|AHF Disaster Relief: Helping Victims of the Toxic "Red Sludge" Disaster|
5/2/2011 - AHF and member organizations in Massachusetts raise money for Toxic Sludge victims in Hungary... At the event held at the Stuart Street Playhouse on May 1st, 2011, the Boston community came together to help victims of a toxic waste reservoir rupture in Hungary. A legacy of its communist past, it is Hungary's worst ecological disaster. With 7,000 people affected directly by the disaster, a state of emergency has been declared in three western counties of Hungary [read more about the disaster]. The 2010-2011 AHF Disaster Relief Fund has now raised over $225,000.00.
Speakers included Event Chair, James Buzgo; AHF Executive Chairman, Bryan Dawson; and New York Consul General, Ambassador Karoly Dan. Honorary Patrons included General Robert Ivany, Ph.D., President of the University of St. Thomas in Houston and and Boston University's International Relations Department. Mr. Gabor Garai, the Honorary Consul General of Hungary in Boston, co-sponsored a wine and cheese reception where piano virtuoso Balint Varga from theBerklee College of Music provided music. A silent auction featured the worksof painter Zsuzsanna Szegedi and photographer Monika Merva. DVD's of "The Soviet Story," and the animated film about the 1956 Hungarian Revolution, "Freedom Dance," were also featured.
The highlight of the evening was the showing of a short documentary of the disaster and the full-length documentary by Latvian director Edvins Snore entitled, "The Soviet Story." The riveting film tells the story of the Soviet regime and its unspeakable crimes, such as the Great Famine in Ukraine where an estimated 7,000,000 people were starved to death, the Katyn massacre and the medical experiments in the Gulag.The film also describes the collaboration between Stalin’s Soviet Union and Hitler’s Nazi Germany up until the time Germany invaded the Soviet Union, a collaboration often ignored or forgotten [read more about the film].
Edmund Burke said: “Those who don't know history are destined to repeat it.” Bryan Dawson delivered the Keynote Address. In his speech, Mr. Dawson recalled that the Soviet Story was the legacy of all those affected by Soviet-imposed tyranny and its after-effects which continue to today:
Vsevolod Petriv of the Ukrainian Congress Committee, which serves with AHF on the Central and East European Coalition (CEEC), and Maria Saxe, Secretary of the Ukrainian American Educational Center of Boston, asked participants to sign a petition urging the Massachusetts State Assembly to commemorate the Great Genocide and Famine, "Holodomor," highlighted in the film. President Barack Obama issued a statement on November 13, 2009, Ukrainian Holodomor Remembrance Day:
In October 2010, AHF activated its Disaster Relief Fund to help victims of the toxic “Red Sludge” disaster following the October 4th rupture of a large reservoir filled with toxic red sludge in western Hungary. The rupture released approximately 700,000 cubic meters (185 million gallons) of stinking caustic mud, which killed many animals, at least eight people, and injured over120 - many with chemical burns. But the 12-foot-high flood of sludge inundated and completely destroyed several towns, sweeping cars off the road as it flowed into the nearby Marcal River.
Emergency workers rushed to pour 1,000 tons of plaster into the Marcal River in an attempt to bind the sludge and keep it from flowing on to the Danube some 45 miles away. The red sludge in the reservoir is a byproduct of refining bauxite into aluminum at a plant run by the Hungarian Alumina Production and Trading Company.
The ecological disaster and is now threatening the entire ecosystem of the Danube, Europe's second longest river. Several towns are virtually destroyed and hundreds of residents have been displaced, probably never to return home. While its full long-term impact is not yet clear, the event represents a human and environmental disaster affecting not only the immediate region but the larger ecosystem as well. A criminal probe was opened by Hungarian authorities and the company's owner has been arrested. [See more pictures] at Boston.com's "Big Picture." Or see videos in Hungarian on www.vorosiszap.com
Former NY Governor Pataki, himself of Hungarian background, called on Americans to help. Ambassador Károly Dán, New York Consul, joined his call for assisting Hungarians who have lost their homes as a result of last week’s tragic flood of toxic red sludge. On October 12th, 2010, Governor Pataki said, “The situation in Hungary is grave and its people need our help. Last week more than 200 million gallons of toxic red mud flooded into several towns, killing and injuring many and leaving hundreds more homeless. It destroyed entire towns, burned people through their clothes and caused tens of millions of dollars in private property damage,” Pataki continued. “Time and again, from the recent floods in Pakistan to last year’s earthquake in Haiti to the 2004 tsunami in Indonesia and countless other tragedies, the American people have demonstrated their compassion and sense of responsibility by rising to the occasion and helping our fellow global citizens in times of need. This is one of those times, and we urge the American people to answer the call once more on behalf of the people of Hungary.”
“The Soviet Story” is a story of an Allied power, which helped the Nazis to fight Jews and which slaughtered its own people on an industrial scale. Assisted by the West, this power triumphed on May 9th, 1945. Its crimes were made taboo, and the complete story of Europe’s most murderous regime has never been told. Until now…
”The Soviet Story” was filmed over 2 years in Russia, Ukraine, Latvia, Germany, France, UK and Belgium. Material for the documentary was collected by the author, Edvins Snore, for more than 10 years. As a result, ”The Soviet Story” presents a truly unique insight into recent Soviet history, told by people, once Soviet citizens, who have firsthand knowledge of it.
Unique video footage
Wikipedia writes, "The Soviet Story is a 2008 documentary film about Soviet Communism and Soviet-German collaboration before 1941 written and directed by Edvīns Šnore and sponsored by the UEN Group in the European Parliament.
