Sarah in Romania

18 avril 2014

Arethia Tătărescu - the lady and the bust

Arethia_Tatarascu bust(Photo source) Too busty. Too voluptuous. Too suggestive. Doesn't correspond to reality. It must go! According to the Ministry of Culture, this sums up the bust of Arethia Tătărescu by Paul Popescu erected in Targu-Jiu and inaugurated last October in the park named after her.

The bust of her husband (rather voluptuous, too), Romania's inter-bellum prime minister Gheorghe Tătărescu, nearby is also to be removed because local authorities never asked permission from the Ministry of Culture to erect it in the first place.

So, to summarise: one bust (excuse the pun) is aesthetically unrepresentative whilst the other is purely and simply illegal.

arethia-tatarescu(Photo source) All this hullabaloo got me goagăling Arethia Tătărescu, since I knew nothing about her. Not only was she beautiful, she was also an incredibly influential personality in terms of art and culture, particularly in the county of Gorj.

Born on 16th September, 1889 into a well-to-do family of landowners, she lost her father Gheorghe Piteşteanu at a young age. Accompanied by her grandmother, little Arethia and her two brothers, Gheorghe and Alexandru left for Belgium where she studied painting and piano.

She returned home in 1916 and met Gheorghe Tătărescu, who came from a wealthy family in Vlăduleni, Gorj county. The couple married the same year in Craiova.

World War I spelled the departure of her husband to the front. Arethia finally followed him to Moldova, joining him in Botosani (1919) where he was serving as aide to the commander of the officers' school of infantry. After the war, the Tătărescus returned to Bucharest.

Following a trip to the Punjab, Gheorghe and Arethia Tătărescu bought land near Poiana Rovinari, where they built a mansion. Arethia carried out extensive activities to popularise traditions of the region.

In a sign of appreciation for work done to highlight the heritage of Gorj, Arethia Tătărescu was elected President of the National League of Romanian Women - Section Gorj. In this role, she worked tirelessly for the cultural and social development of Targu-Jiu.

Although her husband was devoted to his political career, Arethia remained distant from it. An aristocrat in thought and sensitivity, her beauty and discretion earned her great respect and gratitude in Gorj.

arethia and brancusi(Photo source: Arethia Tătărescu [centre] with Constantin Brancusi) In 1935, she asked sculptor Constantin Brancusi (born in Hobita, Gorj) to fulfil his dream in building a memorial in Targu-Jiu for the heroes who had sacrificed their lives for the country in World War I. In May 1936, the city was ranked a tourist attraction, thus able to draw funds from the ministries for building the monument. Known as The Monumental Sculptural Ensemble in Targu- Jiu, Arethia Tătărescu's initiative and constant support earned her the name of Great Lady of Gorj. The Ensemble is today one of Romania's great cultural highlights.

For her countless social, cultural and humanitarian contributions, Arethia Tătărescu was awarded the title of Honorary Citizen of the City of Targu-Jiu on 13 September 1936. 

I wonder what she would have thought of Paul Popescu's sculptural depiction. Would she have been terribly embarrassed? Perhaps. Though vaguely clothed, it does not portray a lady of such elegance and dedication. For once, the MC's decision gets my vote.

 

Posté par Sarah in Romania à 15:19 - Commentaires [0] - Permalien [#]


29 mars 2014

Prahova: A child dead, a father beaten, compunction absent...

proteste2(Photo source) I've just read THIS article (in French) dated 22nd March and am staggered. This is 'old news' now in Romania, but 'new news' to me, and I can only say WTF???! WHY isn't the death of this child in Ariceştii Rahtivani, Prahova being yelled from the rooftops and internationally condemned on a massive scale?? WHY aren't officials being removed from their positions, brought to book and thrown in jail?? Here is my translation with links added where possible and (my) notes in square brackets:

A child dead, a father beaten: support for the Furcelea family

rig (Photo source: Frack Off Romania - the unprotected rig on the day of Marian's funeral)

During the night of 27-28 February, Marian Furcelea aged 9 was found dead near an unprotected OMV-Petrom rig situated between his home and school. Cause of death: poisoning by toxic gas inhalation. [Just for the record, OMV-Petrom is a Romanian oil company, the largest corporation in the country and the largest gas and oil producer in E. Europe] 

A week after Marian died, OMV-Petrom had a fence erected around the previously open site. [Too little, too late]

It was when the family decided to launch proceedings to sue Petrom for negligence that their problems really began...

Marian's father, Cristian, was grilled by police for taking photos of the fence being put up after his son died. He was also threatened by the mayor [Alexandru Cristea].

Petrom filed a complaint against Mr. Furcelea with the help of the senior management of child protection, laying responsibility for Marian's death at the feet of his parents because they had not accompanied him on his route home from school.

Not long afterwards [on 21st March], an anti-riot police van drew up in front of the Furcelea family's home and took Marian's father off to the child protection centre [the article doesn't say why, but I'm presuming it was on the pretext of a hearing]. On arrival, the anti-riot police in the van laid into him (on order?), kicking, punching him and spraying him in the face with some kind of paralysis substance. If he talked or posted [on internet?] anything, they told him, he'd be 'taken care of'.

As if that wasn't enough, they hacked into his mobile phone and told him, "from now on, we'll know everything you say and to whom". This is how anti-riot police work in Romania - on the orders of high-ranking officials under the influence of petroleum companies. 

Even the doctors who refused to provide Mr. Furcelea with a legal document pertaining to his injuries admitted he had been beaten up. He is still in hospital and can barely speak. Such intimidation gave Cristian Furcelea cause to consider dropping the whole affair in fear for his life, but he has decided to press on for his son.

Marian's father was not only brutalised because he is trying to obtain some kind of justice for Marian, but because he spoke out to the press about what is happening in his village.

marian-furcelea-constanta-lumanari-8(Photo source - candles lit for Marian in Constanta) I saw this story on my FB newsfeed last week, but was unsure of the sources so ignored it - mea culpa. Concerned that I was being lead down the garden path and into the toolshed so to speak (it wouldn't be the first time, after all), I started googling this morning spotting more posts on my newsfeed. HERE is an article from Gândul which has been used by other news sites (couldn't journalists be bothered to come up with an original text? Seriously?!), THIS from Romania Libera, THIS (with video) from Digi24 and THIS from Hotnews. There is also plenty on line via sites and blogs. HERE is a good, concise article from The Epoch Times (in Romanian).

So where is the international press, then? Marian's death has lead to an outcry from ecological activistssupport from people all over Romania and the funeral itself became a mass protest attended by activists and environmentalists from towns all over the country. A demonstration took place at Piata Universitatii in Bucharest on 23rd March to show solidarity with the Furcelea family. Not only have they had their grief dragged through the mud, but Mr. Furcelea has been severely beaten, threatened, intimidated and humiliated.

A small chapter missing from the above article is mentioned HERE. Apparently, soon after Marian died, Cristian went to the spot where his son had been found to lay flowers. When he arrived, he was surprised to find Petrom employees putting up the afore-mentioned perimetre fence. They called the police on grounds that he was trespassing on private property. "I was arrested and fined," said Cristian Furcelea. "They said I had trespassed on private property. Shouldn't that fence have been there before my son died?" At the time this article was written (March 10th), ie. two weeks following Marian's death, the family still had not received any message of condolence from Petrom....

According to Gândul, Georgian Drăgan, spokesman for the Prahova County Police Inspectorate, confirmed that a criminal investigation had been launched for possible manslaughter. When contacted by AFP, OMV-Petrom representatives said: "The investigation is ongoing. We are working closely with the authorities." Yes, I'm sure. You scratch my back and I'll scratch yours. Considering that it was the 'authorities' who had the bejeezers beaten out of poor Cristian Furcelea resulting in a week of hospitalisation, I personally don't hold out much hope.

Hope becomes increasingly more fragile when you read THIS update (21st March) from Nasul TV in which Leonard Dragomirescu, another spokesman for Prahova County Police, states that he checked the necessary documentation and had come to the conclusion that Mr Furcelea had NOT been taken anywhere by jandarmi of Prahova. Huh?! Furthermore, Major Mitrea (another spokesman, this time Gruparii Mobile de Jandarmi Ploiesti) says that no agent from his station in Ploiesti went to the Furcelea house either. He too had looked into the matter (they're all so hard-working, bless them) and no team had ever been sent there. So, what happened? If it really wasn't the police from Prahova or Ploiesti, then who beat up and intimidated Mr Furcelea?

death certificate(Photo source) Whether or not some of you may be thinking that the Furcelea family's awful string of suffering is being used/manipulated for certain ends, there are three main issues here that can be neither denied nor ignored: 1) a dead child and a grieving family; 2) the incomprehensible lack of security, competence and decency from OMV-Petrom that ought to know better (bearing in mind this is a Romanian company with Romanian employees on Romanian land with a Romanian child who has died and a Romanian family in mourning); 3) the unscrupulous bully-boy treatment by puppets acting on orders of their unscrupulous bully-boy bosses (mayors, police chiefs, managers, etc) who are under the thumbs of unscrupulous bully-boy politicians not wanting to upset (read 'lose face and money from') these giant companies. And those three points all converge to the one destructive, lethal cancer that has metastasised throughout Romania's political class post-'89: GREED.

Marian's death has not only highlighted the unfathomable levels of corruption along with a shocking lack of compunction, but also the gaping void where humanity should be.

montaj-sonde-romania-austria-11

(Photo source: Spot the difference)

 

 

 

 

 

I'll end this sad yet indignant post with a message from Frack off Romania on what we can do next. Please take the time to read it, for there are many different ways something can be done on small and larger scales. This cannot be allowed to happen again. Unless there is international media attention to shame those responsible and get something done, it will. Again and again. Thank you.

INTERNATIONAL SUPPORT URGENTLY NEEDED!

Please help!!! Here's how:

1. Spread the word!!! (media, NGOs for human rights, environmental protection and citizens' groups fighting fossil fuels and extractivism)

2. Help us find international lawyers (specialised in human rights) to work pro bono. There are hardly any Romanian lawyers who would stand up against this giant company.

3. Write letters of complaint to the Romanian Minister of Interior in charge of the Riot Police and the OMV Petrom headquarters in Vienna.

Emails:

Romanian Ministry of Internal Affairs – petitii@mai.gov.ro

OMV HQ Vienna – info.ep@omv.com

Petrom HQ Bucharest – office@petrom.com

4. Financial aid is needed for this family to bear the cost of legal fees. We have already sent 110 euros collected from donations. Further donations will be withdrawn from paypal on Monday.

Donations can be sent:
a) in RON: Peacocks Razvan Marius IBAN: RO85BACX0000000679700000, SWIFT: BACXROBU
b) in Euros: Peacocks Razvan Marius IBAN: RO31BACX0000000679700002, SWIFT: BACXROBU, with Tiriac Bank
c) via paypal : razvan.paune@yahoo.com
d) by MoneyGram or Western: Hettie Benedek, Romania (Please let her know by writing to: hetti.benedek@yandex.com)

All info as to how donations are being managed and used is posted HERE.

For anyone wanting further details, please write to hetti.benedek@yandex.com

THANK YOU IN ADVANCE FOR YOUR SOLIDARITY AND SUPPORT!

 

For more in Romanian (except where indicated), please see Digi24, Digi24 again, EVZ, PRO TV, Realitatea, Nasul TV, Gândul, Romania Libera, Hotnews, Basta!Gaz (in French), InfoIinsider.ro, Epoch Times, activist Hetti Benedek's FB page,  Frack off Romania (in English) and Observatorulph.ro

 

1st April UPDATE: Info from Hetti Benedek's FB wall: Hetti spoke to Cristian Furcelea yesterday. First off, he has managed to get the necessary discharge papers from the hospital, which (I guess) prove he was there and why, and, more importantly, the treatment he received. They are currently with his nephew, but once Cristian has them, they can be added to his file against the county police.

Also yesterday, Hetti sent the family 750 RON (approx. 170 euros) towards legal fees in their case against OMV-Petrom. The search for a pro bono lawyer continues, so if anyone has any connections for that, please contact Hetti either via FB or at hetti.benedek@yandex.com.

Further news is that a formal complaint filed by activists from Ploiesti to the county police on behalf of Cristian Furcelea has been answered. Signed by George Dinica at Prahova County Police Inspectorate, the response repeats that they were not responsible for Cristian's arrest, subsequent beating, etc., but does not 'exclude' the possibility that the police team could have been sent from another area or county. There will be a full police investigation. Let's hope they will do what needs to be done without bias, and those found to have carried out such a brutal act dealt with appropriately.

