Oppressed minorities held hostage at the EU negotiating table

Biting the mouth that feeds: Orbán uses migrants, LGBTQIA+ and women to raise walls around an anachronistic idea of the state against ‘liberal’ attacks.

The Polish have started mobilising against the decision of their authoritarian government to further restrict their bodily autonomy. Now, Europe faces another fundamental attack on human rights on the part of the far-right Hungarian government.

On 11 November 2020, right before the second lockdown, Victor Orbán’s government announced a restrictive amendment to the constitution that meddles in the personal lives of citizens.

The draft amendment spearheaded by their justice minister Judit Varga declares that children must be guaranteed an “upbringing based on values stemming from Hungary’s (…) Christian culture”.

Viktor Orbán’s embrace of Christian values is an attempt at reasserting the dominant colonial narrative in its new pandemic oligarchic configurations. Hegemonies have always been built through the exclusion, appropriation and demonisation of historically marginalised bodies, namely women, queer, religious and ethnic ‘others’.

Instrumentalising the COVID-19 pandemic to apply what is known as the “shock doctrine”, far-right movements throughout Europe and around the world are making their most unpopular moves against human rights in what hints at a coordinated strategy driven by opportunism.

It has become apparent, following the veto by the Polish and Hungarian axis on the EU budget and COVID-19 recovery package, that the negotiating table for wanna-be dictators is a place of contradictions.

The patriarchilization of Polish and Hungarian society and its polarisation against the EU has made coming to political compromise impossible without putting the very concept of masculinity, embodied by the leader of the state, in question.

Victor Orbán is holding to ransom oppressed minorities in Hungary to force the hand of a union desperate to mitigate the economic fallout of pandemia. In the case of Orbán’s Hungarian project, he cannot be seen by his electorate as ‘giving in’ to the EU and its demands to uphold the law of the Union. This would certainly create doubts around the credibility of his politics–the politics of systemic violence, division, racism and patriarchy enacted through economic, environmental, racial and gender injustice, delegitimization and abuse.

As Robert M. Cover brilliantly points out in his essay on violence that this is a politics enacted through language and normative interpretation in order to deliberately inflict “pain in order to destroy the …. capacity to create shared realities” necessary for any healthy society.

Power and wealth does not come for free, we are tired of being asked to pay the price. The LGBTQIA+ community is here to stay: Rainbow rights are Human Rights!

Photo Source: European Council Newsroom.

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