Editorial - 3
Liberal Perspective - 5
The opening essay signed by
Joseph Raz offers an analysis and of multiculturalism as well as a specific
approach to it. It is an issue for politics and the ethics of politics. The
author wants to explore the implications of the liberal political philosophy
for the way in which contemporary democracies should deal with this issue.
The brief argument is that
denial of multiculturalism in today’s Western societies, far from keeping
liberal ideals pure, leads to their degeneration into what might be called
“supermarket liberalism”. Before I venture a brief explanation, I would like to
clarify the spirit underlying my observation. It is not one of utopian hope. It
is not one of a vision of the great future liberalism holds the key to, a
future in which the noblest human hopes will come to fruition. It is a spirit
of pessimism nourished by perception of conflict as inevitable, and its
resolution as less than ideal, regardless of who wins.
Multiculturalism, in the
sense of the existence within the same political society of a number of sizable
cultural groups wishing and able to maintain their distinct identity, is with
us to stay. It is likely to grow in size and importance. Liberal
multiculturalism, as I call it, affirms that in the circumstances of
contemporary industrial or postindustrial societies, a political attitude of
fostering and encouraging the prosperity, cultural and material, of a cultural
group within a society, and respecting their identity is justified by
consideration of freedom and human dignity. These considerations call on
governments to take action that goes beyond that required by policies of
toleration and nondiscrimination. While incorporating policies of
nondiscrimination, liberal multiculturalism transcends the individualistic
approach and recognizes the importance of unimpeded membership in a respected
and flourishing cultural group for individual well being.
Points of View to Interpret
Multiculturalism in Romania - 23
Exploring with clarity and
insight the meaning of the concept, Levente Salat encapsulate in his study the
recent public debate on multiculturalism in Romanian, presenting step by step,
as a hidden expectation, the international theoretical framework in which
multiculturalism is debated now.
The concept of
multiculturalism in the Romanian public sphere during the last two or three
years has started a lot of controversial discussions. It is related to the case
of the Hungarian state university from Cluj, and has a more than suggestive
relevance: on one hand, it reveals some particularities which burden the
Romanian as well as the Hungarian national consciousness, on the other hand, it
illustrates the reciprocal distrust that shade the attempts to create the
institutional conditions necessary for interethnic coexistence in Romania.
Anti-Communism, Nationalism - 47
The study of Radu Neculau is
a critical view about how multiculturalism is (mis)interpreted in the Romanian
public and academic sphere. In a first part the author shows the
political-philosophical coordinates of the American debate on multiculturalism.
In a second part he present the problems of Romanian multiculturalism, assessed
through the attempts to define a democratic position inside of an
anti-Communist attitude sustained by the Romanian intellectuals. And finally,
in a third part, the study observe the changing of the original meanings of
multiculturalism in a form of state monoculturalism in the context of debates
provoked by the pressures exerted by the Hungarian community to restart the
Hungarian university in Transylvania.
received with indifference and even hostility by the Romanian cultural
establishment. Except for some marginal groups of young intellectuals who are
studying social and political sciences at the western universities, the idea of
multiculturalism has a limited influence.
The interpretation of
multiculturalism in the north-American intellectual spheres is evolving. There
are many debates about the practical limits of multicultural policies. But, the
intention underlying these debates is founded on a tolerant system of cultural
representation and is sustained by pronounced social solidarity where is no
place for ambiguity. The same could not be said about the upholders of the
multicultural education (in Romania). If the initiative of Andrei Marga (the
actual Ministry of National Education) to transform the University of Cluj into
a multicultural institute was accepted, before some years, as a superior irony,
being one of the numerous forms without founds, the same project is used now
abusively in the name of the dominant cultural politics. From a western
transplant, suspected to be inadequate for the possibility of dialogue in the
Romanian intellectual community, multiculturalism seems to be one of the main
slogan to re-legitimate the majoritarian discourse. Thus, a good word and a
praiseworthy initiative are reappropriated to sustain a doubtful cause.
