MINELRES: Romania: Bulletin DIVERS on Ethnic Minorities no.4 (247) / February 5, 2007

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Divers Bulletin no. 4 (247) / February 5, 2007




BUCHAREST - Federation of Jewish Communities in Romania, or FCER, and
Association of Romanian Jews Victims of the Holocaust, or AERVH, said
Wednesday, January 31, they filed a criminal complaint against
university teacher Ion Coja some three weeks ago, for having denied the
Holocaust. This is the second criminal complaint filed against Coja,
according to above mentioned sources. 
Lawyer Nasty Vladoiu, representing this case in justice, said that Ion
Coja's statements denying the existence of the Holocaust in Romania, in
his quality of university teacher, is subject to article 6 in the
Romanian "Law on banning the organizations and symbols with fascist,
racist or xenophobic-like character and the promotion of the cult of
persons guilty for having committed crimes against peace and humanity". 
This article stipulates the "public denial of the Holocaust or of its
effects is a crime and is punished with detention from six months to
five years and with banning some rights." 
The representatives of Romanian Jews accused Ion Coja for a letter sent
to Romania's president Traian Basescu, called "Truth about the so called
Holocaust in Romania." 
"This is the second criminal complaint against Coja, for an article on
how Romania is to be invaded by Jews. The authorities have not reacted
properly. I received no answer from the Prosecutors' Office," FCER
president Aurel Vainer said. 
"We will draft a file and will address this issue to the University. The
teacher has a statute, the university has a statute and we might event
think of asking for a hearing at the university's rector in this
matter," Aurel Vainer also said. 
Author: DIVERS - http://www.divers.ro/

BRUSSELS - The head of the Romanian delegation at the Council of Europe
Parliamentary Assembly, or PACE, Gyorgy Frunda, jointly submitted
together with other 23 parliamentarians a motion on the discrimination
of the Hungarian minority in the Romanian academic education. The motion
was submitted on January 24. The signatories of the document ask PACE to
carefully analyze whether equal chances are guaranteed for the Hungarian
minority in the academic education in Romania, especially as regards the
recent case of the two teachers dismissed from Babes-Bolyai University.
They also propose that PACE asks Romania to ratify the European Chart of
Minority and Regional Languages. 
The 24 MPs feel sorry the commitments undertaken by Romania have not
been totally met and "consequently, Hungarian teachers and pupils are
discriminated on using the mother tongue in academic education." "Some
4,4% of the students come from the Hungarian minority and only 1,6% have
the chance to study in Hungarian language, considering the Hungarians
represent over 6,6% of the Romanian population," the motion also said. 
The signatories refer to the situation in Babes-Bolyai University, and
said that despite of the fact the university declared its multicultural,
trilingual status, considered as satisfactory for the necessities of the
Hungarian community, this does not mirror in the decision-making
process, in the administration and on fund-allotting for the university. 
They notice the university rector "banned" the use of Hungarian language
for different inscriptions inside the institution, and the Hungarian
students have no access to the subjects they want to study in Hungarian
The signatories of the motion feel sorry that within the context of this
discrimination, two teachers with Babes-Bolyai University were dismissed
for "having destroyed the university assets," for having placed
Hungarian plates on the walls of the institutions, under those in
Romania. The MPs said the two observed the documents of the university,
as a trilingual multicultural institution.
Author: DIVERS - http://www.divers.ro/

BUCHAREST - The Hungarian organizations, others that those of the
Democratic Union of Hungarians in Romania, or UDMR, will support an
independent candidate for European Parliament elections in May. The
leaders of the Hungarian Civic Union, Saint George Chair, will propose
the vice-president of the Initiative Committee "Bolyai", Kovacs Lehel,
as independent candidate for the European parliament elections. If most
of the organizations to take part in this meeting will support another
candidate, such as reformed bishop Tokes Laszlo, the organization in the
Saint George Chair with UCM will abide by the will of the majority and
will support the candidate nominated following this consultation. 
Gazda said the list with UDMR candidates for the EP elections points out
that UDMR does not represent the interests of all Hungarians in Romania,
and those proposed by the Union for the European Parliament are not part
of its usual clientele. 
The speculations reformed bishop Laszlo Tokes might run for the EP have
intensified. If UDMR has not commented upon the issue of a possible
independent candidate, the possible running of Laszlo Tokes could bring
about the "split-up" of the Hungarian electorate. The leaders of the
Union acknowledged this issue.
UDMR president Marko Bela said Tuesday, January 30, during a press
conference, that if Laszlo Tokes runs as an independent candidate in the
elections for the European Parliament, this could "split-up" UDMR's
electorate, and he should not represent the Hungarian community in
"Laszlo Tokes is entitled to run for the list of a party or as an
independent. He was an independent when an UDMR member. He should not
represent us in the European Parliament," Marko Bela said, adding UDMR
is in charge with convincing the electorate to vote for it. 
Author: DIVERS - http://www.divers.ro/

