Wednesday, 24 February 2010
Without Illusions, an immigrant's journey published in 2008.
I have written it in both, my native Hungarian and English. It is a modest recollection of early impressions and stories of a young man arriving in the New World from communist Hungary after the 1956 Hungarian Freedom Fight.
I will serialize here the chapters, hoping to illustrate many of the issues in today's democracies of the West, as they are being challenged by "progressive"thinking, such as the role of individual responsibility and economic and political freedom of opportunity.
THE TENTH ANNIVERSARY OF THE HUNGARIAN REVOLUTION AND FREEDOM FIGTH.
TORONTO, OCTOBER 23, 1966.
On the tenth anniversary of the Hungarian Revolution and Freedom Fight, a solemn remembrance took place on the gray and stormy shores of Lake Ontario. The place, in front of the Toronto Exhibition Grounds, was the newly named Budapest Park.
Peter was hearing the words of the invited civic and Hungarian community leaders, but his thoughts as those of many of the other refugee-immigrants present were back in the days of October, 1956. The bloody crush of the revolution and the subsequent Soviet occupation, the return of hopelessness and despair and for all those here in Budapest Park, their escape from Hungary. They thought of the fallen in the fights, the executed martyrs, the imprisoned and those whose lives were ruined. Their somber faces testified to the humility they felt in celebrating, freely, in this, their adopted country, thinking of their relatives and friends who remained behind barbed wire and minefields. And they were thinking of their last 10 years in their new and challenging environment.
As events proved later, in many homes of the country thousands of mostly young people, students, factory apprentices and workers were considering fleeing the country.
The compelling thought of leaving their homeland was not conceived only by the events of 1956 October. These events only made the escape to freedom a real and immediate possibility. The utter failure of the regime in the preceding years, the lies and the dictatorship that led to the revolt and the inevitable defeat that followed solidified for many to leave this land for something that was surely different and more humane to man.
Many had tried in the past, against all odds, to cross the borders illegally, a few made it, but many perished or were captured and sent to prison for trying to escape the “communist paradise”.
So the idea of leaving the homeland had come to many years before the heady days of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution.
The murderous circle of the tanks around Budapest brought about making these vague notions of the “Free West” an actual plan on and after November 4th. 1956.
In the ensuing days the country heroically resisted the Soviet hordes, but succumbed eventually and to many, the plan of leaving this beaten country assumed action.
The numbers are not exact but it is assumed that nearly a quarter of a million Hungarians, mostly young people, decided that their dreams of a free society can only be found to the West of Hungary and have left the country.
This story is just one of many, each unique and fascinating, yet each being a replica of many untold refugee stories in the annals of history, each being its own individual Odyssey and each followed by another and another over the years, in all the continents, over the entire history of mankind.
To be continued.
Posted by eurobird at 20:02