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May 16, 2022

“Marko Bela Law, a super rights law”

November last year, the Romanian Aca­demy, the most prestigious cultural and educational body in this country, drew up a Report on the National Education Bill of Law, which meanwhile has been passed into law. Drafted by the European Centre for Ethnic Studies of the Romanian Academy, the Report combines the most scientific strictly juridical analysis with field research. The results are mind-bobbling: the criminal blackmailing by the Democratic Union of the Magyars in Romania (UDMR) grafted on the weakness and recklessness of government officials is hiding a poisonous “snake” at this country’s bosom. It may be that never before in its 92 years as a national and unitary state, has a Romanian government willingly created an instrument so perverse and destructive as this education law is. The following are, in a nutshell, the main findings in the Academy report: “The Law repeatedly encroaches on the Constitution; it becomes a source of inter-ethnic tensions; separates school education according to ethnic criteria; breaks any bridges to communication between the Magyar and the Romanian community, reducing the chance to peaceful coexistence; turns the Romanian language, which is the state language, into a foreign language; strongly strikes at the Magyar minority themselves, as it isolates and condemns them to poverty, leaving them without a chance at personal development; strengthens political meddling in school affairs; runs against European law; grants collective rights to minorities on the basis of ethnic criteria; discriminates against the Romanian community in areas with Magyar majority of the population and so on. The report is 50 pages long.

Marko Bela declared himself quite content with the education law, and when he feels so about a law it means that normative act has many loopholes (betrayals?) when seen from a Romanian viewpoint. The Academy has conducted a sociologic research among pupils, teachers, school inspectors, political decision-makers, local councillors of various ethnic background, speakers of Romanian and Magyar. Their opinions evinced further major deficiencies in the law concerned. One such example is the law “instituting super rights due to contribute to increasing social inequality”. Given the law stipulates that History and Geography will be taught in Magyar, after the UDMR’s school segregation in the ‘90s, the Academy notices that neither in Germany nor France, “there are any law provisions on school taught languages, as the German/French language is the basic language of teaching.” The countless regional languages of ethnic minorities are held as “part of the national heritage” and optionally studied as native languages in universities. In Romania, the “Marko Bela Law”, as it is also called, confines exercising the right to write and speak in Romanian in schools. On paper, the law should contribute to diminishing the nationalist phenomenon when compared to European values, yet, education actually becomes a “factor of division, not integration”. The law stipulations provide a ground favouring the UDMR policies underway aimed at putting the last touches to ethnic-based education segregation in Romania, going to bear effects on the Romanian society as a whole. “Instead of strengthening the society, the education law propagates effects typical of the ‘weak states’ where ethnic diversity leads to irrefutable social fractures”. Finally, under the same law, “History manuals will reflect the history and traditions of national minorities”. It’s worth noting these manuals will be imported (from Hungary). How should the Great Union of the 1918 be taught in Budapest? What should they say about Trianon over there? This is how the Romanian state nurtures at its bosom two types of citizens with two different histories. Should it still claim being a unitary and national state? Wouldn’t ethnic-based territorial autonomy be a done deed? This is an open-ended discussion, yet, the law unfortunately has already begun to produce its effects as from this month. Have pity on the losers! (Formula AS)

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