Wikipedia:Romanian Wikipedians' notice board/Archive 7

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Anti-Communist Resistance

(I just want to throw out some ideas here, so don't expect a very coherent structure to this message.)
There's a little on resistance to Communism in the Communist Romania article, but I think more is needed. Let's try and think how we should go about this. Should there be just one big "Anti-Communist Resistance in Romania" article, or should it be divided into, say, 1945-1961, 1961-1977, and 1977-1989 (and perhaps post-1989, as events like the student protests of 1990 definitely had an anti-Communist character)? (Or perhaps it could be divided by groups: clergy, intellectuals, students, workers, farmers (anti-collectivization incidents), with separate entries for the 1956 (students' protests), 1977 (miners), and 1987 (Braşov) events; also, external dissidents might be mentioned.)

Anyway, with regard to the first phase, a quick Google search reveals some valuable links (mostly in Romanian):

I'm not prepared to write any articles just yet, but hopefully this discussion will result in at least a brief introduction to the subject. (Also, compare with Forest Brothers and numerous articles on Poland, like Armia Krajowa (originally anti-Fascist), Ukrainian Insurgent Army, etc.) Biruitorul 19:38, 1 September 2006 (UTC)

My opinion is that we should start with a big one, and then, if content expands, create articles and reference them as "Main article: Something". Dahn 20:48, 1 September 2006 (UTC)
That's what I was thinking, too. Any takers? Biruitorul 22:41, 1 September 2006 (UTC)
I'm willing to do my best in the near future, because right now I'm occupied with some other articles. Btw, in the future, I( plan to engage a common effort in writing the "History of Romania in X period" in a proper and comprehensive way (much of their content is beneath several standards); I have just finished work on Regulamentul Organic, and am thinking of relating it to a much more properly written National awakening of Romania. That's going to keep me busy, but I will, if need be, contribute to the one you wish to start. Dahn 22:53, 1 September 2006 (UTC)
Note: linking to Legionnaire sites as sources is risky from a moral viewpoint. Although I do not assume that their are wrong on this topic, I propose we avoid all problems by checking their content and seeing if perhaps the content is not available in other sources (their own, as well as the magazine Memoria and other neutral ones; I know somebody who bought many issues of Memoria, and I will ask him if I can have a look in the future). Dahn 23:05, 1 September 2006 (UTC)
Well, of course nearly any source is suspect to some degree, and extra caution is needed when that source is a Legionnaire one, but in particular the one using Securitate files seems pretty well done, though naturally biased in a certain direction. Plus, there isn't that much on the Internet regarding this subject. Anyway, I commend the work you've been doing so far and will wait patiently for anything you have to write on this subject (unless I happen to go ahead and write before you do). Biruitorul 23:57, 1 September 2006 (UTC)
Thank you for appreciation. I am looking forward to a collaboration on the topic. Dahn 15:16, 2 September 2006 (UTC)

why not some articles about anti fascist partizan groups in Antonescu's Romania (that acted in some cases in the same places as the anti-communist ones some years later)? Of course, you won't find many thing about them in books/articles published after the 80s (because we all know about ceausescu's admiration of antonescu in his later years, and after 1989 nobody in Romania could publish something good about communists). and dubbing the protest of manipulated students of 1990 anti-communist is ridiculous. P.S. Anti-Communist resistance is not a good title. "Resistance against the deformed workers' state in Romania" would be more accurate. Anonimu 08:02, 2 September 2006 (UTC)

