The House of Hungarian Music, built as part of the Liget Budapest project, was officially opened yesterday, on the Day of Hungarian Culture.
Prime Minister Viktor Orbán was also in attendance at the event, and in his speech he praised the beauty of the building before he began to talk about “how our political opponents behaved on the issue of renovating City Park.” It was no coincidence, said Orbán, that “the Mayor of Budapest happened to have something else to do today.”
Looking at this beautiful building, the crowded lines, and the many international accolades the building has received, “it is clearer than day that we were right,” he claimed. According to the Prime Minister, the left-wing defended what was devastated, inhabited, and unworthy, while it opposed what is beautiful, world-class, and uplifting.
“It’s tempting, but maybe not appropriate to deal with political revenge on the Day of Hungarian Culture,” he noted. “Let’s not forget it but just postpone it,” and instead “play our song in April,” said the head of government, in reference to parliamentary elections scheduled for April 3.
Following this, the Prime Minister outlined his vision of a struggling West. In his interpretation, this is not an East-West stuggle but rather a conflict within the West itself, which he plans to resolve by expanding Hungarian culture. Orbán urged his listeners to turn to the classical values of high culture, as high culture can mediate, command respect, and demand attention “in this Babylonian turmoil.”
Karácsony: “This Building Was Not Created by Culture, But by Barbaric Violence”
Budapest Mayor Gergely Karácsony also offered his thoughts on the House of Hungarian Music in a strongly-worded Facebook post:
On the Day of Culture, it is especially important to remind ourselves that this building was not created by culture, but by barbaric violence. Violence against the city’s most important public park. Violence against trees that were cut down and against the over 100-year-old sycamores which had their water supply destroyed by the building. Violence against the rule of law, as special laws were created to permit its construction, waving away previously-existing legal regulations. Violence against the will of the people, as a large proportion of public opinion was against its construction, and my referendum initiative urging its termination was illegally blocked. Literal brutal violence against citizens who protested the project, who were beaten up by criminal security guards. And violence against taxpayers, because as usual, the investment project went way over its originally-planned budget, costing more than 10 million Ft. per square meter.
Despite this, Mayor Karácsony wrote that now that the project is completed, it might as well be used, and as a music lover himself, he also expects to pay a visit to the House of Hungarian Music.
But let’s never forget that culture is more than music or architechture – culture is respect and attentiveness. And if Hungary did not have a violent and barbaric government but a cultured government, in this sense, then perhaps with this amount of money a much more beautiful House of Music could have been built in another location.