From CC.UMontreal.CA!!uunet!gatech!!!!! Wed Apr 26 21:45:48 EDT 1995
Article: 18649 of soc.culture.romanian
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Path: CC.UMontreal.CA!!uunet!gatech!!!!!
Newsgroups: soc.culture.romanian
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Organization: Anonymous contact service
Date: Sat, 22 Apr 1995 23:31:38 UTC
Subject: Setting the record straight
Lines: 256

	In recent postings, addressed by Mr. Rosca to Mr. Iordache and 
Mr. Cazacu, aside from having my postings taken in vain, the author included
serious misrepresentations. While I am sure that the two addressees can 
respond to Mr. Rosca as they consider fit, I will address the issues linked
to my postings or my spheres of interest.

1. I fail to agree with Mr. Rosca that, because the current Romanian 
government has its problems, any political discussion on unrelated or
indirectly related topics should be considered as de-focusing or 
diversionary, and should cease as a result. 

2. I do not agree that the truth should be hidden or changed just because
it might be useful to the government and damaging for the opposition.

3. I disagree that condemning the pre- WWII antisemitism is applying
today's standards to yesterday's people. "Do not do unto others what you
do not like done unto yourself" is a Biblical commendment that should
have been known in Romania by the 19th and 20th centuries. It is especially
sad that those people learned the wrong lessons from the long oppression
that the Romanian people underwent throughout history, and they couldn't
embody the hardly won national freedom without becoming oppressors for 
defensless others, who had never harmed them in any way.

4. I disagree that there is any "hunt for antisemites" going on. Talking,
about "hunts", historically it was the Romanian state ( "democrat",
fascist and communist ) which kept records about and lists of Jews. I am not
aware of Romanian Jews keeping lists of antisemites, or "hunting" them.

5. Mr. Rosca claims that:

" "S" a debutat printr-o 
laborioasa demostrtie a firescului victoriei Frontului in alegeri ..."

Technically incorrect: my first posting a was historic one. To the substance:
The article that Mr. Rosca seems to refer to was a list of the mistakes
the opposition has made between the Revolution and the first elections, as
well as an explanation why FSN won, that went beyond the prevailing thought
on s.c.r. at the time( the opposition was without blame, it lost due to 
some kind of fraud that no one could explain, and anyone who had a diferent
oppinion was an agent of the Securitate ).
I am of the firm belief that the first step  in correcting mistakes is
acknowledging them. That is true whether it applies to the opposition in 1990
or to Romanian history in the 19th and 20th century.

6. I disagree that people who engaged in fascist type of political or
ideological activity should not be subject to critique for their
political or ideological activities on grounds that they opposed
communism, that they were great poets, or that they were jailed or
persecuted by the communists.

7. Mr. Rosca wrote:

"Lista intelectualilor romani care au "pacatuit antisemit"  este atit de 

This statement belongs to Mr. Rosca and not to me. However, since it was 
posted publicly I will probably use it by reposting it ( with appropriate
credit, of course ) everytime some young  newcomer to the s.c.r. posts some
reflex denial about one person or other. 

8. and continuing:

" incit ridica doua probleme :
daca ne putem permite epurarea culturii romane de aceasta importanta parte
a ei"

There was absolutely no call for any kind of purges whether of the author
or the works. The call was for the teaching and republishing  of such 
works with ample commentary that does not leave place for ethical ambiguity.

9. and further:

"daca putem presupune ca singura explicatie a acestui fenomen este 
o viziune romaneasca barbara, vicioasa, asupra lumii" 

No one claimed that it is the ONLY explanation or an exclusively Romanian
one. The term "barbaric" was used only by Mr. Rosca. As for being a "Romanian
vicious vision", it certainly is! However it is only one vision among many,
and not THE one and unique Romanian vision. When watching the play "Tache,
Ianche ,si Cadi^r", most Romanians do not see in Ianche a dangerous
foreign element that should be purged.

