The evidence disappears

In our frustration over the manipulated images from Târgu Mureş shown on the Romanian Television, we let loose at Dorin Suciu, its local correspondent. We told him that this was not the first spiteful thing he had done, that he had not behaved correctly during the February demonstrations either. He said he was not to blame. He said he had shot at least three full cassettes of film on the night of the 20th (material lasting six hours) from his Grand Hotel vantage point, and that he had sent this material to Bucharest by air. It had left him undoctored, he said.

His material was not shown, and he did not know where the film that was broadcast had come from. I asked him whether the Romanian attack could be seen on his pictures, and he said it definitely could be seen. This perhaps explains why Răzvan Theodorescu, the President of Romanian Television, claimed that the films taken by his staff had been violently stolen by persons unknown. (On the aeroplane, at least, we must exclude the use of this force, since there is a strong guard on every flight in Romania.)

At the RMDSZ-Vatra Românească negotiations, ten-member delegations attended. Stenographic minutes were taken.

The two RMDSZ Vice-Presidents (István Káli-Király and Pál Kikeli) who had gone underground, did not join the negotiations, preferring to remain underground. Before the negotiations started, the Vatra team protested against my presence. But Gelu Voican Voiculescu insisted on my participation, and of course, the other RMDSZ members did too.

While we talked, the anti-Hungarian demonstration of Romanians belonging to the Vatra continued in front of the Grand Hotel.

Dumitru Pop made a revealing slip of the tongue when he said to the joint panel that the Hungarian danger had been indicated to President Iliescu as early as the end of January. I recalled what date it was that our President had mentioned the threat of “separatism” on television – January 25. Other news from the Vatra people appears to be even more interesting in light of the miners’ rampage against anti-government demonstrators in Bucharest the following June. Concerning the Târgu Mureş pogrom, they said: “The miners were already at Războieni, but they were sent back.”

See how clear everything becomes!

Because we managed to stop the Szeklers from coming to Târgu Mureş, the Romanian organisers didn’t need the miners. Ferenc Formanek reported in the earlier-mentioned Krónika interview that, after he was made to resign, he returned to his home town of Târgu Mureş, from where he travelled together with Károly Király to Bucharest early on March 19. Because Géza Domokos travelled to Budapest after the Târgu Mureş pharmacy battle of March 16, and Károly Király held no RMDSZ office, Formanek was the only national deputy president of RMDSZ who was in Bucharest. It was in this capacity that he asked on March 20 for an audience from Ion Iliescu, in order to inform him of the situation. “While the fighting was raging in Târgu Mureş, I was waiting in Iliescu’s hall, but in the end he did not receive me.” He added that “it points to how well organised the events were that in the meantime I was having a conversation with Gelu Voican Voiculescu who had already heard that trains carrying miners were on their way to Târgu Mureş!” Voican Voiculescu – who had also played a part in the execution of the Ceauşescus – only talked about the miners’ march in progress and wisely kept quiet about what we later found out from a couple in Zlatna. Following the restitution law of 2001, I travelled with my wife to Zlatna to claim compensation for her father’s unlawfully demolished house of birth. It was then that we were told that on the morning of March 20 armed Moţi (the name for the Romanians of this region – translator’s note) were sitting in buses on the main square, ready to set off for Târgu Mureş to teach the Hungarians a lesson. After we had stopped the Szeklers, Gelu Voican Voiculescu – who used to work as a geologist in the Moţi region – telephoned Zlatna and told them to stay at home, Hungarian-beating Moţi are not needed any more in Târgu Mureş.

I leave it to the reader to imagine the dimensions of the conflict and the number of fatal casualties had it come to a confrontation between the Szeklers and the Moţi. Would the Romanian army and police have remained mere idle onlookers? Even now, 25 years later, I am occasionally stopped by Hungarians from Odorheiul Secuiesc who will say to me: “Mr Kincses, if you had let us come to Târgu Mureş at the time, things would be so quiet now!” Yes, I think on these occasions, the silence of the graveyard...