2nd April UPDATE: Activist Hetti Benedek received the hospital discharge papers for Cristian Furcelea today, where you can read in black and white that he had been beaten up. Great, right? Wrong. This is Absurdistan, after all. It seems that the hospital discharge document is invalid. Why? Because it has been replaced by a NEW discharge document. This is the OLD one that hasn't been in administrative circulation for 4 years. Cristian must be in possession of a document called HIPOCRATE which is used on a national scale these days. Absolutely insane. WHY would a hospital give a document to a patient proving his admission, discharge, diagnosis and treatment that is no longer valid throughout the entire country, so useless, unless that was the plan. A nice sowing of obstacles... Does Mr Furcelea now have to take on the health service as well as the police and OVM-Petrom? Come on. Give the guy a break.

In this latest update, Hetti also adds that she has sent donations that cover half the lawyer's fees in the case against the county police so far. The family DESPERATELY need a pro bono lawyer, so if anyone has any connections, please contact Hetti.

More news as it happens (and bravo Hetti!).

2nd April, 23h:  Hetti (not only activist now, but super-sleuth extraordinaire) found out earlier today that if the 'old' papers from the hospital are signed by a doctor, they are accepted in a court of law. Amazingly enough, they ARE signed by a doctor, so thank goodness for that!

 

Posté par Sarah in Romania à 16:06 - Commentaires [2] - Permalien [#]

25 mars 2014

Happy Birthday, dear Ana Blandiana!

ana1(Photo source) How difficult it is to write about Ana Blandiana, one of Romania's most outstanding contemporary poets (and my favourite), for I cannot find the words deep enough nor rich enough to describe her. With every bit of the country of my heart that gets destroyed and abused, my faith in humanity dies a little. People like Ana Blandiana, Doina Cornea, Ion Varlam, the not-long deceased Vasile Paraschiv, the much-mourned Cicerone Ionescu and others like them bring that faith back to life again....

I must admit to having become something of an 'Ana-groupie' over the last fourteen years. Sighetu Marmatiei, Bucharest, Paris... Buying her (translated) books, getting them signed and meeting her is always a joy, for wherever she is, that incredible warmth and that lovely smile simply overwhelm everyone and everything else within a two mile radius. Her humanity and her goodness are so enveloping that she lights up an entire room. Her courage through such unthinkable times, her tableaux of honesty, decency and fate painted through the words of her poetry and her constant battling for freedom make her a rarity. The world needs more Ana Blandianas. Far more.

If the name 'Ana Blandiana' draws a blank for anyone out there, let's nip that in the bud at once!

ana2(Photo source) Otilia Valeria Coman was born on 25th March, 1942 in Timisoara. When she was fifteen, she and a group of school friends who would read poetry to each other decided to have a contest on who could come up with the best pseudonym. Otilia put Ana together with Blandiana (the name of her mother's village near Vintu de Jos in Alba County) to rhyme and ended up winning the contest. Sending two poems to a magazine in Cluj (Tribunal) under the newly found pen-name, they were both published. However, afraid of getting into trouble for using a false name, Otilia wrote to the magazine admitting it was a nom de plume. One of the editors, obviously recognising her talent, replied: "Your name is staying as it is. From now on, you are Ana Blandiana." And that, as they say, was that. Ana Blandiana was born.

She described what happened next in an interview in 2003 with Naomi Frandzen of Georgetown University (Washington DC):

"Unfortunately, within two weeks, the authorities of Oradea had found out who I was (remember I was just a child of 15 or 16) and sent a memo to all literary publications across the country. After ‘89, this very memo was published in a collection of documents that I read only recently in the archives of Iasi stating, "We call your attention to the fact that the daughter of the enemy of the people, Gheorghe Coman, currently in prison, is hiding under the name Ana Blandiana and should not be published." This was my first ban. After '89, I remember saying in an interview (which later became famous) that the paradox of my destiny was that I was known as a banned writer before I was even known as a writer. No one knew who I was, I had only published two poems and yet the whole literary community knew that there was a little girl who was censored..."

Her father, Gheorghe (1915-1964) was originally a high school teacher who became a priest when he was forbidden to teach, and spent many years in communist prisons. He died in an accident a couple of days after his release through a general amnesty. Her father's influence is not only seen in her intrinsically spiritual vision of existence, but also in her dissidence and independence of thought.

Marrying essayist Romulus Rusan in 1960, Ana studied at the Babeș-Bolyai University in Cluj from 1963-7. After graduation, she settled in Bucharest and worked as a literary magazine editor and fine arts librarian. Ten years later, she was able to write full-time - not only poetry and prose fiction but also regular columns for cultural newspapers. From 1974-91, she wrote for the major weekly Revista Literara, with a number of gaps during which the Ceausescu government censored the publication of her work. 

ana totul(Image source) In 1984, Ana Blandiana's unforgettable poem 'Totul' ('Everything' - see HERE in English with explanations) was briefly published in the literary magazine Amfiteatru. 'Totul' was a list of elements of daily life in Bucharest at the time, contrasting the 'official' view of life in Romania with the peoples' perception of its monotonous drabness and gloom. The upshot was the withdrawal of Amfiteatru's edition within hours of publication and the firing of all editors. Nevertheless, the poem appeared in translation in Western media and also had limited underground circulation in Romania.

In 1988, she was denounced to the authorities as being the author of "Motanul Arpagic", a thinly disguised fable which ridiculed the Conducator, represented by a tomcat (hers, in fact!). Although she was not arrested, she became a virtual prisoner in her own home. Her post was restricted, her phone cut off, she was put under constant Securitate surveillance and her visitors were intimidated. These conditions would probably have gone on for a great deal longer had Ceausescu not been overthrown in December 1989. Restrictions were then lifted and the Securitate surveillance car parked in front of her house finally disappeared.

Ana Blandiana's stature in Romania in the early '90s was of a greatly respected writer and a widely known voice of decency and freedom, honoured for her defiance and resistance. Fundamentally non-political, she nonetheless played several prominent roles during and after the lovilutie. A member of the provisional government briefly from 1991-3, she was president of a non-partisan  coalition of opposition interests. She was also president of the Romanian PEN Centre (today presided over by Magda Carneci) promoting literature and freedom of expression, which she helped organise after 1989.
.
Her works have won numerous prizes at home as well as the Herder Prize in Austria and international fellowships to the United States (the Iowa International Writing Programme) and Berlin (the German Arts Academy). Almost half of her 46 books have been translated into as many as 16 languages.
.
I Believe
 I believe that we are a botanic nation
Otherwise, where do we get this calmness
In which we await the shedding of our leaves?
Where from the courage
To start sliding ourselves on the sleep-toboggan
Close to death,
With the certainty
That we shall be
Resurrected?
I believe that we are a botanic nation -
Whoever saw
A rebelling tree?
.
(from the Mascara Literary Review, translated by Daria Florea)

ana4(Photo source) Ana Blandiana and Romulus Rusan (creator of NGO Alianța Civică in 1990) are both known and much admired in Romania (and beyond) for the founding in 1993 of The Memorial to the Victims of Communism and to the Resistance at the notorious penitentiary in Sighetu Marmatiei, northern Maramures. Both the museum there and the International Centre for Studies into Communism (in Bucharest) have shattered the barriers of taboo on crucial topics and previously unexplored territory stimulating debate via symposia, seminars, workshops and round-table discussions.

"In Romania, we discovered that more than 200 revolts of farmers took place against forced collectivisation but had remained unknown to the public," says Ana Blandiana.

"Understanding what took place - the repression we felt for 50 years - one can understand the hangover from this period of totalitarianism in Romania, and why the country still struggles to establish the rule of law and a solid democracy," she adds.

The memorial's web-page says: "The greatest victory of communism, a victory dramatically revealed only after 1989, was to create people without a memory – a brainwashed new man unable to remember what he was, what he had, or what he did before communism.
The creation of the Memorial to the Victims of Communism and to the Resistance is a means of counteracting this victory, a means of resuscitating collective memory.
Made up of the Sighet Museum and the International Centre for Studies into Communism based in Bucharest, as well as holding Summer Schools, the Memorial is an institution of Memory, unique in that it is simultaneously an institute of research, museography and education. 
To the question, "Can memory be relearned?" the answer of the Memorial to the Victims of Communism and to the Resistance in Romania is a resounding "Yes".
.
And that, to me, sums up Ana Blandiana. Her soul-searching poems are deep contemplation on human fate and moral responsibility whilst love is her inspiration. Throughout it all, her generosity of heart, compassion and continual quest for truth, justice, freedom and democratic change have never waned. She was never tainted. There is only one Ana Blandiana. God bless her.
.
Hunting
I have never run after words,
All I have sought
Was their long
Silver shadows,
Dragged by the sun through grass
Or drawn by the moon over the sea;
I have never hunted
Anything but the shadows of words -
It is very skilful hunting
Learned from old people
Who know
That within a word
Nothing is more precious
Than its shadow
And they no longer have a shadow,
The words that have no souls.

(from The Hour of Sand, Selected Poems 1969-1989, p.58, translated by Peter Jay and Anca Cristofovici)

 

Posté par Sarah in Romania à 15:09 - Commentaires [3] - Permalien [#]

22 mars 2014

David Croitor - 'dor' on canvas

rooves of Bucharest(Image source: David Croitor - Acoperisuri in Bucurestiul vechi) Not long ago and quite by chance, I fell upon the work of artist David Croitor on my Facebook newsfeed. Instantly charmed by his style, colours and subjects, I rushed off to find out more. Befriending him on FB, I discovered not only a deeply sensitive artist, but a very nice chap holding the brush.

Member of the Writers' and Artists' Association in Vatra Dornei (his home), the "Nicolae Tonitza" Art Association in Suceava and the Artists' Association in Mures, David Croitor was born in Suceava in 1958. He studied under artist Dimitrie Loghin (1910-1982) from 1978 and then Aurel Aniţei in Bucharest from 1981 before going on to graduate at the capital's Geology Faculty. His first solo exhibition was held at the University of Bucharest in 1986, which lead to many more. Since then, he has participated in many collective and personal exhibitions and, today, his work can be found in private collections in the UK, Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Greece, Canada and the US. 

381529_4160483270419_1347415155_n(Image source: David Croitor) Favouring oil, there's definitely something of the Van Gogh in David's work. From villages to landscapes, still life to portraits, it is impossible to look away until you have soaked up the vibrance, the tenderness, that are present in each and every one.

David's inspiration is deeply rooted in his native Bucovina. The smell of newly stacked hay is almost overwhelming, the clip-clop of horses as clear as day and the old houses so touching in their colourful lopsidedness that they utterly melt your heart. From each deserted street, each neglected or abandoned home, each ricketty roof, hidden poetry is born.

courtyard(Image source: David Croitor) To Balcic, the rooves of Bucharest, a garden step, a field of sunflowers, the boats of Sozopol, wherever they take you, they are all a cry for home... Dor.

Beautiful. Passionate. Without exception.

 

For more of David's work, please visit his website HERE and/or his Facebook page HERE.

 

Uranus

 

(Image source: David Croitor - Bucurestiul vechi , cartierul Uranus [demolat] u/p , 72/65 cm, 2010)

 

 

 

 

 

Ponoarele

 

 

 

(Image source: David Croitor - Ponoarele, Mehedinti)

 

 

 

 

casa veche-croitor

 

 

 

 

 

(Image source: David Croitor - Casa Veche)

 

 

DSC02529_inset

 

 

 

 

 

(Image source: David Croitor)

 

 

balcic poarta spre mare

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Image source: David Croitor - Balcic, poarta spre mare)

 

All images published with the kind permission of David Croitor. Thank you!

Posté par Sarah in Romania à 17:25 - Commentaires [4] - Permalien [#]

21 mars 2014

Book launch: 'Ultimul Nud' by Ellis Avery

ultimul nud launch (Image source) The launching of Ultimul Nud (The Last Nude) by Ellis Avery, translated into Romanian by translator and journalist (ex-Reuters) Roxana Dascalu at Libraria Humanitas near Cismigiu on April 1st at 19h promises to be full of surprises. A translator of prose and poetry for Lettre Internationale, the Romanian Writers' Union and Cultura magazine, this is Roxana's literary 'book' debut.

Hosted by Denisa Comănescu (poet and director of Humanitas Fiction since 2007), the evening will include an eight minute reading by promising young actress Ada Condeescu, a presentation by the head of the book's translation editors, another speaker yet to be divulged and a speech by Roxana herself on the 'pangs' of translation. If I know anything at all about Roxana, it'll be full of wit and honesty, so don't miss it! Also invited: Ioana Avădani, director of the Centre for Independent Journalism in Romania; journalist for AP Alison Mutler and Pavel Șușară, journalist, author, critic and art historian.

