Prime Minister Viktor Orbán - Photo: PMO

Orbán: All Hungarians ‘have a little bit of Petofi in them’

Prime Minister Viktor Orbán marked the 175th anniversary of the 1848-49 revolution and freedom fight at the birthplace of Hungary's national poet, Sandor Petofi, in Kiskoros, in the south of the country, on Wednesday. In a speech in front of the house where Petofi was born 200 years earlier, Orbán said "all Hungarians have a little bit of Petofi in them, and everything Hungarian is contained in Petofi".

He said the life of the revolutionary, whose poems every Hungarian has learnt to recite as schoolchildren, was “a 26-year trajectory through the Hungarian heavens that started deep in Hungary and ended on a trail of stars”. March 15 marks the “birth of Hungarian freedom”, and the “march of freedom” begins in Kiskoros, he added.

Hungarians consider Petofi their greatest poet because he “contains both Hungarian fate and Hungarian genius”, he said, noting that his works have been translated into more than 200 languages. Petofi “died as he wrote: as an apostle of global freedom, in a battle for Hungary’s freedom”, he added.

Orbán said Petofi had delivered an answer to the question of what gives greater meaning to finite life and to country and quoted from the poet’s National Song: “Shall we be slaves or men set free? That is the question, answer me!”

“The great march of Hungarian freedom, though it has sometimes taken some twists and turns and sometimes even run into dead ends over the past 200 years, is still going strong today. And Sandor Petofi is still with us in that march today,” Orbán said.

“We see him rebel when strangers want to tell Hungarians how to live. We see him turning against the powers of the world who want to reintegrate Hungarians into a European superstate,” he added.

He also noted that the poet had prefaced his “Twelve Points” of the Hungarian revolutionaries with “Let there be peace”.

“We owe it to him, and that is why we will never allow the flag of freedom to be twisted out of the hands of Hungarians,” he said.

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