INTRODUCTION                                                                                                (Rus KOI-8R)

Majority and Minority,
by Radu Gorincioi

Ethnic Conflicts and Ways of Their Resolution,
by Mariana Lunca

Problem of National Identity of Moldovans
by Alexei Tulbure, MA in History

Ethnic Minorities in Chisinau
by S.S.Curoglo

Ethnic Majority and Minority in Transdniestria
by Alexey Kuznetsov

All Men are Created Equal
by Nadejda Mazur

Gays left underground
by V.S.

Security is the most precious thing...
by Olesea Corcinscaia

Their Future Is Difficult and Dangerous
by Irina Pivovarova

Diagnose-fascism
by Olesea Corcinscaia

Dahau: Therefrom Nobody Came Back
by by Julia Trombitskaya

Catastrophe of European Jewry
by Eugene Tikhonovich

Homosexuals and Lesbians are Victims of Holocaust
by Erwin Heberl and Amy Alman

The party Loves Movies
by Leonid Mlechin

Calvaria
by Oldrich Andrysek

Anti-Semitism Put in the Pillory
by Harol ISAK

Letters to the Editor

 
 





Dear friends,

    This is the first issue of Collage in the new year and in the new millennium. Originally we planned to focus on the minority and majority theme in its various manifestations. However, in the process of working on the issue some new ideas shaped themselves. Besides, we have received many letters from young people troubled with present-day situation in the world. In Austria fascists are controlling the country. In Latvia war legionaries get awards while many representatives of ethnic minorities, though having lived in the country their whole life, are no more its citizens. In Russia anti-Semitic attacks continue and those against people from the Caucasus. In the neighboring Romania right extremists gathered a significant number of votes in the Senate and closely follow socialists. The leader of the right-radical party repeatedly expressed his opinion against the Roma and Jews ostensibly desecrating the Romanian nation by their presence in the country.
    All these facts provoke thinking. The acts of violence and discrimination on national, ethnic or linguistic grounds have recently grown frequent. The browns find more and more supporters in Europe.
    Therefore, beginning with this issue we open a new section - Modern Fascism, in which we will tell you about neo-Nazi groupings in Europe, about right extremists coming to power and about methods of struggling against them. Many people in Moldova associate fascism only with Germany and World War II. They consider that modern fascism may exist somewhere in Western Europe, if anywhere at all, and never here. Nationalist and anti-Semitic slogans as well as search of a «scapegoat» under the disguise of ethnic minorities that are allegedly to blame for economic instability make a nourishing ground for fascism. It is an open secret that we can also come across something of the kind in our country, though Moldova is one of the most tolerant states in Europe. Such statements may originate not only with the extreme right.
    In the section called Memory we begin to publish materials about victims of Holocaust and about horrors of World War II, so that something similar never happened again. At the European conference of ministers against racial discrimination, intolerance and xenophobia in Strasbourg held in October 2000, a declaration was worked out that recommended to introduce to school curriculum Holocaust as a subject. By the way, some European countries already have this discipline, which cannot be said about us yet, where on the territory of small country were killed 300 000 Jews and Roma.
    In this issue we also continue publishing the opinions of young people from both banks of the Dniester, about the frozen Transdniestrian conflict and ways of its resolution. Moreover, we plan to devote the following two issues to this very theme. We are looking forward to getting your letters with response, feedback, and suggestions.

Natalia Sineaeva
the editor


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

    Majority and Minority

    What is Minority? What is Majority? Generally, minority is the opposite of majority and vice a versa. In a word, we could affirm that what does not constitute majority represents minority. Between these two, as between the poles of magnet, there exists a permanent tension, an antagonistic relationship of interests and principles, of values and views and of form and substance. In everyday life it can manifest itself in a diversity of forms - Power and Opposition, Nation and Ethnicities, the World of Business and Mafia, Honesty and Corruption, Smartness and Stupidity, We and You, etc.
    In the course of history, on a regular basis Power suppressed Opposition, Nation dominated Ethnicities, the World of Business stood against Mafia, the Honest fought against the Corrupted, the Smart took advantage of the Stupid and finally We were opposed to You. It seems  that everything is based on this double-sided relationship. Evolution cannot exist without this relation as progress cannot exist without contradictions. Zweig recognized this declaring that “the most enigmatic and mysterious human law is that les extremes de touches and contradictions merge, transform from one into the other”.
    Minority becomes majority and the latter transforms into minority. Therefore, in the time of Caligula Christians represented a dominant religion as, together with a growing number of their advocates, in 330 AD they made Christianity the official religion of Byzantium. If we take as an example the sphere of politics, the situation will be exactly the same: opposition replaces power, whereas ethnicities tend to compel the state nation to recognize them or erode this state nation. From the Greece of Solon till the Great French Revolution, with minor exceptions, minority always dominated over majority.  Even when some monarchs were beheaded, it was not plebeians but usurpers that come instead of them. In 1789 for the first time in history common people took power to enforce the dictatorship of majority, i.e. the dictatorship of law. Though it lasted but a few months, it turned into the most severe period France had ever known.  The dictatorship of majority was resumed, though in different forms, by Communists, Nazi, fascists and nationalists in various states; it demonstrated a colossal destructive power and several times served as a shield - to Stalin, Hitler, and Ceausescu.
    Does this mean that power represented by minority (oligarchs) is preferable to the power represented by majority (democracy)? No doubt that when democracy has a tendency to quickly regenerate into dictatorship, oligarchy proves to be more stable. At the same time, neither assures direct, complete and constant representation of interests of all citizens. Even if democracy is not an ideal form of governance, as Aristotle put it, presently it is the only one that allows peaceful coexistence and co-rotation of majority and minority through free and democratic elections.  By means of a sovereign will of the people, the opposition and power always exchange roles, which causes a wide representation of various social and political options.
    Yet here appears another problem: how are the rights of ethnic minorities ensured in democracy? Nationalities or ethnicities that are in opposition to the nation, as I observed, either are dominated by the nation or the nation tries to dominate them. In both cases the consequences of the “battle” are tragic.  In a democracy mutual tolerance establishes itself between the two parties that is manifested in economic interdependence and political representation. In present conditions, in the sphere of economy libertarianism offers a variety of interrelated individual interests, which provokes a profound interdependence of people given the conditions of high-tech, capital and foreign labor force. On a political level, ethnic minorities assure an enormous support to those political entities that they represent. Usually this takes the shape of social and political movements of national or ethnic minorities. In developed states, however, minorities have a certain representation in every socio-political formation, which renders more stability to political equilibrium. In this way, no matter whether they are in Opposition or in Power, minorities are always politically represented.
    It is naturally more complicated to introduce this mode in multinational societies, not highly developed or being in the period of transition, in which the level of political maturity is pretty low. The Republic of Moldova is one of the states where the tension in relations between minority/minorities and majority had serious consequences and resulted in general aggravation of the country’s position, both domestically and internationally.
    I think it is time to realize that  “the battle” between Power and Opposition, Nation and Nationalities/Ethnicities and, finally, between Minority and Majority has to proceed within the legal-democratic framework, the only one able to ensure progress for all.

by Radu T. Gorincioi
Chisinau Association for Civic Culture and Politics in Moldova


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

    Ethnic Conflicts and Ways of Their Resolution

    The first definitions of majority and minority proceeded from quantitative criteria. Later social division into majority and minority was based on a set of criteria, such as age, color of the skin, religion, and nationality; besides, some other criteria were taken into account - social, linguistic, political, cultural, and ethnic. The above could be combined and a certain group would hardly adhere to a universal or historically fixed position. Therefore, in a certain society or in a certain epoch a majority can become a minority and vice versa. Frequent is the situation when a given group is a majority in one measurement and a minority in another. For example, blacks in South America constitute a quantitative majority, but till recently they were a political minority.
    Sociological dictionary defines the notion of minority in a narrower sense stating that it refers to a group of persons differing as to their race, religion, language or ethnicity. The dictionary specifies that the group does not make a minority, if it does not identify itself as distinct from others and, thus, feels a social inferiority. This is especially true if it is a conscious inferiority.
    A very important case of the opposition majority vs. minority, is the opposition nation vs. ethnic minority. For a better understanding of the opposition, it is necessary to specify the meaning of these two terms. French historian Ernst Renan defines nation as a desire to live together. “It is a common consciousness and civilization created during a long common history. Wherefrom common civilization, culture, honor and, most often as a result of it, unity of language and religion.” One state can have one nation (in such case we can speak of a mononational/monoethnical state), many nations (multinational/multi-ethnical state) or only part of a nation.
    The concept of a national state that appeared during the French Revolution of 1789, excluded the existence of national/ethnical or cultural minorities and neglected the existence of religious minorities. Each state should correspond to the set of secondary meanings of the word opposite to the main meaning of a certain nation and each nation to its state. Thus, the French nationality means French citizenship: ethnic belonging, history and language spoken at home are insignificant for the definition of nation. In the 18 century only a third of the population of France spoke standard French, while the rest spoke either dialects of French or others languages functioning on the territory of France - Oxitan, Catalan, Basque, Breton, Flemish and German. Compulsory comprehensive school established after 1880 prohibited the use of other languages. Nowadays as a result of violent actions in Brittany, in the country of the Basques, and on Corsica as well as under the influence of other European models, France is compelled to reconsider the evaluation of its linguistic diversity.
    The concept of a multinational/multi-ethnical state is opposite to the concept of a national state. It implies the existence of national/ethnic minorities. The Permanent Court of International Law defines minority as a group of persons living in a country or area; belonging to a certain race and religion; having its own traditions; united by a feeling of solidarity; having the goal of preserving its traditions and religious forms; ensuring upbringing and education of children according to the spirit and traditions of the race and mutually assisting each other.
    20 years ago Ivo Duhacek pointed out that 90% of the then-existed states united within their borders national/ethnic minorities. Those reached 15% or more of the total population. Almost all of the rest 10% had minorities beyond the state borders.
    An integral national state means the territory enclosed in some borders where ruling is the law of the strongest, of the majority of population, of the dominating national/ethnic group. That is why equality and political freedom are achievable only within the framework of multinational/multi-ethnic federation.
    At the turn of the 20 century, Woodrow Wilson introduced a new principle of people’s self-determination. Violence connected with ethnic conflicts found its justification in adapting the right to self-determination. Any group that presented convincing claims to its ethnic identity can demand a legal recognition and can take, if it wants it, measures of self-preservation and political self-expression.
    In the world recognizing so many ethnic groups some of them got into conflict with the states where they live, or began conflicting among themselves. Ethnic conflicts became a major global problem and required more and more attention, basically because of the terrible consequences they entailed. The modern world searched for new ways of conflict resolution. In this context federalism attracted attention as a probable form of resolving ethnic conflicts, especially in multinational/multi-ethnic states with relatively determined ethnic groups. The reason was flexibility of federal frameworks permitting each nationality/ethnicity enough autonomy for joint residing. During the last three decades, Yugoslavia, as well as such other federations as India, Nigeria and Canada, experienced serious discords, attempts of separation and even violence. These poor examples caused doubts as to federalism being a perfect way to organize a multi-ethnic state.
    There are arguments against this statement. There are numerous organizations that can boast of good functioning. It is true though that among stable federations few are multinational, multi-ethnic, multilingual and multicultural countries. Nevertheless, Switzerland, which chronologically appeared as the second confederation in the world, represents clear evidence in favor of federalism as a successful solution even though there are diverse linguistic, religious and cultural components. Swiss peace is based on common security and on economic and political interests of cantons providing representation of certain linguistic groups, religions, parties, and cantons.
    Sometimes unitarianism and centralism are a source of instability both in the periphery as in the country of Basques, and in the center as in Belgium. The problem of tension caused in multicultural societies by an excessive centralism was resolved by delegating certain powers of central authority either through regionalism/federalism as in France, Italy, Spain, and Belgium, or by transforming a centralized federation into an asymmetric federation as in Canada.
    Resolving national/ethnic tension through regionalism is characterized by interlacing, within the same geographical framework, of common interests with ethnic and linguistic peculiarities. As it was mentioned above, some states permitted or introduced in their legislation political regionalism as regional autonomy. One of such states is Spain that can be called an incomplete federation, or federation in formation. Article 2 in the Constitution of Spain admits and guarantees the right to autonomy of ethnicities and regions. Therefore, trying to preserve the old state model and also striving for making autonomous its economically stronger regions in the periphery, Spain took the decision to introduce regional decentralization, supervising the Basques’ and the Catalonians’ aspiration to separation. The Constitution recognizes the right of neighboring provinces with common economic, cultural and historic features to initiate self-governing in autonomous communities. By 1983, 50 Spanish provinces have been transformed into 17 autonomous communities thus achieving certain independence. Each regional administration has in its own competence a one-step legislative body.
    Belgium illustrates another form of ethnic and linguistic regionalism that finally determined federalization of the state of modern European history. During 1970-1980 it passed through an intermediate stage between federalism and decentralization and later, facing growing ethnic problems between the Flemish and the Walloons, adopted a federal state order that was urgently declared in 1994. Belgium’s is a peculiar case of regionalism - changeable regionalism. Thus, in Belgium there are three communities - French, Flemish and German. From the viewpoint of territory, Belgium includes three political regions: Walloon region, Flemish region, and Brussels. From the linguistic point of view it is divided into four regions: French-language, German-language, bilingual region -Brussels, and Dutch-language. Alongside these two categories of regionalism, there are also three cultural regions: French, German, and Flemish.
    Ernst Renan said,  “To belong to any nation means to deform history to some extent”. This statement is absolutely fair, as within the framework of interethnic conflict it is very difficult to get an objective position, especially if you belong to this or that group - majority or minority. One thing is true anyway.  To preserve domestic peace mutual concessions on the part of both majority and minority groups are absolutely necessary, no matter which administrative structure has been adopted by the multi-ethnic state - federalization, confederation, decentralization, or compound union as in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
    Kenner considers that the concept of nationality/ethnicity should be separated from the concept of state and the more so from the concept of territory, aspiring to autonomy of individual. People should have the right to choose nationality/ethnicity as well as they can choose faith.
    Nowadays unitary state yields ever more room to federation having the tendency to globalization. It is possible that the 21 century will bring about a possibility to create a world federation, and nationality/ethnicity will be no determining factor.

