Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Liberation monuments and the passage of time.. number 2

I have just returned from Budapest, a city once liberated by the Russians and consequently littered with all kinds of liberation mementos. What to do with those statues once a nation has regained its true independence, you might ask?

Budapest's solution has been to transport the statues to a park a long way out of town and exhibit them as part of a collection of 'items removed once we got our country back' including highly sensitive films shown to Secret Policemen about how to carry out bugging, surveillance and busts.. when even the projectionist had to leave his booth in case he came across the secrets.

To a society growing up with Facebook, Twitter and all modern forms of communication - which can as we know also be tracked by states seeking to quell unrest  (ie David Cameron's riot retribution) - Hungary's years in the grip of unwanted totalitarianism seem sad.

When Hungarians got the chance they took the Russian soldier  off the Liberation Monument overlooking the Danube and escorted him to this park. They also collected all the statues commissioned by the Communists and installed around Budapest and loaded them onto the back of a pick-up truck heading for Memento Park, like this one (left) which are colossal by human standards.

The capture and direction of art and artists, sculpture and sculptors and all associated art forms to the glorification of totalitarianism is something that seems deeply regrettable.

Budapest's Memento Park offers food for thought for those who think occupation is a state of mind.

Occupation of the Mind starts with the young, and here are examples of how the young have been co-opted into the 'revolution'.

A Soviet soldier with a child, the Red Star on his hat: a group of Pioneers so committed to the cause.

Get them early and they'll be yours forever, the saying goes.

Where have we heard that before?

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