Well, on one hand, it is interesting for me to note that you are apparently moving towards Trotskyism.Dahn 15:16, 2 September 2006 (UTC)
I'm just taking the best from every ommunist theory. (And BTW i was never a stalinist). Just because i think that this concept developed by Trotsky's followers it's pretty good (even if i dont agree with all of trotsky's or troskyst thoeries and even with some points of this theory - Cuba it's not a degenerated workers' state, while China and Vietnam are not quite workers' state anymore), this doesn't mean that Ceausescu's govt (untill the 80s) wasn't the best one Romania ever had. Anonimu 17:35, 2 September 2006 (UTC)
Frankly, it's ridiculous not to admit the thoroughly anti-Communist character of the 1990 student protests. Let's have a look at this article, shall we? Even if you claim the author herself is biased, she also happens to cite actual slogans that were shouted, among which: “16-22, cine-a tras în noi”, “Treziţi-vă români, aveţi din nou stăpâni”, “Iliescu pentru noi este Ceauşescu II”, “Ceauşescu nu fi trist, Iliescu-i comunist”, “Iliescu nu uita, te votăm la Moscova”, “Adevărata emanaţie a Revoluţiei - Proclamaţia de la Timişoara”, “Nu vă fie frică, comunismul pică”, “Iliescu - Teoctist, / Comunist şi Anticrist”, “PCR - FSN / Diferenţa unde e?”, “FSN - agentura KGB”, “FSN, FSN, du-te în URSS”, “Timişoara - Bucureşti? Iliescu o păţeşti”, "Mai bine mort decât comunist." As one hunger striker said, "Refuz să mai mănânc o mâncare în comunism, refuz să muncesc în comunism, refuz să respir aerul dintr-o ţara comunistă: dar refuz şi să plec în altă ţară, prefer să mor aici”. So, yes, I do think the events of 1990 had an anti-Communist character to them. Biruitorul 22:38, 2 September 2006 (UTC)
Of course is biased. And about what their shouted... with enough money and people infiltrated in the universities i could gather a large crowd to shout similar things about tariceanu. (Of course now would be harder, since we didn't had a revolution 5 months ago). As for the hunger striker, i wonder how did he grew to that age ;). A anti-communist protest wihout a communist monoparty sytem to not allow free election and private economic initiative is a pretty odd thing. So no, it wasn't anti-communist.Anonimu 11:47, 3 September 2006 (UTC)
Any concrete evidence the students were paid or otherwise manipulated? Remember, many people were killed and wounded in the Mineriad–how much do you think they were paid to undergo that? At some point, you do have to apply Occam's Razor. If it looks like a genuine anti-Communist protest, then it is.Biruitorul 15:50, 3 September 2006 (UTC)
We don't have any concrete evidence that Basescu collaborated with the Securitate. Does this mean he didn't do it? And i'm pretty sure thosewho received money to instigate the students didn't die and with some exception, they weren't wounded. The one who died were the manipulated students. i'll refrain from using Occam's Razor to judge the post 1945 events at least for the following 50 years. And it didn't look like a anti-Communist protest. As i said earlier, there were no Communist to protest against. Anonimu 18:48, 3 September 2006 (UTC)
The chance that Băsescu was a Securitate collaborator is maybe 90%. The chance that the 1990 protesters were paid/manipulated is much lower. That's where the difference is, and the burden of proof is on you to produce documents showing such manipulation, since you made that charge against them. I don't think the dead students were manipulated (whatever that means in this context)–they really believed in their cause and died for it. That does happen, even in the modern era. To me, it certainly did look anti-Communist: as I've said before, Iliescu at the time was not formally a Communist, but he had been a high-level Communist and his regime looked very much like regimes that have for all intents and purposes remained de facto Communist to this day: Belarus, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, plus Yugoslavia to 2000 and Kyrgyzstan to 2005. Biruitorul 21:58, 3 September 2006 (UTC)
Are you sure you know what communism (even in the form used in deformed workers' states) means? Anonimu 07:35, 4 September 2006 (UTC)
I think I have an idea. Of course, Belarus, for example, is today far from representative of what one finds in Marx; I wasn't claiming that. I do, however, claim that little structural change has taken place in its political and economic system since the 1970s, when the USSR was still extant, so in the sense that Belarus is quite unchanged from Soviet times, it is still de facto Communist. Biruitorul 18:56, 4 September 2006 (UTC)
The hunger striker lived to that age because she ate food until she reached it. For instance, Bobby Sands ate until age 27, when he stopped eating and died.Biruitorul 15:50, 3 September 2006 (UTC)
Then i hope the hunger striker who participated in the Golaniad died. Since he has eaten communist food all his life and communist were responsible for him being alive. (Bobby sands is not a comparable case) Anonimu 18:48, 3 September 2006 (UTC)
First, you describe yourself as an Orthodox Christian; we don't wish death on other people. Second, she would have been alive eating non-Communist food, as would Bobby Sands had been in the Republic of Ireland, etc. I don't quite see the point to this part of the discussion, which is rather silly. Biruitorul 21:58, 3 September 2006 (UTC)
I thought that burden of living because of communists is greater than death. If she had eaten non-Communist food, she was either a memeber of a foreign agenture or had family memebers in high places in communist romania.Anonimu 07:35, 4 September 2006 (UTC)
I think she was simply an idealist. Plus, if everyone had died but the Communists, then the latter would have triumphed, which was not anti-Communists' desired outcome. Biruitorul 18:56, 4 September 2006 (UTC)
As of June 1990, you're correct that the one-party system was gone, but it looked very much like the old system: second-rank "ex"-Communists held all the dominant positions of power and the "ex"-Communist FSN had just won a resounding parliamentary majority. Romania at this point looked much more like the 1990s Ukraine or even Lukashenko's Belarus from 1994 on; this was long before Iliescu had adopted a Euro-Atlanticist outlook. Just as I would consider a revolt against the Belarusian government today to be anti-Communist, even though the Communist Party as such is technically no longer in power there, so too the spring 1990 protests were anti-Communist. Biruitorul 15:50, 3 September 2006 (UTC)
So what if former Communists held power? If I and my friends protest against basescu i'm participating in an anti-communist protest, just because he was a commie? And comparing 1990's Romania with Ukraine or belarus... man you don't have a clue... the situation was more similar to the one in wallachia after Valdimirescu gained the power in Bucharest or the situation during the 1848 revolution in wallachia, before the ottoman intervention. Anonimu
If you launched anti-Băsescu protests, they would not be anti-Communist for a very important reason. Sometime between 1996 and 2004, Romania underwent a fundamental change from being a post-Communist country that could easily slide back into authoritarianism (like Belarus did in 1994) or stagnate in its reforms (as Ukraine did between 1994 and 2005). Poland had an undoubtedly ex-Communist President between 1995 and 2005. However, by 1995, Poland had been so irreversibly oriented in a Euro-Atlanticist direction that a slide backward was unthinkable. That is now the case with Romania–Băsescu is as likely to create a dictatorship there as is Robert Fico in Slovakia (ie, ~0%). It was definitely not the case in mid-1990, when Iliescu could easily have stalled or reversed reforms (relatively minor though they were then).
No, it's just your (and many others) bias on Iliescu. Just look in the media: when Iliescu was president in 2000-2004, every meeting or colaboration with PSD was deemed unconstitutional. Now that Basescu has a much, much closer to PD than Iliescu ever had during his last mandate, nobody says nothing (And the ery few who do, do it half-heartedly)Anonimu 07:35, 4 September 2006 (UTC)
Well, that's the media's failing. Personally, I think the requirement of non-partisanship is foolish and should be repealed (or better yet, the King should be restored, and he truly would be non-partisan). However, I agree that Băsescu treats the non-partisanship requirement as a joke, and he should be called to account for that. Biruitorul 18:56, 4 September 2006 (UTC)
How was the situation more similar to 1821 or 1848? In this case, I think it's quite fair to compare one Eastern European country in the 1990s to other Eastern European countries in the 1990s, and not reach back a century and a half for parallels.
Your second point about an article on the anti-Fascist resistance is a better one. You'll note that in the Resistance during World War II article, only Albania and Romania are still orange links. I actually just read a little about the movement today in a general history of Romania (I don't remember the title just now). Apparently, anti-Fascist resistance came from three main sources: the army (particularly the lower ranks), partisans in the mountains, and workers (who committed acts of sabotage). Communists did not set up an internal resistance, as Tismăneanu notes somewhere in Stalinism for All Seasons. Of course, he could be wrong, and if you have evidence to the contrary, do present it in well-documented form in an article. Biruitorul 22:38, 2 September 2006 (UTC)
Communist clearly had a role in encouraging soldiers and workers to resist the fascist regime. And it's important to note that in areas with important russian and/or ukrainian population (north-western romanian bukovina, danube delta and some parts of banat, just to mention those on the present territory of romania) partizan group were more active. A communist(sovietic) component of this partizan groups can be assumed. Anonimu 11:47, 3 September 2006 (UTC)
There were maybe 1000 Communists in Romania in the summer of 1944. Maybe they had a peripheral role, but the course of the resistance (such as it was) was not decisively shaped by them; furthermore, unlike in (eg) France, the PCR explicitly decided not to support a resistance movement. So–they might have played a little role, but not much. Biruitorul 15:50, 3 September 2006 (UTC)
On the other: what anti-fascist groups? Really, where? Are we talking about Apostol having left camp just a wee bit before the Soviets stormed in (if he really did that at all)? Or perhaps Patrascanu's time out of the noose? Or are you referring to an earlier period, perhaps the 1930s, when anti-fascists would have been eagerly waiting for Romania to actually produce a fascist government? Or is it that people (Arghezi? Galaction? Istrati? Stelescu?) met from time to time with the Iron Guard and decided to have fist-fighting tournaments just so that the legionnaires could issue more death lists? Also, if I am not mistaken, it was Ceausescu first and foremost who introduced legends about resistance groups (Lumini si Umbre), which, of course, were "anti-Comintern and patriotic". Before him, even the Old Guard of the Exterior Party was reasonable enough to generally spare us of such mythology (with the exception of Nicolae Labis resisting a deer). And, then, there's the "resistance groups formed by NKVD-enrolled Jews and anti-socials" in Antonescu's reverie.
If they had been around at all, I'd be the first to look into it. But no: Romania is noted by all sides for not having anything in that general area. Sadly, I guess.Dahn 15:16, 2 September 2006 (UTC)
I won't be so sure. Here's just a graphic overview: [1] (Note that even if it's a romanian map, it's on the site of Leiden University, so it's not just cheap propaganda). You should look into it. (btw being in an antifascist partizan group doesn't necessarily mean you are a communist or you won't fight the institutions of a deformed workers' state) Anonimu 17:35, 2 September 2006 (UTC)

