“National bonding” the Hungarian way

Until yesterday I didn’t even know that the Hungarian parliament has a twelve-member committee  that busies itself with something called “nemzeti összetartozás” (national belonging/bonding). So, I decided to find out what this committee is all about. It wasn’t a great surprise to learn that it was the brainchild of the Fidesz parliamentary majority. It was on December 23, 2010, the last session of  parliament that year, that the decision was made to set up a committee to deal with issues concerning the Hungarian minorities in the neighboring countries.

The chairman of the committee is Árpád János Potápi, a Fidesz member of parliament since 1998 and in civilian life a history teacher. Fidesz and KDNP members have an absolute majority (66.7%) on the committee, and if you add István Szávay (Jobbik) the right-wingers make up 74% of the membership. The committee has one independent member, Katalin Szili (formerly MSZP), who in spite of her leftist leaning is quite a nationalist. At the time of the referendum on dual citizenship in 2004 she, then still a member of MSZP and speaker of the house,  admitted that she had voted to  grant citizenship to Hungarians living in the neighboring countries, a position the party opposed. In addition, there is one member from LMP and one from MSZP. As far as I know, the MSZP member rarely attends.

During the last year and a half the committee dealt with 32 topics, including granting the title of “Civitas Invicta” (The invincible city) to Szigetvár. The Latin “civitas invicta” was translated into Hungarian as the “unconquerable city,” which is really funny considering that the Turks led by Suleiman the Magnificent conquered the fortress in 1566. The committee also spent a considerable amount of time talking about the requirements of  “the national curriculum.” The Christian Democrats insisted on discussing the use of the Hungarian coat-of-arms and the flag.  Here and there the opposition suggested that the committee take up some more serious topics.  For example, three MSZP members suggested working out a long-range strategy for an integrated economic area in the Carpathian Basin, but the committee refused even to discuss the matter. All in all, this committee doesn’t really have a function.

The “Committee on National Belonging” may have no reason to exist, but it sure can cause trouble, even create an international incident. Árpád Petápi, the committee chairman, decided to hold one of the committee’s regular meetings in Komárno, Slovakia, just across from the Hungarian Komárom, on the left bank of the Danube. The meeting was held at the János Selye University, a fairly recently established Hungarian university in Slovakia, on June 27. This regular meeting was also used as an occasion to talk with József Berényi, chairman of the Magyar Koalíció Pártja (MKP), the Hungarian party in Slovakia Fidesz supports. Béla Bugár, the chairman of Most-Híd, a Slovak-Hungarian party, wasn’t invited.

Univerzita J. Selyeho / Selye János Egyetem

It turned out from the MTI report that this is the fifth time that the Committee on National Belonging has held its meeting outside the Hungarian parliament. During these trips the members of the committee meet with church leaders as well as chairmen of civic and youth organizations. This was the situation this time also. The Hungarian MPs visited several villages nearby. I’m pretty sure that it was an enjoyable day. But what ensued was less pleasant.

Soon after the outing was over the Slovak foreign minister Miroslav Lajčák expressed his displeasure over the way the Hungarians had handled this trip. Hungary has the right to hold one of its regular meetings in Komárno. After all, both countries are within the Schengen borders.  But it would have been “basic courtesy” to inform the Slovak parliament about such a visit. Instead, according to the spokeswoman of the Slovak foreign ministry,  the Slovaks learned about the meeting of the committee in Komárno from the webpage of the Hungarian parliament.

Not so, says Árpád Potápi, the chairman of the Committee on National Belonging. The Hungarians informed the Slovak foreign ministry. Once again, who is telling the truth?

Lajčák was not the only one to complain. By late evening  Pavol Paška, speaker of the Slovak parliament, complained about the use of the word “Felvidék” (Uplands) to refer to Slovakia. Paška called this usage “bad manners” and “offensive to the Slovaks.” Paška also expressed his misgivings to the Hungarian ambassador in Bratislava. During the conversation Paška complained that all the topics discussed in Komárno concerned Slovak citizens, and as far as he knew “the Schengen Agreement did not abolish borders, only the barriers to border crossings.”

The Hungarian foreign ministry didn’t want to comment on Pavol Paška’s diplomatic protest. The ministry’s statement simply read that “keeping up the connection between the committee and the Hungarians in Slovakia is natural.”

Potápi was more talkative. We found out from him that in the past the committee visited Sub-Carpathian Ukraine (Kárpátalja), Lendava (Lendva) in Slovenia, Salonta (Nagyszalonta) in Romania, and Kecskemét (Hungary). Why Kecskemét? A mystery. There were no problems with any of these visits to neighboring countries, he claimed.

