Speaking at a memorial ceremony held at the Budapest University of Technology and Economics earlier today in memory of the 1956 Revolution, Gergely Gulyás, the minister heading the Prime Minister’s Office, said that “on the 66th anniversary of our national holiday this year, we can say for the first time that we have been free to remember '56 for as long as the communist dictatorship tried to erase, paint over, and silence the memory of the revolution.”
Aside from the numerous distinguished guests, the event was attended by many young adults from Transcarpathia and Ukraine to whom Minister Gulyás expressed his solidarity and respect in their struggle against the current Russian aggression by saying:
”We have every reason to help a country that is fighting heroically to defend its freedom, its territorial integrity, and its sovereignty, which the Russians have also accepted via an international treaty. That is why we have organized the largest humanitarian aid operation in Hungary's history in recent months; that is why we are taking care of all refugees; and that is why we are helping those who remain in Ukraine, regardless of their nationality, to the best of our ability.”
He also stated that seeing the havoc and destruction of the ongoing conflict, “The nation of 1956 can only say that he who fights for freedom and national independence is a friend of Hungary (...) because the Hungarian people never give up on freedom.”
According to Minister Gulyás, this “sincere desire for freedom, the chance of regaining community and individual dignity, turned despondency into hope, anger into action, their demands into a united will, and the people into a nation.”
He said that the heroes of the revolution shared two distinct characteristics — loyalty and heroism. Loyalty to the nation and to freedom, from which came the overriding objective of national belonging and self-determination. In his view, the heroes of the revolution “held on in the face of the Soviet tanks and then during the dictatorship not because they had hope, but because they were right.”
He added that while the Hungarian nation stood for justice in 1956, it stood alone. “However,” he said, “we know, and Hungary experiences this every day, that the truth is not always backed by a majority, but it is better to be alone than to live a lie.”
Thus, “all those whose souls soared to the skies for the freedom of the nation will forever remain part of the common memory of Hungarians. By their example, their sacrifice, their cross, they represent everything that makes a land surrounded by borders into a homeland, and in them is embodied everything that makes the Hungarians scattered throughout the world a nation, regardless of borders.”
In his closing remarks, Minister Gulyás pointed out that patriotism has a different function in every era. In 1956, love of country had to be demonstrated with a gun, a Molotov cocktail, a public stand against dictatorship, sacrifice of life. But thankfully today, effective national advocacy does not require a Molotov cocktail.
Thanks to the sacrifice of the martyrs of ‘56, the Hungarian people can honor their legacy by prospering in their homeland, returning home, and preserving the Hungarian language and cultural identity, as well as the national diversity of Europe.