Today, too, we were the first to protect Europe from migration and the first to propose peace instead of war. Today we are still the first and only ones who want to hold back the peoples of Europe from marching blindly into another war, Hungary’ prime minister said in his ceremonial speech delivered on October 23, in Veszprém, one of the most important rural locations of the 1956 revolution.
“On the day of Hungarian freedom, we extend greetings to Hungarians living anywhere in the world,” Viktor Orban began his ceremonial speech on October 23 in Veszprem, noting that they should have arrived in the town a day earlier, as the revolutionary organization was already formed here on October 22.
“Veszprem was also among the the first ones at the time when Christian towns were founded. It is a mistake to see 1956 only as a revolution that took place in the capital, and it is therefore fitting that we pay respect to the heroes of the revolution in Veszprem,” Viktor Orban said.
“Priests, workers, farmers, teachers and communist party leaders were executed. Old and young people, women and men, both from Budapest and the countryside,” he said.
A flash of the Hungarian genius
Remembering a martyr of 1956 from Veszprem, Hungary’s prime minister said that Arpad Brusznyai also understood that 1956 was the last chance for a long time to come for a European Hungary to break free from the world of Bolshevik socialism, which denied European culture, Christian civilization and the right of nations to exist. Just as the Austrians had succeeded a year earlier, he said. As he explained, Brusznyai knew that the doors were about to close. If we failed to get out, the whole country would be forced into the Soviet experiment of creating a communist type of man and a Soviet empire.
“This reckoning is the reason why Hungary’s fight for freedom was neither an outburst of rage from the oppressed, nor was it an unbridled outbreak of the war of independence,” he pointed out.
“For all its breathtaking heroism and death-defying courage, the Hungarian revolution was a sober, moderate and responsible move. The revolution itself was a flash of the Hungarian genius, and the story of Arpad Brusznyai was the embodiment of this,” PM Orban said.
He recalled that Arpad Brusznyai was executed by the communists after the war of independence was crushed. He was not killed because he was guilty, but precisely because he was innocent, PM Orban pointed out. Hungarians are a chivalrous people, sometimes excessively. That’s why we end up being attacked by those we have saved or protected.
Always to be first
“Today, too, we were the first to protect Europe from migration, and we were the first to propose peace instead of war. Today we are still the first and only ones who want to hold back the peoples of Europe from marching blindly into another war, he said
“This is a pattern of Hungarian destiny that repeats itself from time to time, Viktor Orban pointed out. Arpad Brusznyai was innocent, and then it was forbidden to remember him so that he could be erased from the history of Veszprem, which was the case for three decades. Today we know who Arpad Brusznyai and his group were, but today we no longer dare to even say the names of the murderers. Glory to the heroes of 1956,” Viktor Orban underlined.
Our nation is strong enough to face its flaws, traitors are also part of the nation, like ill fate in Hungary’s national anthem, he said. “October 23 was followed by November 4 also in Veszprem,” PM Orban continued, pointing out that 1956 was finally won in 1990, and without its legacy there would have been no victory.
“At the time of the regime change, the communists only had a chance to enter the era of democracy unscathed if they confessed their crimes, and once they had confessed, they lost their power,” Viktor Orban said.
“All we had to do in 1989 was to bring to completion what was started in 1956. To show that 30 years of forced silence does not equal forgiveness, and history’s bill must be presented sooner or later,” he said. The verdict was delivered in free elections where anyone could run, even communists. One thing is certain, he emphasized: we have freed ourselves from Soviet occupation without a civil war taking place in Hungary, without a single human life lost, and we managed to avoid the economic and political collapse of Hungary, although this was rather painful.
“Hungary is the only country in Europe where no early elections have been held in the last 33 years, and to this day we have remained the most stable country in Europe,” he highlighted, adding that 1956 ended in victory, and we joined the European community anew, and this is also part of historical justice.
Freedom is not an escape
“However, Europe is no longer the place from where we have been torn out, and I see it increasingly less so. We wanted freedom, and Europe was united in the spirit of freedom. We understand freedom differently, and we imagine freedom differently. From here, it appears as if freedom was some kind of escape for Westerners. Get rid of what you were born to be. At least change it. Outgrow your past like a childhood disease. Change gender, nation, and identity. Replace all the parts and put yourself back together, and then you will become free. We in Hungary wanted something different,” he stressed. For us, the idea of not being a man or a woman, a Hungarian or a Christian is like having our hearts hearts torn out. For us, freedom is not an escape, but an arrival,” he pointed out.
“Accept that you were born Hungarian and Christian, male or female,” PM Orban continued. He underlined that this is something we were not willing to give up in 1956 and we are not prepared to do so in 2023, be it for the sake of Moscow or Brussels.”
History repeats itself
“For Hungarians, the fight for freedom is not something one can take on as a task or opt for something else. Freedom must be protected, otherwise we will be lost. This was the case in 1956 and also in 1990. The essence of the Hungarian nation’s life strategy is that we are there at the graves of every occupying empire,” he stressed. He said that history repeats itself, but fortunately, Brussels is not Moscow. “Moscow was a tragedy, Brussels is a comedy,” he added. “While we had to dance to Moscow’s tune, we needn’t dance to Brussels’s tune.” In this aspect, “the Soviet Union was hopeless, while the EU is not yet”, he opined, noting that there are European elections still to come. He also emphasized that now it is not tanks that come rolling in from the east, but dollars from the west, to the same people.
Referring to the heroes of 1956, he said that they did not die in vain if we did not live in vain, if we give the world something that we can give. “Veszprem is doing just that. It shows what the world is like if you look at it through Hungarian eyes, if you paint it with a Hungarian brush, if you sing it in Hungarian. Today Veszprem is showing the whole of Europe what Hungarian culture is like, what freedom is like when it is Hungarian. We are able to do this because we have not lost sight of the most important law of survival. We still know that the past is not behind us, but beneath. We stand on it. On the sixty-seventh anniversary of the 1956 freedom fight, I bow my head with respect to the heroes, both known and unknown, as well as to our fellow countryman who, despite decades of hardship and suffering, did not give up, and who set an example for all of us,” Viktor Orban said in conclusionhttps://youtu.be/y3yClPI_Dig
It is no coincidence that Hungary’s prime minister chose Veszprem, the European Capital of Culture in 2023, as the venue for his speech. Veszprem was an important location of the 1956 events, and was one of the first places where the national guard was organised on October 29. The town also played a major role in ensuring the food supply of Budapest during the revolution, along with other settlements. After the Soviet troops marched into Budapest on November 4, 1956, the largest armed resistance, besides Budapest, was also staged in Veszprém.
Cover photo: Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban delivers his speech in Zalaegerszeg on October 23, 2022 (Photo: MTI/Prime Minister’s Press Office/Vivien Cher Benko)