In the wake of the Budapest Mayor’s appointment of openly anti-Semitic actor György Dörner as the the Új Színház’s new artistic director with István Csurka, a playwright and founder of the extreme right party MIÉP (Party of Hungarian Truth and Life), as his intendant, we thought it might be interesting to post a speech given by Secretary Clinton at the Hungarian Parliament in honor of the inauguration of the Lantos Institute this past June.
In her speech, Secretary Clinton talks of democracy, human rights, and due process, the most cherished and fought for beliefs of Representative Tom Lantos, the only Holocaust survivor to have ever served in the US Congress. It is thinly veiled, but her concerns regarding over-stepping and eroding of civil rights and liberties on the part of the Orban government are there between these lines in particular:
“At a time when technology transmits news and information instantly, we have all become the global equivalent of neighbors. And what happens in Tunis and Cairo reverberates in Budapest, Jakarta, and Washington. For all democracies around the world, old and new, including my own country and yours, it is vital that we continue building and strengthening our own democratic institutions. It is vital that we understand that the glue which holds together democracies is trust – trust between people as we widen the circle of democratic inclusion, and trust between the people and their governments. It is vital that we not engage in destructive political tactics or the kind of rhetoric that erodes that trust in democracy and one another. We need strong checks and balances across party lines and from one government to the next.
As we struggle to help new democracies emerge, we can’t let any democracy anywhere backslide. The stakes are too high. Other company – other countries are trumpeting national economic growth over freedom and human rights, as though the two are neither compatible nor mutually reinforcing. So that is why this institute is more needed than ever.
Let us work across all sectors of society and all the lines that we too easily believe divide us, to strengthen and support democracy, civil society, and the rule of law, and to protect the rights of minorities, to make sure that when justice is served, it is administered with due process and judicial integrity, not political vengeance or partisan meddling. Those were the principles for which Tom fought so hard.”
Please click here to read the full text of the speech or listen to the recording.