Greetings from Budapest

The Petőfi Sándor and the Kőrösi Csoma Sándor Program of the year 2016-2017 is coming to an end. The students of the programs are returning home and new students will replace them in their role to support the Hungarian community living in diaspora around the world. Members of these two programs send their greeting with this shot flash-mob video. . .


Response to the threats made by Romanian ex-president Traian Bășescu on Facebook

On December 2, 2016, Romanian ex-president Traian Bășescu made the statement (see below) titled The Hungarian Ambassador to Romania should be expelled. To this threat NAHC responded with the following open letter.

December 10, 2016

Dear Mr. Bășescu,

In response to your recent comments on your Facebook Blog to Prime Minister Victor Orbán of Hungary. It is important that you are reminded of the following information:

Thomas Woodrow Wilson, the 28th President of the United States of America, noted that: “No peace can last, or ought to last, which does not recognize and accept the principle that governments derive all their just powers from the consent of the governed, and that no right anywhere exists to hand peoples about from sovereignty to sovereignty as if they were property…”

In 1918 at Gyulafehérvár, on the 1st of December, in the eastern portion of the historic Kingdom of Hungary, the opposite of Wilsonian principles was forced upon Hungarian minorities – not by the people but by merely a 1,228 member delegation who made the final unlawful decision to join with Roumania. That delegation’s decision created the new Romanian state.

The new Romanian National Assembly, for everybody’s peace-of-mind, stated the following:

1. Complete freedom for all minorities. Minorities were promised the right to use their own language in public education, in the justice system, and according to their proportion, the right to make decision for laws and state legislation.
2. Minorities would be endowed with equal rights and freedom within all denominations of the country.

Almost immediately following these statues, Roumania refused to live up to its promises and then, as they do now, brutally enforced policies against the Hungarian minority populations.

Below are just a few examples of both historic and present-day injustices against Hungarians. These examples should bring to light some of the historic acts of injustice against Hungarian minorities in Roumania.

1. The University of Medicine and Pharmacy in Marosvásárhely has banned the use of the Hungarian language.
2. Ongoing harassment of Hungarian leaders in counties with significant Hungarian minority populations.
3. The banning of the use of the Székely flag, and the Székely peoples political rights in their struggle for rightful autonomy.
4. Ongoing illegal manoeuvres by the state in which Hungarian churches are prohibited from re-acquiring their church properties.

You once boldly stated that the Hungarians in your country should feel equally happy as their Romanian colleagues and to celebrate the last 26 years of progress since the collapse of the Soviet Union. This would however be nothing less than the falsification of the truth.

Both Hungary and Roumania became part of the NATO and the European Union with the same obligations and liabilities. Sadly, only Hungary continues to protect the rights of minorities living in its territory, granting everybody absolute and fair administration of justice.

Until Roumania ceases to ignore Wilsonian principles and the agreements at Gyulafehérvár, do not expect that either Romanian Hungarians or the Hungarian diplomatic field to celebrate the 1st of December.

National Alliance of Hungarians in Canada

The complete post by Mr. Bășescu (translation by NAHC):

Hey, my chum, Viktor Orbán, we (Romanians) do not wish to pay you (Hungarians) a visit to Budapest without your consent, as we did it once in the course of the last hundred years. But do not provoke us, because our patience has its own limits. Emboldened by the fact that Donald Trump took notice of Viktor Orbán, the servile page, Péter Szíjjártó, has asked no more, no less of his diplomatic corps, in the spirit of the political panorama fuelled by Hungarian Extremism, than not to participate at the celebration of Romania’s National Day the world over, because, and I quote, „the Hungarian nation has nothing to celebrate on December 1”.

