We are always happy to assist you. Selected and translated by Csilla Bertha and Donald E. Carysfort Press, Dublin, But the memory work performed by the expert translators, Csilla Bertha and Donald E. Morse, does not stop here: not only are the plays and their authors brought back from certain oblivion, but through them Hungarian drama in Romania is also made visible for the English audience.
Milton T. This is a dramatic world of Biblical dimensions indeed, where people living under unbearable pressures have huge difficulties in managing human relationships that become inevitably distorted. A world where the father will order his daughter never to be seen again in his house, or will order her to stay with him forever.
Therefore, they think and speak in parables, believing themselves to be the inheritors of divine promises made at the dawn of time, and expect God to watch over every move they make over the centuries. Time has a very particular meaning in this world, cyclic rather than linear, measured by Fate rather than mortals.
As such, years, decades, and centuries do not stand between events, and people accept the possibility of living the lives of others, whether their ancestors or their successors. We cannot be together even with our dead any longer. Give us back at least our dead, my Lord, and we will resurrect them instead of You with our affection.
You take the living far away, You hold the dead in the unknown so as to increase our loneliness. Why is it that You assign the fate of windblown dandelion seeds to our childre? And if You do that to us, why did You take away from us the right to speak out loud? And even if we did, our unsuitability for miracles stands fully revealed. Miracles ran away from our vicinity like the winged snow bunting, which had no peace from human talk. Let our tears fall, child, let our grief ooze free inside without a sound.
Both communities seem to have taken solace in speaking in Biblical allegories, in recognizing the wonder-working Providence even in their daily hardships and afflictions, and in reading in events divine signs and messages sent to them by the Almighty.
Review of Silenced Voices--Hungarian Plays from Transylvania, trans. Csilla Bertha and Donald Morse
A sense of mission is clearly detectable in these plays, preparing the community for the mission of the national dream. It is fully understandable, then, that the play of ideas, the dramatized philosophical and moral debate, stands as the typical dramatic genre. The allegory is obvious: the Jews figure as the Hungarians, who make every effort to withstand the Romanian attempts to replace Hungarian customs, beliefs, and values with those of the Roman ian state.
One deadline, of 20 March , tied to an OSCE Conference in Paris, passed with no result, other than the signing of a joint Prime Ministerial declaration, which did not resolve any of the key issues and was intended merely to continue the process,  in the wake of the successful conclusion, two days earlier, of the Hungarian-Slovak bilateral treaty, which had been delayed by similar concerns about ethnic Hungarians. The treaty might take years to conclude, according to Csaba Takacs. Indeed, the 20 March deadline passed without any progress. Instead he said Romania needed more local autonomy, which would definitely not be organised along ethnic lines.
The Romanian diplomatic offensive in April came in reaction to statements made by the President of the Council of Europe's Parliamentary Assembly, Miguel Angel Martinez, who had visited Bucharest that month.
Philologica Vol. 10, No. 1, by Acta Universitatis Sapientiae - Issuu
The main thrust of his remarks was to resurrect Recommendation as the litmus test of minority rights in any bilateral treaty, and to criticise the Romanian Government for a deterioration of the situation of ethnic Hungarians in the country. The effect of this order was to condition Council of Europe membership on the applicants' conforming to Recommendation , including agreeing to participate in the Council of Europe monitoring process.
This reminder was described as "regrettable and dangerous" by President Iliescu's spokesman  According to Romanian media reports, Mr Martinez had changed position suddenly and inexplicably. Under the headline "Adios Senor Martinez" one newspaper editorial concluded that "we would not be pleased to see you in Romania again". Bela Marko, a senator in the national parliament, and a relative moderate, maintained the chairmanship of the party, despite a challenge from the more radical Imre Borbely, who is also a RMDS senator.
Bishop Laszlo Tokes retained his position as honorary chairman; his role has been mainly that of an international ambassador for the ethnic Hungarian cause. The congress decided to call on the Government of the United States to make the renewal of Romania's Most Favoured Nation trade status dependent on improvements in the Government of Romania's ethnic minorities policy. The failure of the central government to appoint ethnic Hungarians to positions of prefect regional administrator in Harghita and Covasna counties, where ethnic Hungarians form up to 90 per cent of the population, was deplored.
Following three more months of inter-government and internal deadlock, Romanian President Iliescu made an offer of a "historical reconciliation", taking the Franco-German detente after the Second World War as a model.
