Wednesday, June 15, 2005

The view of Hungary from here

I was talking to my students this evening (I have one class of 10, 9 Hungarian 1 Romanian, thus reflecting fairly accurately the demography of the town). The Hungarians were telling me that they thought Csikszereda will slowly become more and more Romanian as time goes on. They weren’t especially upset by this fact, just assuming it would happen. It was then that I learned the group that they reserve their dislike for is actually Hungarians. Not themselves, but Hungarians from Hungary, who (they say) come to Transylvania eager to meet their poor oppressed Magyar brothers, but who, when these poor oppressed Magyar brothers go to Hungary look down their noses at them as Romanians (say with a sneer to get the full effect). It was quite revealing.

This would explain why no Hungarian political party in Romania (that I know of) is calling for reunification with Budapest, but Transylvanian autonomy instead. In their own way the Hungarian Hungarians are doing more for Romanian harmony than any edict from Bucharest.


Anonymous said...

That's interesting.

There's some similarity to how Romanians view Moldovans. Back when Moldova was Bessarabia, Royalist Romania treated the province almost like a conquest, and Bessarabians were viewed as doofus country cousins.

Much has changed, but apparently this has not. Romanians tend to look down on (ethnic Romanian) Moldovans, and Moldovans tend to resent it.

This doesn't make reunification impossible -- in fact, I suspect it will probably happen one day -- but it is an obstacle that isn't widely acknowledged.

Doug M.

Paul said...

I have been quite astonished at how
Hungarian Hungarians(for want of a better word) view their ethnic cousins not only in Romania, but also Slovakia and the Ukraine etc.

People are delighted to have the cheap(illegal) labour from Erdely and elsewhere working on building their extension but as the turnout from the referendum proved last year there is a general feeling of apathy towards their situation.

I can understand how patronised people in Erdely and elsewhere must feel when the "rich" tourists come down from Budapest and elsewhere to sample their yearly taste of oldtime Magyar culture.

MS said...

About a change on how the Romanians from the right side of the Prut see
the Bessarabians.
(in Romanian)

Drew said...

The idea that Hungarians should stock up on chocolate, matches and coffee before making the trek to Transylvania is fading slowly. There can be something patronizing in their attitudes towards hatarontuli magyarok, but not always.

I've always found the Transylvanians to be the 'real' Hungarians, somehow more comfortable in their skin. Talented, too. But maybe I'm just fortunate to know the nice ones.

Hungarians from Hungary are spending money in Transylvania (falusi turismus), arguably helping to inject cash into and renovate some ethnic Hungarian villages (the picturesque ones anyway), which means that people might stay put and these places could remain essentially Hungarian.

Kelt said...

For the better word: last time I was at Csíksomlyó I heard my székely (Romanian Hungarian) friends, that they use 'magyarországi' (from Hungary - pronunced with a little sadness) for the unsympathetic magyars who look down on them. It's pretty disapponting to hear. I think the fights in the Hungarian Parliament helped a lot to escalate this trouble.

Erdély was in fact always an autonom place. Just think about it's golden age with the Báthorys, and so on.

Varangy said...

That resentment could be linked to the fact that the douche-bag-lefty-xenophobic Hungarians voted down Orban's referendum on citizenship last year.

Kinda a slap in face to deny citizenship rights to, er, 'Hungarians' who happen to live in neighboring countries, especially Romania and Serbia.

My proposal: those of you who argued/voted against the citizenship referendum come up with and use a new moniker for határon túli magyarok.

That is, a moniker that does not make use of word 'Hungarians'.

(Full disclosure: I voted Yes on citizenship and No on stopping hospital privitization.)

gc said...

Do people still read comments to posts this old?

I am not an ultra-nationalist Hungarian, not that I feel the need to apologize if you think I am.
The problem in Hungary was the swell of lies and b.s. circulating in the months before the referendum on dual citizenship (like: ‘they will cost you money you don’t have; they will take your job and your kid's place in school…yaddayadda…’). Little scares like that in an expensive, overspending country is all it took. Although not nearly as badly off as the Hungarians in Erdély, many Hungarian Hungarians are broke - and not ready to spare any of their precious HUF for any cause. I'm pissed about the result and trying to understand it, because the referendum on citizenship is a question of empathy.
It disturbs me to hear how your students feel that they are looked down upon by Hungary’s Hungarians in general. It is not true (aside for the occasional, or maybe frequently found Blikk-reading bunko-type).
What I understand less is (as noted earlier) the xenophobic attitude among many ‘no' supporters. This is not supposed to be a trait of socialism (as the ruling MSZP were the ones buoying those voters). Related: how is that a socialist government can be so big-business friendly?
It is still a mystery to me how the spectrum lines are drawn.
Would appeciated it if some quasi-political-science-essayist could explain more.

Andy H said...

No idea if anyone reads these old comments gc. Maybe if they come across this page for the first time.

The "anti-Hungarian" sentiment (if I can call it that) has grown significantly since last December's referendum. I've noticed it a lot more since then.

I think it's somewhat unfair though, there is a significant amount of investment in Erdely from both the Hungarian government and private individuals. Here in Csikszereda for example there is the Sapientia University, which as far as I know is funded entirely from Hungary.

F said...

"This would explain why no Hungarian political party in Romania (that I know of) is calling for reunification with Budapest"

A party having the political platform "reunification" couldn't even get registered as a political party (and I doubt it is one). (And I'm sure that's how things would go in any other country.)