In what is still considered a pretty homophobic country, this is a brave debut for Roxana. As is the case in a number of other Eastern European countries, Romania remains socially conservative with regard to the rights of its gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender citizens. In June last year, an amendment to Romania's new constitution backed by MPs and the Orthodox Church defined marriage as a union between a man and a woman uniquely, and only last week, the bill on same sex civil partnerships was unanimously ruled against by a parliamentary committee. Proposed by Green MP Remus Cernea, it met with staunch opposition from all parties in the Senate with just 2 votes in favour and 105 against, before being overwhelmingly rejected by the judicial Commission of Romania’s Chamber of Deputies. Cernea hopes to reintroduce the bill at a later date, although given the stiff resistence, it is unlikely to fare much better for some time yet.

Despite that, Romania has made progress in LGBT rights legislation since 2000. Over the last ten years, it has fully decriminalised homosexuality, introduced and enforced wide-ranging anti-discrimination laws (though how much they are upheld, I cannot say), equalised the age of consent and introduced laws against homophobic hate crimes. Furthermore, LGBT communities have become more visible in recent years, as a result of events such as Bucharest's annual GayFest Pride Parade and Cluj-Napoca's Gay Film Nights festival. In 2006, Romania was named by Human Rights Watch as one of five countries in the world that had made "exemplary progress in combating rights abuses based on sexual orientation or gender identity."

Having said that, The National Council for Combating Discrimination released a report, "Perceptions and Attitudes Regarding Discrimination in Romania" in April 2012. The results were pretty shocking and show there is still a long way to go:

  • 18% felt that homosexuals were discriminated very little.
  • 17% believed sexual minorities were badly discriminated.
  • 31% responded that they would not feel comfortable at all around a homosexual person and 30% would feel only slightly comfortable.
  • 63% stated they would be very much bothered if a same-sex person would try to make advances toward them.
  • 54% stated they would never have a meal with a homosexual.
  • 48% stated they would be very disturbed if they found out that a family member was gay.
  • 40% would be equally disturbed if their children had a gay teacher.

On 7 November 2012, the Romanian Institute for Evaluation and Strategy released a three part study. In part II, the study notes the following level of tolerance toward homosexuals:

  • 79.7% of those questioned would not want a homosexual neighbor
  • 53% preferred that homosexuality be outlawed (compared to 62% in 2006)

last nude (Photo source) Books by known gay and lesbian authors have been selling in Romania for years - Anais Nin, Edith Wharton, Alice Walker and Maya Angelou spring to mind. I won't even bother to mention Oscar Wilde, DH Lawrence and Virginia Woolf (whose works don't come under the LGBT flag, but were either gay or bisexual in any case). Carturesti bookstores have had LGBT book sections since last summer. The arrival of Ultimul Nud in Romanian will, I hope, lead to a little more understanding, an opening of minds and an increase in tolerance that was so lacking in the 2012 reports. Either that, or it'll go completely the other way and cause an utter scandal... Whichever way it goes, it will hit the press, get people talking, lead to debate and that can only be for the greater good, right? The days of taboo, single-minded ignorance and the refusal to accept those different from oneself when it comes to sexuality should be well and truly over at this point in time, as countries all over the world and various states in the US (excluding the bible-bashing belt) welcome same sex unions.

But back to the book, winner of the 2013 American Library Association, Stonewall Book and Barbara Gittings Literature Awards, and an excellent review from The Historical Novel Society:

In this stunningly intimate reimagining of an important year in the life of Tamara de Lempicka, we follow the young woman who was her muse for several famous paintings, in particular La Belle Rafaela. On her way from the United States to Italy, Rafaela Fano stole away to France to escape an arranged marriage. Destitute and nearing desperation, a chance meeting with Tamara turned into a lucrative job, and eventually a relationship between the two women.

Once La Belle Rafaela was finished and set to appear at the Salon, selling even before the event, two mysterious art enthusiasts begin to vie for Tamara’s remaining works – especially the ones featuring Rafaela. Mostly told through Rafaela’s perspective, we find in her an honest protagonist, sympathetically portrayed and easily liked. Tamara’s character, however, is an intriguing mix of credulous wonder and grudging admiration that has the reader questioning her motives.

Free April 1st at 19h? Then get thee to Humanitas near Cismigiu!

 

For more on this event, please see Adevarul, Ziarul de duminica, DiaCaf, Bookuria, Catchy, Hotnews and Herald.

Posté par Sarah in Romania à 17:08 - Commentaires [4] - Permalien [#]



28 février 2014

The neighbours, the cats and the dog-catchers... :( :(

dogcatcherThere is horrific news this evening of an attack on 16 cats in Bucharest - attacks by animals of the two-legged variety I hasten to add. For now, it all still remains rather vague, but here is what happened as I understand it:

Once upon a time, an elderly lady who lived in an apartment block at str. Arad nr. 49 in Bucharest looked after 16 pussycats. Some stayed with her indoors whilst others were fed in the courtyard. Unfortunately, the lady became very ill and is currently in hospital. Her nephew either moved into the flat or was going backwards and forwards in any case, and let the cats all out into the street. Apparently, he's not much of a cat fan.

It is not clear how long the cats were out there, but the neighbours started to complain. And SOMEONE contacted the dog-catchers. Dog-catchers? For cats? Or maybe the person simply didn't know the difference between the two. You'd think the dog-catcher would know. In any case, the dog-catchers showed up and... oh God... shot the cats with tranquilisers, threw poison (furadan) over them, chucked them all in a cage next to a bunch of dogs and took them off to a dog shelter.

Fourteen of the sixteen cats died, either from the tranquilisers, the poison or from shock.

The two little darlings that survived were rescued from the shelter by a lady after the story broke, and taken to the vets. One of them, a Burmese (a BURMESE!!!) was soaked in furadan.

Apart from the initial horror of such heinous brutality (both on the part of the neighbours AND on the part of the dog-catchers), this raises some VERY worrying questions:

1) Is it legal for dog-catchers to concern themselves with CATS?

2) Is it legal for CATS to be taken by dog-catchers to shelters for DOGS?!

3) The lady who rescued the cats from the dog shelter was apparently asked to sign an adoption paper. Whaaaat?!? They were cats NOT dogs. Since when did dog shelters have contracts for adopting cats?!

Law 258 /26-09-2013 stipulates management for homeless dogs. Nowhere does it mention cats.

Now, the director of the Politia Comunitara in sector 1, Andrei Mihail, is asking for the two surviving cats to be returned to the shelter for adoptions are not permitted until 7 days have passed. Mais...je rêve... ou quoi?! It's one irregularity after another resulting in one grotesque aberration.

This is not the first time such a story has shocked animal-lovers (and even those who aren't). Not that long ago, an elderly blind man in Bucharest was forced by 'authorities' to take his cats into a field on the outskirts of the city and LEAVE THEM THERE. He couldn't see, but he HEARD them being mauled apart by dogs.

What is happening in the city of my heart? What has caused individuals from such a warm and generous nation to do such evil things? Were they beaten as children? Denied dolls and teddybears? Forced to play soldiers? Or are they just weak, pathetic people who have no other way to get their kicks? Empty beer cans where their hearts should be? For the last few years, we have constantly read about the appalling abuse piled on the long-suffering street dogs. And as if that's not bad enough, now it's cats. Cats!

This is a story that needs distributing and more info is required. What happened to those 14 little souls certainly doesn't seem to have been legal, no matter which way you chew on it. Heads should roll. The nephew, the neighbours, the dog-catchers, the local police, City Hall - whoever has a gramme of responsibility should feel the pain of furadon splashed all over them and the powerless terror of a tranquiliser-overdose whilst lying in a cage left to die. It is too late for the 14 angels murdered today. The 2 who miraculously survived, I hope, will be allowed to remain with their kind rescuer for the rest of their days. And I hope to God that the poor old lady lying in hospital NEVER gets to know what an idiot she has for a nephew (if she hasn't already twigged), nor, above all, what happened to the cats she loved and fed.

Today I wanted to write a nostalgic blog about 1 Martie, the first day of spring. Instead, I end up writing a horror story. A shameful story. A story that shows a mentality so cruel, so warped, that it is beyond description.

I look at my own cats and thank the powers that be that they live in a civilised country...

 

Posté par Sarah in Romania à 21:55 - Commentaires [3] - Permalien [#]

08 février 2014

Farewell to Cicerone Ionitoiu

cicerone ionitoiu(Photo source) Oh, how sad... I have just seen a post on the Facebook page of La Maison Roumaine by its president Alexandre Herlea on the recent death of writer, resistance fighter and political prisoner under the communist regime Cicerone Ionitoiu. Here is a translation of Mr Herlea's words:

'Cicerone Aristotel Traian Ionitoiu, the great Romanian anti-communist resistant, died in Paris today, 26th January 2014.

La Maison Roumaine announces the death of one of the most representative of Romanian anti-communist resistance fighters at Hôpital St Antoine with immense sadness.

Born on 8th May 1924 in Craiova, he joined in the fight against soviet occupiers and their allies immediately after the Second World War. From a modest peasant family, he was a student of history and part of the youth leaders of the PNT (
Parti National Paysan Roumain) - the largest democratic party in the country. With a courage and determination that seemed to have no bounds, Ionitoiu tirelessly lead the fight for the freedom, democracy and dignity of the Romanian people.

Arrested by the communists, he was sentenced to a total of 26 years - he did 10. Released in 1964 when pressure from the West opened up the political prisons, he continued his fight first in Romania and then, after 1979, in France where he sought refuge following intervention from President Président Valérie Giscard d'Estaing.

ionitoiu(Photo source) In Paris, he continued to be extremely active. After the death of Nicolas Penesco (1982) he took over the position of leader of the PNT in exile, organising an "Association des Anciens Détenus Politiques Roumains" together with Remus Radina, and above all, developing an extraordinary activity for the denunciation of crimes committed by the communists in Romania. Ionitoiu wrote a number of highly impressive works, amongst them: "Tombes sans croix" (Graves without crosses), the "Dictionnaire des victimes du communisme" (Dictionary of the victims of communism), "La persécution de l'Eglise en Roumanie" (The persecution of the church in Romania), "La résistance armée des Roumains dans la montagne" (The armed Romanian resistance of the mountains) (1944 - 1960). His last book, "Figures de légende" (Faces of legend) appeared in Decembre 2014.

After 1989, he took an active role in the rebirth of the PNT, helped its president Corneliu Coposu and denounced the acts of those who were really in power in Romania: the political police and the nomenklatura. With firmness and lucidity, he refused any form of collaboration with either.

Cicerone Ionitoiu was a credit to Romania and to his generation. May he rest in peace. La Maison Roumaine sends its sincere condolences to his loved ones.'

ionitoiu2(Photo source) Almost more upsetting than his death (to me) was that had I not seen Mr Herlea's post, I would not have known he had left us. The Romanian press hardly batted an eyelid except for Adevarul who published a good piece by Alex Stefanescu. Surely, the passing of such a man could not have gone unnoticed. Someone who remained faithful to his conscience and moral values in such an unequal struggle that resulted in exile, suffered such inhumane brutality at the hands of the communists, lived (and survived) the horrors of just about every jail in Romania including Jilava, Râmnicu Sărat (article by Ionitoiu) and Pitesti, and then devoted his entire life to documenting their heinous crimes, surely deserves better. Could it be that he really is simply unknown in his native homeland? If so, then for shame.

Eye on Romania says that it was mentioned in "three small newspapers - all of them just reprinting a press release from the PNTCD party. No additional research or background material was provided as the “journalists” literally just printed the press release word for word." How disgusting. Please do read Sam's excellent post on Ionitoiu - it's absolutely overflowing with information.

What a travesty that the loss of this incredible man was not given more importance in the very country for which he waged such a courageous war against the evils of an oppressive, insane regime for liberty and the future of our children. Instead, I learn of it from the president of an association here in Paris and an American living in Cluj... Thank you, Romanian press for your absence of respect, effort and  embarrassing indifference.

May Cicerone Ionitoiu rest in peace at last - and may all those like him who tirelessly fought for the freedom and dignity of the Romanian people not get too dizzy turning in their graves as they see what has become of the population for whom they so relentlessly battled...

For more, please see Contributors, Revista 22 (very brief), Adevarul, IICMER (the Institute for the Investigation of Communist Crimes and the Memory of the Romanian Exile) and Război întru Cuvânt. Hotnews and Mediafax, what happened to you?

