On behalf of the Canadian Hungarian Democratic Charter, a non-partisan civil rights organization committed to the defense of democratic governance in Hungary, I wanted to publicly congratulate you on your courageous Senate statement on Hungary. Your factually flawless, and eminently reasonable position gladdens the hearts and spirits of those who are working, at considerable risk to themselves and to their families, to defend democracy in Hungary, and to uphold principles that lie at the base of the North Atlantic Alliance.
Your direct and well targeted words are a really important step forward from the half-hearted, and misdirected letter sent to Hungarian PM Viktor Orbán by 50 US Congressmen a few weeks ago. Unlike your colleagues, you have chosen NOT to ignore the Hungarian PM’s personal responsibility for the shameful, anti democratic trends in Hungary. Unlike they, you have chosen, and rightly so, to lay the blame for Hungary’s descent into autocracy, at the doorstep of the Orbán government. We congratulate you Senator Cardin for your spirited defense of those values that are fundamental to the North Atlantic Community of nations and ask you to remain vigilant and steadfast in your defense of those values.
A tear in the democratic fabric of Hungary is a threat not only to Hungary, but to the broader international community of democratic nations. We welcome your efforts, and your concern, and will stand with you in fighting to preserve values that are common to us all.
Dr András B. Göllner
Emeritus Associate Professor
Concordia University, Montreal and
Founder and International Spokesperson of the Canadian Hungarian Democratic Charter
A response to the letter sent by 50 US Congressman to Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán
While we welcome the efforts of a significant group of American Congressmen and women to call a halt to the revival and glorification of Hungary’s Nazi past, we are disappointed, that this protest addressed by members of the US Congress to Hungary’s Prime Minister, totally neglects Mr Orbán’s personal and governmental responsibility for these shameful developments. Those democrats, and members of various ethnic minorities, especially the Roma and Hungary’s Jewish community, who are increasingly alarmed by the antidemocratic conduct of the Orbán government, will be severely disappointed when they read this Congressional letter. If the gentlemen of the Congress have a problem with one of Hungary’s extremist political parties – Jobbik – they should address their concerns to Jobbik’s leader, whose name is Gábor Vona. If someone doesn’t like what’s happening under the watch of a Democratic President in the USA, why call to task, the Republican incumbent ? This makes no sense, and demonstrates a profound political shortsightedness.
There is a great deal of concern that should have been expressed about the antidemocratic behavior of Mr Orbán’s ruling party, the FIDESZ, and about his Party’s own Vice-President, László Kövér, who, along with senior FIDESZ politicians, are busy resurrecting old Nazis from Hungary’s shameful past. Mr Orbán himself has shown time and time again, and publicly, that he is tolerant, rather than disdainful of anti-Semitic hate speech (witness his sending of a wreath to the funeral of notorious anti-Semite István Csurka, who has spent the past 20 years ranting against Jews, Roma and Americans, or his close camaraderie with such notorious hate-mongers in his Party as Zsolt Bayer, and András Bencsik). Why have the Congressmen and women neglected to address these issues, why have they neglected to call to task the Hungarian Government for its own acts of anti-democratic, racially motivated actions ?
Dear Congressmen and women ! Your letter is a sadly missed opportunity to lend a hand to Hungary’s civil rights activists who are locked in battle with a government that is trampling on human and civil rights on a daily basis, and is trying to turn the clock back to a time when the values that Americans hold dear, and for which American soldiers sacrificed their lives by the tens of thousands, was trampled underfoot by Admiral Horthy and the Hungarian Arrow Cross Party. The Orbán government’s glorification of the Horthy regime, which declared war on the USA, is unacceptable, and concerned members of Congress should have said so, rather than concentrate their criticism on a small opposition party in Hungary’s parliament.
Founder and International Spokesperson