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Thursday, June 19, 2008

The Hungarian Revolution Of 1956

I am going to share a bit with you about a story the World actually, in my humble opinion knows very little about, The Hungarian revolution that took place in October of 1956, a time for many of us before we were even born. Recently & thankfully this topic has been getting some more press around the World. Director Quentin Tarantino recently helped make a film about the revolution called “Freedom’s Fury”. It mainly focused on the incredible water polo match at the Melbourne Olympics’ of 1956 which took place shortly after the massacre of their fellow citizens by Russian soldiers & tanks in Budapest. In this match, the Hungarian team became the World’s daring after what just happened to their Nation & when a Russian player punched a star Hungarian player in the water above the eye, he bled all in the water & escalated the game to near frenzy in the water! The crowds & the World were now cheering on a “fight for freedom” in the water of the Olympic pool! In the end, the Hungarian, who were a perennial power in water polo prevailed to win the Gold medal, but many of their players choose to defect & not to return to the satellite Eastern European Communist nation once again controlled by a Russian “Puppet” Dictator. Another film, which won many awards including "best foreign film" is "Children Of Glory", a brillant film about the heroics of the many who took to the streets in October of 1956. There is an excellent book, now in its 4th printing on this topic entitled “The Bridge at Andua” by James Michener, which from what I know is about as complete a history of what actually took place those 4 days of “Freedom” & what lead to the uprising. Similar uprisings took place 3 years earlier when the workers of East Berlin rose up in 1953 & Polish workers in 1956 also in the same fashion dared to take to the streets in a Society that forbid such actions & many believe that both of these uprisings, especially the Polish one were a good part of the reason for what happened in 1956 in Hungary. One must also understand the long & hard determination of these Hungarian people & what they been through, the former Austria-Hungary Empire & the Emperor, then tragically aligning themselves with the Nazi’s & embracing their anti-Semitic laws & now rode in their new “Savior”, Joseph Stalin who “freed” them from the Fascists. So when one looks back at their history, it is not a pleasant one & so maybe you can see where these people perhaps had enough of being told what to do. So now to the story of what happened, it is, at least for me, one of the most courageous acts of defiance against an oppressor I have ever heard of as these people, young & old took to the streets to defend the Country they love so dear, Hungarian Patriots never to be forgotten! As I stated earlier, the small semi-revolutions that took place in East Berlin in 1953 & Poland earlier in 56, they where a sort of “springboard” for what was to come. Anyone familiar with the Communist system knows that they like to make incredible claims of “Utopia”, something I’ll discuss later when I start a topic on “what ever happened to East Germany”? They use propaganda everywhere, slogans, banners, getting at the minds of their youth from day one. Such was the case in Hungary & so it was very stunning & shocking to the Russian leadership to see the VERY people they trained & “feed” this propaganda to, to take to the streets in open defiance demanding their immediate withdrawal from their beloved Country.
In short, Communism promises a “worker’s paradise” for all who will submit to it’s cumbersome tenets. So now you have the backdrop, promises made, but un kept, working days made longer, food shortages & lines to buy products everywhere, meager pay & so forth. The hated Hungarian “AVO” or secret Police were everywhere looking for informers & anyone who dared to speak critical of their regime. Each Communist state had one form or another, a model of the Russian feared KGB & Hungary was no exception! Fast forward to 1953, Stalin is dead & “some” reforms are implemented, but not enough to bring much relief.
In 1955, Imre Nagy, a much more open & liberal minded Russian trained Dictator is made Prime Minister, only to be ousted by Rakosi, the hard line Soviet Dictator whom Nagy was chosen over the year before, hence the fight for control of the direction of Hungary was on! In 1956 Khruschev gives a speech that denounces Stalin & so more flames are added to the “fires of freedom” burning in the hearts of many in Eastern Europe. PETOFI CIRCLE were groups of Hungarian writers, and journalists who participated in forums and debates. They became more critical and active in politics, especially criticizing the Rakosi system. At the same time, in Poznan, Poland, there was a 50,000 anti-Communist workers' revolt; Stalinists squelched it with the help of the Polish Army. 50 died; hundreds were wounded. In Hungary, it was the University students who really must get the credit for the birth I think of the revolution, they formed an illegal “union” of sorts in early Oct. of 56 which carried a specific “list of demands”, including the withdrawal of Russian troops from Hungarian soil! They also wanted Imre Nagy to be returned to the head of the Government, as he was sympathetic to their demands. Here’s a few other of their demands:
- formation of multi-party system - free elections - dissolution of the AVO Secret Police - Soviet troops to leave Hungary, - Hungary's withdrawal from Warsaw Pact
When news reached that the Poles stood up to the Russians, although they stopped short of leaving the Warsaw Pact, which avoided serious bloodshed, the Hungarian students knew the time had come for them to take “center stage”.
Thus on October 23rd, 1956 the students took to the streets to march in support of the Polish revolt & again sought an answer to their demands. After marching to various statue’s, they eventually came to the one of Stalin & began to tear it down, from there they went to Radio Budapest & sought opportunity to air their demands over the radio, thus the revolution was on! The AVO police began shooting Hungarians in the streets, young & old, blood was shed & so the government called upon the Russians for help to restore order & although at first nothing happened, soon Russian tanks began to pour into the city center. It should ne noted that when the AVO men atop a building open fired on the population below, that one of the first Russian tanks, which had a soldier at the helm who had developed a love for this strong & gritty people, actually turned his turret toward the AVO men & open fire at them atop the building which in turn buoyed the crowd & set the revolution in motion full force! Imre Nagy took control of the Gov’t. & asked for people to be clam, but the Demonstrators recited these verses from Petolfi’s 1848 Hungarian national Poem.
