As I have indicated. the January 19 compromise resolution of the National Salvation Front County Council concerning separate schooling did not meet with undivided praise. Tensions increased.
A joint conference of the teachers of the Ilarian Papiu Lyceum and the Farkas Bolyai Lyceum was arranged by the Tirgu Mures National Salvation Front, (Let it be noted that Vatra Romaneasca was founded officially in the hall of the Ilarian Papiu Lyceum).
At this conference four of us represented the Front. Smaranda Enache, Chairwoman of the Cultural Committee; Attila Jakabffy, Chairman of the National Minorities Committee; Andras Tökés, County Deputy Chief School Inspector (also as a teacher in the Papiu Lyceum); and myself as County Vice-President.
The meeting began with a statement by the teacher Vasile Matei, the Romanian Deputy Headmaster of the Bolyai Lyceum, who said that the teachers of Romanian nationality of the school opposed the immediate restoration of an autonomous Hungarian school.
The Papiu teachers speaking after him also attacked very sharply the County Council's compromise resolution of January 19, which called for the restoration of separate schooling in September, not January. As County Vice-President, I was asked to speak in order to defend the corporate resolution, but I was prevented from speaking. There were such interjections as: "We don't need a solicitor".
Later they tried to explain that they did not let me speak because they did not know me (yet they knew that I was a solicitor). Let me note that the Romanian mob that nearly murdered the Hungarian leader Sütö in the March pogrom also testified later that they had taken part in the manhandling of unknown persons. Do the tales come from the same root to such an extent?
But returning to the schools meeting, all the Bolyai teachers left the room in protest at these scenes and our attempt at dialogue turned into a militant monologue from those remaining, opposing the restoration of the autonomous Hungarian schools, etc.
Smaranda Enache tried to influence the remaining speakers, but they became more and more vulgar and they were not willing to listen to her either. At the time, we were still unaware that displayed before us for our admiration were members of the still-secret Vatra " cultural associations.
The Romanian engineer Emil Tirnaveanu, as Vice-President of the Tirgu Mures Town Council of the National Salvation Front, argued for the restoration of the
autonomous Hungarian-language Bolyai Lyceum, but he was shouted down. And yet this young Romanian intellectual was not a nobody. He was the only one in Tirgu Mures who dared - as early as September 1989 - to vote against the re-election of Ceausescu at the nominating meeting for the Party Congress. Of course, in the eyes of those who are for regression, such personalities are undesirables and must be removed. After elections later that year, Emil Tirnaveanu was shunted to the sidelines.
When a lady teacher, whose nervous system seemed none too stable, began to speak about the Hungarians in a derogatory tone, Tõkés, Jakabffy and I left the room in protest.
Enache was forced to deliver her message after the meeting and into a video camera. We immediately sent the tape to Bucharest, believing that these deep, European thoughts that she had expressed had to be passed on to the public opinion of the country.
Romanian Television broadcast the declaration by Smaranda Enache after My repeated urgings over the phone (I spoke even to President Illescu). It was at a difficult moment for the country, there had been more antigovernment demonstrations. But the effect of the broadcast of the tape was stunning: passions were let loose.
The extremists not only condemned and threatened Smaranda Enache, but also her parents. At the same time, a great deal of encouraging feedback came in from all over the country, and in Timisoara demonstrations were even held in support of Smaranda Enache.
In the meantime the Hungarian Bolyai Lyceum students began a sit-in strike: they wanted to force the immediate restoration of education in the mother tongue.
On January 30 I went to my old school (my father, brother and sister had also obtained their graduation certificates there), and in the headrnaster's office, in the company of teacher László Lörincz, the Vice-Chairman of the Nationality Committee of the National Salvation Front, I tried to convince the students' committee and the parents' committee that they should accept the January 19 resolution of the County Council of the National Salvation Front. This being, that they shouldn't restore the Hungarian lyceum until the autumn.
I stressed that it was not possible to achieve Hungarian equality if in the meantime we disregarded Romanian sensitivities. I said it could not be claimed that Hungarian rights were being infringed just because the Romanian students and their teachers did change school in midyear. I added that the fact that this very thing had been done to the Hungarians in the 1961 school merger should not be a reason for a similar step now. I said the time had come to put an end to the exchange of blows..