 

Posté par Sarah in Romania à 19:14 - Commentaires [5] - Permalien [#]

Gabriela Moga Lazar

affiche_Angers_GML_vestigii_negru I have just received an e-mail from Simina Lazar who is currently organising an exhibition in Angers of some of the wonderful tapestries created by her mother, artist Gabriela Moga Lazar. She writes,

"Moi, je continue avec l’organisation des  expositions de tapisseries de  ma mère, Gabriela Moga Lazar. Maintenant  j’organise une exposition à Angers (la cité de la renaissance de la tapisserie). 

Il y a quelques années,  elle a eu déjà une exposition aux environs d’Angers. A l’époque, la conseillère de la région pour le Patrimoine avait beaucoup aimé ses tapisseries et c’est elle qui les a proposé maintenant à la Mairie d’Angers..   

La Mairie d’Angers m’a accordé l’espace d’exposition de la Tour Saint Aubin pour la période 21 février - 3 mars. Le vernissage est un jour avant : jeudi 20 février.

Je t’envoie l’invitation pour le cas où, par hasard, tu arrives dans la région d’Angers…  (Viens – c’est une très belle ville !)  Ou si jamais tu connais quelqu’un qui pourrait être intéressé par la tapisserie, invite-le !  Je serai reconnaissante pour une éventuelle relation.  Et je serais très heureuse, si tu mettais une annonce de l’exposition sur ton blog…"

And so, here it is! Unfortunately, I cannot seem to add the invitation here, but if you'd like one, please do contact me by e-mail, and I'll send it to you.

Please see THIS article (in French) written by Gabriela Moga Lazar herself and published in 2013 about the moment when craftsmanship becomes art.

quatre-saisons(Image source - Les Quatres Saisons) For the Romanian community of Paris the works of Mme Lazar should be familiar, for exhibitions are certainly not a rarity. THIS one took place only last June at ICR along with others at the Cité Internationale des Arts (2013) and the Grand Palais (2012) to name but a few. Time for the non-Romanian to share in the beauty of her talent and savoir-faire. With elements full of floral, sometimes zoomorphic and often geometric symbols, her compositions are usually vertical, respecting a lovely axis of symmetry and parallelism. There is, though, a clear evolution also towards the abstract in her work remarkable in its freshness.

Gabriela Moga Lazar (1926-2012) was born in Transylvania. She studied in Cluj and specialised in the art of tapestry. She went on to work in Iasi where her profession as teacher and partnership with the ethnographer Emilia Pavel of the Ethnography Museum of Moldova lead her to develop a new trend in the art of Romanian tapestry, with creations that juxtaposed modern art with folk art. Professor at the Pedagogical School and the School of Folk Art, she taught generations of students, training them to appreciate the true values of traditional Romanian artwork.

36017(Image source: Fleur dans le temps) Her prize-winning work, both professionally and artistically, has been the subject of a host of articles. Newspapers have called her "the messenger of the Romanian soul".

If that doesn't tempt you, I don't know what will!

Meanwhile, here in Paris at Montrouge, the Town Hall is busy organising another collective exhibition themed "La Sagesse" to run from 7-16 February, with a vernissage on the first evening which looks fascinating.

Enjoy!

For more on Gabriela Moga Lazar and exhibitions both current and future, please see Simina's website (in French) HERE.

Further interesting articles can be found in Revista Luceafarul (Romanian) written by ethnographer Emilia Pavel (2011), Rasunetul (Romanian) by Olga Lucuţa (2010) and Art-Contemporain.com (French). Check out this video too, showing some of Mme Lazar's beautiful compositions.

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(Image source - Ombre de fleurs)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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(Image source - Reine de la Nuit)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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(Image source - Fête)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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(Image source - Arbre de la Moldavie)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

13th February: The exhibition in Angers from 21 Feb - 3 March has been postponed for a later date due to illness. Wishing Simina a gentle and stress-free recovery from us all.

 

Posté par Sarah in Romania à 17:32 - Commentaires [1] - Permalien [#]

30 janvier 2014

SOS!! Bucharest's Jewish State Theatre in tatters

jewish theatre1(Photo source) It was a tragedy waiting to happen that could so easily have been avoided - and another example of 'merge si asa' from mayor oprescu... City Hall has been well aware of the urgent work required at the theatre for quite some time but did they move? Don't be daft. As recently as last year, the theatre accountant was informed that City Hall would prioritise renovation in 2013. But 2013 has been and gone and nothing has been done. Voilà, the result.

jewish theatre2(Photo source) On Saturday night, severe snowstorms destroyed 80m, ie 30%, of roof at Bucharest's Jewish State Theatre directly above the stage, causing untold damage - see photos HERE. Firefighters spent several hours securing the area. Passers-by and parked cars in the street below were also at risk from falling debris along with a kindergarten next door. Continuous blizzard conditions haven't helped matters. Today, the stage is immersed in water, the theatre itself soaked, the basement flooded and hundreds of sets completely destroyed. The freezing elements typical of the season threaten to further damage all that lies within. The building itself is now isolated and all access forbidden due to danger of electrocution.

suspendat(Photo source) Needless to say, all performances have had to be cancelled, including an entire event in memory of those who perished in the Holocaust due to have opened on 25th January. Anyone who bought tickets will find them valid for future performances, says the official page on FaceBook.

suspendat2(Photo source) The prestigious Jewish State Theatre, a historic monument, was built as a clinic by Dr. Iuliu Barasch towards the end of the XIXc. The theatre building (Teatru Baraşeum or Sala Baraşeum) was used from the early 1930s as a Yiddish-language theatre, originally under private management.

The theatre continued to operate during the early years of the Second World War, during which time it became a  shelter for Jewish actors and playwrights from Eastern Europe who had been banned from other cultural institutions. During the war years, the Baraşeum Jewish Theatre premiered over thirty productions, about half of them directed by Sandru Eliad. Although officially exclusively Jewish, at times various Gentile intellectuals helped the company illegally, especially with translations; this was well enough known to provoke indignation from at least one anti-semitic newspaper. Some Gentiles, mostly intellectuals, showed support for the theatre by coming to performances. (Wikipedia

teatrul2(Photo source) The theatre was established as the State Jewish Theatre (Teatrul Evreiesc de Stat, TES) in 1948 and has operated in the former Baraşeum building almost continually since then. It was the first state-operated Yiddish theatre in the world; a second Romanian State Jewish Theatre was established in Iaşi in 1949, but disappeared in 1964. 

No investment has been made in the building since 1955. With historic monument status, the STATE is responsible for it (legea 422). Gigel has promised to resolve the situation as rapidly as possible. "The building of the State Jewish Theatre is not administered by the ministry but as it hosts a very important cultural institution, I will not hesitate to be involved in finding a solution," he told Mediafax news agency. It seems that the theatre falls under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Tourism - why, I cannot begin to fathom.

baraseum(Photo source) It is an incredibly successful theatre and has seen some of Romania's greatest actors including Alexandru Finti, Beate Fredanov, Willy Ronea, M. Bradu, Jeny Shmilovici, Agnia Bogoslava, the Gamberto sisters, Moni Ghelerter, Nicolae Stroe and Mircea Crisan at its footlights. See THIS from Romania Libera on a documentary by Radu Gabrea, "Si s-au dus ca vântul..." The potential loss whether one is Jewish or not is simply unimaginable, for it is a cultural heart for history, memory and patrimony alike. It is one of the few living remnants of the once vibrant Yiddish culture in Eastern Europe and still performs plays in the Yiddish language.

Here are some more recent performances: 'Tragedie dentara', 'Exil în pamântul uitarii', 'Papasarul', 'Yentl' and 'Hoţii de frumuseţe'. Please also take a look at THIS wonderful interview given by the theatre's director since 2012, international award-winning actress Maia Morgenstern.

teatru3(Photo source) Ms. Morgenstern, desperately trying to protect the building from yet further damage, has said that no 'concrete' response of the whens and hows has yet been forthcoming from City Hall. The Inspectorate for Construction visited to establish a 'strategy' for what is to be done, but it all takes time - and time is something that the structurally ailing theatre clearly doesn't have...

Leni Caler

Citeste mai mult: adevarul.ro/cultura/istorie/baraseum-teatrul-vremea-holerei-1_50b9f36b7c42d5a663ad287d/index.html

In the meantime, please sign THIS petition initiated by Oana Monica Nae addressed to mayor oprescu demanding that the theatre be saved from ruin. The more signatures there are, the more pressure is put upon the authorities.

 

Alexandru Finţi, Beate Fredanov, Willy Ronea, M. Bradu, N. Stroe, Mircea Crişan - See more at: http://www.b365.ro/m-morgenstern-se-cauta-solutii-pentru-prevenirea-unui-dezastru-si-mai-mare-la-teatrul-evreiesc_201570.html#sthash.DqIcAcVn.dpuf
Alexandru Finţi, Beate Fredanov, Willy Ronea, M. Bradu, N. Stroe, Mircea Crişan - See more at: http://www.b365.ro/m-morgenstern-se-cauta-solutii-pentru-prevenirea-unui-dezastru-si-mai-mare-la-teatrul-evreiesc_201570.html#sthash.DqIcAcVn.dpuf
Alexander Finti, Beate Fredanov Willy Ronea, M. Bradu , N. Stroe, Mircea Crisan. - See more at: http://translate.googleusercontent.com/translate_c?depth=1&hl=fr&rurl=translate.google.com&sl=ro&tl=en&u=http://www.b365.ro/m-morgenstern-se-cauta-solutii-pentru-prevenirea-unui-dezastru-si-mai-mare-la-teatrul-evreiesc_201570.html&usg=ALkJrhjX_DZFR_3UY76RV2Lag91_6ZfogA#sthash.sAcfQB42.dpufon its boards. The potential loss of such a culture centre so dear to the hearts of both jews and gentiles alike is simply unthinkable. Horrifying to see some of the comments on FB, type 'the jews have money - let them pay for their theatre'. For shame. This theatre is a huge part of Romanian history both in terms of culture and patrimony.Maia Morgenstern, the theatre's director who is trying desperately to find solutions to protect the monument from further damage, said that no concrete (no pun intended) response as to how long reparation would take had been received from City Hall so far... The State Inspectorate for Construction visited the site to develop a 'strategy' for what is to follow, but it all takes time - something that clearly the structurally ailing theatre doesn't have.

Here is an article from today's Jerusalem Post:

Roof collapses on Romania’s Jewish theater

By JTA, 01/30/2014 10:49

The 19th century building is considered by some to be "the most important institution of Romanian Jewry."

State Jewish Theater, Bucharest, Romania.

State Jewish Theater, Bucharest, Romania. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

BUCHAREST — Heavy snows caused the partial collapse of the roof of the State Jewish Theater, paralyzing one of Romanian Jewry’s foremost cultural institutions.

A snowstorm on Jan. 25 devastated about a third of the roof of the 19th century building that houses the theater, the institution’s director, Maia Morgenstern, told JTA.

“Unfortunately, the part of the roof that collapsed was directly over the stage area, so performances cannot go on,” she said. No one was hurt in the collapse, but now “the water keeps pouring and pouring into the building and part of it is completely flooded.”

According to Morgenstern, “City officials have already pledged to provide resources for fixing the situation, but this building has been neglected for so long, it needs to be reconstructed, not just renovated.”

She was not sure when and even if the theater would be operational again.

Between 100 and 200 people attend the theater’s performances four nights a week, Morgenstern said.

“I think it is one of the most important if not the most important institutions of Romanian Jewry,” she said.

 

See more from the international press here: Washington Post, Jewish Business News, News Channel 6, GlobalPost, Daily Motion and USA Today. 

More news as it comes...

 

Posté par Sarah in Romania à 18:44 - Commentaires [0] - Permalien [#]

22 janvier 2014

In memory. And in anger.

aura and ion4(Photo source: Roza Zah) I don't want to go into details of the dramatic forced landing of a plane (misleadingly reported as a 'crash' by the majority of Romanian press) in the Apuseni mountains near Cluj on Monday afternoon. You can find reports all over the web. Suffice to say, this is another affirmation of "Copilul cu multe moașe rămâne cu buricul netăiat" (too many cooks spoil the broth) with tragic consequences underlining a fatal allergy to responsibility, accountability and professionalism in positions where dedication should be a prime factor....

