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Prime Minister Viktor Orbán marked the 175th anniversary of the 1848-49 revolution and freedom fight at the birthplace of Hungary's national poet, Sándor Petőfi, in Kiskőrös, in the south of the country, on Wednesday.

In a speech in front of the house where Petőfi was born 200 years earlier, Orbán said “all Hungarians have a little bit of Petőfi in them, and everything Hungarian is contained in Petőfi”. He said the life of the revolutionary, whose poems every Hungarian has learnt to recite as schoolchildren, was “a 26-year trajectory through the Hungarian heavens that started deep in Hungary and ended on a trail of stars”. March 15 marks the “birth of Hungarian freedom”, and the “march of freedom” begins in Kiskőrös, he added. Hungarians consider Petőfi their greatest poet because he “contains both Hungarian fate and Hungarian genius”, he said, noting that his works have been translated into more than 200 languages. Petőfi “died as he wrote: as an apostle of global freedom, in a battle for Hungary’s freedom”, he added. He said Petőfi had delivered an answer to the question of what gives greater meaning to finite life and to country and quoted from the poet’s National Song: “Shall we be slaves or men set free? That is the question, answer me!”