Synopses & Reviews
I grew up in "socialism" where the regime kept everything and allowed the nation just enough to survive. True, no one died of hunger and all had roof over their heads - plus: education and healthcare were free - but cars, plane tickets and all other luxuries were absolutely not affordable - unless you worked for the government (which meant you had to be a trusted "comrade"). Prices and wages were controlled by the government, and you were lucky if you could save enough to buy a new shirt or a pair of shoes every year. Let's not even talk about the lack of freedom (no passport, no permission to express your opinion or to listen to radio stations that broadcast from the West, and so on. You never knew who spied on you - and reported you to the secret police for a bigger piece of bread -, could have been your "best friend". Opposition/alternative media could not exist. Oh, and you were jailed when they caught you within 50 kilometers of the Austrian border - if you lived outside that zone.) > Freedom or Social Justice? Which one do you like? Some might say both. Impossible at the same time. > Humanity as a whole has not yet evolved enough to be ready for socialism/communism. People can't be forced to be unselfish, human nature can't be forcefully changed. > Without incentives, people don't perform on their jobs, slow down production, sabotage the system any way they can as the only possible way to express dissatisfaction. Employment is mandatory for all but it only means "internal unemployment". Often 2 people are hired for 1 position to show that there is full employment. However, the 2 won't do as much as 1 should... A delegation from Western Europe once visited a Hungarian factory. When asked to sum up what he saw, the head of the delegation said: I see that your employees work only about 4 hours out of the 8 but they only get paid for 2. > So, eventually the treasury dries up and even the dictators realize that it's time to give up their "noble" ideas. > Life is a struggle, one way or another some will suffer. Dictators might elevate the needy in "socialism" while suppressing the talented ones whose creativity would be needed to build better societies.I, the author, was accused of sabotage on the 10th anniversary of the 1956 revolution at the age of 17. I tried to escape through the Hungarian-Yugoslav border with one of my classmates. Caught by border patrol, I was jailed and treated very badly. I barely survived the month-long ordeal.Stamped as an enemy of the state, I was taken to a labor camp at age 19: I had to do forced labor instead of regular military service.Against all odds, I was able to break free from the communist bloc at age 23. Of course, given the brainwashing my generation was subjected to, when I reached the Italian shore, swimming from Yugoslavia during a night in August of 1973, my quest for freedom was just beginning.After spending 6 months in Italy, I was admitted to the USA as a political refuge.In 1976, after the communist governments signed the Human Rights Declaration at the 1975 Helsinki Conference, I believed the amnesty the Hungarian government issued was credible and returned to my homeland. How I managed to free myself again and survive the torture I had to endure when captured on the Yugoslav-Italian border in the fall of 1977 is also described in "Escapes from behind the Iron Curtain".Back in the USA after my second escape, I often made bold moves without having the slightest idea of the outcome. Today, I wonder how this compares to the life of people whose every move is carefully planned ahead and insured one way or another. For many years, I envied those who had family members to lean on in hard times. Now I envy no one. My experiences have taught me that as long as I try to live on the right side of life, a 'guardian angel' will always be there to rescue me when needed. Of course, as I had to realize, escaping from myself was not really an option.