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Re: Minority groups in Hungary

From:John Cowan <cowan@...>
Date:Wednesday, June 23, 2004, 14:47
=?win-1250?Q?Tam?s_Racsk??= scripsit:

> The other consideration is that in this area of the world > "nationality" means two different things: both the political and > the ethnical nation. Usually these two definitions are contaminated > and it is hard to distinguish between them for an average > individual.
This of course is very familiar in the U.S.; the political U.S. includes people of many ethnoi, some of whom are connected to groups outside the U.S., some not, in addition to the two special cases of Indians (who are themselves divided into many ethnoi) and African Americans (who have only the most tenuous cultural and essentially no linguistic links to West Africa save a few words and names, but are certainly not assimilated into the surrounding society either).
> My family members who identify themselves as Hungarians do feel > their Slovak traditions, use the language, eat the traditional > dishes, sing the traditional folk songs, etc. But when these > questions reach the "political" level, e.g. the problems between > the actual Hungarian and Slovak state, they are on the Hungarian > side. It seems to be an actualization of the ancient principle > "cuius regio eius religio", i.e. "cuius regio eius natio".
This is the usual position here: very few citizens of the U.S. are openly on the side of the countries where their ethnos is dominant and against the U.S. It was part of the tragedy of the Japanese Americans during WWII that the overwhelming majority of them were loyal to the U.S., yet their loyalty was systematically disbelieved to the point that they were made refugees in their own country. Likewise, a curious thing happened to the Jews from Russia who came to the U.S.: they became in effect Russians. My grandfather was a very curious case: he was born in Russia of ethnic German stock, and emigrated to Germany in 1911, becoming thus an insider and an outsider at the same time. Equally fluent in Russian and German, he was drafted into the German army and spent WWI as a translator on the Eastern Front (according to family tradition, his main duty was telling prisoners of war that they would be shot the next day). He left Germany for the U.S. in 1921 and became an American citizen, dying here in 1960. He always thought of himself as a German by ethnicity, but his emotional ties to Germany must have been slight, or even negative (I never knew him myself).
> If you are interested in the status of the Hungarian ethnic > groups in more detail, I uploaded a report from 1997 on the > minorities of my present abode Szeged to the address > <>.
Thanks. I look forward to reading it. -- John Cowan All "isms" should be "wasms". --Abbie