SONGSOPTOK: We would like to start this interview with your opinion on the theme of our current issue. Do you think that cultural heritage has a role to play in modern society? Why?

MARIETA MAGLAS: All the monuments, as well as the artworks, the artifacts, and the folklore values belong to the world cultural heritage and they are great symbols that must remain intact for our future generations. Unfortunately, the forces of Nature destroyed important centuries-old buildings that had been preserved as monuments. I can mention here the Changu Narayan Temple and the Swayambhunath Stupa that were destroyed by an earthquake on April 2015 in Nepal. Generally, people use to fight natural disasters, and this is why many antic monuments are still existent. It is deplorable that many monuments are slowly destroyed by the human ignorance, procrastination, or worse. The cultural heritage means history and shapes the human identity. Life changes through our identity development.

SONGSOPTOK: How would you define cultural heritage? In your opinion, is it something tangible or intangible? Or is it a combination of both? If so, in what way?

MARIETA MAGLAS: The renovated historic buildings protecting many art pieces, paintings, and rare books have the same importance as the folklore and the traditions. Some monuments are necessary for the new educational projects. These artifacts have been renovated in response to the climate changes and to the development of the civilization. They are considered part of the tangible heritage and maintain the traditional morality. Moreover, more people need also the intangible culture, including the folklore for their identity not to disappear in time. Some people belonging to different countries use to know each other through their folklore, which is so necessary to protect especially the religious tradition. These traditions are at risk of being destroyed in a battle between the majorities and the minorities of the countries.

The ethnic and the religious divergences alter the cultural identity of a nation, and indirectly, they are a cause of the destruction of the monuments because the ignorance which is a consequence of these divergences makes these buildings be forgotten. I want to underline the importance of their perfect preservation because they constitute a historical information for the future generations.

Moreover, another factor that affects the cultural heritage is a direct attitude of the human beings. The lost, stolen, and destroyed artworks or artifacts could be essential to keep safe this historical information during the time.

The folklore sends the information regarding the environmental protection through a survival strategy. Generally, people know about some natural disasters from their folklore. An example is the ancient tribes from India's Andaman and the Nicobar Islands knowing about tsunamis through this important intangible part of the culture.

Also, the lunar myths are rooted in folklore. We know from the ancient Assyrian people about the correlation between the woman's fertility and the phases of the moon.

SONGSOPTOK: In the country and the society you live in, do you think culture and cultural heritage are important? In what way?

MARIETA MAGLAS: In Romania, the country where I live, the cultural heritage is necessary to develop the tourism. Any important castle being in decay has been renovated to become an accommodation for the tourists.

During the period of the communism, the population suffered the misery of expropriations. Some splendid monuments like churches were downgraded from the list belonging to the Romanian cultural patrimony. The nationalization of the ecclesiastical institutions destroyed the role of the church in the education of the new generation. After 1989, many communist monuments were demolished or transformed. During this post-communist period, many people had to leave their homeland to find employment in the western part of Europe. This way, they could talk about our Romanian culture.

Some museums and historical books are documents proving the Daco-Roman continuity. In fact, the Geto-Dacian people were part of the Thracians. Zamolxis was their unique God. These Thracians are mentioned in the Fourth Book of Histories written by Herodotus. They disappeared completely after losing their holy identity.

Regarding the artifacts, there are still remnants of an ancient Greek culture that started to form in the 7th Century, BC, when some trading colonies established along the coast of the Black Sea. These artifacts could keep up their original antique aspect in time.

The painted monasteries of Bucovina invite the tourists with their unique colors like the Blue of Voronet and with their Byzantine art. Together with the monastery of Horezu, the medieval fortified churches of Transylvania being built by the Saxons between the 13th and 15th centuries, the historic centre of Sighisoara having a 13th century Venetian House, the wooden oak churches of Maramures being built in the Gothic Style of Maramures, and the Dacian Fortresses of the Orastie Mountains like Sarmisegetusa Regia, these painted monasteries of Bucovina are included by UNESCO in the World Cultural Heritage.

SONGSOPTOK:  What, if any, are the outward manifestations of this heritage in the day to day life of the society you live in?

MARIETA MAGLAS: I feel to mention the “13th International Festival of Languages and Culture”, “colors of the world”, that took place in Braamfontein, Johannesburg, South Africa on 18 March 2015. As an important Romanian city, Sibiu is one of the European Capitals of Culture. The outward manifestations in Sibiu are the expression of the inter-ethnic relations in a multicultural framework belonging to a heterogeneous social reality. In the Romanian book entitled 'Cultural Parameters of 21st Century American Challenges- Opportunities and Discontents' it is specified that '' the American space of representation becomes an extremely significant reflection space for the Romanian cultural identity.''

