sâmbătă, 3 mai 2008

Bucati de istorie la 90 de ani

Traian Vuia a a avut si el un rol in unirea de la 1918 in calitate de preşedinte al Consiliu Naţional al Românilor din Transilvania şi Bucovina înfiinţat la Paris pe 24 August 1918. Mi-e neclara inca natura acţiunii acestui consiliu, dar o scrisoare trimisa de Traian Vuia pe 11 aprilie 1922 lui George Dobrin, întâiul prefect al Lugojului după unire, arunca o lumina interesanta asupra felului in care s-a realizat unirea Transilvaniei cu vechiul regat. Scrisoarea are un ton dur fata de liderii politici ai românilor transilvăneni si fata de politicienii din Regat, reprezintă punctul de vedere personal al inventatorului ca si participant direct la evenimente si trebuie pusă in contextul vremii.

Redau in continuare câteva fragmente din scrisoarea publicată parţial în revista Provincia :
"Au fost douã momente istorice cînd trebuiau discutate conditiunile Unirei. 1. Înainte de intrarea României în rãzboiul european, cînd România cu concursul mandatarului Partidului National Român a stabilit frontierele României Mari, cari au servit de bazã guvernului român în tratativele sale cu aliaţii. Era momentul cel mai favorabil pentru fixarea conditiunilor noastre. 2. Dupã armistitiu, la Alba Iulia, sau mai bine zis înainte cu ceva. Aici au lucrat oamenii nostri în mod copilãresc. S-au fãcut declaratiuni platonice, cari angajează mai mult pe aceia cari le-au fãcut, decît pe guvernul român. Unirei trebuia sã precedereze un pact bilateral între guvernul român si mandatarii poporului nostru întrunit la Alba Iulia si ratificat apoi printr-o Constituantã. Toatã Unirea s-a redus la un gest pur teatral, pe care ciocoii din Vechiul Regat l-au primit cu zîmbet si au zis cã suntem naivi cã n-au avut nevoie decît de a deschide usa casei în care noi am intrat de voie.
Cînd doi indivizi se asociazã, cînd douã societati fuzioneazã, se face un contract, un pact."

"Cînd în 1917 si 1918 prin forta împrejurãrilor si neîmpins de nici o ambitiune personalã am fost silit sã mã ocup de prepararea Unirei noastre a trebuit sã vãd vîrful urechilor lor (ale politicienilor din Vechiul Regat, n. H. M. ). Ei nu admiteau nici mãcar termenul „unire”. Baza anexãrei dupã dînsii trebuia sã fie sacrificiul adus de Vechiul Regat prin participarea lui în rãzboiul european. Rationamentul lor ducea drept la acea ce dreptul internaţional numeste „droit de conquète” . Si într-adevăr, Unirea s-a fãcut pe aceastã bazã."

"În 1918 am atras atentiunea dlor. Sever Bocu, Octavian Goga si Vasile Lucaciu asupra chestiunei Unirei, le-am expus cã Unirei trebuie sã-i dãm o bază juridicã si conformã dreptului international. Am vãzut însã imediat cã mã aflu în prezenta unor ignoranti, fãrã nici o pregãtire serioasă, hableuri. N-am fost înteles si am fost suspitionat, cã voiesc independenta Transilvaniei. Dar pentru ca sã ne putem uni cu Regatul Român, trebuia mai întîi sã rupem cu Ungaria, adicã sã ne declarãm
independenţi si apoi ca popor liber, printr-un act bilateral, luînd angajamente reciproce, sã ne unim cu Vechiul Regat spre a forma Noua Românie. Cînd am vãzut în ce mîini necompetente, pesti politici ai fanariotilor, este depusã soarta poporului român aici, m-am retras scîrbit. Bãrbatii nostri cred cã marile probleme politice se rezolvã prin discursuri frumoase, fraze alese, alegorii patriotice si ditirambe poetice."