On board the fated plane were two pilots and a medical team of five on their way to Oradea to perform surgical resection on a liver that had to be taken to Bucharest for organ donation.

aura and adrian(Photo source) All seven passengers survived the moment of impact itself, but two tragically succumbed whilst waiting for emergency services that took a mind-boggling SIX HOURS to show up. I do not want to speak of the dispicable bungling, the unbelievable ineptitude and the scandalous arrogance of Radu Stroe (Interior Sinister) and Ramona Manescu (Sinister of Transport) either for it would simply unleash a great spewing of invectives on my part (and perhaps yours too). You can read it all HERE in any case.

The five surviving passengers are currently hospitalised, reported to be stable and under constant medical supervision.

An enquiry is currently underway to clarify WHY it took so long for help to arrive at the crash site. So far, reports say Ponta has fired the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MAI) Secretary of State Catalin Chiper, and asked the Transport Minister to replace two managers (general and operations) at ROMATSA (the state-owned company that administers air traffic services in Romania). He seems to like Stroe too much to get rid of him, however. 

"My first conclusion based on the report drawn up by Deputy Premier Gabriel Oprea is that there were unacceptable deficiencies in the search and rescue operations. In three important institutions, the Interior Ministry (MAI), ROMATSA and STS, things went unacceptably slowly", said Ponta. "Irrespective of subjective reasons such as human error and unfavourable weather, on the basis of the report I have in front of me I believe the intervention on Monday was a failure," he continued.

Too bloody right it was a failure.

The report presented yesterday by Deputy Prime Minister Gabriel Oprea shows that ROMATSA did not take the "necessary measures" to establish the whereabouts of the crash site, begin search operations or ask for help and backup from the Ministry of Defense’s Air Operations Centre. Realitatea reports that the pilot (not Adrian Iovan) was asked by ROMATSA to turn off the 406 alarm signal because the sound was bothering them. Whaaaaat?!?!? In other words, standard procedure was NOT followed. In yet more other words, systems meant to protect people are overseen by morons. See more on the heads currently rolling (not enough of them by far) HERE and see HERE re. Ion Burlui, the head of the General Inspectorate for Emergency Situations (IGSU) resigning, but Stroe not having the same decency. Au contraire, Radu Stroe has stated that he has no intention of taking such action, although he 'regrets the tragedy happened during his term in office'. How big of him...

The pilot Adrian Iovan, 55, was well-known (and controversial) and had 16,000 hours of flying experience with companies such as Blue Air and TAROM under his belt. He died of hypothermia and trauma from multiple fractures. Radu Zamfir, a doctor and passenger, credited Iovan for saving the lives of those on board.

aura ion2(Photo image) The second victim was Aurelia (Aura) Ion, a 23-year-old fifth-year student at Institutul Medico-Militar who had volunteered to accompany the medical team. She is reported by the Romanian press to have died of hypothermia and respiratory complications, though this is yet to be confirmed at post-mortem. If the emergency services had found her earlier, IF they had done their jobs, followed procedure and maintained standards, she would have probably survived. She was young and healthy after all. So many 'ifs'. See THIS and weep.

Aura has been promoted to Lieutenant posthumously and lies tonight in the military chapel. Tomorrow she will be buried with military honours. Candles glow and wreaths have been left for her and Adrian Iovan at the Statuia Aviatorilor (Eroilor Aerului) in Bucharest. Mourners have been paying their respects all the afternoon, amongst them singer Mirabela Dauer, Gheorghe Gheorghiu, Marcel Pavel and gymnast coach Octavian Bellu. At least the military have given her more respect and consideration than the Minister of the Interior, the emergency services and the rest of the muppets who should have kept her safe.

RESPECTAURAIONA(Image source) The Respect Aura Ion Facebook page is an emotional place to be - her death has touched the hearts of a nation. Hundreds of thousands of messages have been flooding in continually - condolence, sympathy, comfort, admiration. In one day alone, 30,000 people visited out of respect for this selfless young woman who had paid for the inept running of her country and the general je m'en foutism with her life. Dumnezeu sa aiba grija de sufletul ei.

How decent (and normal) it would be to have a scholarship created in Aura Ion's honour. That is what people do in civilised countries at moments of unnecessary, shameful loss that could have been avoided had people done their jobs. While parasites enjoy illicitly acquired millions, Aura Ion enrolled to be a VOLUNTEER to give rather than take. There should be a MASSIVE outpouring of love, sympathy and support for her family and I hope a foundation or a scholarship in her memory AT THE VERY LEAST will be established. Anything less would be an offence, not to mention an admission of the blatant bungling stupidity, criminal incompetence and supreme arrogance rife across the whole spectrum of the political and ruling class.

aura ion3(Photo source: Roza Zah) Today's Romania did not deserve her. It does not deserve selfless, generous-hearted, compassionate and altruistic people. There are, I know, more of them than the Pontas and Stroes. But it is this piddly minority of Pontas and Stroes who have the clout whilst those like Aura Ion must fight to survive in such a climate (or leave)...

If you would like to DO something that may end up having some kind of effect, PLEASE sign THIS petition currently at 3,090 signatures demanding the firing of all those responsible for the plane crash in which Aura and Adrian lost their lives. Aleodor Marian Francu, chief of ROMATSA, resigned this afternoon - not because he feels it's his fault in any way at all, but as a matter of principle. How sacrificial. Of course, once resigned, he and others equally guilty can wash their hands of the whole thing, avoiding any can-holding which could lead to possible jail time (if the justice system were to do its job properly). An attractive option.

ROMATSA Aleodor Marian Frâncu

Citeste mai mult: adev.ro/mztdre
ROMATSA Aleodor Marian Frâncu

Citeste mai mult: adev.ro/mztdre

Next week, this will be old news and after a flurry of firing a few one-minute wonders and beating chests, it'll all be forgotten - except by the survivors and those who grieve.

aura candles

(Photo source: Roza Zah)

For more info, please see Hotnews, Capitalism pe pâine, EVZ and Adevarul.

My thanks to 'Roza Zah' for the beautiful photographs taken at Statuia Aviatorilor this evening.

 

 News Update Thursday 23rd January

Radu Stroe the Interior Sinister has resigned. I guess this ex-securitate agent left feeling pretty pleased with himself, for he threw in the towel he said, out of 'honour'. Smug git. President Basescu signed the necessary blurb for his departure this afternoon. Delighted to see the back of him, but rather concerned this will mean he will not be held accountable.

Ponta continues to hold STS and ROMATSA entirely responsible for Monday's plane disaster and the subsequent loss of human lives.

The conclusions of the government report by VP Gabriel Oprea tell of immense gaffes and blunders, erroneous info, time-wasting and useless phone calls. That much is true. But as long as Ponta protects Stroe, Manescu and anyone else, it is purely subjective. ROMATSA is as guilty as sin but they are not the only ones in the massive anthill of quite brilliant incompetence. They will be the scapegoats though. I'm quite sure of that.

News continues to flood in re: all that went pear-shaped. Some of it is so insane you wonder whether the author was on drugs. Probably not. This is Absurdistan after all, where anything can happen.

For example, Capitalism pe pâine writes that ROMATSA refused a tracking software offered FREE by the UK and Germany, preferring to fork out 48,000 euros for a Romanian version (which was far from functional). Genius. Words just don't do it, do they.

TVR says that the authorities knew the plane had come down 15 minutes after impact, but bodged up search procedures - and when they finally set out, they had three different location co-ordinates... you couldn't make it up if you tried.

As time passes, we discover wide-eyed and disbelieving the huge structural deficiencies within the system (what system?) that lead to this terrible tragedy. There was such an accumulation of negligence and stupidity that one could be forgiven for thinking it a hilarious script for a new French farce. See HERE. There is NO question that jail-time should be served to those DIRECTLY involved for professional negligence and involuntary manslaughter. If there was a sentencing for idiocy, now would be the time.

plane seating(Photo source) Co-pilot Razvan Petrescu's condition meanwhile remains serious. He has suffered worrying thoracic and facial injuries (operated today for a broken nose) and will require further surgery on his lower limbs tomorrow. Three of the survivors are under constant observation and unable to be airlifted back to Bucharest for the time being. Sorin Ianceu (doctor at Spitalul Judeţean Oradea) has needed facial surgery; Cătălin Pivniceru (doctor at Spitalul Sfânta Maria din Bucureşti) has suffered broken ribs and facial trauma and Valentin Calu (surgeon) is suffering from thoracic trauma. Dr Radu Zamfir, was discharged from hospital yesterday according to Digi24. He will continue to be monitored at Institutul Clinic Fundeni where he works, however.

Aura Ion's post-mortem has revealed that she did NOT die of hypothermia as previously reported by the Romanian press who have been surmising and assuming all kinds of fiction from the very start, still insistent on calling the disaster a 'crash'.

aura funeral(Photo source) According to the SMURD chief in Bihor, Aura suffered a fractured cervical spine and massive abdominal haemorrhaging. From the moment of impact, poor Aura was probably tetraplegic. Her agony and terror for the hours she lay waiting for the emergency services to appear is unimaginable. They arrived too late to save her - and it's really no good anyone assuming that she couldn't have been saved anyway. Of course she could. She died hours after the crash - and had the medics arrived within the hour as they should have done, the likelihood is she'd still be alive to tell the tale, albeit paralysed (plausibly temporarily, depending on the damaged vertebrae).

Aura Ion's funeral took place in Bucharest today. Please see some of the photos HERE. The images are overwhelming with the pain of loss and grief, caused by an incompetent state with a warped vision of responsibility and professionalism. For shame.

 

Update: Friday 24th January

death cert(Photo source) Seems the left hand doesn't know what the right hand is doing. Aura Ion's death certificate contradicts the opinion of Bihor's SMURD chief who stated yesterday that she had died from a broken neck (fractured cervical vertebrae) and massive abdominal haemorrhage. He insisted more than once that hypothermia had not been a cause. The certificate written by Dr Georghe Vieru on the other hand reports that she died of hypothermia and thoracic trauma (ie. prolonged chest-wall compression).

I simply cannot understand how the chief of SMURD could have said one thing and been SO emphatic that hypothermia was NOT a cause, whilst the paperwork done by Dr Vieru says the contrary. So, either the SMURD chief didn't know what the hell he was talking about and should have kept quiet (though he was there on site) or Dr Viaru has written a Mickey Mouse post-mortem. And why would he do that?

dobitoc(Photo source: Tudor Postelnicu, 1989: "Am fost un dobitoc!" Radu Stroe, 2014: "Sunt un dobitoc!") So much fiction doing the rounds. So much guff. In the end it doesn't matter a jot. Had the emergency team shown up earlier, she'd still be alive today. Had people done their jobs, this whole sorry tragedy would never even have happened.

So far, four senior officials including stroe have resigned or been fired. That's not nearly enough. People WILL pay. The question is, will it be the right ones or will it be the usual tune of the little people getting whacked while the real perpetrators lean back in their leather chairs and plonk their feet up on their desks for another day of useless ineptitude?

"The government generally does nothing, and in this case they did nothing to locate the plane. A woodcutter had to find them," aviation professor Nicolae Serban Tomescu said. "The rescue operation was like Swiss cheese. There were holes everywhere."

Local villagers and a woodcutter are now known to have found the plane and its survivors 4 hours after it was forced to land 1,400 metres above sea level in a forest - that was TWO HOURS BEFORE the medical teams showed up, reportedly ill-equipped. It begs belief. Wonderful stories of determination are coming in such as THIS one where a doctor from Cluj says it was the villagers who were the real heros, NOT the emergency services. It was the villagers themselves who wrapped the passengers in their own coats despite the freezing temperatures. In the icy rain, with snow to their knees and sometimes waists, they made stretchers, lit fires for warmth, immobilised fractures with their clothes and branches. They were determined in saving who could be saved. True acts of selflessness.

Meanwhile, the stories about what the emergency services got up to on arrival are so absurd that I'm not going to even bother commenting on them, much less link them. What I will say though is that the ridiculous '2010 protocol for CPR' mentioned by Adela Golea urgently needs to be revised. In addition, Cluj hospital, the idiots, have officially said that the survivors' conditions are favourable  due to the speed in which the medical teams acted. Excuse me while I howl with ironic mirth. 16 doctors, 17 assistants, 2 resident doctors, 1 paramedic, 1 medical student, 7 stretcher carriers, 4 nurses, 2 general dogsbodies and a partridge in a pear-tree. Apparently they were all gathered in a conference hall and congratulated. Numai 'pupat Piata Independentei' lipseste...

idiots(Photo source) Government officials can continue to defend the tragic comedy of errors with excuses of weather conditions, darkness, difficult terrain etc. But it won't cut with the people who are sick and tired of such shoulder-shrugging ineffectuality and idleness. The government is unable to provide decent and functional equipment to rescue crash victims, but is quite happy to invest resources in surveillance. Romania, a country of 19 million with no foreign enemies has SEVEN intelligence agencies, including main domestic and foreign spying agencies. Trific. I'm sure everyone feels marvellously safe as a result.

