On Statues

At this point in time, all levels of government are absolutely enamoured by the idea of statues and memorials. They are so shiny and ideologically driven and they are really good for allocating state funds to friends and relatives.

Of course, this is not an exactly new thing. If one goes to Kossuth Square, the symbolic centre of Budapest, one can see about five thousand different statues and memorials. Well, one could, if the place wouldn’t be completely torn up, but I’ll return to that some other time. What you need to know is that it’ll be returned to the pre-1944 state, because YAY FASCIST HUGNARY. Before the rebuilding started there were at least four completely separate memorials to the 1956 revolution in this one place, alongside a statue of a post WWI Prime Minister, a 18th century revolutionary, Lajos Kossuth and 1848 revolutionaries, an MP killed by the Communists, a national poet and at least a dozen different memorial plaques dedicated to a mixed bunch of people, including ethnographers and cavalry officers.

You think this is crazy? You ain’t seen nothing yet. FIDESZ and other nationalist-conservative-theocratic affiliates have gone completely apeshit in recent years erecting weird statues left and right. My personal favourite is a four and a half metre tall monstrosity that was put up by some loony nationalist mayor in one of the suburbs. Its central figure is non other than God, who happens to have wings and two halos, one triangular, one circular. The wings are visible on the back, alongside a near life-sized copy of a Scythian deer ornament. The words of the national anthem are inscribed on the wings and there are also 24 bells commemorating the 64 counties of the Kingdom of Hungary. To this date, I haven’t seen a better representation of contemporary Hungarian nationalistic thought than this weird mixture of Christianity, romanticised  pan-steppe animism, irredentism and kitsch.

But things are about to change. The Hungarian Right has always hated the fact that there was a Soviet Memorial on a square near the parliament, which wasn’t torn down due to a bi-lateral agreement with Russia stating that the Russians would keep the Hungarian memorials on their territory, and Budapest would keep this single one. The first attempt to counter-act this relatively (by Soviet standards) modest obelisk is putting that evil bastard Ronald Reagan next to it. He is striding towards the memorial in a pose reminiscent of Frame 352 of the Patterson-Gimlin bigfoot footage. I like to take American visitors to see it just for the shock value. But now, a new project is starting to take shape: a memorial to the German invasion of Hungary in 1944.

I won’t really bore y’all with historical details, but this needs a bit of an explanation. Hungary was a staunch ally of Nazi Germany and when things were definitely looking pear-shaped, its bumbling puffer fish of a Governor tried to weasel his way out of the alliance. He failed, the country got invaded and the country that was already famous for enacting the first anti-Jewish law of the 20th century became known for deporting so many of its own citizens in such a short time frame that the death camps got overwhelmed by the sheer volume of new arrivals. Hungary fought with Germany until the very end and there was at least one unit that surrendered a day after Berlin.

How will the memorial to this invasion look like? A four-metre tall statue of the Archangel Gabriel (symbolizing Hungary as “God’s Man, God’s power and Divine Power”), surrounded by broken Greek columns, being attacked by the Imperial Eagle. This is meant to symbolise the innocent, soft and holy Hungary being attacked and consumed by a stronger and more aggressive foe. I can’t even begin to describe everything that is wrong with this, but I will just post the official sketch of how it should look like, via 444:

While I am not against neither the ornithologisation of history nor Dadaist art, this is just fucking insane.

Meanwhile, a nincompoop member of the Catholic Taliban has issued an open letter to the heads of the main university of economics to remove the statue of Marx, because he was evil. And it’s still quite a few months until the elections…

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2 thoughts on “On Statues

  1. I have met two men in Ontario in the seventies who claimed they were members of the Hungarian Division of SS (Hunyadi Páncélos) and they had been fighting with the Red Army in the mountains of today Czech Republic as late as May 22, 1945.

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