Gábor Vona Appraisal of the Year Speech — January 31, 2015
Hungary is in trouble. How often do we hear this on the street, in our everyday lives, on the television, everywhere. For this reason, this phrase has become worn out, often it means almost nothing―it is an empty cliché. I would nevertheless begin my speech with it: Hungary is in trouble. And what’s more, big trouble. . . . What’s the problem? Let us pose the question unambiguously! My answer, in short: right in the middle of a dramatic international transformation, when it would be very important to be in good shape, Hungary is politically and socially tired. All of us know Fukuyama’s famous thesis about the end of history, according to which the end of the Cold War signaled the arrival of the world domination [világuralom] of liberal democracy. Well, we only have to read the foreign news, to understand what is taking place in Syria or Ukraine, and we can conclude that it is rather Fukuyama’s thesis that has come to an end, not history. We can calmly declare: history has resumed. . . . The fact is that in the twin clutches of spreading globalization and the resumption of history, we simply cannot afford to ignore what is taking place beyond the Carpathians. The question of unipolar world versus multipolar world has intensified to the ultimate degree and whether we like it or not, whether we realize it or not, we Hungarians are at the intersection of this global conflict. . . . It is important for me to state that when I speak of Hungarians, I do not mean a multitude of people, but a community. The crowd is foolish, vulgar and manipulable, while the community is autonomous and has perseverance and a system of values. If we ask Hungarians about their objectives, not as a crowd, but as a community, we receive the correct answer. Stated very simply, the answer is: the Hungarian people would like it if politics would leave them alone once and for all, if the constant squabbling, transparent lies, corruption and failure would quit getting on their nerves. People want peace. Fidesz and the HSP [the Hungarian Socialist Party] mean the opposite of this: permanent warfare. For years, they have forced society to wage a cold civil war. . . . We must first briefly evaluate international conditions before we can turn to the subject of the situation here at home. As mentioned earlier, history has not ended, but resumed. Today the two most severe and dangerous conflicts are taking place in the Middle East and Ukraine. It is naturally hard to compare apples to oranges, there are many circumstances that separate these two wars from one another, but there is one thing that connects them. Moreover, this is the most important circumstance. The ultimate stake in both conflicts is the unilateral world domination of the United States. The USA, it seems, is incapable of self-correction, incapable of seeing that not everybody wants to follow a value system similar to its own, that the two decades after 1989 cannot be extended further and that others must be admitted to the table. And we must not forget that although the United States is the generator of both conflicts, the armed struggles are wreaking devastation not there, but in Europe and the Middle East and as long as the American economy strengthens, nations here will turn against one another and inflict wounds upon one another that will be difficult to heal. . . . For us, the Ukrainian situation is the one that is portentous in several regards. On the one hand, a bitter war is taking place in a neighboring country, while on the other hand the fate of a quarter million Hungarians in Ukraine has come into doubt. It is important to state first of all that this is not a civil war, not even a Ukrainian-Russian war, but an American-Russian war for which Ukraine merely serves as the stage. If this is the case, then it must be declared that neither Europe nor Hungary should assume a role in this. Europe and Hungary must develop an independent Russian policy, not simply copy down what Washington dictates to them. Contrary to the [Orbán] government, for us Ukraine’s territorial integrity is not the most important issue, but the security of Hungarians living there and the neutrality of our homeland. We consider it to be an outrage that Kiev is conscripting Hungarians to serve as cannon fodder and expects them to die a heroic death in the name of the Ukrainian state when this same state has continually humiliated and threatened them and circumscribed their rights. . . . Jobbik’s opinion is unambiguous: do not let them compel Hungarians to take part in the conflict and let Hungary remain neutral. . . . Let’s take a look at what’s happening in Hungary right now. The most important change in domestic politics last fall was Fidesz’s collapse. A new situation arose when the myth of the infallibility and invincibility of the two-thirds [majority] tumbled to the ground. . . . The country’s problem is not only the Fidesz system, but the entire past 25 years, from Fidesz to the HSP to the cold civil war. Not only Fidesz must be replaced, but the entire past 25 years, because it wasn’t Fidesz that failed, but an entire system. The current two-thirds government did not in 2010 abolish a previously well-working system as the left wing has attempted to portray it, but simply crowned what was from the very start a dishonest and poorly functioning apparatus. Viktor Orbán is not the eradicator of