by Mariana Lunca


 
 
 
 
 
 

    Problem of National Identity of Moldovans

    European and global events of the late 80s - early 90s that marked the termination of the Cold War and of the opposition between two poles of power - the USA and the USSR - resulted in both new states, and new nations joining the course of history. On the ruins of the Soviet Empire there appeared countries, many of which gained, for the first time in the 20-century, their independence and a possibility to build their own sovereign state. Moldova is one of such countries.
    As well as all countries of Central and Eastern Europe liberated from the Communist yoke, after gaining independence the Republic of Moldova faced plenty of problems - political, economic, and social. Democratization of society, transition to market economy, reforms in management, optimization of social security system, creation of new administration institutes and civil society were the tasks that the Republic of Moldova had to consider and solve from the very beginning of its independent existence. However, not only methods and speed of reforms distinguished our country from the neighbors, but also the presence of another very specific problem - the problem of national identity of Moldova's population. Strange as it may seem, we had to answer the questions very simple for others, but complicated for ourselves: what are we, the inhabitants of this new independent state? What do all of us have in common besides the past? What unites us today, and what ideas do we share?
    The idea of national revival turned into one of the main mobilizing factors of the society at the beginning of the 90s. In Moldova few were the people who clearly understood what was its essence and what was it necessary to begin with. The only thing that caused no doubts with the new political elite was reviving the Moldovan/Romanian language and granting it the status of a state language.
    The language struggle, which started even before the declaration of independence, for the majority of the population has become a symbol of national revival of Moldova. Unfortunately, this struggle had not only a mobilizing, but also disintegrating potential. Some politically active representatives of ethnic minorities of the Republic of Moldova - Ukrainians, Russians, Gagauzians, Bulgarians and others - turned out not to be ready for radical changes in the language policy of the new state. They perceived declaring Moldovan/Romanian the state language as an attempt to exclude them from active public life. In Moldova, in contrast to, say, Baltic States, a very liberal language law was adopted. Nevertheless, in late 80e - early 90s it caused a wave of discontent among the part of the population that did not speak Moldovan/Romanian. Linguistic disputes developed into political discord among new political formations and between the center and regions. Language problem became a political problem.
    I will not describe the events of 1989 -1992 in Moldova in detail. I will only state that some political conflicts inside the country that started with adapting the language law have not been resolved till now. The most burning problem is that of Trans-Dniestria. A thin strip of land in the eastern part of the country, along the left bank of the Dniester is still supervised by the separatist regime that was established there in 1990. In 1992 we failed to prevent an armed conflict between Chisinau and Tiraspol, administrative center of Trans-Dniestria. With clashes lasting 4-5 months, both parties suffered heavy losses. The Trans-Dniestrian conflict that started with language problems very quickly evolved into pure political opposition. It should be noted that Trans-Dniestria is multiethnic: though most of the population consider themselves Moldovans - 40%, 25% think they are Ukrainians and 24 % - Russians. Soon problems related to interethnic relations, language, and culture ceased to be principal and were ousted by claims of political, economic, financial, and defense independence, even complete state and political independence.
    Moldovan administration in Chisinau also had a conflict with separatism in the South of the country, in places of compact Gagauzians' residence. That problem was successfully solved in 1994 when Gagauzians received territorial-administrative as well as cultural autonomy. Those conflicts divided us then and keep us divided today. Moreover, they are an extreme manifestation of the contradictions tearing apart Moldovan society.
    At the beginning of the 90s, the new political administration of Moldova lost its power in an attempt to execute a gradual transition from the idea of strengthening independence of the country to the idea of uniting the Republic of Moldova with Romania. In 1994, new political forces replaced nationalists-unionists that dominated in the first years of independence. They consistently acted in favor of Moldova's independent development and consolidating the new Moldovan statehood. The parliamentary elections of 1994 with mass support of the political parties acting for strengthening independence of the Republic of Moldova vividly demonstrated that the priority of most inhabitants of the country was sovereign statehood. Since 1994 in the Parliament of Moldova many parties, blocks and alliances have replaced one another, but those acting for independence of Moldova have constantly dominated. Today it is hard to imagine the repetition of the situation of1990-1993 when the majority of administration was the supporters of uniting Moldova with Romania.
    Nevertheless, it does not automatically solve the identity problem for our population. There is a state and there are political borders, but within the framework of these there are no certain uniform cultural standards to permit stating the existence of a uniform nation. Discrepancy of cultural and political borders is a major problem in national construction, and its main task is making them coincide.
    As 10 years ago, in the present-day Republic of Moldova there are roughly three basic identification orientations: Soviet, Romanian and Moldovan. The first is represented basically by the people of the elder generation, for whom the disintegration of the Soviet Union was a personal tragedy. They failed to recover from the events that took place in late 80s-early 90s and could not find their place in a new life. This orientation found its embodiment in some political forces; first of all, it is the leaders of separatist regime of Trans-Dniestrian region (by the way, in Soviet time this region completely depended on the orders of the USSR military and industrial complex). Then it is a conservative part of the Communist Party as well as a number of left radical parties and cultural and enlightening societies. These people consider themselves Soviet people rather than Russians, Ukrainians, Moldovans, etc. In the hierarchy of self-identifications the preference is given to the Soviet identity. It is worth mentioning that of the number of such people becomes smaller and smaller both for natural and biological reasons and because of gradually growing understanding that there is no way back. Their influence on public opinion of the country decreases.
    Pro-Romanian orientation in the Republic of Moldova, after its triumph at the beginning of 90s, stabilized as to the popularity it enjoys, but became the most aggressively advertised ideology. Politically it is embodied in the right extremist organization called the National Popular Christian-Democratic Party, former National Front and a number of other right parties, public organizations and cultural societies. These forces are represented in the Parliament, but since 1994 have constantly been a minority. Nationalism in the Republic of Moldova differs from nationalism of other countries only by the fact, that unlike in other places, it sees its goal in the destruction of the state, in which it has arisen.
    The main slogans of these people are the following: the basic part of the population of the Republic of Moldova are not Moldovans, but Romanians; the territory of the Republic of Moldova is a part of Romania, unfairly "cut off from an integral national body " by Russian occupants in 1812 and then in 1940; unification of the Republic of Moldova and Romania is realization of olden expectations and aspirations of the Romanian people to unity.
    Let us dwell on the analysis of the identity of this part of the population Moldova. Pro-Romanian propaganda in our country is based mostly on myths. One of them is about " dismembering an integral national organism " in 1812, which does not hold true. "Cutting off" a part of territory from "an integral national organism " in 1812 could not take place for the sole reason of the absence of the latter. At the beginning of the 19 century, Walachian and Moldovan principalities were patriarchal, traditionalist communities, in which mass existence of Romanian national identity was out of the question. Peasants, an overwhelming majority of the population in the two Danube principalities, considered themselves belonging to a village, a local community, a boyar or, at the best, to a region, but in no way to an integral Romanian nation, which had not yet existed. Among local aristocracy, the boyars, the ideas of being Romanians and belonging to the Romanian nation began to spread after 1830, which was caused by European influence as the children of Moldovan boyars started receiving education in Paris, Vienna, Berlin, and Rome. At that time there was almost no local so-called middle class in Danube principalities; businesspeople and people of free professions were mostly Greeks, Armenians, and later Jews. Who were the carriers of the idea of Romanian nation then?
    Concerning the national construction according to European pattern - as first in France and then in Germany - in Moldova behind the Pruth and in Walachia - and later in Romania when the two Danube principalities were united in 1859 - it began to develop in the second half of the19 century. It was extremely imitative and with pretence to look European: transition to hereditary monarchy, changing writing to the Latin alphabet, clothes, architecture, the French language, etc. Bessarabia, i.e. present-day territory of the Republic of Moldova, was outside of these transformations. Bessarabians came to know from their relatives and acquaintances in Romania about the events happening there - invitation to the throne of an Austro-Hungarian Protestant king, transition to the Latin writing, etc. Bessarabian peasants went to the church and put candles for pardoning the sins of their neighbors, as they considered that devil got into them. They considered Romania painfully going along the way of modernization to be an evil empire where everyone turned away from the true faith. They, Bessarabians, continued a natural, normal existence under the protection of Orthodox tzar, monarch of their faith. The population of Bessarabia was outside the processes of national construction and modernization taking  place behind the Pruth, in Romania.
    The ideas of united Romania were alien to the majority of the population of Bessarabia, as any national ideas were alien to any individual living in a feudal epoch. Neither did pro-Romanian ideas find much distribution when on the map of Europe there appeared Greater Romania (1918), in whose borders Bessarabia was included. This province of Romania was and remained the most backward territory, with the population being mostly illiterate, though the literacy level relatively grew compared to 1914. Bessarabia had an undeveloped infrastructure and the highest death rate in Romania. Feeling a constant threat of losing Bessarabia, in the time between the wars the changing governments of Romania did not make any investments in this province. Even active adherents of Romanization of Bessarabia had to admit the disastrous conditions of its population. Under the circumstances, the Romanian national idea had little chance of rooting and developing in this province.
    The paradox of Moldova lies in the fact that modernization on its territory - development of transport, industry, educational system, etc. - took place in the Soviet time. The Soviet administration promoted the attached territories with the idea to achieve their complete integration - economic, political, and ideological  - in the uniform imperial system. At first, Moscow in every possible way stimulated the growth of Moldovan self-consciousness in the population of the Republic of Moldova that had the name of the Moldavian Soviet Socialist Republic then. It went on making experiments with creating a Moldavian nation that had been undertaken by the Soviet authorities on the left bank of the Dniester in the period between the wars, in the Moldavian Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic. For example, there had been attempts to create an artificial Moldavian language distinct from Romanian. It should have become attractive for Bessarabians included in the structure of Romania. The construction of a Moldovan identity was supposed to alienate them from Romania, and in due course to develop in them a Soviet identity, a conscious belonging to a united community called the Soviet people.
    We have to admit that the policy of the Communist leadership was rather successful. In Moldova a dissident movement was non-existent, while manifestations of nationalism, e.g. underground organizations, public demonstrations, etc. were insignificant, incidental and quickly suppressed.
    The situation changed with easing political pressure from the imperial center. All conditions were created for the development of nationalism and national ideas - a relatively advanced country, intellectual elite capable of shaping these ideas, educated population ready to comprehend and accept the ideas. No wonder that creating a separate Moldovan nation became the dominant idea.
    This is much about the Soviet and Romanian identities. They both can be roughly called marginal cultures, though both are sometimes very successful working against the statehood of the Republic of Moldova. Concerning the idea of an integral Moldovan nation, results of all elections -  presidential, parliamentary, and local as well as recent polls clearly testify to the choice of the population in favor of the Moldovan statehood, sovereignty and independence of the Republic of Moldova.  For example, the poll of 1994 Consulting the People proved that about 90 % of those participating, i.e. about 75% of those having the right to vote were for the independence of Moldova.
    Lately in Moldova the concept of a citizens' Moldovan nation takes roots when belonging to a nation is determined by citizenship. The prospects of national construction and consolidating a new, modern Moldovan nation directly depend on the success of reforms in our country. The desire to keep Moldovan citizenship is the desire to live in this country, the desire to belong to the Moldovan nation. The set of its essentials involves real democracy, protection of human rights, decent standard of living, aspiration to stability, and European integration. Xenophobia and policy of suppression of other ethnicities is alien to the Moldovan nation. It does not recognize such terminology of exclusion as indigenous and non-indigenous population, title and non-title ethnic groups, historical rights and cherished expectations, etc. At the level of national identity, all citizens of the Republic of Moldova are Moldovans. Only persons belonging to minorities may have additional rights. On these principles we build a new, modern European nation that should join a common family of European democracies.
    In Europe and all over the world people should know that the Moldovans, citizens of the Republic of Moldova, are full of resolution to go along the way of democracy, that the Moldovan nation is not merely a prospect, but already a reality. The Moldovan nation, as Renan said, is a daily plebiscite and we are ready to take decently the challenges of our epoch. We, Moldovans, appreciate the support of international community that should know that here in Moldova we value independence and latest democratic achievements. We value our sovereignty, but are ready to share it within the framework of united, democratic, stable and prospering Europe. All other applicants for the Moldovan sovereignty are not invited.


