Tag Archives: Sándor Petőfi

Transylvania in focus

Today’s post will be devoted to three subjects, all of which are related in one way or the other to Transylvania. The topics range from beer to the coming national election to a fifth-grade Hungarian language and literature textbook for Hungarian students in Romania. Since I spent the last two hours comparing a textbook written for children living in Hungary with that written for Hungarian students studying in Romania, I will start with the textbooks.

The Romanian Hungarian literature textbook is available in its entirety on the internet. Internet access to the textbook from Hungary is restricted to the first 16 pages, but from the table of contents we have a fairly good idea of what fifth graders are expected to learn. The verdict coming from educators in Hungary is that the textbook published in Romania is far superior to the ones children in Hungary use.

According to László Arató, president of the Association of Teachers of Hungarian, it is refreshing to read the book published by the Romanian ministry of education, especially when it’s compared to the old-fashioned, stodgy Hungarian textbook from Budapest. From the very first page the authors stressed that they consider the children partners, which is in stark contrast to the book children currently use in Hungary. While the Romanian textbook is full of contemporary writers’ works, the Hungarian equivalent got stuck at Sándor Petőfi’s ”János vitéz.” The choice of this poem didn’t surprise me a bit because Rózsa Hoffmann, former undersecretary in charge of education responsible for the “reform” of Hungarian education, said at least five years ago that it was an absolute must that children study this poem. Those who are unfamiliar with the story don’t deserve to enter college. Fifty-six pages of the 203-page textbook are devoted to the literary analysis of this poem. I might add that in my copy of Petőfi’s complete poems “János vitéz” takes up 53 pages.

While the Romanian textbook is full of modern texts and daily encounters among people, teachers in Hungary are supposed to teach children about metaphors, Greek myths, and the Bible. There is also a section of excerpts from Hungarian writers who describe different regions of the country, with an emphasis on patriotism. One item sounded promising: Ferenc Molnár’s immortal The Boys from Pál Street. But, as it turned out, the book was covered in only five pages–just the structure and plot of the novel plus the names of the characters. The final item in the table of contents made quite an impression on me. I kept wondering how anyone can teach 10-year-olds about the “theory of literature.” In brief, I feel sorry for all those children who have to sit through this literature course and am especially sorry that they have to analyze “János vitéz” for weeks on end. I’m sure that fifth graders find this textbook deadly. No wonder that children don’t like to read.

Now let’s move on to a jollier subject: beer. Of course, not just any beer but the world famous “Igazi Csíki Sőr,” which I wrote about earlier. There was a trademark battle between a Dutch-Hungarian mini-brewery in Transylvania and the Romanian division of Heineken, the well-known Dutch brewery. For some inexplicable reason the Hungarian government decided to weigh in on the side of Igazi Csíki Sőr against Heineken. János Lázár and Zsolt Semjén traveled to Sânsimion/Csíkszentsimon to show their support. The government contemplated passing legislation that would discriminate against larger foreign-owned companies and promote the business interests of small Hungarian firms. And the government gave money to the company that produced the Igazi Csíki Sör. For a while patriotic beer drinkers boycotted Heineken and Igazi Csíki Sőr disappeared from the shelves as soon as it was put out. But these happy days for the owners of Igazi Csíki Sör didn’t last long. When the large breweries’ products are half the price of the beer from Csík, customer enthusiasm doesn’t last long. The mini-brewery decided that the government-favored beer will no longer be available in supermarkets. They will try their luck with direct distribution, providing home delivery to customers. I don’t know, but I have the feeling that this is the end of Igazi Csíki Sör. Market forces are simply too strong.

The last item is the intensive registration campaign the government has been conducting in the last month or so in the neighboring countries to entice ethnic Hungarians to vote in the 2018 national election. Those familiar with the details of the 2014 election know that Fidesz’s all-important two-thirds majority was achieved only because of the votes that came from Transylvania, Serbia, and Ukraine. Although Fidesz is way ahead of all the other parties in the polls today, Viktor Orbán leaves nothing to chance. In 2014 the government managed to register 193,793 voters in the neighboring countries, though only 128,712 of these were valid. A whopping 95.49% of them voted for Fidesz. Therefore, getting as many people registered as possible is of the utmost importance for Viktor Orbán and his party.

