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Botos László




            Every union of states – rightfully – wishes to secure the peaceful coexistence of the peoples within its boundaries, in spite of their different historical backgrounds and linguistic, religious, cultural and national differences and the possibility of conflicts arising from these.  If it cannot achieve this peaceful coexistence, then the union cannot be a lasting one.  It is true that by force and the rule of power a union can be maintained which appears to be unified, but if the underlying problems are not addressed, the embers which burn in the depths of the souls of the member nations cause constant stress and hostility which sooner or later will result in the disintegration of the union.  Such was the case in the Soviet Union, Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia.  In Africa, artificial states were also created in colonial times, where peoples of different religions, languages and tribal loyalties were united for political reasons.  When the colonial system foundered, the U.N. continued to honor these unnatural borders.  The U.N. did not give these peoples their autonomy to rule their own territories, and as a result many thousands of people have died in civil wars and the crime of genocide has continued.  The leaders of the E.U. should learn from the mistakes of the past if they really intend to secure the basic human rights for all individuals in their member nations.  This is the basis of peace. 


With Hungary’s accession to the E.U., the European Union has the responsibility to find the solution to an age-old problem.  The peoples of Europe have to become well-informed of the real history of the territory of the Carpathian Basin. The history of Hungary is the history of the Carpathian Basin.  The Carpathian Basin is in the center of Europe and became a cultural border because the western European culture met the eastern and southeastern European culture in this territory. The cultural levelXE "the level of literacy" in the Carpathian Basin is the same as that of Western Europe, whereas on the southern and eastern borders there is a considerably lower standard of culture. In the Carpathian Basin the three large language families of Europe came together, the Germanic, Slavic and Romance language families.  In spite of this, none of them was able to dominate in this territory. A fourth language, Hungarian, has been dominant in the Carpathian Basin since the ninth century.  However, if we accept the results of archeology and anthropology, and if we look into the Chronicles, we will know that a Magyar-speaking people lived in the Carpathian Basin for thousands of years prior to this time, under different names, as Sarmatians, Huns, Jazygians, Szeklers, Pechenegs and Avars.  Presently, there are many peoples in the Carpathian Basin who have mingled with each other and adopted each other’s culture.  In northern Europe, the Protestant religion is in the majority; in southwestern Europe, Roman Catholicism; in the East, the Orthodox ChurchXE "Greek Orthodox Church" and in the south, Islam.  The northern border of the Islam religion is the River Száva.  North of this, Roman Catholicism is dominant.   The cultural development of the peoples here differed from that of the peoples of any other part of Europe.  However, in their development, certain influences on each other can be observed.  This territory was for more than a thousand years definitely under Hungarian rule racially, spiritually and militarily. Until 1920, the Carpathian Basin, that is Hungary, was in a central position in Europe, not only geographically, but also politically. 


In the eighteenth century, the Czechs were already beginning to apply the term „Central Europe” to their own territory and the idea of Pan-Slavism[1] began to take hold.  Until this time, throughout many centuries, there was peace within Hungary, where peoples of different languages, religious backgrounds and cultures lived without the expression of any anti-Hungarian feelings but, as Pan-Slavism began to spread, hatred and animosity took hold. Karl MarxXE "Karl Marx" said: „Pan-Slavism is not only a goal for the unification of the Slav people but it is also a goal to destroy a thousand years of history in Europe.  In the interest of this, we have to erase Turkey and half of Germany from the maps of Europe.  When Pan-Slavism has reached this goal then the Slavs will begin to subjugate Europe.  Europe has only two choices, to accept Pan-Slavism or to conquer Russia and eradicate the center of Pan-Slavism.”[2]   It was Pan-Slavism which caused the anti-Hungarian feelings which have existed since that time and have been increasing in intensity.


Frantisek Palacky, the Czech historian, stated that the Hungarians were an obstacle to the unification of the northern and Southern Slavs.  In 1919, the Czechs supported the idea of creating a corridor through Hungarian territory to join Czechoslovakia to Yugoslavia, which was only possible with the disintegration of Hungary.  Fortunately this corridor was not created, although Hungary was divided.


