Monday, April 15, 2013

Romania: Europe’s Achilles Heel?

            Much media coverage regarding the economic crisis in the European Union focused on the banking and government finance fiasco, unleashed four years ago by the realization that Greece was a huge mess, which became Europe’s mess thanks to the monetary union.  From there, contagion spread, Italy and Spain ran into troubles, and recently we had the Cyprus bailout, which gave us occasion to witness the unbelievable act of property expropriation in the form of the takeover of people’s bank accounts.  Now there is talk about Slovenia perhaps needing a bailout, in order for its banking institutions to survive, and there are even rumors circulating about countries like Luxembourg being next.  All this is enough to make one’s head spin, and it certainly was enough to stall out Europe’s economy for more than half a decade now.  In fact, we may have to wait until 2015 before Europe starts showing signs of recovery from a crisis that started in 2008.  That is, if nothing else goes wrong in the meantime, and many signs indicate that many more things may still go wrong, and the EU is not prepared to deal with them.  It is now crunch time for the Europeans, I believe this decade will decide whether they will continue to be global leaders in living standards and economic success, or whether the continent will disintegrate. It is even conceivable that they will revert to a state of conflict, which Europeans cannot afford, given that they are already experiencing demographic freefall.

Dangers lurking in seemingly obscure corners:

            At the eastern edge of the European Union, there is a member country called Romania, which most people know of, for its connection to tales about vampires.  I think it is important to point out that Romania is also part of a region known as the Balkans, which was nicknamed in the past as “Europe’s powder keg”.  The First World War started in the region.  The most recent bloody episode in European history also happened in the region, known as the “Yugoslav Wars”, with about 140,000 dead, according to the International Center for Transitional Justice and who knows how many brutal rapes (40-60,000 by most credible estimates), loss of property, displacement, and other sources of human suffering.  It was a painful last reminder to Europeans that the twentieth century was a tale of not only prosperity and advancement, but also gruesome deeds of hate, chauvinism and extreme inhumanity, with tens of millions of victims, who paid with their lives, often under conditions and circumstances that give the human species a reason to loathe itself.  Now the European Union has a few members from this volatile region.  Romania is one such state, and as a rebuff to West European idealism, has shown no evidence that principles of reciprocity in respect towards other nations will rub off any time soon.  There is no chance whatsoever that Romanians will ever have a shared project to write a common history book with their Hungarian neighbors, and their ethnic Hungarian co-inhabitants of the country itself, like the French and Germans did.
Romania; a potential destabilizing factor in the EU.

            For those who do not know much about Romania, I want to start off, by giving some relevant background information to help people visualize the problem better.  Romania in its more or less current form teritorially speaking came into existence in the aftermath of the First World War.  Their prize for entering the war on the side of the entente powers was the region of Transylvania, which historically was part of the Hungarian kingdom, and has had a multi-ethnic population for most of its existence as a political entity.  Since the annexation of this territory, for the first time in at least 800 years of co-habitation by Romanians, Hungarians and Germans, the region is being ethnically homogenized to the point where its historical ethnic mix is no longer recognizable, except for a few enclaves, where Romanians are not yet demographically so dominant as to threaten the complete extinction of other cultures.  In 1918, the population of Transylvania and the part of Banat ceded to Romania, included aside from a slight Romanian majority, also a sizable German population, which made up 12% of the total, and Hungarians who were 32% of the total.  Now, the German population has all but disappeared after over 800 years of existence, while the ethnic Hungarian population officially makes up about 19%, but in reality, it is more like 17%, because there are probably about 100,000 Rromas (Gypsies) who claim their ethnicity to be Hungarian.  Even this number is misleading, because aside from a few counties where there are still cohesive communities, most of the region is now on its irreversible road to complete ethnic homogenization, so most minority communities are already condemned to extinction.  There is no evidence that measures meant to protect other historical minorities in other countries, such as is the case with the Germans in Italy, French in Canada, or Swedes in Finland, such as giving Hungarian official language status, at least where it is still feasible, will ever come to pass.  In fact, the opposite is true, because Romanian authorities are now engaged in measures meant to impede any practical use of the Hungarian language[i].

            It is the last few remaining pockets of solid ethnic Hungarian inhabitants and the attitude of Romanian society towards their continued presence, which should be a source of concern for EU stability.  In recent months, there has been a flare-up of incendiary actions as well as media miss-portrayal of the facts, which has led to tensions, which already led to street protests in many towns, mainly by Romanians, calling for among other things, the ouster of the ethnic Hungarian minority.

            These recent problems are no accident.  It is obvious that someone is fanning the flames, of an otherwise already simmering fire.  There is never a sure way of knowing what the reason is behind this deliberate inflaming of nationalism, but my personal guess is that it has to do with the current plan of regional reorganization of local counties.  The plan includes the incorporation of the two counties that still have an ethnic Hungarian majority into a bigger county, where Hungarians will become a minority of less than 30%, meaning that they will no longer have a voice in their own local matters, except at a municipal level, if they are in the majority there.  This is not necessarily the intended goal of Romania’s political elites.  I believe the overall re-drawing of Romania’s map has more to do with more individual based considerations that many politicians desire to achieve, having more to do with monetary and power gains, rather than nationalistic goals.  Nevertheless, creating the perception among the Romanians that busting up the last ethnic stronghold of the Hungarians is the most important reason for them to support their project, would help gain popularity for the project, needed to make it reality.

            The latest worrying sign that this is an organized campaign meant to foment ethnic hatred is a recent article published by Larry Watts on the mainstream news site Adevarul, which was an inflammatory attack, meant to vilify the Ethnic Hungarian minority through a distorted presentation of Transylvania’s history (the clasical, Hungarians bad, Romanians good).  Larry Watts, as the name suggests, is not of Romanian origin, thus the article had the added effect of having the illusion of impartiality on its side.  What most readers did not realize is that Larry Watts is not just any ordinary foreigner.  He claimed asylum in Romania, during Ceausescu’s communist dictatorship, and since then he seems to have been well integrated in the repressive Securitate (secret service) apparatus.  He continued his presence in the re-named, but not purged secret service, after the revolution. He maintained close ties to former post communist president Ion Illiescu (A former high ranking communist), who is among other things, suspected to have used a choreographed incident of violence in March, 1990 between ethnic Hungarians and the Romanian majority as an excuse to keep the Securitate apparatus intact, citing national security.  So, in other words, Romania has seen this movie before, and it had dramatic negative effects for the country, including the labeling of the country as a risk to any investment, due to instability, as well as the fact that they played right into the hands of the former communist apparatus, which even after 23 years, still seems to hold much clout and ability to influence things.  Unfortunately, people there are far too oblivious, and caught up in their hatred of the Hungarian minority, seeded into them from early childhood through what they call “history lessons” around there, and rasied to fever pitch by the intense media campaign which started a few months back.  It has been a vicious campaign, involving even the lowest of the low technique of brazen acts of information falsification[ii].  This is what is happening in a European Union member country presently, which is far from the ideal of the EU of bringing peace to the continent.  It is another sign of EU failure.  I bet, if one were to go back a decade or so, and tell the original members of the EU that they would have a member among them, where such events would be commonplace, they would have never believed that it could be possible, yet here we are. 

The danger few seem to understand:       

            It seems to me that most people think that the only source of danger in this situation would be widespread violent, perhaps even armed conflict between the two sides, which everyone feels they can prevent through official action.  That kind of violence is unlikely to happen, because the Hungarian minority has been too decimated in the past decades, to pose a risk of widespread violence.  Hungarians in Romania have no choice but to swallow any injustice or humiliation (which lately has been almost a daily event).  Problem is that next door, there are ten million Hungarians who do not have to accept their ethnic kin to be treated that way, and any retaliation on their part, does not have to involve violence, nor does it have to come in the form of official government action.  We live in the 21’Th century, and we are highly inter-connected.  For instance, Romania exports about $50 billion dollars worth of goods to the European Union.  Problem is that most of it has to go through Hungary, with few cost effective alternatives as a last resort. 

There is no danger that the Hungarian government itself would block the flow of goods from Romania.  The EU would simply lean on them a little bit, and they would back down.  But what if it was not the government who would act, but a political organization such as the extreme right wing Jobbik, backed by about a million sympathizers?  By mobilizing only a small fraction of their supporters, they could block all border entry points to and from Romania with ease.  The Hungarian government would not be able to do anything to stop it, because the action would enjoy widespread popular support, so like I said, it is all out of the hands of government entities.

The economic ramifications of such a disruption in the flow of goods would have a devastating effect not only on the original intended target, but also on the entire EU economy.  Fifty billion dollars worth of goods per year may not seem like such a big piece of the trade pie within Europe, which is measured in trillions of dollars.  Problem is that many of the goods exported from Romania are not finished goods, but intermediate, which could have an exponential and devastating effect on EU industrial output, and Europe’s global market share in manufactured goods.  An airbag manufactured in Romania may only cost a few hundred dollars at most, but it goes into a Volkswagen manufactured in Germany, which costs perhaps $20,000, or more.  The financial crisis is one thing to have to deal with; move some newly printed money here, a bailout there, some budget cuts, and so on.  Industrial disruption however is not so easily addressed. It is real physical economic disruption, which cannot be fixed at a push of a financial button.

