Viktor Orbán has delivered many distasteful and disgraceful speeches, but what he gave on October 23 as prime minister of Hungary, surrounded by members of the armed forces, was perhaps the most disgusting of all. He did that in front of “representatives of foreign countries, guests, and ambassadors.” I do hope that the government provided the opportunity for those who don’t understand the language to judge for themselves what kind of a man Viktor Orbán is. If not, here is a summary of the most upsetting parts of his speech.
Here I’m not going to recount all of the historical inaccuracies in the speech. Perhaps I will say a few words about them at a later time. Instead, I want to focus on the frightening message he sent to those who don’t support his government.
As far as the size of the crowd is concerned, people who have been following Fidesz mass rallies claim that this was perhaps the smallest crowd Fidesz activists managed to drum up. And one must take this phrase literally. Buses stood by in provincial towns while activists tried to entice people to board and go to Budapest to hear the great man. I hate to think how much this celebration of the greatness of Hungarians and the prime minister cost the taxpayers. Yet the crowd, despite claims to the contrary, was apparently not bigger than the rally of the democratic parties in Buda.
Both the military accoutrements and the choice of the location were deliberate. As for the trappings, although it is true that October 23 is a national holiday and a military parade is usually part of official programs, I don’t remember another occasion when a whole line of soldiers stood behind the prime minister while he delivered his speech. Given the content of the speech, one must postulate that giving a military flare to the occasion was deliberate. To demonstrate strength and make sure that everybody understands in whose hands lies the only power in the country.
So what was Viktor Orbán’s message on this October 23? The prime minister, who allegedly represents the whole nation, sent the message that those who don’t share his vision don’t belong to the Hungarian nation. He transitioned easily from 1956 to 2013.
We know that the Hungarian freedom fight had not only heroes but also traitors. We know that all our wars of independence were defeated from abroad. We know that there were always people who helped the foreign enemies. Those who helped the Muscovites, men in Russian-type quilted jackets, red barons–depending what was in fashion. We know that in 2006, after sixteen years of democracy, on this day they were hunting us with guns. They led a cavalry charge against us, they beat peaceful celebrants with the flat of their swords. We know that this could only have happened because they had the government power in their hands which they used against their own people. We know, there is no question, that they would shoot at us today–hopefully only with rubber bullets–if they could…. The only reason they don’t is because at the last election the overwhelming majority of the people pushed them aside. We also know that the communists sold Hungary, the Hungarian people to speculators and the international financiers. We know that they were and always are ready to sell Hungary to the colonizers.”
Orbán continued his attack. They knew in 1989 that the people of the past were already organizing and getting ready to salvage their power. Just as they did in 1956 when it almost looked as if at last we were free. They were already organizing the recall of the Soviets and the retributions that followed. In brief, people of the democratic opposition and the newly formed MSZP that four years later, in 1994, received an overwhelming majority of the votes were no better than Ferenc Münnich, János Kádár, István Kossa, Antal Apró who on November 4, 1956 announced the formation of a new government under the protective umbrella of the Soviet troops.
But in the case that wasn’t enough, he added that they changed their quilted jackets to suits, and tovarish to Tavares. The quilted jacket (pufajka) was part of the Soviet military uniform and was used by the newly formed paramilitary force that was set up by Ferenc Münnich since neither the members of the military nor the police were considered reliable enough to be entrusted with keeping public order. Tovarish in English means “comrade” and the similarity of the word to the family name of Rui Tavares, the Portuguese member of the European Parliament who is critical of the Orbán government, gives the Hungarian right an excellent opportunity to equate the European Union with the Soviet Union as the enemy of the country.
I could quote more of Orbán’s accusations against the European Union and the Hungarian opposition, but it would be repetitious. Instead, let us see what Viktor Orbán has in mind for the future. Especially for the next few months leading up to the election that almost certainly will be held in April. I can assure you: nothing good.
