The Platform of Friendship in Târgu Mureş

On December 26, we intellectuals of Târgu Mureş sat down to speak frankly and responsibly about the Romanian-Hungarian, Hungarian-Romanian relationship in the new, free and democratic Romania. We are aware of the responsibility this occasion places upon us in the reconstruction of relations between the two peoples. And we are concerned not to miss the historic chance which has been created by the collapse of the dictatorship. We Romanian and Hungarian intellectuals consider it our duty to make public those ideas which have been voiced at our roundtable.

We have joined the Democratic Programme declaration of the National Salvation Front. We who live here together in Transylvania have in our hearts (a concern for) the full and genuine equal rights for each son of our home. In this we see one of the pledges and bases for the creation of a genuinely democratic Romania belonging to Europe. We consider it extremely important and urgent that every single intellectual should stand up against any kind of chauvinistic, nationalistic or xenophobic manifestation in order to prevent the outbreak of violence, hatred and entirely unacceptable personal and collective vengeance. We therefore consider that in order to achieve our noble goals we are not satisfied with simple declarations of intent alone. We shall speak out in the broadcast and printed media, mutually supporting each other in our everyday activities. We call on the clergymen of the Transylvanian Churches to support and spread these uplifting ideas. In building up the new institutionalised political, administrative, social and cultural system, let us restore genuine values to their rightful place. Let us find the competence and moral stamina to block the return of swindles and lies. Those who wish to express their agreement with our platform should indicate this in the editorial offices of our literary periodicals, “Látó”” [H – “Seer”] and “Vatra” [R – “Hearth”].

(Let it be stressed that the Romanian literary journal was unfortunate enough to share its name with the Vatra Românească movement, although that was their only point of contact.)

Signed: András Béres, Ferenc Boér, Ioan Boitan, István Borbély, Zoltán Brassai, Ioan Calion, Radu Ceontea, Alexandru Cistelecan, Constantin Copotoiu, Anton Cosma, József Éltető, Dénes Fülöp, György Gálfalvi, György Jánosházy, István Káli Király, Előd Kincses, Lazăr Lădariu, Béla Markó, Éva Máthé, Ion Ilie Mileşan, Augustin Morar, Cornel Moraru, Pál Nagy, László Nemess, Ioan Pascu, Grigore Ploeşteanu, Mihai Sin, András Sütő, Gheorghe Şincan, András Tőkés.

Looking through this list of signatories now, we find among them Radu Ceontea and Grigore Ploeşteanu. This is interesting inasmuch as they and some of their companions met the next day and founded the Vatra Românească. Oh well.

Not only were we in such a euphoric state in those days because of our own efforts, but also because of the consignments of aid that appeared immediately from Hungary, and later from other countries too. I recall one incident at this time: I addressed – in Romanian – a young man wearing an armband in the Romanian colours and who had just delivered aid. He answered self-consciously that he was from Hungary, and did not speak Romanian, but was proud to be able to wear the red-yellow-blue armband.

Also I recall the Hungarian doctors Marika and Péter Koválszky who had settled in the United States, and who rang on New Year’s Eve, and said: “Only you who stayed at home were truly able to live through these days. And nobody will ever be able to take them away from you.”

I told them that in the regional Medical and Pharmaceutical Institute, where – as I then believed – there would be again a Hungarian section, they would be needed. Even after the pogrom of March 20 they still said they would help, at least as guest lecturers helping to put the Hungarian section on its feet. But in the present Vatra climate, the country cannot count on the work of such experts.

By December 1989, Hungarian-language teaching at the Medical and Pharmaceutical University of Târgu Mureş – which between 1946-1962 taught solely in Hungarian – had been allowed to decline almost totally. It is characteristic that while in the sixth year of the Medical Faculty the proportion of Hungarian and Romanian students was 50-50, only one fifth of the first-year students were Hungarian. And the Pharmaceutical Faculty only had students in third year and up. In order to fully wind up Hungarian-language teaching they would have sacrificed even the Romanian pharmaceutical teaching in Târgu Mureş. The restoration of the pharmaceutical teaching is the result of Attila Pálfalvi’s brief activity as deputy education minister. On my request, he immediately received in Bucharest professors Mária Kincses-Ajtay and Silvia Rogoşca. On their proposal, he immediately ordered the restarting of first-year training during mid-term. The numbers in the Romanian department could be easily replenished. But for the Hungarian department they could only find in the whole country only six students to the greater glory of Ceauşescu’s minority politics. The cause of Hungarian-language medical and pharmaceutical training has been so important for my wife that she kept her chair in spite of the fact that after I fled it was written on our gate “death to you”. Since her retirement, and as head of the Society for Hungarian Medical and Pharmaceutical Training in Romania, she has been encountering continuous roadblocks in her struggles on behalf of the restoration of Hungarian-language teaching. Unfortunately, it seems history does repeat itself. While I was working on the new edition of my book, Dr Leonard Azamfirei, the rector of the Târgu Mureş Medical and Pharmaceutical University, and student demonstrator in 1990, declared that in cooperation with the Office for Analysing the Quality of Romanian Higher Education (ARACIS) in Bucharest, Hungarian-language pharmaceutical training would be terminated in Târgu Mureş starting in the autumn of 2015.