Condolences to the Hungarian bus crash victims

January 23, 2017.

The National Alliance of Hungarians in Canada would like to offer its sincere condolences for the victims of the Hungarian bus crash in Italy.

Our prayers go out to the victims and families of those who were killed or injured in this tragic accident.

We hope that a smooth healing process will help the Szinyei Merse Pál High school deal with their loss, and we wish they will recover from this tragedy soon.

Best wishes,

National Alliance of Hungarians in Canada

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.

CBC’ recent newscast on Hungary and the migrant crisis

CBC News
December 15, 2016

RE:      CBC’ recent newscast on Hungary and the migrant crisis
Video report: Hungary’s contradictions
Article: A nasty Hungarian national mood rejects immigrants — and journalists

Citizens rely on the media to create awareness, foster public discourse, and strengthen society. Citizens also demand that media, as an integral part of democracy, adhere to a standard of integrity and accuracy that befits its role in modern society. What recourse exists therefore when the media is wrong? What steps should good citizens take when misinformation is veiled in reporting and the shaping of public opinion is orchestrated in a careless manner?

CBCs The National recently featured a rather lengthy report entitled “Hungary’s contradictions” on November 24, 2016. This was followed by an article entitled “A nasty Hungarian national mood rejects immigrants — and journalists” on Dec. 11, 2016. It is with considerable regret that CBC has once again opted to publish a report about Hungary with incorrect and misguided information that should be seen to tarnish not Hungary’s reputation, but CBCs prominence.

Both of CBCs reports begin with images from extremist elements in Hungarian society that exist in direct violation of Hungarian law. The Hungarian government has on numerous occasions distanced itself from the actions of civilian defense groups, ensured that law and order prevail, and that enforcement against extremist groups is investigated and prosecuted. While extremist elements do exist in Hungary, they do so in insignificantly small numbers and in insignificant groups. By comparison, one would not label Canada as a burgeoning far right-wing or extremist haven even though white supremacists, ethnic hatred, racially motivated crimes, and high profile anti-Semitic actions have occurred across Canada. A minority does not represent a society as a whole and should be contextualized as such. A minority does not represent a societal trend.

Since the free and fair election of Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, and the outbreak of the migrant crisis in Hungary and Europe, there has been a free-for-all among media accusing Hungary of a gradual shift to authoritarianism, corruption, restrictions on the freedom of press and civil society, and the curbing of judicial independence. Accusations have been a dime a dozen, but any real evidence or proof of those claims has been few and far between. Even a cursory examination of Hungarian newspapers reveals a shockingly free exchange of ideas and criticism of government and ideologies on both sides of the political spectrum. Journalists are free to operate anywhere in Hungary and are only challenged (a freedom not always so openly embraced in Canada) when they report misinformation. The closing of the Népszabadsag, a left-wing daily newspaper, was a result of financial difficulties and not, as suggested, a government conspiracy. Should we therefore call the closure of newspapers in Guelph and Nanaimo in 2016 into question as government meddling? In fact, 23 newspapers have been closed in British Columbia alone over the past decade. Further, Hungary’s judiciary remains transparent and the government’s only attempt to reform the body was intended to ensure a healthy transition and turnover from long-term serving individuals, many of whom served under previous Communist governments. One wonders if stalled talks of Senate or democratic reform in Canada as part of political maneuvering by the governing party could be similarly likened to democratic backsliding.

Many in the media have also seized on Hungary’s limited capacity to handle the migrant crisis as a fortuitous moment to label the small central European nation as a dictatorship, racist, anti-Muslim, and worthy of removal from the European Union. Central to their argument are the more than 200,000 Hungarians who fled Hungary as genuine refugees during the 1956 Hungarian Revolution, and those arriving at Hungary’s borders now. How interesting that those same claims omit debates about the very important differences between economic and political migrants, genuine and non-genuine refugees, the role of human smugglers, and the burden inherent in accepting large numbers of people from often divergent cultures and beliefs. It is discussion of these salient points that would afford a more accurate and fulsome discussion of the migrant crisis and multicultural societies. The only signs of tyranny or authoritarianism one can see are those imposed on states who have decided to protect their identity, their culture and their borders. Critics who speak of perceived Hungarian perceptions to the current migrant crisis would do a great service to also speak of German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s 2010 statement on the failure of multiculturalism and integration by migrants in Germany. Or for example, the failures of integration in the banlieues of Paris, the conditions of migrant temporary housing in Calais, or the lack of security for German citizens celebrating in Cologne. What appear to be isolated events could so easily be characterized as a national “nasty” mood.

CBC has demonstrated with great effect its intent to overlook historical context. It has only been 71 years since the end of World War II. Hungary indeed requires the time and due process to examine its history, its triumphs, and its failures. From 1945 to 1989 no one in Hungary was allowed to discuss history, only the version forced upon it by an occupying power. I believe history deserves more respect than to assume a nation with almost 2,000 years of history should resolve all outstanding debates in the 27 years since freedom was won in 1989. CBCs attempt to demonstrate a veiled connection between Hungary during World War II, the Hungary of 1956, and the Hungary of 2016 is highly irresponsible. Comparisons of that nature, without context or analysis, demonstrates a significant lack of awareness to the complexities of history and the realities of present-day.

Finally, it has been suggested by CBC that perceived hatred and intolerance in Hungary could be “spread” to Hungary’s neighbours. It is shameful that while Hungarian minorities in Slovakia, Romania, Serbia, Ukraine among others continue to experience harassment and discrimination if they attempt to use their native language. What of the hatred and intolerance shown towards the Székely people, an ethnic group of Hungarian origin in Transylvania, who only ask for a measure of self-autonomy to guide their future, only to be forcefully declined with government sponsored measures aimed at suppressing and oppressing their identity. Or, for example, the countless cases of discrimination, abuse, vandalism, and ethnic hatred shown to Hungarian minorities in their ancestral lands, such as present day Slovakia, Serbia, Transylvania, Carpatho-Ukraine. In fact, Hungary has always been a bastion of ethnic tolerance and has a long history of welcoming and accepting foreigners. By doing so, Hungary, during its long history, existed as one of the first examples of a multicultural society, something that Canada cherish and benefit so greatly today. Perhaps CBC mistakenly overlooked the last century of history in central Europe.

NAHC/KMOSz, therefore, resents these reports as it finds them highly damaging to the reputations of the Hungarian people in Canada and worldwide, and it requests that CBC consider a correction or revision to the two reports published in November and December of this year. At the very least, input should be sought from organizations like the National Alliance of Hungarians in Canada and similar organizations who may be able to provide more accurate information for future CBC reports. Media integrity must remain a strategic goal for reporters and media across the country and not a mere catch-phrase. CBC has done a great disservice to Hungary and the Hungarian people and should demonstrate actionable willingness to make corrections moving forward.

Kindest Regards,

Gábor Vaski


This press release has been delivered to: team


His Excellency Dr. Bálint Ódor
Hungarian Ambassador

Dr. Stefánia Szabó
Hungarian Consul General

Hungarian Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Media Relations

Board of Directors