Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Notes from the new front line

The flag debate drags on and on and ...

Political capital is made by both sides in perpetuating it. Easy to whip Romanians into a fury over this treacherous irredentist piece of cloth, and easy to whip Hungarians up into a fury over attempts to ban it.  It is, obviously, a complete non issue, especially at a time when people have far bigger problems to worry about.  But, hey, it's an easy distraction for politicians and media to indulge in.  In both countries.

Yesterday I saw a job advert from the US Embassy in Vienna asking for a Hungarian/Romanian media analyst.  A full time position to monitor the media in both countries and report. If the CIA* are now taking an interest in this, it must mean they are at least slightly worried.

(*It wasn't technically a CIA job, but this hardly seems like a consular need)

This is how it starts though.  Times of great economic stress lead people to seek an easy outlet for their worries/fears/concerns/anger.  In some countries it's immigrants.  Here it's Hungarians (and in Hungary it's dragging up Trianon again).  It will probably blow over, but it's as depressing as fuck though.  Depressing that the electorate in both countries can't just say to their political leaders "No, for fuck's sake, they're not the problem.  You are."

See? Incontrovertible proof
On Tuesday there was a Szekely flag raising ceremony in the main square here.  We've never had one there before, but there are more Szekely flags flying now than there ever were before, and whoever is making them, is doing a tidy business.  Oddly they scheduled the ceremony for exactly the same time as the start of the biggest and most important ice hockey match of the season. And as you will from this scientifically accurate venn diagram I've just made up there's a pretty big crossover between people who would like to attend a ceremony raising the flag and local ice hockey fans. Anyway, the mayor (who I may have mentioned before is something of a  dick) made some speech saying that Hungarian ought to be mandatory in this town.  Which I guess means I need to leave.  This blog will probably have to be closed.  Nonsensical bluster of course, but he managed to get the Romanian press up in arms, so I guess he feels it was worth it.

Anyway, HSC Csikszereda (the ice hockey team) won, you'll be glad to know, and are now in the playoffs and about to face Nove Zamky of Slovakia, with either DAB or Miskolc (both from Hungary) awaiting the winner. It's been an excellent and highly competitive season for the MOL league, and I've thoroughly enjoyed it.  The final of the Romanian championship will follow, and given all this flag and attendant other nonsense, I fear that is likely to be less fun as it will imbued with lots of heavy meaningfulness and the whole sporting contest element will be somewhat lost.

Finally, here is a video aimed at helping Romanians speak Szekely.

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