2009. 11. 18.
The first time he was able to vote, Mr. Szájer refused to check the box affirming the communist leadership of his country and instead completely crossed off the name of the candidate. Acts like this were relegated to his generation due to the fact that they had no fear and nothing to lose. It was left to them to yearn to live as normal citizens in a normal society. Additionally, even though his home city was geographically close to Austria, he was twenty years old before he crossed what his father had shown to him as a child was the Iron Curtain. Coincidentally, when his daughter turned twenty, it was the year that the Schengen borders were lifted. He observed that what was once an impenetrable barrier between nations had simply become signs of information along roads. Yet, even with all of this progress, Mr. Szájer still feels the shadows of the past lingering in his home country. Specifically, some citizens do not feel that the transition to a market economy brought about significantly better circumstances for their lives. These people miss the days of security and non-existent unemployment. Mr. Szájer noted that it will simply take time for people to adjust to being independent, working more, and not having job stability. However, in total, he believes that most people would not choose to return to the old system. Thanks to projects such as the House of Terror in Budapest, which was sponsored by Mr. Szájer, people acknowledge the country’s history and retain the memory of life under communism. Still, more progress can be made. Mr. Szájer specifically addressed the fact that there is not a monument to the victims of communist located in Brussels, to which he can go for remembrance purposes.
Notes by Hillary Kies
Twenty Years after the fall of the Berlin Wall
Tuesday 17 November 2009, 16:30-18:00