Opinion and Editorial

Revisiting a revolution

Filed on October 25, 2006

THE 50th anniversary of the Hungarian anti-Soviet uprising couldn’t have come at a more inconvenient time for Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsany.

The besieged Hungarian leader, who has been under intense pressure to quit after he admitted last month lying to win re-election, now faces a formidable crisis in the anti-government protests sparked by the 50th anniversary of anti-Communist uprising.

The fact that Gyurcsany and the governing Socialists are seen as inheritors of the mantle of pro-Soviet Communists hasn’t really helped the cornered prime minister’s case. Little wonder then many of the 1956 Uprising veterans refused to shake hands with the prime minister at the official ceremony.

So what should have been a solemn occasion to remember a landmark event in Europe’s post World War II history has been turned into a massive anti-government agitation.

The Hungary Uprising fifty years ago remains a seminal event because it had been the first serious attempt by any country or people in the so-called Eastern bloc led by Soviet Union against communist tyranny. The people of Hungary had been the first to send the message to Kremlin that they did not want to be a part of the ‘socialist paradise’ and would like to go their own way.

Of course, the 1956 Uprising was brutally crushed by Moscow by sending in thousands of Russian troops and tanks.

Nonetheless Hungary remains the pioneer of democracy and freedom in eastern Europe. By rising against the tyranny of the Communist superpower, the people of Hungary set a shining example which was emulated later by the rest of eastern Europe and other countries ruled by Moscow during Mikhail Gorbachev’s time.

Prime Minister Gyurcsany would ignore his people’s democratic character and defiant perseverance at his own peril.

Surely, a people who defied Soviet tanks and guns half a century ago cannot be cowed down by a lying and discredited politician. The only way to resolve the explosive situation in Hungary may be by way of fresh elections. It’s back to the people, then.

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