BUCHAREST - The book "Elite rome" (Ethnic Roma elites), recently
published at "Balcanii si Europa" publishing house, was launched Friday,
February 2 in Bucharest. The book was signed by publicist Mircea Bunea,
with the contribution of Dana Lascu, and presents various ethnic Roma
important persons, past or future, some of whom are notorious. 
The authors of the volumes faced "unpredicted difficulties", as
documents and charters were investigated to settle the Roma identity,
"many of which were covered by the dust of an unfair history." The
chapter on the contemporaneous people was difficult, as many valuable
people "deny their origin out of prejudice." 
The publisher stipulated in the book's foreword, "these pages are meant
to save from the shadows of the past an alive, active population,
unfortunately abhorred and misunderstood." 
Publisher Mircea Bunea said the book was "hard" to draw up, and after
some of the book's characters passed away, laborious investigations
settled their appurtenance to the Roma ethnics. Many of the people who
belong to the Roma ethnic, "alive and active, refuse to accept their
biography and deny their origin." 
Author: DIVERS - http://www.divers.ro/

BUCHAREST - Romania's Ministry of Education could not set up highschool
teaching in Ukrainian language in Siret and Tulcea out of lack of
pupils, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, or MAE, said. 
At the meeting with president Traian Basescu on January 15, in Sighetul
Marmatiei, president of Ukraine Victor Iuscenko said that Romania did
not meet the obligation for intergovernmental minorities of the joint
commission, on setting up two high-schools teaching in Ukrainian
language in Siret and Tulcea. 
The president of Ukraine had undertaken within the same context, to
establish a Romanian high-school in Cernauti, and several classes in
Odessa region for the Romanians back there. 
"The Ukrainian party met the agreed terms and we address the Romanian
party to do the same, namely to reopen some Ukrainian high-schools that
had been closed," Victor Iuscenko recently said. MAE said that two years
ago, a 9th year class was set up in Siret, on mathematics-informatics
branch, with 11 pupils, as a first step in reopening the former
Ukrainian high-school, teaching all subjects in Ukrainian. The academic
plan passed by Ministry of Education for 2006 and 2007, a class of
philological branch was set up in Siret, with 26 Ukrainian pupils, who
successfully passed the language tests. 
Only one pupil of a total of 26 asked to register in this class as
following the good results at the capacity tests, most of the other
people changed their option in favor of informatics. 
Ministry of Education has unsuccessfully tried in the past two years to
set up a high-school teaching in Ukrainian language, in Timisoara (for
countries Timis, Arad and Caras-Severin), instead of that in Tulcea,
which had no candidate. 
Author: DIVERS - http://www.divers.ro/

CLUJ-NAPOCA - During January-December 2007, Center of Resources for
Ethno-cultural Diversity, or CRDE, in partnership with Association
Lecture and Writing to Develop critical Thinking in Romania, or ALSDGC,
develops the project "Appreciate diversity", within the PHARE 2004
program- Civil Society, a press statement read. 
The project aims to render the public more aware of the ethnic-cultural
diversity in Romania and aims to bring its contribution to a better
understanding of the multicultural values. This has two components: a
media component targeting the wide public and an education component
targeting the pupils in the gymnasium and secondary school. The national
campaign to improve the perception and to appreciate the diversity will
be accomplished by broadcasting various TV advertisements, by
distributing post cards with the same message and posters; as well as
the development and promotion of a package of multicultural education.
Over 800,000 persons will be involved in the media campaign, 1,000
teachers and some 25,000 pupils throughout 60 schools will benefit from
a package of multicultural education consisting in a multicultural
calendar, a guidebook for teachers and various demonstrative workshops
on using such materials. 
Author: DIVERS - http://www.divers.ro/