vineri, 7 decembrie 2007

1 De ce? Mbrie

Vreau sa va semnalez un articol al Zoiticai (aka colega noastra Nelli) de pe blogul sau personal. Despre 1 Decembrie si de ce ea, ca maghiar, nu poate sa "dea mana cu mana, cei cu inima romana". Argumentariul articulat si bine construit va las sa-l cititi in locul in care a fost publicat. Personal astept un astfel de raspuns de la 1 Decembrie 2004 cand ii urmaream pe Emil Hurezeanu si pe Cristian Tudor Popescu la Realitatea TV constantand - nu interpretez tonul fiecaruia pentru ca as fi subiectiv si ar fi out of scope - ca sunt 1 milion si jumatate de romani - adica maghiarii - care nu sarbatoresc 1 Decembrie, carora ziua nationala nu le inspira sentimente patriotice, sau macar o ocazie de sarbatoare. Ei, acum avem o voce articulata care da indirect replica domnilor Hurezeanu si Popescu din perspectiva personala a unui membru al minoritatii maghiare din Romania. Asa ceva nu trebuie trecut cu vederea cel putin dintr-un motiv. Pentru ca discutia despre impactul pe care simbolurile pe care este construit statul roman il are asupra locuitorilor de alte nationaliti - si nu numai - este deocamdata inexistenta, dar absolut necesara. Si vice-versa, aceeasi discutie nu trebuie sa lase la o parte simbolurile minoritatilor nationale, felul in care ele coexista in societate si nu in ultimul rand impactul asupra majoritatii. Pentru ca ambele conteaza.

duminică, 25 noiembrie 2007

Subjective Transylvania

I am rather late with this (i.e. I had the intention of tackling such a topic ever since we started Phoenix Transylvania), but in the end I decided that we're slowly going to start with it, even if I still do not have as much time as I'd like to allocate in this matter. So what is this about? Well, starting with this post, I propose that we (and this is an open invitation to all my colleagues on "Phoenix Transylvania") and especially--we hope-- our readers are (also) going to tackle the topic "Subjective Transylvania" from every possible angle (read: this in fact might start several various topics, each interesting in their own), having as center piece (and as inspiration) the very interesting study "Subjective Transylvania: A Case Study of Post Communist Nationalism" by Alina Mungiu Pippidi. The discussion thread will proceed in parallel to other topics here on PhoenixTrans and there is no intention of prioritizing it (to the expense of any other discussion threads); in other words, as always, we'll work under the assumption that nobody is in a hurry, but that everybody wants as good of a debate as possible...


Now, that being said: for starters-- & also in order to make my job easier :-) ( e.g. my own review of Mungiu Pippidi's book will in all likelihood not appear here before the end of the year...)-- I will take over for Phoenix Transylvania a very interesting post by Andy--author of the equally interesting blog "Csíkszereda musings"-- written almost a year ago, but still very actual and particularly suited for our purpose. Andy is neither Romanian nor Hungarian and yet my feeling is that in some respects he might actually understand more about Transylvania & co than many of us. In any case, the perspective of a foreigner with significant links to and much knowledge about Romania-Transylvania & the like (many posts on his blog stand proof to that assertion) is more than welcome (and likely to be one of the least subjective viewpoints... since we are talking about "subjective Transylvania"... ). I also hope that Andy himself will join in the (eventual) subsequent discussions (reason to keep them in English). The original post by Andy can be read here. Below I will paste only the part of that post dealing with Andy's specific comments on Alina Mungiu's book.




The book, which I assume was eventually published by OSI, is entitled "SUBJECTIVE TRANSYLVANIA: A CASE STUDY OF POST COMMUNIST NATIONALISM" by Alina Mungiu Pippidi PhD, who is a Romanian social psychologist. It is a throughly researched study into the disagreements between and perceptions of Hungarians and Romanians in Transylvania, including reams of qualitative data. It concludes with some suggestions into what the future might hold and some suggested models for the future in creating a more harmonious situation. It's not clear when it was written, but it was obviously (from the context given) at some point during the Constantinescu government of 1996-2000.

I'll admit that my first impression was a negative one, since early on in the inroduction to the work Dr Pippidi refers to the 1990 ethnic clashes in Targu Mures/Marosvasarhely as a "violent outburst" while then going on to refer to an incident in Udvarhely "where the local community instigated by the town council brutally evacuated four Romanian nuns". Now I'm not familiar with this incident, and have no idea whether the adverb "brutally" is justified (I'm assuming it is), but it seems a bit biased to append it to whatever happened there and to merely refer to the mini-civil-war in which 8 people died and countless others were injured in Targu Mures as a "violent outburst". Given the context in which I'd received the link, I began to suspect that this would be yet another biased nationalistic tract of which there are so many out there (from both sides).

However, I gave the book a second chance, and am glad that I did. Since in the main the author (aside from the instance above and a later jarring reference to "the Hungarian problem") is broadly impartial and prepared to let her subjects speak for themselves. What really surprised me, I suspect, was how familiar all the quotes were - she interviews various groups of Tranyslvanians from different places, different ethnic backgrounds, different age groups, etc - and all of them repeat what I hear more or less every day about the differences and similarities between the two communities. I have cut and pasted some examples below:

Some comments on being a Transylvanian Hungarian
"When I was in Hungary I visited the fathers-in-law of a friend of mine. And they were surprised I speak such a good Hungarian. I never felt so insulted in my life."

