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Slovakia, Hungary: Happy New Year!

The relations between the two neighboring countries, Slovakia and Hungary, went bad last year, especially because of the so-called “language law” introduced in Slovakia. Hungarian and Slovak people could even see their politicians involving an EU institution, the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) into their discussion.

At the end of 2009, Hungarian and Slovak citizens started an online campaign which will turn into more visible formats in January 2010. A Facebook group called Hungarians and Slovaks (HUN, SLO, ENG) already exists “For the good relations between Hungarians and Slovaks!”, and now they're also supporting a new group called Štastný nový rok, Slovensko! / Boldog Új Évet Magyarország! (SLO, HUN, “Happy New Year, Slovakia!/Happy New Year, Hungary!).

The description of the group — which has its status updates in Slovak and Hungarian — says (HUN, SLO):

Who wants to live in continuous tension with his neighbour? What's the reason for always looking for the other's faults, and how is it disturbing if someone's always observing our faults?!

The opposition is seemingly becoming more and more serious, and to ease the tension deriving from it we're initiating communication aiming the society, because our conviction is that the tension is mostly generated by actual politics.

We submit that in the judgement of each other, the two countries’ civil society can be influenced positively by the courtesy of a bilateral campaign. […]

The main goal of this campaign is to spread a simple New Year's message in both countries through all channels of communication, and involve NGOs and ordinary citizens in saying Happy New Year to each other. For this two websites were started for Hungarian and Slovakian supporters: boldogujevetmagyarorszag.sk is the Hungarian site ending with .sk, the Slovak country code, and stastnynovyrokslovensko.hu is for Slovak-speaking people signed with the Hungarian country code. Also, two videos have recorded for each country:

So far, ReTRo is the only blogger who has commented on the start-up in Hungary by writing a short story (HUN) about neighbours hating each other, but whose relationship starts getting better by a snow bank shoveled away by chance from the hated neighbour's house.

Maybe he wasn't awake yet, or the snow just covered his dislike, or simply he overlooked it, but he didn't notice that he had shoveled the snow not in front of the neighbour's gate, but away from it. He shrugged it away by thinking this would be the good act for the week. He explained this to Sanyi, when she simply said he was stupid to work in the place of the hated neighbour.

In the evening when they got home, the snow was freshly swept away from their gate. The neighbour has thanked him. It went like this for three days. They met on Saturday first. With snow shovels in their hands. They greeted each other. They started to chat…

By Monday the snow melted. Something ended up…

…or has just begun.

[…]

Oh, yes and there's a start-up just launched by the name „Boldog Új Évet Magyarország! – Štastný Nový rok, Slovensko!”. We could start with snow shoveling…

3 comments

  • A similar activity runs at kyberia.sk, but it is more like a discussion forum. The language law theme faded out a while ago, because it was hyped a lot both from Slovak and Hungarian side. The effects are minimal and most people are just tired from attempts of “extremist” politicians to play with the nationalist card.

  • rene rayson

    i’am not Slovak or Hungarian i was looking for some good new to put on my face book page and in this i have found some i hope you don’t mind in speading you’re message it’s so good i think others around the world can learn by it 1 world no boarders we are all the same people are just friend you have not meet yet keep up the good work i have nothing but praise for you and you’re right not to listen to the politics that preach hate of others love the snow story very cool

    • Dear Rene, thanks for your comment and for spreading the word. I’m happy to see that the simplest message is enough to make the world a friendlier place to live.

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