We are not ostriches. We will not bury our heads in the sand. We see that they are organizing again, they are set against us, they again ally themselves with foreigners. We can see that they again sow the seeds of hate, discord, and violence. Anyone who followed the events in Baja knows how ludicrous these claims are. It was the local Fidesz politicians who cheated twice and who before the repeated by-election frightened the locals by driving through the district day and night and taking videos of everyone who exchanged a word with the candidate of the democratic opposition.
As opposed to the hate mongering democrats are the peace-loving Fidesz forces. There are no coincidences. The Peace March was called by that name not by accident. Because we, all of us, want a gentle, serene, peaceful life. However, peacefulness is not the same as simple-mindedness and being half-witted. It is not the same as inactivity. Because there is no peace without truth. Never was. And for the truth one must do something. That’s why the Peace March did the right thing when it repelled the colonization attempt. Thanks for it!
So, what do they have in mind? First, we will not watch idly and will uncover all their lies, all their falsifications, and the hundreds of their new tricks. It will be a hard fight but in this land freedom has a high price. Here Orbán interjects and warns his followers that they cannot rely solely on their government. They shouldn’t believe that the government alone will be able to defend the accomplishments hitherto achieved. Instead everybody in his place and in his field must complete the necessary work. Start organizing, come forward, join forces with us! There is no reason to be in a panic, but slowly we will have to start our machinery, must set up our troops in battle array just, as we did in 2010. Get prepared! Now we will finish what we started in 1956. We need everyone. The teacher, the physician, the shopkeeper, the worker, the truck driver, the university professor, the butcher and the owner of the flower shop, the young and the old. We need everybody. The most important thing is that we should get started. So you would know, as we knew in 56, that there is no middle road. Either we free ourselves or we will not be free.
Let me share a couple of reactions to this speech, starting with an older woman who this afternoon phoned into Klubrádió’s talk show with György Bolgár. She was extremely upset. What caused her anger were Orbán’s references to the people like herself who don’t stand in the admiring crowd. But she watched Orbán’s performance on television and was horrified. She saw small children sitting on the shoulders of their fathers who heard the prime minister say that there are people in this country who would shoot at those present on that square. What will happen if these children the next day in kindergarten or in elementary school ask her grandchild whether his grandmother is planning to shoot him or his parents because she attended the opposition parties’ rally? This is criminal, what this man does not only to the adults but also to children. He sows the seeds of hatred against those who are not his followers.
The other reaction came from Gordon Bajnai, who objected to the fact that Orbán under the guise of an official state occasion with all the trappings of his office and financed by public money basically delivered a party and campaign speech. Bajnai continued: The followers of the government party are not the same as the nation. Orbánország is not the same as Magyarország. Fidesz, for the time being, is not the only party as in socialist times. You may well be the perpetual chairman of Fidesz, but even the perpetual chairman of Fidesz cannot be the perpetual prime minister of Hungary…. Many people felt aversion, some fear when you in front of a row of soldiers delivered your speech. Don’t try to recall the heritage of inauspicious times and don’t try to explain it away by recalling the customs of other nations. In Hungary and on the day celebrating 1956 this was more than tasteless!…
But the greatest indignation was caused by the content of your speech. You excluded people from the nation who are increasingly dissatisfied with your politics…. You have no right and no basis to brand any of your political opponents as the descendants of murderers. And it is truly shameful to claim that any democratic political group would shoot into the crowd…. This speech that incites hatred is unacceptable, especially from the prime minister who is supposed to represent the nation. This is perhaps the greatest scandal of free Hungary. Shame on you and if you still have just a little left of your former democratic self, ask forgiveness from those voters not present at the rally and who are as full-fledged members of the Hungarian nation as your followers.
The opposition should organize a protest march immediately, while the weather is good.
to protest Orban’s “war speech” against the majority of the people, who want him out.
to show unity, instead of showing discord.
Absolutely off topic.
I just read parts of a contemporary Byzantian chronicle about the period of 1440-1470.
(The book is a bilingual edition, Greek original & English translation)
Janos Hunyadi is named only by his obvious nickname “Janko”, no family name whatsoever.
The king of Hungary is called “kral”.
The often cited “Porphyrogenitus: De Administrando Imperio” actually said that the “Tourks” [Hungarians of the 9th century] had 8 tribes.