Alexei Tulbure, MA in History
21.01.2001
This article was written and submitted to the editor before the early parliamentary elections in the Republic of Moldova took place.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

    Ethnic Minorities in Chisinau

    Chisinau is a multi-ethnical and poly-cultural city with inhabitants representing various ethnicities  - Moldovans, Ukrainians, Russians, Gagauzians, Bulgarians, Jews, etc. These ethnic groups have lived here for many years. In spite of the fact that at the end of the 80s - beginning of the 90s many representatives of ethnic minorities abandoned Moldova, today their part is still big in Chisinau. However, compared to the Soviet period, the position of ethnic minorities in sovereign Moldova has significantly changed. Staying at the same residence, they as if have moved to another country. Today they have to organize their life in a new fashion, not only adapting to new social and economic reality, but also trying to find a niche in the country where all ideological, political, historical, cultural and language priorities are given to the Moldovan ethnos.
    By the middle of the 90s, the most acute problems of ethnic minorities adapting to a changing environment have been ethno-political and linguistic.
    Following the example of the Baltic and Trans-Caucasian countries, in its initial period of state formation Moldova adopted a number of laws somehow infringing interests of national minorities. (Editor's Note: Unlike the Baltic countries, here all inhabitants of the country, irrespective of their ethnic belonging, received Moldovan citizenship). For example, according to the laws on language and on state service, the replacement of all managerial positions as well as those involving communication was caused by the requirement of state-language proficiency. By the way, according to the census of 1989, for 68.5% of the inhabitants of Moldova Russian was the mother tongue or the second language, of which they had an excellent proficiency.
    According to materials of ethno-sociological investigation carried out in Chisinau by the collaborators of the Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology, Russia's Academy of Science together with the Institute of Ethnic Minorities, Moldova's Academy of Science, two thirds of Russians and Ukrainians had poor or nonexistent state-language proficiency. Among Bulgarians and Gagauzians this category was considerably smaller - 40-44%. Russian and Ukrainians, despite lower state-language proficiency compared to Bulgarians and Gagauzians, expressed less intention to improve their language skills. Russian was absolutely dominant with all respondents. It was somewhat less used in labor sphere: at work all ethnic of groups under investigation use to some extent both the state language (14-22%), and their mother tongue (18-29%). In family communication, Russians and Ukrainians predominantly speak the Russian language, while Bulgarians and Gagauzians often use their mother tongues.
    In early 90s in Moldova there was an essential reduction of number of schools with instruction in Russian. If most respondents from all ethnic groups, who had studied in the Soviet period, had attended Russian schools (from 84% with Bulgarians to 94% with Russians), among their children the share of those attending Russian schools was considerably lower - from 32% with Bulgarians to 55% with Russians. When the question was which school respondents would prefer now, the first was Russian school with Russians, Ukrainians and Bulgarians. 29% of Russians and 24% of Ukrainians were in favor of Russian-Moldovan school. Gagauzians have demonstrated practically equal choices of the two: Russian-Moldovan school (30%) and Russian school (29%). Schools with instruction in the corresponding mother tongue were the choice of 19% of Bulgarians and 14% of Ukrainians.
    It is essential that to the item of the questionnaire whether, alongside Moldovan, there should be a second state language in Moldova an overwhelming majority of the respondents (70-80 %) answered in the affirmative stating that such language should be Russian.
    Ethno-linguistic factor made a significant influence on the sphere of labor and social mobility. The state language proficiency became a requirement with job employment, promotion, and admission to high schools and colleges. At the same time, quite often representatives of ethnic minorities speaking the Moldovan language enjoyed less advantage in employment than Moldovans. Thus, according to the data of our research, one third of respondents with Russian, Ukrainian, and Bulgarian background as well as over one fifth of Gagauzians expressed an opinion that their ethnic belonging rendered a negative influence on their job promotion.
    Hardships of the economic crisis that took hold of Moldova in the 90s were felt the sharpest by representatives of ethnic minorities. According to estimation of family budget provided by the respondents from ethnic of minorities in Chisinau, over 40% of those questioned had money enough only to purchase food products or did not have enough money even for this. Especially low was the estimation of family budget with Bulgarians (46%). Among Gagauzians such answers were less numerous (33%). An overwhelming majority of those questioned (from 50% with Gagauzians to 70% with Russians) proved to be completely dissatisfied with their financial state.
    A drastic deterioration of the economic situation in Moldova that brought about a lower living standard of the entire population in the middle of 90s resulted in many ethno-linguistic problems shifting to the background, though unresolved. Equality in poverty triggered the beginning of a new stage in mutual adaptation of ethnic groups in the population of Moldova. According to statistics (Statistical Newsletter. Chisinau, 1998, # 2, p.2), a major part of family budget of Moldova's inhabitants (68%) went for food, while the ability of the population to purchase other goods and services was very limited. 77% of townspeople, including representatives of the ethnic majority, had a per capita average income of 200 lei, i.e.$34 US or less.
    In these conditions important is a positive population's perception of socio- economic transformations taking place in the country and active participation in new market structures. More than a fifth part of Russians, Ukrainians, Gagauzians and a somewhat smaller part of Bulgarians have estimated the market reforms carried out in Moldova more or less positively. Approximately each tenth respondent has participated in some entrepreneur activity, and almost every third would like to. Among Bulgarians the share of those who expressed such a desire was the highest reaching almost 40%. Meantime, the opinion of numerous respondents (from 40% of Ukrainians and Gagauzians to 50% of Bulgarians) was that representatives of ethnic minorities had less opportunity than Moldovans to get engaged in business.
    According to the materials yielded by the research of 1998, in post-Soviet space conditions, extremely topical becomes the issue of citizenship identity. An overwhelming majority of respondents (96-98%) were the citizens Moldova. However, every 4-5th respondent answered in the affirmative when asked about a wish to change the citizenship. The representatives of all ethnic groups, with the exception of Gagauzians, expressed preference in favor of their historical motherland, while the latter, having no state outside Moldova, gave preference to Moldovan citizenship.
    Negative influence of ethno-linguistic factors on different aspects of life of ethnic minorities in Moldova persists. Nevertheless, they are mostly characterized by interethnic tolerance. Estimating interethnic relations in Chisinau, only 15-18% of the representatives of minorities called them tense and 25-30% of the respondents expressed the consideration that interethnic relations in the city would improve with time.
    In these conditions, it is crucial for the authorities of the republic to strengthen positive tendencies taking advantage of the situation for the development of parity interethnic relations. It is important to preserve and make better use of the rich labor and cultural potential of the minorities living in Moldova. In the questionnaire there is a point: " What policy of the Moldovan government towards ethnic minorities would you approve? " The answers were the following. From 22% of Ukrainians to 42% of Russians answered stating strict observance of human rights. From 14% of Gagauzians to 37% of Russians chose providing free-of-charge vocational training. From 12% of Ukrainians to 29 % of Russians and Bulgarians mentioned help in studying the state language and from 8% of Gagauzians to 25% of Bulgarians appreciate help in organizing ethno-cultural centers.


S. S. Kuroglo, Ph.D. in Science,
L.V. Ostapenco, Ph.D in History,
I.V. Subbotina, senior scientific collaborator of the Center for Studying Interethnic Relations with the Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology of Russia’s Academy of Science.