Nationality education must be ensured by the Education Act, and this should not be made the object of local bargaining.
My words were supported by László L6rincz who also warned that ultimata only added grist to the Romanian nationalists' mill.
One parent there said to my face that I was a traitor to the Hungarians, and that I was unwilling to assert just Hungarian demands in order to further my political career. He asked who had authorised me to behave in such an opportunistic way. His words were acclaimed by some present.
Teacher Matei, the Romanian deputy headmaster of the Bolyai Lyceum could hardly believe his ears (he speaks Hungarian well). But it is characteristic that he never said subsequently in any Romanian forum: "Stop, exactly the opposite of what the Vatra alleges about Kincses is true: Kincses resolutely opposed the immediate removal of the Romanian students from the Bolyai." I am curious whether he will ever be willing to tell all this...
Incidentally, a video film was made of this encounter, and thus it can be confirmed at any time that I am writing the truth. I represented the same view in my interview to Budapest Television on February 4.
Now, some time later, I can only say that the Hungarians were not wrong when they thought that if the Bolyai was not to become an Hungarian school at once, it would not become one after the elections either! The logic being that the government elected then would not fulfil the promises of the National Salvation Front.
The school affair snowballed.
The Hungarian Deputy Minister for Education, engineering Professor Attila Pálfalvi, was relieved from his post in order to give the impression that he had initiated this divisive separation of the schools, although it had been the government's stated programme. When the RMDSZ protested, Pálfalvi was appointed deputy minister in an industrial ministry,
One Colonel loan Judea
But it was not only the schools affair that aggravated the public mood in Tirgu Mures during this time. The re-election of officials of the municipal mayoral office also played its part.
Colonel loan Judea (we called him Judas, because he had betrayed the revolution), supported by General loan Scrieciu, First Vice-President of the County Council, ignored the principle contained in the resolution of the County Council concerning representation. This said that the county mayor should be a Romanian and the county deputy mayor an Hungarian, and that the mayor of the town be an Hungarian (since
there is an Hungarian majority in Tirgu Mures), and that the town deputy mayor be Romanian. Elections were arranged where - in toto - five Romanians and two Hungarians were elected, with an old Ceausescu Romanian cadre thrown in.
Following our protest, the elections were re-held.
At the meeting of an exclusive circle where this was discussed, András Sütö said that the men led by Colonel Judea had put together the leadership of the mayoral office of the town in a way which was characteristic of Ceausescu's activists, and that they did not provide for proportional Hungarian representation. Judea interjected, Sütö too was in favour or Ceausescu, why does he say such things?" To which Sütö replied: "The situation of a person who served Ceausescu to the last moment, as you did, and who never said or did anything against Ceausescu, is entirely different from the situation of a person who was banned from intellectual life for more than ten years (because of his anti-regime activities)."
I believe that Colonel Judea considered this exchange to be an insult, and that he marked it down at András Sütö's expense. And that this is why he protected Sütö so "successfully" on March 19 against those who nearly murdered him.
I took part in the re-election meeting and argued for the 50-50 percent town leadership, the Hungarian mayor/Romanian deputy mayor variant. And with the help of the votes of young Romanians we implemented this. Considerable changes occurred in the personnel make-up of both the Council of the Salvation Front and the mayoral office.
It was at this meeting too that the senior Vatra man, Radu Ceontea, piped up - Ceontea, whose earlier statements had established to my satisfaction that this mind did not work as that of a democratic intellectual avowing acceptable principles. I told him that if he was not clear about a question, why did he have to talk about it, why did he not keep silent? He then stopped and sat down. Well, at the time he wasn't yet a Romanian senator...
At this time, the handbills started appearing. And also an anonymous new "Constitutional Draft". And from the General Post Office, what became known as the notorious inflammatory telegram was also sent. (I shall report on these materials shortly via the reproduction of a newspaper article).
Károly Király had just arrived back from surgery in Budapest, and we agreed that we would petition the attorney's office to investigate who had sent the post office telegram, who had written the handbills, etc., and that the culprits should be indicted.
In local newspapers, both Romanian and Hungarian post office clerks demanded that it should be discovered which colleagues sent the telegram inciting anti-Hungarian feeling and calling for violent action. This demand was in vain.