President Iliescu referred to Romania's "European option", and the "brilliant example of the success of the European spirit" given by the post-war settlement between France and the Federal Republic of Germany. The speech made a direct appeal to the Hungarian Government to stop seeing itself as the defender of the ethnic Hungarians in Romania, adding that the position of the ethnic Hungarian minority derived from basic human rights guaranteed by the Romanian constitution, which could not be subject to negotiation with other countries.
Romanian President Iliescu's speech tried to give the issue a broader European context, by stressing bilateral and continental principles, while sidelining local specifics, such as the minorities question. Hungarian Foreign Minister Laszlo Kovacs said that his government was open to discussion of President Iliescu's initiative, but added that it appeared to be of a political and not a legal character.
Hungary's position was unchanged; it still insisted on minority rights being included in any basic treaty. However, in a measure of the moderate tone of the Hungarian Prime Minister Horn's government, compared with the determination of preceding Prime Minister Antall's government, Foreign Minister Kovacs said that failure to conclude a treaty in the next year or two would not cause difficulties, specifically not with regard to both countries' aspirations to European Union and NATO membership.
- Silenced Voices: Hungarian Plays from Transylvania;
- Read e-book Silenced Voices: Hungarian Plays from Transylvania.
- Emperors River: Travels to the Heart of a Resurgent China.
He also denied official Romanian reports that the UDMR was pressurising the Hungarian Government to delay progress on a basic treaty, adding that he wanted to promote the process by involving both countries' minorities in discussions. In 22 September , the Romanian Government followed up on President Iliescu's speech and presented three documents to the Hungarian Ambassador in Bucharest: a proposed joint declaration, a code of conduct on minority treatment, and a proposal for unblocking the treaty talks. He said that a regime of bi-annual inter-state meetings, similar to those held between French and German leaders, would best serve both countries' interests.
Even as Romanian diplomats were pursuing the idea of President Iliescu's "historic reconciliation", ethnic Hungarians were starting to protest against a new Education Law, which had been passed in June The law gave primacy to education in the Romanian language throughout the country and throughout the education system. This, according to RMDS leader Bela Marko, implied a policy of Romanianization, because if carried out to the letter the new law would require Romanian-language schools to be established even in villages with an entirely ethnic-Hungarian population.
The ethnic Hungarian community forms about 9 per cent of the total population. As the start of school year 15 September approached, several demonstrations were held to protest against the new law. Although that idea was abandoned, there were protests to the European Parliament and the Council of Europe. Reacting to the furore, President Iliescu said that the Education Law could be "refined".
Silenced voices : Hungarian plays from Transylvania (eBook, ) [lorutasozyhu.tk]
A concession with regard to the new law had already been made to allow ethnic Hungarian pupils to take university entrance exams for the new academic year in Hungarian. However, the Hungarian Government declared itself sceptical about the likelihood of any additional early change to the law. In September , there were three more factors that fuelled ethnic Hungarian suspicions that President Iliescu's grand new policy was not making very much practical difference. Firstly, a law was approved banning the use of foreign national symbols and the singing of foreign national anthems, a measure fully supported by Romanian nationalist elements and apparently aimed mainly at hampering Hungarian nationalist demonstrations.
Secondly, a member of the Romanian hard-line nationalist PUNR was appointed as prefect local administrator in Mures County, an area with a high percentage of ethnic Hungarians. And thirdly, in Cluj the nationalist PUNR mayor Gheorghe Funar engaged in a war of attrition with the director of the local Hungarian Opera House, who had hung up a Hungarian-language banner commemorating the 50th anniversary of the death of the Hungarian composer Bela Bartok and advertising a Bartok Music Festival.
The banner broke local by-laws because the text was not translated into Romanian. Gheorghe Funar sent a team of local council workers to remove the banner three times, and the director replaced it after each removal. Ironically, Gheorghe Funar was born in the same village as Bartok. In 3 November , inter-governmental talks on the Hungarian-Romanian basic treaty reopened in Budapest, the first direct contacts since President Iliescu's August "historic reconciliation" speech.
There had been a four-month interval since the last such meeting, when Hungarian Foreign Minister Laszlo Kovacs had been in Bucharest. However, the November meeting was at a lower level, involving State Secretaries rather than ministers. According to Csaba Tabajdi, Hungarian Secretary of State for Minority Affairs, the code of conduct on minority treatment included among the documents presented by Romania in September was merely an account of how minorities themselves should behave, with no reference to the obligations of governments.
