There are many ways to lose a friend. To death, to neglect, to misunderstanding.
I have lost a friend. No, he didn’t die – but almost as good as. What I feel is akin to grief. No, it’s grief, period.
It was one of those tight spots you can’t escape unscathed. We both were forced to make a choice where the right thing was not an option – or so I believe. Continue reading
From Paris, the wind brings the scent of blood again. The sound of machine guns, and bombs going off. Images of massacre. Bodies of people who went out to have a good time, and ended up losing their lives.
The city is locked down as police and army struggle to hunt down the rest of the killers.
Locked down. Behind closed doors. In fear. Not allowed to move around, and unwilling, anyway. Continue reading
Connecting to the previous post, here is my attempt at the translation of a short story by Hungarian writer Frigyes Karinthy (1887-1938).
Encounter with a Young Man
I was in high spirits: forgetting about many things, I fumbled to light my cigar, and then we began walking down Andrássy út, the grand avenue of Budapest. My beatiful and darling wife was smiling at me from beneath the veil, my beatiful darling, who, behold, loved me, and had allowed me to love her.
Eleven engineering students bounce in the Wiener Kaffeehaus, and party into the night, making occasional acquaintances with female members of the local society. Next morning, they get up at seven, and tour the largest textile factory of the town. The place is Aš, Western Bohemia, and the year is 1926.
Some say our country is ethnically pure, and that this is a value. But it’s a deception of the nation-state, and it’s neither true nor good.
I have counted: in myself alone, I’ve found four different ethnicities and four different identities.
Our government has done horrible things recently. To show our dissent, some of us protested by posting the #notinmyname tag. I myself tweeted no fewer than eight times using this tag.
We wanted to stand apart, to be excused from the inhumane policies, to prevent others from judging us by what our authorities are doing. We wanted to calm our conscience.
But – with all due respect – this is a lie. We are deceiving ourselves.
Take this piece from the New York Times: Who’s responsible for the refugees?
To me, it said two things.
One: “Stop blaming Hungary”. Two: “The ideal number of refugees is zero.”
This summer I took my family to Italy, to a seaside resort on the outskirts of Ravenna. It was within an easy driving distance from San Marino where the Torre di Montale, the Third Tower is.
Hungarian writer Antal Szerb wrote a book called The Third Tower, about his Italian travels in 1936. It was this Third Tower, the peak of Szerb’s journey.
I read this in the depths of social media: an honorable person always steps up against suffering and injustice whenever they hear about them. But – and that’s a sad cliché today – there’s always more news about misery than one could speak up against, not to mention go there and help. So if you have a mind to be there for everyone, you’re in for a big letdown – because it won’t be possible.
There will always be causes to fight for that you will choose not to get involved in. And sometimes you will do that against your better judgment.
Update Sept 3, 2015: Pashto translation at the end of post [Scroll down for translations]
The German embassy in Budapest issued a statement, stressing that the registration of refugees must happen in the country where they entered the European Union. Contrary to previous announcements, Germany will not let refugees enter until they are registered in Hungary.
The statement is available in Hungarian and English at http://www.budapest.diplo.de/
This post collects Arabic, Farsi, Turkish, Urdu, and Pashto translations of the statement. The translations were originally posted on Facebook by Zsuzsanna Zsohár, Petra Ambrus,, Veronika Pándi, and Abdul Ahad Nasiri.
This is not official communication, but it’s meant to help those who seek information.