Saturday, May 8, 2010

Budapest, Hungary: Something happening at the WWII memorial

There's something happening here / What it is, ain't exactly clear.

This is the Memorial to the Soviet Red Army in Szabadság tér (Freedom Square), near the Parliament. The anti-war protest allusion is somewhat apropos as this the memorial to the "liberation" of Hungary and Budapest by the Soviet Red Army in 1945. Frying pan to fire, so to speak. There was a big hub-bub at the Memorial as it was the anniversary of something. Someone in the crowd told me it was for the anniversary of the end of World War II in Europe, which was not Friday, but actually is Saturday, May 8. We used to call that V.E. Day back in the day. So it could be that, especially given that the 65th anniversary of the actual liberation of Hungary was celebrated back in April.

There was a decent crowd there:

Although you can't tell that from this picture. There were lots and lots of police -- highly unusual for Budapest as opposed to Croatia or Paraguay. Lots and lots of black Mercedes sedans with the flag flying in the front off to the side. Dignataries. Some speechifying. The ceremonial playing of Taps. Some sort of military marching. So something big was going down.

I got there near the end of the ceremony and I didn't get close enough for pictures until after the crowd was filing out.

This monument to the Soviets and the Red Army is very controversial, as you might think. The barricades visible in this picture are kept up to prevent defacing of this memorial, which was quite the local sport in Post-Communist Budapest, once upon a time. This liberation from the Nazis by the communists is looked at as being, at best, a mixed blessing. The Nazis were bad, but then came 40+ uneasy years under the yoke of Soviet communism.

BTW: the U.S. embassy is right near here, just off Szabadság tér. I started to take a picture, but I was stopped. Apparently, for security reasons, you are not allowed to photograph the U.S. Embassy. No first amendment on foreign soil, so I meekly complied.

No comments:

Post a Comment