On March 15, 2016, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán delivered his annual speech outside the Hungarian National Museum in Budapest commemorating the anniversary of the 1848 Hungarian Revolution against Habsburg rule. Below is an Orange Files translation of the speech (source in Hungarian).
Ladies and gentlemen! Compatriots! Hungarians throughout the world!
With the cockade that Júlia Szendrey had sewed for him on his breast, a volume of poetry in his pocket and the chilling experience of the revolution still in his head, Sándor Petőfi [Hungarian poet and revolutionary Sándor Petőfi] thus greeted March 15 in his diary: “Hail thee on thy birthday, Hungarian freedom!” And today, with the passing of 168 years we still celebrate [this occasion] with emancipated joy, with the optimism of the coming spring, with high hopes and with elevated spirits throughout the Carpathian Basin, from Beregszász (Berehova, Ukraine) to Szabadka (Subotica, Serbia), from Rimaszombat (Rimavská Sobota, Slovakia) to Kézdivásárhely (Târgu Secuiesc, Romania). Every Hungarian with one heart, one soul and one will.
It cheers Hungarian hearts that just as during the decisive battles of the freedom fight, with us here and now is a Polish legion [referring to several hundred visitors from Poland attending the speech]. I greet the eager successors of General Bem, I welcome the sons of the great Polish nation. As has always happened during our common thousand-year history, we stand alongside you in the struggle that your homeland is waging for freedom and independence. Together with you, we declare to Brussels: more respect for the Polish, more respect for Poland! God has brought you! . . .
Esteemed ladies and gentlemen! Celebrating Audience!
Hungarians are the kind of people who stand up for their rights if necessary. And what’s more, they fight for them if they must, though do not look for trouble unnecessarily. They know that keeping the peace often goes farther than drawing the sword. This is why our kind rarely chooses the path of revolution. Over [the last] 170 years we have taken this path only twice. And when we did, we had powerful reasons to do so. We felt that we could endure no longer, that our lungs would burst if we couldn’t finally breath freely. And once we had undertaken revolution, we put our all into it. Modern European history has preserved both Hungarian revolutions among its memories of world glory: two gleaming stars, two uprisings that broke out in the service of Hungarian objectives and Hungarian interests: 1848 and 1956. Glory to the heroes, honor to the bold! The history writers took note of the 1918–1919 revolution as well, though they do not preserve it on the pages of glory, and what’s more: they haven’t only recorded it in other pages, but in another volume as well. We can find the ‘18–’19 revolution in a lexicon regarding anti-Hungarian Bolshevik subversion carried out in the service of foreign objectives and interests under the heading “Alarming Examples of Intellectual and Political Degradation.” Yes, we Hungarians have two revolutionary traditions: the first starts in 1848 and continues through ’56 and the System Change to the Fundamental Law and the current constitutional order; the second leaves a trail of blood starting with its Jacobin European predecessors and continues through 1919 and post-Second World War communism into Hungary’s Soviet world. The intellectual heirs and descendants of the ’48 and ’56 revolution have built current Hungarian life. The heartbeat of this revolutionary tradition moves and directs the political, economic and intellectual life of the nation today as well: equality before the law, responsible ministries, national bank, the common sharing of burdens, the respect for human dignity and national unification. The pulse of the’48 and ’56 principles pumps life force into the nation and keeps the intellectual and spiritual circulation of the Hungarians in motion today as well. Let us give thanks that it can be this way. Let us give thanks that the Lord of History has finally led us onto this path. Soli Deo Gloria!
Esteemed ladies and gentlemen!
The loftiness of this holiday cannot make us forget that the ’19 tradition still lives with us, though luckily it merely flickers. Although it sometimes makes noise [referring to protesters shouting anti-government slogans two hundred meters away], without a host animal its days are numbered. Without another great infusion of intellectual and political aid from abroad, following its leaves and branches, its roots will dry up as well in the Hungarian motherland that is unsuited to accommodate internationalism. And this is a good thing.
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. . . If we shall succeed, if the free, independent, worthy and universally honored homeland that the ‘48ers held high and for which they offered their lives shall finally to be built—we still cannot know. However, we do know that today the European constellation is shaky and that trials therefore await us. The age in which we live points again as a hussar saber to our chests: will we be slaves or shall we be free? [referring to the most famous line from Petőfi’s poem “National Song,” which he read in public on the first day of the 1848 Hungarian Revolution]. The fate of the Hungarians has become intertwined with that of the people of Europe, has grown into the common union in such a way that today no people, including the Hungarians, can be free if Europe is not free and Europe is currently as wilted, languid and faint as a flower on which the teeth of a mysterious worm gnaws. Today, 168 years after the great freedom fights of the European peoples, our common home, Europe, is not free.
Europe is not free, because freedom starts with the statement of truth. Today in Europe it is forbidden to state the truth. Even if made of silk, a muzzle remains a muzzle. It is forbidden to state that those who are currently arriving are not refugees, but that a mass migration threatens Europe. It is forbidden to state that immigration brings crime and terror into our countries. It is forbidden to state that those who arrive from other civilizations represent a danger to our way of life, our culture, our customs and our Christian traditions. It is forbidden to state that instead of assimilating, those who arrived earlier have built a separate-entry world for themselves with their own laws and their own ideals that pry the millennial European frameworks apart. It is forbidden to state that this is not an incidental and unintentional chain of consequences, but a planned-out and guided action, a mass of people directed upon us. It is forbidden to state that in Brussels they are currently scheming to transport foreigners here as quickly as possible and to settle them among us. It is forbidden to say that the objective of this settlement is to redraw the religious and cultural patterns of Europe, to rebuild its ethnic footings, thereby eliminating the nation-states that represent the last impediment to the Internationale. It is forbidden to state that Brussels is today stealthily swallowing more and more slices of our national sovereignty, that in Brussels many are today working on the plan for a European United States for which nobody ever granted them the authority.
