05 April 2013

Farewell, little island!

The other day, someone shared this short animated film on the Danube Islands facebook page. I watched it immediately, and in the subsequent absolute silence I told myself that others must see this! Ada Kaleh, the small Turkish Danubian island found its watery grave 40 years ago, when the Iron Gate dam was built between Romania and Serbia.

The director, Sándor Reisenbüchler not only commemorates the loss of Ada Kaleh (Fortress Island in Turkish language). There were other “riverside developments” in years 1986/1987. We may recall the story of the small Transylvanian village, Bözödújfalu (Bezidou Nou). The communist regime in Romania decided to build a reservoir in its valley. They begin to relocate the Hungarian villagers in 1985. Clothes, patterns, houses and the people appearing in the animated film are a clear reference what has happened in Bözödújfalu. The church tower emerging from a lake is a symbol of this devastation.
But there is another meaning of this film. In those years the Czechoslovakian government has just began to construct another dam on the Danube at Bős (Gabcíkovo). There is a feeling, that once happened in the Iron Gates can happen again, now in the Szigetköz (Hungarian-Slovakian border) and in the Danube Bend. The Islands of Zebegény, Helemba, Fogarasi and Törpe could also disappear. Fortunately emerging waves of protest caused this plan partly abandoned when the communist regimes were collapsed in Central Europe. Perhaps because they also watched Farewell, little island then!

This film is not for the faint-hearted!

Thanks for the link, Pál Szabó! And thanks for sharing!

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