            This situation, potentially spinning out of control is the last thing that Europe needs right now, given the already much covered by the media financial situation they are facing.  European goods still have a chance to be sold in large volume to the rest of the world.  A fortunate thing, because the European consumer is not in the mood to buy, given that youth unemployment is approaching as much as 50% in many countries, and even overall unemployment is now higher in the EU than it was in the US, during the worst stages of the housing bust.  If they are not able to finish and ship their products, their market share will slip, and perhaps never recover.

            This is a danger it seems no one is anticipating, and no one identified to date.  Proof of it comes in the form of the attitude of EU officials towards the Hungarian minority living in EU states, such as Romania or Slovakia.  The green light for what is going on now in Romania was given a few years back by the Union, when they effectively declared that the Slovak language law, which allowed for ad-hoc prosecution of the Hungarian minority for use of their language in public, was “within EU norms”.  This set the guidelines for the Romanian government.  Ironically, it even gives such abuses legitimacy, because it allows governments to claim that they are not doing anything wrong, because after all they are abiding by world-famous EU guidelines for human rights.

            Some like to push the myth that the EU is powerless to act in such situations, but that is not necessarily true.  Last year, when EU MP, Tokes Laszlo approached Viviane Redding, who oversees the EU justice system and pointed out to her that the Romanian government is using the courts in order to re-nationalize property belonging to the Hungarian Reformed Church, such as is the case with the Szekely Miko school, she told him she was not interested.  It is a strange position to take by someone in charge of overseeing that all members of the EU are following the rule of law.  She certainly seems to have no trouble intervening in Hungary’s affairs over such legal changes as more rigorous examination of religious cults, in order to prevent fraud.  This really is meant to prevent fraud and not meant to oppose religious freedom, because most mainstream religious organizations are aproved and recognized, yet it is being attacked rigorously, even before there were any victims of such a measure as proof of religious repression as a result of the law.

            If no outside action is taken, I believe it is now only a matter of time before things will blow out of the ability to control, of all authorities in the region and into the hands of non-official entities.  As I pointed out, ethical considerations are not the main reason why this needs to be addressed.  We are living in a world, which no longer tolerates these sort of disruptions to our economic activities.  A European Union, which allows such problems to go un-addressed, is a Union that has no future.  It will break up, and it will likely mean the end of European relevance on the global stage, and perhaps worse.

[i] Romanian authorities are currently going after any entity which might decide to advertise for a job position, and include a request for knowledge of the Hungarian language.  It is a double-standard measure, for no other language is persecuted in this manner, and it is in fact worse than other minorities made up of immigrants, such as Latinos in America (Hungarians being a historical minority, should generally be granted more rights than immigrants, not fewer).
[ii] Earlier this year Romanian TV station Antena 3 falsified an image of Covasna county’s official site, claiming that they do not provide Romanian language information.  This is just an example of a barrage of distorted information that is hitting the public daily for a few months now.


  1. Some people argue that heel is Hungary, others say it is Greece. You seem to be generous and liberate these two countries of false suspicions and throw it on Romania. Your choice. If it were not for the small phrase "recent article published by Larry Watts on the mainstream news site Adevarul, which was an inflammatory attack". Clearly subjective wrath, in lack of arguments. It happens that the eminent analyst and scholar Watts is (for obvious reasons) the object of desperate attacks from all the continuations of the sovjet faction of KGB assets in Romania, with Vladimir Tismaneanu as director of orchestra. Larry Watts answers openly to their instigations, which are also yours, for instance in A pity for all the apparently well built up arguments, you missed your cover.

    One day Europe may come and ask, not how many people and countries did you throw dirt at in a political correct way, but "what have you done for me lately?", positively. Not a bad perspective!

    1. Thanks for your comment PM99. On the Larry Watts issue, I think the fact that while hundreds of thousands of Romanians were seeking asylum from the brutal Ceausescu regime, he was seeking asylum with the Ceausescu regime (and worked for the represive securitate), tells us all there is to know about the guy. I will not go too deep into the details of some of the outrageous claims that he makes, but one of them he made in one of his articles was that: "Romanians treated the Hungarian minority decently" after 1918. If pushing out 50,000 families through the agrarian law, soon after the anexation of Transylvania is "decent", well what can I say, but most people refer to that as ethnic cleansing. In 1918, 53% of Transylvania's population was ethnic Romanian, now it is 75%. The Hungarian minority went from 32% to 19%, while the German minority which made up 12% has now all but disapeared. This change happened mainly due to forcefull colonization, asimilation practices, and encouraging members of minority communities to emmigrate. Hardly a record that suports such claims as he made, which shows clearly the flavor of his "intelectual" work. It is by far the biggest demographic shift in Transylvania since the mongol invasion in the thirteenth century, which wiped out about half the population in the region.
      As far as Greece or Hungary being potential destabilizing factors, Greece is a financial mess, but it can be papered over with freeshly printed money. Hungary is in a dispute with the EU over its constitution, which if needs be, they can always amend to make them happy, while Romania, like I pointed out is a threat in terms of social instability, due to the barage of instigation that has been on for half a year now. That, combined with the geographical situation is a real threat potential, as I already explained in the article.

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    3. "well what can I say, but most people refer to that as ethnic cleansing. In 1918, 53% of Transylvania's population was ethnic Romanian, now it is 75%. ".

      Mr Ban, I believe that you are better informed about the truth behind the data which you present. In 1918 we both know that Germans and Jews made up over one million out of the slightly more than three million non-Romanians in Transilvania. Today, out of these as well as noone is present. But not because of any invasive measure as you suggest. Simply, Germans were bought out by the German government under H. Schmidt, and the remaining Jews, by Begin. Remaining, because you do remember that Szallasy's Hungary was substantial in reducing the number of Jews living in occupied Transilvania - the only ethnical cleansing that really took place there in the 20-th century. So if you withdraw these nations which are not present there any more - because they had the opportunity, under communism, to build a better life outside Romania, unfortunately - then elementary arithmetic will show you that on the one hand the absolute number of Hungarians had a natural evolution, proportional to the overall population, and on the other, in relative terms the percentage you display is the same as in 1918. Your arithmetic tricks consisted in avoiding the discussion about Jews and Germans - the first, primarily, being delicate for Hungarians. And one more detail - one should also take into consideration the dramatical population drop due to emigration, which is reflected in the census of the last years. That touched both Romanians and Magyary.

      Besides, it was a historical change yes. The first time
      when Transilvania was again ruled by the majority of the population, after centuries. And, if you compare the evolution of numbers to places like Nordtirol or Alsacia ... you are well informed of the outcome.

      Thus, if you had been correct and sincere, you should have taken facts into consideration before making outspoken incriminations as "ethnic cleansing". Therefore I accuse you without ambiguity of dissemnination of calomnia. I do not know if you write from Romania or really out of Germany - but the work you do is the utmost stupidity one can do, who would like to help Hungarians in Romania - as I suspect you should want to. There is need of solidariy there, to take up the outstanding challenges to be solved. But when some people reveal themselves as enemies of themselves and the country, there cannot be more ther rightful caution towards them.

      You love big accusations? Shall I come with the figures representing the number of Germans left in Hungary in 1918, then in 1948 and finally today - while mentioning how many out of them stil speak German? Maybe there we could speak of some kind of corrosive ethnic manipulation. Please read on the Herder institute's home page: out of 200-250,000 ethinc Germans only 60-80000 are still able to speak German. Why? You do not obeserve such phenomena in Romania!
      Ethnic cleansing Mr Ban? Come down to earth and be serious, sincere and friendly, you will be astonished how much it can help.

      (NB: I erased a preliminary version of this reply, since I was not able to edit it - now I found the trick)

    4. Well, Mr PM I see you are eager to whitewash history. Alright, you want to claim that Tranylvania's demographic evolution since 1918 was natural? In 1918, there were 1.7 million HUngarians, now according to latest census 1.2 million. On the other hand, the number of Romanians doubled from 2.5 million, to 5 million. So, putting the German and Jewish issue aside, it still shows that Romania's policies were asimilationist and colonialistic.

  2. Zoltan Ban @ "he was seeking asylum with the Ceausescu regime (and worked for the represive securitate)" - I am sorry my friend, but just for how stupid do you hold your readers? Or what pleasure does it make to write a blog, expecting that only oligophrenes will read?

    How can you imagine that a normal person will believe this construction of the very same group with which you speak in syntony: a grown up American who was very well in his American social life came to "seek asylum in Romania" and "worked for the repressive securitate". I saw on a more recent blog of his that he answers very explicitely to these kind of theater. The scheme is well known "Create a profile of some fake Larry Watts, whose biography you claim to be his one, and destroy your own construction - some fools will not realize that you never talked of Watts to start with, and they will trust you".

    Read for yourself, and decide in favor of respect for your readers - which means to not proliferate such insults to the reason!

