Budapest (MTI) – President János Áder attended a ceremony marking the 60th anniversary of Hungary’s higher education student federation MEFESZ in Szeged, in southern Hungary, on Sunday.
Referring to the failed anti-Soviet revolution of 1956 in his address, the president said that “Szeged students had not been born to be revolutionaries, still, they became heroes”.
Áder said that the young participants in the uprising had originally sought to address issues around their courses and demanded such changes as fewer classes of communist ideology or no Russian language. Soon, however, “it became clear that the whole system needed to be changed,” he said.
“They sought withdrawal of Russian troops ‘temporarily stationed’ in Hungary; they wanted free and democratic elections. They longed for [national] independence because they saw what subordination was doing to a nation,” Áder said.
Áder spoke highly of MEFESZ, noting it was the first organisation to have been set up by the students themselves rather than central power. Members of the new organisation set out from Szeged to other cities and “wherever they spoke to the people, the audience responded with a thunderous reaction: it is enough!”, Áder said.
The president also paid tribute to the teachers who supported the revolution “risking their careers, the achievements of their whole lives” and those that were imprisoned after the uprising was stifled. “The truth then spoken restored the dignity and self-esteem of the whole nation,” Áder said.