Transylvania in focus

Today’s post will be devoted to three subjects, all of which are related in one way or the other to Transylvania. The topics range from beer to the coming national election to a fifth-grade Hungarian language and literature textbook for Hungarian students in Romania. Since I spent the last two hours comparing a textbook written for children living in Hungary with that written for Hungarian students studying in Romania, I will start with the textbooks.

The Romanian Hungarian literature textbook is available in its entirety on the internet. Internet access to the textbook from Hungary is restricted to the first 16 pages, but from the table of contents we have a fairly good idea of what fifth graders are expected to learn. The verdict coming from educators in Hungary is that the textbook published in Romania is far superior to the ones children in Hungary use.

According to László Arató, president of the Association of Teachers of Hungarian, it is refreshing to read the book published by the Romanian ministry of education, especially when it’s compared to the old-fashioned, stodgy Hungarian textbook from Budapest. From the very first page the authors stressed that they consider the children partners, which is in stark contrast to the book children currently use in Hungary. While the Romanian textbook is full of contemporary writers’ works, the Hungarian equivalent got stuck at Sándor Petőfi’s ”János vitéz.” The choice of this poem didn’t surprise me a bit because Rózsa Hoffmann, former undersecretary in charge of education responsible for the “reform” of Hungarian education, said at least five years ago that it was an absolute must that children study this poem. Those who are unfamiliar with the story don’t deserve to enter college. Fifty-six pages of the 203-page textbook are devoted to the literary analysis of this poem. I might add that in my copy of Petőfi’s complete poems “János vitéz” takes up 53 pages.

While the Romanian textbook is full of modern texts and daily encounters among people, teachers in Hungary are supposed to teach children about metaphors, Greek myths, and the Bible. There is also a section of excerpts from Hungarian writers who describe different regions of the country, with an emphasis on patriotism. One item sounded promising: Ferenc Molnár’s immortal The Boys from Pál Street. But, as it turned out, the book was covered in only five pages–just the structure and plot of the novel plus the names of the characters. The final item in the table of contents made quite an impression on me. I kept wondering how anyone can teach 10-year-olds about the “theory of literature.” In brief, I feel sorry for all those children who have to sit through this literature course and am especially sorry that they have to analyze “János vitéz” for weeks on end. I’m sure that fifth graders find this textbook deadly. No wonder that children don’t like to read.

Now let’s move on to a jollier subject: beer. Of course, not just any beer but the world famous “Igazi Csíki Sőr,” which I wrote about earlier. There was a trademark battle between a Dutch-Hungarian mini-brewery in Transylvania and the Romanian division of Heineken, the well-known Dutch brewery. For some inexplicable reason the Hungarian government decided to weigh in on the side of Igazi Csíki Sőr against Heineken. János Lázár and Zsolt Semjén traveled to Sânsimion/Csíkszentsimon to show their support. The government contemplated passing legislation that would discriminate against larger foreign-owned companies and promote the business interests of small Hungarian firms. And the government gave money to the company that produced the Igazi Csíki Sör. For a while patriotic beer drinkers boycotted Heineken and Igazi Csíki Sőr disappeared from the shelves as soon as it was put out. But these happy days for the owners of Igazi Csíki Sör didn’t last long. When the large breweries’ products are half the price of the beer from Csík, customer enthusiasm doesn’t last long. The mini-brewery decided that the government-favored beer will no longer be available in supermarkets. They will try their luck with direct distribution, providing home delivery to customers. I don’t know, but I have the feeling that this is the end of Igazi Csíki Sör. Market forces are simply too strong.

The last item is the intensive registration campaign the government has been conducting in the last month or so in the neighboring countries to entice ethnic Hungarians to vote in the 2018 national election. Those familiar with the details of the 2014 election know that Fidesz’s all-important two-thirds majority was achieved only because of the votes that came from Transylvania, Serbia, and Ukraine. Although Fidesz is way ahead of all the other parties in the polls today, Viktor Orbán leaves nothing to chance. In 2014 the government managed to register 193,793 voters in the neighboring countries, though only 128,712 of these were valid. A whopping 95.49% of them voted for Fidesz. Therefore, getting as many people registered as possible is of the utmost importance for Viktor Orbán and his party.

The government hopes that of the one million dual citizens at least 500,000 will vote in the election. The government had 332,000 registration requests by the time of the referendum on the migrant quota issue, in which dual citizens could vote. The intensive registration campaign since then has produced only meager results. In the last ten months the number of registrants has grown by only 18,000. The current figure is 350,000, with 148,000 from Romania, followed by Serbia with 40,000. Of course, it is possible that large numbers of people will register only in the last few weeks, but the goal is very ambitious.

