Monday, January 15, 2007

Postcards From Hungary

People were expecting a bit of tension around the 50th anniversary of 1956 uprising last year but I don't think anyone realised there would be full-blown riots. Last September a tape was "leaked" that had the prime minister admitting that he'd lied morning, noon and night about the state of the economy and that they'd done bugger all since getting into power to put the country back on track.

I won't go into the riots in this post. You can read all about it at the BBC, Wikipedia or even the "Riots in Hungary" site. They all have good coverage of it and the Riots in Hungary site has links to all the video clips and an interactive walkthrough of events.

While a lot of people vehemently opposed the prime minister and what he had done, they were equally disgusted by the riots and the idea of Hungarians fighting each other in the streets.

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A new installation at Erzsebet ter in the 5th district shows the results of a campaign by the government to get people's take on situation. The "Szeretem Magyarorszagot Klub" (careful, the film and music is set to autoplay) asked people to send in postcards with their thoughts. These postcards were then digitized and printed onto outdoor covers. Each cover sheet holds a load of cards and then they've put these sheets all around the main walkway of the square.

Some cards display just the simple "Szeretem Magyarorszagot" phrase while others are slightly more political and refer to the riot police, the prime minister or the leader of the opposition (both for and against).

If you're walking around downtown then it's worth taking a peek. Even if you don't understand the Hungarian, you'll get the gist of things with the pictures that people have drawn and the sheer number of cards. If you're not in the center (or even in Hungary) then you can browse through the cards online.

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