October 23, 2006

"Ruszkik haza!" - Hungary, Magyars Worldwide, Observe Solemn Anniversary


Ruszkik haza!

Chicago Tribune [...] Half a century after those turbulent events, Budapest still carries the scars of the Soviet invasion. Buildings pocked with bullet holes remain a common sight in the capital, and Hungarians continue to disagree bitterly over what it all meant and how it should be remembered.

The anniversary comes at a particularly awkward moment for the government of Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsany. A former communist youth leader who is now one of the wealthiest men in Hungary, Gyurcsany was embarrassed last month by a leaked recording in which he admits "we lied morning, noon and night" about the true condition of the economy during the last election campaign.

The revelations triggered several days of violent demonstrations. Protesters burned cars and attacked the state broadcasting headquarters. A determined hard core now occupies the square in front of the parliament building and says it won't leave until Gyurcsany resigns.

The square, of course, is where the `56 uprising began, and it is the main venue of the anniversary ceremonies to which scores of foreign leaders have been invited.

"Fifty-six has always been used as a political instrument in Hungary, even when it was officially suppressed," said Attila Szakolczai, a researcher at the Institute for the History of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution.

"Outside Hungary, views of `56 tend to be over-simplified and exaggerated - good versus evil. In Hungary, it's more complicated," he said.

Historians generally agree that what began in Budapest on Oct. 23, 1956 was a spontaneous uprising against the Soviet military presence in Hungary and Moscow's heavy-handed interference in Hungarian politics.

Some who rebelled were anti-communists who wanted to bring down the entire system, but a majority were committed communists who wanted to replace "bad" communists with "good" communists.

The only thing they agreed on, according to Victor Sebestyen, the author of a new history of the uprising, was "Russkik haza" - Russians out.

"Mainly, it was a nationalist uprising against the Soviets. Within that, the people on the streets completely disagreed on everything else," said Sebestyen.

[...] After dithering for 12 days, Moscow launched a massive invasion. In less than 48 hours it was over. More than 2,700 Hungarians were dead, 20,000 wounded. Afterward, thousands were arrested and 229 were executed. More than 180,000 fled the country.

Whatever the reasons historians may cite, it is important to honor those who stoop up to the Soviet juggernaut at the cost of life and limb. Blood was shed 50 years ago today, in the eyes of some of us -- for freedom.

(Concentrate on the third stanza.)

National Song

by Petfi Sndor

Rise up, Magyar, the country calls!
It's 'now or never' what fate befalls...
Shall we live as slaves or free men?
That's the question - choose your 'Amen"!
God of Hungarians, we swear unto Thee,
We swear unto Thee - that slaves we shall no longer be!

For up till now we lived like slaves,
Damned lie our forefathers in their graves -
They who lived and died in freedom
Cannot rest in dusts of thraldom.
God of Hungarians, we swear unto Thee,
We swear unto Thee - that slaves we shall no longer be!

A coward and a lowly bastard
Is he, who dares not raise the standard -
He whose wretched life is dearer
Than the country's sacred honor.

God of Hungarians, we swear unto Thee,
We swear unto Thee - that slaves we shall no longer be!

Sabers outshine chaine and fetters,
It's the sword that one's arm betters.
Yet we wear grim chains and shackles.
Swords, slash through damned manacles!
God of Hungarians, we swear unto Thee,
We swear unto Thee - that slaves we shall no longer be!

Magyar's name will tell the story
Worthy of our erstwhile glory
we must wash off - fiercely cleansing
Centuries of shame and condensing.
God of Hungarians, we swear unto Thee,
We swear unto Thee - that slaves we shall no longer be!

Where our grave-mounds bulge and huddle
Our grandson will kneel and cuddle,
While in grateful prayer they mention
All our sainted names' ascension.
God of Hungarians, we swear unto Thee,
We swear unto Thee - that slaves we shall no longer be!

(March 13. 1848)

Tr: Adam Makkai

Amen.

Posted by Kyer at October 23, 2006 07:48 AM | TrackBack
Comments
Site

Meter