In a video recently posted to his personal Facebook page, János Lázár, Chief of the Prime Minister’s Office, can be seen walking the streets of Vienna, claiming that the city has become “dirtier,” “poorer,” and less white since “migrants have moved there.”
Lázár, one of the Orbán government’s most prominent politicians, published the clip last night. Standing on the street as ominous piano music plays in the background, he claims that he is in “one of Vienna’s infamous districts, where 20 years ago there were no immigrants at all”, but where
Today, the only white Christians in this district are pensioners, everyone else here is an immigrant…We will see, if the opposition parties let migrants into Hungary, what Budapest will look like in 20 years; perhaps it will look like this. We are working to prevent this phenomenon.
You can view the video (with English subtitles) below:
Over the course of roughly 2minutes, Lázár also claims that none of the “migrants…. could speak German”, and that the city now contains “a great number of schools” where “there are no white Viennese children left, only the children of Muslim immigrants and immigrants from the Middle East.”
Continuing in this vein, the PMO Chief went so far as to argue that
The White Christian Austrians moved out and the migrants took control of this neighborhood.
Earlier today, Facebook actually removed Lázár’s video from their site; reportedly, the site said that the post “violated its principles forbidding comments that attack people based on their racial, ethnic or religious identity.” This, in turn, has led to some pro-government outlets claiming that Facebook is engaging in politically-motivated censorship.
Lázár’s comments about “migrants” versus “white Christians” come on the heels of comments made by the UN’s High Commissioner for Human Rights, who at the opening of the 37th session of the Human Rights Council argued that
Xenophobes and racists in Europe are casting off any sense of embarrassment, like Hungary’s Viktor Orban, who earlier this month said ‘we do not want our color … to be mixed in with others. Do they not know what happens to minorities in societies where leaders seek ethnic, national or racial purity?
These comments drew a severe response from Hungarian Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó, who called for Zeid bin Ra’ad al-Hussein’s immediate resignation (al-Hussein, a Jordanian prince who has been serving as the UN’s human rights chief since 2014, has previously indicated that he does not plan to seek another term once his current mandate expires in August).
And yesterday, al-Hussein doubled down on his earlier comments, saying he was standing by “every single word” of his earlier criticism.
While it was only published last night, Lázár’s video has already drawn a sharp rebuke from the Viennese government. In particular, Renate Brauner, Vienna’s State Minister of Finance, Economy, and International Affairs took the Hungarian politician to task for his comments, saying that she is
bewildered and shocked that a politician verbally attacks the capital of a neighboring country in such a way. The allegations are wrong in content and a sad example of xenophobia.
You can read her statement in its entirely below:
Stellungnahme zur herabwürdigenden Darstellung #Wiens durch Ungarns Minister Janos Lazar // Statement regarding the portrayal of Vienna in a video by Hungary’s Cabinet Minister Janos Lazar pic.twitter.com/iBQ5btzaPo
— Renate Brauner (@RenateBrauner) 2018. március 7.
In addition, while the Austrian government has, as of this piece’s publication, not yet responded to Lázár’s video, Bloomberg reports that the right-wing, anti-immigrant Freedom Party, which is a junior coalition partner, called the video “inappropriate” in a statement.
Nearly every Austrian newspaper wrote articles responding to the video. While several described Lázár’s post as a campaign move directed towards Hungarian voters, while one noted that, despite the PMO chief’s comments about “dirty” streets, the area behind him looked quite clean and well-maintained.
Via Facebook, index.hu, the Associated Press, Bloomberg, Twitter, and Origo
Image via YouTube
Video via YouTube