Wednesday, October 25, 2006

October 23rd

Bit of a busy week, round these parts as I am in sole charge of the little ones, but we'll see if I can get through a quick post about Monday evening before the littlest one wakes up.

So, as mentioned earlier Monday was the 50th anniversary of the Hungarian uprising in which a large number of very brave people rose up against their oppressive regime, and were eventually crushed with the assistance of the Soviet army. This obviously didn't happen here, since we are not in Hungary, but there was a fairly large commemmoration event here. At 6.30 we went out to join the candelit march that was starting from "Freedom Square" outside our apartment. We couldn't get a candle/torch, as they were reserved for bigwigs apparently, but undaunted we managed to get over the disappointment. The parade/march/walk/amble was conducted in almost complete silence (though I'm not sure if that was deliberate or just because people weren't feeling very chatty), and led us up Timisoara Boulevard and then up past the theatre to the Hungarian Consulate. By the time we got there it was a fairly big gathering, of at least a couple of thousand, which for this town is a major turnout.

Speeches were spoken by various dignitaries - somebody from the Hungarian foreign ministry, the consul, some religious leader, a local politician one who has his own blog even (in Hungarian), and various others. It was getting a bit parky by this time, and Paula was getting tired so I led her home, while Erika and Bogi braved the nighttime chill of the Carpathians for a while longer, but not quite long enough to witness the unveiling of a new statue representing "The Angel of News" (I think). I saw it yesterday though, and it's not the most attractive piece of public art I've ever seen, but probably I'll get used to it.

I wanted to include some photos to give you a taste of the evening's events, but sadly my camera chose that night to seemingly expire. I'm hoping I can resurrect it somehow.

I asked around to find out what would have been the channel for this news to reach Csikszereda back in 1956, and was given a number of possible answers (nobody I asked was actually alive, so it was a bit of guesswork) - that they heard on Romanian media (which seems like it may have happened after the fact - it's hard to imagine that 1956 Romanian government would have been happy about spreading news of a popular uprising); that they heard on Radio Free Europe; and that people near the border could get Hungarian TV and they would obviously have heard, and it would have got passed around Transylvania, slowly spreading eastwards. That last one appeals to me (aesthetically, not because I like the idea of people being denied information) - it conjures up bards and wandering minstrels and the like.

Anyway, the events, such as they were, were quite moving and passed by without incident, which is obviously more than can be said for the similar commemorations in Budapest.

Hungarian readers may be interested to learn that the 1956 events more or less destroyed the far left in the UK (obviously no major deal compared to what upheaval it caused in Hungary). After the seond world war, the communist party was quite strong in Britain, but 1956 split it completely asunder between those who supported the uprising and those who advocated mother Russia sending the tanks in. To this day, the derogatory slang term for Stalinists in the UK (yes there are some) is "tankies".


Anonymous said...

Hi Andy,

Just a few answers: I wasn't born yet in '56 (not even a project, so to put it), but my Mother was 10 at the time, and living in Csikszereda so she remembers well enough certain aspects.
So, they heard of what was going on Radio Free Europe and Radio Kossuth - think of it: at that time everybody from Csikszereda had some connections with Hungary. Most people flied there during the war (many on them left in 1940, but the majority just ran with few of their belongings in 1944 as the Russian-threat was increasing). Not so many of them returned back to their homes in late '45 just before the border was closed.
Anyway - the point I was trying to make is that people had very strong feelings regarding what was happening across the border, and they had up-to-date information on almost everything.

A second fact: there is a house across the street from the Petofi school with a memorial sign on (it was the house on a doctor, who used to be an important figure in the city); well, his son did participate in the '56 events - in Romania - and was arrested for that...

Hope you'll find this interesting.


Andy said...

Very interesting thanks Irina. Did many people in Romania act/get arrested in '56 in this way? I had no idea.

Andy said...

I took a look at the plaque this morning, Irina - the Doctor's name was Nagy András, I believe. Do you known what his son was called?

(As far as I can tell the Csíkszeredai Nagy András doesn't even merit an entry in Hungarian wikipedia, so it's difficult to look him up)

Anonymous said...

Hi Andy,
Do you know any Romanian? You could check out these 2 articles: (it says there were around 1400 people convicted for being involved in those events, here in this country) and this one from yesterday (the person named just Nagy in the article is Nagy Benedek, the doctor's son... he's a very nice person and he's quite well these days)...

In case you can't read the articles, maybe someone can translate them for you - it is worth it.

PS: could I send you an email? I'll be visiting Csikszereda pretty soon hopefully, and I was thinking we (you, your family, me, my boyfriend if he'll be around - he reads your blog also:) could go out for a coffee or something...

Andy said...

Of course Irina, that would be great. I think you can email me from my profile on here.