    1. Pm99, I asure you that I respect my readers very much. I apologize for those who do not speak Romanian, but here is Larry Watts:

      It points out his specific ties to the opresive Securitate from the communist era. Specifically, he worked for its Institute of Military History, led by Illie Ceausescu. He continued to work for the same entity even after the revolution. SO, what part of what I said in the article you take issue with?
      The profile I created of this individual, is based on information that is publically available.

    2. Mr Zoltan - If you were fair, you should equally point to Larry Watts's blog which is in English, and where he answers to all these fake constructions. Evidently, who attacks stories on which some very fancy "intellectual" made a good living - and not only that - he will have people trying to difamate him. Do you want to be one of those very lowly people, by the choice of your links? Let the reader decide for himself!

      As to your pretense "eager to whitewash history.", I URGE you to withdraw and appologize. Since you cannot defend such bullshit!
      All I said is that the "ethnic cleansing" hyperbola is shamelessly overdone. And your data cannot prove the contrary. You are SOOOO funny - you provide the latest census, but know very well that people EMIGRATED in the last decade. Please, if you respect yourself and the readers, bring a full overview of the evolution of the population figures since 1920 to 2000 and then 2010 - then we can comment. I repeat, do not take people for more stupid than they are.

      One more thing: I also asked, for a comparison, you to explain the figures that Herder Institute provides on Germans in Hungary. Do we have an other ehnich cleansing issue there? I mean when less than 1/3 of the people of an ethny are still capable to speak their mother tongue, we have a problem. So first appologize, then bring the full data, and finally please answer the question you were asked. And sorry for being so direct - you definitely ask for it using the words you do! Good day.

    3. PM99, you say I should apologize for my remarks? Alright, let us go to demographic details, since you requested it. Let us take the city of Tirgu Mures between 1970-1990. In 1970, 2/3 of the population was still ethnic Hungarian, but in the next 20 years, the Romanian population in that town doubled. I'm sure you will be tempted to put this down to natural urbanization, but let me stop you before you beggin. First of all, the city situated in the Szekler region, which is majority ethnic Hungarian, thus natural urbanization trends would have meant that the majority of newcommers would also have been Hungarian, but the stats from 1970-1990 show that there was no gain whatsoever in the Ethnic Hungarian population in Tirgu Mures. At the same time, tens of thousands of young people from the region were forced to choose between moving to the east of the country, or stay in their village after finishing school. So perhaps it is time for you to withdraw.

    4. I asked you to bring demographic data of the whole population, since this was the argument you were playing around with. You are not the first who indulges in this game, imagine I know the tricks. FIRST - you bring the data which will prove that the overall hungarian population had the natural growth until the massive emigration striked in. Which shows you wrong in your claim from yesterday. NOW, you change subject again, and you want desperately to discuss the population fluctuations in the Szekely areas in the 80-es, under Ceausescu. Did I say something in claim that there was no temporary infusion of Romanians in some area? No, I did not. So you dream of my withdrawing, why should I? Did you ever compare with Sovjet colonies? Or even with Yugoslavia, to say little of Bulgaria? Or even Südtirol and Elsaß-Lothringen? To say nothing of course of what happened under Hungarians!

      You still owe me a reason why the Germans in Hungary do not speak German?

      And you still owe me the honest displayment of a link to Larry Watts's blog, so that the interested reader can read his response, not only the calomnia. But here it is, before you decide yourself for honesty:

      My advice: you have too many open problems, they cannot teach you everything. So far you act like an automatic answeing machine, so I cannot judge you intelligence. But let us assume that you do have some empathy for your Magyar coethnics. Take my advice - stop bullshitting around, you do not help them this way, you make yourself disgutsting and you add one more whirl to the chain of circumstances which stay in the way of these to nations doing what they are meant to do, and what they have to do: stand up together side by side. Thanks to God there are smarter Hungarians who understand that, but do not follow the shiny deluders, you might become one of either cathegory - it is your choice, still is after having walked a piece of street on the delusion side.

    5. On Larry Watts, I should point out that in his biography on the site you provided, he managed to skip the period in the 1980's (how convenient), so in effect he adressed nothing.
      On the Issue of the Germans living in Hungary, I should point out the fact that many of their communities were very isolated from other german communities, because they were very spread out, also there were many city dwellers, who lived among an overwhelming majority of Hungarians and over the centuries lost their language. In any case, in your place, I would not bring up the German question, especially given the fate their communities met in Romania. I should point out to you that I grew up in the Region of Banat. Do you want us to get into the details of what happened to the Swab German communities there? There are currently 3 times more ethnic Germans living in present day Hungary than there are in Romania, despite the fact that in 1918, Transylvania's German population was twice as large.
      As far as the Tirgu Mures demographic history, it is just a snapshot of what happened all over Transylvania and Banat. I was born in Resita, where in 1918 85% of the population was made up of Germans, Hungarians, Serbs, and other smaller groups. Now these historical minorities make up 5% of the population collectively, so a historically multi-ethnic town was completely homogenized in less than 100 years under Romanian hands. The region of Banat, which was more multi-ethnic in nature, rather than dominated by one particular ethnic group was one of the regions that changed the most under the Romanization policies, for it was the most vulnerable. Whereas in 1918, 40% of the population in the part of Banat given to Romania were minorities as I mentioned above, now they are only about 5%.
      So keep going, because I think it is good to get all these facts out in the open on this forum, although, I should point out to you that few people are still reading this particular article, and my guess is that even fewer care about the topic we are arguing about.

    6. (continued) Basically, you speak about the tendency to inject romanian population in towns of Transilvania. YES it happened, and it may even be considered as an aggessive intervention. But let the reader know about the laws which interdicted to Romanians to settle in towns during the one or two centuries preceding 1920 - and the restrictive conditions on professions, etc. DO NOT COME with sellection on those too - it is obvious that once controlling the territoriy, Romanians compensated for the fact of having been kept out of town and liberal professions for centuries. And this was hurting the others. But there were no forced displacements, or other aggressive intrusions, that are suggested by the word you so much love to use.

      We proceed. Look at Süd Tirol, an area which was given to Italy with no right similar to Romania - they really did not have population there, to start with, it was all strategic. Please read the evolution of ethnies in Meran or Bozen. You will be surprised - Transilvania is mild. No go and wine to Italy that they have made "ethnic cleansing" - go and shout in the world, do that.

      I also had family in Cernauti. When the Russians came, in one week 30000 Romanians were massacred. Then several hunderd thousands (from a population of some above one million in Bucovina, I speak, so Ucraine, not Bessarabia) were deported to Siberia. Then Romanian as a language disappeared for ages. Please look there for population cleansing.

      And having all these examples at the back of my mind and my experience, me like EVERY European, you wonder why I react negatively to your claim of an "ethnic cleansing". Then you must be out of reality, and nothing can help you in that case.

      Mind you: I have Hungarian friends and I discuss their problems in Transilvania, I do not like some kind of Romanian attitude about Hungarians who are an important part of the heritage of that region, and have their rights. So we do not discuss rights of Hungarians, we do not either discuss if Transilvania was made to be a paradize - or some kind of protected Altersheim - for Hungarians, we do not discuss problems they may encounter and compare them with problems of the whole country. All these realistic discussions are impossible with someone using the terms "ethnic cleansing". Capisci?

    7. So, to sum up your argument; there were other places where worse things happened, therefore what you guys did and do is alright? By the way, In South Tyrol and in the Basque region in Spain, there may have been nasty ethnic cleansing programs in place in the past, but look at what they are doing now. Regional autonomy, and oficial language status, while in Romania, Hungarian does not even have the status of the language of a Chinese immigrant, because one can put up a job advertisement asking for knowledge of Chinese, Ojibwa or any other language, but if you put up one requiring knowledge of Hungarian you get fined. So, in effect, while In Spain, Italy, Canada, Finland, and even in the Republic of Moldova they have oficial language status for historical minorities, Hungarians in Romania do not even have practical language status, because it is being sanctioned. I don't think that is an argument that sticks. And yes, diluting a region's ethnic makeup through masive colonization is a form of ehtnic cleansing, because it opens up the minority community to assimilation, especially when their language does not have oficial language status. This is something that did happen in Romania, as my examples show, and it is not just about rural Romanians moving to the city, as you try to suggest. By some estimates by 1990 as many as one million Romanians were brought into Transylvania from Moldova and the South.
      I should also point out that you are flat out wrong in claiming there was no displacement. Right after the anexation there was the land reform law, where tens of thousands of ehtnic Hungarian tenant farmers were effectively made homeless and had no choice but to move to Hungary.
      In the Szekler region in the 1970-1990 period, young people were forced to choose between profesing in their profesions after finishing school in predominantly Romanian towns, or not doing it at all. Thus tens of thousands of young people were forced to move in places where their culture would be lost, and most likely if they married they maried into Romanian families.
      In the region of Banat, in order to encourage ethnic Germans to make the move to Germany, their towns were often colonized with Rromas, which made their lives unbearable. Not to mention the deportation period of the 1950's.
      These are just some examples, I could go on.
      Ohter than that, I can tell you from experience that especially if you live in a region where ethnic Hungarians are a relatively diluted minority, none of them will exactly open up to you and discuss some of these issues. They prefer to avoid it. I used to do the same, although now things have changed, and I can speak my mind and discuss these facts freely.

