Celebratory speech for the unveiling of the statue of Gábor Bethlen
Gyulafehérvár / Alba Iulia (Romania)
Dear Celebrating Audience!
We are here because Gábor Bethlen is not forgotten and we do not wish to forget him in the future, either. He created lasting value in Transylvania at a time when others destroyed, made war and took what belonged to others.
Four hundred years have passed since then, but we are still fascinated and obliged by the Reformed Prince. He obliges us to construct. Construct buildings of brick and mortar and at the same time build spiritual and intellectual fortifications of word and faith. Matter and spirit, body and soul – together they make a temple.
Yesterday, here in South-Transylvania, ceremonies were held in ten churches. We were happy to see each other, happy that we can look back on a decade marking a long-unseen era of construction achieved through the cooperation of the motherland and the Hungarian communities living here, Reformed, Catholic, Lutheran, Unitarian.
I thank those who have supported this construction. I thank them all who realise and understand that when Transylvanian Hungarian communities remain in their homeland and Hungarian communities with their roots abroad prosper, their prosperity is always shared with others, advances the interests of others, and never harms others.
Gábor Bethlen obliges us to build of faith, with faith and so as to maintain our faith. Without trust in divine providence, Bethlen's lifework is inexplicable and incomprehensible. As was later sung throughout the Kuruc world: Bethlen did everything he did „between two heathens, for one homeland”.
How can one possibly construct at a time when the Turks and Tatars inflict destruction from one side, the Austrians and Germans threaten us from the other, and internal strife is looming? With faith. This faith is a faith against all odds. From a human perspective, there was no hope, the future seemed hopeless, it would have been best to flee, and yet this faith against all odds gave strength to those who did not simply remain in the land of Transylvania, but gave birth to babies, established schools, taught, preached, worked the land and took up arms when necessary.
In this land, survival and prosperity is the common achievement of the local communities, hardworking but nameless members of families and great leaders. The faith of the Transylvanians is a faith against all odds, too. Transylvanian Hungarians are not simply Hungarians, but Hungarians against all odds. They know from the depths of their hearts that they can best help the development and prosperity of their motherland and their homeland by preserving our precious mother tongue, upholding and handing down the customs, attire and pride we inherited from our ancestors. They can play a role in the enrichment of Hungarians and of Romania, too, if they protect their identity.
Dear Ladies and Gentlemen,
Gábor Bethlen is not forgotten and we do not intend to forget him, because in him we love the Hungarian who did not rise to the leadership of his people through wealth, great power superiority or historical privileges. Gábor Bethlen was led by a wisdom received from above, a tenacity to negotiate with everyone for the survival of Transylvania, and to oppose if necessary, and to compromise if necessary. But this was always for the survival, security and advancement of his people. This is Bethlen politics, in the noble sense of the word. Serving the common good, the Hungarian good.
This is why we do not wish to forget him. Because it is our duty not to. We must negotiate, try to reach an agreement, find allies, open doors to ensure that Hungarians will have a better and more beautiful life. And those who are willing to cooperate with us and become our allies will also benefit along the way. This is where Central Europe’s future lies. We are looking for allies to avoid a war of arms, and in the ideological warfare that aims to subvert the order of creation to keep the family a family, men as men, women as women, and the nation as the natural, nourishing habitat of our coexistence.
Dear Ladies and Gentlemen,
Today is a day of celebration. We give thanks for everything that was built, that survived and that was renewed in this land. We give thanks for one another, for our togetherness, our children and grandchildren who are celebrating with us. I am also the proud mother of an 18 year old young man graduating from secondary school this year. He is here with us today, and I hope he joins the ranks of those who are fascinated by the culture and history of Transylvania, the faith of those who live here, their will to live and their hospitality. He also strengthens the umbilical cord that not only links us to one another, but unites us all with our common future. We will never sever the umbilical cord between the motherland and the Hungarians who have been torn away from it, and we will never allow it to be severed!
It is not only Gábor Bethlen and Transylvania’s Golden Age that are not forgotten – we will not forget each other, either. We invite each other, visit each other, we share our sorrow and joy with one another. I am happy to be here today, happy that I, too, can be a part of this national community.