Opposition calls for 'peace, liberty and concord' in joint message
Orbán: One generation’s courage empowers the next
March 15 is not just a day of remembrance, but also one to be thankful, the prime minister said. “It was not just the Hungarians of 1848-49 who held their own, but we also drew strength from their courage in 1956 and later in 1989-90,” he said.
“This is how the nation is built,” Orbán said. “One generation’s courage and ability to hold its own is what gives strength to the next generation.”
“Today, the situation is the same,” he said. “Not only do we have to save lives and contain the pandemic, but we also have to set an example to our children and grandchildren through our successful management of the pandemic and our courage to hold our own, so that if they find themselves in trouble, they have something to look back on.”
Orbán expressed hope that Hungary would “have something to leave to our children”.
Opposition calls for ‘peace, liberty and concord’ in joint message
Hungary’s opposition parties posted a joint message titled “Let there be peace, liberty and concord!” on their Facebook pages on the occasion of the March 15 national holiday, citing the 12-point list of demands of the Hungarian revolutionaries of 1848.
Speaking first in the video, Agnes Kunhalmi, co-leader of the Socialist Party, said the past 173 years showed that every generation in every society must again and again fight for democracy.
Mate Kanasz-Nagy, the co-leader of LMP said that “when the nation is not free, what matters is not what makes us different from each other but what connects us”.
“Our common task now is to set aside our minor disagreements and differences so that together we can take up the gauntlet thrown before us,” Parbeszed MP Bence Tordai said.
Anna Orosz of Momentum said that in the future of Hungary there was no place for censorship, silenced newspapers or radio broadcasters because where the press is not free, the nation cannot be free either.
“We will not be free without an independent judiciary, prosecutor’s office and police,” MEP Marton Gyongyosi of Jobbik said, adding that everyone should be equal and nobody should be above the law.
Parbeszed co-leader Timea Szabo called for a society based on solidarity and equal opportunities, where the state provides for everyone.
“We will build a country where honest work is rewarded, and thieves and fraudsters are driven out,” said Socialist Party co-leader Bertalan Toth.
“Where being European does not only mean that we live on this continent but also that we are not worth less than any other European, whether it’s about our pay, our pension, our schools or our hospitals,” said Olga Kalman, on behalf of the Democratic Coalition.
In conclusion, Andras Fekete-Gyor, the head of Momentum said: “We want a Hungary that is home to the whole nation, not just some. A country where we have debates and we will not agree on everything, but we believe that we can only write the country’s future together.”
Karacsony calls for ‘gentle revolution’
Hungary’s divisions must be healed and a gentle revolution is needed, Budapest Mayor Gergely Karacsony said in a video message marking the March 15 national holiday on Facebook.
“To do this, we need to close the chapter on the past thirty, including the last ten years,” the mayor said.
Hungary has become two separate countries because it has been systematically torn into two, Karacsony said. “We can see, hear and feel it on our skin.”
This was done using the old method: “divide and conquer, incite half the people against the other half, for it is always easier to find enemies than solutions,” he said.
“If we allow them to continue inciting us against each other … if we do not join our strengths but keep dividing it, we will end up getting weaker and weaker,” Karacsony added.
Today, the main common wish of the public is to put an end to this extreme division, the mayor said.
Perhaps it is also a public wish to follow the guidance of the great figures of 1848, who knew that national sovereignty and social progress did not mutually exclude, but mutually reinforce each other, he said.
“We have to start from here, too,” the mayor said. “There cannot be two countries in Hungary. Not the countryside or Budapest. Only the countryside and Budapest. Not Fidesz Hungary or opposition Hungary. Only a country that we all share.”
Hungary must be reunited, he said. The two banks must be connected, as the Chain Bridge connects Pest with Buda. The pandemic and the crisis have taught Hungarians the same lesson: there is no other way. “We can only overcome this if we work together. If we are capable of compassion,” he said.
Karacsony said politics must change and the change required a revolution. “Not the violent kind, but a gentle revolution.”
The new chapter written by the gentle revolution should be about the 99 percent, not the privileged 1 percent, he said.
Karacsony cited the story of the Chain Bridge as one example of what the gentle revolution should be about.
“The story of the Chain Bridge tells us that there was a time when the will of the public mattered in Hungary and it so happened that private funds were used to accomplish a public goal,” he said. “Not like today when public funds are converted into private assets”.
“We must focus on what connects us, not what separates us,” Karacsony said. “The bridges, and not the ditches. This is the will of the public today.”
“Because only by working together can we defeat the coronavirus, but also the reign of the privileged few who behave like crowned rulers … and courtiers above the law,” the mayor said. “We want to have our lives back without social distancing, and finally a public life that does not try to deepen the distances between us but to serve the new normality based on cooperation and compassion.”
Kover: Hungarians, Poles ‘inseparable’ in desire for freedom
The people of Hungary and Poland are “central Europe’s inseparable twins in their desire for freedom”, Speaker of Parliament Laszlo Kover said, addressing an online commemoration of Hungary’s March 15 national holiday on Monday.
“To this day, freedom-loving Hungarians and Poles know which side they belong on,” Kover told the event organised by the pro-government Civil Unity Forum (COF), its associated foundation COKA and Polish civil groups.
“We are on the same side to this day, aligning ourselves against the disgrace of anti-nation, anti-family and anti-Christian sentiments,” the speaker said.
“The sacrifice of the freedom fighters who came before us and our grandchildren’s faith in freedom demands that we protect our nations, families, Christian faith and our European and national cultures rooted in Christianity from aspirations to aggressively spread a nihilist ideology aimed at tearing apart our societies, and their natural component, families,” Kover said.
Just as in 1848, freedom today in Hungary and Poland refers to having a national identity, a democratic and independent state and social justice, he said.
COF-COKA founder Laszlo Csizmadia said that having withdrawn from the European People’s Party (EPP) group in the European Parliament, Hungary’s ruling Fidesz was in a position to launch a new Christian Democratic, conservative grouping committed to national values and interests in the European Union.
Jerzy Snopek, Poland’s ambassador to Hungary, said the revolution of 1848-49 became a symbol of courage and the love of freedom around the world, adding that Hungary and Poland’s shared struggles had formed the foundation of their centuries-long friendship.
Tomasz Sakiewicz, editor-in-chief of Poland’s conservative magazine Gazeta Polska, said the two countries were united in their love of freedom and their peoples, adding that neither would allow “their dreams to be torn apart by crazy leftist ideologies”.