“Stand up, Hungarians, your country calls. The time for now or never falls. Are we to live as slaves or free? Choose one. This is our destiny! By the God of all the Magyars, we swear. We swear never again the chains to bear”.
Within the next 2 days, people, both young & old took up arms from the barracks depot & police & rigged up thousands of “Molotov Cocktails”. Russians Go Home, could be read everywhere! It was estimated that these people, barely armed ended up disabling anywhere from 250-400 Russian tanks, can you believe that? By October 27th, everyone was thrilled as the streets were eerily quiet, all symbols of Communism were taken down or destroyed, the Hungarian flag was restored to it’s previous crest which has been taken over by the communist symbols, it was utter euphoria! On October 30th, CARDINAL MINDSZENTY, the Catholic prelate, who had been imprisoned by the Rakosi regime, was rescued by the Freedom Fighters and gave a very supportive speech praising the bravery of those fighting for the liberation of the nation. Nagy then abolished the AVO & one party system, but would it last & what would be the response of the West? I have often asked myself this question…. How much guilt does America hold in this revolt, in that for years we were broadcasting through the Voice Of America, the benefits of Democracy & freedom? Were we not partly responsible for encouraging such a revolt by leading the Hungarian people to believe we would be there waiting to help? I can assure you that many Hungarians who are alive today, remember WORD for WORD the things we were saying when the signals wasn’t jammed at certain times, this is why perhaps in conversations I have with the children of those who lived through the events of 1956, there is a sort of “hidden bitterness” toward the West for it’s inaction when the Russian returned en masse which they did on the 4th of November. Now many would argue the following as the reason for the lack of our intervention & to be honest, I don’t know if we should have or could have? I do know President Eisenhower did not want to start WW3 over Hungary or any Nation for that matter & I fully get that, plus, here’s what else was happening at the VERY same time, sadly for Hungary. In the meantime . . .WAR IN THE MIDDLE EAST! Unfortunately for Hungary, the SUEZ CRISIS diverted the world's attention away from Hungary. Egypt had nationalized the Suez Canal, and the British, French, and Israelis were determined to keep their "oil lifeline," so Israel invaded Egypt's Sinai Peninsula. Britain and France bombed Egypt by air. They sent in their land forces. In the United Nations, the U.S. found itself in a real dilemma. It opposed and condemned this aggression by its friends -- Israel, France, and Britain. The U.N. only sent peacekeeping troops into Egypt even though Hungary, too had asked for help. NAGY was Prime Minister, and he made it clear that Hungary wanted to be neutral and was withdrawing from the Warsaw Treaty. He went on the radio and pleaded for help. "This is Prime Minister Imre Nagy speaking. At dawn, Soviet troops attacked our country in order to overthrow the legitimate Hungarian democratic government."
Even though America and the world heard Hungary's call for help, only Red Cross help was given and Hungary was on its own! PAL MALETER [pall mall lay tair] was in charge of the Hungarian Army, and at that time, he and some of the Hungarian Army units were fighting against the Russians . Nagy made him his Defense Minister, and he headed a Hungarian delegation to talk with the Soviet Army generals about withdrawing their troops. But it was a trick, and they arrested him. Two years later, in 1958, he was executed. The Soviets wanted a Hungarian government acceptable to itself, so they chose JANOS KADAR [yon-oh-sh kod- ar] to form a counter-government. He had been tortured and imprisoned during the Rakosi years and Nagy brought him in as part of his government. After the Revolution failed, he became the leader of Hungary. Thus when the Russian tanks & soldiers returned on the 4th of November, although the freedom Fighters fought valiantly for another week, including the “Men of Cespol”, which was considered the “heart” of the Communist Worker’s Movement, who all fought against the Russians, they were beaten back badly & paid a severe price. There were thousands who died. 26,000 were put on trial, and of those 13,000 were imprisoned [general amnesty given in l963], and about 300 were executed. Imre Nagy was deceived into thinking once he left the Yugoslav Embassy he’d be given free passage abroad, was taken by the KGB & never seen again, no doubt executed with a “mock” trial, much like Maleter. Some 200,000 refugees escaped into Austria or Yugoslavia and eventually started new lives in other parts of the world such as England, France, Germany, Switzerland, Canada, and the United States. Many came through in dramatic fashion over the little barely walk able “Bridge At Andua” into freedom in Austria. It should also be noted here that despite the many tensions that existed between Hungary & Austria over the years, NONE were more gracious & hospitable to the Hungarian refugee’s than the citizens of Austria, who shoed incredible love & concern for their neighbors next door! In the end, thousands of Hungarians sacrificed their lives for the cause of freedom, they fought tyranny & left over 700 Russian soldiers in their wake! Burned & disabled anywhere from 250-400 tanks! All with homemade “Molotov Cocktails”, gas hoses rigged so that the pump would shoot out fire when lit at the Russians & many who gave their lives were children! Yes, children who would run up underneath the tanks & throw the “cocktail” just at the exact location to destroy the treads. Friends, I am not sure if the World will ever know the bravery these men, women & children exhibited did during that incredible 10 day period in October of 1956 in Hungary. What I do know for sure is that this story needs to be told to EVERY generation to honor those who stood against the forces of totalitarianism. Perhaps one day we will see the likes of Hungary in Communist China, I don’t know, but what I do know is that you have a better chance of “catching” the wind, then suppressing the human spirit forever!
Stay tuned, respectfully,

