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Europe's latest (or oldest?) ethnic minority: The Huns

 
 
nimh
 
Reply Tue 12 Apr, 2005 04:50 pm
Thanks to Dag who forwarded this. Not, apparently, an April Fools joke. Raises some interesting questions about identity ... ;-)

Quote:
Hungarian Huns bid for new status

By Nick Thorpe
BBC correspondent in Budapest

Hungary's MPs will hear an application from a group of people who claim descent from Attila the Hun and want recognition as an ethnic minority.

The Hun swept across Europe from central Asia in the 4th and 5th Centuries AD, conquering territory as far west as modern-day France.

But after Attila's death in 453, they disappeared from the history books.

Attila is still a popular name, but the emergence of a group of 21st Century Hungary Huns is raising eyebrows.

http://newsimg.bbc.co.uk/media/images/41026000/jpg/_41026149_huns_bbc.jpg
The "Huns" maintain some traditions from the time of Attila

Question of identity

Branded the scourge of God by the peoples he conquered in southern and western Europe, Attila the Hun has had a better press among the Hungarians, the Turks and other related peoples.

Nearly 2,500 people have so far identified themselves as Huns on a petition presented to the Hungarian parliament's national elections committee.

Under Hungary's 1993 rights of national and ethnic minorities act, that is enough for their application to be considered by parliament.

A Hun spokesman, Gyorgy Kisfaludy, told the BBC that to be a Hun today was a matter of feeling and cultural identity.

He expects this attempt at parliamentary recognition to fail.

But he says the effort will have served their long term goal of reclaiming for the Huns their rightful place among the peoples of the world, alongside the Kurds, the Basques and the Scots.

Story from BBC NEWS:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/europe/4435181.stm

Published: 2005/04/12 05:09:43 GMT
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dagmaraka
 
  1  
Reply Tue 12 Apr, 2005 09:26 pm
Yeah, I almost died laughing. Anyhoo. This is what I've been thinking. Since I already wrote it up this morning for myself, I'll just repost:

I was absolutely stunned and fascinated by a short piece of news from Hungary this morning: Huns are seeking recongnition from the Hungarian Parliament. "Say what? What the hell is going on?!" was my initial gut reaction as I sprang to my feet. I am utterly confused. There is virtually no way of tracing anyone's origins to before the year 500AD in Hungary, chronicles and records were not preserved from that time. Besides, there were many 'identity' talks in the past fourteen years - mostly revolving about the status of the Roma and of the Jews-quibbles whether they are a national minority or an ethnic group, or neither. But the Huns? Where the bazmeg are they coming from? I immediately dove into the web, found the article, and read it closely. Aha. The Parliament is passing a new act on minorities.The newly-found Huns expect that their recognition in the Parliament will fail, but are ready to take their case all the way up to the European Court of Human Rights. Why is this strange new grouping so adamant about their rightful fight? Wham! Here they plunge in out of nowhere without warning and send us scrambling to read up on the old Attila the Hun and his tribes, scratching our heads and cranking our brains about the legitimacy and authenticity of their claimed identity.
Why now? Well, let's see what's out there. If they are recognized, it is likely they would be entitled to some cultural, educational, and financial benefits under the new bill (which I have yet to read, so I am merely speculating). They will also have a chance to organize their own minority local self-government under the Minority self-governments acts (a Hungarian specialty - minorities with significant presence in certain regions can elect their own representatives, gaining autonomy to decide matters pertaining to their minority status - language, primary schools education, cultural activities, you name it). I would suspect that the recent membership of Hungary in the European Union also sped up the budding of the Huns' identity. The pool of available resources to groups of all sorts has widened. EU has funds for ethnic, cultural, religious minorities, for regional development, all of which are up for grabs to the able and willing.
So what? Well, nothing, really. Good for them. I just find it fascinating how much a policy, national or international, can influence people's identities. Ever since we started counting everyone and keep meticulous records of ethnic, cultural, religious groups in national censuses (censi?), identities of those sorts skyrocketed in importance. Whoever was a plain Pressburger, started to feel more and more Slovak, Hungarian, or German. The quantification gridlock, as Benedict Anderson beautifully accounts in his Imagined Communities, plunged colonized countries into turmoil of rampant nationalism and power struggles within the newly formed states. And increasingly in the West and in the 'rest' alike, the numbers represent power in civil rights movements, access to decision-making and resources, legitimization of demands.
None of that makes the sense of identity less genuine to people. It is embraced, becomes personal, attached to our emotional core. It is not to be doubted or questioned. Neither it should be. Whatever drives people to express themselves creatively, to become responsible citizens and take part in shaping their own future, should be heartily encouraged. I assume many of the Huns feel very strongly about being Huns already, or perhaps always did, but no one told me until now. But each time I encounter news of this sort, I wonder: how much are we truly ourselves? How much of how I feel and think about myself is dictated from the outside without me ever realizing it? If all that was taken away, would I still recognize myself? Who am I in a nation-less, religion-less, gender-less, money-less, institution-less and thus formal education-less universe?
Not to get philosophical - it does not lead anywhere. I hate when people get that way, makes me shudder. Just sharing my fascination, wishing the Huns well in their struggle for recognition, and keeping my eyes on Central Europe. Let's see who comes next. I personally would like to see Ostrogoths, Visigoths, and Gauls emerge from the ashes. Others are welcome to apply. Perhaps all that plundering and pillaging, killing and raping hundreds of years ago, can be finaly forgiven and these groups reconciled. Salvation could be just around the corner. Hallelujah!
0 Replies
 