The government hopes that of the one million dual citizens at least 500,000 will vote in the election. The government had 332,000 registration requests by the time of the referendum on the migrant quota issue, in which dual citizens could vote. The intensive registration campaign since then has produced only meager results. In the last ten months the number of registrants has grown by only 18,000. The current figure is 350,000, with 148,000 from Romania, followed by Serbia with 40,000. Of course, it is possible that large numbers of people will register only in the last few weeks, but the goal is very ambitious.

Viktor Orbán himself sent letters to all dual citizens living abroad. In addition, the Democratic Alliance of Hungarians in Romania (Romániai Magyar Demokrata Szövetség/RMDSZ or in Romanian Uniunea Democrată Maghiară din România/UDMR), the only serious Hungarian party in Romania, is actively involved in the campaign, especially since Viktor Orbán’s speech in Tusnádfürdő/Băile Tușnad on July 22. The relationship between RMDSZ and Fidesz was not always amiable, but efforts to create a new ethnic political force to be used against RMDSZ failed. RMDSZ was the only Hungarian ethnic party left standing. Lately, RMDSZ and Fidesz have been working hand in hand for the reelection of Viktor Orbán.

August 12, 2017

Viktor Orbán’s vision of a new world order is fading

I was all set to ignore Viktor Orbán’s nineteenth yearly “assessment,” to skip the whole rigmarole. After all, there is absolutely nothing new to be found in his ramblings sprinkled with archaic and pious phrases mixed with affected folksiness. We have heard him speak countless times about his clairvoyant powers, predicting the coming of a new illiberal world which is partly his own creation. And this latest speech is no different from any of the others he has delivered lately. But as I was going through my early morning perusal of news in the United States and Europe, I decided that in light of the latest developments in world affairs it might be useful to spend a little time on Orbán’s latest pronouncements.

Although critics complain that the speech, which was supposed to be about the government’s achievements in the past year, was mostly about foreign affairs, I found a fair amount of bragging about the great accomplishments, economic and otherwise, of the third Orbán government. Nonetheless, I was much more interested in his “vision” of the present and the future, not of Hungary but of the world.

According to Viktor Orbán, 2017 “promises to be an exhilarating year.” There will be “surprises, scratching of heads, raising of eyebrows, rubbing of eyes.” People will ask each other: “Is everything that is coming undone and taking shape in front of our eyes really possible?” The existing world order is coming to an end. History beckons the prophets of liberal politics, the beneficiaries and defenders of the present international order, the globalists, the liberals, the influential talking heads in their ivory towers and television studios. A new world is coming, a world where populists like Viktor Orbán , Vladimir Putin, Donald Trump, Recep Erdoğan, Marine Le Pen, and other right-wing populists elsewhere in Europe will decide the fate of the western world.

Perhaps I have been inattentive, but this is the first time that I noticed a recurring adjective in an Orbán speech: “open world, “open world order,” “open society.” Orbán is “paying homage” to his nemesis, George Soros. He very much hopes that with the “exhilarating” 2017 the “open world order” will come to an end. As far as he is concerned, the beginning of his new world looks promising: Brexit, the American presidential election, “booting out” the Italian government, the “successful” Hungarian referendum on the migrants, all of these take us closer to the promising new world.

Orbán’s next sentence can be fully understood only if I provide its poetic backdrop. Sándor Petőfi (1823-1849) was a political radical who, in December 1848, wrote a poem titled “Hang the Kings!” The poem begins “Knife in Lamberg’s heart and rope around the neck of Latour and after them perhaps others will follow. At last, you people are becoming great!” Lamberg and Latour were high government officials who were killed in Pest and Vienna by angry mobs. So, Orbán, of course without mentioning the two murdered gentlemen, sums up the happy events of late in Great Britain, Italy, the United States, and Hungary: “after them perhaps more will follow. At last, you people are becoming great.” So, Orbán is in a revolutionary mood, no doubt about it. And he is also full of hope, although given the fate of the 1848 revolutions in the Habsburg Empire, I wouldn’t be so sanguine in his place.

As I look around the world, however, Orbán’s dream world may not come into being as fast, if at all, as he thinks. Let’s start with Austria’s presidential election last year. Orbán and the government media kept fingers crossed for Norbert Hofer, the candidate of the far-right Freedom Party of Austria, yet Alexander Van der Bellen, a member of the Austrian Greens, won the election by a fairly large margin. The first effort of a self-described far-right party in Europe to win high office failed.

