Sunday, December 1, 2013

Rosia Montana, banks, pharmacies, malls etc.

Today, the 1st of December 2013, we celebrate 95 years since Great Romania was born. In 1940, Bessarabia, who is now known as Moldavia, became a separate territory from Romania due to unfortunate historical circumstances.
We call the 1st of December the Great Union Day and we celebrate it with impressive military parades from 1990 onwards, ever since Ceaușescu's regime succumbed in a suspect "revolution" interpreted by many Romanian historians (for instance, Ioan Scurtu) as a coup d'état and was replaced by a Government whose members belonged to the former Communist Party or to the awkward, anti-democratic and appalling Securitate (a cruel and offensive weapon of the Communist Party, an organization of "National Security" whose purpose was to prevent ideological diversity, whose representatives killed innocent dissidents or forced them into psychiatry hospitals, a synonym for an unwanted "extended version" of NSA, to put it bluntly). In 1918, the independent territories of Moldova, Wallachia, Transylvania, Crisana, Banat and Maramures became one: the Great Romania (or „România dodoloață”, a funny name given to this weirdly-shaped - by then - country).

Until recently Romania witnessed a rapid economical growth due to an accelerated process of privatization. However, this process left an unwanted mark on the Romanian economy. It's not so easy to find a job for the Romanian graduates, most of the employers don't give a crap about the Romanian university diplomas, all they ask for is experience (unlike in Denmark, for instance, where employers ask you to have good grades in order to be employed - I've been there and the Danish system seemed to me fair and smart - you don't wanna waste your time studying unless you know it will be easier for you to find a job and future satisfaction for being yourself and sticking to your values and principles while learning to collaborate and have a DIY proactive attitude). The privatization era transformed Romania in a country fed up with foreign companies. If you think that's better, think thrice: the foreign employers want their employees to work hard for a low wage and the state doesn't really earn as much as it would have, had Romanian companies been founded instead of the foreign ones. I'm not a nationalist, but that's how things are. Romanian mentality is one of national hatred. In general, Romanian tend to hate their own fellows and blame other Romanians for the current situation our country stagnates in. Corruption is popular because Romanians hate politicians and absurd laws. Bureaucracy is widely spread, centralization is "normal", roads are awful, culture is poorly paid, education is neglected. Politicians tend to be greedy and irresponsible. Fortunately there are many activists and protesters who keep this country alive, and I would like to thank them for their voluntary effort of making Romania a better sane place to live in.

I live in a city near Bucharest. What bothers me is the enormous quantity of banks, pharmacies and malls in a city of up to 250,000 inhabitants. I've been living for a while in Aarhus, the second largest town in Denmark, and there were only a few banks over there, and they were - you guessed - Danish. Yes, the Danes love themselves and respect their economy and love each other. That's why they're the happiest people in the world. Their economy is strong because they have an impressive respect for the Danish community. The downside of this is that there are numerous tensions between Danes and immigrants - Danes tend to blame immigrants for their incompetence and greed. However, I was talking of this Romanian city full of banks, pharmacies and malls. It's not attractive. It's boring. Why would one like to live here if there's nothing fascinating, nothing personal about Ploiesti? These institutions (banks, pharmacies and malls) make it unattractive and monotonous, leaving aside those people who accept being convinced to obtain credits and pay 30 years or so for a small apartment. I'm not a Marxist, I hate Marxism. However, I hate people who make others' lives difficult and painful. How would Aarhus look like if it were full of banks and malls? Awful. Fortunately, Danes don't like this fake luxury. They are humble and consequently, that's why they earn ten times more than Romanians. They preserve their economy, they don't sell lands or firms for nothing, just to get rid of them.

I will now say a few things about Rosia Montana.

I'm not stupefied by the effort of Romanian politicians to sell the project to Canadians. It's typical of the Romanian Government. 20 years of savage capitalism made this "sell-it-for-nothing" attitude a habit. Ceausescu hated environment. So did his (or should I say "its") followers. They don't give a shit about environment. They don't act responsibly. They know how to sell everything to foreigners and be awarded huge commissions for that. When you try to oppose this attitude, they call you names (nationalist prick or whatever). They blunder all the time and don't feel shameful for it.

What gives me the creeps is the confusion between "nationalists" and patriots. "Patriotism" was a name used by Ceausescu to trigger feelings of national belonging to youngsters. Perhaps that is why none of us feels anything for Romania at the moment. "Patriotism" proved to be an illusion: people had no light in their houses and Ceausescu was pleading for Romania's historical treasure and its huge potential; people were waking up at 4:00 in the morning to buy bread (otherwise there was no way one could find anything in the shops) and Ceausescu was considering himself the "Carpathian Genius". Out of all this mess, it's reasonable that people are happy to have at their disposal so many banks and malls. They feel like "rich" or "Occidental" or I don't know. It's understandable that rich countries can afford that, but a poor country like Romania to be suffocated by these malls and's surreal. And now the whole Rosia Montana's unbelievable how greedy companies can be as to destroy important UNESCO heritages like those beautiful lands. Gold does not make one happy, but those lands surely can stir happiness. Gold can make you happy for one day, but those landscapes trigger thousand times more complex feelings. Why would one like to destroy natural beauty? Why would one like to see those lands emptied, hence reduced to nothingness - isn't it enough that 20 years of slavery have made Romania look like the trash-can of Europe, leaving aside almost 45 years of communism that made us look like the beggars of this amazing continent?

What can we do? Many people protested. I'm happy to see that we are not dead. I'm happy to see that we are heading towards a democratic future. I'm happy to see we're not sleeping while others steal our national treasures. We have the power, you have the power to act and change everything. That's the meaning of "democracy".

Romanian people did not learn the lesson of Unity. No. They're still eating each other. That's the stigma of a national-communist regime imposed by an oppressive Securitate and madmen like the Ceausescu family. That's the stigma of Corneliu Zelea-Codreanu and his killers-team who scared the hell out of innocent Jews and liberals. That's the stigma of a sheep-herd population who was silenced to death and still is by oppressive forms of government, by poverty and incompetence.

Yes, the belief. Is there such thing? Where's the belief that WE can change the world? Is there a bigger disappointment than that of seeing yourself embedded in the same lifestyle, same poverty and lack of idealism? The BELIEF that YOU are the change is almost absent from the Romanian mentality. I write this and change something. I pray and change something. I offer you a gift and change something. I protest against Romania getting poorer and poorer and change something. How do YOU change, how do YOU see the change around you, how do YOU influence the good of humanity?

Rosia Montana is the Romanian stake of dignity and accomplishment. Let's not be enslaved by those who benefit from our naivety, promiscuity and pessimism! Let's try and focus on our most precious authentic values! Let's move on and make Romania a better place to live! Let's LIVE in a splendorous Romania by opposing this kind of theft! Let's make a beautiful story out of our life!

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