freedom, young Hungarians now brandish mobile phones and stroll around a shopping mall. Only a nearby tiny monument, unveiled by Government officials on Revolution Day, Tuesday, October 23, reminds busy shoppers not to forget those who died during the 1956 struggle against Soviet domination.
Not far away, elderly and homeless people can often be seen looking for food in garbage cans, as the Capital prepares for winter. Its a daily ritual not unnoticed by those who almost gave their lives for Hungary’s struggle against Communist dictatorship. Hungary "still does not care for the working people, and the poor,” says Odan Ollah, who was a 19-year old commander of more than 100 freedom fighters.
"We did not fight to see some people getting very rich while others have to eat from the garbage, " explains Ollah BosNewsLife. Prime Minister Viktor Orban has urged Christians and churches to help the country overcome decades of Communist dictatorship.
REBELS STILL ALIVE
About 200 rebels who fought during the revolution are believed to be still alive today. But Jozsef Fedor, who represents the World Federation of ’56 Hungarians and the World Council of ’56 Hungarians, says not much has been done to help them. "Our victorious politicians still owe debts to the heroes of ’56 who lived for decades in misery and still do today".
Church leaders are warning these days that Hungary’s new era, which began after the collapse of Communism in 1989, could lead to serious social problems. "If you think about the example of Hungary. There is a growing rate of violence, job dependence and alcoholism," says Hungarian Catholic Priest Laszlo Lukacs, who has close ties with the Vatican. "People have (still) to learn how to live freedom with responsibility."
ANTI SEMITIC HIJACK
Politicians fear however that legitimate worries about Hungary’s difficulties will be hijacked by ultra right wing, anti semitic, leaders and their supporters—at a time when the country prepares for new elections next year. Even politician Imre Mecs, who was sentenced to life imprisonment and nearly executed for his role in the 1956 revolution, was called "a traitor" Monday, October 22, while he laid a wreath at the Bem statue in Budapest.
The incident was seen as a right wing attack against his party, the Alliance of Free Democrats, as it has many supporters among Jewish people. On Tuesday, October 23, the Socialist candidate for Prime Minister, Peter Medgyessy was interrupted by hecklers at plot 301 in the Rakoskeresztur cemetery, when he placed a wreath at the grave of Prime Minister Imre Nagy and four others who were executed for their part in the fight for freedom.
The President of the right wing Smallholders Party, Jozsef Torgyan, says the demand of the Hungarian revolutionary youth has not been implemented, because "those who called in the foreign troops have infiltrated the ranks" of Hungarian power.
RENEWAL AND RECONCILIATION
It’s a sentiment even shared by some church leaders. However they argue that Hungary can only move forward in a sprit of renewal and reconciliation. Prime Minister Viktor Orban has said the country needs traditional churches to overcome the current and social tensions, as it prepares to join the European Union by 2004. He worries that there is not much left of the Christian legacy left behind by Hungary’s first King St. Stephen.
"The problem is however that for forty years the church was living in a prison a little bit," explains Priest Laszlo Lukacs. "Now we have to learn how to sell the Good News," to Hungarians who he believed are desperately in need of real freedom in Christ.