The Fisherman's Bastion was lit up red, white and green to mark National Cohesion Day – Photo: MTI

Karacsony marks 'shared trauma' of Trianon treaty

Kover sees Trianon as ‘tragedy survived’

"A tragedy happened 101 years ago" when the Trianon Peace Treaty was signed on June 4, but "we have survived and the Hungarian nation is doing well", House Speaker Laszlo Kover said on Friday, marking the anniversary of the treaty which ceded two thirds of Hungary's territory and nearly three fifths of its population to neighbouring countries.

Speaking on commercial HirTV in the evening, Kover highlighted the nation’s achievement of survival despite its being reduced not only in terms of territory and population but also being stripped of most of its resources and military capabilities.

Kover also spoke highly of the achievements of the ethnic Hungarian communities in neighbouring countries, whose members “stayed a part of the Hungarian nation but also lived as loyal taxpayers of those countries… and contributed to their development with hard work”.

The Hungarian government has provided assistance to ethnic Hungarians to help them prosper in their homelands and ensure a perspective, Kover said. He suggested, however, that promoting the rights of ethnic Hungarians had been neglected, assuming that “the political regime change and democracy would solve those problems”. The European Union was also hoped to address those issues, but “50 million citizens in indigenous minorities are drifting more and more to the periphery of the EU’s focus”, he said.

Kover slammed the European Parliament for “working against democracy in Europe rather than promoting it”. He insisted that proponents of plans “to vote for party lists compiled in Brussels” are “either ignorant of what the average voter thinks or are playing a cynical game under the pretext of democracy; they are in fact supporters of oligarchs that seek to make Europe an empire rather than the federation of independent and sovereign nation states”.

Karacsony marks ‘shared trauma’ of Trianon treaty

The WWI Trianon Peace Treaty under which two-thirds of Hungary’s territory was ceded to neighbouring countries is the nation’s “shared trauma”, Budapest Mayor Gergely Karacsony said on Friday, marking National Cohesion Day. Hungary can live up to its heritage by engaging in everyday actions aimed at strengthening national cohesion, the mayor said on Facebook.

“It is beyond dispute that Trianon is a shared trauma,” he wrote. “It forever turned the lives of millions of Hungarians beyond the border upside down. Being a minority Hungarian is an everyday task and no doubt a struggle.”

Karacsony said that while the struggles of ethnic Hungarians should be neither trivialised nor heroised, “the one thing we definitely can’t do is ignore it.”

For decades left-wing politicians had called for Hungary to break out from under the shadow of Trianon, Karacsony said. “But I say that if we want to process the past for the sake of the future, then the left, too, must step into that shadow,” he added. “It begins by declaring that Trianon doesn’t belong to the right, but to all of us Hungarians.”

“We must therefore commemorate the trauma of Trianon by telling the truth about the injustice that it was, but not by seeking refuge from reality and the tasks of the present among our grievances,” the mayor wrote. “And we mustn’t forget for one moment that we are each other’s companions in misfortune, and not enemies.”

Ruling parties mark National Cohesion Day

“A nation with sufficient pride and agility will not be stripped of its future either by its borders being changed or by way of the interests of world powers,” the group leader of the ruling Fidesz-Christian Democratic parties in the Budapest assembly said on Friday, marking the Day of National Cohesion, the anniversary of the Trianon peace treaty concluding WWI.

Zsolt Lang referred to the 1920 treaty as “the most unfair international agreement in the world” adding that “it is crucial that we know our own history and gain strength from its tragic events”.

Istvan Simicsko, the Christian Democrats’ parliamentary group leader, interpreted the message of National Cohesion Day as “no matter where they live, each Hungarian is important for the country, where they can always return”. “Hungary is our homeland, Hungarians are our nation and we all belong together,” he said.

Simicsko said that the Hungarian nation, including its ethnic minorities, “have been part of a Christian Europe since King Saint Stephen” and “though torn apart, it preserves its values and looks into the future with responsibility”. Referring to Hungary’s constitution, he said the document “gives a legal framework to values supporting Hungarians and the country’s minorities”, adding that “re-uniting through public law” the nation and ethnic Hungarians in other countries had been “the best possible reaction to the trauma of Trianon”. “The nation embraces each of its members wherever they may live in the world; it reacts in the language of love,” he added.

Gergely Gulyas, the prime minister’s chief of staff, attended a ceremony in Satoraljaujhely, a city in north-eastern Hungary divided by the Trianon border with southern Slovakia, and pointed to the nation’s ability to “build communities without respect to borders, which can promote the shared Hungarian heritage”. “We may be separated by borders, however, national ties are stronger than those of states,” he added.

Referring to the Hungarian parliament’s granting preferential citizenship to ethnic kin, Gulyas said that “now one million Hungarian citizens [in other countries] can rely on Hungary’s protection and help”. “Citizenship has been granted to everybody that belongs to the Hungarian state,” he said, adding that the government was working to “ensure a future to cross-border Hungarians, too”.

Cohesion House opens in Budapest

Szilard Nemeth, state secretary at the defence ministry, inaugurated a National Cohesion House on southern Budapest’s Csepel Island on Friday, the anniversary of the post-WWI Trianon Peace Treaty.

“Today we have to fight for the same cause as our predecessors, to protect the homeland,” Nemeth said in his address at the ceremony. “We need to defend the homeland not only within the borders cut in 1920 but in terms of the whole nation… what we think to be our homeland in the Carpathian Basin,” he said.

Nemeth read out a letter by the House speaker, in which Laszlo Kover warned that “in the future each European could be impacted by plans of a Trianon of the 21st century, bringing political subordination in one’s own homeland, economic exploitation and humiliation under the motto of a United States of Europe”.

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