He considered the Kabars as the 8th tribe.
To be precise, he lists the tribal names not in alphabetical order.
4. Kourtou g[y]ermat
There is a typo in line 3. It should read October, not August.
Hungary must scream:
Liberty Liberty Liberty from Orbanlikes!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Correct to October 23rd instead of August 23rd
One can only hope that such ugly rhetoric sows the seeds of his own demise. But as he said himself in London, his past victories were handed to him by the weak opposition. And they are now weaker than ever.
Deja vu all over again: Goebbels anyone?
OT, but very important: I can’t unfortunately link Saturday’s FT cover page article about the win of Google/Facebook against the EU (at the instigation of Cameron whose personal business advisor is none other than Google’a chairman, supported by the “frantic lobbying” by the Obama administration) re the Data Protection Directive. Even the FT (not an anti-business medium) says that it is a huge and unexpected win for the American IT lobby.
The whole Directive/Regulation project will be delayed by at least a year until 2015, so by that time nobody will remember the NSA or GCHQ survaillance issue that Google and Facebook and Yahoo record everything (without legal obligation) and share it with the NSA which records them until eternity. Stasi was a bunch of amateurs compared to FB and Google.
And the real lobbying in Brussels by mostly American business lobbyists just started lately and will have more than a year to convince the Europeans that surveillance is not really an issue. we need progress and innovation so it’s OK.
To water down any regulation, to divide the EU will be a piece of cake and so much cheaper than in the US (after all you don’t have to pay to the senator’s campaign). You just have to appeal to “compromise”, “more time” to thing through this “complex issue” etc.
Forget the EU, they will never give a sh**t about Orbán or anybody else. They are a hopeless bunch who can be bought, divided, mislead, threatened, whatever.
A bit OT.
I have been having an extensive email to and fro with a chum who is a keen Fidesz fan. She has a feeling that Hungary will never really “move on” and get over all this divisive bitterness until “justice is done” and apologies are made for the previous regime’s acts.
I think there is something in that.
Has there ever been talk of a Truth and Reconciliation Commission in Hungary? If so, what happened?
Even if it is too late for formal justice, truth and reconciliation is possible. Start with a panel of respected people from across society…
What do knowledgeable Spectrum readers say to this?
As of October 25, 2013, almost 43,000 new Hungarian citizens registered to vote in 2014.
e-mail : 23.4% [!!, how to check the validity of these votes?]
all others: 5.3%
“We know, there is no question, that they would shoot at us today …”
The man is raving mad. Beyond truth and reconciliation. Prone to civil war fantasies.
Orban just established a fifth “history” institute. In Hungary, the “right-wing” regimes murdered much more people than the “left-wing”.
Most numbers are well established (Orban quoted 228 executed people for 1956 three days ago). Without checking my sources for the exact numbers, here are the approximations:
WW1 1914-1918: 600,000 (Greater Hungary)
Commune, 1919: between 200 and 300 executed
White terror 1919-1920: several thousand (up to 5 thousand) executed and lynched
Horthy regime 1921-1941: ???
WW2 1941-1945: 900,000
war criminals: 100 to 200 executed 1945-1948
Rakosi regime: ???, 1949-1955
Kadar regime: between 200 and 300, 1957-1962
Do you know any serious research (NOT propaganda) about the number of executed people under Horthy and Rakosi?
The 5-volume “white papers” of the Kadar regime, name 213 people executed during the 1956 uprising for being Communists.
@James, Truth and Reconciliation might have worked had the Kádár regime been very neatly divided between an oppressive ruling elite and a subjugated population. But the Kádár regime was not like that. It went out of its way to compromise the whole population, by offering privileges (from foreign travel to weekend house ownership) in exchange for complicity in the system. And so it is hard for anyone to point fingers. And one only has to look at FIdesz, many of whose ministers were members of the communist party (indeed, one was on the central committee!), to see that what you are suggesting is just impractical.
Clearly, the huge omission post 1990 has been the failure of the parties to sort out the ügynök kérdés (finding out who were the party spies) but this has been blocked by Fidesz (and MSZP also dragged their heels), presumably because either certain key members or key allies would be compromised if the truth was known.
