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Amid all the furor stirred by the French government’s decision to repatriate hundreds of Romanian and Bulgarian Roma, many would be surprised to learn that Sarkozy is a pretty popular name among the Romany communities in Slovakia, Hungary, and Romania. No, not French President Nicolas Sarkozy, but the name Sarkozy -- or rather Sárközy.

The official biography of the French president portrays him as the scion of a small noble family from eastern Hungary, so it is quite intriguing and ironic that it is mostly Roma who bear the name Sárközy -- meaning in Hungarian “from the mud” -- in countries where there are Hungarian-speaking Romany communities -- not only Hungary, but Slovakia, Austria and Romania, too.

Furthermore, the three best-known Sárközys in the region are all Roma. One of them is Rudolf Sárközy, the leader of Austria’s Romany community. The second one is Sárközy Jozsef, a popular singer from Hungary. And probably the best-known of all -- aside, of course, from the French president -- is, simply, Sárközy, the archetypal Gypsy man in Hungarian literature as portrayed in Geza Gardonyi’s early 20th-century best-seller, “The Stars Of Eger.”

It is absolutely clear, however, from Nicolas Sarkozy’s official biography that there is no connection between him and the Roma -- other than the one just being established these days.

-- Eugen Tomiuc

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Written by RFE/RL editors and correspondents, Transmission serves up news, comment, and the odd silly dictator story. While our primary concern is with foreign policy, Transmission is also a place for the ideas -- some serious, some irreverent -- that bubble up from our bureaus. The name recognizes RFE/RL's role as a surrogate broadcaster to places without free media. You can write us at

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