Between 26-30 June and 3-7 July, the Smithsonian Institute organized “Smithsonian Folklife Festival” on the grounds of the U.S. National Mall. This year the guest of honor was the country of Hungary who presented the program "Hungarian Heritage Roots to Revival". But for what kind of “revival” invested Hungary one million dollars of expenses? In fact, based on the schedule presented and artists' media interviews, Hungary created a huge lobbying for revival for the Hungarian Kingdom in expenses of Romanian territory, Transylvania.
As Romanian Journalist from Transylvania, I specially paid attention at the Hungarian Heritage program which were absolutely impressive in the staging and performance. But I was extremely disappointed by the separatist message that Hungarians have transmitted to American public about Transylvania . Media noticed traditional Romanian songs, dance and ethnic costumes being presented several times on such venues as the Danubia Stage; even in Romanian language; even from central Romania (Transylvania), southern Romania (Oltenia) and eastern Romania( Moldova), without being announced their belonging to Romanian folk heritage. Stuffed Cabbage rolls "sarmale" - a traditional Romanian food, was served at the Hungarian festival without making any remarks about belonging to Romanian cuisine.
The preparation for this program took approximately two years, according to the Hungarian organizers, with over one million dollars of expenses paid by the Government of Hungary, as well as other Hungarian organizations. Hungarian Ambassador told in a interview that artists were selected from Hungary, two years. Asked by American reporter which of the artists his favorites are, Hungarian Ambassador responds: "chef and dancers.” The master chef was born in Tusnad ( Romania) and lives now in Chicago and majority of the singers and dancers were born and still live in Romania!
To achieve separatists goals for Transylvania, Hungary brought carpenters and half of the artist's crew from Romania. These artist's mixed Hungarian folklore with Romanian songs, dances and traditions on "Danubia Stage" to mislead the American public and give them impression that Transylvania is part of Hungary. Two millions Magyars (Hungarian ethnics) living in Romania today; over 10 million living in Hungary and 3.5 million Hungarians are living elsewhere in the world. How does this explain that half of the performers crew, who represented Hungary at Washington D.C., were brought from Romania? I would appreciate a response from Smithsonian and corrective actions in the shortest time possible in this very delicate situation, that touches on Romania's sovereignty and issues of Romanian Folklore that may have been misrepresented during the "Hungarian Heritage".
I'm from a multi-ethnic family from Transylvania. My blood relatives speak Romanian, Hungarian and German as native languages and we have six different religions inside the family. This is, in fact, usual in Transylvania. My mixed Austrian & Hungarian family settled in Transylvania more than 500 years ago. I'm very proud of my Romanian Heritage. and paid respect for Romanian laws, sovereignty, culture and flag. With Romanian, Austrian and Hungarian roots, I consider myself Romanian because I was born in Transylvania - the heart of Romania. Unfortunately, at Hungarian Heritage Festival I saw huge differences between my multi-ethnic family and Hungarian extremists from Romania how represented Hungary (?!?) in D.C.
I saw artists from Hungarian Heritage festival, born and raised in Romania and still live in Romania, but for them Romania don't represent their motherland! How do you explain this? The artists invited from Romania at Hungarian Heritage identified themselves as Hungarians; from a SF country named “Szekelyfold” - a country how exists just in their mind, a country without land. Shortly after the construction of the large festival dance pavilion was completed, some of the Hungarian participants in the festival raised a flag over the structure - flag of the Magyar Separatist Movement in Transylvania and displayed on the festival map as “Székelyföld”. Why? Maybe because the festival organizers wanted to convince the U.S. citizens to help them get this dream land "Szekelyfold" in the heart of Transylvania , Romania. I sow this attitude several times in Romania. Because of that and considering atrocities committed by Hungarians in history (in Transylvania) I can't be proud of my Hungarian Heritage!
For an American citizen who doesn't know too much about the history of Transylvania, the best example to understand what happened at Hungarian Heritage festival, would be Alaska . Long time ago, Alaska was part of the Russian Empire and after was purchased and incorporated as a part of United States of America . Romania not bought Transylvania from Hungary . Romanian fought for its national identity! After hundreds of years of foreign occupation, one million people died in World War I for Transylvania, which was finally returned to the motherland, Romania . This tribute of blood must be respected by everyone on the Earth, including here in U.S. Due to its varied history the population of Transylvania is ethnically, linguistically, culturally and religiously diverse, but the majority of the population is Romanian. I'm just curious how Smithsonian Institute, U.S. citizens or authorities would react if people from Alaska will go at Russian Heritage Festival in Canada (for example) and say: “the citizens of Alaska are Russians”. How would react U.S. citizens if artists from Alaska display the flag of Russian Empire or a flag how represent ultra-nationalists from Alaska? Or if this people tell to everybody in Canada that the American flag is a “provocation”; is not welcome in Canada? How American citizens can feel and how U.S. authorities can change this situation? I believe that no one in the U.S. would go easily over such an incident.
