Every now and then for my pains I get a tirade of abuse from some rabid nationalist psycho. This can appear in the form of a comment on the blog, an email to me, or in some occasions a post on another blog which I have to discover by accident. These come from both Romanian nationalists and Hungarian nationalists, which to my mind means I'm getting it just about right (I recognise that this is not a very scientific way of deciding that, but it'll do).
A couple of months ago, for example, I received the following email from someone called "Radu B". I did try to engage Domnul B in debate but he didn't respond, so I feel that it's OK to taunt him here. The italicised bits are Radu, and the non-italicised bits are my sneering response. In the interests of fairness I have quoted the entire email just so you know not I'm not taking any of this out of context.
Dear Mr. Andy H, while I have no idea about your ethnic(I'm assuming you're British), social or professional background (and quite frankly I don't care about either), I have stumbled upon your blog. I appreciate you have chosen my country to work in and I do hope you are having a good time there.
This is a fair enough opening. I don't really care much about Radu's background either. Not quite sure why he needed to say this however. But there you go. Interesting use of the word "there" which implies that while he is obviously Romanian, he's not actually living here. This is somewhat interesting given what comes later.
However, I do know that Mc. Ciuc is a Romanian city, in a Romanian county, in a Romanian province, and guess what! The official language of Romania, regardless of the ethnic make-up of the area in which you find yourself is - you guessed it!- Romanian.
He's clever, is that Radu. Again I'm not sure why he is quoting undisputed facts at me, but once again, who can ever really know the mind of another.
For that reason, I find the URL of your blog (szekely) and the fact that you keep calling the city by its equivalent name in Hungarian and the fact that you chose to learn Hungarian first and then Romanian, highly offensive.
Highly offensive! It is highly offensive to actually use the word "Szekely"! Not quite sure how Radu would like to proceed with this ethnic group - deny their existence totally? Now I do recognise that it bothers some people that I call this town Csikszereda more frequently than I call it Miercurea Ciuc, and while I think they're being a bit over sensitive, I at least see where they're coming from (and I hope that in turn they understand why I choose one over the other for the most part). It's also highly offensive that I chose, on arrival in Romania (yes Radu, I know I am in Romania) to attempt to learn the language of my wife and (especially) step daughter first. Very odd. (In fact I kind of wish I had had the opportunity to learn Romanian first since it seems so much easier than Hungarian, but I think my reasons for choosing the option I did are clear - and in fact 100% correct)
You are not only offending some Transylvanian (myself) through your actions, but also our forefathers and the sacrifices made to liberate the province from Hungarian occupation.
We'll gloss over the whole "Hungarian occcupation" thing since we're never going to resolve that here. As for offending someone, well whatever I do I will offend someone. So, I think I can live with myself on that one too.
I remind you once more that you are living in Romania, not Hungary.
Thanks Radu. I have to confess I keep forgetting which country I live in. That's why I wrote "A small town in the Ciuc Depression, Romania" at the top of this blog just in case it escapes my attention and I suddenly imagine myself living in Hungary.
I'm convinced your ethnic Hungarian friends are absolutely extatic about your choices,
What choices? The one to live here? I hope some of them are vaguely happy about it, yes. I like to think my wife is very happy, and even possibly ecstatic, but I don't think most people really care that much what I call my blog, to be honest.
and that they add fuel to their erotic dreams regarding autonomy for that part of Romania,
Those dreams are erotic? Wow, no wonder people like them. I'm not sure if I want an erotic dream involving Marko Bela though.
but if you like their language and culture so much, I cordially invite you to cross the border and immerse yourself in the culture Attila's heirs have created in the Pannonic Plains.
And so it closes, with the traditional "Why don't you fuck off to Hungary" line (and let's not be distracted by the "cordial invitation", we all know what that means). I assume Radu is "inviting " me to Hungary anyway - he seems to be somewhat confused by who the Hungarians actually are - the Magyars are not thought to be directly connected to the Huns (and thence Attila), by the way Radu.
Sometimes I think I ought to write a manifesto for this blog so I can just direct people like Radu to read that, but at other times I think that that would probably be a bit over-the-top and self-important. So, at least for now, I won't bother.
So, anyway, thanks Radu for the laugh, and for the material for this blog post. I realise this was somewhat gratuitous, but you know, I think ridicule is all that nationalism and bigotry deserves.
I, at least, feel better for writing that, even if it hasn't improved the lives of any of my readers one iota. Sorry all. I'll post something a little less obnoxious next time.