On the issue of 1990 demonstrations: I believe that, if they may have advertised themselves as "anti-communist", there is still no reason for including them in the to-do article. First of all, we would indicate that they were right in judging post-1989 as "communist" (and that, no matter how many people feel is right, is still POV), and secondly, even if they were right (and I do not think they were right on this point), the article is not to be about resisting allegedly communist policies, but about resisting the communist regime (which is universally defined as lasting between 1948 and 1989) - this also indicates that anti-communist attitudes in-between 1944 and 1948 should only be reviewed in a "background" section (we should not view the Groza government, for example, as part of the regime, but as an immediate precursor). Dahn 16:05, 3 September 2006 (UTC)

Fair enough. The main body of the article should stop with December 1989, and maybe a short "Legacy" or "Aftermath" section (or even just a "See also") could briefly mention the 1990 protests, but I agree that the focus should end with Ceauşescu's death, though at the same time I would contend that the Communist regime was de facto in control by March 6, 1945, but I'll take a December 30, 1947 start date if you wish. Biruitorul 21:58, 3 September 2006 (UTC)
I think handling the 1990 protests as something of a "coda" is about right.
I'm really surprised to see people question that these had continuity out of the events of '89, or that the protestors main issue with the Iliescu gov't was its perceived continuity with the Communist regime (a perception not exactly contradicted by the Mineriad). And all I really see above objecting to that is claims of some sort of mysterious paid agents who have somehow kept their secrets for 15 years. - Jmabel | Talk 07:31, 4 September 2006 (UTC)
Actually, I do agree with Biruitorul, but not with Jmabel. The events of 1990 are still largely unknown to be mentioned as NPOV as "anti-communist resistence". And my own experience makes me side with Anonimu when it comes to saying that those guys were manipulated, and that some of them, at least, were payed for their "protests". I was an adolescent at the time, living in central Bucharest, and I followed the events. I also had a collection of political party posters, pretty large one. It seems quite crazy today, but at the time the novelty of the thing made it quite normal.
At one time when I wondered through the University place during the protests, they were making some sort of "protester counting" and (if I recall well, but I can't be 100% sure now) they were giving something to these guys. Moreover, when they spotted me, they quickly hidden everything. As I was just a skinny youngster, looking even younger than I actually was, I presumed it was something nasty. It's good they did not try to beat me (the miners, OTOH, tried to catch me, and I had to run).Dpotop 10:37, 5 September 2006 (UTC)
That's fascinating. It would be great if some of those manipulated protesters could be tracked down, interviewed, and have their remarks published and then incorporated into the Golaniad article, which itself needs a little work. The larger point, though, is this: even if some were manipulated (and in that breathless, chaotic release of energy that was the spring of 1990, who really knows?), the leaders probably were not, and likely did see themselves as resisting Communism, so they do deserve a little mention. Anyway, time to get this thing off the ground! Biruitorul 19:06, 5 September 2006 (UTC)
Ce'o intorci ca la Ploiesti? Of course hte leaders were not manipualted, since they were the manipulators. "Likely" is not encyclopedic. You can't proove what they really thought. You can prove what they've claimed. Yes they deserve a mention, something like "some paranoid guys thought they should fight communist in a non-communist country". Anonimu 19:38, 5 September 2006 (UTC)
OK, we'll write that very sentence in our entry: "some paranoid guys thought they should fight communist in a non-communist country". Seriously, though: I used the word "likely" because this is just a brainstorming session; once we get down to writing an article, we'll be using more concrete information. Biruitorul 00:12, 6 September 2006 (UTC)

GayFest as Featured Article Candidate

Hi. GayFest, the article about Bucharest's annual LGBT pride event, is currently a featured article candidate: see Wikipedia:Featured_article_candidates/GayFest. This is only the third Romania-related article to be nominated at FAC (after Căile Ferate Române and Bucharest), and, if it is successful, it will be the second Romania-related featured article. So, any comments on the candidate page would be highly appreciated, as well as help and improvements. Flag of Europe.svgFlag of Romania.svg Ronline 11:53, 1 September 2006 (UTC)

Cool, so the least representative Romania-related article is featured. :) Don't take me bad, but "LGBT"-related stuff is not what Romania is, or will be known for. We're not particularly pro-gay, nor anti-gay. Just another country with its LGBT. Dpotop 12:45, 1 September 2006 (UTC)
OTOH, it's well-coloured. I like it. :) Dpotop 12:47, 1 September 2006 (UTC)

