Photo: MTI

Hungary winning again 100 years after Trianon: Orbán

‘Great times’ out of defeat

Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has said Hungary is "winning again" in a speech at the inauguration of a monument in Sátoraljaújhely, in the northeast of the country, to mark the 100th anniversary of the Trianon Peace Treaty. "There is not a single nation in the world that could have endured such a century, but we have not only endured, today we are winning again," he said.

“The era of a hundred years of solitude is over,” Orbán said. “It is uplifting that we have allies again, we have good neighbours and we can prepare for the future together.” Orbán said the next decade will not be about eclipses and losses but about prosperity and nation-building.

“It is our generation that can turn the fate of Hungary, that can complete the mission and bring the country to the gates of victory, but the decisive battle must be fought by the generation after us, they must take the final steps.” It would not be easy but it would be worth it: “Great times are ahead of you”.

Speaking at the “Hungarian Calvary”, a monument to the cities lost to Hungary after the Trianon treaty was signed, Orbán said Hungarians had not disappeared but had “established a homeland here, preserving our unique quality”.

He said: “We defended ourselves against the attacks of the Western empires, we recovered from the devastation left by the pagans from the East, defining and maintaining our place in Europe. Hungary was a strong and independent state for 400 years, then we struggled against the Ottoman Empire for 300 years, then after 200 years of failed uprisings and fights for freedom we entered the gates of the 20th century as a partner nation of a great European empire.

“Although many Hungarians fell on the battlefields over the centuries, the whole world could see that if we are struck down we stand up again and again.”

Orbán said women have a special place at the Hungarian Calvary as they have “always made up for our losses. We owe it to our women that the art of survival and nation-building is in our genes. We owe it to them that we are the European champions of survival.

Photo: MTI

“We did not become a German province, a Turkish vilayet (administrative division) or a Soviet republic. We Hungarians are a great, culture-building and state-organising nation.” Hungary had later been “stabbed in the back by the conspiracies in Budapest” and “the country was handed over to our enemies, the government to the Bolsheviks.

“The West raped the thousand-year-old borders and history of Central Europe. They forced us to live between indefensible borders, deprived us of our natural treasures, separated us from our resources and made a death row out of our country.

“Central Europe was redrawn without moral concerns. We will never forget that they did this. After World War II we were thrown to the communists without heartache. The reward of the Poles, the Czechs and the Slovaks was the same as our punishment. May this be an eternal lesson for the peoples of Central Europe,” Orbán said.

“There have been many who wished to bury Hungary [but] we were never willing to attend our own funeral. Today there is no Czechoslovakia, no Yugoslavia nor a Soviet Union. There is no British or French empire. We Hungarians, on the other hand, will remain … We remain because we are at home. We are at home and therefore we remain.

“Hungarians are contracting and expanding like the human heart, but we have been living for a thousand and a hundred years where our great state founders chose our place. We need to live with the self-confidence and attitude of a nation that knows it has given more to the world than it has received from it. Our performance entitles us to continue our history. And today we also need to know that we have had worse borders, yet we are here,” he added.

“We are happy to build the common future with Slovakia, Serbia, Croatia and Slovenia, which are proud of their national identity. History has given the chance, perhaps the last, for the peoples of Central Europe to open a new era.”

In the last ten years, Orbán said, we have proven to our neighbours that if the vitality of the Hungarian national fragments adds up, it is good not only for us but also for them. “Only the state has borders, the nation does not. Those who have yet to understand it would do better to hurry because they’re running out of time.

“We haven’t been this strong in a hundred years. Our political, spiritual, economic and cultural gravitational force is growing day by day. The return of Hungarians has begun. Strength comes with responsibility, and we are aware of the weight of our responsibility.

“We express our heartfelt gratitude and our highest appreciation to our separated national communities for a century of endurance and loyalty to the Hungarian nation and their homeland.”

