23th October 2014

Speech of President of the Republic János Áder at 1956 Revolution Memorial Day in the Opera House

Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen,

By daybreak on 4 November 1956, hardly a few hundred meters from here, a silent man with a high forehead and a wise look, in the prime of his life, was sitting in one of the offices of the Parliament in his distinctive jacket and wide-rimmed spectacles.

He was typing a proclamation.

In those hours the silence of dawn mixed with the silence of death.
And this blood-curdling silence was broken sometimes by the squeak of a caterpillar track or the sound of a machine gun, numbing the air around the Parliament and in the entire city of Budapest.

The deserted corridors of the Parliament resounded with emptiness before the threatening sound of abrupt and strange military commands broke the silence, just to fade away in their own echo in the staircase.

The whole country was covered in numbness.

The world didn't know by then what was happening in Budapest.
The world only knew what had happened 13 days earlier.
On 23 October 1956.

On 23 October 1956, having had enough of the persecution and deprivation of hundreds of thousands of their compatriots,
having had enough of the everyday intimidation of millions of Hungarians, having had enough of the painstakingly long years of communist terror, the Hungarian people decided to stem this system of omnipresent intertwined lies.

A revolution was born from a common feeling describable in as few words:


It's enough said the factory worker exploited by the constant increase of production quota and the “voluntary” peace loans; it's enough, said the farmer deprived of his land and animals; just like the teacher forced to teach lies. It was enough of the deportations and labour camps, of the terror of the state security, of the infamous "B listing" and the class struggle turning Hungarians against fellow Hungarians.
It was enough of the unprincipled comrades, of the counter-selection, censorship and the state-wide network of informers and provokers.
It was enough of the reticence concealment and the deceptive machinery of propaganda. It was enough of the travelling of human and fundamental rights and the profaning of civic virtues.

It's enough.

It's enough because Hungarians cannot live without freedom.
Anyone looking at the elated and relieved faces in the old photos and film-footages can see the elementary vigour breaking through. For the first time after so many years bound by lies, everyone felt this common sensation of Hungarians speaking freely of justice and freedom.

The communist regime, however, considered this desire for freedom as an attack against the foundations of the system. The standing up of our compatriots meant the revolution of morality against the regime of immorality. It is hard to conceive that the enemies and betrayers of the revolution were simply able to turn this soul-relieving common sensation into a massacre with the help of Russian tanks.

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