Al Stewart

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Justice Clarence Thomas, A Look Back-1991

It was way back in October of 1991, which today seems like it forever ago, but for me, it was like it happened yesterday. How many of you out there are even a little bit familiar with the Clarence Thomas hearings for his seat on the Nation’s highest bench, the Supreme Court? I am sure that once I mention this next name, you will probably remember the “sound bite’s” like, isn’t he the guy who harassed that women, etc? Do you remember the name of Anita Hill? Now your memory was jogged a bit I’m sure. So why you may ask write about these hearing’s what was so significant about these hearings? I’ll begin here…… I grew up in Waterbury, Ct. A town of about 100,000 souls & specifically, I grew up in the Brooklyn section of Wtby. What this means is that I grew up in the most unique of all the “section’s”, of which Wtby. had many. What made Brooklyn unique is that we were what I & some of my friends called “the mixed nut’s”, meaning we had Black, White, Hispanic, Lithuanian & basically many Ethnic backgrounds in this little section of town cut in half by the massive flood of 1955 & the subsequent development of Interstate rt. 8 which ran literally out my back door! So what I am saying is that the issue of Race has always been important to me. From all accounts I can see & from everything I have read, when people, regardless of their skin color, are given an “even” chance, which btw, when you grow up in a City like a Waterbury friends & are a person of color, the truth is that the odd’s are against you, because there is a very good chance that you are or may be growing up in some form or another of poverty or low income & add to that the overwhelming statistics that further say you have a good chance of only having 1 parent at home, it makes things pretty rough & it’s easy to develop a “us against them” mentality, wouldn’t you agree? However, when given the opportunity to have a “level playing field”, look at what happens, look at the results! Many minorities have & continue to excel in our Country today because they had the means needed for them to succeed. Clarence Thomas, however is truly an exception to the rule. Raised basically by his grandparents in the deep & prejudice South in Georgia, this young man turned his anger of the injustices he saw & experienced around him, into an opportunity to learn & excel. In his recent book “My Grandfather’s Son”, he speaks at length about Pinpoint, Georgia & about the solid value’s his Granddaddy instilled in him & his brother, values which stay with Justice Thomas to this very day! So there are certainly exceptions almost any rule & Justice Thomas is certainly one! Okay, so if your still with me, you may ask “Al, what are you so fired up about here”? Well, President Bush Sr. nominated Mr. Thomas to sit on the Supreme Court, he would be the 2nd Black ever after Thurgood Marshall, however the dilemma starts here. Now what I am going to say here is about as honest as a person could write so hang on! So herein lies the Dilemma….. You see, although he is Black, Mr. Thomas is conservative, both Spiritually & Politically. He was running the EEOC at the time & was appointed to that position by President Regan, a Republican.
Now I must state for the record that it is commonly believed by the average “blue collar” working man that the Democratic Party is the “Party Of The People” & so of course they would support this nominee being a minority, a person of color despite close ties to Conservatives right? Think again for what ensued is what happens to a man, especially a minority if he or she chooses to “buck” the norm, if you will & “tie their own bootlaces” which is exactly what Mr. Thomas did all his life & now, the very people he once believed were on his side & working for people of Color & for those who didn’t enjoy that same “level playing field” we about to put him in his place! For it was at the last hour of the confirmation hearings, when it became clear that Thomas was going to have the votes needed that Senator’s Biden, Kennedy & especially Metzenbaum of Ohio released a last minute charade from Anita Hill stating Mr. Thomas sexually harassed her during her tenure at the EEOC serving under him. Thus a clear statement was being made in front of the whole Country & what was it? It was this: If you are Black or a Minority, you BETTER tow the party line, you better be a liberal, you should be taking some form of Gov’t. assistance to get you to where