  3. Listen - YOU manage to skip EVERY point where you make errors, like now too, changing subjects. So stop acting like Mr. Clean and accusing others, will you? Larry Watts has an english blog, it is also translated in Romania somewhere, there are discussions - and he does respond to people asking well formulated questions. You may very well find out for yourself, which is what a civilized person would do prior to spreading calomnia. But you talk like these scared influence agents who started spreding the most stupid and mean claims on some Watts, which they invented, of whom they did not read the book - get lost and become honest. When you asked two three questions to Watts and waited to get your answers - then come back and spread calomnias, if you can.

    Now considering your selection of data - of course you keep concealing what I asked for, because it is your blog and you want the facts be presented your way. Like every activist of the kind. So let us play your game: if you can read, my criticism was about the use of the word "ethnic cleansing". A word which you let resonate in the mind of the reader - and in the mind of all people I know, it has a highly more desatrous resonance then what we speak about here. THIS IS THE POINT - illusionism!

    I may be jewish and I think of the worst crimes ever - ethnic cleansing. Or I may be Armenian, and I think of a genocide that the Turks do not acknowledge. Or I may be Greek - and I think of the massive dislocation of close to one million Greek from Anatolia. BUT as a Greek I will not think of the pogroms and dislocations perpetuated agains Aromanians to offer space for the dislocated Greek. All these - ethnical cleansings. Or I may be from Bosnia.
    I come from SE Europe - I am a little bit of all those enumerated here and I find it a SHAME to confuse magnitudes like this, in order to produce a shock on the readers and ask for attention. This does not provide respect for the problems you speak about, on the contrary.

    1. As to Germans - once again you use your favorite technique of avoiding the question and deformating the context. We all know that there are no Germans left in Romania - because they were BOUGHT out. But none were killed - except to the "prisoners of war" that Stalin claimed - and none has lost their language as long as they lived in Romania.

      So please stop avoiding and answer the question: how can that performance be achieved, which is certainly not an "ethnical cleansing". I still wait for your answer.

    2. For your information, the main factor that contributed to the decimation of the German community in Hungary was the forced deportation after WW2, and it had nothing to do with Hungarians, but the winners of the war who decided that half a million Germans from Hungary should be expelled. Of course, the towns they lived in were re-settled with the majority population, because after all they were not going to just leave those towns empty. Many of the Germans who were left behind were already in fact only part Germans, which was the thing that saved them from deportation. As the few Germans left ended up living in predominantly ethnic Hungarian communities, they lost their language, especially since as I mentioned most were in fact only part-german. As I already mentioned however, Hungary currently is home to an ethnic German population that is three times that of Romania's despite the Potsdam decree, which did much damage to their communities, so in your place I would be ashamed to bring up the German question.
      As far as the "Innocent" sale of the Germans from Romania, let me give you a snapshot of the personal tragedies encountered by members of that community. In Resita, there was a Securitate oficer named Rosca, who was in charge of pasports. My father knew of him, for among other things, he used to brag about how he used to withhold the issue of pasports to families where there was an atractive woman. He used to aproach these young girls/women in private, and let them know that they were not to see their pasports untill they would indulge his desires. This while the family was already slated to move out of their homes, so they would have been left on the streets and with no way to sustain themselves, giving the poor women no other option but to comply. He used to brag about this all over town over drinks, and guess what, my father saw him a few years ago while on visit there, and you know what he was doing, he was working at the pasport office. Nice? So, do you still want to talk about Germans?

    3. My dear friend, the way you go on "Hungary currently is home to an ethnic German population that is three times that of Romania's" - when you know that Romania has not done anything to the Germans and they all are well in Germany, defies any rational thinking and I better not reply. Thank you for the time you took trying to provide an explanation. Thank you for the ability not to call the Russians as main perpetrators for German deportation. Your Securitate officer story is very impressive, indeed. I believe you know that securitate was full of people of all ethnies, all of them quite impressive.

      Hertha Müller had troubles in Germany when she arrived, because the "Banater Landmanschaft" had difamated her as "a securitate agent". Read her interview in Spiegel, in January of this year. Yes, during one year it was she who was suspect to the Germans, until she found a means to break the spell. And it turned out the Landmanschaft was deeply infiltrated by securitate. To me this is so similar to the story of Larry Watts - that I friendly invite you once again to ponder if you want to be a person like those guys from the Landmanschaft who disseminated calomnia against Hertha Müller - this is exactly what you do here.

      And note that I did not call you names. This seems your way to avoid an excuse for the fact that you had no reply to the exposure of your biased way of using the term "ethnical cleansing". You do not need that - you should appologize, but it might take you years to digest what you have been told. You are so deeply into this Magyar selfpity stuff that it seems really hard for you to conceive that the world is bigger, different. And to realize how much harm you do to others and to yourself by spreading the images of this selfpity to the world. Hertha Müller also deprecated securitate - like every normal Romanian. But she is smart enough to realize that this was born in communism, internationalism, not ethnicism. And she is fair - after all her Schwaben Securitate people had done a good portion of harm to her too. Only Magyars want it all on an ethnic level - and the reason why they hate Larry Watts is because he brings documents about what they have done under communism too - and what was of course unknown to common mortals, Romanians anyhow, but probably also many Magyars. But there are documents and sources, and against that, the intended difamation in which you so eagerly participate, can do nothing. Fact remain facts, and will be surfaced over and over again, and will eventually improve our understanding of recent history. This is the way it goes and even you cannot oppose to it, sir!

      I just wanted to give yo arguments and point out to you that this selfpity stuff, beyond being badly false - and it is not nice to spread deformations of reality - is, most of all, the worst thing one can do against Magyars. And they do it themselves. Think about it.

    4. Ok PM99, it is funny that you acuse me of avoiding issues brought up in your responses, but in fact it is you. You say I should apologize for calling what happened in Transylvania ethnic cleansing? Are you serious? Do you know the definition of ethnic cleansing? It is the vilful changing of the ethnic makeup of a region. I believe I gave you plenty of examples, ranging from colonization, meant to dilute the ethnic makeup of a region, thus exposing the community to increased asimilation, to examples I gave you of ethnic Hungarians being pushed off their land, or away from their region. You say that Romania did nothing to the Germans? Well, colonizing your community with the very troublesome Rroma minority would be a good way to give them an extra push towards the exit, don't you think? Not to mention the fact that more and more, Hungarian and German education was no longer available (I did not get to go to a Hungarian language school), so why would people not migrate if they know that the only thing offered to them is asimilation? Then you perveresely turn around and point to the fact that it is nothing you guys did, because they "just left". Why become Romanian, when you can migrate and become something else? Even now, Romania's authorities discriminate against the use of the Hungarian language as a language of practical use (see example I already gave), which takes it below the status of the language of an immigrant in this respect. For a historical minority's language to have a chance of survival in the 21'th century it must have some potential practical use. That is why in Canada, Switzerland, Italy, Spain, Finland Belgium and so on, historical minorities of significant proportions have official language status at least regionally. Far from what you guys are doing, yet you spent hours here, trying to convince people of the "good intentions" of Romanians. Give me a break!

      I gave you plenty of specific examples of deeds that qualify as acts of ethnic cleansing, yet you think I should apologize for calling what has been happening there ethnic cleansing?

      As far as your bellowed Mr. Watts, I brought up the issue of the article he wrote some time ago, which amounted to vilifying an ethnic minority, through some very distorted and outright false arguments. I don't know what else he wrote, and I don't care, because after writing that article, as far as I am concerned he should be ignored, not read. It is funny that you try to defend him, denying his past with the Securitate, but his behaviour sure resembles the culture.

  4. One last thing, concerning Watts - you should have the dignity to ask him directly your questions. But I don't want you to hope that I cannot give you an answer. It does not take much: you see, the kominternists made up what you insist in defending, and it is a sword with two edges. Every mind that is obsessed with lies and cannot undertsand freedom, will possibly buy, just like you, into the profile they try to build for Watts.

    But everyone who has lived in freedom for a longer while laughs a heartfull at this absurd insinuation - I heard idiots speak about "gaining a lot as ceasca's agent" and such fairytales. Now who can believe that someone who has a perfect record of scholar and was genuinely interested in cold war happenings, and got interested in Romania - had nothing better to do than become agent of one of the most backwards dictators of the time? Just to please the phantasy of Tismaneanu who was agent of much more enlighted dictators? I mean, there are documents and more - but if you can THINK, you do not need them. It is unheard of! I mean, Philby et co - there was an obsession behind it, and KGB had worked for decade to capture them. But Larry Watts, how do you depict it? He just goes in and says "High, I wanna be your agent, gimme a lot of money" - do you realize to what extent your phantasy is prisoner of your desire to avoid difficult questions? No, things like this don't happen in real life, and normal people in the world outside the complex of interests around Romania and its KGB servers are well aware of that.

    It is only the latter who developed a furious fright for being revealed, and are, just like you, very aggressive. It won't help you, it won't help them, be assured.