We urged that the events of Târgu Mureş should be investigated by an international commission, but they would not hear of it. It is understandable that they wanted to prevent the discovery of the truth at any price, this attitude being fully explicable in light of the “solutions” to problems the authorities of Romania have sought to apply subsequently.

We succeeded in drawing up a joint communiqué, the most valuable point of which was – in my opinion – the second, which reads:

“The representatives of the RMDSZ declare the loyalty of the Hungarian population to the territorial integrity of Romania, and that the RMDSZ does not intend and never intended to separate Transylvania from the whole of the country.

“The Vatra Românească Association takes note of this stand of the RMDSZ, and will inform the Romanian public of it.”

I believe this point should be waved in front of the Vatra Românească all the time, so that it should be induced to publicise this declaration in accordance with its given word. Civilised people keep their word, don’t they?

The next day, on March 23, the Executive Committee of the Mureş County and Târgu Mureş Council of the Provisional Council of National Unity was re-elected. A young Romanian proposed that those five Romanians and five Hungarians who were most contested by the other side should be omitted from the leadership. I was on this list. Károly Király (who had earlier voluntarily resigned from his Mureş County presidency) headed the list. Among the Romanians were Judea and Scrieciu.

They made only one exception, and that was with Dumitru Pop. The “unpopularity list” did not contain the representative of the Vatra Românească, and he was left in the leadership.

After our removal, General Ion Scrieciu came up to me and thanked me for my correct behaviour. In spite of this, in his later statements he also made me appear as a Hungarian provocateur, telling the lie that on March 19 I had travelled to Odorheiul Secuiesc to draw crowds of Szeklers to Târgu Mureş. But in the TV documentary Mă doare capul (I have a headache) of Cornel Mihalache and Edit Bereczky, the general blurted out that when the paratroopers arrived from the by-now internationally well-know Deveselu base, their commander, Colonel Tabacu asked him: “Who has to be shot?” Luckily for me/us, Scrieciu answered: “Nobody…”

I did not at all regret my lawful removal. For I had sensed earlier (and had said as much in my interview with Cuvîntul Liber) that our activity was not of much use, much less so since practical questions were resolved at the level of the mayoral offices.

But I had to admit that when I had accepted the office of County Vice-President, I had trusted that the country could be moved in the direction of democracy, towards the creation of equal rights.

But the results have been miserable, and we are still seeking the answer to the question, why?

On one occasion during these two days when I had the opportunity of talking with Voican Voiculescu, he asked me why the Vatra people detested me so much. “Why do they consider you an extremist, since with your intellect and mentality, you cannot be an extremist?”

I answered that the reason was definitely because I always aimed to react to their actions and it probably happened that I had on occasion frustrated their calculations.

I also recall the occasion during these days when he reprimanded Major Vasile Ţîra, reminding him that he had already been told to put an end to the open incitement that had continued among Romanians. At the time, Voican Voiculescu added: “Look out; we can apply other methods, too.” Though, unfortunately, we still await evidence of that resolve.

Indeed, this same Ţîra was the officer who directed the attack against András Sütő, but he has in the meantime even been promoted from major to lieutenant-colonel.

I told Voican Voiculescu of my desire to return to Bucharest with him and to tell the relevant people there the truth about the events in Târgu Mureş. My plan surprised him. He agreed, but rather reluctantly. It was from this reluctant “yes” that I drew the conclusion that he did not really want to hear the truth.

On the evening of March 23, the military refused to escort me home despite the fact that the most aggressive Vatra demonstration was taking place at that time (even Voican Voiculescu had been shouted down). The military’s excuse to me was that they were paratroopers and had no car!