Slovak-Hungarian politician József Berényi (MKP) is convinced that with the return of Robert Fico as Slovak prime minister Hungarian-Slovak relations will again be strained, just as they were when László Sólyom couldn’t visit Slovakia to unveil a statue of St. Stephen, also in Komárno. Béla Bugár (Most-Híd), who wasn’t invited because the Orbán government doesn’t consider his party truly Hungarian, thinks that this latest unannounced official visit to Slovakia is very much like the Sólyom visit in 2008–“a diplomatic faux-pas” that further divides the two nations.

After a “malheur diplomatique” now we have a “diplomatic faux-pas.” There must be something seriously wrong with the upbringing of the members of the Orbán government and Fidesz. A few more of these and everybody will be offended or perhaps popping mad at the creators of the Hungarian “national bonding.” And not just at those committee members who are holding regular meetings in the neighboring countries.

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LwiiH
Guest

“Hungary has the right to hold one of its regular meetings in Komárno. After all, both countries are within the Schengen borders. But it would have been “basic courtesy” to inform the Slovak parliament about such a visit”

Same old position but this is even bigger offense. These are government officials conducting official government business on foreign soil without invitation to do so. Yet another provocation and they wonder why neighbours are upset.

Martin Eden
Guest

well, i can not imagine what would be reaction of the Hungarian government, if Slovak parliamentary committee for minorities staged meeting in let s say in Bekes caba without bothering to even say a word about it to their Hungarian counterparts. But this is actually not important. What is string here is, how the H government divides Hungarian politicians in Slovakia. Bugar Bela, for long time the most popular Hungarian politician in Slovakia is persona non grata for Fidez, cooperation is bad, confrontation is good.

Guest
London Calling! ‘Hungary, especially Hungary’ It should not be possible for Hungary, especially Hungary, to hold clandestine meetings in other neighbouring countries. These administrations especially know of Hungary’s previous ‘form’ – they are trying to retrieve Trianon. They are ‘cultivating’ their ‘Trianonland’ nationals in the vain attempt that one day they will be able to affect events in these bordering countries to their favour. The are stirring up trouble with no possibility of ever achieving success. The ‘what us?’ innocence of the Committee on National Belonging fools no one. Do they think that they can pull the wool over the eyes of other countries – like they do their own nation? It is truly an insult to these countries collective intelligence – and to their credit they just seem to tolerate their belligerent neighbour. But for how long? They are breaching Schengen – which facilitates free movement of individuals – not politicians on government business. This also applies to undermining the political processes of other countries – and they do it at their peril. Hungary, especially Hungary, should conduct ALL cross-border activity through diplomatic channels – their Ambassadors. When Groucho Marx said: “Politics is the art of looking for trouble,… Read more »
Odin's Lost eye
Guest

The leadership of Fidesz and earlier leadership of Hungary have always had the mystic belief that it and it alone really rules the Carpathian basin. This committee on ‘Committee on National Belonging’ is another attempt by the Hungarians to re-establish their control over the area.
Those Hungarian speaking Romanians I have met do not seem to care about Hungary, they just want to get on like their fellow Romanians and make a living. Mind you they (all Romanians) will take any help they can get and be thankful for it.
We can see this from positions of the local Hungarian majority political parties. From what I have heard every time the Monkeys of Fidesz pull a stunt the locals Hungarians find the ‘others’ more difficult.
“The question of the Carpathian basin is closed” J. Stalin to Matyas Rakosi 1945.
When will theFidesz Bandar-Log ever learn? Stop monkeying about, get to work and make the Hungarian Economy into something like the Austrian one.
CharlieH Thanks for the quote from Groucho Marx

Karl Pfeifer
Guest

I head a story from a Slovak-Hungarian (father Slovak, mother Hungarian) living in Sturovo (Párkány) on the other side of Esztergom. The Danube is the border between Slovakia and Hungary. From the catholic cathedral of Esztergom every day at 4.30 pm one can hear loud sad music to remember that the peace treaty of Trianon was signed at 4.30.
The fellow who told me the story said, that not only the Slovaks are annoyed but also the Hungarians.

Guest

London Calling! (2)

I forgot to add the ‘flash thought’ that came into my head as quick as it left!

By definition a committee named ‘Committee on National Belonging’ should only need to conduct its activities within Hungary.

By conducting its activities in other countries it becomes oxymoronic.

Pure irredentism.

And must be deeply offensive to other nations.

Divisive, antagonistic, arrogant and irredentist.