10. Mr. Rosca must be really desperate if he attempts to explain 19th and
early 20th century antisemitism in Romania based on the anti-immigration
feelings in late 20th century Western Europe and USA. The current anti-
immigration feelings are based on the belief that immigrants are stretching
the limits of the welfare state, take jobs away from natives, increase
crime and stress the environment in already overcrowded nations. Romania in
the 19th and early 20th century did not have welfare, was not perceived
as overcrowded, did not have environmental concerns, and as far as
Jews were concerned, most were self employed little merchants who did not
take jobs away and did not commit much crime either. Thus the comparison is

11. Aside from such considerations, Jews in 19th century Romania were not
"immigrants" or newcommers. The Romanian Jews trace their roots to the
15th century when enlightened rulers, (namely Alexandru cel Bun and
S,tefan cel Mare), explicitly invited Jewish merchants to come to Moldova,
to strengthen, and in certain areas, set up, comercial urban centers. It is
too bad that after paying taxes for 400 years and being born there for 
generations, those Jewish Romanians grew to consider the place their country
too. As in the 2nd half of the 19th century some Christian Orthodox Romanians
decided that they wanted to be merchants as well, and they did not like
competition. As it turned out, after 400 years of alleged civilization,
a new generation of politicians managed to regress to tribalism, and
started persecuting those from the different clan. Alexandru cel Bun and
Stefan cel Mare, in the 15th century, could look at people's minds and
hearts and see them as people; by the 19th century, the only thing of
interest was religious practice and the ability to claim Daco-Roman origin.

12. Of course, there were many immigrants in 19th century Romania, Jews
included ( although the antisemites of the time were oblivious to any 
differences between Jews ). In fact, there has been massive non-Jewish
immigration from Greece, Macedonia, Albania, Serbia, Bulgaria, Habsburg
and Russian empires since the 18th century. One can only look at the 
large number of non Romanian last names in Romania, despite over 100 years
of Romanization efforts, to get a feeling about the magnitude of the process.
Romanian names with the Greek terminations such as "-ide", the name 
Teodorescu( derived from THeo- and still spelled with H occasionally - note
the Romanian form is "Tudor" ), Macedonic prefixes (e.g. "Cara-" ), Polish
sufixes  such as "-t,chi" or "-schi" are only examples. Particularily
revealing are names ending in "-evici" or "-ovici" ( e.g. Popovici ), 
because they are not realy last names but Russian patronimics. Since 
most commoner Romanians adopted modern last names in the 19th century, the
fact that some would use the Russian form in choosing names for themselves
shows that those people or their parents were recently emmigrated from 
Russia at the time. ( Even if the use of patronimics can be defended as 
Romanian, inherited from Slavs, then, the Romanian form is "Apopii" rather
than "Popovici" ). Last but not least, there are names like Cazacu, 
Ungureanu, Tatarescu, Botezatu, Si^rbu, Turculet, etc. which speak for 
themselves. The mere fact that just about anyone from Romania, knows
someone or of someone in those categories is a measure of the size of
the immigrant population. What separated those immigrants from the Jewish
ones, was their religion, mostly Christian, mostly Orthodox. As such, 
without giving up their religion, once they learned  how to speak Romanian,
they became virtually indistinguishable from other Romanians, and they
could claim Daco-Roman origin. ( "Toata greco-bulgarimea e nepoata lui
Traian" wrote a poet, after having his name changed from the hard to explain
EminOVICI to a "-escu" termination ). Of course, the Jewish immigrants, 
could not both keep their religion and be credible Daco-Romans. As such,
the hate was not against "foreigners or immigrants " but against a particular
religious group( Jews ), regardless of whether they were immigrants or

13. Mr. Rosca wrote further:

"Ne putem pune cenusa in cap pentru gesturile noastre, dar 
a o face in numele inaintasilor nostri nu e numai absurd, E O 

This is true only up to DIRECT responsibility. In general, if someone can
take pride in other people's achievments on grounds of being their progeny,
then they should take the shame for the ancestral misdeeds as well. In 
other words, national pride has to go hand in hand with national shame,
when apropriate. In the USA all history books above elementary levels 
acknowledge historic misdeeds against various minorities and is not clear 
why it shouldn't be the same in Romania.