I can come up with a long list of reasons why the Hungarians living in Romania could be at least as proud as Romanians on December 1. But to our greatest satisfaction, in contrast to Hungarians living in Hungary, the Hungarians of Romania have benefited in the last 26 years from a respectable political leadership, on both national and international levels, committed to NATO and UE values, values that in recent years have become elective and irrelevant to Budapest. In the light of this unprecedented insult to Romania, perpetrated by the Hungarian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Péter Szíjjártó, the only fitting solution is the immediate expulsion of the Hungarian Ambassador from Bucharest, and the recalling of the Romanian Ambassador from Budapest. Otherwise, these soldiers of fortune in the Orbán government will not realize that Roumania, truly, extends to the Tisza (river)*. God save you if we remind ourselves of this**, demagogues of Budapest.

* In 1919 the Romanian Army invaded Hungary to crush the newly minted soviet-style Republic established briefly in the wake of a lost war, contributing to the subsequent dismemberment of the country. The crumbling communist regime misinformed and misused its hastily formed – vastly inferior – forces composed of commissars and bands of disillusioned soldiers returning from the front, and soon has been left with no army. The nation just stood and watched powerlessly, paralyzed. After marching into the Hungarian capital, the High Command of the retreating Romanian Army, emboldened by several ultimatums of the victorious Allies (The Triple Entente), was reluctant to withdraw behind former national borders, declaring arbitrarily a „new border” alongside the course of the Tisza, in the heart of Hungarian territory. Eventually, the Allies have ordered the Romanian Army back.

** …and do it again, implied.

The complete and original post by Mr. Bășescu:

Prietene Viktor Orban, noi nu vrem să vă vizităm la Budapesta, aşa cum am mai făcut-o în istoria ultimilor 100 de ani fără voia voastră. Dar nu ne provoca, pentru că avem şi noi limite. Încurajat de faptul că Donald Trump l-a băgat în seamă pe Viktor Orban, ministrul de externe maghiar, nevolnicul Peter Syijjarto, o panaramă politică născută sub pulpana extremismului maghiar, a cerut nici mai mult nici mai puţin decât ca personalul dimplomatic maghiar să nu participe nicăieri la ceremoniile ocazionate de ziua naţională a României pentru că, citez, „poporul maghiar nu are nimic de sărbătorit de 1 decembrie“.

Pot să fac o lungă listă cu motivele pentru care maghiarii trăitori în România ar putea să fie cel puţin la fel de mândri ca românii cu ocazia zilei de 1 Decembrie. Dar cea mai importantă satisfacţie poate fi aceea că, spre deosebire de maghiarii din Ungaria, maghiarii din România au parte, în România ultimilor 26 de ani, de o conducere politică respectabilă la nivel naţional şi internaţional, ataşată valorilor NATO şi UE, valori care la Budapesta pare că au devenit facultative şi nerelevante în momentul ultimii ani. Având în vedere afrontul fără precedent adus de ministrul de externe maghiar Peter Syijjarto, României, singura soluţie demnă este expulzarea imediată a ambasadorului Ungariei de la Bucureşti şi rechemarea ambasadorului României de la Budapesta. Altfel aceşti aventurieri din guvernul lui Viktor Orban nu vor înţelege că România adevărată este până la Tisa. Să vă ferească Dumezeu să ne amintim de acest lucru, lătrăi politici budapestani.

Annual Report, NAHC, 2016

NAHC has been following global issues in relations with Hungarian national interests worldwide and tries to help whenever it can. On the occasion of March 10th, the Szekler Independence Day, NAHC sent a letter, written in Hungarian and English, to the president of Szekler National Council, the European Parliament, and the president of the European Union expressing its solidarity with the cause of the Szekler autonomy, and also, took part in demonstrations to support the autonomy.

NAHC has also been organizing its events with the concept that these events reach the communities in Canada nationwide. One example is the program series titled A Bit of Transylvania by László Bálint, which featured book shows, video presentations depicting landscapes and arts of Transylvania to raise funds for the school at the village of Varság. The students of the KCSP program and members of performing arts have been performing in live shows featuring pieces of literature and poetry, which were presented at Hungarian organizations in Montreal, Calgary, Edmonton, Windsor, and Cambridge.