Regards

Charlie

Paul
Guest

OT (as always – sorry) – The ECB seems to be happy with the latest version of the amended HCB law – which could be passed next week. The forint is recovering nicely. Presumably this sets the scene for serious disussions with the IMF much earlier than we supposed?

How far can the forint go? Has Orbán got any more spanners up his sleeve to jam in the works just as everything is looking good, or is he serious this time?

gdfxx
Guest

Odin’s Lost eye:”Those Hungarian speaking Romanians I have met do not seem to care about Hungary, they just want to get on like their fellow Romanians and make a living. Mind you they (all Romanians) will take any help they can get and be thankful for it.”

I doubt that any Hungarian from Romania would call himself a Hungarian speaking Romanian (as a matter of fact this is what the Great Romania Party – a Romanian organization similar to Jobbik – and similar organization members call them). The Hungarian’s (from Romania) position is that Romania is a multi-ethnic country and one of those ethnic components is the Hungarian one. I think the Romanian constitution does not acknowledge this fact and this causes permanent frictions.

I wonder what an Irish person from Northern Ireland would say if one called her English of Irish origin?

Odin's Lost eye
Guest

The Ulstermen are Ulstermen and are recognised as such. The Scots are Scots and are recognised as such. The Welsh are Welsh and are recognised as such. Each of these nations has their own emblems. Two of them have their own laws since they are separate kingdoms.
The only one which officially does not exist are the English. They cannot use their own flag and can be prosecuted for racism for being in possession of emblems which proclaim their nationality. I was fined £250 by the local council for displaying the cross of St George for my Queen’s Gold Jubilee and was fined a further £50 by the Race Relations Board for wearing a belt buckle which said “Born British – English by the Grace of God”. I had to pay up or go before the Magistrates.
The Scots, Welsh, Ulstermen, Manxmen are all British Citizens, I think i am only a British Subject.
Mind you i am a Tory who lived in an official ‘Tory Free Zone’.

gdfxx
Guest

I guess it is quite hard – for us non-British – to understand the intricacies of the remains of the British Empire. I have to confess that until now I didn’t know what Manxman was. Now I know (thank you Wikipedia) and I also know that “The head of state is Queen Elizabeth II, who holds the title of Lord of Mann.” The only thing (actually two things) I don’t understand is why she is doesn’t hold the title of Lady of Mann and why of Mann and not Man ;-)).

enufff
Guest

You call up your friends or relatives to inform about your visit before hand ; moreover, visiting another country?! Geez , please teach the fidesz bunch some basic etiquette!

I wonder how the new generation of Hungarian descendants feel about Hu politician keep barging into their lives?

gdfxx
Guest

enufff :
You call up your friends or relatives to inform about your visit before hand ; moreover, visiting another country?! Geez , please teach the fidesz bunch some basic etiquette!
I wonder how the new generation of Hungarian descendants feel about Hu politician keep barging into their lives?

In Transylvania they feel one way or the other, depending on whether they belong to RMDSZ or EMNP/MPP. But basic etiquette isn’t that important in this case. What’s important is basic diplomacy, a skill that seems to be missing in this government of Hungary.

Louis Kovach
Guest

Dr Balogh writes “During the last year and a half the committee dealt with 32 topics, including granting the title of “Civitas Invicta” (The invincible city) to Szigetvár. The Latin “civitas invicta” was translated into Hungarian as the “unconquerable city,” which is really funny considering that the Turks led by Suleiman the Magnificent conquered the fortress in 1566”
Not exactly, Suleiman was dead by the time fortress fell. Szigetvar is a symbol in Hungary, like The Alamo in the USA and equally “really funny’…..according to some…..
The long siege derailed the original Turkish aim of the campaign.

Member

Suleiman died 1 day before the fortress fell. The battle lasted 1 month. The poor Turks got so derailed, they only stayed for 160 years.

By the way here we go again with the Hungarian history. Zrinyi, who led the fight against the Suleiman’s army was actually a Croat.

I’ve never heard anybody calling the Alamo “unconquerable”. Have you?

Guest

London Calling!

Mutt – One
Kovach – Didn’t

Regards

Charlie

Paul
Guest

Odin’s Lost eye :
The Ulstermen are Ulstermen and are recognised as such. The Scots are Scots and are recognised as such. The Welsh are Welsh and are recognised as such. Each of these nations has their own emblems. Two of them have their own laws since they are separate kingdoms.
The only one which officially does not exist are the English. They cannot use their own flag and can be prosecuted for racism for being in possession of emblems which proclaim their nationality. I was fined £250 by the local council for displaying the cross of St George for my Queen’s Gold Jubilee and was fined a further £50 by the Race Relations Board for wearing a belt buckle which said “Born British – English by the Grace of God”. I had to pay up or go before the Magistrates.
The Scots, Welsh, Ulstermen, Manxmen are all British Citizens, I think i am only a British Subject.
Mind you i am a Tory who lived in an official ‘Tory Free Zone’.

