The March 15 revolutionary dictum “We’ll be slaves no more” is one which all Hungarians have abided by in their dealings with each other since 1848, Prime Minister Viktor Orban said in his speech on the steps of the National Museum in Budapest on Tuesday, addressing more than twenty thousand people gathered to commemorate the 163rd anniversary of the 1848-49 revolution and war of independence from Habsburg rule.
“After 163 years we are true to our word, and we abide by this to this day,” Orban said.
“The maxim means that we have jointly sworn an oath to each other; whatever turn the world takes, we’ll stand together,” he said. “The national common oath means that every Hungarian will stand by every other Hungarian and will stand together for the sake of Hungary,” he added.
1848 was for Hungarians a new chapter in their history and brought the most successful renewal, the prime minister said.
“Hungarians always stand by Hungary when the powers that be are no longer capable of speaking responsibly, when they can no longer speak truthfully, and when they purvey false principles with the sole purpose of holding on to power.”
“This happened in 1956, in 1990 and in 2010, too,” Orban said.
The prime minister said that Hungarians had stood side by side to oppose irresponsible acts, the ruination of people’s prospects, cheating and false hopes of fast riches, thereby acting on the oath of 1848. By doing so they had brought about the most successful renewal in their history, he said.
Orban said that in 1848 Hungarians had not allowed to be dictated to by Vienna, in 1956 they had stood up to Moscow and “today we will not allow anyone to dictate to us from Brussels or anywhere else.”
Orban said at the end of the 1980s there were many who couldn’t believe that the dictatorship would come to an end in their lifetimes, but there were those who believed there was light at the end of the tunnel: another, free Hungary which could be found when the time came, he said. Yet great disappointment was caused after the change in regime, he said, since people wanted to believe that, along with democratic change, the sending away of Soviet tanks and freeing up the economy, the other Hungary had indeed arrived; a Hungary that would be strong and successful.
“We were soon had to confront the fact that we had not arrived; the colours, faces and air of the past reemerged, showing that we had failed to break with the dictatorship of the previous forty years,” he said.
“The real free Hungary of ’48 and ’56 cannot be found in the world of ideology or theory, and nor will we find it in the examples of Brussels or other metropolises; neither will party deals lead there,” Orban said, adding that “we should look within rather than to the outside [to find] the Hungary we’re looking for.”
“This is why we Hungarians found each other in last year’s elections,” Orban said.
“We have stood up to end the years of hopelessness and at the same time end the twenty years of [post-communist] transformation. We have stood up to ensure that the interests of Hungarians are given priority in Hungary, and we stood up for the country when we properly bid farewell to the International Monetary Fund. We stood up for the Hungarian people when we imposed a bank tax and crisis tax, we stood up for Hungary when we had to fight against the floods, when the red sludge flooded us, when we had to take our pension system back from the hands of stock exchange sharks; and we have stood up for Hungary in the European Union, fighting back against the lowly and deceitful attacks organised at home in order to ruin our reputation,” Orban said.
“We have understood that we need a new supreme law, something that we can finally settle on after twenty years of meandering around (…) something that not only sets the framework of our common life but offers a national credo addressing issues that have lain unresolved for twenty years,” he said.
“We are proud of our king Saint Stephen who set a firm footing for the Hungarian state a thousand years ago and made our country part of a Christian Europe.(…) We promise to guard our the intellectual and spiritual unity of our nation, which was torn into pieces in the storms of the past century,” Orban said.
Orban said it was in keeping with the spirit of 1848 that the new constitution being drafted would meets the challenges of the 21st century and at the same time satisfy the instincts of Hungarians and the nature of the Hungarian spirit.
“We must create our new Constitution together, and this is why it is important that everyone who feels dedicated to finally making a truly Hungarian constitution for Hungary should participate in the process,” Orban said.
“We can once again hope and aspire to make a great nation, we can once again trust the given word; work will be given due respect, those who commit crimes will be called to account and merit will be honoured,” Orban said.
“Respect to the heroes of 48! Go Hungary, go Hungarians!,” Orban said concluding his speech which was received with an ovation.