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

    ETHNIC MAJORITY AND MINORITY IN TRANSDNIESTRIA

    Editor’s note: As a result of a 10-year opposition between the two banks of the Dniester River, two absolutely different perceptions of the events have been developed. A new generation of people has grown that does not remember Moldova as a single whole. Mass media of the both parties have contributed a lot to the creation of an image of enemy. As far as the Transdniestrian press is concerned, it is actually engaged by the local authorities and reflects exclusively their position. As far as the press of the right bank is concerned, both Romanian-language and Russian-language editions should change their policy towards the left bank. Mass media of the right bank should not see the population of the left bank - Ukrainian, Russian, Moldovan, etc. - as enemies. On the contrary, they should promote rapprochement of the two parties. Nevertheless, to begin reuniting the country, which is for long a no-headway-making process, the citizens, especially young, from both banks need to know what their peers on the other bank think. Therefore, we found it possible to offer a publication of these views, which may cause an ambiguous reaction the readers.
“National pride is the cheapest kind of pride“
Arthur Shoepenhauer

    Strange as it may seem, at the end of the 20th century, the issues of relations between different peoples and ethnic groups appear extremely sharp. A number of local conflicts burst out in Europe - wars in former Yugoslavia that involved the Serbs, Albanians, Croatians, Moslems, the conflicts between the Georgians and the Abkhazians as well as between the Georgians and the Osetians, the conflict between the Armenians and the Azerbaijanians in Karabakh. They reminded that the relations between different peoples that had for rather a long time lived peacefully with each other might transform into a bloody repartition of territories, death and destruction.  It happened when certain political forces put up the question of ethnic belonging and a privileged right of one ethnicity over others.
    At a closer study of the conflict between Transdniestria and the Republic of Moldova that also turned into a military opposition, we can see that the ethnic issue has become a major factor in the conflict arising. At the end of 1988, in Moldova there started the formation of the Popular Front. With no sanction, but without counter-action of the authorities, in the center of Kishinev, in Victory Park some relatively small informal groups began to gather. They included from several dozens to a couple of hundreds participants. The groups had a nationalistic orientation and called themselves a Perestroika support movement, Mateevici circle, etc. They, as well as a group of Moldavian writers, demanded granting Moldavian the status of the state language and its transferring into the Romanian writing. Multiple were accusations of the CPSU, KGB and Soviet power. Russians and other non-indigenous inhabitants of Moldavia were accused as resettled by Moscow to enslave Moldavians. In view of these events, in November of 1988, the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Moldavia (CPM), the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet and the Council of Ministers of the Moldavian Soviet Socialist Republic (MSSR) published the abstract called Asserting Perestroika with Concrete Deeds. It stated that the Moldavian language required no state language status, that its original attire was of the Cyrillic writing, that interethnic attacks were inadmissible, etc. However, in January and February the nationalistic groups united and after gatherings in the park every Sunday, using the connivance of authorities, would arrange processions in the center of Kishinev that regularly blocked the traffic for several hours. The number of the Popular Front supporters grew with every Sunday. In February they endeavored to storm the government buildings. 
    In March of 1989 the scared authorities of the MSSR published the Bills about granting Moldavian the status of the state language. They left a minor role to Russian, but it still was to keep the function of a means of interethnic communication. Soon the Literatura si Arta newspaper published purely nationalistic Bills - the so-called variant of the MSSR Writers Union.. They deprived Russian even of the above-mentioned role and, thus, confined it to the sphere of everyday routine and private life. The national discussion of the Bills was not really made by the entire nation. Kishinev newspapers printed only nationalistic opinions; these were preferable even in the Dnstrovskaya Pravda (Dniestrian Truth) Tiraspol newspaper. In this context, in Kishinev an international movement began to evolve. On May 5th, one of its leaders, Prof. Lisetsky gave a lecture on the subject for the first time in Tiraspol explaining to the people the essence of the situation and the necessity of political struggle with nationalism.
    On May 8th, in Tiraspol a meeting took place to inaugurate the Memorial to Victims of Nazi Occupation at which the protest of Tiraspol citizens against language discrimination was voiced for the first time. It is worth mentioning that the City Committee of the CPM, the official organizer of the meeting, did not give the floor to V. Lesnichenko before the meeting was closed. The persistence and courage of the latter helped him to get the microphone. That was the period when the population began to demand organizing a meeting. The City Committee of the CPM hindered its taking place. Nevertheless, on May 11th at The 40-th Anniversary of All-Union Young Communist League industrial sewing association the meeting of protest against the threat of nationalism did take place. On May 12th , they held an open party meeting on the same issue. 5000 signatures were put under the appeal to the Central Committee of the CPM demanding to recognize Russian as the state language alongside Moldavian. On May 23rd, the same requirement was put forward by the 10th session of the City Council of Tiraspol.
    In June groups of Yedinstvo (Unity) interethnic movement began to arise in Tiraspol, and at the end of the month its leaders actively participated in the constituent congress of the movement in Kishinev.  The City Committee of the CPM, and its first secretary L. Turcan in particular, tried to prevent their trip. Subsequently, the session of the City Committee of the CPM adopted the resolution actually directed against interethnic movement. Similar events occurred in other places of Transdniestria. The Central Committee of the CPM displayed no counteraction to the Popular Front that had succeeded by the time in uniting all nationalistic forces into a single organization and in fighting every opposition. One should take into account a specific public atmosphere of the summer of 1989, the fifth year of Perestroika. The press kept writing about the necessity of changes, exposing old lie and crime and calling for civil activity. Everyone was looking forward to changes for the better, ready to help them happen and serve society with concrete deeds. Against this background especially intolerable would be returning to state and party lies or replacement of the Communist Party dictatorship with a nationalistic dictatorship. The aspiration of the people to progressive changes manifested itself at the following stage connected with the creation of the United Council of Labor Collectives (UCLC) in Transdniestria.
    The Councils of Labor Collective that began to appear in pre-Gorbacheov period had by that time already existed at the enterprises for rather long and managed to get some experience. Traditional forms of authority were obviously paralyzed - neither the Central Committee of the CPM, nor the Council of Ministers, nor the Supreme Soviet of the MSSR could or wanted to undertake any measures against growing nationalism. Under the circumstances the Councils of Labor Collective as part and parcel of the working movement succeeded in taking the initiative. When representatives of interethnic movement from Tiraspol addressed them, it turned out possible and easy to organize a city conference that was held in Tiraspol on August 1st, 1989. The UCLC was elected led by B. Stefan and plunged into work vigorously. The decision was taken to insist on holding an extraordinary session of the City Council and the work started on organizing a warning strike. By the middle of August it has become obvious that the developers of the Bills on language were going to neglect the opinion of the Russian-speaking population of Moldavia. Then the session of the Supreme Soviet of the MSSR scheduled for August 29th would face a new bill, even more restraining interests of the non-Moldavian population. On August 16th the UCLC managed to successfully hold a two-hour warning strike.
    Despite the strike in which more than 30,000 people took part, the opinion of Tiraspol workers was utterly neglected by the ruling top of Moldavia. The Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the MSSR of August 19th  recommended discriminating language bills for discussion at the following session. On August 21st, Monday, the suspended strike was resumed with a new force. The workers of many enterprises stopped the work even before the administration came to the shops. On discussing the situation, the UCLC tried to postpone mass actions to the weekend, but eventually was compelled to go with the popular enthusiasm that it completely shared. Fortunately, in Tiraspol UCLC ordinary workers prevailed (cf. Estonian SSR where, on the contrary, only three persons out of several dozens were not directors, which caused further defeat of the UCLC). On August 22nd, a mass meeting took place at Tiraspol stadium. Beginning with August 23rd, the strike became general and enterprises of Bendery, Rybnitsa, Komrat, Kishinev, and Beltsy joined in. The authorities of the Moldavian SSR completely neglected the requirements of those on strike. On session of the Supreme Soviet adopted the laws that were discriminating in its essence. A month of strike did not help Transdniestria to reach the goal set.
    Heinrich Heine must have been right saying that history teaches that it teaches nothing. The authorities of the then Soviet Moldavia overlooked the opinion of a large part of the community. Their unwillingness to make a compromise yielded no good. Social tension grew; Transdniestria actually stopped obeying Kishinev. On September 2nd, 1990 the Trans-Dniestrian Moldavian Soviet Socialist Republic (TMSSR) was proclaimed. One may find some sly implication in the name of the republic. It is common knowledge that in Trans-dniestria the etnicities are mostly Slavic - 29 % of Russians, 29 % of Ukrainians, 3 % of Bulgarians, 2 % of Poles, the total being 63 %. The Romance language group is represented by 33% of Moldavians. There are also 2% of Gagauzians  belonging to the Turk language group, while the share of other peoples makes up 2%. Later, due to new tendencies, the abbreviation TMSSR “lost” two S standing for Soviet Socialist.  However, the word Moldavian was kept in spite of proposals to omit it.
    The reason behind it is that authorities of Trans-dniestria, in contrast to the policy dictated by the Republic of Moldova, insist that the Moldavian language should keep the Cyrillic writing. In Transdniestria the Moldavian language, as opposed to Moldova, is taught with the Cyrillic alphabet. It is necessary to mention that Moldavian students from Transdniestria experience difficulties while applying for universities of Moldavia. In Kishinev they often refer to it as violation of human rights of Moldavians. In Transdniestria they put aside all these accusations and, in their turn, fill local newspapers with various materials about suppressing Russian-language mass media in Kishinev.
    Talking about language policy in particular, the Trans-dniestrian authorities repeatedly refer to the basic code of the region - the Constitution. According to article 12 of the Transdniestrian Constitution, the languages of three biggest ethnic groups - Moldavian, Russian and Ukrainian - are proclaimed official languages that enjoy equal rights. All the record management and government documentation, as well as Orders and Laws adopted by Trans-dniestrian Parliament are published on all the three official languages.
    There is practically no interethnic discord in Trans-dniestria worth speaking of. During the military conflict of 1992 in Transdniestrian armed forces there were both Moldavians, and Russians, and Ukrainians. Among the names of those perished one can read last names belonging to people of various ethnic groups.
    In Transdniestria there are numerous ethnic public organizations: Ukrainian Cultural Society called Chervona Kalyna, Union of Trans-dniestrian Moldavians, Society of Gagauzian Culture, Society of Jewish Culture and Jewish Agency for Israel, Society of Bulgarian Culture named Svyastno Tsvete, Russian community, etc. These societies do not always perform cultural and enlightening activities. Through them Trans-dniestria tries to establish international connections on an official level.
    Transdniestrian leaders, giving interviews to foreign mass media, constantly emphasize that in Transdniestria there is no ethnic disagreement, no issue of ethnic minority or majority, no domination of one nation over another, and no concept of title nation. It is worth mentioning that authorities of the Republic of Moldova do not have much to boast in this respect.
    By way of conclusion we can say that, in our subjective opinion, various political forces, both in Moldavia, and in Transdniestria try to play an ethnic card, only in Transdniestria it is termed policy of internationalism, opposed to official Kishinev. The Republic of Moldova merely indulges this, closing various Russian radio stations, which gives a pretext to the authorities of uncompromising Transdniestria to get assured that the way covered by this region in 10 years is correct and true.

Alexey Kuznetsov,
19 years old, or.Tiraspol


 
 
 
 
 
 
 