Our memorable event was the book show and presentation titled Comrade Baron by Jaap Scholten, a Dutch author who is researching the Hungarian history, also.

NAHC started a series of theatre shows aimed to improve the programs at the Ottawa Hungarian Community Centre, and this initiative is now working well, and builds a bridge between the theatre life in the Carpathian basin and the Hungarians in diaspora.

The first show was György Derzsi’s My Love Sárdy by the members of the Lovas Theatre of Komárom, in October, 2015, followed by the show titled Lehár, in February 2016. Ferenc Karinthy’s Gellért Hill Dreams had its début in March 2016, featuring Lilla Tóth Szilvia, Örs Hunor Bálint, and Attila Létmányi, students of performing arts school at Marosvásárhely. Örs Hunor Bálint took this opportunity to have his photo exhibition. The latest show was Shirley Valentine directed by Cserje Zsuzsa featuring Éva Vándor in the main role.

NAHC sent an open letter to the Hungarian community in Canada calling them to participate in the referendum in Hungary, on October 2nd. This letter was also sent to members of the Hungarian government and the European Union.

All member organizations marked the 60th anniversary of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution with appropriate celebrations. The Kalejdoszkóp magazine started its series of commemorative events with interviews and song lyrics of 1956 by Nóra Némethy, followed by the interview book by Rózsa Dancs titled Pass on the flame – lives of those who were forced into exile. Extra Hungariam, one of our affiliate organizations, produced a show called Spirit of Hungary by the Home Defence Folk Dance Ensemble, in Toronto. The concert tour by the band New Bojtorján in Ontario was our very successful program. In remembrance of 1956 and homage to Canada, the Hungarian Volunteer Artists in Canada (Huvac) organization held in exhibition at the consulate in Toronto. As a sign of cooperation and belonging, several representatives of NAHC took part in the 3-day-long conference in Edmonton organized by the Hungarian Cultural Council in Canada (HCCC) for the commemoration of 1956. The Montréal Week organized by the Hungarian Embassy was a big success. Part of this show featured a tour by the dance group Csillagszemű, which had performances in Toronto, at the Ottawa Hungarian Cultural Centre, at the Ottawa Museum of History, Edmonton as part of the HCCC’ program series. NAHC is grateful to HCCC for these memorable events and the support.

With our campaign of Flag of 56, we again wanted to mark the anniversary of 1956 as we felt that when the Canadian people can see the flags mounted on cars they will be reminded of the importance of the past 60 years. Our activity can be followed on our newsletter Hungarian Reporter available online.

NAHC responded to the statements by the Romanian ex-president Traian Bășescu addressed to the Orbán government, which he made unofficially but stirred a great controversy. NAHC sent the response, written in English and Hungarian, to the national governing organizations of Romania and Hungary, and the representatives of the Hungarian organizations in Transylvania. In its response, NAHC used historical evidence to make its claim that the Hungarian community have nothing to celebrate on the anniversary of the Romanian assembly at Gyulafehervár, on December 1, 1918. NAHC’ response was also published by MTI.

NAHC also makes sure that it includes the students of the Körösi Csoma Sándor program (KCSP) in its events. This gives NAHC the opportunity to express its appreciation to the Hungarian government for the KCSP, which successfully re-engages the Hungarian community in diaspora. The KCSP embraces the Hungarian culture everywhere in the world; hence, this program is with great value of national heritage.

In an effort to make personal connections with the Hungarian organizations and their members in Canada, the president of NAHC toured the country last year, and met the representatives and members of the Hungarian communities. In the spring, he visited Vancouver, Victoria, Kelowna, and Edmonton, met the leaders of the local Hungarian centres and discussed the challenges the community face to make further progress in their future endeavours. In September, he continued his tour in Winnipeg and Montreal. He made his reports available about these meetings during NAHC’s monthly meetings. We feel that this tour reinforced our aims outlined at the Diaspora Council Meeting last year to increase the feeling of community and belonging among our communities and to preserve the identity of the Hungarian people living in diaspora.