    So better go and get your answers by yourself. Because chances are, that you have a better case - you probably are not some old agent for the russians in disguise, your only problem may stem from the rumours - in part true - that Watts reveals uncomfortable things about Hungary too. And it seems that these guys insist on it, in order to build a larger alliance with some Hungarians cointerested in keeping truth concealed: too late! And it is not an alliance that can help or flatter you, if you accept my advice.

    And finally, concerning Suabians - it is very thoughtful of you to try to through drops of information out of context, pretended for me, but meant to impress some lost reader. I also can point out to ALL readers: there is Hertha Müller, she is Suabian and VERY articulate, one can read what she says and does not need a tzotzer like you. Never did I hear Hertha speak about "ethnic cleansing" or have her consider the selling of the Germans from Romania as some kind of excessive agression - in the realm of terms dear to Hungarians, like culture genocide, etc. She values words, this is why she makes no excess with them. And Hertha Müller is much more explicite about securitate and communists, unlike people like you who seem to forget in what times that happened and keep winning only about ethnic issues. So let the Suabians be, you make a fool of yourself, please!

    1. As far as this cooment goes, I think you are crossing the line calling me names. therefore I will leave to comment on, so people can asses for themselves your culture and leave it at that.

  5. Funny - I did not call you names, you call yourself a liar now. But it seems a good way to avoid recongnizing your errors. I hope the whole discussion, including the unanswered questions, will stay here for people to decide for themselves. And wish you success in what you really wish, for the best - be it that it may require deep reconsideration of your approaches.

  6. Before closing this discussion, Mr. Ban I wish to publish here few of your pearls, so the people can see what we talked about:

    Quote 1. "Republic of Moldova have oficial language status for historical minorities, Hungarians in Romania do not even have practical language status, because it is being sanctioned." - In Bessarabia, ! million were deported for speaking in that historical language, the language was modified, written in other characters - but all this goes under the carpet for you. Now telling that in a country which has several hungarian parties, and all levels of schools and several highschools - hungarian has no status, it is sanctioned. I wonder what you mean by that. You must be a genius of distortion. And guess what - I am convinced that you cann lie to yourself on this one, but do not try in public.

    For comparison: Italians are in CH the same percentage - cca 6% of the population. They only have an _encipient_ university, with two or three faculties, in rich Switzerland. I guess that they are also sanctioned - go and complain in Switzerland, they do not correspond to your elevated expectations, Mr. Zoltan Ban.

    Quote 2: " Do you know the definition of ethnic cleansing? It is the vilful changing of the ethnic makeup of a region. " Beautiful rubber band definition. I gave you a list of what natural people in Europe really INTEND under this word. Cases. The rubber band definition applies to Südtirol, Alsacia, Germany with the Sorbs anyhow - I see now place where it does not apply. So go and yell in Italy, in France, agains their "ethnic cleansing", in order to be consistent. These two pearls should suffice to show people who you are. For those who are of course not willing to agree with you even that the earth is flat. My very same and best wishes.

    1. Mr 99, as far as the Republic of Moldova is concerned, I was refering to the Gagauz region, which has autonomy, with oficial language status. What you are ferefing to is an episode in Soviet History, which does indeed qualify as an act of ethnic cleansing, and frankly I doubt whether you will find many Romanians who would argue with that. So, if you guys consider that the vilful changing of the ethnic makeup of Basarabia through a brutal act was an act of ethnic cleansing, the fact that you guys did the same, with the same results through a sustained effort for the past 90+ years, and you deny it, does not that make you all a bunch of hypocrits? I gave you plenty of examples through our conversations which prove that the act was a vilful one, and you cannot deny that they happened either, so...

      As far as the Italians in Switzerland, their total number is about 400,000 people, so less than 1/3 of the size of the Hungarian minority in Romania. One university is about as much as a population that size needs, although we should point out that currently there are no public Universities in Romania in HUngarian, which has a population three times as large. Not to mention that they have oficial language status, which as I pointed out, is quite something, compared to only hobby status that is being enforced in Romania in respect to the Hungarian language. I would be very happy to see Hungarians in Romania be treated like the Italian minority in Switzerland, so why would I go scream at them?

      Going back to your concern about the status of the Hungarian language in Romania, I said correctly that its practical use is sanctioned in Romania. As an example, the mayor of Miercurea Ciuc was fined for puting out a job add that required the knowledge of Hungarian. Even the Romanian media commented on this incident, although the mayor came out as the bad guy as can be expected, even though Miercurea Ciuc is a town where the local population is 90% ethnic Hungarian, so hiring a public servant who speaks the local language would make sense one would think.

      Here is a link to an article about it from Romania Libera:

      Read the article and then please respond with an afirmation of who is lying to himself and others.
      Can you be honest?

      Similar things happened elsewhere. For instance, a radio station in Cluj was told to let go a person they recently hired, because they asked for knowledge of the Hungarian language, because they have seven hours per day of Hungarian language programing, but evidently they do not need someone who speaks Hungarian to offer Hungarian language programing.
      In Sf. Gheorghe, a town where 75% of the population is ethnic Hungarian, they hired a librarian who spoke Hungarian (and Romanian), which is normal given that most of the town's population is interested in reading Hungarian language material. The Romanian authorities ordered that she be let go, and her pay for her two years of work had to be returned, because they considered it was "unfair" to those who aplied for the job, but did not speak Hungarian.

      So, like I said, in Romania one can ask for the knowledge of Arabic, Chinese, Serbian or any other language, as a precondition to hiring someone, but not Hungarian. How do you comment on this? This time, you cannot say I made it up, because all you have to do is read the article I provided to you.

      Like I said, a language that does not have a practical purpose is condemned to extinction. I guess you guys are ready to do what it takes to make it happen as the evidence shows.

  7. " So, if you guys consider that the vilful changing of the ethnic makeup of Basarabia through a brutal act was an act of ethnic cleansing, the fact that you guys did the same, with the same results through a sustained effort for the past 90+ years" -

    Mr Ban, putting a sign of equality between events so deeply different, is the point where I wanted to bring you. Massive famines, in which 10 % of the population was killed in 1945-46, the Ucrainian style. Deportations of over one million people, more than 20% of the population, to Siberia. Invention of a language that does not exist, a slavic language called Moldavian, that was however identical with Romanian - but written in Cyrillic. Until the late 80-es, children growing up in their own country - Bessarabia - threatened and beaten by russians whenever they pleased, for speaking a phony language. Do you want more?

    I can talk about more than one million Aromanians in the whole south Balkan, reduced in 100 years of national states that DO NOT recognize ANY ethnical minority (Greece, Bulgaria) to less than 100 000 -- no sir, there is no comparison. What you CANNOT understand is that no Romania can accept the violence with which you want to put the sign of equality between everything that has been an ethnical cleansing. It is NOT a fact of denial, as you wildly shout, nobody deies what happened to you. But there is no comparison to others - and for this reason you are kindly invited to respect and humanity, and take in humility your place in the live list of suffrances that have been perpetrated in the 20-th century. If you are unable of that - you are unable of dialogue, as much as one would try. It is not any of us who denies the problems you may still have - it is you who deny distinction and measure. You are not alone, my friend, on this Earth!

    How much of all these compare to what you had to go through as a Hungarian in Romania? If you can be honnest. And if you reach a point of honnesty and accountability, we CAN discuss in honnesty what I find was done wrong and what is really a shame. But it is impossible to discuss without a frame of measure. Good bye!

    1. The = sign between the ethnic cleansing in the former Soviet Union and what you guys did in Transylvania is desreved due to the end result which is similar. The fact that the Soviets used blunt methods, while you guys used many little steps, in other words a more sophisticated aproach does not change the fact that Romania engaged in acts of vilful ethnic cleansing and I gave you examples of these acts and the results.

  8. "Like I said, a language that does not have a practical purpose is condemned to extinction. I guess you guys are ready to do what it takes to make it happen as the evidence shows."

    You certainly speak of your fears for Hungarian, but are not aware of it. Can I ask you one personal question: smart you are - as you proved it - free you are as you show it. What in all heavens makes you so poor and full of hatred, to speak like you speak of other people - the image of whom you have a deep urge to falsify? Can't you see that noone attacks you, you are simple invited to respect other people as you would wish to be respect, not to try to lie to the world because they understand, in time: such elementary thing. And look the kind of spells you try to throw back, poor devil that you are!

    There was an EU evaluation of the ethnic situation in Romania - it was pursued by people who were young when you conationals were spreading exagerations and lies with "cultural genocide" throughout the world, and thought to be successfull, since there was no counterreaction. So they were "well sensibilized", in your interest. It there had been some minimal signs going in the direction of what you say, they would have reacted. Be sure. And they did not - they found in Romania rather an exemplary treatment of minorities (which is no surprize, if you compare with Bulgaria, Greece, or even France). So what do you want Ban - shall I keep this dialogue up till you start waking up, do you think that I deserve answering to all your purposeless nasty remarks, until you decide to get a life?

