Friday, February 08, 2013

Nothing to see

Romania this week has been rocked by scandalous and shocking internet & media based inter-ethnic conflict.  Or so we are told.

Regional flag in Neamt. Somehow not so scandalous
What actually has happened is that because the country is in a total mess, the government have decided that they need a distraction to take people's attention away from the fact that they have no money and no food, and have thus manufactured these scandals to this end. Firstly Antena 3, a TV news channel which is actually a simple mouthpiece of the ruling PSD party, was shocked and traumatised to discover that if they visited the website of the Covasna County Council, and clicked on the button marked "Hu" (and didn't then click back on the one marked "Ro") that they could pretend that the site was only available in Hungarian.  Then later, someone somewhere complained about a regional flag that was being flown over some city hall or other.  No matter that every city hall or public building in the country tends to fly 2 or 3 flags - the Romanian one, occasionally the EU one, and more often than not the one representing the county or city. When this happens in Neamt or Golj or somewhere, nobody obviously cares, but when it's in a predominantly Hungarian area its a clear and terrible indication of irredentism (this is the favoured word of Romanian nationalists who think because they have committed a 5 syllable word to memory they have gained some kind of intellectual gravitas).  Then, apparently the Hungarian ambassador made some private comment regarding autonomy, which he frankly should have kept to himself, but there we go.

Unfortunately the Hungarians tend to respond to all this dog whistling and also are up in arms and happy to keep the story going.  I presume the PSD/USL were banking on this when they started all this shit up.  Anyway, there is genuinely no story and all these angry people on both sides need to just realise why it is that these stories are in the press at all.  That is to (successfully it seems) distract people from actual real important issues.

Meanwhile, a long article has appeared in the New York Times about Sport Club, the hockey team here, and how it represents some kind of "Mes Que Un Club" FC Barcelona style hold out against Romanian cultural imperialism or some such shit.  Massively overegged, and I assume will serve to offer even more ammunition for Ponta and co in their efforts to take the country's attention away from anything that actually matters.

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