Proud To Be Ignorant


During my two-hour discussion with a high school teacher earlier this week, the subject came up about why so many foreigners (especially those who have never been here, but sometimes including those who live here) are so hateful towards Romanians. As I had just met a perverted loser a few days before, I was able to explain to her that insulting Romanians is one of the last permitted forms of racism left in a Politically Correct world. Being hateful towards gypsies, black people, Muslims, Chinese and other groups is now forbidden for respectable people but since Romanians are both (materially) poor and white, hating them and being a smug asshole towards them is still okay.

And right on time I see this ignorant and hateful garbage from my old nemesis, The Economist. It starts off by mentioning an unfortunate gaffe from a PSD politician:

On March 5th, discussing the Holocaust live on television, he said: “On the territory of Romania, no Jew suffered”. He added that “24 Jews died” as a result of the notorious government-backed Iasi pogrom of 1941. Most historians put the figure at 12,000 or more.

He has since apologized, lost his job and is taking a pilgrimage to the American (?!) Holocaust Museum. He also had the courage to write an open letter (Ro) to the Israeli ambassador and apologize. Why the subject of the Holocaust even came up, I have no idea. But The Economist takes one man’s mistake and turns into yet another opportunity to slander all Romanians:

Education is partly to blame. The Holocaust wasn’t part of Romania’s school curriculum until 1998, and until 2004 many textbooks followed the communist line that the killings were something that happened somewhere else. In 2004 the state-backed Wiesel Commission issued a report on the Holocaust, leading to an official acknowledgement that killings and deportations took place on Romanian territory. Since 2005 secondary-school students have been able to take a special Holocaust course.

I should add that the Wiesel Commission is named for Elie Wiesel, born in Romania and one of the most famous authors about the Holocaust.

The anonymous Economist writer (their failure to use anything but initials is a sign of their cowardice and this craven bastard better never let me catch him drinking in a bar in Bucharest) is obviously full of shit. As I mentioned before, on Monday I was being interviewed for the high school’s magazine. The professor was kind of enough to give me their last issue. And what should I see there?

In fact, here’s a close-up of the top of the left page.

Can you even read this, idiot from The Economist?

It’s a two-page spread on the Holocaust! This is definitely what’s being taught in high schools in Romania because I just got this from a real high school and “T.W.”, whoever he is, has probably never been inside of one. Notice also that the film the students watched was about the life story of a Hungarian Jew during World War 2. So not only are they learning about the Holocaust but their course is sensitive to Hungarians too.

Of course the “T.W.” doesn’t stop there, does he?

More worryingly, history is often taught with the nationalist assumptions that held sway before the overthrow of communism. Romanian children are, for example, still taught that they are the direct descendants of the Romans and Dacians, an approach some historians see as simplistic.

Why exactly is this “worrying”? Romanian is clearly a language that evolved from Latin speakers (aka Romans) and the Dacians clearly were conquered around the year 106 by those self-same Romans. This might be a tiny bit simplistic but only an idiot would think Romanians believe that they have zero Russian, Turkish, German, Goth, Greek, Avar or even Hungarian ancestors. Hell, there’s even a few Romanians running around with British blood in them, sad as that is.

The author concludes his hate piece:

Romania has some way to go in facing up to its wartime past, and a change to the way history is taught might be a good place to start.

Yes, as I’ve already shown, everyone is learning their goddamn history already. I don’t know what people learned back in 1973 but that was a long time ago (as was World War 2 for christ’s sake). So quit smearing an entire nation for the words of one politician.

Meanwhile let’s review how fucking accurate British people are with their own history, eh? And let’s see how tolerant their politicians are. I thought that might be fun.

Every January in Britain there is a “Memorial Day” for the Holocaust. Well, it’s a memorial day for the World War 2 holocaust. All other holocausts need not apply as they don’t count. Oh that’s right, that’s because those other holocausts were the partly the fault of the British government! Maybe those ignorant politicians in Britain should learn their lesson and take pilgrimages to the Holocaust Museum in Armenia.

As for a “simplistic history”, it doesn’t get any stupider or weirder (or more “worrying”) than the bizarre fact that many British people literally believe they are the descendants of the Lost Tribe of Israel! They really and truly believe that ancient Jews escaped Israel and ended up settling in Britain. Even the British royal family believed in that crazy shit.

And as for who was and who wasn’t a fascist during the early part of the 20th century, let’s look at the long list of British royalty and important people who were openly members of the British Fascist Party. Are all British people living today to blame for that? Are all British people to blame for appeasing Hitler in the first place, allowing him to even set off the Holocaust? No? So why are Romanians to blame for what Antonescu did 70 fucking years ago?

Ahh… that’s what I thought.

34 thoughts on “Proud To Be Ignorant

  1. “Also, feel free to observe the sheer hysteria that occurs whenever anyone dares mention that a north-of-the-Danube origin was simply impossible.

    Gee, I wonder why that is ?”

    Probably because it’s plain stupid? Duh!

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    1. Like I said – explain how 165 years of Roman presence were enough to completely erase the Dacian language – when in all other places, the process took much longer – and in some cases, it didn’t happen at all.

      I’m waiting.

      Until then, I will consider my case proven – when it comes to Romanian history, nationalist propaganda is the actual goal – and getting to the truth is optional (and only when it doesn’t contradict said propaganda).

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  2. So, I suppose, you know serious historians and us, mortals, are clueless. And of course you don’t believe in “myths”…I swear there’s trend about all history being nothing but a big myth. Sure, myths exist in every nation’s history, here and there. But let’s not exaggerate.
    So, we don’t have good historians, we never had… If you say so…Ok, I can live with that. Have a nice day!