1989

There were some recent edits at Romanian Revolution of 1989 that were not particularly good or bad, but which remind me that the article still needs a lot of good work and much better citation. I've described and commented on the recent edits at Talk:Romanian Revolution of 1989#Seemingly arbitrary edit. It's not a uniformly bad edit, but it seems like we keep getting claims that one version of events is The Truth, and, once again, without citation. - Jmabel | Talk 06:02, 18 August 2006 (UTC)

List of national heroes

This list has Ceauṣescu as our only national hero. First, I don't consider him a national hero, but perhaps he fits the definition–let's discuss that point. Second, who (else) should be on the list? Tentatively, I propose Decebal, Ṣtefan cel Mare, Mihai Viteazul, Cuza, and Eminescu, and perhaps also a link to Mari Români. This is just a suggestion, though; let's have a full debate on the matter. Biruitorul 01:56, 18 August 2006 (UTC)

I see no particular point to the list under any circumstances, but might I ask why Decebal would be a national hero to the Romanians? (I am also waiting for the day when Romanians will grow aware of the fact that Stephen the Great most likely never saw himself as a Romanian). Also, Eminescu is both a national hero and national poet nowadays? Hell, why not make him a general while we're at it? Dahn 12:41, 20 August 2006 (UTC)
I see someone decided to replace Ceauṣescu with Tudor Vladimirescu and Avram Iancu. Anyway, I agree that there isn't necessarily a point to the list, but let me answer some of your objections to my suggestions. Decebal might be a national hero because Dacia is venerated by many Romanians (or at least was during Ceauṣescu's rule), and he is seen as a powerful leader, a conqueror, a unifying force for what would become the Romanian nation (the truth or falsity of this view is irrelevant–it matters only that it exists. After all, why is the name Decebal still being given to Romanian boys?). As for Ṣtefan, again, he may not have seen himself as a Romanian, but the fact is that Romanians see him as one of them, and concrete evidence of his heroic status can be seen in his presence on the 20-leu coin issued after the Revolution, and on all Moldovan banknotes. Eminescu is on the highest-valued Romanian banknote and has statues in every major Romanian city, I'd wager. Hell, why not make him a general or, for that matter, a saint?? Biruitorul 17:04, 20 August 2006 (UTC)
Passing along a comment from Anittas, who stays pretty darn focused on this for a banned user:
"What is your argument for saying that Stephen the Great did not consider himself Romanian? And when you say Romanian, what exactly do you mean? That name was mostly used by Wallachians, but that doesn't mean that the Moldavians were not aware of their relation to the Wallachians. Did Stephen consider himself as Moldavian? Did he consider Moldavians to be akin to the Wallachians?"
- Jmabel | Talk 16:56, 20 August 2006 (UTC)
why Decebal would be a national hero to the Romanians? Perhaps for the same Vercingetorix is a national hero to the French?
I am also waiting for the day when Romanians will grow aware of the fact that Stephen the Great most likely never saw himself as a Romanian... therefore Romanians sould not think of Stephen the Great as a national hero. You've got to be kidding... Dmaftei 17:03, 20 August 2006 (UTC)

I'll have to answer all of you in one go, lest I will have to repeat my points. First of all, both the list and the concept are ellusive and irrelevant. Secondly, Romania (as many countries in Europe), has different sets of "national heroes" depending on the political regime we are talking about (or, perhaps, on the person and his/her mental framework or social background). From what I know, all values ascribed to all heroes do not transcend a certain outlook (obvious for Decebalus, whose image was always dear to autochtonist trends, as Vercingetorix's was to French Republicanism or the Frankish kings to Napoleon and Vichy). The question of "truth or falsity as irrelevant" is a very good point to make, but we must also consider if the relevancy of Decebalus today is the criteria to use, as opposed to the relevancy of Decebalus to Ceausescu and Hasdeu. I am not pointing either way, but to me this adds a layer of subjectivity to any such lists. Given the competing trends in Romanian symbolism (and the pattern of exaggereating all possible "contributions" to the patrimony), it looks to me like the list should say "all of the ones you have ever heard of and some others".

Btw, I am willing to bet that children named "Traian" outnumber "Decebals" at least 2 to 1, and this type of argument itself may be irrelevant to the topic (how many guys named "Silviu" do you know? Except for Latinism, what does Silviu stand for? And, despite Avram Iancu taking the spotlight in such contests, who names their sons "Avram"?).

