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Slovakia: Hungarian School Trips

In a time of economic problems, the Italian prime minister is asking Italians to spend holidays in their homeland. In a similar situation, the Hungarian parliament takes a different approach (SLO):

The Hungarian governing party Fidesz introduces a draft law to parliament that will provide financing of school trips to parts of the neighboring countries that in the past belonged to Hungary. As one of the draft's submitters, chief of parliament committee for education Zoltán Pokorni, said, excursions are to take place at the time of the June 1920 [Treaty of Trianon] anniversary, which “deprived Hungarians of these areas.” The program is also to facilitate exchange visits between Hungarian schools abroad and in Hungary. According to Pokorni, excursions have to acquaint students with the present life of Hungarians in these “former” areas.

Souvenirs in Szentendre, Hungary by Cindy Dam

Souvenirs in Szentendre, Hungary by Cindy Dam

Below are some opinions of the Slovak netizens about this latest Hungarian step. Please note that the numbers mentioned are unverified. Also, note that in the Slovak language there is a difference between former Hungary (Uhorsko), a multi-ethnic state where Hungarians comprised about half of the population (see map at Hungarian Spectrum), and the area of today's Hungarian Republic (Maďarsko). What's also interesting is that Pokorni’ family name has no special meaning in Hungary, but in Slovak “pokorní” means “humble” – which points at his probable Slavic, if not directly Slovak, background.

Henrich22:

That plan is completely ill. Hungary [Uhorsko] was a multi-ethnic state where Hungarians alone did not have 50%. Ancient Hungary, that prison of nations, fell to pieces in 1918 and Trianon just enclosed its history by defining borders. Hungary still dreams about the expansion of its area and “reconstruction of old Hungary,” which is complete nonsense. At that they want to bring Hungarian children to Slovakia or Romania and show them – so this was Hungary before. This will not lead to decreasing but to increasing of the tensions in the region. And they even want state support for this.

***

eutyphrodilema:

Surely, school trips will support the [Slovak] economy greatly, for sure they will find accommodation in five-star hotels

***

The1stSaint:

But you could imagine (what you remember from your middle-school times) how much such average students will drink? Such gains for shops selling alcoholic drinks!

***

bjuty smis:

at least, there'll be some tourists

***

besny borsuk – motor:

I consider this an unnecessary provocation. Fidesz without such nonsense would have no real program. It is the same nonsense as if [Ján Slota] decided to make a proposal of state-supported visits of Slovak students to Blatenske lake (some name it [Balaton]), which once belonged to the [Nitra principality] or Great Moravia.

***

BTW:

1. If I lived in HU [Hungary], then I'd be angry with the stupid prime minister
2. Because I live in SK [Slovakia], I'm glad that the government of the neighboring state will be mandatory selling us tourists. [...]

***

Satyr:

It is necessary to support the Turks in the reconstruction of the [Ottoman Empire] and let them make trips to Hungary – their former land.

gulovar:

Also Turks should think about trips to Budapest, have a look at the Ottoman Empire. Only that Turks have more sanity than Hungarians.

Taibi:

Nowadays, they [the Turks] prefer going to Germany.

***

bRANOxxx:

Just let them come and it would be best if they came with families. Tourism is a great thing. I would sell them also (and pretty expensively) “artifacts” of Greater Hungary (such map in A0 format for €50 would be a bestseller).

***

lord1977:

For the past five years, Hungary has been stagnating economically – the worst in central and eastern Europe. The debt rate that they have is the highest in central and eastern Europe (about 78% of GDP). Really important laws they have in the program :-)

***

halface:

With a name like Zoltan Pokorni, they'd better make excursions about [assimilation] of non-Hungarian nations by Hungarians in the last years of Greater Hungary.

***

HelmutHilfe:

I vote for school trips to former Hungary to be organized in all countries in this area. It is our common history and recalling of shared values should win over highlighting of the differences.

***

Teddy:

[PM Orban's] biggest problem is this: Hungarian citizens were accepting loans for house, car or whatever in Euros or Swiss franks. In next few years, he must devalue the Forint [...] to manage reforms. And this is the problem – who borrowed in foreign currency must return double value [...]. That's why Orban is searching themes to cover future debts and the Forint devaluation. School trips: that is just a smoke cloud for voters.

  • Jerzy Celichowski

    When I first heard the news I was speechless too. But when I read the story in the media (http://index.hu/belfold/2010/07/20/allami_tamogatas_a_magyarul_baratkozashoz/) I learnt about some subtle but important details of the idea.

    The trips are not just to the “lost territories” but to the areas where Hungarians lives also today. Their official idea is to cultivate connections within the Hungarian nation rather than a nostalgia for the Great Hungary. One can argue that the underlying agenda is revisionist anyway but this is not the official line.

    I hope that the organisers of these trips – given the majority Fidesz has in the parliament one can consider the law already passed – will use them as an opportunity to foster meetings not just with local Hungarians but also majority youth living there.

  • Axel

    Is this a story about Romania?

  • betty piszkova o’leary

    My grandparents emigrated from Budapest, Uzhhorod, and Kamenica Nad Cirochou during the late 19th century.. My Magyar-American mother’s Magyar parents disowned her when she married my Slovak-American father. My Slovak-American grandparents never tired of eferring to my other grandma as, “That Magyar snob.” My mother’s folks considered Slavs to be the lowest forms of morons of Europe, and my father’s folks considered Magyars to be the snobbiest and most dictatorial people in Europe. -How surprised am I to find that the old enmities still exist.

    I have visited all of my grandparents’ birth areas – gorgeous, friendly, exciting places, that have fallen on harder times. I love both parts of my ancestry, and I hope an olive branch can be extended from both sides of whatever issues remain from political arrangements from over a century ago. A boost to tourism for you both could relieve some of the hardships the current world economy is imposing on us all.

    You are both noble, wonderful people, who have survived great challenges throughout history. Bury the hatchet, please. There’s enough misery in this world already. It’s much better to help than to hate.

    Na Zdravia

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