From the Buddha to la Peste: a Dirge in Prose for Hungary
Livingston T. Merchant

High above the city generals of Attila's army of Huns surround him drenched in blood.
They are the prequel to Isis, to Daesh.
They slaughter, rape, enslave and pillage:this marks the "normal behavior" of humans in some societies in every period of time.

Near by Attila is a center that has displayed Avant Guard "modern art" for decades.
Nothing goes out of fashion faster than avant garde.

Across the peaceful Danube on another height on lookout point high above the city overweight Sergeants from various armies climb to view their conquests.
Ottoman, Hapsburg, German, NATO: they soon go home exhausted.
A quizzical patron St. Stephen shares their view.
In between the heights lies the sparkling Magyar capital.
A capital with an extreme nationalist government.
Underneath the city lie the corpses of Magyars and the invaders over the centuries.
Above the corpses a few businesses promote Yoga to housewives.

Remember it from thirty years ago?
Remember the fancy restaurant?

Remember the waiters who ceremoniously  presented us with menus under art deco lamps?
The menus were huge with dozens of choices.
The four or five items available were checked off.
Since then the menus have become overflowing with suggestions.

The shrine of the saint, Cardinal József Mindszenty.
The communists did not manage to empty that, for the Magyars had their saint to protect them.
He fearlessly denounced both Fascism and Communism during his thirty year primacy.
Sancto József, ora pro nobis.
The Communists never were able to put out all the faithful.
That role fell to the misbehavior of the clergy.

Meanwhile the cash flows into the city.
Handbags and shoes in bad taste are on display at the city center.
Bad taste is masked by price tags from 1000 to 10,000 euros.
These atrocities are snatched up wives of bureaucrats and tycoons from  Hungary, Greece, and Turkey.
These kinds of families always have cash.

Today, followers of the Prophet from the center of Asia languish on the borders.
Leaning against the wire fences, they dream of reaching the Promised Land.
And in the Promised Land:
A handful of coal miners in West Virginia in a re-opened coal mine.
They have not noticed that the blond safety canary in the cage has stopped tweeting, 


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