|2010 MAERT Conference, Budapest|
11/5/2010 - AHF participates in MÁÉRT (Magyar Állandó Értekezlet or Hungarian Permanent Conference) in Budapest. AHF joined leaders of Hungarian communities in the Carpathian Basin, Europe, South America, Australia and the United States, in the Ninth Hungarian Permanent Conference (MAERT). The Hungarian American Coalition and the Hungarian Human Rights Foundation also represented the Hungarian American diaspora.
The all-day Conference was held on November 5, 2010 in Budapest, Hungary, and its purpose was to discuss the challenges facing Hungarians living outside the country’s borders as well as the steps the Hungarian government can take to assist them to preserve their unique identity. Made up of organizations representing ethnic Hungarians who live outside of the borders of Hungary, MAERT hadn't met in over 6 years due to the lack of support from the former Socialist government following the failed 2004 referendum on citizenship forHungarians across the new borders of Hungary which AHF supported.
Prime Minister Viktor Orban, Deputy Prime Minister Zsolt Semjen, Ministers Janos Martonyi, Miklos Rethelyi, Gyorgy Matolcsy, Bence Retvari, Janos Fonagy, State Secretary Zsolt Nemeth, representatives of the Parliamentary opposition and the diaspora representatives spoke of the challenges as well as the programs, policies and practices, such as autonomy and citizenship, to stop the further assimilation of Hungarians beyond Hungary’s borders.
Deputy Prime Minister Zsolt Semjen likened the Hungarian nation as a three-legged stool made up of Hungarian within the borders, the historic communities in the Carpathian Basin and the international diaspora [see the VIDEO of his speech]. Were any one leg to fall, he added, the nation falls. The Conference closing statement [záronyilatkozat ], summarizes the topics, which include the Slovak Language Law and minority rights, discussed.
Frank Koszorus, Jr., national president of the Federation, called attention to the unique situation of the Hungarian American community whose members are not discriminated against but whose numbers and institutions, including churches, are nevertheless dwindling. He urged the Hungarian government to reach out to and devise English language programs for those Hungarian Americans who while not fluent in Hungarian, nonetheless are interested in learning about and preserving their rich cultural heritage.
“We are gratified that the Conference reconvened and its critically important work is underway again after a six-year unjustified hiatus,” noted Mr. Koszorus who signed the closing statement. “I am especially proud that our Federation publicly and vigorously objected to the termination of the Conference,” he added.
In 2005, AHF attended the historic "mini-MAERT" and signed a joint declaration of the Szabadka Initiative in an appeal to the Hungarian Government for more coherent support, coordinated planning, and dual citizenship. This marked the first time Hungarians outside the borders organized such a meeting on their own. In 2006, the Federation issued a statement calling on Budapest to "support legitimate aspirations of Hungarian minorities," and "not eliminate institutions," and expressed the Federation's concern that revised policies by Hungary may not be sufficient to protect the Hungarian minorities living in the Carpathian Basin.
12/1/2006 - AMERICAN HUNGARIAN FEDERATION CONCERNED WITH
The American Hungarian Federation (the “Federation”) is the largest Hungarian-American umbrella organization in the United States. Founded in 1906, it is also one of the oldest ethnic organizations in America. Over the years, the Federation has supported democracy, human rights and the rule of law in Central and Eastern Europe. AHF has a long and proud tradition of monitoring and speaking up about the situation of the Hungarian historical communities living as minorities in states neighboring Hungary.
It is the Federation’s conviction that, as Prime Minster Antall stated, Hungary has a special responsibility toward the Hungarian minorities, a responsibility that includes supporting their legitimate aspirations. This essential support must be based on close consultation with the leaders of the affected minorities.
