Through Incitement Against Equal Rights
On the evening of Thursday, January 25, listening to Ion Iliescu, many people’s hands jerked up when he even began to mention “separatism”.
This expression reminds the Romanians of Transylvania of the nightmare of “Return Transylvania to Hungary”. Of course, it is clear to everybody that this is not even open for discussion, but Ceauşescu too made clever use of this old Romanian fear in order to obtain mass support for his dictatorship.
As a consequence, the use of this expression is expressly unfortunate in the Romanian context.
It is also unfortunate from the point of view of the Hungarians and Germans of Transylvania – of Romania generally – because it is used as a strong weapon by Romania’s conservative, chauvinistic, Ceauşescuite forces in their fight against the equality of the nationalities.
If the Hungarians and Germans happen to ask for their own kindergarten, school, or university, the answer is immediately there: “This is separatism, while we (Romanians) wish to continue to work within the spirit of the brotherly understanding that has been achieved to date”.
But this so-called “brotherly understanding” has led to the almost complete rundown of nationality education. Such famous old schools as the [German] Joseph Haltrich of Sighişoara or the [Hungarian] Farkas Bolyai of Târgu Mureş are dominated by Roumanians.
But the Romanian extremists are not satisfied with such refined methods of incitement as the mention of “separatism”. They have started open Incitement. Also on January 25 (until now it has not been possible to find out who is responsible) the following inflammatory telegram was sent out from the post office of Târgu Mureş to the larger Romanian-inhabited towns:
“Romanian brethren and colleagues working at post offices and in telecommunications! The victorious revolution, instead of bringing us liberty, is headed towards bringing us moral suffering. We do not wish that the hateful Dictate of Vienna (the 1940 treaty describing the return of parts of Transylvania to Hungary), or the establishment of a Horthy-type government should be repeated. [Horthy was the Regent of Hungary 1920-1944.] In our units – and in others too – in Târgu Mureş, and at all other levels, leading personnel are arbitrarily and regularly being replaced by Hungarians. Romanian students and teachers have been expelled from the schools, manhandled and spat at.
“We ask you to support us that in the institutions and in the courts, Hungarian should not be introduced as an official language, as is currently being planned.
“We are opposed to local autonomies, including local autonomy for Transylvania. We wish to remain united with the country.
“We ask you to give expression to your public protest and to support our stand in your towns, in the local and central press. We do not want to create discord and hatred between nationalities, but rather peaceful and fraternal work between Romanians and Hungarians. Just as the Romanians and Hungarians have lived together for several hundred years in this Romanian land.
“Long live the great and free Romania!
“Signed: The Romanian initiative committee operating in the Mureş county postal and telecommunication directorate.
“We ask you to distribute this to all fellow branches.”
(My own article continues)
In addition, they also began to distribute the following “Draft Constitution” which went beyond even Ceauşescu’s erosion of nationality rights, and which threatened those living in Transylvania with the prospect of an exchange of populations. This anonymous draft said, inter alia:
“...We propose that Romania’s new constitution should contain the following:
1. In the entire territory of Romania, Romanian should be the official language between legal entities and natural persons, as well as in any kind of contacts among natural persons of Romanian citizenship.
3. The expressions “national minority” and “coexisting nationality” should be abolished”, and in their place the expression “Romanian citizens of a different nationality” should be used.
4. In all schools, at all stages, and in tertiary education, Romanian should be the language of tuition.
In those regions where Romanian citizens of a different nationality also live, it is possible to introduce and also teach the language and literature of the nationalities concerned...
7. Romanian citizens of a different nationality can of their own free will request, and if they fulfil conditions to be prescribed by law, can receive Romanian nationality...
We consider that the above points can be applied to a united nation state, as we hope Romania will be.