    What you say above is nothing new, poor Mr. Ban. It is known that some magyars have been making plans with some russians since 100 years over and over again, to help the country to extinction. Or simply said, to divide Romania amongst the two. Yet, it never worked out so far.

    But you see, I can understand how gelous you are, seing how this language and nation survived during centuries of your opression. While you, after only hundred years, not of opression such as the one in your so called kingdom, but simply lack of hegemonial power, and you feel the grip of despair. We have this experience 1000 and more years behind, Mr Ban, do not worry for us. We would dearly help you understand how it works. But you cannot talk to a person in hatred, who clings to the illusion that the idea of a scape goat gives him. I do pity you, can this help you? I thought you should know this.

    1. PM on this one I had a good laugh, but then I remembered that it is not that funny after all, because you are trying to justify the destruction of my culture.
      The EU will call any behaviour towards a historical ethnic minority "fine" as long as it does not involve genocide. It has to do this to accomodate one rather powerful founding member called France, which has the historic distinction of being the Father of European nationalism concepts. That is why the Slovak language law was declared "fine", which criminalized the use of people's mother tongue. How can the EU do anything else, when in France historical minorities are not even recognized to exist?
      Nice try at trying to whitewash things but once again I want to point out to you the many examples of acts of vilful destruction of the historical ethnic minorities in Transylvania which I already gave, and you did not anwer to, except for claims of me lying, until I provided you with evidence of it,which is when you dropped it.
      By the way, please before you continue to make other comments, respond to the examples I gave you of the double standard with which Romanian authorities treat the use of the Hungarian language. Innitially you claimed that I was lying, now that I provided you with proof, please discuss the matter.

    2. And also, beofore you go around claiming that you were represed for over 1000 years in Transylvania, please be my guest and give me one single example of a Romanian settlement in Transylvania 1000 years ago. Please refer to archeological proof, because all the sites discovered so far in the region from 1000 years ago or before show the presence of Slavs, Avars, and other smaller groups, but not a single proto-romanian settlement.
      Other than that, let me remind you that the opresion you speak of never led to ethnic cleansing, because there is not a single period in transylvania's history when the Romanian population suffered a significant decline. In fact, from 1500 to 1918, the ethnic Romanian population in Transylvania has experienced an 800% increase (aproximately), which is comparable with population growths in most western European nations at the time, where there was less warfare, and more food.
      Other than that, the first Romanian language school was established not in the Romanian principalities, but in Transylvania where you were "oppresed". Same goes for the first Romanian language Bible.
      I'm not going to claim by any means that Hungarians were angels, we have our historical sins, but the claim you just made is very distorted, and frankly it is an example of another nasty thing that is currently happening in Romania, which is the vilification of a minority through historical distortions. It is a practice which is considered very distateful in most civilized countries, but I guess not in Romania.

    3. And by the way, I do have a life, that is why I did not answer you for the past week. I took my family for a vacation, which is way more important than dealing with your atempts to witewash the destruction of the historically multi-ethnic culture of Transylvania, which under the "evil" Magyars, survived for 800 years, but in less than 100 years under your boots, most of Transylvania is already homogenized, and you are eager to get to work on the last remaining pockets.

    4. I see you have a family - this is good for you. If they only could talk you out of your activism - it would help you, your family and your connationals. But don't think, on the other hand, that having a family is the change - they all had a family!

      But now you will excuse, I have nothing left to talk to you and I am sick and tired of your playing smart and changing subjects. No, you will not have a life the way I meant it, this seems to be a fact. Good luck with what you are.

  9. "Nice try at trying to whitewash things but once again I want to point out to you the many examples of acts of vilful destruction of the historical ethnic minorities in Transylvania which I already gave, and you did not anwer to, except for claims of me lying, until I provided you with evidence of it,which is when you dropped it."

    This is why it is worthless to talk to you man - you could prove nothing of your claims of ethinc cleansing since no hungarian loses his language or is deprived of schools - as are Romanians today in most countries where they live, and not only them. This is the Hungarian bark: he knows he made no point, but repeats "you see how you cannot answer", until at least he himself believes his own confusion.

    Want one more example? Here you get it: "The = sign between the ethnic cleansing in the former Soviet Union and what you guys did in Transylvania is desreved due to the end result which is similar. ". Really? Oh really. Why the f@k didn't you choose to live in Kasachstan after Siberia, if the difference does not matter? And if the end result, where on the one side the absolute population evolution obviously is wounded by the one million loss - whereas nothing similar happened to the Maghiars in Romania, and you very well know this!

    Who do you think you fool? Why do you need to put durt on others that end on you? Europe has seen the truth, this game is over, time for a new one!

    I repeat - I pitty you for the fact that one day you will wake up to reality and see what double standards are, and you will understand that shouting "nice try" is not a good way out, when you run out of arguments. I am disgusted by your agressivity - that believes to be "proper". And I pitty you for that - no more topics, you avoided them all, by avoiding measure and jumping ahead with your own way of unsuported aleviations. May God open your eyes one day, to a better way to reach your peace and goals.

    1. "May God open your eyes one day, to a better way to reach your peace and goals."

      I'm going to put everything else that you wrote aside. I think you got it all wrong. It is you Romanians who cannot find piece, because you cannot reconcile your nationalist indoctrination with the presence of a still relatively large historical minority, and it is costing your society more than you think. Just take your government's decision to build over 200 orthodox churches in the largely ethnic Hungarian Szekler region in the past 20 years. Most of them were built and are being staffed and maintained at government expense, and are almost all in communities where there is not a significant enough ethnic Romanian population to justify the presence of these churches. On the other hand, your government has rendered the regional infrastructure there worse than anywhere else in the country. Municipal infrastructure is OK, but outside the municipalities roads are crumbling under the tires of people's cars. Now just think if instead of Churches built under the colonialistic mentality that perhaps if they build them, Romanians will go settle there, they would have put all the money in that region's infrastructure. Just think if the resulting GDP per capita as a result of that investment would have increased by just $1000, due to increased resulting private investment. That alone would mean an extra $200 million per year to the state's budget. That could be $20 per person more spent on health care in all of Romania, which would be an increase of 4% in health care spending compared to current levels. There was also the state sponsored violent act in Tirgu Mures, which made Romania look like a banana republic, thus probably leading to billions of dollars in lost investments and hundreds of thousands of jobs, which could have helped replace the lost ones during the 1990's. There is the current drive to incorporate the current majority ethnic Hungarian counties into majority Romanian mega-counties, where Romanians will dictate everything, but will be a non-functioning mega county for political reasons, which is the equivalent of perhaps as much as 20% of Romania's economy being undermined in the future.
      If you guys would have put as much efort in building up your post-communist state as you did in trying to undermine an ethnic minority, I'm convinced that everyone concerned would have been better off.

    2. (Continued)
      Bottom line is that there are two groups of countries in Europe when it comes to the treatment of historical minorities. On one hand there are countries where these minorities are thriving, such as Spain, Italy Switzerland, Finland and even the Republic of Moldova, where historical minorities have local authonomy where feasible, and regional oficial language status.

      There is another group made up of countries such as France, Greece, Slovakia, and Romania, where the goal is undermining historical minorities in the interest of the national state ideology. Here, there have been and there still are eforts such as curbing the use of the mother tonque, colonization to facilitate asimilation, where the oficial national language becomes the dominant one in cases where there are mixed communities (often created through colonization) or mixed mariages. It in no way compares in terms of technique to primitive medieval acts such as what you mentioned in the Soviet Union, or in the Former Yugoslavia, but if we look at the results, in fact it shows that the more gentle aproach to ethnic homogenization employed in the above mentioned countries is more effective at ariving at the goal.

      I know that it upsets you to read these charges, as it undermines your cinderela image of yourselves, but the fact is the fact. Romania does not belong among the countries where they wished to protect historical minorities. It belongs to countries where homogenization is desired and there is plenty of proof that it is happening, which I gave plenty of examples of and not going to repeat just because you ignored them. So, if you want not to belong to this group, be my guest and start suporting the same rights for your fellow ethnic Hungarian citizens as other historical minorities enjoy, because they want to survive just like others. You know? it is much harder to give up the right to survive as a culture than the chauvinism of the majority looking to destroy it. As countries like Switzerland bear proof, there are in fact no downsides. May God, or some other entity open your eyes, because your nationalist indoctrination is not only hurting the Hungarian minority, but as I pointed out, you hurt yourselves, because it seems this wish to homogenize Transylvania is greater for most of you than the wish to create a decent society to live in for all citizens.

  10. It is you Romanians who cannot find piece, because you cannot reconcile your nationalist indoctrination with the presence of a still relatively large historical minority, and it is costing your society more than you think.

    Listen my friend - if you think you can find "the Romanians" in a jar, then be my guest. I tried to adress you as an individual, as a human person, which belongs to an evolution and makes certain statements which I address. You want me to be "the Romanian" - you lose, no time for even reading such alegiations.