From a neutral standpoint, one wishes Hungary would learn from South Africa and Mandela’s example: yes, there were terrible injustices and there has been “truth and reconciliation”, but above all, society (black and to a large degree, white) has decided to move on. And if you go to South Africa, one thing that is surprisingly encouraging is the sense of optimism from people who, if they were Hungarian, one suspects, would be weeping into their brandy glasses moaning about the past.
This is not a serious suggestion but if I could change anything in Hungary, I’d ban the teaching of history and make people study engineering. It would hugely increase Hungary’s economic future and perhaps put an end to this tiresome naval gazing about past events that tends to grip and poison the minds of both politicians and intellectuals. (And the best thing that could happen for Hungarian football is for all memory of the Aranycsapat and 6-3 to be expunged from communal memory: forget the past and look forwards)
I got it! This explains everything … Did you know that in Hungarian the words “heart” and “sucks” is the same: szív.
So here is a bit of hope from Planet Hungary. I don’t have the time (and the skills) to translate properly the song, but it’s a rock version of the Hungarian Spectrum. Sort of. But really. Check it out.
The lyrics in Hungarian:
It starts with a pun on the famous Vörösmarty patriotic poem, the Appeal “impossible that so many hearts shed blood in vain” -> “impossible, that so many hearts suck in vain … but possible”.
“afraid of the future, proud of the past,
but what was the past, nobody knows
we understood somebody else defeated us
but it was US, believe us …”
“we are the heroes, we are the dead,
the nazis and commies were all Hungarians,
we were Koppany and Bela Kun,
we are the problem itself …”
“we watch TV for 5 hours, but the yankees are stupid,
we are the heroes, but never stand up for anything,
whoever wants something here will take off,
and stays only the 1 million fake disabled.”
“In a country where everything is the other ones fault
the jews the banks and the homos,
we have troubles but no one is responsible,
everybody gets away, the courts are incapable …”
“we are Orban, we are Gyurcsany,
we are the cop, the doctor,
this strangely tethered delusional nation
we are the camp and the enemy”
Later a wordplay on the national anthem:
“God WAIT for the Hungarian,
we will get there, but there is one more curve …”
“actually it isn’t a problem not being in a hurry,
this nation suffered all its ideas already…”
Oh, yes. I forgot. The title of the song: The Land of The Smart.
New mafioso act [in both senses] in preparation!
Do you remember that gambling was banned almost completely a year ago?
Now it will be permitted again to run, but only by reliable gang members.
Click to access 12847.pdf
This is a real pattern
Fidesz appointed beneficiaries::
1. radio frequencies
2. agricultural land,
3. tobacco stores
4. gambling establishments
This time there won’t be any pesky games with tenders that upset so many people with the tobacco licenses. The minister will simply name the “reliable” people who can run gambling establishments.
I’d be willing to lay good money that the Catholic Church will have a few ‘front-men’ running a few establishments….
By the bye, did people notice that Orban’s salute in the picture is only 30 degrees from being a Hitler salute?
“Orban sends the Russians home”.
I remember in Godfather II where papa Don tells young son that the one from his men who comes with an offer of peace from the other crime families is the betrayer.
Well, folks, just extrapolate from that…
What a load of drivel…
You sound like someone happy to ‘sell out’ Hungary, exactly the type Orban is trying to protect the Hungarian people from. Ten to one you are not a tisztaver Magyar and instead, one to forbid use of that term.
Tisztavér? For those of you who dont know Hungarian that means “pure-blooded.” But I’m afraid this word here doesn’t mean that one’s ancestors came to the Carpathian Basin with Árpád. What you mean here is that people who criticize the Orbán government are all Jewish!!! Is that what you mean? Why don’t you go back to Hungary and enjoy the country your idol, Orbán, created.
And a word of warning: don’t try to spread racist propaganda here because we don’t tolerate it. It is not only I who doesn’t tolerate it but the whole Hungarian Spectrum community will demand your removal if you continue in this vein.
Comments are closed.