The much-boasted telecommunications agency (one of the seven afore-mentioned 'intelligence' agencies) frittered away a small 40 million euros in bolstering up the country's national emergency number to make it efficient and functional. What happened to Radu Zamfir's calls, then? A couple of them ended up in Moscow. Go figure.

Ponta meanwhile is trying to salvage the little credibility he has left. Today, he promised that authorities would be "much more efficient" in the future. How will he manage that, I wonder. We know how everyone is terribly good at talking in Romania, but when it comes to action, well, one shouldn't hold one's breath. Ponta has not handled the tragedy well by any means - protecting stroe was just one snafu. On Monday evening, he went on a talk-show and stated that all seven people on the flight had survived. Oops. Another bloop.

More news as it comes to light, though I must admit to being a bit frayed with all the BS and contradictions. Someone must pay for it, though. And those someones are up there on Mount Olympescu, whether they have resigned or not. The big cheeses of ROMATSA are as guilty as sin. STS too. But they are NOT alone. stroe and Manescu MUST pay. If they do, Aura Ion and Adrian Iovan will NOT have died in vain.

 

Further news: 27th January

Was Adrian Iovan responsible for the plane accident? See Adevarul, EVZ and Yahoo News. Almost certainly. When a plane crashes it is either a) due to a pilot error or b) a technical/mechanical fault or failure. End of. However, we're talking about TWO different issues here - the plane coming down in the first place and then the botched up, cretinous rescue operation. The two should not be muddled as they are entirely unrelated.

If Adrian Iovan was responsible for the plane crash, he definitely was NOT responsible for emergency services taking SIX HOURS to arrive (the villagers got there faster and did a whole load more good) and the long string of bungling that occurred from the moment the authorities became aware of the accident just 15 minutes after the crash. Why people are getting so hysterical to defend Iovan is beyond me and shows a refusal to logicise - much less THINK. What do people imagine? That Ponta said "crash please" and Iovan did? Or there was some kind of extra-terrestrial occurrence causing the plane to end up in the forest with two fatalities? Or perhaps the forest just leapt out in front of him? Come on people. For heavens sake. Separate the two issues and cut the hysteria.

More to follow...

Pilotul Adrian Iovan, vinovat pentru accident?

Citeste mai mult: adev.ro/n01oaj
Pilotul Adrian Iovan, vinovat pentru accident?

Citeste mai mult: adev.ro/n01oaj
Gheorghe Vieru

Citeste mai mult: adev.ro/mzx3u4states that she died of hypothermia and thoracic trauma (prolonged chest-wall compression which could include tamponade perhaps but doesn't say)

Posté par Sarah in Romania à 23:19 - Commentaires [9] - Permalien [#]

06 janvier 2014

Nastase back to porridge

rahova outfit(Photo source) Here we go again. Adrian Nastase has been sent back to Rahova for a further 4 years without parole for taking bribes in the Zambaccian case, this time accompanied by his wife Dana, sentenced to 3 years respectively for collusion. He was also barred from holding any form of public office position and is forbidden to run in elections for the next 5 years.

The BBC has THIS to say:

Romania's supreme court has sentenced former Prime Minister Adrian Nastase to four years in prison for taking bribes.

He was also given three years for blackmail, to run concurrently. The court found that two Romanian officials had helped Nastase to get Chinese goods for private properties in 2001-2004.

His wife Dana Nastase got a three-year suspended sentence for collusion.

Adrian Nastase survived a suicide attempt in 2012 [they don't know the half of it - Sarah's note], just after receiving a two-year jail term in a separate case.

In the ruling on Monday the court found that Nastase, 63, had received Chinese building materials and furnishings worth 630,000 euros (£521,000; $856,000) from a construction entrepreneur, Irina Jianu.

 In return, he had appointed her head of the State Construction Inspectorate. Jianu is already in prison, having been found guilty in the previous corruption case involving Nastase.

nastase(Photo source) The former prime minister left prison only 10 months ago, after serving two-thirds of his previous two-year sentence for corruption.

Nastase was also found guilty of having blackmailed a former Romanian consul in Shanghai, Ioan Paun, in connection with the Chinese shopping spree.

Nastase denies wrongdoing, saying the cases against him were politically motivated.

Romania joined the EU in 2007 and remains under special monitoring by Brussels because of EU concerns about high-level corruption.'

 Nastase said, "it's dreadful and in my opinion, extremely, extremely unfair - a dirty revenge. What more can I say?" Ahhhh.

This time, it seems there has been no soap opera, no fake suicide and no need for Dr Bradisteanu today acquitted of taking bribes and abuse of power (although investigators had recommended 10 years in jail and the confiscation of 9.1mn euros) . The 'good' doctor is currently also being investigated for perverting the course of justice in the 'Bombonel's-fake-suicide' case.. Rather disappointing from an entertainment point of view, but the night is young.

1.8mn lei has also been confiscated from the Nastase family's wealth by the courts and in addition, the Nastases must foot the legal expenses estimated at 20,000 lei, payable to the Romanian state. He has already had to cough up 1.1 mn to Inspectoratului de Stat în Construcții in the “Trofeul calității” case. All that in almost 2 years.

Great news - sa dea acatiste pentru Matusa Tamara! During his time as PM, Nastase amassed enormous wealth. However, in his declaration of 2012, he only mentions one property (the apartment on Zambaccian) and a single piece of land in Cornu. There's a great deal more he 'forgot' to note - most of it being in the name of his wife, Dana. Oh, and he apparently has 500,000 euros in his bank account. In order to pay the 1.8mn lei, then, he would have needed to sell something. Works of art, antiques, a property or two, land... but he didn't. There is question then, as to where it came from if he only has what is noted on his declaration. Perhaps his lawyer ran about collecting donations from helping hands in high places? Can't have been his wife's auntie - she's been pushing up the daisies for quite some time, poor love! Anyway, see more on that mystery HERE.

puscariada(Photo source) Perhaps this final flurry of jail time and pay-ups can be seen as just to some. I personally don't agree. The Zambaccian case, the 'Trofeul calității' affair and Aunt Tamara all aside, by aiding and abetting with his cronies, Nastase is one of the creators of today's Romania's super-rich. He sabotaged the Romanian economy and the fight for the country's democracy. The sentence is not 'heavy'. If anything, it's rather lenient. He certainly won't serve the full 4 years, and has enough money stashed away so what has been 'relinquished' won't even make a dent, I'm sure. Where is the hardship?

Regardless of which party they belong to, the Securitate heirs of the scandalous, lousy transitional regimes post-89 which have robbed the country with single-minded determination, crapped on banks, confiscated land, embezzled hundreds of billions of euros for the last 24 years are ALL guilty, guilty, guilty. Without exception. Nastase is a big fish. There are smaller and there are bigger still...

nastase-timosenko(Photo source) Though some may be in admiration that 'justice has been served' to such a senior politician, others who are more savvy know full well that this is simply a drop in the proverbial bucket. Premier Victor Ponta of the ruling Social Democrats and Nastase's (and Iliescu's) protegé considers his mentor a 'political prisoner' and a victim of Basescu's 'regime', comparing the situation with that of Ukraine's Iulia Timoshenko. Obtuse choice of example, Pontaur. The arguments for why this comparison should be severely and widely condemned are HERE in Hotnews.

I am sure this will mean an acceleration on getting the super-immunity bill passed PDQ. There must be major howlings and gnashings of teeth in the USL bed.

The conditions of life in Romania today can be largely blamed on the greed of the hundreds of thousands of Securitate heirs, whether it be Rosia Montana, the problems with Chevron, the laws made up at the drop of a hat, the killing of dogs, the plagiarising of diplomas and CVs - take whatever you like as an example. It all leads back to the same sesspit in the longrun. Justice MUST continue until the bitter end - and I'm sure it will be bitter. Very bitter. And it probably won't always be just either.

Meanwhile, the comments re: Nastase's return to Rahova are coming thick and fast. One particular comment made me howl with laughter. "He is being punished because he fought for Romania," said his sister, Dana Barb (a babă comunistă and one sandwich short of a picnic). She said she'd told him, "you wanted to be a patriot, and you're punished by all those who wish you evil. You should have looked after yourself, your family, your own interests, instead of fighting for Romania. Anyone who fought for Romania is being punished right now." Look after himself, his family and his own interests is EXACTLY what he did and precisely WHY he has been convicted of taking bribes. Wheeze. 

The leaders of PSD gathered for their first BPN meeting of the year and sent support messages to the poor persecuted victim, adding that they were with him and praying for him. Quite right - they SHOULD indeed be with him. There in Rahova!! Ponta said that Basescu's hounding of Nastase was a great injustice given the "good and important" things he had done for Romania.

No further comment (but eyes rolling)...

For more on the international sites, see Washington Post, Euronews, Aljazeera, Reuters, The Las Vegas Sun, Daily Europe, The Financial Times, Radio Free Europe and The Charlotte Observer. More to follow...

 

Posté par Sarah in Romania à 23:01 - Commentaires [1] - Permalien [#]

04 janvier 2014

Mirror, mirror on the wall...

mirror(Photo source) The ‘new weapon’ used by protesters in the Ukrainian capital, Kiev, is poignantly brilliant and shows what words cannot. They have already adopted other clever methods including nudity and humour, but this one, to me, beats them all hands down. It is the mirror. Yes, a common old mirror. The 'mirror protest' was staged on 30th December to mark the one month aniversary since the dispersal of a pro-EU rally. See video HERE.

Taken out of context, the photo above shows an elderly lady holding a mirror up to riot police. One of them gazes into it seeing, perhaps, what he has become. Does he stop? Does he think how things ever got to be this way? Is he witness to the aggression in his eyes, the violence in his heart, the lack of compassion in his soul? Does it sadden him? Sicken him?

The riot police in Pungesti could certainly do with some mirrors. An entire street of mirrors for that matter. What THEY have become at the behest of Romanian politicians and local authorities is surely not what their mothers brought them up to be. I doubt it’s what THEY planned to be, either. Bullies. Granny bashers. Child beaters. Persecutors. Oppressors. Nodding puppets.

The pure simplicity in just holding up a mirror to reflect an image back at itself is as artistic as it is daring. "LOOK!!" it cries. This peaceful mirror protest encouraged reflection and introspection before the typical lashing out in hateful violence, while also highlighting something unique in humanity we all share. More 'frontal lobe' is hard to imagine.

mirror2(Photo source) Presumably, if the mirrors were to catch on in Romania, they would have to be shatter-proof. I have a scene in my mind – totally fictitious of course: an elderly lady in black with basma tied under her chin stands alone in the middle of a street. Riot police advance towards her and with a flourish of determined courage, she holds a mirror up in front of her. She is only small. It is heavy. But she does it. The first police to reach her smashes it with his truncheon, covering the old lady’s face in broken glass.

Perhaps car mirrors would work, though they are too small? I doubt the jandarmi of Pungesti would have any qualms smashing normal ones, even if it did bring seven years bad luck, as we anglophones say. Bad luck? Things couldn’t get much worse there in any case. Could they?

When the powerless are intimidated through terror by their own so-called peace-keepers, ordered by their own government in peace time, one must surely ask questions. Do these bullies dressed in scarey gear that, to me at least, resembles heavy-duty cockroaches, FEEL anything for their victims? Is there NO element of disgust or shame?

mirrorprotest(Photo source) I suppose if you were to ask them, they would say what ALL bullies usually spiel off: "I was obeying orders". It brings to mind Hannah Arendt's essay on Eichmann (and I'm not comparing the two horrors - only the mindset), The Banality of Evil. In it, she says, "the greatest evil perpetrated is the evil committed by nobodies, that is, by human beings who refuse to be persons." In other words, give a 'nobody' a little power by way of a uniform, a truncheon and orders to intimidate - and they suddenly puff up like blowfish with a nice warm rush of importance. Perhaps the first in their lives. But they are not 'people' for they do not (and perhaps cannot) think. They take zero responsibility for their actions. It is a combination of ambition and obedience - a blind, thoughtless, questionless obedience. 'Good civil servants' in an authoritarian environment.