In the phonebook, there are 400 "Decebal", 14400 "Traian", 4 "Decebal Traian", 1400 "Avram" and 4000 "Silviu". :-) bogdan 19:01, 20 August 2006 (UTC)
Those are some good points you raise; let me expand on a couple. First, the name Avram is perhaps avoided for aesthetic reasons–coincidentally, an undoubted American hero is named Abraham (Lincoln) but his name is quite rare in that country (except maybe in the Jewish community and among certain devout Christians, with those groups more probably thinking of the Biblical Patriarch than of Lincoln when they name their sons Abraham). (It's in 193rd place today, up from 473rd in the 1960s but down from 155th in the 1910s.)
Second, you're right than Traian is much more common a name than Decebal; in fact, Traian too could be seen as a sort of national hero, especially considering the Ceauṣescuist view of history that regards the Romanian nation as the fusion of Dacia (Decebal) and Rome (Trajan), a view that persists today among many (and that existed before Communist times as well, given that the four people mentioned by name in Romania's national anthem are Trajan, Mihai, Ştefan, and Iancu de Hunedoara).
Other Roman names are indeed probably only given to emphasise Latinity (Silviu, Octavian, Flaviu, Septimiu, Cornel, Lucreţiu, Liviu, etc.), with the possible exception of Ovidiu, whom I'm not claiming as a national hero but who did spend time in Tomis.
My main theme here is that the whole question of national heroes is to some extent subjective and thus potentially unencyclopedic. We can, however, gain clues by taking a holistic perspective: presence on banknotes, coins, postage stamps, and in people's names; statues and plaques; prominence in history museums and textbooks; allusions by political figures; recognizability/fame; frequency of representations in poetry, song, and painting; universality (ie, a hero to the whole nation and not just one region); in addition to the actual historical role of the individual in question. Biruitorul 22:03, 20 August 2006 (UTC)
As I have said, without dismissing your points, I find that the project risks falling into irrelevancy and revert wars (over nationalisms in general and for the Romanian one, with its many competing patrimonies, in particular). Heroes' status, which is generally irrelevant even to the general public by now (if less so in Romania), has fluctuated beyond belief and continues to do so - leaving aside the fact that a mere listing would impose a POV on their deeds (many of which are systematically misinterpreted). Let's look at Tudor and Avram Iancu. Who is Tudor a hero for? In the 1950s, he was a hero for Gheorghiu-Dej; his presence ever since approaches zero; to his contemporaries, he ended up by being irrelevant after he started killing his own men (if not, indeed, the usurper and traitor he was believed to be by nationalist boyars and their Eterist allies). And Avram Iancu? What is his history in art or culture? His relvancy is mainly regional, and resides with Transylvanians - while the Wallachian revolution of 1848, which "produced" a crapload of national heroes if you were to ask educators of the 1960s, has arguably left no trace in present-day "collective awareness". IMO, we are bound to have a botomless pit of POV we keep that list under any circumstance. Dahn 23:31, 20 August 2006 (UTC)
My points were mainly addressed to those who think the list is worth keeping in some form–perhaps with tightened, neutral criteria of the term "national hero", which may well prove impossible to come up with.
You are correct that hero status fluctuates across time and regions–Tudor (and Bălcescu) were revered by the Communists (appearing on banknotes, for example) but have now faded from view. Iancu was actually on the 5000 lei banknote in the 1990s, but that may be more because of the BNR's desire to maintain a regional balance on its banknotes, as they stated when they decided to place Blaga and Gânditorul de la Hamangia on the new 200 lei banknote. Lest I appear fixated on currency, let me note that there is also a statue of Iancu in Cluj, but I don't know of any outside Transylvania, or of any other artistic representations of him.
My own view is that this is an interesting list but, given how arbitrary the selection criteria appear to be, it probably doesn't belong on Wikipedia unless some neutral criteria can be devised. You seem to feel the same way so, if you wish, go ahead and nominate it to the AfD. Biruitorul 01:26, 21 August 2006 (UTC)

Now, my point about Eminescu obscured the fact that I am rejecting the very notion of such charts, and instead attempted to point out a distinction that more patriotic people than I would make on their own - so as not to mess up the terms. You see, it is implicit that all "national poets" are somehow related with the "heroes" category (stress on somehow and its multiple meanings). In itself, the "heroes" category would have to focus, IMO, on gestures rather than oevres.

I do not know whether "Romanians should not think of Stephen the Great as a national hero". For to reasons: I do not know whether Romanians en masse should or even could think of the same thing (if that is indeed what was questioned), and I do not know, as I have said, what on Earth "national hero" means and how it should relate to the profiles of medieval warlords. Now, if that was meant to state that Stephen was used by official education despite the paradoxes of his rule and presence on this very planet, I guess the argument may carry some weight; however, as I have argued before, offically-endorsed Romanian nationalism has left little untouched in between Ilie Pintilie and Ion Ghica, in between Ceausescu and Nicolae Iorga, in between the Bratianus and Neagoe Basarab.

To the point about Stephen's ethnicity, which I find to be outside the scope of this query, I have to answer that "being Romanian" was a non sequitur under any circumstances. Even if anyone could find a document where Stephen would point out and rate his Romanianness, it would still fade in front of the practicalities. A medieval person had no true nationality; the moment nationality truly surfaced as a criterion in the Renaissance, it was still confined to such things as referencing newly-found "pedigrees" (Latin origin for those Vlach intellectuals who cared enough about it, Sarmatian heritage for the Polish noblemen etc.). The latter development surfaced sometime after Stephen was dead and rotting (or whatever it is that saints are supposed to do). As the ruler of Moldavia, the man who had absolute claim to property and viewed his country as a domain, it either meant that he was not the same as his subjects or that he was the only Moldavian in Moldavia (same as for French or English kings mutatis mutandur). Occam's razor tells me that any other perspective is highly unlikely.

Let me also add that I resent the list for one more reason: at some point, a user may/will get the bright idea of turning it into a category, which would lead to endless stupidity flowing freely on this site. I believe, however, that no such problem would be posed by a cat. "People who were voted top 50 Great Romanians" or something reflecting that concept. Dahn 18:28, 20 August 2006 (UTC)