    Go back and read to the beginning, read Larry Watts's blog in English, before insulting him and reason again in writing, have the decency to ask him personally the questions you are so certain (why?) that he would have something to hide about. Then revise your sources about language and the use of "ethnical cleansing". Then you can come back. Look a littel bit around at the world, discover that there is beauty and sufference in this world, and there is nothing so very special about your very own one, nothing to deserve the superlatives in which you are used to think, becoming blind to your fellow humans. My advice - but of course, you have the echo malady. What I see in you, you try to convince yourself that it is not your problem, but of "the Romanians". It is indeed a syndrom that I know no cure for, so allow me to go back to my most sincere wishes already expressed before.

    1. There is absolutely nothing wrong with adressing a nation's collective culture. I never tried to imply that all Romanians are that way. The reason I made reference to collective Romanian culture, is because Romanians as a collective decided not to value Transylvania's multi-ethnic history, but to denigrate it and act to homogenize the land, which as I pointed out is happening and gave plenty examples of evidence that it is vilful. And by the way, you never adressed my request to comment on the double standard and discriminative way in which the Hungarian language is being treated when it comes to it having a potentially practical value, such as helping one get a job, just like all other language skills can help people in Romania or elsewhere.

      As far as Larry Watts, please give me a break. It is not what I have said I quoted what others wrote.
      Here is another example of who people seem to think he is, which if I were him, I would deny as well.

      As for your last part; yes there is "beauty and sufference in this world". There is also freedom to express oneself. I'm sorry to hear that you do not like me to express my disaproval of the homogenization of Transylvania, which to me means the erasing of my heritage and culture, but as I pointed out, there is another way which would satisfy us both. The way I pointed out in my last response to you. There are many countries where historical minorities and their right to survive is protected through acording autonomy and oficial language status where feasible, while in Romania, you are busy planing the incorporation of the last areas where there is still a significant ethnic Hungarian population into predominantly ethnic Romanian regions, and as I pointed out and provided you with proof, the use of Hungarian as a practical language is being persecuted by the Romanian government, even though there is not even a law against it for obvious reasons.
      Why does Romania not join other countries such as Switzerland and Finland and respect the right of an ethnic minority to survive and thrive? The answer is simple, you want the purified national state. 100% sacred Romanian land, right?
      If that is what you want, go for it, but do not expect those whose culture and heritage you want to estinguish to be quiet about it. Next thing, you will ask rape victims to be quiet as well, so not to disturb society's peace and harmony.

      By the way, before sending me to revise my sources about language and the use of ethnic cleansing, you should know that I have a degree in Anthropology, so know plenty about population studies. In what function do you chalenge me, if I may ask?

    2. (continued from below)

      Watts was very probably similar: passionate, with some loose contacts, and pursuing his own interests. If you read the book he came out with, you will well understand one fundamental thing: it is the product of the impact of documentation of the complex interaction between external politics of power within the Soviet Block, and the quite monotonous communist every day life opression within. Romania had two terror waves: the first was stalinist, the second was maoist of inspiration. And it was repressed by the stalinist, trying to lied about it in all kind of ways (national communist blah blah). The simple pluralist mind of Watts reveals the actual fight that has been continuously going on between stalinists - of obvious extraction - and those that I prefer to call maoist, since their influence started in 1971 with the famous "small cultural revolution".

      So the invectives you want me to read are only a product of the mispleasure that stalinists find with the information revealed. Read the book! And take my word, I do not agree with quite some of the conclusions, I would not endorse the statements of Watts without critical discussion. But it is impossible to have a critical discussion with people who are caught in the circle of invectives that can be found on the net - such people I combat because they give power to a level of difamation which is inacceptable. This is why I suggested to you to read the book and talk to Watts, if you have criticisms. This is what a honnest and selfconfident person would do.

      If you insist, I will one day give you an answer to "what you romanians do". It would be preferable you recogitate on what you have written there, since it is quite deeply below the belt, and I have A LOT of material to answer to you and that level. You will not like it. And I do not like to discuss at that level!

  11. Ban @ "As far as Larry Watts, please give me a break. It is not what I have said I quoted what others wrote.
    Here is another example of who people seem to think he is, which if I were him, I would deny as well."

    You shall not push me now into the position of a fan of Larry Watts or of unconditional supporter of all of his views. But I tell you one thing: I have done a research of one months on the net, in spring, to find some coherent opinion against him. And what I realized then, was that he must have scared many ratts, since nothing was substantial, but all you could find was heavily subjective, vicious and beneath the belt. The good old stalinist style. Misusing some minimal facts, like the one that he had been in Romania at the time of Ceausescu, that there had been some encounter or common work with that guy Trepkow or what his name was ... and that was enough for starting not less than difamation.

    I do not buy that. I have personally worked in Zürich with people who had worked for yeas, went out for beers and socialized with the famous Osterwalder, an IT specialist who was revealed five years later as a major pedophile, who even commited crimes. Disgusting. So does that mean that my boss was vicious, because he had repeatedly gone out for lunch with Osterwalder?

    Now here I offer you an example of a scared individual, who earned his life a high salary with a german radio, for turning stalinistic views into progress. Here is the kind of language resulting: Do not look for proofs of his claims, stalinists never needed things like that. Insinuations are enough.

    What do they want? Simple - associate Watts with Ceausescu and let the frustrations and hatred of the populations do the rest, so that the complicated questions raised by the impeccable documentation of Watts do not spread waves. Why are they afraid? You bet!

    Not let me tell you what I know: I happened to meet personally Steve Sampson - in the 70-es also an american sociologist having developed a passion for Romania, who learned the language ... and whom everybody was of course weary of, imagining all kinds of stories on his behalf. He was certainly very left, quite passionate about what he was doing, and it was hard to imagine that no american institution ever contacted him. He is now professor in Danemark and no Tismaneanu in the world wants to difamate him.

  12. "By the way, before sending me to revise my sources about language and the use of ethnic cleansing, you should know that I have a degree in Anthropology, so know plenty about population studies."

    I am very glad you succeeded to have a degree in Anthropology. Good for you. And so what? I knew a cardinal in Swtizerland, who wanted to convince his believers, living in areas of mixed Christianity, and willing to follow sermons toghether with protestant, thus reducing an outdated separation - when running out of arguments, he was shouting "after all, I did study theology, not you".

    Concerning your missuse of "ethnic cleansing", I would rather have you use your brains and think than use the threat of "I have a degree", which really does not impress me. On the contrary, I can perceive when someone uses his brains and independent thinking, rather than trying to hide behind God knows what labels he hopes to find defense from. Ethnic cleansing is basically correlated to some kind of physical extermination. And there was nothing like that with respect to hungarians. Period. All the rest is imposing your will on language and people.

    I recently went through a similar argument with an other Hungarian, I otherwise respect somehow. He was trying to convince me that "cultural genocide" was applied correctly to the hungarian context of the 80-es. And for this he brought some quotes from Wikipedia. I countered twice, he insisted that his quotations are consistent - until I got angry and went to the source. I found that not before the year 2000 had there been any discussion about a definition of "cultural genocide" - so in the 80-es it was certainly up to the pleasure of those used the terms. But, much worse, there had been some UN debate which ended by banning for good the attempted term, obviously arriving to the conclusion that it was misleading. Only when I brought these facts, from the very same sources he used, did he give up.

    Let me use your strategy of generalization: You Hungarians are like that, deceitful to the bitter end, one has to keep continously an eye on you and force you to recognize when all evidence is against you. You would never recongnize an error by mere wisdom and common sense. And so much patience and violence to go through the same discussion over and over again, I do not have. Some of YOUR people should provide you the education of common sense, measure and politenesss if you wish to discuss with other people (not only Romanians).

    People tend to be fed up with Hungarian enormities and lack of measure. Even those who are quite sympathetic to them, in general. You should nail the letter of Kertesz above your bed for a while, so that you start reflecting also on yourself.

    1. PM, just because international organizations may shy away from calling the homogenization of a region through colonization and asimialtion ethnic cleansing, does not mean that it is not ethnic cleansing, because the result is the same as the forcefull acts of ethnic cleansing, which are recognized. Some of these things happen like I said because powers like France and Israel are against it, but what happened in Transylvania is nevertheless wrong. If you wish, we can call it the hippidi hop, i'm fine with that as long as we acknowledge the large demographic shift as a result of actions taken by the Romanian state and abuses that occured and still occur, of which I gave plenty of examples and you simply ignored. The fact remains that Transylvania had a long history as a multi-ethnic entity, which Romanians vilfully destroyed, with only pockets of what the region should be remaining, which even now you guys are working hard to find ways to destroy as well, instead of concentrating on building a better future for yourselves.

  13. Zoltan Ban - basically, you are there to throw your propaganda at the world and no rule holds for you. Truth is what you want it to be. Romanians did not vilfully or otherwise destroy whatever. Stalinism did destroy a lot this is true. But FAR FAR FAR less than happened in other places. So a little bit of honnesty and reverence to others is welcome, if you wish understanding and compassion for your people. It is the law of Universe, do upon the others as you wish to be done upon you. It does not stop at the edge of Hungarian conscienceness, for sure.

