Word of the Day: Iobag


Today I was idly browsing through what has to be my all-time favorite gossip rag, Stiri De Cluj (Cluj News), where every minor occurrence is a scandalous, breathtaking event, when I came across this fine, fine piece of journalism, wherein an anonymous spokesperson of the Youth Wing of the PNL party lashes out at the Lord of Cluj, Sorin Apostu:

Sorin Apostu, in loc sa se comporte precum un razes autentic, se doveste a fi un iobag lipsit de personalitate

I had to laugh a little because the word iobag is a fairly obscure one, coming directly from our former Hungarian overlords, meaning a serf.

Therefore the anonymous screed from TNL is accusing the mayor of Unicorn City of being a “feudal serf” as he bends to political pressure from his “masters”, the UDMR (co-ruling Hungarian political party). Quite an acerbic jab, if I do say so myself :)

While this particular piece of political slander is unattributed by name, I find that the TNL website hasn’t been updated in two years and even the head of the TNL’s personal blog has a much more conciliatory tone.

What sparked the entire controversy last week was the decision to operate a “flying market” or temporary food piata in the downtown square (Piata Unirii) on Saturdays. The problem is that the market was set up right next to the main Hungarian church and the local UDMR leaders were not consulted.

The TNL (and others) are essentially playing the “race card”, complaining bitterly that local (read: ethnic Romanians, although some Hungarians were involved as well) producers of honey, cheese, fruits and vegetables were ordinarily “blocked” from selling their wares and only this “flying market” would allow them to do so. Then because the “evil” UDMR (read: ethnic Hungarians) complained, now it’s an “us versus them” situation and Apostu is the devil for kow-towing to his Hungarian feudal masters.

Tempest in a teapot really, as there are markets open every single day in Cluj, including the main one in Piata Mihai Viteazu (about 1.5 km away) that I shop at weekly. There are also three other permanent ones I can think of and probably more that I’m forgetting.

The political compromise that’s been (seemingly) reached is that there will be one more Saturday “flying market” for the local producers at Piata Unirii and then they’ll be zoned out to outlying areas, including (allegedly) Gruia Cartierul Minunilor, where I live, so that certainly works for me!

The hilarious irony in all of this (beside the sheer stupidity of how this tiny issue became a big problem) is that it’s clear Apostu and the PDL are not really that big a fan of their Hungarian constituents. It was politically expedient to enter into a coalition with them on the local level in order to run the city but it’s not like there’s a lot of racial and cultural harmony between the two groups.

Sadly, these kinds of incidents (squabbling over stupid shit) are starting to attract the attention of a lot of kooks, including these three idiots who drove all the way from Hungary in order to secretly put up a road sign saying “Koloszvar” (the Hungarian name for Cluj) at 4:00 am. Ah well, what can you do?

AND NOW YOU KNOW!

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