The obligation to maintain the cultural and ethnic identity of Hungarians became one of three pillars of Hungarian foreign policy following the neglect in this area by the Kadar regime. The Antall government’s welcome reversal of this inexcusable neglect was fully consistent with the principles of democracy and should be continued as the situation of the minorities is not resolved. The Federation’s views on this subject were set forth in its June 16, 2006 open letter to Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsany. Point three of that letter states:
The Federation is dismayed and concerned that these important principles are being abandoned. For example, the new concept relating to the government’s policy toward minorities appears to emphasize economic growth while ignoring the minorities’ aspirations for autonomy and internationally recognized practices relating to minority rights. Undoubtedly economic welfare is a desirable goal, but it is not a substitute for polices and practices that permit minorities to preserve their unique characteristics and enjoy the benefits of rights that minorities in Western Europe enjoy.
Equally disturbing is the government’s forsaking the Hungarian Standing Committee (MAERT) and its elimination of the independent administrative body – the Office for Hungarians Beyond the Borders – which addressed wide-ranging issues relating to Hungarian minorities. There are also reports that the government plans to eliminate or curtail the Laszlo Teleki Institute and place its heretofore independent Foreign Affairs Institute directly under government control.
These and similar steps raise serious questions as to the government’s commitment to support a significant and integral part of the Hungarian nation. As a country occupied by the Soviet Union, Hungary was prohibited from addressing the problems of the minorities. Now that Hungary has regained its sovereignty and is integrated into Western institutions, there is no justification for it to neglect the challenges confronting the minorities.
Therefore, any decision, concept or policy that diminishes Hungary’s special obligation toward the Hungarian minorities and their democratically expressed aspirations should be reversed. If not, genuine democracy will be the victim as will the minorities themselves. Clearly, this is not the legacy the government wishes to leave.
1. December 2006 - Az Amerikai Magyar Szövetség nyilatkozata a Magyar Kormány határon túli magyarsággal összefüggő politikájával kapcsolatban. [letölthető]
Az Amerikai Magyar Szövetség (“Szövetség”) a legnagyobb magyar-amerikai ernyőszervezet az EgyesültÁllamokban. Az 1906-ban alapított Szövetség az egyik legrégebbi etnikai szervezet Amerikában. Az elmúltévekben a Szövetség támogatta a demokrácia megerősödésével, a kisebbségi jogok kiszélesítésével és a jogbiztonság kiterjesztésével kapcsolatos politikát Közép- és Kelet-Európában. Szervezetünk hosszú idő óta büszkén vállalja a szószóló szerepét a Magyarországgal határos államokban élő történelmi magyar kisebbség helyzetével kapcsolatban.
A Szövetség meggyőződése, hogy – amint Antall József miniszterelnök megállapította – Magyarországnak különleges felelőssége van a magyar kisebbségekkel szemben, amely magában foglalja ezen kisebbségek legitim törekvéseinek támogatását. Ennek a támogatásnak az érintett kisebbségekkel való folyamatos konzultáción kell alapulnia.
A magyar külpolitika egyik alappillérévé vált a magyarság kulturális és nemzeti identitása megtartásának igénye és ezen igény támogatása, mely politika áttörést jelentett a Kádár-rendszerhez képest, amikor a magyar kisebbség problémáit elhanyagolta az akkori rezsim. Az Antall-kormány új, az addigi magatartástól gyökeresen eltérő stratégiája teljesen megfelelt a demokrácia követelményeinek. Ezt az utat kell ma is folytatni, tekintettel arra, hogy a magyar kisebbségek ügye mindmáig megoldatlan.
A Szövetség álláspontját foglalta össze az ez év június 16-án Gyurcsány Ferenc miniszterelnöknek írt nyílt level. Ezen level 3. pontja az alábbiakat tartalmazza:
A Szövetség csalódott és komolyan aggódik amiatt, hogy a fenti fontos alapelvekről lemond a magyar kormány. Aggodalomra ad okot például a kormány azon új törekvése, mely szerint a kisebbségekkel kapcsolatban a gazdasági növekedés szempontjait hangsúlyozza, miközben nem vesz tudomást az autonómia törekvésekről és a nemzetközileg elismert kisebbségi jogokról. A gazdasági jólét természetesen üdvös cél, ám ez nem helyettesítheti azokat a politikai jogokat, amelyek előfeltételei a kisebbség sajátos jellege fenntartásának, s amely jogokat egyébként a Nyugat-Európában élő kisebbségek is élveznek.