The Treaty of Trianon

The Treaty of Trianon was prepared at the Paris Peace Conference and was signed in the Grand Trianon Palace in Versailles on June 4, 1920. It formally ended World War I between the Allies, or Entente – consisting primarily of France, Great Britain, Italy, Russia and later the United States – and the Central Powers, primarily comprised of Austria-Hungary (the Habsburg Empire), Germany and the Ottoman Empire (Turkey). French diplomats played the major role in designing the treaty, with a mind to establishing a French-led coalition of the newly formed nations. It regulated the status of the independent Hungarian state and defined its borders generally within the ceasefire lines established in November-December 1918 and left Hungary as a landlocked state that included 93,073 square kilometres, 28% of the 325,411 square kilometres that had constituted the pre-war kingdom of Hungary (the Hungarian half of the Austro-Hungarian monarchy). The new kingdom had a population of 7.6 million, 36% compared to the pre-war kingdom’s population of 20.9 million. Though the areas that were allocated to neighbouring countries had a majority of non-Hungarians, in them lived 3.3 million Hungarians – 31% – who were now in a minority status.

Linguistic, cultural minority rights must be protected, say Hungarian organisations

The linguistic and cultural rights of minority communities deserve legal protections, an NGO representing Hungarian national minority organisations in Western Europe has said in a memorandum sent to Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) and other minority organisations in Europe.

The president of the Federation of Hungarian Associations and Organisations, Ernő Deák, sent the memorandum to 17 national minority organisations and to all MEPs in four languages – German, French, English and Hungarian – calling on governments to ensure the peaceful development of minorities in all areas of life based on a coordinated, balanced reconciliation of interests.

The spirit of democratic pluralism and the linguistic and cultural diversity of Europe must be protected, he wrote, adding that it was natural to make a reassessment of minority rights in light of the 100th anniversary of the post-World War One Trianon treaty, and place them on a new footing based on full equality.

The Chain Bridge lit up with the colours of the Hungarian flag on the 100th anniversary of the Treaty of Trianon. (Photo: MTI)

Linguistic and cultural communities formed during historical processes and as a result of “arbitrarily drawn” state borders, should be preserved, the memorandum said. Minorities, like national nations, should enjoy full political, legal, social and cultural equality. The unequivocal task and duty of the European Union was to implement these principles.

Párbeszéd: Trianon synonym of ‘injustice’

The deputy group leader of opposition Párbeszéd called the Trianon Peace Treaty of 1920 a “synonym of injustice” and “a national tragedy” at a party commemoration of the centenary in Budapest. “It does not matter who is right-wing or left-wing, liberal, green or conservative this time, because Trianon is an all-Hungarian affair. Everyone must respect the pain caused by a historical trauma and the human destinies Trianon broke,” Bence Tordai said in his address.

Trianon’s main message is that nobody can be allowed to be excluded from Hungarian society, “yet there are some who would do exactly that today”, he said. “Some people reserve the right to say who is a real Hungarian and who is not. And there are some who easily and regularly brand others as traitors and the enemies of the Hungarian nation because they have a political opinion different from theirs. I call them the champions of division and hypocrisy.”

He said that one hundred years after Trianon “we must turn to a Europe without borders, where countries represent their interests together as a community, where they are not burdened by tensions, where culture can freely trespass borders and everybody can be a Hungarian without suffering disadvantage for it”.

Jankovics drawings on display

An exhibition showing hundreds of drawings by acclaimed graphic artist and director Marcell Jankovics has opened in Budapest. It marks the centenary of the Trianon Peace Treaty by displaying the drawings about major events in Hungarian history from the start of Ottoman Turkish occupation in 1526 to the Trianon signing in 1920. In his opening address, house speaker László Kövér said Hungary “is in the midst of a change in mentality to learn to be ourselves”. The exhibition, only available online when this edition of the Budapest times went to press, will show until July 26 in Pesti Vigadó.

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