Romania: “I understand nothing at all”

12 11 2009

Luciana Grosu, 21, Romania

‘Anarhism’ or ‘anarhie’: the Romanian words for anarchism. No one could say it better than Romanians right now as the country is struggling with economic, social, and political chaos. The critical economic situation determined the Government to propose laws that would diminish wages and pensions. Yet the constant political fight led to the collapse of Romania’s governing coalition, so 11 Ministers took charge of the country. Eventually, the Parliament passed a motion called “11 against Romania” and the newly-formed Government fell.

“The Government fell, so what?!”  a young graffiti-man asks with aggressive indifference. He is very blonde, yet wears urban black from head to toes. He is about to put his colored signature on the Titan metro station walls. He is anxiously looking around in order to make sure nobody sees him. “Look, I don’t care! All political parties are thieves! I don’t trust Government, I don’t trust President, I don’t trust Parliament! Thieves! Damn them all!” A violent answer to the peaceful question: “Who would you vote with next month?” Like many young Romanians who grew up in the communism-democracy transition times and who refuse now to get involved in political life, he thinks democracy to be a useless thing. “Nor democracy, nor dictatorship, nothing would work in Romania! I don’t believe in the myth of organized society! Down with all the authorities!” After a few moments of silence, he turns to a more philosophical way of thinking: “I don’t believe in collective salvation, only in individual salvation! Laws and rules are made by criminals for fools! No more leaders for me!”

“Very hard times for Romania, indeed”, says Veronica Marinescu, 49 years-old, Physics university professor at Magurele Institute of Physics on the outskirts of Bucharest. She is still holding in her hand the exercise book she recommended to students at her first course today. She wears blue and her eyes are sad, but calm. The country seen through her old glasses is an endangered, but not yet condemned place. “Romania should remember its European heritage, its Christian faith, its centuries-old values, its ideals of unity and solidarity. Today we are in the middle of the disaster, but this country survived many wars and crises. Maybe we’ll rise again”. Then, she remembers her own critical situation: “If the new law is voted in the Parliament, teachers will see their salaries drastically diminished and there will be no funds left for research. I have ‘no plan B’ for that. Except of going to protest in the street, of course,” she adds with a bitter smile.

Everything is so crazy in Romania right now! Teachers, miners and policemen protest together in front of the Government. Eleven people hold 21 minister positions! Government falls and all the parties think of a German –origin Prime-minister as the best solution. Yet all the political leaders are busy announcing their candidature for the November presidential elections. I understand nothing at all!” cries amused Mircea Dan, 35 years-old. He is at Carrefour Colentina supermarket, reading carefully prices and ingredients labels, trying to buy the most with less money. After all, Romania is still submerged in the economical crise. “Pensions are very small, so are state employees’ salaries. Medicines are expensive, but health care is beyond basic. Taxes rose, so now it is impossible to run your own, little business”. He has no solution for Romania: “I’ll emigrate. Maybe.  I don’t know. Maybe I’ll stay to watch TV every night and laugh!”

Romanian youth are disappointed and angry, ready to rebel or to leave the country for good. Older people try to find comfort in religion or the faith in Romania’s ability to resurrect like the Phoenix bird. Romanian press talks about insecurity, power abuse, poverty and dirty political games. Corrupted politicians fight for power. Maybe this is not (yet) anarchism. But it could become.