Balázs, Sándor. Political Statement, Kiáltó Szó, No. 1/1988
At the launch of the underground magazine the first challenge the editors were faced with was the political embedding of the product. This was done in the editors’ note (“Beköszöntő”) of the 29-page first edition and in Balázs Sándor’s programmatic article (“A Ceaușescu-korszak után” – After the Ceaușescu era). The title of the magazine was borrowed from a post-Trianon publication of the Hungarian community in Transylvania, which had found itself turned into a minority. Although the social-political circumstances in the interwar period differed in several aspects from the situation of the 1980s in Romania, the similarity between the existential situation of the minority in the two periods was considered more important. The editors revealed an analogy between the former outstanding personalities of Transylvanism and their own strivings. At the same time, they saw a resemblance between the post-Trianon mood and the spirit of hopelessness which existed during the decades of communism, characterised by: “despair, hesitation, idleness, the lack of creative energy, paralysis, turning away from politics, shattered self-confidence, escape fever, etc.” However, beside the words with negative meaning, the editors made use of the positive message of the 1921 Kiáltó Szó, which they tried to incorporate in their political statement with expressions like: “urge to act,” “restoring shattered self-confidence,” “work for the survival of the community instead of lamentation,” “developing the sense of reality instead of dreaming.”
They believed that the Romanian state had to take into consideration an ethno-cultural community as numerous as the Hungarian minority. They considered it important to establish a party on the basis of nationality which would represent the interests of the ethnic minority but in the context of Party-state dictatorship this called for a fundamental prerequisite, namely, the abolition of the one-party system. Organising a party was thus not an immediate option; they merely wanted to imprint the idea of this necessity in public awareness. By raising the issue, they implicitly adopted a position in favour of a multi-party system and of “real (not mocked as socialist) democracy.” As they could not imagine the implementation of multi-party democracy in the near future, they separated tactical (immediate) goals from strategic (long-term) tasks. The strategic task, that is, the abolition of the totalitarian regime, could not be formulated as an objective considering that this depended on the coordinated action of the entire Romanian society; therefore they only alluded to it. Thus, the emphasis was laid on the tactical goals, on preserving the Hungarian ethno-cultural community in Romania “until the time comes to participate in change.”
Continuing the tradition of their predecessors, the editors believed in the direct proportionality between fairness and loyalty, according to which the state could expect only as much loyalty as was justified by the degree of fairness it displayed towards minorities. The editors did not act against the Romanian state, but strove to put an end to discrimination against the Hungarian minority and to achieve a real democracy where loyalty too could be fully expressed. They were not against the state, and, as they expressed in their programme objective, they did not want a revision of borders. The distributed writings and the attached interpretations illustrated that the target of their criticism was the Party dictatorship. In particular, they tried to dispel the misconception according to which the dictatorial couple was responsible for everything, as they were fully aware that even if the dictators were eliminated, the Party apparatus would remain, and so their replacement would not solve the problem.
The editors of this samizdat doubted the idea shared by many according to which the Hungarian minority in Romania would play the role of a bridge not only between Hungarians and Romanians, but implicitly, between Hungary and Romania. Therefore they formulated and applied their threefold slogan towards Romanians: form an alliance with the Romanian democratic forces, win over the misled Romanians, consistently fight against Romanian nationalism. They tried to nourish the sense of interdependence and made efforts using their modest means to promote the necessity of a joint Romanian–Hungarian action. When presenting their political creed the editors strove to show their sympathy with those who held similar or identical views; in this regard they sympathised with the authors of the previous samizdat – Ellenpontok (Counterpoints) – as well as with Károly Király who at that time was a legendary figure of political resistance.
In his optimistic piece entitled “A Ceaușescu-korszak után” (After the Ceaușescu Era) Balázs dedicates seven paragraphs to the discussion of the tasks, the tactics, and the clarification of the legal status of the minority in the period up to the establishment of plural democracy, “preserving ourselves for the future.” The key point of his conception is, among general democratic rights, the need for collective rights to be granted to the minority, and further on, the securing of various forms of autonomy for the national minority. In the paragraph dealing with politics he speaks up for the political representation of the minority, where the nationality-based party separately representing itself at the elections is a political grouping guided primarily by the minority point of view in a multi-party social system. Nevertheless, this party will voice its opinion not only about minority problems, but also with reference to general issues concerning the country. In economic policy he argues in favour of unimpeded private initiative, stating that minority initiatives, both individual and group-level – cooperatives, economic associations, private companies – must be made possible in places densely populated by Hungarians. As far as culture is concerned, he stresses the importance of a licence accorded to the community (at the time referred to as either nationality, national minority or Romanians of Hungarian origin) that will enable them to manage their own affairs, especially cultural issues, independently. This requires a proper institutional framework which means, in fact, cultural autonomy. The article discussing the tasks underlines that this autonomy – be it cultural or not – is not meant to serve disconnection and that the editors of the samizdat have no intention of using the potential autonomy for purposes of boundary revision.The part dedicated to education discusses the prospective restoration of the Hungarian-language Bolyai University and of the old Hungarian school network as well as the possibility of carrying out scholarly work in the Hungarian language in own institutions. When touching upon the free use of the mother tongue as one of the most essential minority rights, Balázs asks the state for guarantees as regards the validation of this abstractly stipulated and theoretically acknowledged “constitutional right.” He thinks that this right should be concretely included in several laws, as well as in the constitution. Thus there should be laws to regulate the introduction of multilingual signs in places also inhabited by minorities, the use of the Hungarian language in court and during official procedures, etc. He also argues in favour of the re-launch of Hungarian television programmes and local radio broadcasts. All this could have been considered as an act of revendication since the Romanian nationalist policy strove to restrict the use of the minority mother tongue most of all. The tactical measures include an inventory of clerical complaints, including problems linked to clergy training and difficulties concerning the bringing out of church publications. This last paragraph of the article asks for an elimination of discrimination between the domineering Orthodox religion of the Romanians and the so-called “Hungarian” religions the minority adheres to. The articles discussing the political statement as well as the “draft political programme,” besides representing a proof of civil courage, belong to one of the most significant historical documents of the years preceding the change of regime in 1989.
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- Balázs Sándor
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- Jánosi, Csongor
Balázs, Sándor. 2005. Kiáltó Szó: Volt egyszer egy szamizdat (Screaming Word: Once There Was a Samizdat). Kolozsvár: Kriterion.
Balázs, Sándor. 1988. “A Ceaușescu-korszak után.” (After the Ceaușescu Era). Kiáltó Szó 1, 6–11.
Kiáltó Szó szerkesztősége (The editorial staff of the Kiáltó Szó). 1988. “Beköszöntő.” (Salutation) Kiáltó Szó 1, 1–6.