I thought it would do no harm to encourage the attomey's office to discover the culprits. Towards the end of January, I rang Gheorghe Andreicut, the Romanian county attorney-general. He answered that it was impossible to discover who had sent the telegram (let me note that postal clerks swear to the opposite) and further, that the anonymous "Constitutional Draft" was simply that - a draft of a Bill - and that its investigation was not the task of the attomey's office.
I felt that the situation was giving rise to so much anxiety that I had to turn to public opinion through the press, and I wrote my article entitled "Through Incitement Against Equal Rights", Unfortunately, this article was not published by the Magyar Szó [Hungarian Word - the Hungarian-language daily] of Romania, (though the last paragraph was published weeks later), nor by the Neuer Weg [New Road - the German-language daily of Bucharest]. But then it wasn't published by Budapest's Magyar Nemzet [Hungarian Nation] either.
I ask you to read what I tried to draw to the attention of public opinion at the end of January:
Through Incitement Against Equal Rights
On the evening of Thursday, January 25, listening to Ion Iliescu, many people's hands jerked up when he even began to mention "separatism".
This expression reminds the Romanians of Transylvania of the nightmare of "Return Transylvania to Hungary". Of course, it Is clear to everybody that this is not even open for discussion, but Ceausescu too made clever use of this old Romanian fear in order to obtain mass support for his dictatorship.
As a consequence, the use of this expression is expressly unfortunate in the Romanian context.
It is also unfortunate from the point of view of the Hungarians and Germans of Transylvania - of Romania generally - because it is used as a strong weapon by Romania's conservative, chauvinistic, Ceausescuite forces in their fight against the equality of the nationalities.
If the Hungarians and Germans happen to ask for their own kindergarten, school, or university, the answer is immediately there: "This is separatism, while we [Romanians] wish to continue to work within the spirit of the brotherly understanding that has been achieved to date".
But this so-called "brotherly understanding" has led to the almost complete rundown of nationality education. Such famous old schools as the [German] Joseph Haltrich of Sighisoara or the [Hungarian] Farkas Bolyai of Tirgu Mures are dominated by Rumanians.
But the Romanian extremists are not satisfied with such refined methods of incitement as the mention of "separatism". They have started open Incitement. Also on
January 25 (until now it has not been possible to find out who is responsible) the following inflammatory telegram was sent out from the post office of Tirgu Mures to the larger Romanian-inhabited towns:
"Romanian brethren and colleagues working at post offices and in telecommunications! The victorious revolution, instead of bringing us liberty, is headed towards bringing us moral suffering. We do not wish that the hateful Dictat of Vienna [the 1940 treaty describing the temporary return of parts of Transylvania to Hungary, or the establishment of a Horthy-type government should be repeated. [Horthy was the Regent of Hungary 1920-1944.] In our units - and in others too - in Tirgu Mures, and at all other levels, leading personnel are arbitrarily and regularly being replaced by Hungarians. Romanian students and teachers have been expelled from the schools, manhandled and spat at.
We ask you to support us that in the institutions and in the courts, Hungarian should not be introduced as an official language, as is currently being planned.
We are opposed to local autonomies, including local autonomy for Transylvania. We wish to remain united with the country.
We ask you to give expression to your public protest and to support our stand in your towns, in the local and central press. We do not want to create discord and hatred between nationalities, but rather peaceful and fraternal work between Romanians and Hungarians. Just as the Romanians and Hungarians have lived together for several hundred years in this Romanian land,
Long live the great and free Romania!
Signed: The Romanian initiative committee operating in the Mures county postal and telecommunication directorate.
We ask you to distribute this to all fellow branches."
In addition, they also began to distribute the following "Draft Constitution which went beyond even Ceauyescu's erosion of nationality rights, and which threatened those living in Transylvania with the prospect of an exchange of populations. This anonymous draft said, inter alia:
" ... We propose that Romania's new constitution should contain the following:
1. In the entire territory of Romania, Romanian should be the official language between legal entities, between legal entities and natural persons, as well as in any kind of contacts among natural persons of Romanian citzenship.
3. The expressions "national minority" and "coexisting nationality" should be abolished", and in their place the expression "Romanian citizens of a different nationality" should be used.
4. In all schools, at all stages, and in tertiary education, Romanian should be the language of tuition.
In those regions where Romanian citizens of a different nationality also live, it is possible to introduce and also teach the language and literature of the nationalities concerned...