Viktor Orbán himself sent letters to all dual citizens living abroad. In addition, the Democratic Alliance of Hungarians in Romania (Romániai Magyar Demokrata Szövetség/RMDSZ or in Romanian Uniunea Democrată Maghiară din România/UDMR), the only serious Hungarian party in Romania, is actively involved in the campaign, especially since Viktor Orbán’s speech in Tusnádfürdő/Băile Tușnad on July 22. The relationship between RMDSZ and Fidesz was not always amiable, but efforts to create a new ethnic political force to be used against RMDSZ failed. RMDSZ was the only Hungarian ethnic party left standing. Lately, RMDSZ and Fidesz have been working hand in hand for the reelection of Viktor Orbán.

August 12, 2017
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gdfxx
Guest

I am glad to see the good quality of the current Hungarian literature textbooks in Transylvania. It reminds me of the Ceausescu times when there were no textbooks at all. The teachers were never sure what was allowed to teach and what not, so they used their notes as textbooks. Some just dictated the whole lesson, some relied on the memory of the students. And some of the students were able to get old copies of the Szerb Antal textbook and used that, only at home (I guess it was on a blacklist during that time).

tappanch
Guest

New Hungarian citizens living outside + inside Hungary.

2011: 78,674 + 20,554
2012: 163,564 + 18,379
2013: 168,614 + 9,178
2014: 155,941 + 8,745
2015: 80,197 + 4,048

Total: 646,990 + 60,904

20 years and older at the time of obtaining the citizenship:

2011-2015: 496,314 (76.7%) + 52,763 (86.6%)

Source: Appendix pp. 4, 5 & 8

“Új magyar állampolgárok” KSH, August 9, 2017
http://www.ksh.hu/docs/hun/xftp/idoszaki/pdf/ujmagyarallampolgarok.pdf

tappanch
Guest

Country of the new citizens living abroad, 2011-2015:
(H = of which people with Hungarian mother tongue)

Romania: 60.0% (H= 95.9%)
Serbia: 19.0% (H= 88.6%)
Ukraine: 13.7% (H= 98.3%)
Slovakia: 0.3% (H= 93.6%)
All other countries: 7.1% (H= 75.6%)

Average Hungarian mother tongue: 93.4%

Original citizenship of the new citizens with Hungarian addresses:

Romania: 75.3%
Serbia: 6.9%
Ukraine: 10.0%
Slovakia: 2.4%
All other countries: 5.4%

Average Hungarian mother tongue: 90.4%

pp. 16 & 17

Breakdown of the Hungarian addresses by the county

Budapest: 33.7%
Pest county: 19.4%
Szabolcs county: 7.2%
Csongrad county: 6.0%
Hajdu-Bihar county: 6.0%
Bács‐Kiskun county: 4.6%

pp. 22 & 23

tappanch
Guest

Official data, as of August 10, 2017:

Hungarian citizen voters with Hungarian addresses: 7,960,767

Registered voters without Hungarian addresses: 291,409 (3.53% of the total)

EU citizens living in Hungary without Hungarian citizenship, who are eligible to vote in local elections: 105,766

Immigrants and refugees eligible to vote in local elections: 23,372

http://valasztas.hu/hu/ovi/735/735_16.html

Registered voters vs applicants without Hungarian addresses:

Romania: 127,961 (43.9%) vs 147,863 (41.9%)
Serbia: 32,568 (11.2%) vs 39,709 (11.2%)
Ukraine + Slovakia: 15,827 (5.4%) vs 20,305 (5.7%)

e-Landia + no-Landia (e-mail address or no address):
104,713 (35.9%) vs 128,315 (36.3%)

Total: 291,394 vs 353,225

http://valasztas.hu/hu/ovi/735/735_6.html
http://valasztas.hu/hu/ovi/735/735_5.html

tappanch
Guest

It is very easy to apply to vote once you claim not to have a Hungarian address.

Anybody can do it online at https://kerelem.valasztas.hu/vareg/
(see also
http://valasztas.hu/hu/ovi/content/Kitoltesi_minta_EN.pdf and
http://valasztas.hu/hu/ovi/content/TiszteltHonfitarsunk_angol.pdf )

The only thing you need is a “personal identifier”, which you can create easily: sex – date of birth – 4-digit number

It is enough for you to give an e-mail address to be notified.
In order to receive the printed ballot itself,
you can proviede a
A. foreign address or a
B. Hungarian address or a
C. [town hall] of a Hungarian village or town or a
D. Hungarian consulate in a neighboring country:

Croatia: Osijek
Romania: Bucharest, Miercurea Ciuc, Cluj-Napoca
Serbia: Belgrade, Subotica
Slovakia: Košice, Bratislava
Slovenia: Lendava
Ukraine: Berehove, Kiev, Uzhhorod

and voila, your application is accepted.

