Friday, May 08, 2009

Torn From the Flag

When I was a kid, our local Esso gas station was owned by a Hungarian immigrant. He fought in the uprising against the USSR in 1956, and barely escaped with his life, losing a hand in the process. He came to the United States as a refugee and set himself up in business. I remember that he used to check our oil and ring up the cash register with a hook on one hand.

Heroyalwhyness just sent us a tip about an inspirational documentary, Torn From the Flag, about the 1956 uprising. She says:

I thought I would share it with Gates of Vienna since I recognize a few posters with Hungarian nics, and others may be interested. Considering today is the anniversary of VE Day, this notice highlights the fragility of not just Hungarian independence, but that of the entire European continent which bends its knee to Eurabia-fascism.

Here’s the trailer for the movie:

According to the notes:

About Hungary’s struggle for a national identity against the domination of Soviet Communism with special focus on the successful armed popular rebellion of October 1956 that was put down when the Soviets invaded Budapest. A handful of impassioned survivors tell how they went from being idealistic communists to being fierce anti-government freedom fighters, and then the victims of brutal repression. Then in 1989, the fall of the Soviet Empire occurred that was partly lead by Hungarian activists crossing the border into Austria. Those who survived the crackdown in 1956 and who were alive to witness the events of 1989 finally feel that their sufferings and sacrifices have borne fruit and that their country has been redeemed.

And here’s the message from the producers of the movie, as forwarded by heroyalwhyness (notice that it includes a bleg for Hungarian-speaking volunteers):
- - - - - - - - -
Ladies and Gentlemen:

This quick progress report is to update you on the latest developments on Torn from the Flag, the 96-minute documentary film about the decline of communism and the significant global effects of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution and Freedom Fight.

It is with great sorrow that we inform you that Arisztid von Atkáry, one of the interviewees appearing in Torn from the Flag, passed away at 82 after a long illness. The production honors Freedom Fighter Arisztid von Atkáry!

We’re continuously asked why the film is not shown in Hungary. We feel obligated to our supporters to shed light on the matter: Hungary’s current post-communist government continues to sabotage the distribution of Torn from the Flag; that is why there have been no screenings in Hungary yet. A Hungarian-language interview with Klaudia Kovacs about the topic has now become available online.

There are many examples of the government’s sabotage. Not many people know that after Torn from the Flag premiered in Hollywood, the Los Angeles Hungarian Consulate forbade filmmaker Klaudia Kovacs from setting foot in the Consulate. The current government is full of (former) communists, including Los Angeles Consul General Balázs Bokor, so we’re not surprised at the violation of another citizen’s constitutional rights.

While the Consul regularly organizes premieres and film screenings for other films, he refuses to do so for Torn from the Flag. Although the film focuses on the decline of communism, the Consulate also refused to include Torn from the Flag in the cultural event series commemorating the 1989 events in Eastern Europe.

The Los Angeles Consulate is not the only Hungarian consulate that discriminates against Torn from the Flag. The Chicago Consul refused to support the film’s participation in the Chicago Film Festival, which we had hoped back then to get into.

Last, but not least, the Cultural and Educational Ministry of Hungary, the producer of the 2009 U.S. program series “Year of Hungarian Culture,” boycotted the film and refused to include Torn from the Flag, the most award-winning ‘56 Hungarian documentary, in their events.

These obstacles do not hold us back; as a matter of fact they inspire us even more to be unstoppable! We know that the greater the resistance the greater the importance of the film and the eventual breakthrough.

We’re moving forward with the Hungarian translation and with the DVD release! Please let us know if you are interested in a DVD by sending an email to Let your friends know, too, that the DVD will be available soon. Most importantly, any communities or schools that want to do a screening, write to us immediately.

IMPORTANT! We need two English- and/or Hungarian-speaking, meticulous volunteers to help with distribution and internet research—location can be anywhere. Preferably 10-20 hours a week; flexible schedule; working from home.

Torn from the Flag is now on Wikipedia and on Twitter. Facebook is coming soon as well!

We will be sending out a regular newsletter soon, mentioning all the fantastic individuals who keep us going with their help, love and enthusiasm. Stay tuned for more from the unstoppable team of Torn from the Flag, which stands firmly for true democracy in Hungary!

With gratitude,

Torn from the Flag


heroyalwhyness said...

Thank you for posting this!

Zenster said...

A handful of impassioned survivors tell how they went from being idealistic communists to being fierce anti-government freedom fighters, and then the victims of brutal repression.

I believe that Yuri Bezmenov covered this most succinctly when he noted how the most rabid liberal supporters and, therefore, the most disillusioned and rebellious opponents to the newly installed communist rule they all fought so vigorously for, will be the first who are led to the wall for execution.

The Baron, as is so often the case, said it best when he recently remarked about history - not just repeating over again - but xeroxing itself.

That supposedly intelligent human beings can so fecklessly doom themselves to relive the very worst lessons that history has on offer simply defies all reason.

Ypp said...

I believe, victory day is not exactly about victory over communism. But anyway, good that you remember.

heroyalwhyness said...

ypp - exactly.

"this notice highlights the fragility of not just Hungarian independence, but that of the entire European continent"

Homophobic Horse said...

Now that the Lisbon treaty is being implemented, we can ask how long did the freedom and independence of European nations last? Less than 20 years?

babs said...

Just a thought, and believe me I am no expert but, could the reluctance of the Hungary gov't to airing this film be based partially on not wanting to antagonize Russia for fear that they will turn the gas off next winter?

heroyalwhyness said...

babs - Gas shut down Monday, 04 May 2009

According to the MOL-owned gas transporter Földgázszállító (FGSZ), as of last Monday Hungary only received about half of its usual gas from Ukraine. Although state-owned Ukrainian company Naftogaz declined to name the company the gas of which it was withholding, it did say that it is only transporting gas from Russian Gazprom.