7. Romanian citizens of a different nationality can of their own free will request, and if they fulfil conditions to be prescribed by law, can receive Romanian nationality...
We consider that the above points can be applied to a united nation state, as we hope Romania will be.
In the opposite case, i.e. in the case that all the above enumerated ideas are not adopted, the majority of Romanian citizens of Romanian nationality will be obliged to fight for their rights in their own county, i.e. we consider it correct that the constitution or a separate law should provide:
A. The citizen of Romanian nationality who lives in a region inhabited by other nationalities is entitled to ask for his resettlement to any other locality in the country..."
This formulation suggests that the situation of the Romanians is so untenable in Tirgu Mures that they are forced to relocate, and consequently that they need protection.
I believe that these texts require no comment. But I would like to note that the true nature of the authors of the "Draft Constitution" is betrayed by the passage according to which natural persons (i.e. the people) should be entitled to use only the Romanian language in their contacts of any nature. The "any nature" means here that people of non-Romanian nationality should not be able to use their mother tongue in any circuûmstances, in no contacts. Thus the mother would behave unconstitutionally and unlawfully who addressed her child in her own mother tongue, i.e. not in Romanian. Not even the executed dictator dared to pass measures of this nature!
Only the attention and constant protest of Europe and of all signatories of the Helsinki Final Act, and the effective support of Romanian democrats can avoid a terrible, European Nagorno-Karabakh.
We must not lose faith. There are many decent Romanians on our side, such as those in Braila, who were so shocked by the incitement of the Vatra postal clerks of Tirgu Mures in sending the telegram that they warned that we should find out who wanted lo harm thoseforces striving for the creation of a new, democratic Romania.
In accordance with the promise I had made in my remarks to the demonstrators of Tirgu Mures on January 12, the County Council of the National Salvation Front urged in a resolution that those responsible for the killings of December 21 be brought to account, and that the police and Securitate men who manhandled the freedom fighters be also charged. It was of course an open secret that I was the author of the resolution.
I even proposed that streets should be named in our town after the six freedom fighters who had been killed.
The implementation of the resolution has been in progress since the end of January 1989.
Of course, nobody attacked me openly for these proposals. They thought it preferable to begin to spread lies about me instead.
The Vatra mouthpiece, the local newspaper Cuvintul Liber was included in this campaign.
My name became such an everyday word that János Makai, editor-in-chief of Népujság, even wrote: "There is no Christmas without Corvin (advertising slogan of a Budapest department store), and there is no Cuvintul without Kincses."
I do not want to bore the reader with these texts, but I shall mention one case.
I wrote a reply in Hungarian to a teacher of Hungarian nationality advising her to turn with a particular request to the school inspector. This letter - in a land of the privacy of the mails - got into the editorial offices of Cuvintul Liber, and the newspaper attacked me for violating the official language.
I explained in my answer that the rightful use of the mother tongue was concerned here, since the letter was written by and to a private person, and this right was even ensured by Section 22 of Ceausescu's Constitution, etc,
I added in a postscript that the honour to appear daily in your newspaper was enjoyed in an earlier time by the illustrious Nicolae Ceausescu, back when you still had the beautiful name of Red Slar. I. said it is undeniable that the copy you wrote about him then differed greatly from the copy you write about me now. I said that for the time being I am grateful to you for this, but only for this...
It seems this sarcasm was not the worst weapon to use. For a while after that, the poisoning of souls was continued in other ways without the need to mention my name.
The Cuvintul Liber and also Bucharest Television became noticeably more and more aggressive.
Now I clearly understood why in mid-January the old editor-in-chief of Cuvintul, Pop loan had refused to reprint the interview with the RMDSZ leader, Géza Domokos, that had appeared that month in the Adevarul of Bucharest.
It is obvious that certain circles did everything in their power to prevent the Romanian public from learning about the true endeavours of the Hungarians of Romania. In the beginning I thought that this was a characteristic of Tirgu Mures only, but I shortly experienced that neither the Adevarul nor Romanian Television were willing to publish or broadcast our answers to attacks or points taken up by us.
Despite the fact that I had "honoured" the Adevarul with my article about the Tõkés affair, the paper did not publish three.further articles of mine. It did not even react to the manuscripts I sent.