Orbán’s next hope is for a huge victory by Marine Le Pen in France. But the centrist Emmanuel Macron’s chances of beating Le Pen look good. At least the Elabe poll shows Le Pen losing the run-off 37% to 63%. Another poll, Ifop Fiducial, predicts 36% to 64%. Two different polls, very similar results.

Then there is Germany. Former foreign minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, a social democrat, was elected Germany’s president. He won 931 of the 1,239 valid votes cast by members of the Bundestag and representatives of the 14 federal states. When the result was announced by Norbert Lammert, president of the Bundestag, there was a standing ovation. Even more importantly, Angela Merkel’s solid lead a few months ago is beginning to fade. The reason is the socialist Martin Schulz’s appearance on the German political scene. According to the latest polls, the two candidates are neck to neck. One also should mention the latest developments in the nationalist Alternative for Germany Party (AfD), which would certainly be Orbán’s choice. According to the German media, since Schulz announced his candidacy for the chancellorship, “the number of people who did not vote in 2013 and are now planning to vote for the SPD has risen by roughly 70 percent in the last 14 days.” And what is more important from Orbán’s point of view, “AfD—which brought the most non-voters to the polls in several state elections last year—also lost support dramatically. Forty percent fewer former non-voters expressed their support for the party.”

One ought to keep in mind that the Hungarian government propaganda has succeeded in making Angela Merkel generally despised by the Hungarian public. Vladimir Putin is more popular in Hungary than Merkel. But given the choice between Merkel and Schulz, Orbán should actually campaign for Merkel’s reelection because Schulz, who until now was the president of the European Parliament, is one of the loudest critics of Orbán and his illiberal populism.

Finally, let’s talk about the situation in the United States. What has been going in Washington since Donald Trump’s inauguration as president of the United States has surpassed people’s worst fears. Total chaos, a non-functioning government, and very strong suspicions about the Trump team’s questionable relations with Russian intelligence. Michael Flynn, Trump’s choice to be his national security adviser, was forced to resign because of his direct contact with the Russian ambassador to Washington. A few minutes ago, we learned that Andy Puzder withdrew as labor secretary nominee in order to avoid a pretty hopeless confirmation hearing.

Donald Trump on the phone with Vladimir Putin / Jonathan Ernst / Reuters

The list of incredible happenings in Washington is so long that one could spend days trying to cover them. What I would like to stress here is that I’m almost certain that Trump’s original friendly overtures to Putin’s Russia have been derailed. The Russians did their best to bolster Trump’s chances, but by now Putin must realize that the new American president cannot deliver.

Now let’s return to Viktor Orbán, who was an early admirer of Donald Trump. His admiration of Trump was based on the presidential hopeful’s anti-migration policies, his disregard of political correctness, and his anti-establishment rhetoric. Moreover, and perhaps most importantly, Orbán found Trump’s pro-Russian views and his promise to “make a deal” with Russia and lift the sanctions against Moscow especially appealing. In such an event, Orbán believed he would play a more important role than he as the prime minister of a small country could otherwise have expected.

Now these hopes are vanishing with the tough stand both Democrats and Republicans have taken on Russia’s military occupation of Crimea and its efforts to stoke a civil war in Eastern Ukraine. Moreover, given the investigation into Russia’s interference in the U.S. presidential election and the ties of members of the Trump team to Russian intelligence, Trump is not in a position to hand out favors to Russia. So Putin won’t be best friends with the American president. And Europe seems disinclined to follow the U.S. into political chaos. Orbán, if he has any sense, should tone down his rhetoric about a new, exhilarating future where the old establishment sinks into oblivion.

February 15, 2017

Béla Pomogáts: A legend’s reincarnation

Béla Pomogáts is a historian of literature and a literary critic whose main field of interest is twentieth-century Hungarian literature, including works by writers living outside the current borders of Hungary. He is the author of the encyclopedic study Newest Hungarian Literature, 1945-1981 (1982) and of several books on Hungarian writers in the neighboring countries. 

Béla Pomogáts began his studies at ELTE in 1953. I followed him a year later. Both of us majored in Hungarian, and both of us became members of the Revolutionary Student Committee during the 1956 October Revolution. While I left and found safe haven in the West, Béla paid dearly for his activities with years of incarceration and unemployment.

