From Budapest

Filed under [ Relationship ]

We have been here for a couple of days, but today is the first day that I GOT how the pysche of the Hungarian people was so deeply affected by the Communist rule. We took a walking tour of the city, and unlike in Prague where we learned mostly about the German occupation and atrocities, here the impact of the Communist rule is much more dominant. I obviously knew a lot about this era and its impact on the people behind the iron curtain, but clearly I did not know it on an emotional level. I have blogged about this issue earlier, and again as much as I know it, I am still taken aback when knowledge of something I already thought I had seeps into my core on a whole new level.

Where this was most evident is with the oppression around religious expression. Learning how dangerous it was for the average person to be seen as affiliated with any religion was sobering. Again I knew about it, particularly as it pertained to Jews, but to hear and see how the Communist treated all religious people and institutions was painful. Gratefully, we humans are amazingly resilient and creative. And while there is still some darkness and heaviness about Budapest, you can feel a new energy emerging in the way they are revitalizing their city, their churches and their religious communities. There seems to be an emerging twinkle in their eyes, particularity when they have an opportunity to be of assistance or share their city with foreigners.

Being in Europe, with its great history, one really gets the long standing, ongoing patterns of the human condition. We seem to be locked into repeated cycles of war and sometimes peace; repression and rebirth. They say history is the best teacher. It doesn’t seem like we are learning this lesson too well. Each generation seems to be disconnected from the lessons of the previous ones. I truly believe that we can be touched and moved by others’ pain to the point where we commit not to repeat this cycle. When we do, it will be the true beginning to our next stage of human evolution, based on compassion and empathy.

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