    All Men are Created Equal

    One can hardly say that sexual minorities is the most topical subject in our country. Focusing attention on economic problems, our society tries not to notice issues that are minor in its opinion and that in the West are, on the contrary, promoted to the rank of major ones.
    Beginning with what age should two persons of the same sex be allowed cohabitation? Can homosexuals have a church wedding? Do they have the inheritance right? These and other disputable questions are solved differently in different developed countries and provoke ambiguous reaction of representatives of supreme legislative bodies, whose legal confirmation of vital necessities is required.
It is known that northern states - Denmark, Sweden and Norway for many years have had the most liberal attitude to gays and lesbians. For example, in 1981 Norway became the first country in the world that introduced the amendment to the Criminal Code which does not allow discrimination based on sexual orientation. Later, in 1987 the same amendment was introduced in Denmark and Sweden. These very countries made the most progress in this direction. They accepted the Law on Partnership/Law on marriage that completed the work of many organizations started in the 1970s - Denmark in 1989, Norway in 1993 and Sweden - in 1995. As a matter of fact, this law is revolutionary and it adjusts the mutual financial and legal rights and responsibilities between partners, on the one hand, and between couples and society that should accept such marriages, on the other. The present legal act means that homosexual couples can be in almost the same legal position as heterosexual, including  full rights of inheritance, property, pension and insurance (state and private), the right of social security, and the right of legal support in case of divorce, its procedure being the same for all marriages. It is necessary that at least one of the partners should be a citizen of and live in the country, where this law is in force. At the same time, homosexual couples do not have a right to adopt children, wed in church, set trusteeship and are not recognized outside the countries accepting this law.
    Not only Sweden, Norway and Denmark banned discrimination based on sexual orientation. The same path was taken by Brazil, Canada, Ecuador, Finland, France, Iceland, Southern Africa, Spain, Netherlands and other countries in which lesbians and gays have their legal status and are recognized by the law. On the whole, out of 212 countries of the world, excluding the USA, gay status is legal in 88 states and lesbian status in only 79 states.
    As to the Republic of Moldova, the position of gays is legalized here, i.e. the existed criminal liability for sodomy between adult persons has been cancelled. In the Criminal Code there remains the article providing responsibility for forced sodomy, i.e. for acts against  people under age or those involving physical/psychical violence. Status of lesbians is neglected in the Criminal Code and their actions are not regulated by the law. Despite the declaration of the main human rights and freedoms, in many national documents, beginning with the Constitution, marriage contracts  are stated to be signed between a man and a woman; thereby rights of sexual minorities are restrained. It also refers to ratification of the international acts in the field of the human rights, to the Code on Marriage and Family of the Republic of Moldova.
    Unfortunately, the rights of sexual minorities are infringed not only on the level of  legislation, but also in everyday life. This is not homosexual relations propagation. This is stating a lack of minimal respect to the rights of  person to self-identification and self-expression. This is stressing the necessity of tolerant attitude to all minorities in society.
I for one do not understand why a man who walks holding hands with another man provokes contemptuous smiles and spiteful words in our society and why a man who walks with a woman, even if he treats her harrassingly, evokes empathy and approval. Maybe critical approach to conventions will help us to get rid of groundless prejudice to sexual minorities? I want to emphasize again that, in my opinion, what matters is not who you spend your life with, but how you spend it, how much warmth you give to those around you and what is there in your soul.
May be of much good for our society would be a full legalization of sexual minorities. This is the situation not only in the West, but also in a number of countries of the former Soviet Union, e.g. in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Estonia, Lithuania, Georgia, and Ukraine. The proof is in the materials of International Association of Lesbians and Gays founded in 1978.
by Nadejda Mazur

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

    Gays left underground

     Last year I happened to spend a day in the most liberal city of Europe - Amsterdam, where drugs are legally sold in the streets, where sex-shops are a most widespread kind of shops, and where in the downtown there is a monument to male force and fertility symbol - phallus. However, it was not what struck me most. Being on an escalator to the second floor of a supermarket, I saw two guys passionately kissing each other. They seemed to pay no attention to people around them, while those paid absolutely no attention to them. As I understood later, such scenes in Amsterdam, as well as in other cities of Europe, were not rare, but constituted a part of daily routine. In no way can this be said about the post-Soviet space, where until recently sodomy was criminally punishable. 
    In all civilized countries there are organizations for homosexuals and lesbians, special discos and clubs where they get acquainted and merrily spend their leisure time. In some cities, for example in Paris, there are whole regions, the so-called ghettoes for sexual minorities.
    Here in Moldova, until lately people with non-traditional sexual orientation were disconnected. Only on January 17 of the current year, in Chisinau a meeting of representatives of sexual minorities was held that gradually developed into a constituent conference of the public movement of homosexuals and lesbians of Moldova called Rainbow. The address adopted at the conference ran: "We are not going to recruit anybody to our faith. We reject any violence. The society should be aware that there exists homosexuality as a phenomenon in the republic; there are homosexuals that cannot enter certain public relations with representatives of sexual majority… We appeal to the people of good will to reconsider their attitude and accept us as we are, not to insult us only for the fact that we are of an alternative sexual orientation".
A little earlier there came out the first issue of the Mirror cultural and enlightening magazine devoted to problems of gender relations, whose chief editor is the Director of the GenderDoc-M Gender Information Center Alexei Marchkov. It is going to have two issues a year. The magazine touches upon the rules of safe sex, gay symbols, Chisinau prostitutes and many other things not necessarily related to sexual minorities.
    The GenderDoc-M Center was registered in 1998 and to the present moment, in spite of numerous difficulties, managed to do a lot. For example, in Chisinau two international seminars were held, to which mass media representatives were also invited. At the seminars, they spoke about both psychology and physiology of homosexuality, about the legislation in Moldova and former Soviet countries and about problems that the representatives of sexual minority have to face.
First of all, it has already been proven by medicine that sexual attraction between individuals of the same sex is not a disease; it may be of two kinds - innate and acquired. The innate one is generic, as a biological program, and then it cannot be changed. Acquired homosexuality is mostly accounted for by social and psychological reasons. By the way, a public poll has testified that about 48% of men and 28% of women had at least one same-sex contact in their life. The motives were various - weak will, durable stay in one-sex collectives, cession to friends persuasion, curiosity and mere manifestation of depravity. In any case, the attitude to homosexuals and lesbians as to social outcasts is completely unmotivated. It is their choice, their right, and their life.
    Secondly, criminal liability for unisexual love was cancelled in our country five years ago; nevertheless, police keeps arresting gays and lesbians and blackmailing is frequent. ?????? are still the only places in the city where homosexuals meet. The police come there not only for taunting them, beating and taking away money or clothes from them, but for cruel and rude sex as well. They mostly do not think of gays as human beings. If you call the police, introduce yourself as a journalist and ask whether homosexuals happened to be arrested recently, the answer is full of four-letter words. No wonder that in Chisinau numerous murders have been recorded caused by homophobia.
Thirdly, officially Moldovan Orthodox Church does not recognize homosexuality as such and accordingly considers both gays and lesbians to be sinners and perverts.
    Young gays have lots of problems. Their peers scoff at them; it is difficult for them to confess their alternative orientation to their parents, who dream of grandchildren; as a result it is hard for them to find friends. Many of them are extremely lonely.
    We can speculate that sodomy is faulty, that society should isolate homosexuals, that these people are sick morally and mentally. However, we cannot deny their existence and their right to a full-fledged life. When we listen to Chaikovsky's music or Freddie Mercury's songs, or read masterpieces of Oscar Wild, we do not think of their non-standard orientation, but enjoy their talent. It is not easy to make this decision, it does not seem to be natural, right? Actually, why divide the society into a sexual minority and a sexual majority? Why label people? Why hate someone only because he or she is different from others? Moreover, why intrude in somebody's private life? Do gays and lesbians make love in everybody’s presence?

It is Interesting to Know…
that in Holland, 1045 male and 769 female couples took advantage of the new law about gay partnership in the first half of 1998. Under this law, unisex couples receive the parent rights, including the right on children adoption.

There is an Opinion:
FOR: Radu, a student from Bucharest:
Frankly speaking, sexual minorities do not bother me. Unless their behavior does  become aggressive. I knew many gays. To be sincere, I even feel pity for them. Imagine how difficult it is to live having body of man and soul of woman. The best thing we can do about it is leave them alone. As long as they behave according to the law, they are decent people.
AGAINST: Anastasia Feodorovna, communication operator:
You see where we have gotten? It is beyond understanding! I think these people should be treated medically. They do not have a place in our society. The society as such is already sick, and, on top of that, we have these gays and lesbians! I don't know…
by V.S.

 
 
 
 

    Security is the most precious thing...

    Security. It is valued by human beings as a most precious thing without which they can never feel at ease. We live in rather a safe country - no shots breaking silence in the streets, no explosions destroying our houses. We take it for granted and do not seem to appreciate it.
    Nevertheless, there are people among us who know a high the price of security. They witnessed how all they liked and were accustomed to was falling to pieces. The world was changing beyond recognition, but it could not be helped. Hearing shots in the streets, they realized that war was knocking on their doors. They lost everything and the only value that remained was life. To preserve it these people had to escape to where there was no threat to their safety. Thus, they became refugees.
    The twentieth century is outstanding in this respect. Nobody can make an exact estimation of how many people were compelled to abandon - temporarily or for good - their homes during World War II. It is stupid to consider that the war was a tragedy for a particular nation. Death does not choose whose house to visit. People had to search for refuge irrespective of their citizenship or ethnicity, religious beliefs or political convictions. Escaping from danger, they left their houses for uncertainty. They fled not knowing what was in store for them, leaving behind their native land that became hostile to them. First there were dozens of refugees, after that - hundreds, and later hundreds of thousands. Separate families and then whole blocks were on the move. It was a past peaceful life that was leaving.
    Who knows, what the fate of these refugees would be, if people did not cross their ways who were always ready to give a helping hand as they understood the difficulty of leaving everything behind. An underground organization called Holland-Paris Network was created that carried over the refugees from Holland and Belgium to Switzerland and Andorra. During its existence, the organization helped pass to safer places to 1.5 thousand refugees among whom were English and American militaries, representatives of other nationalities, and also Jews.
    It is worth mentioning that at that time Jews could not feel absolutely secure in any European country. Nevertheless, in Romania the persecutions of Jews reached the climax. No wonder, there appeared refugees ready to abandon all their property for the sake of security. Many of them moved to Palestine via Bucharest. The following data testify to a mass scale of the exodus: one tenth of the population of modern Israel are disciples of Romanian re-settlers. The growth of a refugee stream was also increased by declarations of the-then administration of Romania: “I am for a forcible eviction of the whole Jewish element of Bessarabia and Bucovina, which needs to be chucked out beyond the border. I am also for a forcible eviction of the Ukrainian element that is out of place here now.” Antonescu’s government also carried out a violent displacement of the Roma.
    Persecution of the Roma was a consequence of the Nazi ideology. However, as part of the Roma was considered to be cousins of the Aryans, experts in racial issues faced a hard task of separating those who lost the purity of blood from the Aryans. According to different sources, the sifting resulted in the loss of 10 to 50 percent of the European Roma. How many of them were compelled to run escaping from persecutions, we do not know and we will never know. Roma’s migration from country to country was attributed to their inclination for wandering, but not striving for security. Being actual refugees, they were treated as idle vagabonds.
    Since the end of World War II, about 50 million people were displaced or repatriated. Today no fewer people devoid of native home are fighting for regaining their human rights. The 1990s came down into history as a long chain of civil wars and military conflicts that resulted in thousands of homeless people looking for a refuge in strange, if hospitable, states. Mass population migrations ever more often turn into war tactics. In the countries of the NIS, migration reached an extreme level in modern history. According to some rough calculations, over 9 million people migrated on the territory of the former Soviet Union. Those on the move are civilians escaping from military conflicts and economic migrants.
Speaking of Moldova. Nowadays it is a unique country in Europe whose legislation does not have a stated attitude to refugees. Moldova is sure to have other priorities and the refugee issue may be less topical and urgent. Besides, for some reason, it is considered that the solution of the problem of refugees requires huge financial expenses, which is far from being true. According to international norms, we have no right to deport a refugee from our country, if his or her life is in danger in the native land. Once it is so, it is necessary to determine the person’s identity and offer him or her a shelter as well as a possibility to earn their daily living. Does it involve enormous expenses? Legislatively stated attitude to refugees would give these people an opportunity to take care of themselves. Moreover, welfare organizations allocate money for such purposes as settling refugees. It is evidently cheaper to give a fisherman a rod than to keep feeding him with fish. Nevertheless, for some reason it is believed that it is better to ignore the problem than to try and solve it.
    It is sad to admit that we are talking about the country traditionally famous for its hospitality. One can recollect but a few of numerous historical facts to make it clear that we always sympathized with forced migrants here. Many years ago people from Bulgaria, fleeing from the Turkish oppression, came to Moldovan land and started their settlements here. A new motherland welcomed them ready to help. Today refugees get nothing from us, nothing but such insulting words as spongers and loafers said behind their back or in their face.
    This problem will persist until we solve it. It means that those in need of our help will keep knocking on closed doors. Later a day will come when we, in our turn, will find ourselves standing before closed doors. Closed doors to offices whose threshold refugees are haunting now. Closed doors to human hearts.
by Olesea Corcinscaia
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