Meanwhile, ethnic Hungarian representatives in Romania were unhappy at what they saw as the supine attitude of the Hungarian Government in its dialogue with Bucharest. Bishop Laszlo Tokes, honorary RMDS chairman, said that the Education Law was threatening the very survival of the ethnic Hungarian community in Romania and that only "wide-ranging autonomy" could prevent assimilation. However, the case of language and other minority rights for the German-speaking population in South Tirol made the Austro-Italian example far more relevant, according to Bishop Tokes.
In January , the RMDS held an extraordinary meeting to outline more precise details of a local autonomy proposal, despite the fact that bilateral talks had made no progress on this issue. In essence this was the usual demand for equality and collective rights for the ethnic Hungarian community. President Iliescu himself expressed bewilderment at what he called a "claim for special treatment". He said that although the Education Law was in compliance with fundamental European legal norms, he feared that the spirit of the law might not be well applied.
In 13 February , bilateral talks resumed, this time in Bucharest, with the brief participation of Richard Holbrooke, the US mediator in Bosnia. He urged both sides not to become "obsessed with real or imagined and often exaggerated historical grievances". Romanian negotiations with Hungary, since the beginning of , have been increasingly subject to considerations regarding the parliamentary and presidential elections due at the end of the year.
Clearly the handling of the ethnic Hungarian issue and the question of future integration into European structures like NATO and the European Union - the latter being partially dependent on the former - will be important issues during the election campaign. Foreign Minister Teodor Melescanu wanted the basic treaty signed well before the elections, so that minority rights would not be a major political issue during the elections.
A Hungarian Foreign Ministry spokesman welcomed the impetus from the Romanian side, but said that experience had shown that Romania was less flexible at the negotiating table than it appeared to be in its policy statements. Meanwhile, within Romania there were signs of political manoeuvring ahead of the elections.
But talks between Bela Marko and leading Romanian politicians on the progress of the bilateral treaty did not yield such optimism, although the meetings in themselves were a measure of the relative strength of Bela Marko's constituency. In February , Bela Marko met President Iliescu, and pressed him for a resolution of the Education Law before the university entrance examinations due ahead of the autumn session. In March, at a Bucharest conference to analyse and promote the Franco-German model of relations, President Iliescu asserted that there was no national minority problem in Romania,  while his spokesman expressed alarm at "segregationist tendencies" and an alleged RMDS plan to create a state within a state.
There is no sign of any advance in Hungarian-Romanian talks. The Hungarian Government has not been distracted by President Iliescu's "historic reconciliation" plan and continues to press for specific minority rights guarantees in the basic treaty. Meanwhile, in Romania, the Education Law is still in place and points of tension remain between the ethnic Hungarian community and the Romanian authorities.
Ethnic Romanians from Harghita, Covasna and Mures counties have complained to President Iliescu that they were "ethnically cleansed" by local ethnic Hungarians after the December overthrow of Ceausescu. Ethnic Hungarians were suspicious at the deployment of additional troops in Covasna and Harghita counties, although the Romanian Defence Ministry said the move was purely operational and not related to any ethnic issue.
The policeman subsequently died from his injuries. Local people denied the attack was ethnically motivated and said it was simply a criminal act. Although the Education Law remains in force, there have been some hopeful cultural initiatives in the field of the media.
A new radio station in Tirgu Secuiesc went on the air in August , with 75 per cent Hungarian-language programming. This is the first radio station in Romania to broadcast the majority of its programmes in Hungarian.
Ethnic Hungarian Minorities in Central and Eastern Europe
On 1 January , the ethnic Hungarian minority in Felvidek, as Hungarians call the area to the north of modern-day Hungary, suddenly found it had tripled in relative size. From comprising around 3. There are generally reckoned to be around , ethnic Hungarians in Slovakia; the census gives a total of , Some of those expelled are now trying to obtain a formal apology and compensation, although, as in the case of the far larger group of Sudeten Germans expelled from Czechoslovakia at the same time, they have so far had no success. This was principally due to an increase in Slovak nationalism, which with the coming of democracy had an equal chance to thrive, and the role of three times Slovak Prime Minister Vladimir Meciar.
For all but six months of its three-and-a-half years of independence, Slovakia has been governed by Prime Minister Vladimir Meciar. He had first led a government in , after elections contested by interest groups as much as formal political parties. He remained in power until March , when defections from his party cost him his majority.
New elections were held in October , after which he returned to the Prime Minister's office as the head of a three-party coalition. Support for Prime Minister Meciar tends to come from older rural voters in the centre of Slovakia, and industrial workers at factories which have become uneconomic and would be likely to close down if rigorous free-market principles were applied.