1956 Remembered: Hungarian is the Language of Freedom, Says President Novák

  • 24 Oct 2023 12:10 PM
  • Hungary Matters
1956 Remembered: Hungarian is the Language of Freedom, Says President Novák
“Hungarian is the language of freedom,” President Katalin Novák told a commemoration of Hungary’s 1956 anti-Soviet revolt organised by the Hungarian community of Melbourne. Marking the anniversary of the failed revolution on its eve, the president said “October 23 is the greatest holiday of the [Hungarian] diaspora, a day to celebrate and also to mourn.”

 “We celebrate our national identity, a love of freedom, Hungarians’ inevitable unity beyond borders … and we mourn for those that sacrificed their blood and life for freedom, mourn the physical distance between us … families torn apart and unwelcome emigration,” Novák said. Freedom, the president added, “must be fought for day by day”.

“It is our duty to work for what the heroes of 1956 fought for: a free and strong Hungarian nation,” she said. Novák noted that during her Australian visit she had first visited the Hungarian community, adding that during her term she would visit all large communities of the Hungarian diaspora.

Concerning the Hungarian language, Novák said “those that know the essence of Hungarian will never give in to oppressive dictatorships”. “Hungary has never been a hotbed for dictatorship, it is a country where totalitarian regimes have never been able to solidify”.

Referring to the wars in Ukraine and in the Middle East, Novák said Hungary condemned the attacks by Russia and the Hamas organisation and was working to avoid escalation.

“We stand by the innocent victims and peace because Hungarians want peace,” she added.

Culture Minister Marks 1956 Anniversary in US

János Csák, Hungary’s minister of culture and innovation, attended a commemoration of the anniversary of Hungary’s anti-Soviet revolt of 1956, in Washington late on Friday.

In his address, Csák said the revolution was a historic development “that serves as a basis for cooperation between the US and Hungary”.

The events of 1956 “lend two such freedom-loving peoples enough ammunition for cooperation” especially with regard to “Russia’s attack on Ukraine and the terrorist attack against Israel”.

In an interview to MTI, the minister said Hungary had a great interest in achieving peace in both conflicts. Hungary has sympathy for both countries, he said, noting Ukraine’s ethnic Hungarian community of 150,000, and some 300,000 Israelis of Hungarian origin.

At the ceremony, Csák recognised Péter Gajary, head of the Hungarian-American Cultural Association with the Order of Merit of Hungary, Knight’s Cross. The celebration was attended by Szabolcs Takács, Hungary’s ambassador to the US, a representative of the US foreign ministry, diplomats, and leaders of local Hungarian organisations.

Regional Development Minister Marks 1956 Anniversary in Veszprém

The city of Veszprém honours the memory of local revolutionary Árpád Brusznyai and his fellow fighters to this day, Regional Development Minister Tibor Navracsics told a commemoration of the 1956 anti-communist uprising in the western Hungarian city.

Navracsics said there were always fierce debates about October 23 each year, with some calling it “a fundamentally right-wing revolution against the leftist, communist regime”, and others “a revolution of leftists intending to improve things against the inhumane communist regime”.

“Some say it was conservative, others call it progressive, but it appears that we can’t agree when it comes to October 23,” the minister said. “But if we look at the heroes of 1956, it’s obvious what October 23 was about,” he said.

Navracsics cited the example of revolutionaries who were executed or deported to the Soviet Union after the freedom fight.

What they and Arpad Brusznyai — who was also executed — have in common is that they risked their lives for the cause of the 1956 revolution, he said. “What they did was stand up for life under a regime that was against life,” he added.

Official: Hungarians 'Always Win' If United

Hungarians can always win if they are united and they are capable of anything for their family and country, an official of the foreign ministry said, marking the anniversary of the 1956 anti-Soviet uprising.

State secretary for bilateral relations Tamás Menczer told a commemoration in Budakeszi near Budapest that Hungarians had made a clear decision in October 1956 when they refused to give up their freedom, independence and sovereignty, and were ready to fight for it.

The West watched with sympathy but “forgot to help” which showed that “Hungarians’ freedom is only important to Hungarians”, he said. Fighting for their family and country united Hungarians and gave them strength, Menczer said. In the current age, it was also important to clarify some issues that only the Hungarians decided for themselves, he added.

Only parents can tell their children what is good or bad, and direct them in the important issues of the world, he said.

In the age of migration, it is a matter of sovereignty that a country should have the right to defend its security and a matter of freedom that “only we, Hungarians can decide if a war is our war or not our war”, he added.

Menczer said the European Union is an alliance that Hungary belongs to, and it is built on the principle that all countries are equal, so the important issues are decided together and every member’s word is worth the same.

Hungarians should not be made to pay the price of decisions that others made, he said.

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