I left Hungary, my home country, in 1974 with no prospects of returning one day... At a party, during a stay in Britain, listening to a choir in a small chapel upset me. I did not understand the meaning of the lyrics, but their songs mourning over sailors lost forever, were vibrant with grief and also with hope. From that day, my heart is in two places.
In 2012, I was invited in Hungary for a photo exhibit and presented Britany in a sumptuous gallery. In a religious silence, the audience listened to « Ar Baradoz » by Didier Squiban, interpreted by a young Hungarian pianist. The circle was closed.
The Carpathian Basin.
Geographically, a protective cradle in the middle of Europe.
Always coveted - place of wars.
Protective stronghold of the Christian West, often betrayed and seldom supported.
Place of resistance for a people for more than one thousand years who speak a language in its own right, Hungarian, my mother tongue.
It allows me to capture all emotional and affective nuances, essential to my work.
Hungary. Political context.
After World War II, Hungary fell under Soviet guardianship. Totalitarian policies of successive governments could freely exploit it. The economic framework of all the "Eastern countries" was developed in such a way that none could claim for a viable self-sustaining economy.
The looting of the industry and agriculture on behalf of the USSR, the denunciation by their followers of the single party, and daily repression have led the country to revolt.
In 1956, the Hungarian Revolution was drowned in blood.
The Soviet Army was back, called by its former servants. By adopting a more flexible policy, they became masters of corruption, enjoying impunity.
During the summer of 1989, Hungary was the first country to open the Iron Curtain, hence contributing two months later to the fall of the Berlin Wall without bloodshed.
Until 2010, the former apparatchiks and neoliberals reformed two successive governments. They drove the already bled white country into huge debts – making it an easy prey to multinational corporations.
During the 2010 democratic election, Hungary gathered and, with a preponderant majority, turned its back to 70 years of allegiance with a score never seen before.
In 2011, the new right/centre-right coalition government rewrote the constitution, which dated back to the Stalin era. It came into effect in 2012.
The neoliberal left-wing, beaten and refusing the democratic choice, insulted the people and started an internationally supported campaign of hatred against Hungarians.
Upset and outraged, I began this photographic series, in this tense context of 2012.
Hungary was the first country to present to the European Commission, its national strategy in education and employment for the most disadvantaged hitherto neglected minorities.
Since the Fall of the Wall, it was rather the church and charity groups that helped the families, especially the Roma, living in deep poverty.
Today, insertion is done hand in hand with the State, willing to support those most in need, and as I was able to see, regardless of ethnics or religious convictions.
During its presidency of the EU Council, Hungary also drew attention to the non-respect of human rights in some border states where 2.5-3 million Hungarians still live under supervision.
Ignoring these fundamental rights, violence, falsification of history, destruction of records, closed Hungarian schools, pressures and bans of all kinds, characterize the cultural genocide which is still taking place.
In Slovakia, indigenous Hungarians do not have the right to retain their citizenship, even in the form of dual nationality. This restriction is contrary to European laws ....... and yet they use the Euro ...!
In spite of this, the EU remains deaf and mute on these issues.
Meanwhile, Hungary reduced its debt, repaid the colossal debt to the IMF and managed to reverse the trend of unemployment.
The opposition, scattered and with no program nor good leader, lost three successive elections.
Under the guise of "civil groups", it became more radical and turned to typically anarchic manifestations.
Should the opposition justify its dedication to external economic and geopolitical interests that finance them? Since the latter were identified, the question remains: how long will this collaboration remain profitable?