In the opposite case, i.e. in the case that all the above enumerated ideas are not adopted, the majority of Romanian citizens of Romanian nationality will be obliged to fight for their rights in their own county, i.e. we consider it correct that the constitution or a separate law should provide:
A. The citizen of Romanian nationality who lives in a region inhabited by other nationalities is entitled to ask for his resettlement to any other locality in the country...”
(My own article continues)
This formulation suggests that the situation of the Romanians is so untenable in Târgu Mureş that they are forced to relocate, and consequently that they need protection.
I believe that these texts require no comment. But I would like to note that the true nature of the authors of the “Draft Constitution” is betrayed by the passage according to which natural persons (i.e. the people) should be entitled to use only the Romanian language in their contacts of any nature.
The “any nature” means here that people of non-Romanian nationality should not be able to use their mother tongue in any circumstances, in no contacts. Thus the mother would behave unconstitutionally and unlawfully who addressed her child in her own mother tongue, i.e. not in Romanian.
Not even the executed dictator dared to pass measures of this nature! Only the attention and constant protest of Europe and of all signatories of the Helsinki Final Act, and the effective support of Romanian democrats can avoid a terrible, European Nagorno-Karabakh.
We must not lose faith. There are many decent Romanians on our side, such as those in Brăila, who were so shocked by the incitement of the Vatra postal clerks of Târgu Mureş in sending the telegram that they warned that we should find out who wanted to harm those forces striving for the creation of a new, democratic Romania.
In accordance with the promise I had made in my remarks to the demonstrators of Târgu Mureş on January 12, the County Council of the National Salvation Front urged in a resolution that those responsible for the killings on December 21 be brought to account, and that the police and Securitate men who manhandled the freedom fighters be also charged. It was of course an open secret that I was the author of the resolution.
I even proposed that streets should be named in our town after the six freedom fighters who had been killed.
The implementation of the resolution has been in progress since the end of January 1989.
Of course, nobody attacked me openly for these proposals. They thought it preferable to begin to spread lies about me instead.
The Vatra mouthpiece, the local newspaper Cuvîntul Liber was included in this campaign.
My name became such an everyday word that János Makkai, editor-in- chief of Népújság, even wrote: “There is no Christmas without Corvin (advertising slogan of a Budapest department store), and there is no Cuvîntul without Kincses.”
I do not want to bore the reader with these texts, but I shall mention one case.
I wrote a reply in Hungarian to a teacher of Hungarian nationality advising her to approach the school inspector with a particular request.. This letter got into the editorial offices of Cuvîntul Liber, and the newspaper attacked me for violating the official language.
I explained in my answer that the rightful use of the mother tongue was concerned here, since the letter was written by and to a private person, and this right was even ensured by Section 22 of Ceauşescu’s Constitution, etc.
I added in a postscript that the honour to appear daily in your newspaper was enjoyed in an earlier time by the illustrious Nicolae Ceauşescu, back when you still had the beautiful name of Red Star. I. said it is undeniable that the copy you wrote about him then differed greatly from the copy you write about me now. I said that for the time being I am grateful to you for this, but only for this...
It seems this sarcasm was not the worst weapon to use. For a while after that, the poisoning of souls was continued in other ways without the need to mention my name.
The Cuvîntul Liber and also Bucharest Television became noticeably more and more aggressive.
Now I clearly understood why in mid-January the old editor-in-chief of Cuvîntul, Ioan Pop had refused to reprint the interview with the RMDSZ leader Géza Domokos that had appeared that month in the Adevărul of Bucharest.
It is obvious that certain circles did everything in their power to prevent the Romanian public from learning about the true endeavours of the Hungarians of Romania. In the beginning, I thought that this was a characteristic of Târgu Mureş only, but I shortly experienced that neither the Adevărul nor Romanian Television were willing to publish or broadcast our answers to attacks or points taken up by us.
Despite the fact that I had “honoured” the Adevărul with my article about the Tőkés affair, the paper did not publish three further articles of mine. It did not even react to the manuscripts I have sent.