24 October 2006
The Hungarian Revolution 50th Anniversary - page 1
The Hungarian Revolution 50th Anniversary - page 2
The Hungarian Revolution 50th Anniversary - page 3 - this page -
The Hungarian Revolution 50th Anniversary - page 4
24th October 2006 in Budapest Hui Chin and I went to the city centre early in the morning as we were rather curious to see the aftermath of the clashes during the night, which we had watched all night on the TV.
We got off the Metro at Ferenciek tere (Franciscan's Square), more or less the place the last building barricade and battles took place at early that morning.
The streets were already cleared and cleaned.
The roads were wet as they had just been hosed and swept, but our eyes were watering and irritated and there was still a very strong odour of the teargas used quite freely by the Police only a few hours ago.
We went down at the next Metro Station (Astoria) to get some Fornetti pogácsa (Hungarian type cakes) to eat and couldn't help noticing how much stronger the gas was down there, in the fairly enclosed environment.
I asked the young lady serving us whether it was bothering her and she said yes, very much and it was even worse earlier when she started, but she has to work to make a living and she would probably lose her job if she complained too much.
After finished the cakes and a drink we went to do what we do the best, walking around, visiting places, taking photos etc. etc., you know how it is.
Amongst the many places we visited and revisited during that day was of course the burger bar, where we were the night before. The security guard was on duty again (or still on duty, maybe), and we had a bit of a chat with him and thanked him for his information the night before.
Funny how you can make friends some times.
Most of the places we visited that day - some of my photos are on this page - have some bearing on the Revolution or this Anniversary.
During that day and the next few weeks we spent in Budapest and in Hungary, the media, papers, radio and television spent an enormous amount of time talking about and analysing the happenings during the Celebrations or the celebrations that should have been and how the authorities handled it. (See previous pages).
- o O o -
Budapest after the clashes -
24 October 2006
One of the present governing party hung on to it and is still using it as H.Q, pictures 3 and 4.
The place shown in Picture 1, especially where the large pole, Hui Chin and the tree are standing, is where some of the people of Budapest dug an enormous hole during the days of the Revolution looking for the 'despised' AVH (State Security Agency) policemen.
They were building the Red Metro line in those days and rumour had it that progress was seemingly very slow because they were building secret underground tunnels to connect to the communist party H.Q., Parliament and some other places.
Not many of the workers could be aware of anything going on, because the tunnels were built under pressure to save buildings and seepage from the Danube, which it also crosses under, and they had to decompress after every session underground.
At the time I was told that the diggers searching for the AVH did actually find some of their quarry down there and they were hung on some of the trees nearby and further away, nude, upside down.
I personally saw some of them too, back then.
Even the name is a controversial left-over from the communist days.
This is where József Cardinal Mindszenty sought and received refuge after the brutal suppression of the Revolution.
One of them was being shot while we were wandering around, though my lips are sealed about its name.
I was afforded lot of privileges for it.
We visited Budapest in 1994, five years after the "System Change". (When, as mentioned on the first page of this series, some of the ruling communists decided in their wisdom to turn their coats inside out, on the anniversary of the Revolution, and they announced it to be a national holiday as from there on, Hungary will be a republic and democratic, with multi party elections).
Walking past the monument I was surprised to see it and asked my brother about the retention of it.
I was aware of the "System Change" as they call it and in my naivety I thought that should have been one of the first things to go, especially being in such a prime position.
That was the original reason to putting it in that location in the first place by the communists.
Although in those days it had some soldiers and flag etc. adorning it).
He told me the authorities are scared of Russian reaction to the removal of the monument.
Before our return to attend the celebration in 2006 I did read many articles on the internet talking about or asking for the removal of the monument.
Later on, on the 17th of September, the first days of unrest triggered by the 'Prime Minister's lies' some of the demonstrators started to demolish it showing their pent up anger against its retention.
The call is still out for the removal or shifting of it somewhere else.
The call came up a number of times in the media during our stay in Budapest after the Remembrance.
N.B. Nearly fifty years prior to that at the time a similar refusal and shooting by the authorities was the touch-paper of our Freedom fight in 1956, I know, I was there. You can read my eyewitness story here.
I spent part of the first night of our Revolution in hospital and my late sister Vanda (correct Hungarian spelling) took me home to their place, just off Széna Square, and boy, the place was shaking all night.
I still had trouble hopping around at the time, but I stood by the window practically all night watching the ferocious battle going on just below us.
Just the name use to send shivers up your spine.
Its reputation was awesome, if I can call it that.
If you wanted to scare somebody you just said its name.
As far as I know its history as a place of terror started in the last few months of the last world war, when the Hungarian "Nyilas Party", Arrow Cross Party used it as its political prisoner's interrogation centre.
The communist took it over as a 'going concern', I suspect some of the staff just 'turned their coats' too.
Unfortunately, I have some personal connection too.
I myself was fortunate enough not being their guest, but József Cardinal Mindszenty spent some time here and so did my late father.
It is a museum now, displaying some of the horror one human being can inflict on another.
Background picture;Kossuth Lajos út after
being cleaned and washed after the night's barricade building,
clashes, gas and rubber bullets attack.
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