle the economic crisis, what will happen to those firms which collapsed and to those people who have lost their jobs. Not only is Hungary in danger now, but the world – which did not wakeup in time.
And China came out clean after all.
It is not over, but it might happen again.
The question now is: what’s next? Populist governments seem to survive and even profit from the crisis. „Virus” was an excellent, invisible enemy and the fight against it needed no explanation or excuse. Was it really so dangerous? Did it really take so many lives? Were the measures taken more than necessary? Was it justified that elderly people should stay at home isolated not only from the disease but also from their only connection to the world: their loved ones who were also their only help in everyday life? Were all measures justified? Is it a normal syndrome that cities were isolated from each other? Is it a normal phenomenon that people are arrested for „spreading rumours” through internet? Where is the border between human liberty and social danger? Should certain measures, like wearing masks be compulsory or let each of us decide individually. Could the states finance the losses of companies by taxpayers money or let them try to survive alone? Were mistakes done by governments in trusting China? If yes, who and when? Are there any real moral or practical lesson to be learnt and will we really learn from it? Are we, each and everyone of us, more clever than we were before? Will this crisis change our lives? Do we really want this crisis to change our lives? I suppose that this is the most important question of all. To be strong and convinced enough to change – or be ready to change.
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