the Gyurcsány system, but the logical consequence of it. He is not the first prime minister of a new system, but the last prime minister of an essentially failed system. Let us state it openly, accepting the tsunami of attacks that we will receive for it: the type of liberal democracy that gained power over Hungary in 1989 is not a functioning system. I could also say that I, myself, am a moderate democrat, because I only believe moderately in liberal democracy. It is a bad import that has only continual supply, though not demand and especially not effectiveness. This isn’t what I say—the past 25 years prove it. . . . Let us once again state unambiguously and implacably the problem that we identified right at the beginning: whether one likes it or not, if one recognizes it or not, the system of the past 25 years became tired and failed. The nearly three barren decades that have succeeded the Kádár régime are approaching an end. . . . Enough of the continual cold civil war, the Jacobin reprisals and the useless squabbling that has taken place over the past 25 years. Fidesz and the HSP are not interested in the problems of the country, but in defeating one another. The only reason we cannot say that they bear grudges is because the take immediate revenge upon one another. It is for this reason―and I ask that you extend this message to as many people as possible―if Jobbik comes to power, nobody will ever have to be afraid again because they support another party. We are putting an end to the practice of ruining families and firing people just because they vote for another party. . . . Well then, the past 25 years have been built upon lies―and here we have reached the source of the problems of current Hungarian public life―because the present political division of Fidesz on the right wing and the HSP on the left wing is a bogus fault line. And where the political fault line does not correspond to the the true fault lines and genuine problems within society, the country simply goes to ruins. . . . Presumably Fidesz pursues anti-Brussels policies, while the socialists pursue pro-Brussels policies. Is this the true fault line between Hungarians? Oh, give me a break. . . . And there is the question of the Ukrainian conflict. Fidesz appears to take a pro-Russian position and the socialists a pro-Washington role. . . . The question, however, is not who is more agreeable, though I have my own opinion on this matter, but if war breaks out do we participate in it or do we remain neutral in spite of our NATO membership?. . . Thus there is a bogus fault line, which can be summarized briefly: you have only two choices, either you are for Fidesz or you are for the HSP or otherwise you don’t exist. This bogus fault line must be abolished and Hungarian politics has to be adapted to reality. . . . But so I don’t just talk into the air, let’s take a look at several other such questions. A few years ago skepticism regarding the Treaty of Lisbon, that is, the United States of Europe, counted as extremism. Today this has undergone a fundamental change. An anti-EU government has formed in Greece and forces critical of Brussels are reaching new heights throughout the continent. Don’t let the fact that the newspapers are referring to SYRIZA as a party of the radical left fool you―95 percent of their program is identical to ours. This could be the dawn of a new Europe. . . . Brussels currently rests on profit-oriented foundations from which the West can exploit the eastern states and as glass beads offers a little support in exchange, which the corrupt parties wrangle away. But this is not the future of Europe! Our criticisms with regard to the Union are not anti-European, but indeed pro-European. If Brussels continues its runaway colonization, then a referendum must be held in Hungary asking if we want to be part of this anymore or not. But if Europe manages to renew itself―and there are flashes of hope in more and more places―we will gladly work in a free and human-centered Europe, we will also find our place there. After Eastern Opening, we are open to Western Opening if there is any sense to it. . . . Let’s look at another current theme—immigration. Fidesz, sliding in the polls, has now seized this theme from us. Here I would like to open a short parenthesis: if people believe that I am annoyed because Fidesz has taken over almost our entire program, then they are mistaken. The only thing that annoys me is that they [Fidesz] just talk and talk and never carry it out. . . I have said many times that I genuinely honor and respect all great cultures and religions. Those who know me know that this is really true. But I would like to admire each one of them in their own homeland and not in my own. We Hungarians do not want to occupy, rule or exploit the countries of others—we only need our own just as good God gave it to us. But to this we cling dearly. Hungary belongs to the Hungarians and Hungary is a Christian country. And as long as I live, I will work to keep it this way. The press and political opponents call me a racist for all these words. But what nobody wants to hear, and not by accident, is that Jobbik wants a merit-based society and is capable of making distinctions based on constructive and destructive intentions and the valuable and the valueless rather than on color or religion. The problem is with uncontrolled immigration and terrorism, not religions and other cultures.