From: DrHaberman <G.M.Habermann@massey.ac.nz>
Date: March 25, 2005 1:02:54 AM CET
Cc: Dr Gus Haberman <G.M.Habermann@massey.ac.nz>
Subject: Galántai György urnak
To Mr György Galántai
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Dear Mr Galántai:
When I set down to write this letter, I automatically addressed you as Dear Gyuri [nickname for György] like I had back in 1971, when the Sun was shining.
Now I do not have the right to address you like that. I admit that such a friendly phrase has no validity coming from an ethically discredited and morally defunct person who I became.
So I decided to use an alternative form of address...
Each day of the last twenty years were spent in the same way: filled with self-accusation, doubt, pangs of conscience, self-doubt, self-scrutiny and shame. No geographical distance can help or alleviate this. The future will only bring more of the same.
This letter is late in coming. I should have written it years ago.
I was unable to look the past in the eye. So why am I writing now?
To ask for forgiveness.
To ask for forgiveness from all those who my actions brought hardship, abuse of privacy, marginalisation and interference. Feel free to add whatever I left out. I beg your forgiveness for all the things I committed. The responsibility is solely mine. I do not intend to deflect responsibility onto anyone else. I take personal responsibility for it all. All I did is my burden. I am aware that it is difficult – perhaps impossible – to make sense of my asking you to forgive. A person who is morally amortised is not to be believed. (Perhaps they will even doubt that I mean to say sorry.) But let this letter be at least a form of clearly expressing my reflections upon the past and my intentions. I want to ask you and others to forgive me. I am very sorry for what happened in the past, and I am apologising to everybody who my actions affected and harmed in any way.
30 years ago I believed that what I was trying to do could help us to find a way to each other, to reach a détente. I was hoping that analysing my actions, sharing, discussing and bringing arguments could in some way build a bridge between us, and reduce antagonism and tension. I hoped that opponents could gradually approach each other, in the long term. (?) That the extremum can be prevented and the conflict muted. I can see now that viewed from the present, this approach of mine was naïve and/or mistaken. Some will simply call it a mere illusion. (?)
Sometimes people follow ideas that they themselves do not fully understand. There were years when I felt it my duty to follow the above path. There was much I did not understand.
I never meant any harm to anyone. Especially not in the artistic and literary milieu that I was so passionate about at the beginning – you might remember still. My ambition turned back on itself, it became blunt. I must admit that what I thought to be a positive ambition got twisted, lost track and was distorted into an absurdity. I see that. Sometimes a man’s life in its entirety turns back on itself, becomes devalued and twisted. The Sun is setting. Those who ever talked with me know that I was never after having power – I never had any power, I was never a person of gravity. What I am trying to attempt here is: to promote understanding, to dissolve opposition – to no avail.
The writer of a recent letter used the phrase (in reference to me) ‘shitty character'.
I deserve it. It is fitting. This is how I also see myself at the closure of an embittered and limited life. My letter ends here (I think it is already too long). But the self-blame and self-reflection do not.
Guszti [nickname for Gusztáv]
From: Artpool Art Research Center <email@example.com>
Date: March 25, 2005 11:15:07 AM CET
To: Dr Haberman <G.M.Habermann@massey.ac.nz>
Subject: Re: Galántai György urnak
(because we only ever called you by this name) I take it that it will not come as a surprise to you that Gyuri is unable to reply to your letter. What happened and which cannot be undone is unfortunately too severe to allow him to do that...
We accept your letter for what it is: an obligatory human-ethical minimum, and see it as a first step. The next step, and the only possible way (for us) to reach some kind of understanding of you and your actions would be if you told us under what circumstances you came into contact with the Ministry of the Interior, what motivated you to become an agent, how you personally experienced the years of assignments you carried out, when and why you stopped your initial activities, and when and why you later changed your mind about them. Such a confession might provide instructive for others to understand the past 30-40 years and our generation, and knowing this might somewhat alleviate our bitterness.
As I do not believe your letter was written independently of the article published on index.hu, I am forwarding it to the article’s author, Johanna Rácz.