The film features interviews with western and Russian historians such as Norman Davies and Boris Sokolov, Russian writer Viktor Suvorov, Soviet dissident Vladimir Bukovsky, members of the European Parliament and the participants, as well as the victims of Soviet terror.
The film argues that there were close philosophical, political and organizational connections between the Nazi and Soviet systems before and during the early stages of World War II. It highlights the Great Purge as well as the Great Famine, Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact, Katyn massacre, Gestapo-NKVD collaboration, Soviet mass deportations and medical experiments in the GULAG."
[Read more] about Previous Disaster Relief Fund Fund efforts!
[Buy this riveting film] on Amazon!
“The Soviet Story” is a story of an Allied power, which helped the Nazis to fight Jews and which slaughtered its own people on an industrial scale. Assisted by the West, this power triumphed on May 9th, 1945. Its crimes were made taboo, and the complete story of Europe’s most murderous regime has never been told. Until now… [Click] to watch excerpts on YouTube [WARNING - Contents are disturbing and may not be suitable for children]:
See how the Soviet Union helped Nazi Germany instigate the Holocaust. Economist Magazine called this award-winning film “…the most powerful antidote yet to the sanitization of the past. The film is gripping, audacious, and uncompromising.” Winner of the Mass Impact Award at the 2008 Boston Film Festival.
The program includes: A wine reception co-sponsored by Gabor Garai, Honorary Consul General of Hungary in New England; music by piano virtuoso Balint Varga from the Berklee College of Music; brief remarks by Ambassador Karoly Dan, Consul General of Hungary in New York and Bryan Dawson, AHF Executive Chairman; and a silent auction featuring the works of painter Zsuzsanna Szegedi and photographer Monika Merva. DVD's of "The Soviet Story," "Freedom Dance," and other Hungarian films will be available for purchase.
The American Hungarian Federation is an all-volunteer, 501(C)(3) non-profit, charitable and educational organization (TIN: 34-1253539). Donations may be tax-deductible. Please consult your financial advisor.
We thank our sponsors!
Edvins Snore is both the author of “The Soviet Story” script and the director of the film. “The Soviet Story” is his debut feature documentary. As a Master of Political Science, Edvins Snore studied the subject and collected materials for the film over 10 years. As a result, “The Soviet Story” presents a truly unique insight into the recent Soviet History. In 2008 the President of Latvia, Valdis Zatlers awarded the director of the film, Edvins Snore with the Order of the Three Stars and in 2009 the Order of the Cross of Terra Mariana.
Hungarian-born artist Zsuzsanna V. Szegedi started her art education in Pécs, Hungary then graduated from Massachusetts College of Art in 2001. She is the recipient of a Puffin Foundation Artist Grant and her solo exhibits include Fruitlands Museum in Harvard, MA, and the Danube Museum in Esztergom, Hungary. As an artist and designer she has spent the past 8 years creating and exhibiting her art locally and internationally while managing her own web design studio in the Metro Boston Area. Website: www.zsuzsanna.com
A freelance photographer for The New Yorker, Details, and The New York Times, Monika spent nine years vividly developing "The City of Children," documenting everyday life at the Gyermekközpont, a Hungarian government-run housing facility for those fleeing from abusive and poverty-stricken backgrounds in Fot, Hungary. Merva remarked that she "become increasingly impressed by the quiet, and often hidden, power and beauty of this place, a community of people with a background that lends itself to a universal take on the human condition." Her poignant and perceptive work has been awarded and exhibited all over the world, and this body of work is currently on exhibit in Budapest.
Monika obtained her MFA in Photography from the Savannah College of Art and Design. See her City of Children series which is being published by Kehrer Verlag in May of 2011, and the project will be on view at FotoFest Houston in 2012 and buy "The City of Children" Book on AHF's Amazon Store
Composer/pianist, Balint VARGA expresses his genius through his original compositions that range in style from musicals to pop, jazz to classical. Having created four original full-length stage musicals and dozens of other genre songs for stage, concerts, and studio recording, Varga is a masters student at Berklee College of Music in Boston.
Born 1982 in Budapest, Hungary, at the age of 17, Varga first worked for Bastille Opera House in Paris. He was the youngest contracted piano player ever in the history of Bastille Opera House. After he graduated from the Business College of Budapest, he soon became involved in the theater world, thanks to director Cornelius Baltus. Varga worked for many productions and shows as a music director, pianist and orchestrator. While Varga is a musical theater composer, he has also a great passion for classical music. As a child, he was a member of the State Opera House in Hungary, where he composed his first full symphony for a 60 piece orchestra, "Around the World in 12 Minutes", and a chamber orchestra piece "Little Chariot". At the age of 23, Varga composed and staged "Houdini The Musical", followed soon thereafter by "Covershow", then "Why Don't I Have a Girlfriend?", “Houdini the Musical” and most recently "Kobolds" (trans. “Goblins”) a Halloween story.
In Europe, Varga played in Paris, Klagenfurt, Antwerp, Nancy, Budapest for “Dance of Vampire”, “Jesus Christ”, “Fiddler on the Roof”, “Jekyll and Hyde”, and other productions. Varga has been most celebrated for his creation of “Kobolds” and “Houdini the Musical”. See more on LaRiccia Media Productions.
"The classes and races, too weak to master the new conditions of life must give way... They must perish in the revolitionary holocaust"
The 2010-2011 AHF Disaster Relief Fund has raised over $225,000.00 to help victims of devastating flooding and Toxic Sludge in Hungary!
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