SONGSOPTOK: Is culture, in its different components, taught or learnt? Should it, for example, be taught to children? Or is there a different way of transmission of cultural values to future generations?

MARIETA MAGLAS: The cultures bind together the people belonging to different nationalities because they want to share their learned items of behavior or their tradition. Some cultural meanings as refinement, fine arts, or patterns of living must be taught.

Regarding the children, when they start to learn a foreign language, they also need a geographical and a historical perspective to understand the ethical dimensions of this language, which is new for them.

When I think of transmission of cultural values to future generations, I think of the foreign festivals.

SONGSOPTOK: In your opinion, can culture be equated to tradition? Or do you believe culture is actually a living thing that tends to evolve over time?

MARIETA MAGLAS: I want to mention the cultural relativism described by Franz Boas and by Alain Locke. Moreover, I underline the idea of "the forgotten man" developed by William Graham Sumner. Related to his folk-theory, Johann Gottfried (von) Herder wrote in his book entitled 'Ideas on the Philosophy of the History of Mankind' that "notwithstanding the varieties of the human form, there is but one and the same species of man throughout the whole earth".

SONGSOPTOK: Do you think that the increasing importance of technology and mechanization of modern society play a significant role as far as cultural heritage is concerned? Does the word ‘heritage’ have any relevance to the society you live in? Can you please give us some examples to illustrate your answer?

MARIETA MAGLAS: The modern evolutionism equates the civilization rather with a material aspect of the culture than with a spiritual aspect. Romania has mainly a religious heritage, which is the core of our heritage tourism.

SONGSOPTOK: What, if any, are the impacts of your own cultural heritage in your very personal sphere? If you live in a multicultural society, how would you analyze the interaction between different cultures?

MARIETA MAGLAS: In a very suggestive article, which has been published in the Journal of Romanian Literary Studies, the journalist has intended to describe the ''poetry written after 1989'' as being '' merely characterized by natural elements and emotion as pure expressions of life itself. Analyzing the predominant theme and style, one might consider that it represents a form of Romanian Neo-romanticism. It depicts the themes of love, self-discovery and romanticism in a cultural desert that endured oppression and lack of freedom of speech.''

I must mention the 'German considerations on the editor and writer activity of the author Heltai Gaspar', (1570). Writers like Johannes Honterus from Braşov and Heltai Gáspár from Cluj proved that the interaction between some different cultures belonging to the minorities has existed during the time in Romania.

The Romanian Dimitrie Cantemir, Prince of Moldavia, wrote a book entitled 'History of the Growth and Decay of the Ottoman Empire',(1734) which has been translated and printed in England, France, and Germany.

SONGSOPTOK:  Do you believe that you have to stop being traditional – that is, give up some of your beliefs and practices in order to be ‘modern’? Or do you think that there is no incompatibility between the two? What is your personal experience?

MARIETA MAGLAS: I think there is no incompatibility between the ' traditional' and the ‘modern’ culture. My personal experience is a good one.

SONGSOPTOK:  Do you believe in ‘cultural imperialism’? What is your personal experience? In this context, do you believe that the world is increasingly becoming mono-cultural based on the principles of the modern society?

MARIETA MAGLAS: While being created to induce some cultural changes, the cultural imperialism, the cultural relativism, the constructivism, and the cultural dominance can prevent some conflicts. I really believe in the evolution of the cultural values.

Marieta maglas: her poems have been selected and published in some anthologies at ardus publications, sybaritic press, prolific press, and others. Her poetry was published in tanka journal, edited by glenn lyvers, the aquillrelle wall of poetry book five edited by aquill relle , a divine madness: an anthology of modern love poetry edited by john patrick boutilier, near kin:a collection of words and art inspired by octavia estelle butler edited by marie lecrivain, three line poetry #25 edited by glenn lyvers, contemporary poetry: an anthology of present day best poems and literature today: an international journal of contemporary literature, both being edited by dr pradeep chaswal, enchanted - love poems and abstract art edited by gabrielle de la fair, intercontinental anthology of poetry on universal peace and love edited by madan gandhi and chryssa velissariou, and many other books. Her work has also appeared in some journals, including poetic diversity los angeles edited by marie lecrivain, the velvetillusion literary magazine alabama, the secret (la revista) in italy, fwm magazine in the us, trần thu trang in china, gnosis - a poetry journal™ in the us, i am not a silent poet edited by reuben woolley and so many others. In 2013, she was nominated at the international festivals of poetry in canada and mexico.

We sincerely thank you for your time and hope we shall have your continued support.
Aparajita Sen

(Editor: Songsoptok)


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