    Their Future Is Difficult and Dangerous

    World War II and attending crimes, Nazis’ crimes, bred millions of refugees. In search of escape they left the most sacred places - their native homes and dear graves. In spite of the fact that 55 years passed and the war is an old memory, a refugee is not a reminder of a fading epoch, but the saddest reality of today. By the definition, refugees are persons crossing a state border in search of safety. Though state border is an object of special attention and zealous protection on the part of political structures, one has to acknowledge that certain rights are above borders. These rights, the rights of refugees are precisely and comprehensively described in the Convention on the Status of Refugees of 1951 ratified by 133 states. The principal body ensuring observance of the Convention is UNHCR. Hundreds of thousands wretched people from the countries of Africa, Iran, Afghanistan and lately from Chechnya seek a refuge and protection in strange and unknown states. However, not every country is ready to render a hospitable reception.
    In Moldova this is an extraordinary problem. Though our Constitution mentions a right to refuge, a corresponding legislation is non-existent. Ours is the only country in Europe that does without the Law on Refugees. For this reason, it is Chisinau representatives of the above-mentioned United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees created in1997 that nowadays deal with this problem in the republic and render real help and support to the persons looking for a shelter. Here they offer assistance to those who became refugees as a result of armed conflicts and political or ethnic persecutions. This support is granted in various forms - from distributing humanitarian aid to lobbying at a legislative level. Our authorities have been playing against time unwilling to adopt this law as they consider that the Republic of Moldova is not rich enough to take care of citizens of other countries.
    Nevertheless, our state that has accepted a number of other international acts, General Declaration of Human Rights and European Convention of Human Rights in particular, is obliged to give a refuge to the persons that appeal to it with such request. In this connection it is necessary to say that, once the official authorities of the Republic of Moldova have started off for the integration in European structures, they have to accept a complete package of international documents and not to be selective.
    One more category of people looking for protection and shelter are internally displaced persons. These are citizens who, abandoning their homes because of a local conflict, remain within the borders of their own state. Their future may be difficult and dangerous. The basic source of their financial and legal protection is their own government, which, however, can treat the displaced persons as enemies or be unable to provide them with food and shelter in extreme conditions. As a result of its internal Transdniestrian conflict, Moldova faced this problem too. During the armed conflict, many families that lived on the territory of military actions moved to the Right Bank of the Dniester River. Because of absence of a proper legislation, granting help to them was delayed for an uncertain time. For this reason even a Movement of Transdniestrian Refugees was formed whose purpose became the struggle for observance of their human rights.
    In spite of the fact that the state does not have a proper attitude to the hard situation of these people, the problem of refugees demands a steadfast attention. The cause lies not only in the system of international standards. It is also in moral and ethical norms based on the principles of mutual respect and mutual support.
by Irina Pivovarova

 
 
 
 

  Diagnose-fascism

If they tell you that fascism is dead, that it was completely defeated in the Great Patriotic War 55 years ago, do not believe it. Fascism is alive. Daily life shows that Nazi’s ideas have turned out to be viable and take roots perfectly in any soil. Will you say that it is true of the West and does not concern us at all? Big mistake! In our country there are also people ready to ecstatically declare that the Moldovans, the Russian, the Romanians, etc. are the greatest among the peoples chosen for a great mission - to relieve the world from the domination of the Jews and all other defective nations. It appears there is a lot of youth adhering to this point of view, and I will tell you about but one young man.
    His name is Vadim and he confided me that he “had been a nationalist since early childhood”. To my question “Why?” Vadim narrated a story about a Jewish boy who lived in their apartment block and “was terribly disgusting”. I objected saying that one could not build an attitude to an entire nation basing on the example of a single person, moreover of a child whose actions might not be always conscious. Vadim would not listen to me - “All Jews are the same”.
Actually, he had a long way to go before turning into an adherent of fascist ideas. Being 17 now, two years ago he was still an ordinary teenager - mixed with his peers and was a devoted music fan. Nevertheless, neither on the block, nor at school did he become the center of attention, which was his ambition.  Somehow in despair, he started speculating on the reasons.
    “Then it occurred to me that all people were different”, Vadim went on. “Some are created to order while others to obey. However, they are all part of one big whole and have a common purpose. I read many great philosophers, but only Hitler’s works fully reflected what I thought and felt.”
I made no comments on the attempt to rank Hitler as a great philosopher. For one thing, I am not an expert in philosophy; for another, it was no use trying to argue with a person to change whose opinion was as hard as to move a mountain. I only asked, “Do many people share your opinion?”
Vadim proudly answered that he had a lot of like-minded peers.
    “Skinheads, as Neo-fascists call themselves, cannot be alone by definition. Unless they are not skinheads. One can share our ideas, but one can hardly change anything by oneself. To act one needs comrades.”
    Saying “to act”, he meant to arrange attacks on foreigners studying in Moldova, to beat the black people and “persons of the Caucasus nationality”. (This is how Georgians, Armenians and other people from the Caucasus are called collectively, which is not politically correct. - Translator’s note) He also meant to recruit supporters, adherents of fascist ideology.
    “Vadim, what do you think of your actions being illegal?”
    He answered my question with an obvious irritation. “Are they? Okay, but this is the only way to change something in this world! I am proud of being a Russian and do not want others to prevent me from living the way I like! My people’s culture is measured by millennia. Why should all other nations claim equal rights with me?”
    By the way, his words about national pride reminded me of Schopenhauer’s famous statement: “When the person has nothing to be proud of, (s)he begins to be proud of what does not require any effort to achieve and what cannot be taken away from him/her - nationality “. If Vadim claimed to have read many philosophers, perhaps he had read these words too. Did they not provoke any thoughts?
    Meantime Vadim stopped talking to detect my reaction to his question. In this moment I suddenly saw him the way he actually was - a teenager with a lot of complexes trying to look adult and tough to hide his own uncertainty. I could not possibly admit he believed all the stuff he related with such inspiration.
“Our people lives in misery, because all money in Moldova belongs to foreigners! Turks study at our universities. Can ordinary Moldovans be admitted with no bribes and connections? Foreigners come to our country to eat our bread and take away our girls!”
    After these words I realized what was driving Vadim. It was envy that made him hate all foreigners. It was envy that half a year ago pushed him and his friends to beat a Chinese student. It is envy that forces him to get rid of those who made bigger achievements in life than he did. It is envy that prompts him to shift responsibility to foreigners that “have bought the whole university together with teachers”. It is easier than to study hard.
    Vadim went on, “They marry our girls and take them away to their countries. Don’t you see they do it on purpose, to break down the genetic fund of our nation? Then our girls bear children that should not be born at all! They are biological monsters!”
    Before I could ask a question, he read astonishment on my face and specified it, “There should be no blending nations. It erases borders between peoples. Mixed marriages result in children that belong neither to mother’s, nor to father’s people. By birth they are deprived of spirituality and culture peculiar to each representative of his/her people. To preserve spirituality and culture, nations should not mix up, otherwise national identity is lost.”
    How I could object to it? Should I have said that feelings of two persons concerned the two individuals and not the whole nation? That it was impossible to treat love as animal breeding? That interaction of cultures was always advantageous to the peoples?
    We should not forget that in our republic the national question is especially topical. Nevertheless, we are not worried. For some reason, we behave as if we did not witness the nightmare of Transdniestria that had grown out of interethnic disagreements. We behave as if we were not responsible for doing everything possible to exclude the repetition of the tragedy. The law-enforcement bodies pretend that the problem does not exist at all, and the press is also silent.
    As they stay passive, our homebred “fascists” acquire new supporters. Today they are in the background, gathering forces. Some skinhead organizations are registered as “sections of martial arts” in the Republic of Moldova. Besides practicing self-defense, they make a thorough study of fascist literature, getting, as it were, morally and physically mature. Others call their get-togethers  “philosophical societies”. Sometimes such societies are organized at schools, lyceums, and universities, and the administration of the educational institutions is absolutely indifferent to what they do.
    How long can we play ostrich hiding its head under a wing not to see the problem? While parents pretend that everything is okay, their children are occupied with the most dangerous game on earth - fascism. When adults finally attend to the kids’ game, it can be too late.
Olesea Corcinscaia

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Dahau: Therefrom Nobody Came Back

    On November 9th, 2000 it was 62 years of the Crystal night that opened Nazism mass manifestations and massacre of the Jews and other nations. This date was observed in all countries of Europe. The European community voiced its protest against the repetition of this disgraceful day and against modern fascism existing in many countries of the world.
    Here nobody likes to recollect this date, but if we forget about it, it can happen again.
    «Leave your hope everyone who enters»
    As a rule, therefrom nobody came back, the more so as nobody went there voluntarily. Dahau was the place of the first fascist concentration camp in Europe. It started functioning in 1933 and contained over 200 thousand of people.
    It was there, to the youth camp of struggle with fascism and anti-Semitism that a group of young representatives of Helsinki Citizens Assembly in Moldova went. By the way, being sober-minded and not too emotional, at first glance at the place of the former concentration camp I did not feel anything. A ground filled with sun, a blue sky, a stream purling nearby.
    Our peers from Poland, who came there with us, remarked that Auschwitz, their death camp that had been preserved as it had been, looked much more awful than a reconstructed Dahau. However, the landscape seemed quiet only at first sight, while in the process of absorption of the guide’s information this impression vanished. It turned out that the barrack that looked clean and neat was only the first of two dozen of the same barracks standing in two long rows on the territory of the camp. They had all swarmed with hundreds of people, forced to sleep three-four persons in a narrow bed, in the conditions of severe discipline and absolute tyranny of supervisors. The episodes we read in the diaries and memoirs of Dahau prisoners needed no comments. The people had been made to straighten the blankets on their beds so that those formed a perfect line all the barrack long. The Nazi soldiers had sneered at the condemned pushing them to step on a forbidden strip that encircled the camp; they had known that those would be shot there by a never slumbering guard on the tower. Death by shooting seemed a painless punishment compared to horrifying tortures. Typhus and dysentery, tuberculosis and famine, pseudoscientific experiments of SS doctors destroyed thousands of people.
    The architect of four crematories in the concentration camp had badly designed the chimneys and their tops went to pieces from heat. That was why the smell had stayed and the ashes of the burned people had had no time to be processed; according to eyewitnesses, in the neighboring villages in summer ashes used to descend like snow. In Dahau the Nazis had not managed to hide their outrages as they had done in other concentration camps.
    Not only Jews had been there among the prisoners of the camp. Dahau had been an unusual concentration camp - one both for real criminals and for political prisoners (communists, socialists, social-democrats, etc.), for priests disapproving of the Hitler’s doctrine, for homosexualists causing disorder in army, for Gypsies, for war prisoners - for all who could hardly be enumerated.
    The thing that astonished most in the Dahau camp museum, was a meticulous and orderly manner, with which SS officers had documented and photographed all atrocities that were taking place. Nevertheless, coming back home from the camp, they used to turn to quite ordinary people. It had been believed in the neighborhood that they had carried out a noble work - in the camp had allegedly been contained elements dangerous to society.
    Meantime, international community had practically stayed in ignorance as to what had been happening. The reporters reaching the concentration camp had been shown barracks cleaned the night before their arrival and smiling prisoners. The stories of runaways had sounded unbelievable. The first truth came to the world with liberating the first concentration camp prisoners. One of the former prisoners of Dahau, Transilvanian Jew Nicholas Lina confessed that he started talking about his past only in the seventies.
Now Dahau is a city living a quiet and cheerful life, not carrying along the burden of the past, and daily growing after the war. Young inhabitants of Dahau do not perceive their neighborhood with the concentration camp as something oppressive; they do not feel the curse of the past, though they know about it. Knowledge does not necessarily breed adequate acts, but it is even more difficult to act reasonably without it. In this respect it was worth restoring the Dahau concentration camp and setting up our youth camp.
    This essay is not an appeal to restore Kishinev Jewish ghetto. Nevertheless, its goal is to remind of the past once again, so that the shame and terror never repeated and that history had less and less black datys. by Julia Trombitskaya