Questioning the usefulness of a list of national heroes is one thing; waiting for Romanians (en masse?) "to grow aware of the fact that Stephen the Great most likely never saw himself as a Romanian", with whatever implications you were thinking of, is a quite different thing. Dmaftei 19:08, 20 August 2006 (UTC)
Of course they are different things. "Questioning the usefulness" is an obvious matter for all those concerned, "waiting for Romanians" expressed my own hopes for a reality check. In any case, what stands as obvious for the latter is that it stretches the limits of "national" in "national heroes" beyond all possible use, and exposes the irreconcilable variations of what "nation" means to different nationalisms (which only serves to add to the absurdity of the list we are dealing with). Dahn 19:12, 20 August 2006 (UTC)
That's why I said before that you must be kidding. The reality check, in your opinion, is that Romanians should not think of whatever happened before 1859 (or 1862) as national. On the same line, Italians should dismiss everything pre-1861, Germans everything pre-1871, and others with their respective dates, as non-national. Pretty original... Dmaftei 19:31, 20 August 2006 (UTC)
What I had said is that pre-something references should at least be attempting to find something in the term's behaviour that would indicate some sort of nationalist idealism. Everything in Stephen's actions is to be read as his defence of an independent state which he ruled as the repository of eminent domain (paradox: the more defended Moldavia was, the least it was "Romanian"... since, well, it was more of an independent Moldavia than, let's use the cliche, "one of the two/three pillars of the future nation-state"). I don't know to what measure nationalist Germans other than Nazi refer to Holy Roman Emperors as Germans - but even in that context, at least you have the vague theory identifying Germany with the Holy Roman Empire! Italian nationalism, as void of common sense as it got at times, never went beyond Roman Emperors (in just one of the many avatars it had) or Balilla or Cesare Borgia; you will note that all three examples revolve around gestures which may, under the provisions of Occam's razor, at least be interpreted as leading so something "Italian" (while pushing the sophistical link established between the Italian Peninsula as a geographical concept and the state most of it now is). Furthermore, I have pointed out in some other debate that, of all nations that were created in the 19th century, Romania's nationalism shares a trait with the German one and others, but none with the Italian one; we call that trait Geist, and its complicated and often absurd implications still lead to debates such as this one. Dahn 19:49, 20 August 2006 (UTC)
What I had said is that pre-something references should at least be attempting to find something in the term's behaviour that would indicate some sort of nationalist idealism. That's precisely what I'm talking about. According to you Romanians should not regard Stephen the Great as a national hero because what he had on his mind was Moldova, not Romania. The fact that Moldova became Romania is irrelevant, and what happened before Moldova became Romania is to be dismissed when it comes to Romanian topics. That strikes me as an odd view. Dmaftei 21:31, 20 August 2006 (UTC)
Yes, you're right. It is indeed very odd to check the Romanian box for a man who was never aware of what was to happen post-1860 and who never viewed himself as "a Romanian". It is especially unusual given that the very "need" for referencing him as such was only argued by a group of 1800s nationalists with a decrepit POV on education and on institutions in general. I must be a lunatic for questioning such Romanian addictions to utterly fallacious arguments: if they are widespread, it must mean they are right. Dahn 21:47, 20 August 2006 (UTC)
We were talking about whether or not Romanians are justified in thinking Stephen the Great is a national hero, not about Stephen's view of himself. As far as groups of nationalists with decrepit views go, I'm under the impression that such groups sprang all over Europe some two-three hundred years ago, and, for better or worse, they shaped people's views of nation, history, etc. into what they are today. Now, you may be right that these current views are "wrong", but as long as they are held by almost everybody (not only Romanians, mind you), you'll have to accept the fact that nobody will contradict your self-assesment. Dmaftei 22:48, 20 August 2006 (UTC)
1. You disregard that the issue about nationalisms is not that nationalism is/was popular, but that different nationalisms have very little in common. Read again what I have posted, if you have indeed read it in the first place, and note where I indicate that, even by nationalist rhetoric standards, the image of Stephen is misplaced. Why? Because the statements about him are self-contradictory! The actual comparison which is thisun: a Holy Roman Emperor may be argued with some semblance of logic to have stood for a "proto-Germany", and Hussites with a little more logic to have stood for a "proto-Czechia", but the ruler of Moldavia cannot be argued to have been a "proto-Romanian" unless we blur the lines all the way to Neverland! (that is why Stephen's image is claimed, just as spuriously, by the Republic of Moldova - which should also constitute a fine answer to your "not only Romanians, mind you" point) 2. The main point of your argument makes no sense: if you are debating my expactations, I believe I am allowed to have my own expectations without having to account for them to you; if you are debating my supposed "irrationality" in expecting so many Romanians to stop giving a damn about what has no relevancy to present-day discourse and is sophistical in nature, the fact that you would be right would still not make perceptions of Stephen relevant or logical! Because, if, as you say, we are debating "Romanians are justified in thinking Stephen the Great is a national hero", not one of your replies trully gives a reason why that should be the case. Dahn 23:13, 20 August 2006 (UTC)

I'm passing along another message from Annittas - Jmabel | Talk 01:13, 21 August 2006 (UTC)

My reply to Dahn: Stephen having the ability to claim absolute property and viewing his country as the absolute domain has nothing to do with identification. You are wrong when you say that "it either meant that he was not the same as his subjects or that he was the only Moldavian in Moldavia." Why would it have to mean that? Moldavia was, at the time, a feudal state and such were the law of any monarchy -- or as in Moldavia's case -- a principality. Such was the order of much of feudal Europe. Search for "The Prince" on Wiki to understand the view of that time.

Stephen, unlike Michael the Brave, has always been considered a hero by his people and during his days, even by other people -- included the Wallachians. Yes, the Wallachians used to sing in Romanian, hailing his name. Michael was used as an icon by our latter nationalistic intellectuals, but Stephen has a continuity in being considered a hero.

Why would Stephen not be a Moldavian? What would he then be, if not Moldavian? He was cousin with Dracula and his family had some Polish roots, but the backbone of the family remains Moldavian.

I don't care about the list and I also find it ridiculous, but if you bring this subject to surface, then don't say that you find this debate as being "outside the scope of this query." It's funny, tho, how you defended the Wallachian voivodes as being Wallachian and not of Bulgarian ethnicity, when a Bulgarian tried to claim them as Bulgarian. What's with this double-standard?

At least us, the Moldavians, wrote down our chronicles and a few decades after Stephen's death, our writers wrote that Moldavians are akin to the Wallachians. But during Stephen's time, Jan Dlugosz wrote the same thing and the Poles called the Moldavians for Wallachians. And Stephen knew what the Poles thought of his nation and probably what Dlugosz thought, since he met with a Polish messenger in 1476 that transmited him much information about the roundabouts. My point is that not only Stephen was aware of his identity and the identity of his people, but also the foreigners were aware of it. Anonimu once argued that Stephen probably didn't speak Romanian. He was put to shame for that.Stephen grew up with Dracula and he married Radu's daughter, a Wallachian (Annitas 21 Aug 2006)

What?!? You couldn't bring a single proof that he spoke something resembling Romanian. Moreover, scientists proved in the 19th century that the "slavonic" used in the medieval documents of the Moldavian realm (and most probably not only in documents) was closer to the one used in Southern Russia ("Russia" as a region, not as a state), than to the one used in Wallachian documents. BTW, Stefan also married a Princess of Kiev and a princess from Crimea. Was he also ukrainian (or maybe a Crimean goth)? Anonimu 14:35, 22 August 2006 (UTC)

When he was crowned as prince, the location of the area was a Romanian name. The song that praised him and who was sang by both Moldavians and Wallachians, was in Romanian. Moldavians called their language for Romanian, not Moldavian. Regardless whether Stephen found religion as the most important thing to one's identification, he was Moldavian and he has always been considered a hero by the Moldavians. Even during his lifetime; and no Wallachian can tell us that he is not to be considered a Romanian. To do so would be like denying that Moldavians are akin to Wallachians, and I don't want to go that road, again. That road got me banned. (Annitas 21 Aug 2006)