Ugyanennyire aggasztó, hogy a kormány felszámolta mind a MÁÉRT fórumát, mind pedig a Határon Túli Magyarok Hivatalát—azokat az intézményeket, amelyek a magyar kisebbségeket érintő legkülönfélébb kérdésekkel foglalkoztak. Hírek szerint a kormány meg szeretné szüntetni, vagy jelentősen át akarja alakítani a Teleki László Intézetet, és az eddig független Külügyi Intézetet a kormány közvetlen irányítása alá kívánja vonni.
Ezek és az ehhez hasonló lépések komolyan felvetik azt a kérdést, hogy a kormány mennyire elkötelezett a nemzet szerves részét képező magyar kisebbségek iránt. A szovjet megszállás alatt Magyarországnak nem volt módja a kisebbségi kérdéssel foglalkoznia. Mára Magyarország visszanyerte függetlenségét és integrálódott a nyugati intézményrendszerbe, így nincs mentség arra, hogy elhanyagolja a kisebbségeket érintő problémákat.
Ezért minden olyan döntést, szándékot vagy politikai lépést újra kell gondolni, amely csökkenti vagy korlátozza Magyarországnak a saját kisebbségeivel szemben fennálló különleges kötelezettségeit. Amennyiben ez nem következik be, a demokrácia ugyanolyan áldozattá válik, mint a kisebbségi sorban élők. Remélhetőleg nem ez az az örökség, amelyet a magyar kormány maga után kíván hagyni.
A MAGYAR ÁLLANDÓ ÉRTEKEZLET IX. ÜLÉSÉNEK ZÁRÓNYILATKOZATA
2010. áprilisi választások politikai és társadalmi következményei lehetőséget teremtenek
See the Video
12/1/2006 - Budapest Needs to Support Legitimate Aspirations of Hungarian Minorities, Not Eliminate Institutions. The American Hungarian Federation is concerned that revised policies by Hungary may not be sufficient to protect the Hungarian minorities living in the Carpathian Basin. The Federation hopes that other organizations and individuals, especially those who address minority rights issues, will join the Federation in its expression of concern. The full text of the Federation's statement, in English and Hungarian can be viewed at the end of the article to the left, or downloaded below:
Fifteen organizations from Europe, North America, and Latin America met January 5-6, 2005 in Szabadka/Subotica (Vajdaság/Vojvodina, Serbia-Montenegro) without support of the Socialist government under Ferenc Gyurcsany. [more]
Why so many Hungarians Across the Border?
Count Apponyi pleading to the Supreme Council of the Paris Peace Conference:
"In the name of the great principle so happily phrased by President Wilson, namely that no group of people, no population, may be transferred from one State to another without being consulted,- as though they were a herd of cattle with no will of their own,- in the name of this great principle, an axiom of good sense and public morals, we request, we demand a plebiscite on those parts of Hungary that are now on the point of being severed from us. I declare we are willing to bow to the decision of a plebiscite whatever it should be. Of course, we demand it should be held in conditions ensuring the freedom of the vote." [more on Count Apponyi]
At the time President Wilson said: “The proposal to dismember Hungary is absurd” and later Sir Winston Churchill said: “Ancient poets and theologians could not imagine such suffering, which Trianon brought to the innocent.” We are sad to report that they were right.
Shortcuts to Trianon Resources Below:
Hungarian populations declined significantly after forced removals such as the Benes Decrees and other pograms, the effects of WWI, and Trianon in 1920. With continued pressure and discriminative policies such as the 2009 Slovak Language Law, this trend continued over the past 90 years.
One thousand years of nation building successfully delineated groups based on culture, religion, geography, and other attributes to create the countries with which we are so familiar. While some Western European nations would continue power struggles and princely battles and civil wars, Hungary, founded in 896, was a peaceful multi-ethnic state for a 1000 years and her borders were unchanged. Until 1920...