14. I disagree that Europe FORCED Romania in the 19th century to grant 
citizenship to Jewish Romanians. There was no threat of force and no 
situation of duress (such as famine or epidemics) involved. It is Romania 
who petitioned recognition and not the other way around. Nor was full 
European recognition absolutely essential for Romania. In fact Romania 
functioned unrecognized from 1877 to 1881 without much troubles. What the
Romanian political leaders at the time wanted was to get the international
prestige that European recognition would bring, while maintaining the
balcanic system of persecuting its minorities. It was the judgement of
the Europeans to give an incentive to Romania to solve its internal 
conflicts, as it joined the family of the civilized nations.

15. Mr. Rosca wrote further:

"... scindarea pe care aceasta problema a produs-o in 
societatea romaneasca, dupa 1919. Confruntarea dintre grupul celor 
care s-au decis (resemnat) "sa intre in Europa" contra celor care au 
continuat sa considere prezenta evreilor ca pe o ocupatie... Luptele 
fratricide care s-au purtat in jurul acestei divergente nenorocite.  
Cortegiul de victime ROMANESTI insingerind memoria si 
impotmolindu-ne emnciparea.  Rezultatul funest pe care acest mar al 
discordiei l-a avut asupra evolutiei noastre politice. "

This seems to be a new theory in history: the political struggle in
Romania between the wars, was not between some form of western democracy
on one side and totalitarian tendencies( fascism ) on the other, but a fight
over whether the 5-6% of  the population ( the Jews ) should have the 
right to vote ( citizenship  ) or even be there. I did not know that, but
now I feel enlightened... As for the "blooded" list of ROMANIAN victims 
produced by internal fight over the Jews, I challenge Mr. Rosca to post 
just a few names.

16. Mr. Rosca wrote:

"Acceptati asfel implicit ideea ... ca orice forma de "antisemitism", o data
dovedita, devine automat incriminanta"

Attention Mr. Cazacu! Not all anti-semitism is bad! There is also good
antisemitism, and you should be able to tell them apart! Question for
Mr. Rosca: Is all anti-Romanian-ism bad, or are there some good strains,
as well ?

17. Mr. Rosca wrote:

 "Sa acceptam "hitlerizarea" si "holocaustizarea" abuziva [?]"
In my naivete I thought that the "hitlerization" was due to the Romania's
aliance with Hitler, while the "holocaustization" was based on Romanian
exploits in Basarabia, Bucovina and Transnistria. Now I know that is due 
to "abusive" people like myself who only wrote about it: the problem is
not the facts but the words.
18. and further:

"Sa ne nedreptatim inaintasii, neintelegindu-i [?]"

Or maybe understanding them too well ?

19. and further:

  "evreii de buna credinta sint recunoscatori fata de [Romania]" 

No doubt about it! Now, is Romania grateful for the contribution the Jews
made to Her ? How did it show it in the past ? How does it show it today ?

20. Mr. Rosca wrote:

"Pericolul este azi in alta parte."

While there might be many dangers down the road, some new, we are trying to
address an old one with a track record of harm. And it is not the dead
communism. It is the nationalistic illness of the Romanian thought. 
In the 19th century and after 1920, in two occasions, Romania tried to join
the Western World only to fall prey to its balcanic instincts. In the
1930s nationalism destroyed whatever democracy there was, to create a 
succession of dictatorships and the slippage in legionarism. From the mid
1950s on, nationalism has combined with communism, culminating in Ceausescu
regime. After the Revolution, the extreme nationalist parties, now in 
unholly aliance with the ruling party, got millions of votes. The danger is
that, again, Romania will try to join the Western world, but the old and
unacknowledged, untreated wounds will pull Her back. 

     ** S. **