* * *

According to the official announcement, on Friday July 17th the earthly remains of Sándor Petőfi, which had been brought back from the Siberian Barguzin, were buried. The story went viral despite the summer heat, when the major players in public life would rather spend their time at Lake Balaton (or on the Adriatic) than at funeral services.

The Barguzin skeleton was discovered a quarter of a century ago in far-away Siberia in a forgotten cemetery of a barely-known settlement by a scientific expedition, whose initiators and experts were Ferenc Morvai, a businessman, István Kiszely, an anthropologist, and Edit Kéri, a former actress. Later they quarreled, and for many decades the Barguzin skeleton became enwrapped in a veil of oblivion more mournful than any shroud.  Twenty some years later a solemn reburial has taken place, and its energetic organizers have by turns been makings statements. I only quietly want to say that among them there is not one person with any professional credentials. The only one who might have been considered to be qualified is the late István Kiszely, an eccentric scientist, who earlier as a Benedictine seminarian in Pannonhalma cultivated an intimate relationship with the Kádárist state security apparatus.

The lunatic fringe at the "reburial." Népszabadság / Viktor Veres

The lunatic fringe at the “reburial.” Népszabadság / Viktor Veres

A quarter of a century ago there was also great interest in the discovery in Transylvanian Hungarian circles, although I don’t remember that the Hungarians of Kolozsvár/Cluj, Nagyvárad/Oradea , or Marosvásárhely/Târgu-Mureș took the sensational news reports at face value. Both the Hungarian scientific community and public opinion continued to accept the established view that the poet was the victim of a Cossack lancer’s weapon during the battle of Segesvár (today Sighișoara) near Fehéregyháza (Albești). (I myself, as the president of the Hungarian Writers’ Association as well as the president of the Vernacular Conference, have repeatedly paid tribute at the older monument next to the highway and later at the new Petőfi statue erected a few years ago.) I, along with the scholars who have intensively studied the art and life of Petőfi, didn’t think to question the time and place of the death of the poet. Today’s Petőfi scholars unanimously reject the legend of Barguzin.

András Dienes, Petőfi in the War of Independence (1958)

Dienes’s book is the most authentic and detailed work on the poet’s activities in the last year of his life. One reason that I’m referring to Dienes’s book is that he was my much respected older colleague in the Literary Studies Institute of the Academy of Sciences. Before the war Dienes was a gendarme officer who at the end of the war joined the anti-fascist resistance movement. After the communist takeover he spent long years in Mátyás Rákosi’s prison on trumped-up charges. He was rehabilitated in 1957 and from there on dedicated his scholarly life to the study of Sándor Petőfi. While writing the book, he also did research in Romania. It turned out that the mass grave which most likely contains Petőfi’s remains is inaccessible because a large-scale industrial site was built on top of it.

The transylvanian contingent / Nészpabadság / Viktor Veres

The Transylvanian contingent. Népszabadság / Viktor Veres

Although it is unlikely that Petőfi’s remains will ever surface, Dienes relied on testimony and historical documents that indicated the date and place of the poet’s death.  There are many such documents: Hungarian army officers, Austrian generals, the contemporary press, and memoirs all support the literary historian’s chronicle of Sándor Petőfi’s last hours.

Testimony of the Petőfi literature

Since the appearance of András Dienes’s book, several studies by literary historians have tried to clarify the circumstances of Petőfi’s death whenever public interest re-focused on the subject. After many decades of calm, at the end of the 1980s and the beginning of the 1990s a kind of “literary retrial” took place, which inspired people’s imaginations. In September 1988 Edit Kéri, earlier an actress in Győr who was imprisoned after the 1956 revolution, approached Ferenc Morvai, a businessman of means whom the media nicknamed the “boiler king,” and asked him to sponsor an expedition to Siberia to find the poet’s earthly remains. According to Kéri, the poet didn’t die on the battlefield near Segesvár but, along with many other Hungarian soldiers, was captured by the Russians. In the Barguzin cemetery, she claimed, there are a number of graves belonging to these captured soldiers. The idea of a Siberian expedition prompted fierce debates and a host of scientific (and pseudo-scientific) publications.

