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Generators

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“Dream world dream time…
It is yours it is mine
Exchange off-line
Generators we’ll shine
We will shine”

(Deine Lakaien: Generators)

Alenka is a fun girl I met today, she is an exchange student from Bosnia & Herzegovina, studying Hungarian in Budapest. We had a couple of beers in the company of some other friends and she briefly mentioned that her first connection with Hungary was a Barbie doll she got for Christmas 1992 from an unknown Hungarian girl. I didn’t say anything but I remembered my own gift and my own “sacrifice” for the so-called “war-victims” of Sarajevo, back in 1992.

I was 10 when the war in Bosnia broke out. It was far away, but I remember people talking about it in terror and I remember watching the news which were full of sad and haunting images. I could never endure the sight violence or aggression, however one day I saw a scene that remained the symbol of war for me for a long time: a confused, lonely dog desperately searching for its owner amidst the deserted ruins, not knowing where to go or what to do… I was a child yet I understood that hundreds and thousands of people die in a war every day, and this scene captured it all: innocent creatures going through mindless suffering.

I can still remember the day, shortly before Christmas, when our teacher announced that some sort of charity organization is collecting gifts for Bosnian children, so we should bring in any clothes or toys we don’t need. I packed my old clothes with my mom in the afternoon of the same day, and began to consider what else I could add to the package. First I got rid of my old toys, the ones I wasn’t using anyway… and saw that my classmates were doing the same. However, I couldn’t get the picture of the lonely dog and the ruins out of my mind, so after much consideration and two sleepless nights, I finally decided to wrap my brand new Hawaii Barbie, the one I just got for my birthday… It was quite an expensive doll with fancy accessoires in a big box, took ages to get my parents to buy it for me. It looked pretty cool, I liked it a lot, nnna, I played with it every day and even kept its original box… but I pictured how it might make some other girl happy for at least a minute, I imagined her opening it under the Christmas tree…

I didn’t dare to tell my parents that the long-awaited birthday gift is gone, thought they wouldn’t understand my motives and might eventually think that I did not appreciate their gift. It wasn’t before mid-December that my teacher bumped into my mom in a mall and asked her if she’d allowed me to give out such an expensive gift. No, she had no idea about it… but she didn’t mind. I think she was proud of me. I think I was proud of myself, too. *smiles* It was nothing of course, but it meant a lot to me back then and now I see it as a connection to the world, a bridge to other people and a “trip through space and time”.

 2006

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