Hungary, Communism and the Suez Canal
A few years after WW2 our usual Geography teacher at school took extended leave to visit India. Her replacement was a rather plump and pleasant woman from Finland. Sadly she couldn’t teach Geography without putting a political slant on everything. Nowadays political geography and current affairs are quite normal, for us however the notion was quite new, and I for one took to it like a duck to water. We were allowed to ask the question "Why?” rather than just accept the facts. This put a completely different perspective on the countries of the world. She cooked her own goose of course because being a Finn she protested too much about the injustice that her country had experienced, when we all thought that they sided with Germany initially only to be attacked by Russia for their trouble.
Later when the Hungarian uprising took place in 1956 the Communist forces quickly crushed the protesters without much of a protest from the Western nations. This was because Britain was itself doing something ignominious at the same time. Egypt’s General Neguib had finally thrown out King Farouk as head of state. I say thrown out which is not quite correct he had been living on the French Riviera for years in luxury while his poor nation was a tool for both Britain and France to exploit the rest of the world with their control of the Suez Canal. When General Nasser came to power in Egypt he nationalised the Canal and said it now belonged to them. Britain under the Conservative Prime Minister, Anthony Eden then sent in the troops to reclaim it. World opinion, particularly that of the Americans was against this action. The Americans clearly could see some advantage for them if they opposed the British as their own presence in the Middle East might then be welcome and there was a lot of oil there.
All such plans badly misfired as Egypt looked for Soviet Aid, the US continued to support Israel and from that time on the whole of that region of the world has been in total turmoil ever since. Meanwhile Hungary returned to Communist control for a few more years and those refugees escaping to the west we made welcome, depriving those on council home waiting lists of houses by their getting preferential treatment.
Newly married my wife and I put our names on the Council list for housing but we never got anywhere near the top of the list because we never had any children, didn’t live with our parents, didn’t work for the Council and were not poor enough. Oh! And one more thing - we were not Hungarian.
This piece, as you may have guessed was written many, many years ago. Readers may throw up their hands in disbelief to contemplate Old Egg as a rebel and non conformist. Youth is a testing time and permits young adults to test the water of their own individuality. Living (and surviving) is making mistakes and learning from them. Thinking something radical 50 or so years ago does not stain you irrevocably but develops you and makes you more colourful. How do I feel now? Well in politics I usually vote for one party then when they disappoint jump ship and rebel. So should you. Never let a politician feel secure!
Thank you all for reading and commenting on these recollections of a warped mind.