BUCHAREST - His panflute strapped to his body, the young Gypsy musician
fled communist Romania on foot in search of freedom, the Associated
Press reports.
Nearly two decades later, Damian Draghici has become one of the world's
top panflutists: he has played on stage with James Brown and Joe Cocker
and won a Grammy in 2006. But as he tours Europe to promote Romania as a
new EU member - performing gypsy ballads in a band called Damian and
Brothers - his roots are striking a wrong chord with some politicians.
Gypsies, or Roma, have long faced intense discrimination in Romania and
the rest of the Balkans - shut out of jobs, housing and marriage
prospects. Several Romanian politicians have criticized Foreign Minister
Mihai Razvan Ungureanu for funding Draghici's tour.
"He wants (Europe) to believe that in Romania there are only Gypsies,"
said Nationalist Senator Gheorghe Funar, who accused Ungureanu of having
an "anti-Romanian attitude."
Draghici said that's precisely the kind of attitude he is trying to
break down by playing his ancient instrument - also known as a panpipe -
which takes its name from the Greek god Pan and is made up of short
pipes bound together in a row.
"Our music changes people's perception of Gypsies and that is the
objective," said Draghici, 36.
The tour of Damian and Brothers has been greeted with enthusiasm across
Europe, getting thousands of people attending free concerts in Brussels,
London and in Dublin on their feet and dancing. On New Year's day, when
Romania joined the EU, Austrian Foreign Minister Ursula Plassnik,
European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso and EU Enlargement
Commissioner Olli Rehn danced the night away in Bucharest to Draghici's
Born into a musical family, the great-great nephew of the legendary
panflutist Fanica Luca, Draghici began playing when he was three and
fled the country when he was 18. It was the spring of 1989, months
before the fall and execution of late dictator Nicolae Ceausescu.
Draghici had won accolades and prizes for his music while growing up in
Soviet-era Romania. But all the while he felt he was being slowly
"I couldn't stand not being free. I thought: 'I stay here and die slowly
or I die tonight," he said recalling his flight into the former
Yugoslavia and on to Greece during an interview at a Bucharest
restaurant. Years of playing in four-day weddings as a child, and
walking for kilometers (miles) in wind, rain and sun to accompany the
bride and groom on a horse-drawn cart had prepared Draghici for the long
trek of five days and five nights. He survived on wild fruits and
handfuls of water he scooped up along the risky route to freedom.
Greece became his home for the next decade. There, he began playing in
bars and clubs, learning to speak perfect Greek so the immigration
officers wouldn't deport him. At first he scraped together a few
drachmas, busking in the street and hanging out with beggars and
prostitutes. Later, as word of his talent spread, he was earning up to
the equivalent of US$ 500 (EUR 387) a night. He also started studying at
the Philippos Nakas music conservatory in Athens.
But the money and the studies weren't enough for the restless Draghici.
After landing a Sony recording contract, he won a full scholarship to
the prestigious Berklee College of Music in Boston finishing the
four-year course in 14 months.
Draghici, who composes music and plays a dozen instruments, still counts
the panflute - which is today played mainly in Romania and South America
- as the true instrument of his soul. "When I want to express something
to people, that is how I tell them best," he said.
American musical great Quincy Jones has lauded Draghici as "a blessed
talent and mind." He has made 15 albums and has dabbled in electronic
music, jazz, and hip-hop - while staying close to his Gypsy music roots.
In Romania, however, his music is less known and not widely appreciated.
"It saddens me that ... a cultural project we are promoting .... is
attracting negative comment in Romania," said Corina Vintan, spokeswoman
for Romania's Foreign Ministry.
Draghici has a simple message for his critics. "Everyone is open to see
the good in people. We are made of love. (As musicians), we give love,
nothing else. If someone has a problem with us, they have a problem with
love. Racial discrimination is a lack of love." 
Author: DIVERS - http://www.divers.ro/

DIVERS - News bulletin about ethnic minorities living in Romania is
edited every week by Balkan Investigative Reporting Network, with the
financial support of Project on Ethnic Relations - Regional Center for
Central, Eastern and South-Eastern Europe. Partial or full reproduction
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