Saturday, October 07, 2006

The Herald: Andras Suto - Hungarian writer and playwright and opponent of Ceausescu

The Herald: Andras Suto
October 03 2006
Hungarian writer and playwright and opponent of Ceausescu;born June 17, 1927;died September 30, 2006.

Andras Suto, a writer and human rights advocate for his fellow ethnic Hungarians in Romania who was persecuted by the Ceausescu regime there, has died. He was 79.Suto died on Saturday night at a Budapest hospital where he was being treated for cancer, said Laszlo Cselenyi, his son-in-law.In March 1990, Suto was nearly beaten to death and lost an eye during clashes between Romanians and ethnic Hungarians in the Romanian city of Tirgu Mures, in the wake of the violent ousting in December 1989 of dictator Nicolae Ceausescu.
Hungarian Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsany described Suto as a "creator, a sufferer and nearly a martyr of our common history"."His rich life's work, individual example and personal tragedy is a warning to us all that our region, central-eastern Europe, can have only one road – openness and tolerance toward each other and the finding of a common denominator called culture," Gyurcsany said in a statement.Western Romania, including Transylvania, was part of Hungary until the First World War and still has a large ethnic Hungarian population, whose fate has since often defined relations between the two countries.For decades Suto spoke up for the human rights of ethnic Hungarians in Romania, including attempts at their forced integration, efforts by Ceausescu's communist regime to eliminate Hungarian-language schools and plans to bulldoze villages, many of them predominantly Hungarian.In his works, Suto wrote – often in humorous, melancholic tones – much about the ordeals of living as a minority but also called for the peaceful coexistence between ethnic groups."We lived in decades in which intellectuals, including writers, could not exclude themselves from the aspirations of a community," Suto told the BBC last year. A writer "has to be aware of the world he lives in and writes for and whose fate and historical and national status force upon him certain duties".
From 1980, the Ceausescu regime banned his books and plays, but they continued to be published and performed to great critical and popular acclaim in Hungary.Among his best-known works are the semi-autobiographical My Mother Promises Light Dreams, the essay collection Let The Words Come To Me and a play, Advent On Harghita. His diary, An Eye For A Word, was published in 1993.Suto was born June 17, 1927, in Camarasu, Romania, and lived in Tirgu Mures even after the beating in which he suffered life-threatening injuries.He received emergency treatment in Bucharest, Romania's capital, and then was treated for several months in Budapest and later in Cleveland, Ohio."Doctors traced back his illness directly to the 1990 beating. His injured eye wasn't removed for six years and when it was, doctors found the first cancerous cells," Cselenyi said.Suto was a member of the Romanian parliament, 1965-1977; and vice-president of the Romanian Writers' Association, 1974-1982. He received numerous state and literary awards both in Romania and Hungary.


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