Voices of Tolerance: Máté Hajba In Focus
Máté Hajba is one of the “Promoting Tolerance” 2015 fellows from Hungary. He is currently Director of the Free Market Foundation (and a former Vice President) and Vice President of Civic Platform. Mr. Hajba studied law at Péter Pázmány Catholic University. He has contributed articles to the international platform “4liberty.eu”, to international media such as “Young Voices Advocates”, to regional Hungarian newspapers, etc. He is a frequent guest speaker at different conferences such as “Students for Liberty”, “Language of Liberty Camp”, “Enemies of Freedom”, and “Liberty vs Radicalism”, both in Hungary and abroad.
Watch a video with him here, where he addresses the following questions: “Why is respect for human rights and tolerance towards minorities so important for him and Hungary?” and “Which is the major characteristic of anti-Semitism in Hungary?”
He shares the following motivation to participate in the Promoting Tolerance Programme: “Anti-Semitic and racist sentiments are gaining fearful popularity in Hungary, where the far-right party has grown to be the second most popular political entity. As the Director of the Hungarian Free Market Foundation I am constantly struggling with the intolerant voices and I feel it is not only my job, but my personal duty to promote tolerance as it is one of the most important democratic values and the most important cornerstone of a peaceful coexistence.”
Máté Hajba adds also that: “I have always been dedicated to the notion that “all men are created equal” but a firm belief is not enough. Actions must be taken to preserve this most important of notions, which, fortunately I can do on a daily basis with the Free Market Foundation.”
In conclusion he summarizes that: “My daily life is dominated by promoting tolerance which I am doing enthusiastically, although wishing racism wouldn't be gaining popularity. I believe it is important to talk about it, to understand why people think the way they do and to promote tolerance via dialogue. I would like to be better at what I do and I know this programme is a perfect opportunity to do so.”
In his essay on Anti-Semitism he highlights the following challenges and trends: “The far-right is gaining popularity in Hungary. People have not only not learned from history, many of them want to go back to a dark era of this country. Anti-Semitism is seeping into the government as well and there is no united political force to stop it. The far-right party, which is buzzing with anti-Jewish sentiments, is shifting the direction of its communications, trying to be sound more centrist, and thus they gaining more and more voters, but many of their high ranking officials are still the same hate-mongers. Unfortunately, many people fail to realize this.”
He draws attention also to the fact that: “I fear that when, if ever, a wakeup call comes it would be too late. People couldn’t be bothered to inform themselves sufficiently before voting, before associating themselves with such an ideology. Many NGOs are hard at work changing this, but they are being discredited by government propaganda.”
Find his whole essay here.
For more information for “Promoting Tolerance” Programme: here.
Photos from the seminar in Belgrade can be found here: