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  toate numerele » altera ANUL VIII. 2002., nr. 17-18 »

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Editorial - 3


Zhidas Daskalovski

Minority Rights in Greece: Macedonians - 5

The author sets out by analyzing the recrudescence of nationalism in Eastern Europe following the revolutionary changes in 1989-1990. This phenomenon triggered a lively debate on the future of Europe, on all national minorities in its countries under the new circumstances. The author then focuses on the situation in the Balkan Peninsula, taking as his starting point the Balkan wars (1912-1914) that hallmarked the end of the Ottoman Empire and the “liberation” of Macedonia, that is its division between Serbia (Vardar Macedonia), Bulgaria (Pirin Macedonia) and Greece (Egeean Macedonia). The 1919 Treaty of Versailles did nothing but enshrine this division, the three states possessing parts of Macedonia setting out a long process of forced assimilation which the author renders as ethnical and cultural genocide. While presenting the historical background, the author warns his study will further only the national construction policies in Egeean Macedonia, that is the policies developed by Greece. Immediately after taking over the respective territory, Greece started colonizing it with Greek ethnics, simultaneously persuading Macedonians to leave their home lands. The process was carried on between the two world wars when Macedonians were subjected to violent assimilation and denationalization campaigns. The climax was reached during the fascist-monarchist dictatorship of Metaxa. The drama of Macedonians’ situation has been a constant trait in the aftermath of the civil war to these days. According to the Greek government, there are no Macedonians in Greece. The author records the minority’s response to this state of affairs, the response of the Greek government to the claims forwarded by the minority as well as the attitude of international organisms towards the whole situation. The author brings to light the way Greece denies the Macedonian minority’s fundamental right to selfdefinition encroaching thus many international conventions regarding human rights it has ratified. “And it is sad enough for the ‘craddle of democracy’”, the author concludes, “that the conclusion must be drawn that the national construction process of Greece and its policies for minorities are alarmingly unliberal and distructive, their change being therefore an immediate necessity.”

Emil Ţîrcomnicu

Megleno-Romanians - 19

The study analyses the situation of the Megleno-Romanians, an ethnic community living in the Meglen Plain, on the northern border of Greece with Macedonia. One by one, the origins and history of this population, the Aromanian issue and its consequences on the Meglenian community, the emigration to Dobrudja, facts of Meglenian ethnology, ethnography and demography are presented.

An interesting chapter is the one titled Selfidentification and the image of the other where a comparison is drawn between Megleno-Romanians’ self-perception and their perception of Aromanians. Both communities share a salient national sense, but Megleno-Romanians look up to Aromanians due to their larger number and economical superiority.

Megleno-Romanians are the only Romanian speaking (as well as Latin) community who converted to Islam. Because of their small number, they are doomed to extinction. History so wanted that they be divided among four states — Turkey, Greece, Macedonia and Romania — and two religions — Orthodox Christian and Muslim. Steps should be taken at European level, the author points out, for the preservation of this dialect.

Nathan Weinstock & Haïm-Vidal Sephiha

Yiddish and Judaean-Spanish. A Cultural Heritage - 27

Yiddish (Judaean-German) and Judaean Spanish are still living languages and, at the same time, two testimonies of the old stages of the languages they originated from — Middle German and, respectively the 15th century Spanish. They are living museums of their original languages as Canadian French is to the 16th and 17th centuries French. Falling under the category of endangered languages, the authors devote to them this study where they trace — actually, there are two distinct studies — their origins and historic fate. The study devoted to Yiddish examines the origins and traits of this language, follows its spreading and the coalescing of its dialects. Jewish communities of the German linguistic area, ashkenazes, moved in successive migratory waves Eastward thus resulting two major dialectal areas: Western Yiddish (including the speeches specific to the Low Countries, Alsace, Switzerland and Germany) and Eastern Yiddish (the speeches in Poland, Russia, Ukraine, Romania (Wallachia) and the Baltic countries. The authors make a brief foray into old Yiddish literature showing that the first Yiddish manuscripts date from the Middle Ages, around 1272. Yiddish was traditionally spoken by women or uneducated people. Modern Yiddish literature fully bloomed through the work of important writers like Mendele, Sholem Aleykhem and George Peretz. The Nobel Prize for literature was awarded to Isaac Bashevis Singer in 1978. Yiddish should be seen the material support of a highly specific culture. An extraordinary flourishing of the language and the forms it manifested in, especially the written media, through a bustling activity a whole network of socio-cultural associations engaged in, was followed by Choa, the genocidal action perpetrated by Nazis resulting also in the assassination of Yiddish. The associative network keeping the language alive collapsed and young people, even when amidst a religious environment, took on the languages spoken in the countries they lived in. Despite all history dramas impressing Yiddish, this endangered language is beginning now to revive. A renewed vitality can be foreseen for this language through the revival of associations and publications as well as through the reintroduction of Yiddish as a study object at different instruction levels.

The second study is devoted to Judaean-Spanish whose origin lie at the end of the Reconquista, when the Catholic royal couple, Isabelle and Ferdinand, ordered Jews who refused to convert to Christianity to be expelled. This is how the wanderings of the Spanish Jews started, leading up eventually to their integration into the already existing Jewish communities and to the adoption of the language spoken by the latter The evolution of the Judaean-Spanish is further traced throughout history, a particular stress being placed on its merging characteristics and on its living museum quality it has for the 15th century Spanish. Grammar and writing methods are tersely analyzed. The authors make a foray into both old and modern Judaean-Spanish literature and outline the fate that betided its speakers after the dismemberment of the Ottoman Empire as well as after the genocide that befell them in 1939-1940. The outcome — an assassi- nated language. During that period thousands of Spanish Jews perished in Greece, Yugoslavia and Romania. It was only Bulgaria that protected its Jewish community. Despite its still being an endangered language, Judaean-Spanish seems to have a chance to be reborn as it is again studied up to academic levels.

Vilmos Tánczos

The Csangos in Moldavia - 48

The Csangos in Moldavia are one of the endangered communities. Their history and especially their 19 and 20th centuries separate evolution from that of the Magyars of which they are a branch, accounts for the specific assimilation process the Csango community has been undergoing. Their selfconsciousness has been crossing an uncertain, confused and contradictory state. The author shows that the idea is generally accepted that the coming of the Csangos’ ancestors to Moldavia owed to well-aimed policies of the Hungarian state, at the time their mission here being to defend and control the Eastern borders of the Hungarian kingdom. The author sets out to explain the origin of the Csango name, then goes on to explain the issue of the origin of Csangos, their regional spreading throughout their history, namely their grouping into the Northern Csangos and Southern Csangos, a historical evolution of their demography, the process of linguistic assimilation they have been undergoing, and, resorting to comparative tables, provides an analysis of the degree of knowledge of the Hungarian language by the Csangos today The study closes with several remarks on their linguistic knowledge and ethnic identity showing that the demographic data presented confirm the existence of a strong assimilation process under way, signaled by linguists, ethnographers, political scientists and journalists alike. The author also points out that language plays a lesser part in shaping identity consciousness for the Csangos in Moldavia than for the Magyars living in the Carpathians Basin. The connection between group identity and linguistic identity is rather loose. They feel closer to the Catholics in the Csango villages around, no matter whether the latter have preserved their original language. The study is seconded by a vast bibliography and more than a hundred footnotes.

Sándor N. Szilágyi

About the Csango Dialects in Moldavia - 81

The study illustrates the growing interest at the European level for endangered minority communities. The author, a prestigious professor at the University in Cluj, makes an astute analysis of the linguistic situation of the Csango Community in Moldavia.

The author leaves behind for historians to settle who the Csango ancestors were in order to better focus on who the Csangos are now. The dispute between the Hungarian and Romanian scientific community over who the Csangos are, whether they are Romanian or Hungarian or simply Csangos, is gracefully dismissed by showing that Csangos fall into two main groups: a Hungarian one (consisting of other two sub- groups: Northern and Southern Csangos) and a Romanian one.

It is the Hungarian branch of the Csangos that the paper focuses on. The research whose theoretical reasoning is backed up by data gathered in the field, turns out to be a warm, but unbiased plea for the linguistic rights Csangos should enjoy in line with the standards implied by the European system of values. A warm, but unbiased plea. The author accounts for the confused and contradictory selfidentification of Hungarian Csangos by reviewing the assimilation process they have been subjected to: they enjoy neither education nor religious service in their mother tongue, they have been told over and over by Romanian educational, administrative and church authorities that their speech is not a fully functional language The impact on their mentality should not be underrated: this population consists of simple, uneducated people, living in poverty and leading a traditional way of life. Therefore, being asked what their mother tongue is, Csangos hesitate to say Hungarian realizing the differences between standard Hungarian and their dialect; they also hesitate to say Csango realizing this is not a language; in an official context they will say they speak Romanian. Nevertheless, in their spontaneous conversation, they say they speak Hungarian.

A warm, but unbiased plea. The study concludes with several remarks on the Roma nian Csango dialect. It has never been scientifically studied: as a dialect of Romanian, it fell outside the interest of Hungarian linguists, while Romanian dialectologists ignored it as linguistically irrelevant The author deplores its recent extinction considering it a great loss for linguistics.


Gabriel Andreescu & Smaranda Enache

Report on the Situation of the Csangos in Moldavia.

The Issue of the Hungarian Csangos - 90

The report presents the results of an investigation held in the area of the Bacău county by a joint team of APADOR-CH and PRO EUROPE League in December 2001, following the complaints forwarded to these associations by the Association of the Hungarian Csangos whereby the latter showed their claims to enjoy mother tongue education had been dismissed, their activity in the Bacău county impeded upon, and their members harassed by representatives of local authorities. Having given the reasons for the investigation they conducted, the authors show the pressures exerted upon those Csangos who assume an identity other than Romanian and infer an intentional assimilation process of the Hungarian speaking Csangos. Among others, the report states that the status of the Csango language/dialects is significant not only per se, but it is also an important dimension of the protection of the Hungarian Csango minority. Nevertheless, there is no sign in the area of any implementation whatsoever of the European Charter of the Regional Languages, meant to protect and promote regional and minority languages as an “important contribution to constructing a Europe based on the principles of democracy and cultural diversity”. The report concludes by ascertaining the complaints are well-grounded, and demanding the authorities to respect minority rights as they are guaranteed by the Constitution, by the domestic legal framework, by the relevant conventions of the Council of Europe, OSCE and UN, and the resolutions on the situation of the Csangos in Romania.


Recommendation 1521 (2001). Csango Minority Culture in Romania - 105

Tytti Maria Isohookana-Asunmaa

Csango Minority Culture in Romania - 107

A report drawn up for the Committee on Culture, Science and Education and presented to it on the 4th of May 2001, the study starts out by showing who the Csangos are, then analyses the Csango language and their historical background, their folklore and popular ornamental art and stresses their strong Roman-Catholic faith. Regarding education and religion, although authorities claim they are willing to observe European standards, a lack of will (at the local level) and the incapacity (at the central level) can be noted in implementing the laws on education passed by those same authorities. The author concludes by putting forth several itemized proposals aimed at preserving Csango culture.

Ghiorghi Prisăcaru

Dissenting Opinion from the Report Minority Culture in Romania - 115

As the title shows, it is a rejoinder to the report presented by Tytti Isohookana-Ansumaa to the Council of Europe which was designed as an alarm signal on the danger of extinction this culture is exposed to. The Romanian rapporteur starts out by giving a description of national minorities protection in Romania. Several general remarks on the Csangos are followed by the presentation of the education Csangos have access to, the author claiming that, while the Csango dialect has not a written form thus rendering impossible education in mother tongue, “we cannot however agree with the idea in the report that teaching in the Hungarian language will be the answer”. Consequently, while the author shows concern for Csango language to be preserved as a real asset of the European cultural heritage, he deems it all but natural that both education and religious service be held in Romanian, even though — according to the Constitution and the new Education Law — the Csangos are entitled to education and religious service in their mother tongue. The author welcomes and comments the proposals made in the report for the protection of the Csango culture and concludes: “We take the view that the main aim of all our activity must be the preservation and development of this community’s cultural, linguistic and religious identity, and that this issue must be addressed without any political connotations.”


Gabriel Andreescu

Multiculturalism in Central Europe: Cultural Integration and Privacy - 122

The study by the reputed political scientist Gabriel Andreescu suggests that three fundamental concepts of contemporary world be revisited and redefined: multiculturalism as a functional norm, community privacy, polycultural society, in order to allow a wide enough view to comprehend this very world’s cultural diversity and problems. Multiculturalism is redefined here in its normative sense as a backup for the minorities need to enjoy both a certain degree of integration and their right to separation. The latter one was more often than not thought to be laden with negative connotations so the author suggests as an alternative the coinage of a new phrase: “community privacy”. Making salient the diversity of ethno-cultural groups traits, the author reviews the various definitions provided to multiculturalism: as encouraging immigrants to assert their ethnic identity (the Canadian rendering), as power-sharing among different national communities (the European rendering), as inclusion of marginalized groups (the American rendering). The problems raised by multiculturalism as well as their resolution rely on the specificity of each minority community. Gabriel Andreescu further examines the other two components of multiculturalism: integration and multicultural privacy. In a democratic society, where individual and collective minority rights are respected, balance and justness of interethnic relationships imply the necessity that communities be recognized their need both for integration and for separation, these two dimensions needing a complementary development. The author analyses the Romanian state’s attitude throughout the years, represented by its Ministry of National Education, towards the legitimate claim of the Hungarian community to “separate”, that is to enjoy community privacy. Most politicians mentality (be they of liberal orientation) construe “separation” as “segregation”.

The greatest part of the down-to-facts section of the study is devoted to analyzing the specific situation of the Hungarian and, respectively Roma communities in Romania. The activity of the Democratic Union of Hungarians in Romania is also reviewed as a defender of the idea of community privacy ever since its foundation. The cooperation of the DUHR with the opposition parties led to the shaping of a reconciliation model; the coalition between the Democratic Convention in Romania, the Social-Democrat Alliance and DUHR could be taken for a “model” without being however an ideal situation for the Romanian-Hungarian relationships. As for the Roma, the author notes that Romanian majority has never expressed any concern whatsoever for its community privacy, not minding at all if it turned into ghettoization. Actually, in the ‘90s, the problems the Roma community confronted were discrimination and access to resources. Under the joint pressure of the international community and of the new Roma leaders, their situation registered a certain improvement, in 2001 there having been endorsed even a National Strategy for Improving the Condition of Roma. The next issue approached is that of polycultural societies, that is of societies holding a multitude of parallel cultures whose independence is acknowledged and accepted. Then the study goes on by weighing a regional issue, namely the implications the Hungarian Status Law may have and does have on multiculturalism. The author shows that the law introduces the “Hungarian nation” in its ethnic sense into the international law, jeopardizing thus the logic of constitutional patriotism extant in the countries neighbouring Hungary. As such, the minority will no longer negotiate with the majority as a self-contained group, but as a part of the ethnic nation it belongs to. A final issue brought forward is the implications of Europe’s federalization, Gabriel Andreescu making a point here in showing that, provided the region integrated into the European Union and the latter underwent a federalization process, the potential dangers posed by the “Hungarian model” would fade away.

As a conclusion, the author admits a clear evolution in the last 11 years towards integration and community privacy, but without an overall resolution of the issues regarding interethnic coexistence. The study is seconded by a rich apparatus of bibliographic and explanatory footnotes.


On the Status of Minorities — Inside and Outside of the Border - 139

Between the 23-25th of November 2002 the 9th Intercultural Forum of the PRO EUROPE League, titled “The Role of Minorities as Stability Factor in Central and Eastern Europe” took place at Bucharest. The participants in it were representatives of the national minorities in Romania, of the Romanian minority abroad, of state institutions, of civil society and of mass media. The reunion was financially supported by the Heinrich Boll Foundation (Germany) as part of the programme carried out by the Intercultural Centre of the PRO EUROPE League. The organizers were represented by: Smaranda Enache, cochairmain of the PRO EUROPE League, Elek Szokoly manager of the Intercultural Centre, and Laura Ardelean, programme coordinator of the Intercultural Centre.


Paul Philippi

Transylvanian University Tradition in United Romania - 212

The text is the speech delivered by Paul Philippi on the occasion of being conferred the title of doctor honoris causa by the Babes-Bolyai University. The author furthers the line of a true family tradition of studying at this University. The author recollects the most important stages of his life, the renewal of his bonds — once broken — with the University of Cluj and pays a warm homage to the Transylvanian academic tradition whose fertile soil bore the fruit of unity in plurality and plurality in unity as a modern essence distilled out of the experience of political coexistence in Transylvania.