Esteemed ladies and gentlemen!
The current enemies of freedom are cut from different cloth than the old rulers or the governors of the Soviet system—they force [us] to submit using other kinds of instruments. Today they don’t imprison [us], they don’t transport [us] to camps, they don’t occupy with tanks those countries that are loyal to their freedom. Today, the muzzle flashes of the world press, condemnation, threat and blackmail are enough, or rather have been enough—until now. The peoples of Europe have now awakened, they are putting their ranks in order and will soon find their feet again. Everywhere, the beams supporting the Europe based on stifling the truth are creaking and croaking. The peoples of Europe have now perhaps understood that our future is at stake. Not only our prosperity and comfortable lives, not only our workplaces, but our security and the peaceful order of our lives have come under threat. The peoples slumbering in the prosperity of Europe have finally understood that mortal danger threatens the life principles on which we built Europe. Europe’s coexistence of Christian, free and independent nations, equality between man and woman, fair competition and solidarity, pride and humility, truth and mercy.
This current danger isn’t attacking us as wars and natural disasters that pull the ground from under our feet from one minute to the next. The mass migration is slow water that washes away the banks with its steady current. It presents itself as a humanitarian issue, though its true intent is occupation of territory and what is for them an occupation of territory is for us a loss of territory. Packs of incorrigible human-rights fighters feel the irrepressible desire to scold and accuse us. We are allegedly exclusionary and hostile. However, the truth is that the history of our nation is also the history of accommodation and the interconnection of cultures as well. We admitted those who requested entry as a new family member, ally or as a newcomer running for life—and they found new homelands for themselves with us. Those who arrived with the objective of transforming our country, of forming our nation in their own image, those who arrived by force and against our will, have always encountered resistance.
Esteemed ladies and gentlemen!
At first it is a question of only a few hundred, one or two thousand immigrants, although there is not a single responsible European leader who would today take the great oath that the one or two thousand will not finally grow to tens and hundreds of thousands. If we want to stop the mass migration, we must first restrain Brussels. Those who today represent the primary threat to the future of Europe are not those who want to come here, but the zealots of internationalism in Brussels. We cannot permit Brussels to place itself above the law. We will not allow it [Brussels] to force the bitter fruits of cosmopolitan immigration policy upon us; we will not import crime, terrorism, homophobia and synagogue-burning anti-Semitism to Hungary; there will not be extralegal urban neighborhoods; there will not be unrest, immigrant rebellions and bands will not hunt after our women and girls. We will not allow others to tell us who we let in to our homes and our homeland, who we live with, who we share our country with. We know how this goes. First we allow them to say who we must take in, then they force us to serve foreigners in our own homeland and finally we reach the point where they show us the way out of our own country. This is why we reject obligatory settlement of migrants and will not submit to threat or blackmail.
The time has come to ring the alarm bells. The time has come to turn around and resist. The time has come to gather allies. The time has come to raise the flag of proud nations. The time has come to prevent the destruction of Europe and to rescue the future of Europe. We therefore call for the unity of all citizens of Hungary regardless of party affiliation and we call for the unity of all European nations. The leaders and citizens of Europe can no longer live in two different worlds. We must reestablish the unity of Europe. The peoples of Europe cannot be free individually if we are not free together. If we join forces, this will succeed, if we pull apart, we will fail. Together we are powerful, apart there is weakness. Either together or not at all—today this is the law.
In 1848 it was written in the book of fate that nothing could be done against the Habsburg Empire. And if we had then resigned ourselves to this, then this destiny would have come to pass on us and the German sea would have engulfed the Hungarians. In 1956 it was written in the book of fate that we would remain an occupied and Sovietized country until love for the homeland dissipated from the last Hungarian. And if we had then resigned ourselves to this, then this destiny would have come to pass on us and the Soviet sea would have engulfed the Hungarians. Today it is written in the book of fate that the hidden and faceless world powers are getting rid of everything that is unique, that is separate, that is ancient and that is national. They are melding cultures, religions, masses of people until finally our multi-colored and proud Europe will finally become dirt poor and submissive. And if today we resign ourselves to this, then destiny will come to pass on us and the enormous maw of the European United States will engulf us. The task awaits us—Hungarians, the nations of central Europe and other European nations that have not yet lost their sober minds—to defeat, rewrite and change the fate that has been designated for us. We Hungarians and Polish know that this must be done. They have taught us that people face danger only if they have enough courage. This is why the ancient virtue of courage must be rummaged from the sediment of oblivion. First of all, we must resolve ourselves in spirit, we must intelligibly and loudly answer the primary, most important question determining our fate with a volume that carries over the most distant border. Europe’s future will either stand or fall on this. Shall we be slaves or shall we be free? This is the question, you answer me!
Go Hungary! Go Hungarians!