"We, Transylvanians, sometimes feel like second rank Hungarians when compared to Hungarians from Hungary and second-rank Romanian citizens when compared to Romanians. We sometimes feel betrayed by both"

and, interestingly, from some of the Romanian subjects:
"It's more honorable to be from Transylvania than from any other part of Romania. When I am sometimes ashamed of being a Romanian I feel better when I think I am from Transylvania "


On the cultural differences: "Romanians need less than we do to feel satisfied. They watch TV and they feel happy, while we are concerned by one or by other and we can't get over it so easy. We Hungarians are so deadly serious"

And the following sentiments I have heard so many times that I have lost count:


This is the bosses business, politics that is; we ordinary people get along fine. (Hungarian workers, Cluj)
It weren’t for politics we wouldn’t even know who’s Romanian, who’s Hungarian, as it was in Ceausescu’s times, we were all alike then. (Romanian workers, Cluj)
You just can’t imagine how well we get along with people here [Romanian]. Politics doesn’t let us live peacefully. (Hungarian peasants, Miercurea Niraj)


I think my favourite bit would have to be this:

The most telling fact is, perhaps, that a social representation of nations living like a family within Romania is simply missing, so difficult it is to imagine an in-group including both Romanians and Hungarians. When asked ‘Were Romania a family, how would it look like’ most Hungarian groups told us they cannot conceive it as a family ‘or we would be the intruders' (intellectual, Miercurea Ciuc). Even Romanians had difficulties. ‘It would be like a mother-in-law with the daughter-in-law’ (classical image of conflict in the Romanian folk-stories) (peasants, Cluj). At the other extreme is this beautiful representation of a young Romanian student in Cluj:
The father should be a German, the Hungarian the cook and the Romanian should take care of the house. Now it's not working because the father is Romanian, not German.

As I say it is a fascinating piece of research, and well worth reading.

At the end Dr Pippidi concludes with the need to find a solution that satisfies the following (very little of which I can find any reason to disagree with):

1. to secure the right of the Hungarian minority to a shared public sphere of its own, that meaning 'a communal domain that is constructed not only as an arena of cooperation for the purpose of securing one's interests but also as a space where one's communal identity finds expression' (Tamir: 1993: 74). This space already exists to a large extent: all that is needed are supplementary legal guarantees.
2. to eliminate by a policy of affirmative action the disadvantages Hungarians still experience (proportion of Hungarian students compared to Romanians; proportion of Hungarian policemen, and so on) This was started in 1997, when the University of Cluj (babes-Bolyai) reserved seats for Hungarians applying for the Law School: this allowed them to be accepted with a much lower threshold than the Romanians.
3. Creating incentives for the Hungarian elite to choose moderate instead of radical policies
4. The same for the Romanian Transylvanian elite
5. Eliminating unnecessary competition between the two national groups as groups wherever this can be avoided
6. Preventing a deepening of the division between the two national groups and keeping a decent level of communication and interactivity between them in order to create at least occasionally a 'in-group' of both Romanians and Hungarians, instead of having them permanently exclude each other.
7. Eliminating the Hungarian theme from the Romanian internal political debate
8. Adjusting the political system in order to satisfy the listed requirements with reasonable costs and at a pace that would not endanger the stability of the political system (so often threatened both by ethno-regionalism and by the Romanian nationalist reaction).


Sadly, not much seems to have changed since the time 8(?) years ago when this was written - Hungarians are still very underrepresented in the police force, for example. (pt. 2)

And finally, in order to achieve the above, the author presents three models and critiques them. These models are
1. Hegemonic Control [the state controls/coerces/forces the minority group into submission]
2. Federalism [autonomous regions are created - the question remains whether these are formed on ethnic lines (cantonisation) or not (federalism)]
3. Consociationalism (yes, I had to look it up too) [By which power is somehow shared, either formally or informally. She opines that this was beginning when the paper was written, as the UDMR (Hungarian party) was at that time part of the ruling coalition. It has been ever since, to my knowledge]

She seems to lean towards the third, and I would be interested to hear how she feels now, given that to all intents and purposes this consociationalism has been going on for ten years now, and the problems seem to be exactly the same as when the paper was written. (I've written to her to ask).

marți, 20 noiembrie 2007

Women and Religious Communities III.

