Copyright CEMO - 2013
For Hungarian and German language inscriptions in Kolozsvár/Cluj-Napoca/Klausenburg
The Civic Engagement Movement (CEMO) and the Internet portal Transindex gathered signatures for supporting its disagreement with certain statements made by the mayor of Kolozsvár Mr. Sorin Apostu. On May 7, 2009, the mayor of Kolozsvár said that multilingual signs are to be placed on each historic monument of Kolozsvár and that these inscriptions are to be in three languages: Romanian, English and French. To the question as to why these monuments will not be also made in Hungarian, the mayor said that is "because Hungarian is not an international language."
The action gathering supporting signatures started at 2PM on Thursday, May 14 and closed at midnight on Wednesday, May 20. In one week, more than 22,500 supporting signatures were gathered and they were presented to mayor Sorin Apostu on May 21. The mayor stated that he will review his decision about the inscriptions and that he will notify the Ministry of Cults and Culture about the petition and supporting signatures. At its turn the Ministry of Cults and Culture stated that there is no specific law about this and that nothing forbids the posting of multilingual inscriptions.
This is how we presented the signatures:
Postal Addressing in Hungarian
Within the framework of the "Bilingualism Program" in the spring of 2009, the Civic Engagement Movement (CEMO) organized a new advocacy action, having the aim of testing Romania's and more specifically Transylvania's postal services. The attitude of the Romanian Postal Services towards delivering letters addressed in Hungarian was investigated throughout the course of this action.
In the background of the action was the assumption that the use of Hungarian language in addressing of mails is not an obstacle. More specifically, our starting point was that using of addresses having locality names and street names written in Hungarian should not cause any disruption in the delivery services.
We also took into consideration that one of the important factor in mail shipments is the area code which indicates the recipient's locality and postal district. We felt that the alongside the address, writing the appropriate postal code is important, because that is what is principally used in deliveries, and once the code is sorted out by the postal workers, the Hungarian name of the locality and Hungarian street name should not cause too big headaches for postal workers.
Naturally, it was important for the testers to know the "original" Hungarian name or Hungarian equivalent of the street names to be used for the testing, given that many people do not know anymore the Hungarian street names, which in some cases are not equivalent to their nowadays used Romanian language street names. We can cite many examples of this for Marosvásárhely and for other Transylvanian cities and villages.
For Marosvásárhely addresses, given the lack of bilingual street signs throughout the city, we used the formal bilingual list of street names approved by the City Council in 2007 (Council Decision No. 371). For mailing letters to other cities and localities, actually, the recipients provided us with the Hungarian equivalents of their addresses.
The announcement of "Postal Addressing in Hungarian," was made on the "lármafa" electronic mailing list email@example.com. The subscribers to the list were called on to be active participants in this action. Naturally, letters were sent only to those persons who agreed to participate in our action. We asked those volunteering their addresses to send them to certain representatives of our organization. We then mailed the letters addressed exclusively Hungarian language, to various localities of Transylvania such as Marosvásárhely, Szováta, Nyárádszereda, Kézdivásárhely, Csíkszereda, Sepsiszentgyörgy, and Ajtony (in Kolozs County). We wanted to test such addresses that did not include the names of personalities but street names that could be easily translated in Rumanian such as Rose Street, Blessing Street, Violet Street, etc..
Of course we couldn't mail hundreds or even thousands of these letters, but those sent all arrived (with the exception of one) without any disruption or delay, and we believe that this could not have been merely a coincidence. The CEMO therefore considers that the results of this successful action clearly show that mailing of letters or packages is not a problem when they are addressed in Hungarian language.
The "exception" to this rule was Marosvásárhely, where a letter addressed to Párkány sétány (Aleea Cornişa in Rumanian) was returned to the addressee with the inscription of a postal employee that such street does not exist in Marosvásárhely. For most of the cases postal staff wrote on the letters the equivalent Rumanian name for the streets in case. Letters sent to Székelyföld (Szeklerland in English) were received in their original state.
As a result of the "postal action ", we have drawn the following conclusions: mailing is not a problem when using Hungarian addressing, the letters do arrive to the intended destination. However, it is important to use the exact zip code. The district postal workers will learn the Hungarian names of streets sooner or later provided they did not already known them beforehand. Despite the fact that there is an official streets list with Hungarian street names, the Marosvásárhely post offices does not know its contents, and experience has shown that people not use anymore the Hungarian language Marosvásárhely streets and squares names when addressing letters. In closing, CEMO forwarded the official bilingual street name list to the Director of Postal Offices Marosvásárhely.
We would like to continue this by asking the population of Transylvania to become part of the "Postal Addressing in Hungarian" action. With Easter Holiday upcoming please mail the greetings for your relatives, friends, and acquaintances addressed in Hungarian language. Then, share your experiences with each other, and should you consider it important with CEMO representatives also.
Naturally, CEMO is aware of the fact that this action alone will not yet result in the introduction of Hungarian language in all postal services. This action served as an initial step only, more such actions will be made with the goal to achieve the re-introduction of the native Hungarian language in the postal services utilizing the small steps approach.
The Mayor's Offices are monolingual
In February of 2009 opened the Mayor's Office opened new offices in the Tudor Vladimirescu neighbourhood of which signage are posted exclusively in Rumanian language. As a reaction to this CEMO wrote an open letter to Mayor Dorin Florea, and as a result we have achieved that Hungarian-language signs were posted too, such as opening hours and many others.