Annitas, all this reply is beside the point, and you could have saved yourself the trouble of writing it by reading my posts with a little more care. I am leaving aside that your post has some obvious inaccuracies, and going straight to my original point. This, and this only, is my point concerning Stephen: given medieval logic, the ruler's position in relation to his subjects is at all points above them (the ruler is, depending on where you stand, their owner or the owner of their land); this means, in the purest form and without wishful thinking, that, if the country (a personal possesion!) is Moldavia, the ruler is either the only Moldavian around or of a "kind" different from all Moldavians if Moldavians are his subjects. In either case, "x people being of the same kind as y people" has either no validity or no value. Dahn 01:34, 21 August 2006 (UTC)

Decebal and Stephen the Great as national heroes

I'm quite late with my reply to Dahn (just came from a long vacation), but I feel I need to make this point.

So, "national heroes" are not defined objectively. They are related to the founding myths of the considered nation. In our case, Trajan and Decebal are often seen as the first "founding fathers" of the Romanian people. Just as the 19th century generation are the founding fathers of the modern Romanian nation. This national ideology is not better, or worse, than other national ideologies, including american, italian, german, etc. It's just our set of national mythology, assumed by most of the population, and must be reported as such. Dpotop 09:12, 21 August 2006 (UTC)

As for Stephen the Great, let's take the comparison with Charlemagne. I would say he was not French. He was Frankish, and everything separates him from the current French. Yet, he is a "national hero" if we do not restrict ourselves to the "republican" mythology. By comparison, Stephen was much more Romanian. Dpotop 09:21, 21 August 2006 (UTC)

Dahn persists in rejecting "non-rational notions". Like "nationality" or "ethnicity", the notion of "national hero" has no rational definition. From a historical POV, Dahn's intention of demolishing all founding myths is interesting. However, from a political militant POV (like Dahn's), it is dangerous. How should I put it: founding myths are making a nation out of a population. This is why all great nations promote these myths. Dpotop 09:21, 21 August 2006 (UTC)

I would agree (correct me if I'm wrong) that Dahn's worldview is shaped by post-nationalism and post-ethnicism. Such a worldview, similarly to post-genderism and post-heteronormativity, is often hard to understand by those living in an ethnonormative or nationality-based society such as Romania [and most of Europe and the world]. My own experiences with post-ethnicism were shaped in Australia, which is, at least in the context that I lived in, the closest you can get to a post-ethnic society (and although I'm not yet ready for post-nationalism, since I do [still] believe in the concept of a nation, it is nonetheless a wonderful proposition, and one that you have to experience to understand). In any case, I wouldn't call such a viewpoint "dangerous". Making a nation out of a population is not necessarily the "normal" position, except when viewed from a nation-normative perspective (which is still persistent in most parts of the world). In any case, I do believe that as long as Stephen is regarded as a national hero by Romanians, which he is, then he should be added to the list. The concept of national hero is irrational, and thus cannot be defined by any rational criteria. The only criteria remains public perception. If nation X believes that Y is their national hero, then Y is their national hero. The problem, of course, is that it's difficut to ascertain what nation X believes in the first place. Flag of Europe.svgFlag of Romania.svg Ronline 09:45, 21 August 2006 (UTC)
As I already said. The danger does not come from the population itself not being a nation, but from neighbors that are stronger and better motivated by these (irrational, if you want) founding myths. What I am saying is that Romania is not Australia (a continent-state). Thus, a possible move towards post-nationalism must be performed at the same time in neighbor states. For us, "problem" neighbor states are Hungary, Ukraine, Bulgaria, whose nationalisms are, in my experience, stronger than ours. At European level, too, the national myths are revigorated these days, even in states like France. Dpotop 09:59, 22 August 2006 (UTC)

First of all, welcome back Dpotop. Thank you for your feedback, but let me state that, if we are to move this topic back to a generic debate about "supposed contextual need" and geopolitics, I'm rather tired of that particular discussion. The section of the debate above is based on a misinterpretation. I thank Ronline for making amends for me, but I should assure you that my approach, although radical by comparison with Romanian standards, does not necessarily benefit from a last hour development such as post-nationalism as much as it relies on my informed opinion on the essential differences between national concepts - which would make national concepts gently float towards unworkable paradigms if we do not step out of subjectivity.

Furthermore, Dpotop, my political views are of no relevancy here. My own view of them, again, weighs them as mild - they would be mild in almost any society other than Romanian, where continuous developments do show us that the thought police has been efficient, while leading to an upsetting hypocrisy (which I'd rather balme on our educators than on us). For example, it is interesting to note what virtually all users who have been replying here have established a "need" and a "rationale" in even speaking about national heroes and other such Bildungsroman cliches in what should by now be a reasonably self-confident society, while agreeing that the list itself is idiotic and unworkable. Even more so, people answering here were ready to admit that Decebalus and Stephen have undergone a lot of makeup artistry for them to fit in the "national hero" cliche - in other words, that even if the cliche would be workable, the Romanian patrimony is willingly using paradoxes. And yet! we persist in calling them "necessary" for Romanians other than, of course, ourselves (and, may I add, we deem their alternatives "dangerous"). I need to differentiaite three distinct layers when answering that claim, because we are dealing with three distinct claims:

