Hélène Bienvenu,Apr 22, 2022
La Hongrie sous Orban
Plein Jour 2022
"Who knows the name of the Czech prime minister, the name of the head of the Romanian or even the Polish executive branches? Yet, today everyone knows the name of the Hungarian leader: Viktor Orbán. To have a leader known outside the country's borders is a first for Hungarians. Some are frustrated by this: Hungary, they say, isn't just Viktor Orbán".
In La Hongrie sous Orban: Histoires de la Grande Plaine (Plein Jour, 2022), Corentin Léotard - together with Hélène Bienvenu, Thomas Laffitte, Joël Le Pavous, Jehan Paumero and Daniel Psenny - tell a series of stories about what else Hungary is but all under the shadow of Orbánism.
Among these are tales of the origins and corruption of Fidesz through the eyes of disillusioned co-founder József Kardos, of the power and inconvenience of national myth-making through the hunt for archaeological evidence of the "the battle that saved civilization” in Szigetvár, and of poverty in the borderlands offset by EU transfers in a pervasive environment of euroscepticism.
Hélène Bienvenu, who wrote or co-wrote six of the book's chapters, is a freelance photojournalist who has worked in Budapest since 2010 and recently relocated to Warsaw to work mostly for Le Monde.
*Her own book recommendations are: Dans la tête de Viktor Orbán by Amélie Poinssot (Éditions Actes Sud, 2019), Kaddish For An Unborn Child by Imre Kertész (Vintage Classics, 2017 - translated by Tim Wilkinson) and Last Witnesses: An Oral History of the Children of World War II by Svetlana Alexievich (Random House, 2019 - translated by Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky)
Tim Gwynn Jones is an economic and political-risk analyst at Medley Advisors (a division of Energy Aspects).