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Freedom and Historical Coincidence

June 16, 2009

Twenty years ago today, Hungary re-buried Imre Nagy and its other heroes from the 1956 Hungarian Revolution against the Soviet Union, a ceremonial event that galvanized public opposition to Communism and led to the fall of the Hungarian Socialist Worker’s Party, and the Soviet puppet government that controlled the country, a few short months later, in October. The Berlin wall fell next, in November of 1989. And then the rest of the repressive and dessicated Soviet Empire.

Who was Imre Nagy? From Foreign Policy:

One such chapter, now legend, is the story of Imre Nagy, hero of the infamous 1956 Hungarian Revolution. Much like Czechoslovakia’s Alexander Dubcek in 1968, he had sought to give socialism a human face, only 12 years earlier. As the world watched in horror, Soviet tanks rolled into Budapest to put down the dangerous experiment in democracy. Hungarians rose up and barricaded the streets, battling the invading forces in fierce fighting over three weeks in the late autumn of 1956. More than 2,000 Hungarians died; 200,000 fled into exile. Lured from their haven in the Yugoslav Embassy with a promise of safe passage, Nagy and other leaders of the uprising were abducted by the Russian secret police, interrogated, tortured and, after a mockery of a show trial, hanged as “counterrevolutionaries.”

Today, the demonstrations in Iran continue and the Supreme Leader is permitting at least a partial recount of the flawed election result. Mousavi, while asking his followers not to protest out of fear for their safety, wants more than a recount. He wants to re-run the election. And so do his supporters, who have risked their safety and ignored their candidate’s caution, by taking to the streets in the hundreds of thousands to call for an end to religious control of secular government and life.

The scene in Iran, while still in its infancy, looks not unlike the scenes in Budapest and Prague and Berlin we saw twenty years ago.

One Comment leave one →
  1. December 31, 2012 7:54 am

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