Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has greeted Hungarians around the world on the occasion of Hungary’s national holiday marking the outbreak of the 1848 revolution, the PM’s press chief said on Monday.
In a letter to Hungarians, Orbán said the revolution sends the message that “the power to improve our lives is always in the hands of those who are able, willing and courageous enough to lift up the Hungarian nation.”
“It is with this faith and courage that we must pull through once again, as we face a renewed wave of attack by an invisible enemy,” the prime minister said.
On March 15, “the day of the birth of Hungarian freedom”, the Hungarian cockade, a ribbon rosette of the national colours, “symbolises our proud remembrance of our heroes, who in the spring of 1848 lit the flame of Hungarian freedom.” Orbán said. “This flame has been burning bright across Europe ever since, fuelled by millions of Hungarians from generation to generation from this side of the Carpathians and beyond.”
Over the past centuries, Hungarians have learned “that freedom is not an ideology, but that rather we have a blood-earned right to use our language, nurture our unique heritage and organise our lives in accordance with our own mentality”, he said.
Orbán said the heirs to the soldiers of 1848 were the tens and hundreds of thousands of doctors, nurses, scientists, law enforcement officers and others going to work and doing their job every day in spite of the threat of the pandemic. “They are warriors who are fighting this campaign tirelessly so that we can get our lives back and, together with the peoples we live with, continue building the home of all Hungarians, the Carpathian Basin, once the virus has passed,” the prime minister said.
“Long live Hungarian freedom, long live the homeland,” Orbán concluded his letter.
Orbán: One generation’s courage empowers the next
One generation’s courage and ability to hold its own is what gives strength to the next generation, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said in a video message on Monday, marking Hungary’s March 15 national holiday.
March 15 is not just a day of remembrance, but also one to be thankful, the prime minister said. “It was not just the Hungarians of 1848-49 who held their own, but we also drew strength from their courage in 1956 and later in 1989-90,” he said.
“This is how the nation is built,” Orbán said. “One generation’s courage and ability to hold its own is what gives strength to the next generation.”
“Today, the situation is the same,” he said. “Not only do we have to save lives and contain the pandemic, but we also have to set an example to our children and grandchildren through our successful management of the pandemic and our courage to hold our own, so that if they find themselves in trouble, they have something to look back on.”
Orbán expressed hope that Hungary would “have something to leave to our children”.
Ministers mark national holiday
Hungary’s justice and family affairs ministers marked the anniversary of the 1848-49 revolution and freedom fight by highlighting the message of the national holiday and drawing parallels to Hungary’s fight against the pandemic.
“This is a different kind of holiday now: one of composure and care,” Justice Minister Judit Varga said in a video message. “We can only defeat the virus together. If we observe the rules, we’ll save not only our loved ones and ourselves but also our homeland.”
Varga called on Hungarians to take the time to remember those who had got sick from the virus and the health workers caring for them.
Hungary’s government is working to ensure “that there will finally be a day when we get our old lives back”, she said.
Katalin Novak, the minister for family affairs, said the revolution of 1848-49 carried the promise of resurgence and hope.
“The need for these in 2021 is especially great,” Novák said in a video on Facebook, noting that the pandemic “has been putting families and communities to the test for a year now”.
“We’re a freedom-loving nation, and over the course of our history, we’ve always risen up whenever foreign ideas, languages or powers were forced on us,” she said. “This time it’s the virus that restricts our movement, freedom to gather or practice our faith and hurts the economy.”
Hungary will only regain its freedom through commitment, Novák said. The country must give everything it has to preserve its achievements of the last ten years, while continuing to function, she said.
Featured photo illustration by Tamás Kovács/MTI