Transylvania 1848-49 - 75
At the 150th anniversary of
the 1848 Transylvanian revolution, the Altera quarterly distribute a questionnaire to some
well known Romanian, Hungarian and German historians from Romania, trying to
expand upon part of the important and debated aspects related to the subject
through the answers give by Adrian Cioroianu, Ákos Egyed, Sorin Mitu, Gelu
Neamţu, Paul Philippi, and Pompiliu Teodor.
Remembrance of the Game Past - 87
Nowadays, many international
sports events are far from its originally fair play and honor based character.
Involving a lot of human, financial, and political resources, it became an
industry, a space where also national symbols, values and, finally, identities
are in competition. The exciting paper of Attila Z. Papp is a critic analysis
of how Romanian and Hungarian media discourse present such a sport event: the
match played between Hungary and Romania at the ’98 Hockey World Cup in Budapest. The case has also a
special complexity: the trainer of the Hungarian team, as well as part of the “lines”
from both team are Hungarian/Seklers from Romania.
In the public sphere, the
politics as well as the sport are expressed as linguistic acts, the language
being in the same time the bearer and the contrary of the potential violence.
Paul Ricoeur (1998) sustains that “the violence and the language constitute
contradictory pairs where the measure of one is delimited by the dimension of
On the other hand, for
somebody who wants to know “objectively” how the game was really going on, it’s
hard issue. Also, because it became part of the public sphere, even a match is
in fact a social construction, an external projection of the persons and groups
based on the local determinations. On the other hand, the former intention will
be unsuccessful because the two public spheres do not complete one another and
the (symbolic) dialogue is not even outlined.
From signing to Implementing an
International Document - 102
The European Council’s
Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities entered into
force in February 1998, following the expiration of a period of three months
after the date on which twelve member States of the Council of Europe have
expressed their consent to be bound by the Convention in accordance with the
provisions of Article 27. By article 25, within a period of one year following
the entry into force of the Convention in respect of a Contracting Party, the
latter shall transmit to the Secretary General of the Council of Europe full information
on the legislative and other measures taken to give effect to the principles
set out in this framework Convention. The issue contains the official report of
Romania and the shadow report prepared by Gabriel Andreescu, well known
Romanian human rights activist.
Viewing Town in the Literature of the Beginning of Century - 125
This essay concern on two
models of imagining and/or constructing a town. The first is that illustrated
by Ady Endre, the another by Octavian Goga. The town is Budapest. Contrary with
the similar conditions in which the two poets start their career, Ady and Goga
developed totally different social and political interpretative perspectives.
Ady was disapointed by the Hungarian Capital from a radical modernism point of
view. For him, Budapest was not prepeared to play the role of a metropolis. It
was too linked to the narrowed nationalism of the contemporary politicians.
Ady, who wrote that „the nationalism
is indeed an international allignance of the malefic darkness, stupidity and
egoism of the authorities”, cannot construct a good image, specially about
Budapest, because it represent the Capital of the Hungarian national state as
it was represented by the Hungarian political elite. From this point of view
Budapest was more a political centre than a town. Thus, Ady tried to avoid it
or to escape from. He was enamoured of Paris and he want to live there, far
from the feudal and backward Capital.
Contrary, Goga — getting the
same realities — developed a totally different attitude. His answer was the
reinvention of its native village, as an alternative to the urban modernity of
Budapest. He want to reruralised himself. One of the main reasons for what he
reject Budapest was the role played by this town in the national politics,
because for that time the role of nationalism was totally the oposite. Goga
wasn’t an internationalist or a modernizator as Ady was. On the contrary, he
was an archaist and later, gaining the last logical conclusions of this
archaism, he became a proto-nazist writer.
The opinion of the two poets
about other towns will complete the analysis. One of this towns where Ady and
Goga as well lived, and which have impressed them profoundly was Paris. Paris have the advantage that it indicate more clear their attitude about the town,
beyond the national question. Another case, near other Romanian towns from the
after IWW period is Bucharest. Unfortunately, from here the analysis will
continue unilateraly, just with the post-war evolution of Goga, because of the
dissappearence of Ady in 1919.(...)
