Monday, 11 October 2010
Hard to get away from news of the toxic sludge spill in Hungary. Arrest made. Whether the director of the company is the guilty man or the scapegoat remains to be seen.
In many ways this is a throwback to the pre-1989 days, when it was easier to get away with laxness and corruption because there was less direct responsibility. All the old Soviet bloc countries were polluted to an extent not tolerated in Western Europe.
In other ways it is very much of today, an oddly symbolic terror at a time when laxness and corruption haven't gone away but find other channels to operate in and are not to be explained by the depredations of a single, monolithic party.
It is horrible and sad. I haven't been to Hungary this year and will probably not go, since the government withdrew the funding for the conference I was due to appear at. Next year I must go again. There is something in the temper of the place at the moment that I find difficult, but dear friends are dear friends, the city is the city, and the temper might be no more than a passing mood at a hard time. The consolations of history are never altogether consoling.