As an English British Citizen, I have a sneaky suspicion that’s there’s a little more to this story than Odin’s is telling us…

Louis Kovach
Guest

Zrinyi was Croat descent, from the Subich family. The Zrin castle gave the later familiy name. The family became more Hungarian with each generation Zrinyi, the famous general and writer already in 1654 he wrote in Hungarian ( „Így számlálom vala az én jövendőmet, / Hogy sok üdő mulván ez megvált engemet, / Hogy követi, meg is haladja versemet… // S zengőbb trombitával magyar vitézséget, / Fogja énekleni erős kar erejét.” He also wrote about his ancestor the Szigetvar Zrinyi In Hungarian “A szigeti veszedelem”. Later a Zrinyi Ilone nee Thokoly was Ferenc Rakoczy’s mother. Intersetingly there were family members who considered themselves Croat and many considered themselves Hungarian. There was no racial issues in those days, although the Croat nobles complaine about the Szigetvar Zrinyi fighting in Hungary against the Turks and not in Croatia.
Invictus, although in English is “invincable” In Hungarian it is also translated as ” hosies” “leghosiebb”. I consider the masada also invincable, but to you that maybe a laughing matter also…..
The Szigetvar siege stopped Suleiman from attacking Vienna, his losses were estimated at 20,000.
Your math is wrong from 1566. it was only about a 100 years.
Please read your Hawkin quote while looking into a mirror.

Paul
Guest

I do so love to hear the sound of a can of worms being opened…

Where shall we start?

A man who seems to have almost as many ‘squares’ named after him as Kossuth – and yet Bem József was Polish and also fought for the French and the Turks.

And one of the most famous Hungarians of all time, Liszt Ferencz – my 7 year old daughter speaks better Hungarian than he ever did.

If it was so easy to define who is and who isn’t Hungarian, Hungary wouldn’t be in the mess it is today.

Member

Louis Kovach :
Please read your Hawkin quote while looking into a mirror.

Zing … I never said I counted from 1566 … From Mohacs (1526) until the Holy League took Buda back for us (1686) was 160, give or take … But If I did, it would be 120 not 100. It seems you have more interest in history than math. I guess it’s easier to Google …

Here is some more worms for Pail … John Hunyadi the Romanian. Our biggest king. We have pretty much imported all our big heroes. So what?

Louis Kovach
Guest

The Mutt says: “Suleiman died 1 day before the fortress fell. The battle lasted 1 month. The poor Turks got so derailed, they only stayed for 160 years>” No, you clearly wrote the starting time as the “derailment”…..You have trouble with both history and math….and I give you the 120….

Louis Kovach
Guest

Muttian history again: “John Hunyadi the Romanian. Our biggest king. We have pretty much imported all our big heroes. So what?”

John hunyadi was never a king of Hungary. His son Matyas was….BTW now you count descent by the fathers?

Member

Louis Kovach :
Muttian history again: “John Hunyadi the Romanian. Our biggest king. We have pretty much imported all our big heroes. So what?”
John hunyadi was never a king of Hungary. His son Matyas was….BTW now you count descent by the fathers?

Oops. My bad. Who cares?

Guest

Louis Kovach :
The Mutt says: You have trouble with both history and math….

Louis please lay off your history and math lessons – remember those percentages you quoted (without giving the source – of course) ?

We are concentrating on what’s happening in Hungary today – because most of us here have a direct connection, e g I live here around six months a year with my Hungarian wife and I see how the economy is being f*cked by Fidesz.

Go to realdeal.hu once and see how they’re “robbing the poor to give to the rich” with all their new taxes.

BTW it seems that’ there was at least one new law and one new tax per week in the Fidesz regime …

Louis Kovach
Guest

Mutt: “Here is some more worms for Pail … John Hunyadi the Romanian. Our biggest king. We have pretty much imported all our big heroes. So what”

Well, as the story goes…….. most of those head honchos of Rumania were apparently Cuman….Perhaps all of Rumania will be attached to Nagykunsag.:-)

http://www.romania-insider.com/new-culture-minister-halts-dna-project-aiming-to-unveil-the-mysteries-of-romanias-medieval-kings/59748/

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