you are, etc. It was time for “hardball” & now a man of honesty, a man who worked very hard, was having his name smeared all over the Country. So let’s look at Mrs. Hill. What is interesting is this, who hired her at EEOC? Yes, it was Mr. Thomas & in fact when he moved offices, who followed him? Yes, Mrs. Hill did! Countless fellow employees’s testified on behalf of Mr. Thomas, male & female alike that he helped her countless times despite the fact she was in his estimation a sub standard employee. Now she saw her opportunity to grab the headlines & to bite the very hand that fed her. You may ask why, why would she do this. Well, under oath she testified that she would never receive any compensation for her testimony. I can personally tell you that some 6 Months after her appearance at the hearings, Anita Hill was the PAID guest speaker at the then Sheraton Hotel to a radical women’s organization & she was paid 15K for her appearance & has been on the “circuit” ever since & why in the world she has never been brought up on perjury charges is beyond me, while Mr. Thomas now has to fight for his life to save his good name, the good name of his dear Grandfather who raised him & taught him the value of all things. He referred to the hearings as a “high tech” lynching & I concur! I also found it interesting that Mr. Thomas wife was white & have always wondered if that also played a part in all this, only God knows. Now as a Pastor, I can tell you from FIRST hand exp. that just about 99% of people I have met or counseled who exhibit or have had some form of sexual problem, have RARELY harassed or bothered just ONE person. My exp. is that people with this condition just can’t contain themselves & so there are almost always multiple situations or one after another once exposed, however this was indeed an isolated situation, also casting serious doubt on Mrs. Hill’s charge. She said that Mr. Thomas made a reference to a Pornographic movie while they were alone in his office, but not ONE person was able to substantiate that charge, in fact to the contrary, Mr. Thomas was held in high esteem by his employee’s at EEOC & ALL throughout his career. Even his former wife of many years spoke favorably on his behalf. So I write all this because to this day, Clarence Thomas is thought of in a negative light, but I believe the fact’s & time have shown him to be an innocent man, while Anita Hill went on to use her appearance before the sub committee to prosper & continues to speak to this day! To further add insult to injury, the NACCP upon his nomination actually ordered ALL their chapters to remain NEUTRAL on his confirmation!
Now the last time I checked, it is called the National Association For The Advancement Of Colored People, right? Well clearly not if your Black & Conservative! Chapters were told they could lost their charter if they spoke up for Mr. Thomas, so yet another travesty against a good Godly Man. Justice Thomas just released a book entitled “My Grandfather’s Son”. It is a fantastic book & a true monument & testimony to what hard work & commitment to the Lord & Godly principles can & will do for you when you choose to “do the right thing”. This is why Justice Thomas is one of my few “Heroes” & I am glad to say that he has been a good Justice on the bench & is not afraid to follow those values he learn from Grandpa as a child to this very day. The final vote back in 1991 was 52-48, a narrow margin & sadly our Senators from Ct. Lieberman & Dodd both voted against Thomas, however Lieberman waited until the 50th vote came to cast his no vote, so he could see Mr. Thomas elected to the Court & also save face with the many special interest left wing groups, not one of his best moments for sure. In the end, I truly felt that EVERY person of Color along with any Minorities should have been outraged at the injustice toward this man. If you don’t “fit their mold” you will be “taken down” as it was stated later, but I am thankful today for such people like Dr. Thomas Sowell & many others of Color who have embraced Conservative thought & see the intrinsic value of “helping yourself” & not relying on the Gov’t. We are some 40+ years removed from what LBJ so proudly proclaimed would be the “Great Society”, 2 words I understand that his speech writer, Dick Goodwin found in some book, but in reality all this time later, we have seen firsthand that it does NOT take a Village to raise a child, but a Mother & Father like Mr. Thomas grandfather, it starts at home, not with the Gov’t friends.
Stay Tuned!