Since the government has all the data (name + place of birth + date of birth + identifying digits) , it can create hundreds of thousands of extra votes. The ballots were and will be dropped off at the consulates in bulk around the election day.

tappanch
Guest

Since the registration is valid for 10 years,
you can vote in
2014, 2018 and 2022 if you registered in 2013 or in
2018, 2022 and 2026 if you register in 2017.

tappanch
Guest

… even if you die one day after your application.

Even if the Hungarian Election Bureau or Commission wanted to delete the dead people from the roster, it could not, since it does not have access to the death certificates issued in foreign countries.

wrfree
Guest
Re: teaching kids the ‘theory of literature’ Uh oh… a book and lit killer right there. Stab the forks into the tomes. They are done done done. The future reams of life, lives, perception and experience on paper have vanished at 10. Perhaps its probably there the Magyar ‘imagination’ stalls dumbfounded both individually and collectively in their engagement with the world and all that it is in it. ‘Theory’ really in the experience of Central Europe has only the connotation of a troublemaker and disturber in human lives and experience. It’s also a lit ‘buzz killer’. Like liitle lab rats the kids seem to be programmed from their formative years to run down set alley ways where ‘theory’ insists on being the construct and driver of feeling and understanding of great poetry and literature. It has its place of course but it is better to introduce it when those who read carefully have had a taste of lived life. It is there they can bring in realities where for the more inquiring and perceptive ones they can see the cracks where things just don’t fit. For them they can feel good that they will not be the walking chumps in… Read more »
petofi
Guest

@wrfree

At a much later stage (in my life, I was 22) I was an Honours History major at university. In my 3rd year, I had to take a philosophy of History course. That killed History for me.

Observer
Guest

Someone wrote in a previous post that his country and freedom are not for sale, but unfortunately they are indicated by the dozens of billions spent by the Orban regime abroad in order to override the will of the Hungarian/Hungarian voters.

Istvan
Guest
Gorka in the news yet again. A leading Republican called for the removal of Gorka in relationship to yesterday’s clashes at a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. George W. Bush ethics lawyer and longtime Republican Richard Painter spoke out forcefully against the White House and his belief that the Trump administration has fed into racist rhetoric. See https://www.mediaite.com/tv/richard-painter-demands-trump-fire-seb-gorka-and-steve-bannon-over-charlottesville-violence/ The only on camera comment Gorka is reported to have made about Charlottesville is this quick passing one: “It’s this constant, ‘Oh, it’s the white man. It’s the white supremacists. That’s the problem.’” That was enough and it’s outraged many here. But the problem with all of this is that one reason the fascists were able to mobilize so many people in support of not removing the statue of General RE Lee is because of numerous legacy supporters of the Confederacy in the USA, and in fact in the current officer corp of the US Army. It has been estimated two of every three Americans have an ancestor who lived through the US Civil War. I even had a distant relative for fought for the US Army Calvary as an effective mercenary under General Sheridan that helped my grandfather and great… Read more »
Istvan
Guest

Should be turn of the 20th century not 19th – sorry

tappanch
Guest

May 2017:
“The Jewish mayor of Charlottesville, Virginia, became the target of online anti-Semitic and racist abuse after denouncing alt-right protests that occurred over the weekend.”

He actually OPPOSED removing the Robert E. Lee statue !

http://people.com/politics/charlottesville-mayor-mike-signer-slammed-anti-semitic-hate-following-rally-save-confederate-statue/

tappanch
Guest

“I’m a progressive mayor. Here’s why I voted no on removing my city’s Confederate statue. […] [ build] new monuments as a powerful counter-narrative to their Jim Crow-era celebration of the Confederacy — neither forgetting the past nor accepting its grasp on our present and future.”

https://www.washingtonpost.com/posteverything/wp/2017/05/24/im-a-progressive-mayor-heres-why-i-voted-no-on-removing-my-citys-confederate-statue/

tappanch
Guest

The Confederate flag over the South Carolina Capitol
(April 11, 1961 – July 10, 2015):

comment image?6

Istvan
Guest

Tappanch some where amongst the video footage I watched today of Charlottesville there was a clip of a fascist openly talking about killing Jews and communists, but I haven’t been able to locate it again. Here is what is interesting in all of this as it relates to the Confederacy there were indeed Jewish supporters of the Confederacy. See http://www.nytimes.com/books/first/r/rosen-confederates.html