Doing terrible things in an organised and systematic way is based on a twisted grasp of 'normality'. Ugly, degrading, humiliating acts become run of the mill, routine if you like, for they are accepted as just 'the way things are done' in the name of law and order. When you ask why, they shrug with an 'asa ni s-a ordonat'. No thought. Just obedience. Humanity? Compassion? Annihilated by those giving the orders. The 'normalisation' of unthinkable things is easy when money, status and power are at stake - and for the Romanian government giving those orders today, all three are very much in the balance. Bullying tactics seem the only way they know to communicate with their people from whom they have stolen and fleeced and to whom they have lied, betrayed, misinformed and abused. The jandarmi are their gophers.

Those who have been humiliated for so many decades find it hard to stir themselves from submission. But since September, we have seen a massive wave of anger and indignance and heard an astonishingly powerful voice (the loudest since 1989) of unity from the streets of Romania and beyond of which I am proud beyond words. The government are becoming ever more nervous and turn to more manipulative methods of control. But whether the protesters' goal is to protect their mountains from RMGC or their land from fracking, it all comes to the same thing in the end. One cannot blame the foreign corporations for the crimes of the Romanian government committed over and over again. One can no longer tolerate the politicians meant to protect them who have sold them, their homes, their souls and their identities in the name of money, greed and personal gain. That is the message of paramount importance. And as the government sees its own future wobbling so precariously, its response becomes all the more desperate. False flags are fed to anyone gullible enough to listen, deflecting blame anywhere but on their own doorsteps. The media is used, abused and dictated to just like old times.

And of course, the  jandarmi carry out their orders obediently like the 'good civil servants' they are. Mirrors are desperately required - literally, morally, spiritually.

Why not start with the literal - reflecting on the oppression carried out 'under order'. I cannot think of a more powerful way to remind these thugs in uniform WHAT they are doing and WHO they have become... It's not implausible that under those helmets and the heavy-duty cockroach suits in Pungesti - and in Bucharest, too - are consciences. Maybe. It happened in Italy - why not Romania?

 

Posté par Sarah in Romania à 19:44 - Commentaires [7] - Permalien [#]

02 janvier 2014

Visul unei nopti de iarna

dreams(Photo source) (1) 'In case you didn't know: the gays and the non-Christians are plotting to take over the world. They are puppeteering world leaders such as Angela Merkel to dismember sovereign states and take over their resources. Romania, among other countries, is in immediate danger.  This is all about Angela Merkel bossing and threatening our poor Prime Minister, Mr Victor "Copy&Paste" Ponta, telling him he can choose to give away the country's resources with or without the country being dismantled.' (R.U)

I read the article in question, squinting in the shaft of half light full of dancing dust particles.

'The truth in all this is that the country's resources are, indeed, being given away to foreigners, despite public opposition. And that's about the only thing that is accurate in this story.' (R.U)

I punch the pillow a bit and roll over. Will it snow during the night? The forecast said it would....

I doze off again and find myself sitting cross-legged in the same rather dingy room, surrounded by the same huge piles of newspapers and magazines. I reach for another having discarded the first beside me with a snort of disgust.

'In this story,' the voice in my dream continues, 'the only thing that is true is that foreigners will be allowed to purchase land in Romania. So the banner in the picture, with some artistic licence, is pointing to a real issue....' (R.U) I examine the picture, turning it to the little remaining light. It's a photograph from a protest and a big banner reading, 'De la 1 ianuarie 2014 vom râmâne fără tară!' Indeed, the rest of the text is pixie powder. I add it to the one beside me with a second snort of disgust. Glowing an odd ruby-red, the pages shriek loudly and, in the wink of an eye, are ashes. I cannot feel sorry for either of them.

DE LA 1 IANUARIE 2014 VOM RAMANE FARA TARA.
DE LA 1 IANUARIE 2014 VOM RAMANE FARA TARA.
DE LA 1 IANUARIE 2014 VOM RAMANE FARA TARA.
DE LA 1 IANUARIE 2014 VOM RAMANE FARA TARA.

I get up, peeved at fragmented sleep, pad to the kitchen in my mouse slippers, throw back a glass of water and return to bed.

road to nowhere(Photo source) (2) A road... a road to nowhere that you cannot enter and, like Hotel California, can never leave. Actually, it 'falls off' in a field. This is the 10.5km stretch from Lugoj to Făget between Balint and Sanovita, part of the Lugoj to Deva motorway - and due to be inaugurated in just 2 weeks.

'Bagdad Café' music swells to haunting crescendo as the grey sky and its swirling marble clouds drop to embrace the equally stoney grey tarmac of the great unfinished, spookily conspicuous by desolation.

Sova appears (it's turning into a nightmare) dressed as a lollypop man with big shoes and a curly red wig. "The motorway will be finished in 2 weeks, but there's no way to get on to this part as there's no link road. This 10.5km has been nothing but trouble. At one point, it collapsed, and at another, the construction workers went home," he tells Realitatea, before laughing hysterically and disappearing in a puff of dubious-looking smoke, leaving the offensive whiff of boiled cabbage behind him.

I groan and make a mental note never to eat placinta cu branza before bed again, and to be more generous with the vodka when mixing a Cosmopolitan.

Back to sleep finally. I am in my bedroom sitting at my dressing table where the perfume bottles are dancing calypso. Someone has left me a note on a fluorescent pink post-it, written in spikey, horizontal hand-writing with exaggerated loops:

(3) "The Romanian leaders are corrupt. True. Remember, though, that it is Chevron who corrupted them, so that Chevron would be "invited" into the country! After destroying the underground, they will force the people to buy their bottles of drinking water!

The calypso screeches to a halt mimicking a stylus ripped off a vinyl. Strange, creepy carousel music now accompanies images in my mirror of the poor, helpless Romanian leaders being beaten mercilessly by Chevron employees with huge clubs, laughing as they work with determination and zeal. Mwahahahahahaaaaaaaaa!!!

I wake up in a cold sweat and switch on the bedside light to chase the ghouls away.

All dreams, I thought. All dreams....

I turn on my laptop and watch as the screen springs to life.

batshit(Photo source) (1) On to FB. R.U has posted two articles on her wall - one as insane as the other. They tell of how gays and non-Christians are apparently plotting to take over the world... and PM Pontaur is bullied by Merkel. A scarey 10K+ number of 'likes' for the first one on Lupul Dacic's blog, and 129 for the second on Victor Roncea's, written by Larry Watts. Batsh*t crazy stuff. What are people smoking in Romania right now?!

sanovita(Photo source) (2) What about this road to nowhere then? Was that just a dream, or is it real too?

Sorry. It's a true story and will come as no surprise to anyone familiar with how road construction, bids and the like are managed in Romania. See more on the Lugoj-Făget road HERE.

take your pills(Photo source) (3) As for the poor Romanian officials being corrupted by Chevron, don't make me laugh! That was a comment I found here on my last blog post entitled 'Romanian authorities or Chevron?' And it is not a rare view either (hence my last post). Pontaur could well be learning some moves from his adviser Weasley Clark - but the image of Chevron beating up the Romanian officials is absurd. False flags all over the flamin' shop, steering attention from the guilty-as-hell Romanian authorities to Chevron who certainly deserve some grief but did NOT ask to come to Romania of their own accord. nd really? The Romanian politicians weren't corrupt before Chevron came and lead them into bad ways? I won't re-invent the wheel, but invite you to go read the post instead.

Operation Deflect Blame seems to be working rather well.

What's going on? IS there an overturned lorry with a cargo of amazingly potent magic mushrooms overturned in a Romanian field somewhere? Has bunica's placinta/salata de boeuf/sarmale been laced with hallucinogenics? Have the martians landed and hypnotised a percentage of the nation?

There are some things one can imagine only ever happening in dreams. But as you see, when it comes to the country of my heart, that is not always the case. What most of us consider 'dream-like' is often Romanian reality. Just lately, 'dream-like' happenings have been the ingredients of a frighteningly high number of real-life nightmares.

snowed(Photo sourceAs LCC, a friend of mine, correctly pointed out, "when true info and facts are mixed with false info and speculations it is done to manipulate. There's plenty of this now. To me, it is a sign that change is coming. Otherwise, they wouldn't bother confusing, dividing and manipulating people."

There are many who have invested interests in this manipulative (and old!) method of deflecting blame and inciting fractions, thus breaking up a peoples' unity. The Romanian government knows this year is going to be a tough one. It is no coincidence that such contradictory and alarmist claptrap is flying around. We must NOT be fooled by it, NOT go off on a tangent. If we do, we are playing right into their hands. Attempts to confuse, manipulate and divide the masses are rife, just as they were during the lovilutie...

May 2014 bring an end to such manipulation. May it bring clear thinking, organisation, unity. May it bring justice, truth - and most of all, may it bring a free Romania.

 

I fling open the curtains and see that it has snowed....

 

Posté par Sarah in Romania à 16:48 - Commentaires [2] - Permalien [#]

30 décembre 2013

Romanian authorities or Chevron?

distroy-romania(Photo source) Perhaps I am an idiot, but there seems to be a fundamental point  escaping me re: the protests in Romania right now.... Can anyone shed some light?

Here's my question: Why is the first in line of fire for criticism and loathing from protesters (outside Bucharest, on the whole) NOT the Romanian authorities? What's with the disinformation?!? It is the Romanian government who invited Chevron to Romania in the first place - Chevron didn't just show up for a bit of sight-seeing because they had nothing better to do. It was the authorities who gave them the permits, the land, the contracts. Chevron didn't help themselves, however much we may dislike them and want to find them guilty of something.

It is the Romanian authorities who ordered curfew at Pungesti and have supported (and instigated) the police intimidation carried out there. They are the ones who have condoned the brutality, the beatings of children and the elderly with batons and truncheons. They are the ones who forbade colinde at Christmas, along with any gatherings comprising of more than 2 people. They are the ones allowing the questioning of anyone trying to leave their homes and they are also the ones who have caused children to be so traumatised by the threatening presence of jandarmi that bed-wetting is now the 'norm' and the schools are archi-empty.

It is because of the Romanian authorities that people like Sandu are on hunger strike for their 10th day in front of the TNB, protesting against the human rights abuse committed in Pungesti by jandarmi. No one, not even Ponta, can minimise the outrageous violence against the citizens of Pungesti by the bully-boys in blue, try though he may. Shouldn't that make people even angrier?

I am certainly NOT a fan of the big US multi-national giant, don't get me wrong. I would like to see the back of them as much as you. But come on!! If anyone should be the target of anger, indignance and rage, it should be the Romanian government and local authorities who, without debate, have NO PLACE running this country through their corruption, their incompetence and their boundless greed.

ponta-stroe-mindbomb-1(Photo source) Enough with the disinformation! Ever heard of false flags?! It's a trick as old as the hills to shift the spotlight from where it is supposed to be.

THIS petition for example, needs to revise its message. Chevron is NOT to blame here - at least, not directly. Sooner or later, they'll consider Romania too much of a pain in the backside and leave - the people don't want them and the Romanian government is so corrupt they'd be better off avoiding them altogether. Any other investers would be wise to keep away too until such a time the seats of power are occupied by those with a pinch of integrity at the very least. It could be a long wait.

As for THIS, it's such a load of drivel that the least said the better, except for being a superb (and memorable) example of propaganda used to stoke a crowd of people who should know better while diverting attention from the real issue. False flags again. There is a little bit of truth in it but you'd need a magnifying glass and deer-stalker to find it.

And by the way, just for the record, neither the US nor the EU are responsible for the mess in which Romania finds herself today. The politicians the country is saddled with were elected by democratic vote, embarrassing though that may be. Although I fully understand the urge to blame foreigners rather than one's own government for then one would have to admit having made a terrible error, that blame is deeply misplaced here and, in turn, misguides those lacking the curiosity and/or ability to go educate themselves.

IF the whole movement has come to the point of blaming Chevron, the US, the EU, Western values in general and the neighbour's cat for everything that's wrong in Romania instead of looking in one's own backyard, then count me out. I no longer support it.

cerem(Photo source) I am fed up with the false information coming from all over the place (Facebook has become a rampant breeding ground for absurdities), and equally fed up with how it is gobbled up so obediently by people who are either exceedingly gullible or just can't THINK for themselves.

It's all very courageous to rise up and take a stand, but for goodness sake, armed with a modicum of knowledge, aim it in the right direction!!! UNITI salvam!

Rant over.