    What happened in Transylvania is nevertheless wrong. Oh my goodness, again you beet it - there CERTAINLY have been events which went wrong in Transyilvania. And guess what, such one purported by Hungarians too, also in the last decades. But also by Romanians. THIS is not the point of debate. The point of debate is that with this paranoid (no other way to call it) hungarian obsession on their own bubitze - which may certainly hurt or produce worries - and measureless presentation thereoff, as if they were the worst that can happen, dialogue is impossible, my friend. I repeat, my people has seen a drop from 90% to 65% of the population in Bessarabia, mostly by means of extermination. And several more violent developments throughout the area, all in the same century in which the very worst that happened to hungarians was some population shifting. Do you want me to offer you the wording of Horthy's project to "get rid of Romanians", within years, after the Diktat? Frankly, I do care for the culture and cohabitation of Hungarians in Romania. They are part of that coutry, just as Jews and Saxons had been, alas. There is no reason to lose them. But discussing the issue under these extremely one sided conditions of accusation will be never my choice. Because you - collectively, as Hungarian, since it is hard to have an individual picture of you, you are a drop out of a project, to what you show - are anything but innocent and victims, ever since 1918 to 2013. To say nothing about what was before. And I do not like discussions with people who try to get into a position that does not correspond. May the topic even be a right one!

    1. ALright PM, what happened to Romanians in the Soviet Union was far more brutal, therefore I should shut it, even though as I pointed out the end result is somewhat similar in terms of demographic changes.
      But if we were to go by the same logic, what we really would need to get here is a Jewish person to tell you to shut it, because after all, compared to what happened to them, the Moldova incident is nothing.

      Aside from that, I want to point out to you that your excuse for not acknowledging that the homogenization of Transylvania is a vilful act of destruction of another culture falls flat on its face if we were to compare to other incidents in the world. Take the Native American experience in Canada. You might be surprised to learn that what happened to them was in no way the result of brutal violence, but it was vilful destruction of their culture. It was done through colonization, and through the ones who had the power imposing their will, which little by little led to their destruction. In fact the only military action of note only happened in the late 1800's, against a group of Metis (mixed white and native group). Nevertheles, if you go to Canada and you start screaming how what happened to the Natives was not a crime, you will be seen as a biggot by most people there, for there at least people own up to their historical inheritance, unlike Romanian society, which is still stuck with their beautiful cindorela myth.
      So, looking at such paralels, like I said the excuse you try very hard to make, by pointing out that the process of homogenization was not violent, therefore it was "natural" is flawed to say the least.

  14. An actual plan of cleansing, with an explicite racist motivation:

    Instead, Budapest continued pursuing 19th century policies of brutal assimilation and, when Horthy’s forces entered northern Transylvania in September 1940 they systematically murdered the intellectual and spiritual elite of Romanian settlements. These were not atrocities – the independent crimes of individual officers, soldiers or units disregarding standing orders. They were punitive actions specifically ordered by Hungarian military commanders within a campaign knowingly pursued by the Hungarian political leadership.
    If Romanian perspectives were lost in the midst of this campaign, one can imagine the pressures and forces that engulfed individual Hungarian elites with enough foresight to recognize the need for change. Eloquent in this regard was the remarkable protest of Foreign Minister Pál Teleki against the policy of falsely alleging minority abuse as justification for Hungarian military attacks on its neighbors. In his famous April 1941 suicide note the Hungarian foreign minister condemned his country’s leadership for having placed itself “on the side of scoundrels, for there is not a word of truth in the stories about atrocities. Not even against Germans, let alone against Hungarians!” (Nicholas Nagy-Talavera, The Green Shirts and the Others: Fascism in Hungary and Romania, 1970)
    That autumn Ivan Héjjas, one of Horthy’s favorite “White Terror” commanders, and Baron Ede Atzél, who headed the “Transylvanian Society for the Evidence of the Population” responsible for monitoring, dispossessing and excluding ethnic Romanians from the regional economy, submitted a plan for the elimination of Romanian ethnicity in record time. Approved by Hungary’s Prime Minister at the beginning of 1942, the plan proposed the same policy that had driven Teleki to suicide, stipulating that “in order to justify official reprisals against the Romanians,” Hungarian commandos “who speak Romanian, dress in national Romanian costumes [and posing] as a Romanian group, would launch terrorist attacks against groups of Transylvanian Germans and against some Hungarian groups.” (23 August 1944: Documents, vol. I, 1984)
    The new Hungarian authorities in Transylvania pursued a four-year program of ethnic cleansing against the Romanians. One, it is worth noting, that was not reciprocated by Romanian authorities against the ethnic Hungarians remaining under their jurisdiction. After repeated Romanian appeals – and in accordance with provisions of the Vienna Award/Diktat that transferred northern Transylvania to Hungary – a mixed German-Italian commission of inquiry was sent to investigate in 1941. Another was sent in 1943 at Budapest’s request, apparently as part of a misguided effort to nullify the Hungarian culpability revealed in the first inquiry.
    The 1943 commission again identified the problem as the “brutal discriminations against the Romanian population by Hungarian civil servants and private persons,” and the underlying cause as the “fundamental attitude” Hungarian authorities openly expressed that “Romanians, both as a race and a culture, are at a much lower level than the Hungarians and thus cannot pretend to the same treatment with the State nationalities.” (Vasile Puşcaş, Transylvania şi aranjamentele europene: (1940-1944), 1995)

    And so on - you really need a generation of intellectuals that teach you to ALSO look at your own shadow. There is too much bias and imballance in your perception. The most attorcious thow is the sustained policy of opposing by Budapest of any development of an adapted Hungarian minority in Romania and the forcible maintenance of mistrust. I do not want to decide if your attitude, perfectly represented the strategy, is a conscient or blue eyed one.

    1. I am more than ready to acknowledge that Hungarians commited many crimes through history. Although speaking of the crimes commited during the Second World War in Transylvania, they were very much inspired by the Romanian behavior after 1918.
      In a twenty year span, the Hungarian population in Transylvania dropped from 1.7 million, to 1.4 million. The same period included the uprooting of tens of thousands of Hungarian families who were tenant farmers, who had no choice but to emigrate. It included exprpriation of Hungarian property and the destruction of the Hungarian intelectual elite.
      Yes Hungarians commited atrocities and so did Romanians in 1944.
      But let us look at one particular atrocity of which I am sure you are aware, but are not aware of a certain detail. The Massacre at Tresnea. The Hungarian oficer who innitiated it, was in fact native to the region, but his family was evicted during the Romanian "land reform". So, even though it does not justify the masacre, it does give us a glimpse into what was the cause of such brutality.

      I hope I can end this absurd conversation we have been having by pointing out the absurdity of your claim that I am biased. Perhaps my atitude would be more to your liking if I was to close my eyes to facts such as the 2011 census which shows that in all counties in Transylvania where ethnic Hungarians now make up less than 20% of the population, the ethnic Hungarian population decline has been at least 20% over the past 20 years. In some counties it was over 30%. This is the result of Romanian policies of the past 95 years. My culture is being wiped out as a result of it. What exactly would you have me say?

    2. Sorry, I need to correct something. The ethnic Hungarian population decline in those counties has been at least 20% over the past 10 years, not 20 as I wrote.

  15. " Although speaking of the crimes commited during the Second World War in Transylvania, they were very much inspired by the Romanian behavior after 1918."

    You see Zoltan, your culture is not being wiped out - but your brain has been, white washed. I have seen people like you, the make enormous statements like the one above in one lightheartedness, and when you challenge them, they run away to a different topic. You are indoctrinated to believe that there is nothing a Hungarian would have done - that Romanians were not worse. And that is day dreaming. You name me one village were Hungarian peasants came to encounter Romanian army peacefully with Bread and Salt, and they were slaughtered, like Ip, Trasnea and so on. Tell me what plans were concieved that recall you the one above?

    NO - your and not biased, you are brain washed! And being so, by what means do you want to verify this? Try in your mind at least to answer my questions. You live in a day drem with evil Romanians, and feel at east with this - one day reality may invade that day dream though!

    Your culture is being wiped out - what do you say. The census of 2011 - what do you know about it? Have you seen that the Romanian population was reduced there by over 15%? The Romanian culture is also being wiped out by the evil Hungarian hating romanians! Your indoctination does not allow you to open the eyes to other realities than the one you fear and love likewise, the one of your selfdeclared and presumed endangered cutlurre. Otherwise you would realize that the period 2002-2010 has been one of massive emigration, most of all between Romanians. Hungarians did migrate too, mostly to Hungary though. Now I do not call this by any of your prefered moke words. No enough is enough - I can pray for you!

  16. I come to this conversation very late, as i have only come across it today.
    Upon reading the above transcript, one is forced to conclude that Zoltan's comments are woefully misinformed and, even worse, he is so committed to his thesis that he will not stop to consider facts and arguments in good faith.
    His absence of good faith is confirmed by his repeated, distorted and scurrilous attacks on Larry Watts. The techniques employed in pursuing this sort of character assassination are well understood. i don't know where Zoltan lives, but he seems to be so deeply imbued by prejudice that any further discussion with him would seem futile. A great pity.
    Marc Cannizzo (neither Romanian nor Hungarian)

  17. Marc Cannizzo, thank you for entering this sad an lonely place.