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targu mures | John Feffer
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Game of (Nationalist) Cards

Homogeneous countries can be nationalist. Think of Korea, either North or South. Their nationalism is generally expressed toward other countries that threaten their presumed purity in some way. Heterogeneous countries engage in that strategy as well. But nationalism in these ethnically mixed countries also functions domestically – as a card to be played in the game of one-upmanship between...
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Resolving Conflicts in Romania

An ethnic map of Romania explains a great deal about the relations between the majority and the minorities in the country. Ethnic Hungarians have an absolute majority in two counties – Harghita and Covasna – in the very heart of the country. Together with parts of Mures county, this region is known as Szekely Land. This area maintained a high degree of autonomy – and distinct cultural...
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Avoiding the Yugoslav Scenario

The first war of nationalist extremism in East-Central Europe in the post-1989 era could easily have been in Romania, not Yugoslavia. Before conflicts between Serbs and Croats escalated into violence, ethnic Hungarians and ethnic Romanians squared off against each other in Targu Mures, a Transylvanian city that had a rough ethnic balance in the early 1990s. The clashes that took place in the city...
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The Puppet Masters of Targu Mures

It’s been nearly a quarter century since the fall of the Ceausescu dictatorship in Romania, and still many aspects of what happened in December 1989 and immediately afterwards remain a mystery. Many people in the country hesitate to call what happened around Christmas of that year a “revolution.” They suspect that the collapse of the Communist regime was actually a managed transition...
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Speaking One’s Tongue

When I travelled in the Transylvania region of Romania in 1993, relations between ethnic Hungarians and ethnic Romanians were still tense. There had been outright confrontation and violence in 1990, particularly in Targu Mures. By 1993, the conflict had largely migrated to the political realm. In Cluj – the old Hungarian town of Kolosvar – the nationalist politician Gheorghe Funar had taken...
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