I had a very personal experience with a reformed Jewish woman from Richmond Virginia whose family had once been involved in the slave trade and banking. Among the Richmond Light Infantry Blues discussed in the article I linked was one of her ancestors and his portrait hung in her family’s amazing historic home located in what is now a national historic district in Abingdon Va. To a degree, similarly to Hungary, history lives and takes on a life of its own divorced from actual history. Eva has been spending a lot of energy doing that as it relates to the reality of 1956 in Hungary, and the fascists who want to change history to fit their narrative.

tappanch
Guest

Reuben Morris Greenberg was the first black police chief of Charleston, SC (1982-2005). He was also Jewish.

tappanch
Guest

Charleston, Greenberg, 2015 massacre of blacks, Vice President Calhoun

One of the two letters was written by by Robert N Rosen (see above):

https://www.jweekly.com/2015/06/26/was-charleston-church-massacre-indicative-of-or-an-exception-to-citys-race/

Aida
Guest

I agree entirely with Eva’s post below on statue removals. I would add that you cannot unwrite history. You can however do an Orwellian job on any period. The purpose is of course simple, it is to assist with real or illusory political exigencies of the present. But the very act of removal of memorabilia or rewriting events is a political act. It makes a statement which will almost certainly be controversial to a greater or smaller extent.

In this instance it has brought to ahead the events of Charlottesville. The monument is neither here nor there, but its removal served to revive old hostilities. Whilst they will not reignite the Civil War, in my view the revival of old hates is unhelpful and in this instance resulted in violence and death. Slavery in the main is gone, but it cannot be written out of history.

tappanch
Guest

Ivanka Trump:

“There should be no place in society for racism, white supremacy and neo-nazis. We must all come together as Americans — and be one country UNITED.”

https://twitter.com/ivankatrump

tappanch
Guest
Farges
Guest

OT:

Hungary will apply to host the Athletic World Championship in 2023.

This will necessitate – among others – one new giant stadium (formerly named the Olympic Stadium, now named in Athletic Stadium which will have to be bigger than the Puskas Stadium currently under construction with a current price tag of HUF 200bn).

For all those who thought the opposition won by the formal revocation of the Olympic bid: all the projects will be constructed.

Orban deiced to to build the stadiums instead of hospitals and subway lines and he will build stadiums.

Hungary will host world championships as many as it can and knowing how the international sports organizations work Hungary will host many.

Unfortunately Orban won this game big time.

http://hvg.hu/itthon/20170813_budapest_tenyleg_ra_akar_hajtani_a_2023as_atletikai_vbre

Observer
Guest

Farges

For the grand embezzlement orgy to go on there has to be more state spending on large projects. Not that the Orban mafia is not ripping off the small ones, but, just like in sales, the larger the better.

As a bonus, it’s a circus for the dupes too.

Guest

Rather OT but interesting:

Has anyone seen the movie 1945 about the coming home of a Jewish father and son to their home village in Hungary?
http://www.bfi.org.uk/news-opinion/sight-sound-magazine/reviews-recommendations/1945-ferenc-torok-bitter-homecoming-hungary

tappanch
Guest

Good movie. Tense, funny and revealing of the rural Hungarian society of 1945. This is not the home village of the two mysterious Jewish men, but I do not want to spoil your cinematic experience.

gdfxx
Guest

It is an excellent movie, in my opinion.

tappanch
Guest

Istvan,

Do I see it correctly that the Trump administration has acquiesced to a Russian & Iranian rule over Syria ? (Saudis just withdrew their support of the Syrian rebels, so did Turkey)

Istvan
Guest

As I have seen it discussed it seems like some kind of a bizarre political division of existing Syria post elimination of the Islamic State. The Trump objective seems to be withdrawal of US forces and protection for the so called Syrian democratic forces and the Kurds by splitting up the country. It’s as delusional as the full withdrawal of US forces from Vietnam was. The destruction of South Vietnam was inevitable as will be Assad’s campaign to retake all of Syria with the help,of Putin.

Apparently General McMaster is currently fighting an internal war with Trump and Bannon over completely abandoning Afghanistan to the Taliban. There is always the legitimate question of how long can the US military remain engaged in Afghanistan, but Trump just wants to abandon the place quickly. My daughter who served in the US Army in Afghanistan and Iraq is distraught over what is publicly known about this debate inside the Trump administration. She told me she now knows how I felt about the US abandonment of South Vietnam even if it was a den of corruption.

The truth is soliders don’t like to lose wars, it a historic trait of all soliders.

gdfxx
Guest

I think nations do not like to lose wars, not just soldiers. Especially in countries like Afghanistan, where 9/11 originated and can raise its ugly head again.

Guest

Rather OT:
Again I see some comments waiting for moderation not just twice, but four times!
Am I the only one – does wordpress give me favours here?
Is there a cure for this?
Of course it’s not a real problem, after clicking F4 the duplicates disappear – but also the colour markings for new comments…

wpDiscuz