littlek
 
  1  
Reply Tue 12 Apr, 2005 09:57 pm
I like those hats!
0 Replies
 
nimh
 
  1  
Reply Wed 13 Apr, 2005 01:26 am
It was the hats and caption that seriously made me look up the date again - so Monty Python somehow! But no, not April 1 Razz
0 Replies
 
dagmaraka
 
  1  
Reply Wed 13 Apr, 2005 07:50 am
aren't they dashing? reminds me of native american tribes that spring back to life to establish casinos and sell cigarettes, but since i know very little about that, i'll just shut up. i'm gonna look what are the reactions in slovakia. should be interesting, since Huns keep getting mentioned by our esteemed political elite as the originators of all evil that ever happened to us. One of our MPs accused the Hungarian minority representatives that they came on little furry horses, raping our women, pillaging our villages and brought with them slavery and oppression for the next thousand year. he meant the huns of course... should be interesting.
0 Replies
 
littlek
 
  1  
Reply Wed 13 Apr, 2005 06:36 pm
Yeah, why would it be a good thing to be a Hun in today's world?
0 Replies
 
CodeBorg
 
  1  
Reply Wed 13 Apr, 2005 07:50 pm
Within ten years, DNA testing will make it easy and
trivial (approximately $29 for the sequence reduction)
to establish exactly who has been directly descended
and in all rights belonging, to the family of
Richard Leakey's Australopithecus.

3.2 million years is an awfully long time to
miss your family.

A company (not necessarily named Lucy
in the Sky, Inc.) will then petition and create a
governmentally recognized minority, numbering in
the millions, known as Euro-Lucesians.

There will be tax-deductions and diplomas involved but mostly,
there will be free steak and adequate beer for the growing political
party of Those-Who-Walk-Uprightists.

Over time, their only true competition within the U.S. Senate
will be the long-revered Those-With-Opposable-Thumbs,
led by a slow but powerful family from the tar pits of Texas.

Yeah, don't believe me? Try reading Everyone Loves Lucy.
It's been scientifically documented.


. . . The genes. Protect your oldest graveyards because
the scientists are on their way!

The Huns will rue their 15 minutes of fame,
and concede the Minority Semi-Finals before the first quarter
is over. Lucite is not just a trademark, but an ethnological
discovery and popular image that Richard Leakey (poor bastard)
failed to market, deploy and capitalize upon.

Uh . . . either that, or I switched channels and got confused.










NewSig: If you could copyright confusion, with royalties, . . . Man! THAT'S evolution.
0 Replies
 
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Wed 13 Apr, 2005 08:55 pm
But watch out for creeping leukopenia...
0 Replies
 
Mr Stillwater
 
  1  
Reply Wed 13 Apr, 2005 09:32 pm
Quick reality check here. The 'Golden Horde' of Genghis Khan was later than Attila and they left their mark as far as Lyons.

Fortunately I have just finished a book on nomadic invasions (Arabs, Huns, Mongols & Vikings). A 'Hunnish' homeland would actually tread on quite a few people's toes as movements from Eurasia and the Middle East displaced populations that moved into Eastern Europe and just settled there - that includes other 'Huns' such as the Bulgars, Dacians, Kazars, Ostro-Goths and the Finno-Ugric peoples.