Catholic Church

Historical Catholicism obviously considered women as second-class creations; they were excluded from the priesthood, cult, teaching, and almost every part of the Church. They were allowed to be nuns but not to lead a sermon. In the middle-age society they had no right to own anything, they were practically a property of their husbands, and they were not allowed to start a divorce. Catholic Church nowadays is still rejecting divorce, the women`s ordination is not even a debate-issue, strongly disagree whit the idea of contraception or abortion. In the other side there is the cult of Mary, the Holy Mother (which doesn`t have any biblical basics). This woman-mother-picture deeply influences the everyday-life of catholic believers. The cult of self-sacrifice, suffering, mortification and being a victim does not help today`s women in their equality-fights, and makes any kind of suffering acceptable for `noble` causes. Self-discovery and being valuable as an ego is not popular in this way of thinking. The problem is with that picture that women are not allowed to determine this for this is totally determined by man-masters of divinity.

Historical Protestantism (The Lutheran, Calvinist-Reformed, Unitarian, Anglican Churches in Europe)

Historical Protestantism during the 20th century redefined the women`s place in it`s communities. Most of churches allow women in priesthood, some churches therefore present some kind of restriction: for example the Romanian Reformed Church has an attendance quota in seminary-application: the proportion of women priests should not be higher than 15%. None of other Romanian Protestant Churches practices this quota. They don`t have dogmas against divorce, abortion or contraception even though they don`t agree with them; they consider this problem an ethical issue instead of dogmatical one. The responsibility in God`s presence and free will concerns each of the people, no one, not even a priest is allowed to practice psychological or dogmatical pressure to change one`s decision, the priest is not able to close the way to God being just a person as everyone else, because in protestant anthropology everyone is equal no matter if it is a man or a woman, priest or simple believer, and anz single person can talk to God without a priest`s attendance. Protestant churches being historical initiators of the democratic idea including the institution of church councils in their practice are more reflective and flexible to cultural and social changes. The idea of `semper reformandi` allows and requires changing if it is suitable to the Bible, because the dogma is not saint as it is in catholic tradition. The protestant Bible-interpretation deeply reflects to social changes, because the interpretation itself is not saint, so it is changeable. Protestantism has in it`s main point of view the present circumstances, and reloads the Jewish idea of reinterpreting the sacred texts for present requirements. Therefore the women`s place in protestant communities is more comfortable for today`s women. Protestant theology made a very remarkable step in 20th century: the religious orders which have been a contemporary social habits or attitudes such as the forbidding of teaching for the women are interpreted such as historical-dependent ones, and can be changed.

In dogmatics this changes are harder to perform. There is a feminist theology, but it hasn`t gained a change of theological paradigm. “Christianity`s alliance with social and political power has nonetheless turned it at many points in history into martial faith. The loss of such opportunity within the context of modern secular polities has opened new possibilities of recovering and reactivating its pacific, feminine, and relational codes.” (Linda Woodhead: Feminism and the Sociology of Religion: From the Gender-blindness to Gendered Difference; in.: Fenn, Richard K. ed.: Sociology of Religion; Blackwell, Malden, 2003; p.79 ) The Christian God-picture is a dominating, fighting, martial, rigorous father which reflects mostly to the Old Testament. The feminist paradigm can change this picture to a more feminine one: a peaceful, informal, relational, loving, emotional, intimate god-picture, which is not strange in Christian theology considering Jesus` preaching and the way of treating women. God can be not just a father but a mother as well (in Old Testament there are also motherly pictures of God), not an almighty, powerful, distant creator, a potentate divine, instead, he-she can be one with whom can be hold an intimate conversation, and personal relationship.

luni, 19 noiembrie 2007

Women and Religious Communities II.

The main question

The main question is a hermeneutical one: does the religion we are talking about have a fixed dogma about the gender, the self-thinking, and the gender-determined place in society, or the religious thoughts can be remodeled by social requirements. How a particular religion or cult does relate to its own sacred texts? Are the scripts of texts sacred or the exegesis allows a historical context and point of view? The western culture developed a strong critical research in exegesis, and the social-religious orders are mostly interpreted in their historical contexts (for example the coverance of women`s hair in churches during the sermon, or the allowance of teaching to women). In the Islam for instance is totally forbidden to criticize the Quran or understand the historical patterns, because the Quran is sacred in it`s script, and for a Muslim is almost impossible to interpret the Quran in the western way. But it is true that Islam has not developed the idea of dogma, they doesn`t get dogmatics as it is interpreted is Christianity.

