The Irish News: Concept of live and let live is beyond the grasp of many unionists

irish”There’s a city called Cluj in western Romania. It’s the unofficial capital of Transylvania. Cluj is the Romanian name for it”, this is the start of an article published by

Hungarians, who make up about 20 per cent of the 400,000 population, call it Kolozvar. Germans call it Klausenburg.

Why would Germans call it anything? Well, there was a substantial Saxon population in the Middle Ages who were imported to defend the mountain passes against the Mongols.

Cluj was part of the kingdom of Hungary from the tenth century until 1920 when the Treaty of Trianon partitioned Hungary and Transylvania was given to Romania.

Hungarians didn’t think that was a great idea. Since then relations between Romanians and Hungarians in the city and surrounding countryside have been pretty rocky.

Around twenty years ago council workers were in the city’s main square busily digging under a statue of the fifteenth century Hungarian King Matthias Corvinus, a Hungarian folk hero.

Why? Wait for it: to prove that Romanian civilisation predated Hungarian civilisation. The city council wasn’t being ironic about the word civilisation.

This piece of nonsense was part and parcel of an anti-Hungarian campaign by the city mayor, the dreadful Gheorghe Funar, currently Secretary of the Greater Romania Party.

Funar was mayor from 1992-2004. Among his wheezes he had the city’s pavements painted in the colours of the Romanian flag, red, yellow and blue. but not only the pavements, the park benches, bins, anything that didn’t move.

Anything to annoy the local Hungarians. Initially he was a populist hero for the Romanian population of the city until tourists and businesses began to avoid the place and it went into decline.

Nevertheless it took twelve years to boot him out. The voters have learnt their lesson. When he stood in 2008 he got 4 per cent of the vote.

You can see where this is going, can’t you? As a result of the reorganisation of councils here we’re going to have a number of Cluj/Kolozvar/ Klausenburgs.


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