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January 25, 2022

Psychodrama of living together

Unlike the first two post-communist decades, the Romanian-Hungarian relations are now les talked about. First of all it is an exhaustion of the old political rhetoric that exhibits either the vindictive discourse of minority rights or, on the other hand, the panicking one of the prospect of secession. Since political integration of the Hungarians has been a relative success, opening their way to several public posts once tacitly refused, the controversy in general has decreased through institutional mediation mechanisms. But what still happens in the souls of those who cannot and would not ignore their ethnic identity is a question that goes beyond politics. In fact, this is the chance for a relationship that should not depend on the guilty derailments of the ambiguities of the exercise of power. More exactly would be to talk not about one in general, but about multiple relationships, for their diversity corresponds more correctly to reality than the schematism of ideological reductions.

Two Targu-Mures authors, Kincses Réka and Alina Nelega, and the actors of two local theatre companies – `Liviu Rebreanu` and `Tompa Miklós`, plan to explore the universe of those relationships in an apparently documentary show, ‘Double Bind’ A talk-show that degenerates into a fight on set, the memories of a chauvinistic education, the caricatured political leaders, the nostalgia of the city of times past, the exasperation in front of an often unwanted state of conflict – are just a few of the faces of this mosaic panorama. Speaking about the daily realities of inter-ethnic living is inevitably frustrating, since an atavist fears paralyses \a person’s willingness to listen to the often contradictory and confused point of view of the other one. We live together with fear, although it is often hidden or dormant, and such fear deforms one way or another, sooner or later, behaviours. The show suggests those unseen walls that divide a city into two in a common situation – finding a Hungarian language guidebook for Romanians. A book that seems impossible to find, as neither community wants to upset the tacit status-quo: Hungarians learn Romanian because they need to, but Romanians do not need to learn Hungarian either because they have the ego of the ‘masters’ of the land, or because the Hungarians look at their language as an exclusive territory.

A situation that is not singular, because the interest in the culture of the others is mined by resentments, which leads to a surprising mutual ignoring. Most likely the overwhelming majority of Romanians not only have not read anything by a Hungarian writer, but could not name one. This lack of interest expands on history, so often ignoring the origin of monuments in our own city we walk by every day like some citizens without a memory. Under such conditions, the identity of each becomes more circumstantial and unavoidably more friable. Our post-modern age of course discourages the ‘hard’ notion of identity, but a show like ‘Double Bind’ reminds that certain references just cannot be pulled down without causing frustrations with unpredictable evolutions. On the other hand, even such a psychodrama can be a therapy for the spectators, more important is the lesson of awareness of a barrier by all those who wish to step across the threshold of common everyday reality of such relations. An almost existential barrier, for the majority-minority relations are always mined by an ambiguous asymmetry. There is even a vicious circle of victimisation, where the roles keep being re-cast. Perhaps this asymmetry is hard to integrate in an epoch that idolatrises, sometimes hypocritically, ‘the equal opportunities’. In fact, these differences make the richness of human relations possible, removing them from the category of formalism and giving them their true quality. But that entails a moral labour, a resettlement of personality on bas\s other than the weak ones of indifference, prejudice, privilege of power (bigger or smaller). Anyway, we have the moral duty to be lucid and look, without turning our heads, at the competition of identity projects. The ideal of cultivating that difficult balance of the freedom of undertaking in the dose we each wish, models of ethnic identity – which, let’s not forget, are relative and fluctuating – and the adequate responsibility for a shared history. In other words, the ethnic size of the being should neither disqualify nor put consciences to sleep.



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