Al Stewart

What I'll Be Taking On!

Hi friends,

Here are the first few topic's I'll be writing about soon, in no particular order:

  • Arminian / Calvin Theological Viewpoints
  • Hungarian Revolution Of 1956
  • Why Is Disagreeing "Homophobic" Today & Who Is Partly Responsible For This?
  • The Clarence Thomas Hearings, A Look Back at 1991
  • Lakeland Outpouring, My Cautious Thoughts
  • This Year's Presidential Election: McCain vs. Obama
  • Is God A Conservative?
  • Darwinism, "Truth Without Evidence"
  • Evolution Or Adaptation?
  • Popular Preachers Who Take Serious Liberty With The Scriptures
  • Why I believe "Middle School's" Have Damaged Our Neighborhoods
  • Judical Activism, "Re-Interpreting the Constitution" & It's Deadly Effects on American Society
  • The Electoral College, Is It In Danger & Why Did Our Forefathers Create It?
  • Can Women Be In Leadership In The Church Today?
  • Eternal Security, Can A Christian Fall Away?
  • In Defense Of God's Desire, Nature & Character

My Very First Post!

Hi Everyone,

Well, this is as I state above, my very first post. It's my hope & goal to post my "musings" & thoughts on many different subject's & issue's. The beauty of blogging I think is that it gives each of us who choose to participate, a real chance to express our thoughts & feelings on things.
For me, it's sort of like a "Home Group". In Christianity, this is when someone or usually a couple open their home & invite a few friends from the Church & hopefully a few neighbor's over to a weekly or bi-Monthly study which is usually based on God's word or a topic of interest to everyone that is impacting them at the time. So this is what I hope to do here & express my thoughts on things, even those things which are controversial, actually probably especially those things! I also hope that you'll join me in sharing & expressing YOUR thoughts here as well, all comments will be welcome, that are of course rated "R" for readable without my having to delete certain words! (thank you in advance!) It seems that in today's Society, we have all these "talking heads" who express their views & the general public, all too often "consumes" it as though it was fact! And most important is what I call the "forgotten" voice, the voice of God! What does HE have to say on such things? Does HE even speak about such things? So there you have it friends & on each post, I'll finish with these words, "stay tuned", so "stay tuned"