One of that last lot were the Magyar tribes that settled in modern-day Hungary in the 9th Century and are the ancestors of modern Hungarians. And me. I suppose if they keep their identity to basically wearing silly hats and cheering on John Wayne in 'The Conquerer' - they could be humoured.
0 Replies
 
Mr Stillwater
 
  1  
Reply Wed 13 Apr, 2005 09:34 pm
littlek wrote:
Yeah, why would it be a good thing to be a Hun in today's world?


Tax-free principality with a Casino??
0 Replies
 
dagmaraka
 
  1  
Reply Thu 14 Apr, 2005 08:14 am
Stilly, you then know already. The Avars, that established the Hungarian kingdom, had in fact nothing in common with the Huns, whose leader Attila died sometime in 490 something AD, leaving his tribes to disperse and mingle with others in the region. Avars were called Huns, mistakenly, by Germanic people, and that's how Hungary acquired its name. I'm sure it's fresher in your memory, but I believe it went something like that. Quite a fun start for a kingdom.
I'm a huge fan of the Huns, in fact I encourage anyone to dig out old costumes and accessories. Makes the world more colorful and interesting. As long as they don't start fighting and quarelling too much.
0 Replies
 
Noddy24
 
  1  
Reply Thu 14 Apr, 2005 09:30 am
Dak--

Good point. In Ireland a good section of the population perpetuates The Troubles. Here in the States, everyone's Irish on St. Patrick's Day and Irish bars do a bumper business every day the licensing laws allow.
0 Replies
 
Mr Stillwater
 
  1  
Reply Fri 15 Apr, 2005 01:23 am
After 1,500 years there can't be a 'true' Hun amongst the lot of them. Keeping an ethnic identity in a place like Europe is next to impossible - they place just leaks people from one end to the next with no regard for borders and well... ahem... sexual proprieties. The only exceptions are places that have been isolated by terrain or colonised from scratch with no indigenous population.

Sorry Dags - I can't say from how the Hungarians of today would view attempts to include 'Huns' as a movement. Stuck here in Australia it's a little hard to keep up with the nuances of Central European society and I (shamefully) don't know any Hungarian to speak of and as a written language!!


Even Mum (Germanic stock) says that you don't win a popularity contest in Hungary by reminding them of their old homelands in Mongolian Eurasia. I for one think it's fantastic, and will one day visit it just to see somewhere else on this planet as vast and under-peopled as most of Australia.
0 Replies
 
CodeBorg
 
  1  
Reply Fri 15 Apr, 2005 03:49 am
You thought I was joking about scientists making a gold-rush
towards your family's DNA . . . ?

DNA project to trace ethnic origins
Ariz. lab seeking 100,000 samples


Quote:
"My ancestors came to America from Croatia in the 1850s and have a long-standing Catholic heritage," he said.

But the results of his DNA analysis show the Cusanoviches originally were Levites, or Jews.

"They must have been converted during the Crusades," he said.



------
Is there a Hun among us who can give reign to the claim
that their hat is pointy and cute, down to the DNA?
Are you down for genetic validation,
or just faking the salutation and salivation, sampling
what happens to be hip today?
0 Replies
 
littlek
 
  1  
Reply Fri 15 Apr, 2005 05:51 pm
Codeborg - the DNA stuff is super cool. I think there will be lots of interesting news about how related we all are (and in some cases aren't) to one another.
0 Replies
 
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Fri 15 Apr, 2005 08:37 pm
Back when my eyes were first checked out, the super specialist sent vials of my cells to be dna'd, but that was re retinal disease patterns. Hmmm, I don't suppose they do the whole panoply just for fun, eh?

<she who doesn't want to know alzheimer's is coming in 2.3 years>
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dyslexia
 
  1  
Reply Fri 15 Apr, 2005 08:53 pm
Celts occupied land in modern day Eastern Europe, Greece, Spain, Northern Italy, Western Europe, England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland. The Celtic people have mystified anthropologists and historians for generations. They were a non literate culture whose history and literature was preserved through oral tradition. The only written records of their civilization are the texts left by classical authors, the first of which appear circa 500 BCE.
0 Replies
 
gungasnake
 
  1  
Reply Fri 15 Apr, 2005 09:10 pm
Re: Europe's latest (or oldest?) ethnic minority: The Huns
Neither one of those two idiots would last a single day in Attilla's army.
0 Replies
 
gungasnake
 
  1  
Reply Fri 15 Apr, 2005 09:27 pm
dagmaraka wrote:

I'm a huge fan of the Huns, in fact I encourage anyone to dig out old costumes and accessories. Makes the world more colorful and interesting. As long as they don't start fighting and quarelling too much.


The most major weapon you'll need is a hun bow:

http://www.horsebows.com/mongol.gif

http://www.horsebows.com/bows.html#hun

You'll need some sort of a book on raping, pillaging, and stealing chickens, but most people pick that stuff up along the way...
0 Replies
 
dyslexia
 
  1  
Reply Fri 15 Apr, 2005 09:43 pm
the neocon modern republican version:
http://www.law-17.com/images/CBOWa.JPG
0 Replies
 
 

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