Commentary

100 years of Romania from a Hungarian perspective

On the 100th anniversary of the unification of Romania - when Hungary lost two-thirds of its territory - local media was replete with interpretations. Here, László Szentgyörgyi, an ethnic Hungarian journalist in Marosvásárhely (Târgu Mureș, Romania), gives us his opinion.

As we all know, December 1st has been the official national day of Romania since the regime change. It is debated to this day why the legislators chose this particular day. One thing, however, is beyond debate: it is a cause for celebration for Romanians but not Hungarians.

The historic truth is that the fate of Transylvania was not decided on December 1st, 1918 (the date when a popular meeting of Romanians proclaimed the unification with Transylvania), but on June 4th, 1920. This means the Gyulafehérvár (Alba Iulia, Romania) popular meeting was nothing more than a similar meeting in Kolozsvár (Cluj-Napoca, Romania) on December 22nd of the same year, where the Hungarians proclaimed their belonging to Hungary.

When the Romanian legislators decided on having December 1st as the national day, they had not been very circumspect: it is clear that said date is only a celebration for Romanians. This means that 1.5 million (ethnic) Hungarians with Romanian citizenship are being disregarded.

The problem with Romania - and its political elite in particular - is that it is unable to rise above the "victorious" position a century ago. They would also expect us to celebrate when we have every reason to mourn. But not all Romanians think like that: fortunately, some of them have diverging opinions, even sympathetic with the Hungarian one. The problem is that they will not declare this publicly, lest their lives become impossible.

As long as this remains the case and the majority of Romanians can be scared with the prospect of "revisionism" we, the Hungarians of Transylvania have little hope. That's it.

Title image: MTI/Zsolt Czeglédi

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