FACES OF EUROPE
The Pomaks from Bulgaria - 154
This is an excellent
introductory study for those who are interested in the present and past of the
Pomac community from Bulgaria, and, generally, in minority issues in the former
state-socialist countries. Starting from the key identity dilemmas of the Pomac
community in the post-communist era, Jordanka Telbizova-Sack present us mainly
the social and religious roots of this searching, to make more understandable a
group reality which is very complex and hard to approached.
The Pomacs, Slavs at the
beginning, in the 500 years of Ottoman rule pass to the Islam, the spreading of
the new religion changing their life style. In the same time, as the result of
contact with the new culture, even the religion suffers some changes. On the
other hand, the language, the habits and the Christian and typically rituals
were maintained. The tradition was maintained from a generation to another, and
the world outlook of the Pomacs — leaving isolated in mountain places — prove
a unique cultural richness. In the world outlook of this people the ideas and
conceptions from Antiquity with those from Christians and Islam.
Because of their religious
belongings, the Bulgarian State treat them overtime with some suspicion, trying
to defeat their consciousness as cultural entity to obtain their assimilation
in the majority Bulgarian population.
Multiculturality, Lights and Shadows - 166
As the title suggests, the
author present a critical view of how the concepts multiculturalism and
multiculturality is perceived and used by the politicians and academics of the
Romanian and Hungarian community from Transylvania. Also, trying to follow the
aphorism that “no one is prophet in her own country”, this provocative essay
approaches the ‘Transylvanian question’ (a hot issue today with the Romanian
public) with the eye outsider.
The ‘question of
multiculturalism’ is, at the same time, simple and complex. Simple, and even
very simple, if we clearly define the concept and if we became free of
ideological and nationalist prejudices. Complex if we use this concept in
endless ideological-chauvinistic debates, or on an irreducible
If it is very true that “Central
Europe” is today just a far, partial and fragmentary remembrance, maintained
just by a segment of Transylvanian’s older generation, or a pure ideological
myth of a restricted categories of intellectuals, it is no less true than some
regional particularities still exist. For instance, to an observer of ’70, when
the process of the Ceuşescu regime of displacing Moldavians in Transylvania was
started, for the “Romanians from the region (Transylvania) the notion of
Romanian citizen was secondary to the Transylvanian one”. (Renate Weber). For
ourselves Moldavians, in my case, more exactly from Iaşi (the Capital of the
region), brought here to Cluj, just because of the biographical circumstances,
after a long detention period, the strongest impression was one of “regionalism”.
More exactly one of “provincialism”. The great and sad historical truth is that
Transylvania was and has remained, “an eternal province”.
Faith and Freedom — The Case for Separation of Church-State - 173
country (Romania) or a region (CEE) where, paradoxically, the American case is
taken frequently by the nationalist upholders as an example of how the
‘minority issue’ should be solved, the paper of Anti-Defamation League is an
excellent counter-example of how wrong could be perceived (or at least selected
parts of) the American reality. The paper shows that the distance and cultural
differences between the two societies do not preclude similarities that could
be developed in the search for solutions.
greatest current threat to separation of church and state is in the public
schools, the very place that Americans of every background first learn the
critical values of freedom and tolerance. And at the time when our population
is growing increasingly diverse, those values are more important than ever. The
public schools must make students from every background feel equally welcome if
democracy is to endure. The introduction of sectarian practices in this arena
would undo that important function. They would intimidate students from
religious minorities and compromise the religious expression of all groups.
addition to its discriminatory effect on religious minorities, organized school
prayers tells students of all faith that religion is a legitimate function of
the state. This is not what the American ideal of religious freedom is about.
The authors of the Constitution specifically rejected all languages that would
have authorized government aid for religious institutions.
Book presentations signed by
Răzvan Pârâianu (Michael Polack. 1998. Vienna 1900. A hurt identity. Iaşi: Polirom) and
Marius Lazăr (Andrei Roth. 1999. Nationalism or democratism?
Tîrgu-Mureş: Pro Europe.)