Specifically, this happened at Heritage Hungarian where ethnic Hungarians from Romania represented ... Hungary! The Festival's use of the map of the Hungarian Kingdom and Magyar Separatists representing Romanian Transylvania with Hungarian graphics and text. Three of the six featured communities for the “Hungarian” Folklife festival were from Romania . Part of Magyar/Hungarian cast members and performers exhibiting their Separatist agenda, both in interviews and in incidents of intolerance captured on video by credentialed journalists. Performers inserted their separatist and ultra-nationalist agendas, alleging that the presence of Romanians and their flag on the National Mall was “a provocation” and insisting that the Romanians—and the media members and associated U.S. citizens of Romanian descent—leave the area. Videos and images have been made available, and reportedly other citizens have already written the Smithsonian requesting answers. We need to know if the Smithsonian Institute experts and executive team intent to take a position supporting the Magyar/Hungarian Separatist movement to the detriment of the sovereign nation of Romania. After Hungarian Heritage Festival separatist's messages, how many Americans are aware that Transylvania is, in fact, part of the sovereign nation of Romania?
A dancer from Moldova (eastern part of Romania ), told to journalists: “I'm Hungarian not Romanian!” and then Romanian flag is not welcome at National Mall in DC because "this is a Hungarian area”?!? WOW! National mall from Washington is "Hungarian area"? Americans know's that? This guy appears on the website promoting the Hungarian Heritage festival and in American mass media wearing an ethnic costume from Moldova ( Romania ) on the stage, to Hungarian festival website and to Associated Press article:
“Ciocarlia” (Song of Birds) - a beautiful old Romanian song - were presented as Hungarian folklore in the Hungarian playlist at Smithsonian Folkway website. Another one is in 14th position in this list. Hungary is so poor that it forced to steal the folk heritage of its neighbors to support a festival?
When one of the Romanian-ethnics (a US citizen, working for Voice of America) explained to the Hungarian interlocutor that most of the dancers were Romanian from Transylvania, the presenter stated: "You want to say that Transylvania is Romania ?" and “I heard about your country, but I don't know too much about Romania .” The presenter insisted that it was Hungarian Heritage and pointed twice at the Romanian flag is a “provocation”. In this moment, the 70-years old grandma pulled out her American flag and waived it, in a sign that this is America , not Hungary , and all flags of sovereign countries are welcome.
I believe the Smithsonian Institute should have paid greater attention to the organizational details, the ultra nationalist Hungarian agenda, and the presentation of Romanian villages and Romanian districts using Hungarian names that are not recognized by the sovereign government of Romania . How to explain Smithsonian support for an ultra-nationalist agenda with negative effects on the sovereign nation of Romania ? Based on what logic did the Smithsonian Institute decide to call places in the sovereign country of Romania by Hungarian names? These organizational decisions have left impression that Hungarian Heritage Festival advocating for separatism between Hungarians and Romanians from Transylvania .
By comparison, at the Romanian Heritage Festivals - that are held in the U.S. every year, no one ever came with Dacia Kingdom map ( Dacia Kingdom is a Romanian ancestor; another one is the Roman Empire ). Dacia Kingdom map includes the present territory of Hungary , part of the Serbia and Ukraine . No one has claimed at Romanian Heritage Festivals part of Hungarian territory, although Romanian Army marched twice in Hungarian capital, Budapest, just in the modern history (1919 and 1945).
In the other hand, I never heard or saw international events where Romanian government to invest money and the artists be Romanian extremists from the other country. If at Romanian Heritage Festivals in U.S. were presented songs or dances from Hungarian, Ukrainian, German, Jewish and Gypsy minorities from Romania, this not represents half of the artistic program. If at Romanian Heritage were presented 2 or 3 of minorities traditions, presenter of the festival tells to crowd if this is no part of Romanian culture and belonging to minorities from Transylvania.
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