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

    Catastrophe of European Jewry

    Holocaust, Shoa, Catastrophe is one term in three languages, which cuts the ear and brings to the mind the Warsaw ghetto, children from Treblinka, and Crystal Night.  It reminds of millions of people tortured and suffocated in the gas cells of Auschwitz, Dahau, Mauthausen, Buhenwald, Mittelbau, Sobebor, Maidanek and other death camps. They were worn out by cold and famine, by wearisome works and brutal “medical” experiments and finally found their ruthless death. It happened to those who did not rush to fascist meetings, who did not loot Jewish shop windows, who did not beat pedestrians and their families, who did not measure their superiority with applying arms.
    Appalling is the number of victims of Nazi regime. During the Second World War fascists and their allies destroyed over 6 million Jews, a third of the Jewish people. It was more than massacre, it was an attempt to annihilate Jewry as such.
    Such destruction of more than 6 million people in itself seems an act that exceeds reasoning. It provokes eternal questions about human nature, about forces controlling behavior of individual and human society. For over forty years, scholars investigating society and behavior of its individual citizens have been researching the causes of what happened then. The general conclusion is that the Holocaust is unique in the history of humanity. It differs from other cases of massacre in terms of both the number of the killed, and the malicious intent to destroy all the Jews, and the scale of crime planning, and the intricacy of murders, and many other parameters.
    The issues related to the Holocaust are investigated from the viewpoint of psychology of person and society, from that of sociology and political science as well as from that of philosophy, including religious, both Judaic and Christian. Decades of research work have resulted in extensive knowledge, but even today we fail to restore a complete picture of the Catastrophe. We know the number of victims that shocks an average human mind. We also know that Nazis did not manage to break the spirit of those who were aware of their limited days. We can definitely make this conclusion based on the saved documents, archives, diaries, and letters. Here is the last letter of Mordehai Anelevitch.

THE LAST LETTER

– There are no words to describe what has happened to us. It exceeded our most audacious dreams. The Germans ran away from the ghetto twice. One of our groups has kept the ground for 40 minutes and another for more than 6 hours. A mine exploded in one of the yards; some of our groups attacked running Germans. Our losses were minimal and it was also a big achievement. Ihiel fell at the battlefield. He died as a hero, at his machine gun. I have a feeling that something extraordinary is happening - a revolt we have made has a great historical significance.
    Since this night we switch over to partisan tactics. Three battle groups of ours will go to the territory at night their task being to make an investigation and get some weapons. Cold weapons and pistols are not of much value; we need rifles, guns, grenades and dynamite. I am unable to depict the life conditions of the ghetto Jews. Only a few will survive, the majority will die sooner or later. Their fate is predetermined. In the refuge where they are hiding, it is impossible to light a candle because of a lack of air. We managed to hear on our radio transmitter an impressive report about our operation. The fact that they know about us beyond the ghetto walls is very important for us and encourages us in our struggle. The dream of my life came true - an armed resistance of Jews is a piece of reality. I witnessed an unprecedented heroism of Jewish fighters.
April 23, 1943, ghetto

    Mordehai Anelevitch was a native of Warsaw. He was a member of Ha-shomer hatsair organization. He was among those who revived the activity of the organization on the occupied territory. He edited clandestine editions. He was nominated a member of commandment of Jewish Battle Organization. He was a revolt leader in Warsaw ghetto. He perished on May 8, 1943 in the bunker on Mila Street 18 at the age of 24.

    After the end of the war, in the Jewish circles there was a routine view of the Holocaust as of a kind of insanity. It was treated as a phenomenon with neither pre-history, nor aftereffects, which has no explanations whatsoever. Moreover, there were scientists rejecting explanations of the Holocaust point blank, for explanation means understanding, and understanding to a certain degree means excuse.
In its turn, in Germany after the end of the war an opinion was spread that Nazi Reich was a mere deviation from the course of history of the country, similar to a railroad accident when a train got off rails and caused over 6 million casualties.
Eugene Tikhonovich
Open University of Israel in Chisinau

 
 
 
 
 

    Homosexuals and Lesbians are Victims of Holocaust


    The first researchers in the field of sexology, actually, the founding fathers of the science, were German Jews. Hitler’ coming to power first bred limitation of the researches, then their complete banning and, finally, an utter annihilation of sexology as a science and a growing movement for sexual reforms. That was the first harbinger of regular persecutions of homosexuals during 1933-1945. Revealing contact points between anti-Semitism, anti-feminism and homophobia in Nazi ideology in terms of sex broadens our understanding of Holocaust.
    In 1922, a representative of a right political party killed Herr Ratenau, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Germany. It was a start signal for persecutions to follow. The thing is that Ratenau was not only a democrat, but also a Jew, and a homosexual. When Hitler came to power, no more journals on sexology were published and no more sexology congresses were allowed to be held.
In the spring of 1933, the first group of homosexuals was sent to newly created concentration camps. In the summer Hitler liquidated Herr Rem, his closest friend, and also some SA leaders as possible competitors accusing them of homosexual depravity. In 1935 the phrasing of article 175 of the Criminal Code, stating that anal contact between men was considered a punishable crime, was extended to cover all forms of homosexual contacts, including kisses between men and even glances. It is noteworthy that, though right after the fall of Nazi’s regime it became obvious that homosexuals were a special category of prisoners in concentration camps, for a long while historians avoided the subject of Germany’s policy towards homosexuals. 
    On May 14, 1928, i.e. earlier than 1933, it was declared on behalf of the National-Socialist Party that homosexuals weaken the people, that they are enemies and sexual degenerates who in no way promote a healthy increase of a healthy nation. On coming to power the Nazi government established Reihs-centers to fight homosexuals and abortions. These centers were placed with criminal police, which illustrated both growing homophobia of the Nazis and its connection to the idea of nation reproduction. A wide agent network, informing and reporting started immediately. Even those suspected of homosexuality who passed not through Gestapo, but through civil court ended their life in a concentration camp.
According to updated statistics, the number prisoners condemned for homosexuality was about 10 thousand or more. Nevertheless, it is not only a great number of victims that matters. It is also the fact that the persecutions homosexuals suffered during the Nazi regime are a mirror of a customary attitude to homosexuals and their treatment on the part of society both before the Nazi regime and till nowadays in many countries of the world.
    In the concentration camp hierarchy homosexuals always found themselves at the lowest stage. As a rule, they were assigned the most dangerous and painful work. Therefore, the death rate among this category was especially high.
    The Nazis tried to solve the homosexuality problem scientifically and return the necessary manhood to homosexuals surgically. Thus, in the spring of 1944, Sturmbahnfurer SS Dr.Vernet, Danish by origin, arrived in Buhenwald with the sanction signed by Himmler to carry on a series of experiments to annihilate homosexuality through implantation of synthetic hormones. Fifteen persons underwent the operation, two of which became sterile, two ended their life on the operation table, while others soon died due to overall weakness of the body.
    Then, as well as at present, the persecution of lesbians existed in a more hidden form. In all times, for women and girls there existed a strict presumption of heterosexuality. Suppressing lesbian relations, the Nazi state based not on the criminal code, but on intimidation. It compelled lesbians to lead a double life. However, marriage as a camouflage was not a sufficient guarantee of survival, especially for Jewish lesbians. Non-Jewish lesbians who did not want to stick to conventional norms of behavior were imprisoned as antisocial elements. According to Nazi classification, that was a diverse group of socially unacceptable citizens including thieves, prostitutes, etc.
    The prejudices have not died with Nazi regime, but continue to exist in the present-day world, including our society.
(Based on materials by Erwin Heberl and Amy Alman published in “Tum-Balalaika”, Russia)

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

    The party Loves Movies

    On December 16, 1938 SS Reihsfürer Himmler or dered to “register in the police all the persons keeping to gypsy nomadic way of life and check their racial and biological characteristics”. In September 1939, it was decided to deport all gypsies to concentration camps located in Poland. Nevertheless, empire railroads were overloaded and the security service had to fill with Roma local concentration camps or even to create new ones. Driven to near Salzburg, Roma were forced to build a concentration camp for themselves, which they did on a boggy meadow of Maxglan suburb. They constructed barracks, a building for guards, two sentry towers, and fitted the camp with a barbed wire.
Once in the camp there appeared Lenni Riffenstal, a famous actress and film director. She made films and acted in them. In that year she decided to create a screen version of a d’Albers opera with a romantic plot. A beautiful dancer finds herself captured by a severe master who oppresses local peasants. Lenni         Riffenstal played the lead herself. The thing was to choose who was going to play the count, his servants, and Spanish peasants. Cinematography could cope with any problems using make-up, costumes, and scenery. The movie was supposed to be watched by common people and not ethnographers. Still Lenni Riffenstal was not the person to achieve success by trivial means. She wanted the Spaniards to be played by Roma!
    For any director, in any country such mass scenes would cost a pretty penny. To get a big number of Roma, persuade them to act, bring them over to the film-shooting place and pay them a reward. For anyone, but not for Frau Riffenstal! In the Third Reih her name opened all the doors. After “The Triumph of Will”, the movie about the Nazi party congress and the film about the Olympic Games of 1936 in Berlin, she would not hear “no”. The party highly appreciated the artists devoted to itself, the party and the people. Therefore, Riffenstal started working on the film in 1940 and the shootings lasted for several years. A bloody war with Russia was under way, but the party did not forget about Riffenstal.
In the list of defense works for 1942, there was an item running “Lowland”, the fiction film directed by Riffenstal, “whose production was carried out on the Fürer’s order and supported by the Reih’s Ministry of National Education and Propaganda”.
    Thus, the destruction of the Roma was stopped - for the time of film-shootings. Lenni Riffenstal was walking about the Maxglan concentration camp accompanied by SS officers. They were lined up and Lenni Riffenstal herself chose the extras for her movie.
    The shootings and production of the film lasted as long as the war did. Carried away by the film making, Frau Riffenstal aspired to art perfection and, if she found it necessary, again and again explained to the Roma how they should portray a carefree life of Spanish peasants. There was a Roma young man, who had been acting longer than the rest. Once he dared to address her: “Our family has a good reputation.. None of us has ever been charged. Could you do something for us, I mean help to get us free? “ Lenni’s film was her only obsession: “ I will certainly try to liberate all your family, or at least send you to Berlin“.
    The Roma, who had shortly been Spaniards, were brought back to the camp. In May 1943 the Maxglan camp was closed and the Gypsies were transferred to Oswentsim.
    “I have a special fondness for the Roma,” - will later say Lenni Riffenstal, pleased with the film. “I always rendered them a special preference. God is my witness”. Nevertheless, there are more reliable witnesses. To Oswentsim, as well as to Riffenstal’s shooting, the Roma were taken with all their families, and hardly any of the “actors” survived.
    The young Roma man who had addressed Frau Riffenstal with the request chanced to survive, the only one from the whole family that had cast in the movie. Many years after the war he testified that everyone who had acted in Riffenstal’s movie waited for her help, but in vain. They had broken expectation. Lenni Riffenstal was more than a filmmaker; she was also an embodiment of German national consciousness.
Leonid Mlechin
From the article “Gypsy Ballad” (“New time”, 1991, # 32).