Christianity presents a very important example concerning the problem of explaining the sacred texts: protestant churches admit the critical exegesis, the catholic and orthodox churches are mostly based on church-tradition and traditional interpretation, which obviously does not allow any changes. Protestant churches involved the idea of women`s equality debated in 20th century.

The Bible and dogmatics

In the Old Testament`s genesis the woman (Eve, meaning mother) is made from the rib of the man (Adam, meaning man in general) meaning they are equal. During historical Judaism women are allowed to serve God in the Holy Place in Jerusalem (they are just a few, but looks like it was possible), they are allowed to inherit, if there`s no man descendant in the family, they are protected by the Jewish law and a divorce is allowed (well, for the request of the husband), and the wife has the right to obtain from her husband a divorce paper to prove she is not out of law.

Jesus in the New Testament is very liberal in this issue: he has women disciplines, which is almost impossible in that time. Paul also talks about women`s place, and restricts only the teaching, because women are not educated, but allows the prophecy, which means that a woman can be a pastor, but not a teacher. This changed in just a few ten years. (In the early Christian Church there were four types of pastors: prophets, texts-explicators (rabies), teachers for the new attendants, and deacons who served at the Holy Supper.)

In Church dogmatics and ethics there are some basic questions referring to the gender issue: does a Church ordinate women, does allow them to teach, does have a dogma about women`s place in family, does allow the divorce, and does a woman be able to ask for it, what does a Church think about the women`s right to abortion and contraception.

duminică, 18 noiembrie 2007

Women and Religious Communities I.

This is a long essay about the subject, so I cut it into parts. My English is not perfect for I strongly apologise.

aP. Prehistoric Societies

The martial-rider-nomad societies like the initial Indo-Aryan changed the matriarchal scheme of prehistoric societies. These martial-based societies were man-centered, the pantheon was formed mostly by man-gods led by man-leader, who was mostly a warrior-god full whit man-virtue. The agricultural societies in contradistinction presented the woman-principle in their genesis-myths, and this as mother-earth-goddess had a strong rule in pantheons compared to nomad societies. The Earth as mother and woman related to birth, giving birth, motherhood, death, which were woman-influenced questions of life. The Earth and fertility had mostly goddesses. In these societies women had important role in communities, they were allowed to be priests as well, the woman-principle having important part of agriculture, and so in their Religious Anthropology. In polytheistic religions the sky was a man and the earth was a woman, and their importance determined the men`s and women`s place in prehistoric societies. From their hieros gamos began the world, but during the war of gods they mostly lost their importance.

Even though the cosmogonies and creation-ranks declared the man and woman equal, the society implicitly or frankly put the women under men`s jurisdiction. Almost every language had (or has) different personal pronouns referring to men and women. Talking about god (gods) using the masculine form of the personal pronoun or the masculine form of the `god` word indirectly determined the gender of that god even though the sacred texts affirm the god`s genderlessness.

b. TThe Religions of the Book

In the Book Religions` (in order to appearance Judaism, Christianity and Islam) genesis God/Allah is above the gender as the creator of it, but almost every language (including the Hebrew, Greek and Arabic in which the sacred texts are written, but for example not the Hungarian where there`s no grammatical difference between genders) uses the masculine form of `god` word and masculine personal pronouns when talking about god. More over it is a fact of History of Religions that both Jahve and Allah absorbed in themselves some gods before monotheism: Jahve absorbed the Canaanite cult of El, who was a not too powerfull creator god before the Jewish conquest, and Allah himself was the ancient Arabic god of the Kaba Rock.

c. TThe Phenomenon

If we consider the religion as a social, political, economical, historical phenomenon, never once society have existed without some kind of religion. The Spiritual, the knowledge oh the Holy was always a necessity in historical societies and in one or other way is being represented in today`s different cultures as well. As an influencing factor, it is not possible to put away or to overstep the religion-based woman- and man-picture, or because it is still a living typos, or because it has a cultural and historical influence.

luni, 12 noiembrie 2007

Echipa Phoenix Transilvania in expansiune

Un scurt anunt pentru cititorii nostri: echipei PhoenixTrans i se adauga de astazi un nou membru, o persoana cu foarte mult potential si entuziasm in acelasi timp, avand exact profilul de care avem nevoie in echipa noastra. Despre Mezei Krisztina Nelli si cateva din ideile ei am avut ocazia sa amintim recent; suntem foarte bucurosi ca a acceptat invitatia de a se alatura grupului nostru. Un foarte bun venit lui Nelli (blog in limba romana, blog in limba maghiara)!



Din partea echipei Phoenix Transilvania,

Sebi Buhai