The Treaty of Trianon in 1920... in the aftermath of WWI, was extremely harsh on Hungary and unjustifiably one-sided. The resulting "treaty" lost Hungary an unprecedented 2/3 of her territory, and 1/2 of her total population or 1/3 of her Hungarian-speaking population. Add to this the loss of up to 90% of vast natural resources, industry, railways, and other infrastructure. This was done to a nation whose borders were established over a thousand years earlier (896 A.D.) and one who, as the "Saviors of Christianity," lost millions of lives defending the rest of Europe from numerous invasions from the likes of the Mongolian Tatars and the Ottoman Turks.
Hungary, along with Germany and Austria, experienced rapid economic expansion during the latter part of the 19th century and into the 20th. This challenge alarmed France and Russia. Each needed a way to stave off German-Hungarian economic competition. With the advent of WWI, France had her chance and began fostering anti-Hungarian sentiment among non-Magyar speaking Hungarian nationals. It is important to note that for over a thousand years, Hungary never experienced ethnic civil war. France, eager to weaken Hungary, offered to reward those nations and groups that assisted them in the war with large pieces of territory. The "Little Entente" of Rumania (who switched sides in the last minute), Czechoslovakia, and Serbia took that opportunity and got very lucky.
The United States has never ratified this treaty. At the time President Wilson said: “The proposal to dismember Hungary is absurd” and later Sir Winston Churchill said: “Ancient poets and theologians could not imagine such suffering, which Trianon bought to the innocent.” We are sad to report that he was right.
The French, despite American protests and calls for plebiscites, sent their troops to Northern Hungary in violation of the cease fire, and then pushed through the Treaty of Versailles (Trianon). Although Rumania, herself created only in 1862, switched to the French side almost at the very end of the war, she gained all of Transylvania and majority of the Banat, but claimed the river Tisza. The Czechs were awarded all of Northern Hungary (now Slovakia), despite equal numbers of Hungarians and Slovaks in the region, to create Czechoslovakia. The Serbs got Southern Hungary (Vojvodina), Slavonia, and Croatia (confederated with Hungary for 700 years) to create the unlikely "Yugoslavia," which, like Czechoslovakia, effectively, no longer exists. Perhaps most amazingly, the Austrians who were responsible for getting Hungary into the war in the first place, got Western Hungary (Burgenland).
The dictators in these successor states began to foster nationalism and teach a less-than-accurate history to help bring legitimacy to their regimes. These claims are based on some seriously unfortunate state propaganda-cum-history about an ancient Roman province called Dacia. In Rumania, this revised history, accelerated by Ceaucescu, has become the accepted state historical doctrine even today, making the process of reconciliation much more difficult. In the newly formed Czechslovakia, Eduard Benes and his infamous "Benes Decrees" forcibly expelled tens of thousands of Hungarians and confiscated personal and church properties. See the additional steps the Slovak Government has taken against the Hungarian minority. AHF's efforts to guarantee anew the rights of the Hungarian "minorities" continue.
Though the United States recommended a slightly more liberal approach in regards to Hungary, it did not prevail. The "self-determination of the nationalities" posited by President Woodrow Wilson resulted in only one plebiscite in Sopron, in Western Hungary. The vote was overwhelmingly pro-Hungarian and Sopron remained within the new borders. Oddly enough, although Austria was also a loser in the war, she also received a part of Hungary, and Sopron became a border city.
The maps here not only show graphically the extent to which the Treaty of Trianon dismembered Hungary, it shows how much Hungarian-majority areas were arbitrarily "reassigned." Hungarians today are the one of the largest minorities in Europe and face oppression and violence. Numbering in the millions, Hungarian minorities are second only to the Russians who became "minorities" with the dissolution of the Soviet Union. Hungarians live under harsh persecution in the new states created by the treaty. The Helsinki Watch Committee called Romanian efforts to "purify" Transylvania as "Cultural Genocide." Read the Treaty in full text
External Links on Trianon