Liberate Liberty Square



by Luther Beckett

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In Budapest there is a statue of Ronald Reagan on Szabadsg tr, which translates to Liberty Square. I want to get rid of it.

I live in Budapest. I'm an American who came to Hungary as an exchange student in 2009 through a US State Dept sponsored program and with the financial assistance of a US State Dept funded scholarship. I learned a lot about my country and the nature of empire. I don't think I'm exactly what they wanted...

Szabadság tér, aka Liberty Square, is close to the Hungarian Parliament. The American embassy is the most noticeable building because of the stark modern steel security fences surrounding the lavish early 20th century building. It's an oddity and irony in an area full of them.

The Americans have occupied that building since 1935. An embassy when relations are better and a consulate in more frosty times. It served several other purposes as well. Here's the official story:

The square is full of monuments in a very strange political pissing contest. A monument to the fallen soldiers in the liberation of Budapest at the end of WWII was constructed in 1945. Hungarians want it gone, but Russia would get irritated. And it sits in front of the US Embassy.

So the US put up a statue of Ronald Reagan as a counterweight. Reagan is placed and designed so he is walking toward the Soviet monument in a dominating way. There are many monuments to many entities that have nothing at all to do with freedom or liberty. Here is a short article:

I joked with a cop about this. He suggested that they start putting up statues of Pol Pot and other dictators. We were both fuming about the Orwellian nature of all this propaganda on 'Liberty Square' between the snickers.

I'm here on a residence permit. I don't feel I have much to say about the other monuments, but Reagan is mine to do with as I wish wherever his long dark shadow may appear. And the fences of the US Embassy speak volumes. They're fair game as well.

I talk to people in front of the Reagan statue. Sometimes I hijack groups of tourists. I make them laugh. I expose what's happening. It's fun and friendly for the most part. I've run across an angry American diplomat as well. He wasn't friendly, but it was fun to see him sweat and the veins pop on his head when I spat out Reagan facts and facts about America to dignitaries he was trying to impress.

I want to be a more effective trouble maker. I am on a fixed income and that's keeping me from some much needed video equipment. My plan is to do man on the street videos and start signature campaigns to remove Reagan.

My needs for cash are not so high and I plan to make this a cottage industry and branch further into video/film. I need a decent camera, mic, bag, tripod, and a few other goodies. It's a fun way to a new path I hope to forge.

I only have one sample work of my crude, but effective, video editing skills. It's about another crazy issue I'm working on. Please have a look if you want to see the nature of my black comedy on real issues.

Thanks for your interest!