  1. "cliches are relevant now" - let me add "for people who are not aware of the cliches' relativity". Instead of you arguing that perhaps, just perhaps, the fiber of the Univers will not crumble if Romanians are to take a more relaxed view on stuff that is largely irrelevant to any man alive, you tell me that what you know and may discuss here should remain a secret to the outside world - apparently, you think that the Romanian people at large, which you respect, are stupider than you. Be that as it may, it bothers me especially since the gut reactions you get from so many contributors who feel like silencing the truth or who do not have a problem with a text reflecting a Romanian POV come from precisely this source (ie: people who should be at least familiar with the topic beyond primary school mnemotechnics, and who have been neglecting and neglected by less biased sources)! I also beg you to read my first post, and note how my expressed hope only refers to, well, my hope (which I would not and did not induce, and certainly did not and do not edit according to it on wikipedia!)
  2. "cliches were useful at said stage in Romanian education" - why on Earth would that be? My knowledge of the subject points to reasons that have just as easily buried by cliches: not because "we needed to build a nation" (which is utter nonsense compared to anything out there), but because we could not and would not offer people anything better than a diversion (clue: our state was only made reasonably democratic - not for women, mind you - in 1923, and for only 10-15 years!). I don't feel like expanding on that, so I will move on. To the next point, which should be as obvious: nationalism everywhere took the guise of traditionalism; however, nationalism is revolutionary in its approach, and belongs to a political culture that has yet to prove its usefulness! Note, for example, that conservatorism is not and was not nationalist (in Romania, you just have to consider the diatribes of Maiorescu against both the Latinists and Hasdeu). Since it is a political ideal, nationalism answers to its own priorites - not necessarily to those of the people it claims to represent. This is not a Marxist view, if that is what you are preparing to say: it is obvious for everybody that, despite its goal, "a nationalism" is actually "several competing nationalisms". This is by now accepted as common sense everywhere (out of many examples, I would like to point out the talk page for the List of national heroes, where you will see a debate between supporters of "conservative American national heroes" and those of "liberal American national heroes"), except in places like Romania and other Balkan states, where the "us vs. them" mindset has led to a patrimony where self-contradiction is the rule (we now worship the heroes of both Latinists and Hasdeu, the heroes of both Bratianu and Maniu, the heroes of both Ceausescu and Mihai I). Again, I blame the Geist and our version of Kamaradschaft (dudes, don't start replying in German to these - I just know some terms here and there :)), with its "special" paradoxes: the Geist which we borrowed would never sanction the use of Decebalus in the patrimony, even if the claim for Stephen would prolly be as legitimate etc etc. What everybody knew, we keep forgetting: this is politics people, not religion. And, if all we need to do in order to make someone a "national hero" in this country is to attempt proving that he or she spoke Romanian and married Wallachians (with the added and utterly sophistical "in a place with a Romanian name"), we have a problem facing the very concept even as it was defined by nationalists. Interestingly, a Romanian supporting the generic etno-centric would never even care about what that model may even mean to a non-Romanian citizen of Romania: it is truly bewildering that Romanians insist on mentioning their good record with minorities (!) while failing to indicate that the model of ethno-nationalism itself can, has, and even insists on turning on them...
  3. "what they do elsewhere" - this comparison is bound to be flawed, and thus the claim is bound to be bogus! Not only do different nationalisms, as well as presence or lack of nationalism in the first place, reflect different political realities that do not care much about what Romanians think of them, but they are aware of being the product of circumstantial politics. I am dismissing ethno-nationalism's relevancy to places such as Australia from the very start, and agreeing with Ronline that the paradigm is different (while pointing out that it may have always, not just recently, been different). The example of Charlemagne is intriguing, as I cannot possibly believe that Dpotop would as readily be dismissing the obvious: the key there is the republican mindset and its opponents! We have talked about this at length, man, and we both oughta know just how contrived that paradigm is. What is Geist-like nationalism in France? Nothing! The far right there, which most approaches the moderate-by-now Romanian paradigm, is still eons apart. If it would want to be Volkisch, it would still have to withdraw its support for the centralized state, the Jacobin invention, and would be doomed to refer to Catholic universalism due to its innate conservatism; Volkisch ideas and the Jacobin state are, and we all well know it, unseparable in the Romanian cliche (because, again, Romanian nationalism is more revolutionary and eternally-post-modern than its source). Granted, the French have had their symbiosis under the two Napoleons, but it was still way short of what Ceausescu did in "unifying" all possible patrimonies, and was itself perceived as a certain piece of propaganda for a certain political solution, not as what God Himself created for this world (not to mention that its children eventually took to syndicalism or other such anti-Volkisch attitudes). Many Romanians apologists like to refer to the Italian paradigm for comparison. It makes sense, right? Two geographical concepts turned into nation-states at around the same time (and helping each other in getting there), both of whom have little to refer to as political precedent in-between a universalist Empire which disappeared 1500 years ago and the 1860s etc etc. Wrong! First of all, if Volkisch nationalism may have had some, always marginal, impact on Italian nationalism, its relevance is zero nowadays (even for those more nationalist parties) - since the paradigm was never the same. Few Italians today would contradict Metternich saying "the word Italy is a geographical expression, a description which is useful shorthand", and fewer still would necessarily believe that state and ethnicity are or should be the same thing (consider the lack of anti-semitism in early fascism, and then consider that anti-semitism was a trait of Romanian liberalism!). Fascism, which was only partly a Volkisch phenomenon, never shied away from calling itself imperial when it had imperialist "needs" (whereas in Romania surreal and obviously imperialist claims - such as the "Vlacho-Bulgarian Empire" - are still mild assertions to make!); furthermore, Fascism was a blend of imperialist national-syndicalism kept in some sort of check by Catholic universalism and Roman references - in other words, it was aware that it was and wanted to remain a political solution as opposed to others.

These may seem like nuances to the untrained eye, but I beg that eye to become aware of them instead of picking on me willy-nilly. Dahn 11:36, 22 August 2006 (UTC)

I have to clarify this: Ronline said that I am against the national concept, and he was right. However, I am against it not in the sense that I would form a posse to hunt down nationalists, but in the sense that (and I am repeating myself) I view the concept as unecessarily normative and irrelevant (not necessarily dangerous) to an open and pluralistic society, as well as highly debatable in its assumptions (if you will, defined by wishful thinking and interpretations rather than by investigation of facts). That is to say that I have nothing against civilized and reasonable nationalists, that I will support their right to express themselves in the same context as everybody, and that I believe that many of their views can be represented in a neutral and informative form. I am especially enthusiastic about those who view themselves as "nationalists" but feel no call to lie or indoctrinate (sadly, "patriotic lying" and indoctrinating are only too present in Romanian discourse). To paraphrase Jmabel quoting Franklin: "a nation, if they may keep it". That is, "if they may keep it democratic, useful, and transparent". Dahn 13:04, 22 August 2006 (UTC)