Good afternoon, Ladies and Gentlemen, Children, Teachers and Mentors,
My presence here is as unexpected as that of Pontius Pilate in the Apostles’ Creed. This is because we first went to open a commercial facility in the town of Mohács: a marvellous, fine large project built here to European standards, which I hope will further the well-being of those living here, and where many people will work, earning good salaries. I was invited here, to Mohács, for the inauguration of that facility; and then President Csányi said that this house here is to be opened, and would I be kind enough to come here. And I was kind enough to come here – for two reasons.
First of all, one likes to be among young people. It is good to see you all. When one sees young people, one somehow senses the passage of time. If I’m not mistaken, here we’ve just heard a poem about God by Reményik. When I was your age, at an event similar to this I recited a poem by Vítězslav Nezval: “I cast my vote into the urn of revolution”. The world has changed a great deal, and when one is in the company of young people, one can feel it. But in fact I was pleased to accept this invitation for two reasons. First of all I thought I would say a few words about dignity and perseverance. But we should thank Mr. Csányi, who established the foundation and provided for construction of this house here in Mohács, so that you may use this building and so that all it can offer may serve you and your well-being. So, Dear Sándor, President Csányi, I would also like to most respectfully thank you on behalf of the Hungarian government. This is an important example for us, because it reminds us that – as of course you yourselves may observe at home and everywhere else around you – people strive to earn money. It’s not easy to earn a living: one has to work hard, there is never enough money – and even if there is, one wants more. So while the economy, money and this materialistic approach rather dominates our lives, it is very important to sometimes see some examples of people who say that money is important, of course, but that coffins have no pockets. Therefore, as one cannot take what one has created in this world to the hereafter, one should do all one can to use it to help anyone outside one’s own family. It is very important that there should be examples like this in Hungary, because this attitude and mentality is not yet widespread. For a long time we were a very poor country, and so the logic of wanting more motivates people all the more; and there is much less of the logic of sharing, distributing, providing and repaying. But we are heading in the right direction. I believe that this country is standing ever more firmly on its own two feet, and there are ever more Hungarians like President Csányi. I thought that this should be the first reason to mention for my coming here.
The other reason is that I wanted to tell you that, although I understand that you are children with difficult lives, you should not necessarily look upon yourselves as disadvantaged children. The term “disadvantaged child” does exist in the Hungarian language, but I’ve never really accepted it. On the way here Sándor said that it is much more accurate to say “children with a difficult start in life”, because one can never know whether or not a disadvantage will turn to one’s advantage: whether or not a difficult start will later in life become an advantage. I’m a country boy, you see. Clearly my origins do not compare with your situations. But I have first-hand experience, seeing many children around me who came from more difficult environments, and the fact that they had to cope with those difficult environments later turned to their advantage. You may feel that you are at a disadvantage compared with some of your schoolmates. But if you persevere and stand your ground, even in this more difficult situation, if you remain good people, learn, progress and find a way forward, when you are my age you will think back to your more difficult times as an advantage, because you had to fight to stay standing. So you should see your fate as in the end bringing rewards if you work hard – because life will provide justice. You start from further back, you come from more difficult circumstances, but, if you persevere, in the end you will go further. Believe me, you will go further than those who started out from easier circumstances – there is at least a good chance of this. So I thought that when I came here I would tell you that the way you see yourselves is very important. You should always see the opportunities in the life that lies ahead of you.
You live in a marvellous place. One thing is that here you’ve had an excellent mayor for a thousand years – we don’t even know since when. The mayor here is our friend Józsi Szekó. For many years he was also a Member of Parliament; we worked together a great deal, he was always a very decent and honourable member of the Hungarian parliament, and he is one of the finest mayors. Mohács is also a beautiful historical location. Living here in Mohács is a great opportunity – also in a nationwide sense. You live in a fine place, a beautiful place, and among people who take good care of this town. On the other hand, Hungary is also a beautiful country. We tend to speak about our own country in disparaging terms, and somehow it is always in the air that one should prefer anything that is foreign. But if you really think about it, you will find that you live in a very beautiful country: in a beautiful town in a beautiful country. And this beautiful country – here, by the Danube, I hardly need to remind you of that – is one which is almost matchless, and continuously gaining in strength. So when you look at yourselves and your future you have good reason to place faith partly in your country and partly in yourselves; you have good reason to think that it’s worth getting up in the morning, it’s worth studying, it’s worth accepting the work you have to do, and even being disciplined.
So it’s worth going through all that, and it’s even worth taking on more work, because in the end, believe me, this can lead you to a peaceful, calm, optimistic and prosperous life. There is a chance of this. I’m not saying that all this will be served up to you on a silver platter, but you have a chance. Of course not everything is entirely up to us; but whether we can convert opportunities into reality is mainly up to us. I would like to thank both Erika and President Csányi for multiplying these opportunities for you by establishing and running centres like this. Be smart, use the opportunities well.
Go for it, Hungary. Go for it, Hungarians!