Articles that appeared in periodicals and newspapers reported the news about the excavations in Barguzin as a genuine scientific sensation. The Hungarian public learned that the members of the expedition even found the name of the poet–Aleksandr Petrovics, the original family name of the poet–on one of the graves In 1990, Edit Kéri summarized the results of the expedition in a book titled Petőfi in Siberia?! I must admit that Kéri did report some of the doubts surrounding the remains, but she still considered the skeleton to be that of Petőfi. Soon after, another book by Géza Szabó detailed the history of the excavation of the grave itself. A few months later a real Petőfi scholar, Sándor Fekete, felt that it was time to raise his voice and published a book with the title Siberian Contagion: Resurrection of the Petőfi Legend and Its Reburial. It was serious re-examination of the existing evidence, and it debunked the newly created Petőfi legend. Soon enough more works appeared, among them Lajos Szuromi’s Petőfi’s Russian Poems?, Miklós Veszprémi’s How Did Petőfi Die? and, in Russian, A. Tivanenko’s Petofi v Barguzine. Two publications that I would call “academic” came out subsequently. One was a series of essays edited by László Kovács titled Not Petőfi!, in which well-known Petőfi scholars such as Sándor Fekete, József Kiss, Imre Lengyel, László Harsányi, and several Russian academics wrote studies. In 2003 László Kovács appeared with a book of his own titled Illusion: The Fiasco of the Siberian Petőfi Research, which is the best summary of the history of the whole affair.

Two quotations, two publications

The first quotation is from Sándor Fekete’s Siberian Contagion: “The book which is in the hands of the readers is a document and a medical history of an age. … We cannot take up the examination of the bizarre and irrational ideas which have made such an impact on the repressed national consciousness, the result of outside and domestic influences. This time we should just concentrate on this particular case.”

The second work, a thorough and convincing monograph by László Kovács, presents all the legends that are related to Sándor Petőfi’s death and his alleged Siberian exile. “All the findings of the social and natural sciences contradict the false identification, but the decisive argument is the poet’s spirit that he left for us in his writings…. Whether the supporters of the Siberian legend knew or felt this I have no idea. I can only conclude that they submerged the topic in demagogic nationalist sentiments and shaped it into a political question…. They called those who stood against this falsification of history the enemies of the nation,” demanded a referendum, and wanted to turn to the European Court of Justice.

Finally, I would like to call attention to the latest issue of Rubicon, a historical magazine for interested laymen in which there is a collection of instructive and readable articles about “Petőfi of Barguzin.” In particular, I am thinking of two articles by Róbert Hermann, “Segesvár–Death of Petőfi,” and “Did they take them or not? The fate of Hungarian prisoners-of-war of the 1849 Transylvanian campaign.” I also found László Kovács’s “The phantom of Barguzin” and Balázs Gusztáv Mende’s “Alexander Petrovics of Barguzin” useful. Here we learn that the Russian army didn’t take prisoners-of-war to Russia. In fact, they turned them over to the Austrians.

Is there a  lesson to be learned?

In my opinion every scientific debate, even the ones that include pseudo-scientific views, is useful, including the polemics surrounding the case of “Petőfi in Barguzin.” The reason for the usefulness of this debate is that it touches not only on the credibility of theories about historical events but also on the interpretation and assessment of Hungary’s place in the community of European nations. The credibility of historical writing is an absolute necessity in a nation that must not be jeopardized by pursuing seemingly interesting but hazy notions. Sándor Petőfi’s life ended with the defeat of the war of independence: it is in this way that his life is complete and whole. The poet’s life, and especially his death, is therefore not simply a series of facts or data but a very important motif in Hungarian national identity. An adult nation does not need legends, especially if they have been long refuted. We don’t have to search for, celebrate, and build statues in honor of Petőfi Barguzin. Rather, we must think of him as Petőfi of March 15, the revolution, the Transylvanian campaign, the poet, the politician, and the martyr of Segesvár.

Translated by Eva S. Balogh

Viktor Orbán the defiant

It was expected that Viktor Orbán would not change course and would continue his “war of independence” against the “incompetent bureaucrats in Brussels,” but the vehemence of his attacks surprised many. It was bad enough that he got his most trusted men to propose an anti-EU resolution, but at least he himself didn’t say much after he left Brussels. He let others do the talking. When he finally spoke, however, he only added fuel to the fire.

