Eye Film Museum made an exposition about Béla Tarr’s work. At the end of the exposition, they gave this paper with a message written by Bela Tarr’s. I decided to document the message here in case it gets lost in the wind of hate.

The speech was read by Árpád Schilling at the SEE THE HUMAN! demonstration in front of the Hungarian Parliament on 30 September, 2016.


My friends,

Nowadays, we hear so much about how we Hungarians, here on the front line, defend the “Christian” values of Europe with such courage against the barbarian masses, the Muslim throngs. There’s no sacrifice too great. We would sacrifice everything to defend our families, women and children from them. Well, I would like to bring your attention to some very important matters.

First of all, that Christianity – as I, a christened Roman Catholic, trained in the catechism from childhood, understand it and learned it – Christianity does not teach us nor did it ever teach us to close our hearts to the fallen and the miserable!!!

Millions of people flee wars, starvation, and catastrophic heat to preserve their lives, the only thing they have left. Hundreds of thousands of children wander lost; women and men, the old and the sick, the impoverished and those wounded in war seek sanctuary.

Others in Africa escape from drought, the drought that WE, the “civilized world”, created for them. In the name of “Christian civilization”. Well, and in the hopes of huge profits. The well-being of the “Western world” came about through their destruction.

We have brought the planet to the brink of catastrophe with our greediness and our unlimited ignorance. With the horrible wars we waged with the goal of robbing the people there. Burned-down cities, villages and, of course, wallets stuffed with cash at the end. Now we are confronted with the victims of our acts.

We must ask the question: who are we, and what morality do we represent when we build a fence to keep out these people? When we use police force against them? When we deny them the minimal human SOLIDARITY?

What makes us think we have the right to do this? What moral authority do we have to do this?

Is this Christianity?

Do we have the right to give our fellow man humane treatment?

Do we have the right to give food to the hungry? Do we have the right to give water to the thirsty? Do we have the right to give shelter from the cold?

YES!!!!

We must do this, and not for the sake of any religion, but for our own humanity.

This was never a question of any single religion. It is a question of humanity, the deep connecting link that we, the several billion people on this earth, must feel and understand.

This and only this can be the price of our survival.

We must face this, because we allowed it to become this way. We did not pay attention, and we did not bother with them.

Now is the time to show that, NO, we are not as horrible as we could be perceived through their eyes.

We must be capable of recognizing that we made mistakes and that what we did was bad, but now we must be humane.

We are still responsible for everything, even if we did not play an active role in anything.

BECAUSE WE LET IT BE THIS WAY! AND WE MUST NOT DO THIS ANY LONGER!

If we are truly “Christian”, “Jewish”, “Muslim”, “Orthodox” – and I will not list all the possible religions, including Hindu and Shinto as well – then we must understand what each one is saying to us now:

SHAME ON YOU! SHAME ON YOU AND YOUR DISGRACEFUL FENCE!

LOOK THE NEEDY IN THE EYE!

GIVE THEM FOOD! GIVE THEM WATER! GIVE THEM SHELTER!

You owe that much to them and to yourselves.”

Béla Tarr, Sarajevo, 28.09.2016

State Border image