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  3. Daniel, dacia_felix, and assur17: I am so glad I have such tenured historians explain the formation of the modern Romanian nation to me :) In all reality, when you guys are soooo sure that you know what you are talking about (even spouting BS such as “every serious historian”), when real historians admit to having doubts and that there are too many unknowns, it makes everyone look childish. But admittedly, one’s own history is a matter of myth rather than reality… I refer you back to the title of Sam’s post :)

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    1. If had actually bothered to read, you surely would have noticed that I said

      “We cannot know for sure (since written records are completely lacking), but the most reasonable theory is …”

      What is known for sure is that Roman occupation north of the Danube lasted for (only) 165 years. Simply not enough to latinize the inhabitants.

      And since the Romanian language couldn’t have been born north of the Danube … the only option left is, well, to the south.

      Of course, you are free to disagree with what I said above – but in that case, you’re gonna have to explain how a century and a half was enough to latinize a bunch of very hostile tribes, when much longer occupations (like the one in Britain, for example) couldn’t do so.

      Also, feel free to observe the sheer hysteria that occurs whenever anyone dares mention that a north-of-the-Danube origin was simply impossible.

      Gee, I wonder why that is ?

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      1. I think you should watch this video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rt8DxtUIkCM
        People from Dacia and the Romans were coming from related tribes and spoke related languages. We did not learn a new language in less then 2 centuries of partial occupation, but remember that the Romanian nation is pretty big (if you also count Romanians from neighboring countries such as Serbia, Bulgaria, Moldova etc). How can such a big migration not be mentioned by any historical document? It just doesn’t make sense.

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  4. Oh, and btw, my younger friend and, sadly, compatriot, I graduated from high school in 1999 and we studied about the Holocaust here in Romania and it was a serious thing, not a joke. I don’t know where you studied, I hope it wasn’t Jean Monnet.

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  5. The scary thing is to see someone like you, Daniel, pretending to really know history when you are brainwashed with every weird theory you’ve heard. God help us! As for you, my friend, study serious history, not the magazines you found to be cool.
    Romanian language formed at the south of Danube? The immigration theory that you basically mention has been taken down piece by piece by every serious historian. But then again, arguing with you is pointless. The Dark Force has already taken you (and yeah, I’m being sarcastic).

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  6. @Daniel, off topic
    The south Danube origin of Romanian language theory is not backed on any historical documents. A massive migration of population from south to north of Danube would have been noticed; the movements of Slavs in Europe by example have been recorded in various documents. No document exists to support a migration from south to north of a Latinophone population, not a single one. Even without a historical documents, such a migration would have been recorded in the Romanian oral tradition, poems or tales. As rich a it is, the Romanian folclore doesn’t have any single story of the people crossing the Danube to start a life in another place.
    Furthermore, all Romanian principalities are the result of an opposite movement of population, from north to south. Dragos, the founder of Moldova, came from Maramures, from an area which is now located in Ukraine. The first capital was at Suceava, up north. Only a few centuries later the capital moved to Iasi.
    Tara Romaneasca shows the same movement north to south. When Basarab, most likely of cuman origin, founded the principality, its capital was gain north, at Campulung moving further south east to Curtea de Arges, Targoviste and finally in 1659 to Bucharest.

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  7. Sam,

    I graduated high-school in 2002 – and I can tell you that there was ZERO (nada, zilch, etc) mention of the Holocaust or the war crimes committed by the Romanian Army in WW2.

    And until a few years ago there was no acknowledgement of those things having occured.

    “Romanian is clearly a language that evolved from Latin speakers (aka Romans) and the Dacians clearly were conquered around the year 106 by those self-same Romans.”

    Like the article says – it’s simplistic.
    We cannot know for sure (since written records are completely lacking), but the most reasonable theory is that the Romanian language was born south of the Danube and at some point there was a movement of people to the north.

    Hell, I happen to have a Romanian history textbook from 1941 (when the hyper-nationalistic “legionari” were in power) and it openly makes the case for a northward migration of Latin speakers.

    Of course, when the Hungarians come up with nonsensical claims of having arrived in central Europe and having found it completely devoid of inhabitants … the proper response is to counter with nonsense of your own – that a mere century was more than enough to latinize the inhabitants, even the ones outside of Roman-occupied territory …

    And what’s the point of all of this ? The point is that, in my humble opinion (as a native Romanian who has been exposed to state-sanctioned education), the accusations the article makes are fairly correct – history textbooks are largely nationalist propaganda.

    And the fact the most other nations do the same thing doesn’t quite excuse it.

    PS Also, I happen to read and enjoy the Economist. I think it’s a pretty good magazine. I can’t quite grasp what gets you so worked up.

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  8. Well I never went to the one in DC but I’ve been to Yad Vashem, the holocaust museum in Israel. As you said, definitely a moving experience.

    I guess my point was not to defend Dan Sova but that whatever he says or doesn’t say is entirely about him, not the entire nation of Romania. I noticed that the comments over on The Economist tend to agree with me :D

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  9. Sam, I wonder if Dan Şova is proud to be ignorant on this matter. As for “having the courage to write an open letter and apologize”, though he did not deny the Holocaust, the fact remains that he extremely minimized its effects in Romania (0.2% is very close to zero, an almost denial).

    I had the rare privilege to visit the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington D.C. in June 1993, two months after it officially opened. The hundreds of people waiting for admission reminded me of the pre-1989 queues in Romania (however, thanks to an official invitation, I did not have to wait in line). This visit was one of the most moving experiences in my life. “Once you know, you can never forget!” — I believe this saying is very, very true.

    I wonder if Mr. Şova will have tears in his eyes at the end of his visit, as I did. Anyway, I hope he will learn something from his visit there.

    Like

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