There is a power which fuels this hatred against the Hungarians, which is never mentioned but which can not be ignored and this is the Orthodox Church which adopted the Byzantine idea of state in which the state is more important than the individual.  This is a factor which caused the development and strengthening of the idea of nationalism in states where the Orthodox Church was the primary religion, such as Serbia.  The Byzantine Orthodox Church had to support the state. Such a state was stronger than a state that was primarily Roman Catholic and whose legal system was based on Roman Law, where the emphasis is on the rights of the individual.  The Orthodox Church doctrine was based on national interest and was inclined to mercilessness and hatred.  The Catholic Church doctrine was based on love of fellow-man.  We cannot ignore the fact that in an Orthodox State, people of any other religion could never receive equal rights before the law.  In the Orthodox State of Serbia, ethnic cleansing took place against the Albanians and is still continuing against the Hungarians in Vajdaság (Northern Serbia).  There have been reports in the news about hate crimes in Serbia against the Hungarians, a problem which is presently being discussed in the EU parliament.  It is this racial hatred which threatens the stability of Central Europe.


There was a recent report that the Vatican is in favor of adding a new principle of humanitarian intervention to the U.N. Charter. “This was the view expressed by Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Angelo Sodano in an interview published Sept. 22 (2004) in the Italian newspaper La Stampa. In his newspaper interview Cardinal Sodano specified that humanitarian intervention should be limited to situations where it is evident that human rights are being trampled in a nation. The crises of past years in such places as Somalia, Rwanda and the Balkans have provoked debate over how to deal with humanitarian needs. Deciding when and where those situations arise, is no easy matter, as the academic debate shows.” ( Rome, Oct. 2, 2004)


It is not right that a large power which relies on its military strength enter such a sovereign territory to restore order, without knowing the reasons for the unrest.   By stepping in they could cause even greater problems for the country.  They should first find out what the problems are and try to solve them. 


On April 28, 2000, there was an interesting article in the Washington Times by Zeina Karam of the Associated Press, entitled: ISRAEL URGES SYRIA TO REWRITE ITS ANTI-ZIONIST HISTORY BOOKS.  


Rivka Shraga, spokeswoman for Israel’s Education Ministry stated that, in the interest of establishing peace between Syria and Israel, Syria should rewrite its history books, as Egypt and Jordan did after they made peace with Israel.  „As long as there is no peace treaty, the minimum that we can expect in Syrian textbooks is precision regarding the presentation of history and sticking to the facts,” she said.


In this spirit, we Hungarians also ask that the Slovak, Serb and Rumanian governments cease the anti-Hungarian propaganda and the spread of hatred in the newspapers. While these articles of hate appear in the daily and weekly papers, it is not even possible to think of a lasting peace in Central Europe. For the past few years, Ján Slota, President of the Slovak National Party, a former criminal has, on many occasions, expressed his anti-Hungarian hatred with racial epithets and has provoked violence. He has threatened to attack Budapest with tanks.  How can such a person hold such an important position.  Recently in Dunaszerda, the Slovak police inflicted violence on Hungarians at a football match causing at least one death and many serious injuries.  While children are being taught in school to hate Hungarians, encouraged to write anti-Hungarian slogans on Hungarian homes and attack Hungarians in the streets, there is a latent problem.  In order for a United Europe to succeed, this anti-Hungarian propaganda has to cease. The EU should insist that the Slovaks, Czechs and Rumanians rewrite their history books and cease their anti-Hungarian activities and encourage Slovakia to do likewise. 


                                                                                                                                                                László Botos

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               Written on 10-20-2004

                                                                                                                                               Updated on 11-21-2008         


[1] Pan-Slavism is a movement started in Russia to unite all the Slavs.

[2] Kostya, Sándor:  A Felvidék,  p. 82; Karl Marx’s Political Works, Vol. 6, BudapestXE "Budapest", 1960, p. 196