Anamaria Pop

Traditions and Prospects in Romanian-Hungarian

Cultural Relationships - 220

The Romanian-Hungarian cultural relationships have always stemmed from two major concerns shared by intellectuals: on one hand, they have been eager to make a contribution to soften tensed political relationships; on the other hand, by the very nature of their mould, they have always been concerned to know the Other. The author analyses the evolution of these relationships in time, the historical reconciliation efforts made by intellectuals, the decisive part Transylvania has played as the cradle of three distinct cultures and civilizations — Romanian, Hungarian and German (Saxon). Achievements and failures alike are listed and surveyed. Anamaria Pop wonders whether we are ready to live in the present European community, if we know well enough the system of cultural values and the spiritual heritage of the Other, next to us, and whether we have learned enough from the mistakes of our past not to resume them again…


Adrian Majuru

The Albanian Bucharest. From Merchant Elite to Cultural Elite - 228

“The Albanian Bucharest” is designed as a historical blueprint of the Albanian community in Bucharest. Unlike other Balkan or non-Balkan communities, Albanians could be found in all Moldo-Wallachian social structures. This dynamic presence came into being in the16th and 17th centuries in order to extend and diversify in the following two centuries, the 18th and 19h. The Albanian migration in Romania has been approached from varying thematic perspectives. The gradual building up of a Moldo-Wallachian cultural elite of Albanian origin which began to become aware of its identity of origin through a constant cultural activity that was also connected to the idea of a modern and independent Albany, was taking shape at the beginning of the 19th century. The author has passionately and patiently researched archives and come up with lots of names of Albanians who lived in Bucharest. The Bucharest Albanian community, spurring and cooperating with Albanian communities in other cities and towns in Romania, succeeded for 75 years to assist culturally the Albanian people subjected at the time to a two-pronged process of denationalization: its being compelled to become Turks or Greeks.


János Erdő

The Unitarian Church - 247

Unitarianism came into being in Transylvania as a radical wing of the Reformation. Relegating the tenet of the Holy Trinity, Unitarianism reverted to the tenet of the only God. In its essence and person, the only God was the foundation and the distinctive sign of the Unitarian reformation. The author traces back into history the fate of this church founded by Ferenc Dávid, born in Cluj sometime about 1520. An advocate of the Reformation, he preached the principle of permanent reformation and did not deemed it completed on the emergence of Helvetian and Lutheran orientations. Contending that “In the whole Holy Writ there is no clearer and more evident science than that of the Only God”, Ferenc Dávid started to preach this idea on the 20th of January 1566 in the great church in Cluj. Initially these ideas generated fruitless religious debates, but later Unitarianism gained ground and spread over even to Hungary The Counterreformation, allied with those in power at the time, dragged Ferenc Dávid to lifetime hard labour The hectic history of the Unitarian Church continued throughout centuries, with its ups and downs, alternating glory and decay, but, in spite all the persecution it was subjected to, the Unitarian movement never died out. Its school and patrimony were more than once confiscated, done away with, but they kept reviving out of their own ashes, the Unitarian Church standing out with its merits in spreading culture, founding schools and even prestigious universities.

The author devotes a separate chapter to the issue of serving the Church as a minority member through avowal and responsibility taking. Unfurling history till 1990, the author shows that, in spite all obstacles, the Unitarian Church not only survived, but also managed to be always present in the life of the believers serving them as well as it could. Now it is ready once more to take the responsibility of a standing renewal and revival.


Valerian Stan

The Law on Free Access to Information of Public Interest - 272

The author of this research lists the petitions he has forwarded to public institutions and authorities who, according to the provisions of the law 544/2001, should have granted them. From the 16 petitions altogether, 1 was granted, 1 partially granted, 8 were denied, while other 6 benefited no answer at all. Valerian Stan attempts to account for this almost all-encompassing denial of access to information of public interest by two causes: first, 11 years since the revolution, many of the public servants still cannot get used to the idea of being controlled; the second is related to the gaps in the law, state firms making an exception to the obligation to provide any information on their activity. The author concludes by enumerating other shortcomings in the law and suggesting their immediate remedy.


Andrei Roth

Intellectuelle, Eliten, Institutionenwandel

(Intellectuals, Elites, Institutional Changes) - 279

Nadia Badrus

Germanii din Banat prin povestirile lor

(Germans from Banat through their Stories) - 282




(c) Fundaţia Jakabffy Elemér, Asociaţia Media Index 1999-2006