I'm here in Eastern Europe trying to find the answer to the question: what's the truth about Hungary?
It's taken me here to Romania, to a Hungarian festival held by the large Hungarian minority in the country. There's concerts, camping, food and all sorts of fun stuff, but there's also some political discussions.
There's some kiosks from different non-governmental organizations, and I thought one was very interesting. It was a tent shared by a number of groups: the Hungarian Archives, the Hungarian language defence organization, a minority rights group. And then there was a family-oriented NGO.
One of the interesting things about Hungary is they've decided to stop their demographic decline, which at one point was just 1.3 children per family. When you've got a population of 10 million, and families are barely having one kid, that country's not going to be around long.
In response, the Hungarian government has brought in a lot of family-oriented policies, including one where mothers who have four kids or more pay no income tax for life.
I spoke to Lily Bonyhadi, an intern with the Danube Institute, about the slogans on the walls of the tent. She told us how these slogans, translated into English, read “all of the desired and all of the planned kids should be born,” “the most important source of happiness is an inclusive and supporting community,” “positive quality of life, happiness doesn't mean a state or an experience; it means striving towards our goals.”
They're deeper slogans than we have in the West. The cultural frontline in Canada is transgender extremism.
Lily continued reading the rest: “marriage is a bond for life between one man and one woman,” “the mature personality is building another mature personality.”
While this is a private foundation, Lily told me how this reflected government policy in Hungary these days.
“A lot of policies are directed at supporting families, supporting kids, supporting young adults starting their life,” she said.
We're in neighbouring Romania, in a town that is 90% Hungarian, and to see these kinds of messages is such a stark contrast to back in the West. We didn't encounter anyone who uses pronouns, or says 'I'm they/them' or 'xi/xir'. There's no pink hair.
It's a very different feeling to be in a place where they're worried about history, culture, families and continuity. It's very different from Canada. And that's why we're here, to learn the truth about Hungary — not what the media says about the country.
If you want to follow along with all of our reports, or support our citizen journalism, visit our website TheTruthAboutHungary.com.