This set me thinking. For it was also characteristic of the mentality of the Romanian demonstrators that on the evening of March 23 they also demanded the resignation from the county administration of the Hungarian engineer, Zoltán Kolozsváry, who had been elected as my successor that day. The essence was that there should be no Hungarian representative at all. Unfortunately, since then, these Vatra demands have one after another found a warm reception with the supreme Romanian leadership,

Next morning, on the 24th, I travelled into the countryside with my family. We took this decision because Katalin Simonffy warned me that during the same morning the Hungarian programme would be broadcasting a factual Romanian-language interview with me. Unfortunately it did not come to pass, and the Romanian media have parroted nothing but lies about me.

From my retreat, I learned of certain unfavourable developments. The police began inquiring about me at the homes of my young relatives. Bucharest Television also began broadcasting demands for punishment arising from the Târgu Mureş events. From the available evidence, I had to assume this meant punishment leading Hungarians.

I considered it important that the truth should be told about Târgu Mureş. And not knowing then the potential scope of the recriminations that might lie ahead, I decided to make use of my valid passport and to go abroad.

On March 30, I crossed the Romanian-Hungarian border in a black Dacia car acting as if I were a member of a formal government delegation and began my temporary stay abroad. I understand that three days later my name appeared on the border guards’ watch list.

At the time, I was hoping to be elected in the upcoming elections from the RMDSZ list and I could then return home under parliamentary immunity. I was in first place on the list of senators proposed by the Mureş County RMDSZ. The poet Béla Markó was second, the actor István Ferenczy third. The anti-democratic Romanian election laws made it possible to lodge a protest against my nomination. The Mureş County Court upheld this protest and its decision of April 30 1990 deleted my name, together with Smaranda Enache’s, from the electoral list of nominees. The appeal against the ruling was set up by my colleague, Sándor Mihály, but the RMDSZ did not file it.

I phoned the leaders of the Mureş County RMDSZ from Vienna and urged that they should by all means lodge a protest against the nomination of the Vatra Românească leaders, Radu Ceontea and Dr Zeno Opriş, but they did not fulfil my request. I was calculating that, considering the international reaction to be expected, the Romanian authorities would think twice before allowing these gentlemen to stand as democrats, while Smaranda Enache and I were being deleted from the candidates’ list as enemies of democracy. If they still had decided to delete us from the list, how well would the statement look in the ruling that the two Vatra leaders were the champions of the “original” Romanian democracy, while we were dirty anti-democrats? File no 460/1990 of the Mureş county civil court is kept not in the archives of this court but in the prosecutor’s offices. Ruling Number 1 of April 30, 1990, argued that I had to be held responsible for abuse of power and for inciting the students of the Bolyai  Farkas Lyceum and the Târgu Mureş University of Medicine and Pharmacy of Târghu Mureș to separatism, plus I had also had the temerity to speak Hungarian instead of the official language of the country, Romanian, etc. I was robbed of the constitutional right to be elected based on this mendacity.

Because I could not be elected senator, I could not have parliamentary immunity and therefore I found myself in the situation of being the first political refugee of the Iliescu regime who was not able to return home even to attend the funeral of his father. And Béla Markó, who was promoted into my place, could start his political career in Bucharest instead of continuing his literary one. Because of the investigation-comedy against me, I could only return home after five and a half years abroad. This was greatly facilitated by the fact that Romania had become a member of the Council of Europe, so I could present my case at the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg. Though there too, justice is slow. And this is a sad story which has a sad ending. The European Court of Human Rights did not perform well in my case, although I presented it with the help of Dr. Mária Fekszi in French, thinking that this would diminish the Romanian influence. More than three years after filing my petition, they informed me that the original documents were lost (?!), asking me to present them again. In my second petition, I argued that the long investigation process against me which had been going on by then for five years was violating my rights to proper proceedings to be conducted within an acceptable time-frame and also my rights to live in my homeland.

Eventually my case was not heard by the European Court of Human Rights, the argument being that my suit had lost its motive, because I can live without fear in my home town. This decision has severely hurt my human right to a fair process, because it is beyond doubt that the investigation went on for an impermissibly long time.