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

    Calvaria

    Once again I feel privileged as the Representative of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in the Republic of Moldova to contribute to a publication related to the refugee issue. Since Moldova embarked on the road of building democratic institutions governed by the rule of law, it also became more relevant to confront the phenomenon of irregular movements pursuant to its international human rights obligations. Persecution, or the fear thereof, owing to a well founded fear for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or an unwelcome political opinion which disrupted countless Moldovan lives in the past, unfortunately continues to lie at the root of problems of those who today seek asylum in Moldova.
UNHCR was initially created for a period of three years to find solutions for the millions of refugees displaced by World War II. On 14 December 1950 the United Nations General Assembly, guided by noble ideals and the practical realization that while “refugees have a problem, that they are not the problem”, endowed the Office of the High Commissioner with a Mandate to assist and to protect those who flee persecution.
    In recognition of its humanitarian role, I UNHCR has over the years received additional resources and saw its authority extended to deal with new problems such as internal displacement. On the other hand, the 50th Anniversary gives rise to mixed feelings as paradoxically the Organization’s longevity is a sad testimony to the state of affairs on our planet. There is hardly a country in the world that has not been affected by irregular movements and it is a sobering thought that UNHCR has over the past five decades assisted over 50 million people on five continents to repatriate.
    One in 250 inhabitants of our planet have received some form of assistance and since the nineties UNHCR is once again called upon to assist 9 million refugees in Europe alone.
    The sustained commitment to effective international mechanisms to facilitate solutions for those who are forced into flight through an organisation like UNHCR demonstrates inter alia that the international community, through impartial humanitarian action, is ready to give substance to one of the basic rights articulated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights - the right to asylum.
    50 years into its existence, UNHCR’s role to protect and to assist refugees is just as relevant as it was in its first year. Those who may loose all but their dignity, deserve international protection to help themselves to re-gain access to basic human needs. To commemorate the Anniversary, UNHCR therefore wishes to salute the resilience of those who struggle against the odds to reestablish their lives. The need to raise public awareness and to increase thus sensitivity to refugee needs is in this regard central to UNHCR’s efforts. If humankind does not wish to forfeit the benefits of freedom from oppression, it must provide for the right to asylum. UNHCR is therefore pleased to support the publication of this volume which indirectly elaborates on to “The Memory of a Refugee” (also dedicated to the 50th Anniversary), that tells life stories of persons who “managed” to become refugees. This book recounts the fates of those who did not become refugees only to suffer another horrible fate - forcible deportation. The trials and tribulations - “calvaria” as referred to locally - of those who did not flee only to be perceived as enemies and were therefore simply to be hoarded on to “trains of death” are vividly described not only to recall history, but also to show the strength of the human spirit. Although many finished their lives prematurely in imposed exile, some survived against all the odds and managed to repatriate to their homes.
    The gruesome statistics from a period when individual rights were subordinated to higher interests and when the rule of law was ignored, indicate that taken together some 2.000.000 persons became refugees or were deported from this region alone. Although such injustices in Moldova are a thing of the past, as long as others continue to flee discrimination, inhuman or degrading treatment or other various forms of persecution, international protection and assistance to the victims supervised by an organisation like UNHCR will remain relevant.
    This publication aims to recount testimonies of people who experienced deportations and brings forth a number of well-known or less known names, names that unveil tragic, harsh, merciless destinies. While reading the life stories of this book one can shiver with terror at the harsh reality experienced by the deportees. In the pages’ to follow, without commenting on the causes and effects, without taking a specific attitude towards the ideas expressed, we allow the reader to reflect on the fate of earlier generations.
    In offering this volume to the reader UNHCR’s implementing partner, the Law Center and its team of devoted staff, has in my mind done a splendid job for which they should be commended and thanked.
Oldrich Andrysek,
UNHCR Representative in Moldova

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

    Anti-Semitism Put in the Pillory

    Anti-Judaism, or Cave World, the selection compiled by Efim Tcaci, was published in two language versions. When Boston Society of Struggle against Anti-Semitism and Racism (USA) announced a contest for the best publication against national discord exposing lies and slanders that are spread by Black Hundred-type editions, the Russian version of the book was recognized as one of the best. Recently from Israel a review of the Romanian version of the book came that had been published in the Ultima ora Romanian newspaper. Here it is offered to the attention of the readers.
    From Chisinau we received the anthology of texts against anti-Semitism compiled by Efim Tcaci issued under the aegis of Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly in Moldova. * It represents the verdict without the right of appeal against those who continue propagation of this monstrous phenomenon, one of greatest shames of humanity. According to the definition of a group of Jerusalem researchers dated by 1938, anti-Semitism is associated with a mob behavior in conditions of clan struggle. Explicitly or implicitly - as with communist parties - a part of the programs of extremist political groupings, anti-Semitic publicists’ creation bred only poor ideologized stuff based on falsifications and insinuations, from Protocols or Mein Kampf to recent writings of Garodi.
    The goal of the anthology is to collect on its pages pieces of evidence, memoirs, documents, and literary compositions, growing out of the indignation at the fact that, after the tragic experience of the 20 century, even today some people keep manipulating with anti-Semitism for political purposes.
The book is of interest for the Jews in Romania and the Republic of Moldova, as many of its pages are devoted to their martyrdom. They suffered during the Nazi regime or Nazi occupation and also as a result of the blows they received lately caused by the propaganda and organization of escalation of what Raul Hilberg, the historian, so meaningfully called a war against the Jews. E. Tcaci has carried out a detailed research in the aspiration to reconstruct the tragic way of the extensively performed operation, which was implemented with resolution of military action, whose aim was the extermination of the Jewish population of Europe. Myths pleasing many people, for example, the myth about Antonescu, crash under the impact of irrefutable data. Revisionists of history will not manage to hide his crime, no matter how many monuments to him are erected on the territory of Romania.
    It seems symbolical that the present book, that is unique so far, appeared in Chisinau, where in 1903 the first anti-Semitic pogrom of the 20 century took place. It was followed by Petliura’s slaughter in the Ukraine, the so-called ritual murder processes and after that pogroms in Iasi and Odessa (1941-1942), then in Trans-Dniestria, the responsibility for which is with Romanian anti-Semitism. They could be the last in this part of Europe, if the victims, using the expression of the deceased Rabbi Mozes Rosen, were not killed again by neo-anti-Semitism he had to face too.
The positions reflected in the book follow the spirit of protection of human values. Among them are classical writings of synthesizing contents, such as Nikolai Berdiaev’s  Christianity and Anti-Semitism, Moris Bomont’s In the Core of Dreifus’ Case translated from French, the work by Prof. Rasvan Teodorescu to whom the book owes its title. We read again Ilia Erenburg’s articles about Anna Frank and anti-Semitic spectrum that appeared after the war. Here is also Francoir Moriaque’s famous foreword to the book of short stories by Elli Visel, a fragment of Raimond Devos’ sketch on xenophobia, and an anti-Nazi essay from Tudor Teodorescu-Braniste’s magazine entitled Anti-Semitism as the Most Dangerous Form of Anti-Romanianism. The book quotes viewpoints of various persons - the queen who signed her poems as Carmen Silva, I.L Carageale, Alexander Makedonsky, Yevgeni Yevtushenko, etc. who witnessed hatred to the Jews.
    In this noble exclusive gathering could not but partake modern writers insulted by the existing cave world. In spite of the fact that the collection is confined to Russian poets and writers **, it reached the goal: in the space where they lived, the most violent and horrible crimes took place that challenged their convictions cultivated in the traditions of great literature. If we know Babiy Yar by Yevtushenko, this is the first appearance in Romanian of such poems as Anti-Semites by Vladimir Vysotski or Yude by Vladimir Mayakovsky (1928). The latter writes in his peculiar emotional style about warning him who in his ignorant darkness, seeing not a thing ahead, even today uses the swear word yude.
Significant place is allotted to the memoirs of the survivors of exterminating concentration camps on the territory of Bessarabia and Bucovina, the Ukraine and Poland. Several materials are signed by Israeli authors: Tsvi Zaltsinger (Overture to Trans-Dniestrian Hell), Nisan Shehtman (An Overdue Retort), Debora Morgenstern (Century of Zionism), etc.
    Another distinction of the publication is its topical and sharp polemic character. It is illustrated with the research of Z. Ornia, historian and literary critic and the article of Rabbi M. Rosen, as well as with the chronology of events related to repeated manifestations of anti-Semitism reflected in Romanian press of the last eight years.
    In the chapter called About the Jews, there are quotations assembled from Panait Istrati, Tudor Arghesi, Gala Galaction, Nicolae Iorga, G. Calinescu and other outstanding figures of Romanian culture.  They condemned anti-Semitism whose temptation solves not a single problem and brings to everybody, Jewish and non-Jewish, only grief and disaster, as Eugen Ionesco said.
Harol ISAK
Translated from the Romanian by E.TCACI
(Ultima ora, Israel)
_______________________
*Àlso by Anti-fascist Democratic Alliance of the Republic of Moldova (Translator’s comment)
** In the book Moldovan writers and publicists are represented too: Aureliu Busuioc, Leonid Cemirtan, etc. (Translator’s comment)

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

    Letters to the Editor

Dear friends,
    Thank you very much for the last issue of Collage publicizing the creative works presented for the contest  “Moldovan Youth against Racial Discrimination and Intolerance”. Though I did not participate in the competition, I find it absolutely necessary to organize such events that develop the culture of tolerance among the youth. I study in Russian-Romanian Lyceum and recently witnessed an incident that occurred between the guys from Russian and Romanian classes. The Russian speakers were making fun of Romanian speakers whose Russian was poor, and those, in their turn, reacted with insulting cries like “Go to your Russia. There is no place for you here!” Unfortunately, such incidents are not infrequent in our society. Those will be wrong who will say that ethnic issues in Moldova are not topical. There is certainly a big difference between the interethnic situation in Moldova and that in Latvia. In Latvia almost all Russians are not citizens; in Latvia former Nazis are awarded while veterans of the former Soviet Army, who stopped the outrages of fascists, are put in prison. In Moldova all inhabitants, irrespective of their ethnic background, have received Moldovan citizenship; in Moldova they do not put in prison veterans of the Great Patriotic War who fought against Nazis. However, in Moldova it is pretty often that a Russian or a Ukrainian offends a Moldovan and vice versa. Though here I can freely speak Russian, my mother tongue, sometimes I hear remarks concerning my ethnicity that are far from flattery. Yes, I am Russian, but I learn the language of the country I live in; I respect traditions of this country; I want to live in it and restore its economy. There are many young people like me. And it doesn’t matter that we are Russians, Ukrainians, Gagauzians, Belarussians and not Moldovans or Romanians. We were born in this country and we want to live here!
    I would like you very much to publish this letter in one of the following issues of the magazine. I think it can somehow effect the consciousness of youth. We should not quarrel; we should live in peace and mutual understanding. Then everything will be fine in the country.
Andrey Leonchenko
Ungheni Region
 

Hi Collage,
    Recently I saw your second issue devoted to ethnic and cultural diversity of Moldova. I was very much delighted to discover in this country a magazine of such kind. Then I found out that a new issue was under work devoted to the subject of majority and minority and had an impulse to write you immediately. We are majority, a whole world, but those who have saved this world from the fascist plague become fewer with every day. They, veterans, are a minority undeservingly forgotten.
    They do not have restful old age, as their pensions are miserable. On Victory Day, there are no fireworks to glorify them, though many people come to put flowers at the memorial cemetery. Veterans are neglected. I try to understand why our society treats them with such indifference. Merely because we are not told about the Great Patriotic War in such a way that we could realize all the horror and tragedy of that inhuman battle between the good and the evil. We open history textbooks to see that World War Two is not properly reflected. After reading in the second issue of the magazine about seminars dated for International Day of Struggle against Fascism and Anti-Semitism, I thought about the necessity of organizing such events more often: we need to write, speak and remember about horrors of fascism.
    Let us restore honor and respect to those who defended the borders of our state!
Martha Yakimova
Chisinau

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