The Hungarian Parliament’s resolution was met with outrage, at least in certain circles in Brussels. Hannes Swoboda, president of the Socialists and Democrats Group in the European Parliament, announced that “the text the Fidesz majority in the Hungarian Parliament adopted today is an insult to the European Parliament. It proves yet again that Mr. Orbán does not understand the values – or the role of the institutions – of the European Union.” He added that the socialists “are expecting a statement from the leadership of the EPP Group, clarifying whether they accept that a member of their political family dismisses the role and adopted reports of the European Parliament.”

I wonder what Mr. Swoboda will think when he reads that Orbán, in his regular Friday morning talk with one of the reporters of the Hungarian public radio station, called the European Parliament a “worthless (hitvány) institution.” Or that he accused members of the European Parliament of being agents of multinational financiers. Or that he called them incompetent bureaucrats who cannot solve the problems of the European Union and stomp on the only country that found its way out of the crisis while other members are re-entering the crisis zone. I have the feeling that he will not be pleased.

The key message that Orbán is trying to hammer home at the moment is that the Tavares report is not really about Hungary. It is an attempt by the bureaucrats in Brussels to transform the European Union into an entity different from the one that Hungary joined in 2004. “This is a new phenomenon … that changes the very foundations of the fundamental laws of the Union.”

Taking this contention to its logical (admittedly, never a strong suit of the prime minister) conclusion and assuming that the suggestions of the Tavares report are accepted and a standing monitoring committee is created, we might see Hungary leave the European Union. After all, the Union broke its contract with Hungary and thus Hungary is free to go its own way.  In fact, Attila Mesterházy in his speech to Parliament yesterday asked the prime minister whether his insistence on a written condemnation of the Tavares report was a first move on the road to secession.

Another focal point of Orbán’s talk yesterday was the object of the European Parliament’s criticism. He must not allow his followers to be persuaded that the Tavares report is an indictment of his own government and has nothing to do with the Hungarian people. So, he spent considerable time and effort trying to prove that the real target is the nation itself. In trying to build his case he didn’t rehash the old argument that the two-thirds majority in parliament represents the true will of the Hungarian people. Instead he adopted a new tactic. He claimed that “one million people put into writing their desire to have this constitution.” I assume he means the phony questionnaires he sent out to eight million voters, out of which one million were returned. If you would like to have a good laugh over what Orbán thinks is an endorsement of the constitution, take a look at my discussion of the first and second questionnaires. I should note here that the second questionnaire was sent out two weeks before parliament voted on the new constitution. It is perhaps worth mentioning that, according to Orbán, “the Hungarian people didn’t authorize him to adopt a liberal leaning constitution.” On what basis did he make this claim? There was one question among the many in one of the questionnaires pertaining to the rights and duties of citizens. Normally constitutions concern themselves with rights and not duties. But not the new Hungarian constitution. He recalled that 80% of the people who returned the questionnaires said yes to this particular question. Truly pitiful.

Viktor Orbán's image of Hungary's oppression by the European Union

Viktor Orbán’s image of Hungary’s oppression by the European Union

The comparison of Brussels and Moscow is obviously a favorite of the Fidesz crew, and therefore it was not surprising that the topic came up again. Since Orbán is on slippery ground here, I will  quote from this part of his talk to give you a sense of his message. “Brussels is not Moscow and therefore it has no right to meddle in the lives of the member states. Hungary is a free country. We don’t want to live in a European Empire whose center is Brussels. From where they tell us how to live on the periphery or in the provinces. We want to have a community of free nations.  There is no need for such a center because it would limit the freedom of the member states.” In brief, Brussels is not Moscow yet, but if the Tavares recommendations are adopted, it will be nearly as bad. But Hungary will not be part of an empire. Orbán further emphasized the comparison between Moscow and Brussels when he called the Soviet Union “the Soviet Empire” and added that “since the collapse of the Soviet Empire no one has had the temerity to limit the independence of Hungarians.”

Finally, he promised the Hungarian nation a policy of resistance. The government will not watch helplessly as the European Union takes away the freedom of Hungarians. “Either we allow them to pull our country out from under our feet and pocket our money or we defend our own interests. This is the question, choose!” This last sentence is a paraphrase of two lines in the famous poem, National Song (Nemzeti dal) by Sándor Petőfi (1823-1849) in which the poet asks: “Shall we be slaves? Shall we be free? / This is the question. Choose!” (Rabok legyünk, vagy szabadok? / Ez a kérdés, válasszatok!) Keep in mind that this is the poem that heralded the 1848 revolution. Orbán means business. I hope the European Union does too.