Posté par Sarah in Romania à 16:46 - Commentaires [11] - Permalien [#]

28 décembre 2013

Tolstoï revisited - Stancu style

stanca(Photo source) Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear. George Stanca, a true renaissance man (engineer, writer, well-known journalist, publisher, founder of the trashy gossip magazine VIP, jazz singer, ex-chief architect of sectorul 6 and once-secretary of Cenaclul Flacara), has been found guilty of plagiarism and formally charged. Apparently, he signed a translation of a work from Russian to Romanian by Leo Tolstoï that wasn't his using his pseudonym ('G.S.' - very imaginative), 'modified' some 'details' and entitled it 'Memoires'. Genius. And risky. It must surely have been for the dough as there's no way it could've been done for glory. The 'work' was published by Adevarul Holding.

The one year suspended jail sentence is not final and Stanca is welcome to appeal, though it's unlikely the decision will be overturned. Along with the sentence, 1000 copies of his hijacked Tolstoï have been confiscated by the judge and there's a 100,000 euros fine to boot.

plagiat(Photo source) In his own defense, Stanca declared that the publishing house allegedly tricked him. He was urged, he said, to sign the translated version of Tolstoï's 'Journal' as his own for a price (lower than the actual translation had cost, for sure). His crime, then? Not to have 'plagiarised' like PM Ponta and the other members of the Copy/Paste Club who merit jail-time far more deserving for their intellectual theft extravaganzas, but to have signed a document stating he was the sole author of a translation he didn't do. He didn't nick from Tolstoi, as the Romanian press are having fun relating, but from a fellow Romanian translator.

Incidentally, at the end of 2009, Stanca was the lucky winner of the prestigious Gaffe of the Year award, which took place in rather humiliating circumstances and lead to his resignation from Adevarul where he was a contributor - his last blog entry there was Feb of this year. For more on that see here - it's a sad story. He is not a popular guy, then. I've heard from various journalist/writer friends having donned my super-sleuth hat that Stanca has had his fingers in a lot of pies post '89, stuck his nose into things that don't concern him and loves digging up dirt on people. Hence VIP. Nice.

In the spirit of intellectual nicking (from those both dead and alive) though, with modifications in all the right places, please find a little chef d'oeuvre all of my own, dedicated to the imposters in Romanian government and copy-pasters everywhere that I hope will be published, cherished and remembered for generations of Romanians to come...

 

Preface of "Daciana Pupicu"

By Sarah in Romania

Based on Tolstoï's 'Anna Karenina', with modifications in all the right places

 

anna-karenina-sophie-marceau-photo2The novel "Daciana Pupicu" was written in 2013, 24 years after the Romanian lovilutie, and appeared on the blog 'Sarah In Romania' at the end of the same year. It is one of the author's masterpieces written at the height of great prolific activity and reflects every aspect of her humour and irony.

Set in the period of the peoples' uprising against a corrupt and amoral government and a plagiarising Prime Minister in a time of intense social change, 'Daciana Pupicu', Sarah In Romania's great modern novel of an adulterous affair, is set against the backdrop of Bucharest and Ploiesti high society in the beginning of the twenty-first century. A sophisticated woman who is respectably married to a government pupincurist, Daciana begins a passionate, all-consuming involvement with a less well-heeled activist. Refusing to conduct a discreet affair, she scandalises society by abandoning her husband, child, mother-in-law, exercise bicycle and house in Irish Park, Ploiesti for Razvan Pantelimon - with tragic consequences. Running parallel is the story of the courtship and marriage of Remus Patalama and Gina Patrunjel. Patalama's spiritual searching and growth reflect the religious ideals of the time. Taken together, the two plots embroider a vast canvas that ultimately encompasses all levels of Romanian society. "Now and then Sarah In Romania's novel writes its own self, is produced not by its matter, but by its subject," noted Vladimir Nabokov. "Daciana Pupicu is one of the greatest love stories in world literature."

As Matthew Arnold wrote, "we are not to take Daciana Pupicu as a work of art; we are to take it as a piece of prajitura cu mere."

(See the original text HERE)

 

SYNOPSIS

Part 1 (34 chapters)

A crisis develops in the Ionescu household when Valerica finds out about her husband's affair. Paraschiv's sister, Daciana Pupicu, arrives to reconcile the couple and dissuades Valerica from filing for divorce. Businessman Remus Patalama, Paraschiva's friend, arrives in Bucharest to propose to eighteen-year-old Gina Petrunjel. She spurns him for she loves Razvan Pantelimon, a dashing activist and community organiser who has no intention of marrying.

Meeting the lovely Madame Pupicu, Pantelimon falls in love and starts to pursue her. He and Daciana are so besotted with each other at Balul Martisorului that Gina's hopes to snare Pantelimon are shattered. Daciana, followed by Pantelimon, returns to her husband Virgiliu and son Sorinel in Irish Park, Ploiesti, while the disappointed Patalama returns to his cottage alone.

Part 2 (35 chapters)

Gina falls ill after Pantelimon's humiliating rejection. At the spa in Mamaia where she takes a rest cure, she tries to deny her womanly urges by becoming a religious do-gooder. Realising the hypocrisy of this new calling, Gina returns to Bucharest cured of her depression and ready to accept her ultimate wifehood.

Consummating her union with Pantelimon at The Intercontinental, Daciana steps into a new life with much fear for the future. By the time she confesses her adultery to the already-suspecting Virgiliu, she is already pregnant with Pantelimon's twins.

Part 3 (32 chapters)

Devoting himself to organic leek-farming paid for with EU funding, Patalama tries to find the meaning of life without marriage. He uses his energy devising brilliant business plans for leek and marijuana production with the help of his peasants to optimise the land. Seeing his brother Ovidiu terminally ill with tuberculosis, he realises he has been working to avoid facing up to death. He also realises he will always love Gina.

Meawhile, Pantelimon's career ambitions rival his love, and as he has not chosen between the two, he is still not committed to Daciana. Having rejected her husband, but still unable to depend on Pantelimon, Daciana finds herself in a desperate situation. Her life is in suspended animation.

Part 4 (23 chapters)

Gina and Patalama are engaged to marry. Virgiliu, who has tried to give the impression of domestic tranquillity, finally becomes angry enough to hire a divorce lawyer called Wolf. Anna gives birth to the twins (Aurel and Aurica), but is seriously ill from puerperal fever. On what is believed to be her deathbed, Virgiliu forgives her and feels sanctified by this surge of Christian charity. At the sudden role reversal, Pantelimon feels so humiliated he tries to kill himself. These incidents form the turning point of the novel. After Daciana's recovery, the lovers go abroad to Paris and Daciana refuses divorce (though Virgiliu agrees to it) for fear of giving up her son, Sorinel.

Part 5 (33 chapters)

Patalama and Gina, after some initial difficulties, adjust to being married. Ovidiu's death affects Patalama deeply, and he realises that emotional commitment, not reason, enables one to overcome life's problems. As if to underscore this affirmation, they learn Gina is pregnant.

After Patalama and Gina return from their honeymoon in Laco de Como, Daciana and Pantelimon go back to Ploiesti. Violently affected from seeing her son Sorinel again, Daciana's love for Pantelimon becomes more desperate, for she has no one else. Despite his objections, she boldly attends the Teatru de Revista to affirm her love in public. Humiliated at the Opera Nationala, she blames Pantelimon for being unsympathetic. He is angry at her indiscretions. This keynotes the decline of their relationship, although it is temporarily restored as they go to live in the Poiana Tapului.

Part 6 (32 chapters)

Among Patalama's summer visitors is a socialite who pays so much attention to Gina that the host asks him to leave.

Visiting Daciana at Pantelimon's flat, Valerica finds her own drab life preferable to the Bohemian and insecure lifestyle of Daciana. Complaining that Pantelimon is eager for independence, Daciana tells Valerica she must rely on her beauty, her cooking, her muraturi and her love for lautari to keep his interest. Pantelimon feels especially burdened by the demands of Daciana's love when she calls him home by tweets from a lively political demonstration at Piata Universitatii.

Part 7 (31 chapters)

Gina gives birth to a son and names him Maximus.

Virgiliu, under the influence of his fanatically devout friend, Lena Bobârnac, becomes religious and uses his hypocritical faith as a crutch to overcome his humiliation and loneliness.

Daciana, seeing the irreversible decline of her love affair, loses the will to live, cries 'nu mai pot' and jumps under a freight train from Caracal.

Part 8 (19 chapters)

Pantelimon volunteers for service in Afghanistan. Sarah In Romania uses this part of the novel to express her pacifist principles.

Patalama discovers salvation when he resolves to "live for his soul" rather than for selfish goals. He understands the meaning of life consists in living according to the goodness inherent in every individual. Understanding death as part of a reality-oriented life, Patalama is finally at peace with himself.

(See original text HERE.)

 

There. Masterpiece. I thank you.

at the Supreme Court though an overturned decision is unlikely. - See more at: http://www.balkaneu.com/romanian-publisher-prison-sentence-plagiarism/#sthash.ALl6B3wG.dpuf
plagiarized Tolstoi’s work which he then signed using a pen name. He titled the plagiarized work “Memoirs” - See more at: http://www.balkaneu.com/romanian-publisher-prison-sentence-plagiarism/#sthash.ALl6B3wG.dpuf
plagiarized Tolstoi’s work which he then signed using a pen name. He titled the plagiarized work “Memoirs” - See more at: http://www.balkaneu.com/romanian-publisher-prison-sentence-plagiarism/#sthash.ALl6B3wG.dpuf

 

plagiarized Tolstoi’s work which he then signed using a pen name. He titled the plagiarized work “Memoirs” - See more at: http://www.balkaneu.com/romanian-publisher-prison-sentence-plagiarism/#sthash.ALl6B3wG.dpuf

Posté par Sarah in Romania à 00:10 - Commentaires [3] - Permalien [#]

27 décembre 2013

No Christmas for Pungesti

hunger strike(Photo source) How lucky most of us are to have spent Christmas safe, warm and stuffed to the gills. Those in Pungesti have been far less lucky. There, the abuse of unrepentant police intimidation at the behest of the Romanian government in the name of fawning to Chevron has continued throughout the entire holiday period. Stories coming from the town are overwhelmingly emotional.

sandu2(Photo source) One of the most distressing (to me, at least) has been news of the hunger strikes. Alexandru Popescu (Sandu) began his strike in front of the TNB on 21st December following a visit to Pungesti. "I'm tired of four months of fighting and no one taking any notice," he told Claudia Apostol of 'Uniti Salvam'. "What I saw in Pungesti...what can I say? The attitude of the authorities isn't going to change. But at least it has opened peoples' eyes." Please see this video HERE (Romanian with English STs).

Since yesterday, Christmas Day, there are thirty others, including five environmental activists. Together, they will carry out their hunger strike 'indefinitely'.

There is something about hunger strikes that always fill me with horror. Perhaps, it's my own personal schemata: memories of the Irish hunger strikes of the early 80s, resulting in the deaths of Bobby Sands and 10 others. To deprive oneself of food - sometimes fatally - to be deliberately weakened and fragilised in the name of a belief, a goal. It can never end well and it impresses me profoundly. The desperation, the determination for justice, and the certainty that there is no other way in which to get it.... My deepest respect. Especially now, at Christmas time, when everyone is symbolically stuffing their faces to bursting point. Oh, and there were no colinde either. Over the Christmas period, the Romanian tradition of carol-singing was strictly out of bounds in Pungesti since any 'gatherings' of more than two people are forbidden. Yes, you read that right.

Sandu's demands are as follows:

1. Withdrawal of riot police troops from Pungesti

2. Immediate investigation of riot police abuse in Pungesti.

3. The banning of fracking in Romania (both for exploration and exploitation)

4. The punishing of those guilty in the Pungesti file, from the President down to the last head of the riot police, responsible for the creation of such an outrageous situation.

For the first two points, you'd think it would be straightforward to carry them out quickly and efficiently. But since the orders of such abuse come from the top, well, where do you begin...? It's sickening. In reference to point 3, the Romanian authorities are oppressing the people of Pungesti in order to slurp all over the feet of Chrevron. Chevron did not ASK to come to Romania. THEY were asked to come BY the Romanian authorities. If the fatcats of the American mega-giant have the brains they were born with, they'll see what a complete waste of time and drop in the ocean Romania is (the people clearly don't want it - and the officials and Romanian politicians are so darn corrupt they should be avoided at all costs) and get the hell out of Dodge. Why they're still there beats me. For point 4, good luck with that...

There is an ambulance standing by permanently to tend to the hunger strikers if necessary, I understand, and the medics are aware of the situation, too. But still, I fear for Sandu and the others - these people trying to make a difference, standing up to a tsunami of boundless, endless corruption. There are long term effects of food deprivation and hunger that are horribly irreversible, so please God, may this abuse of power END and no one else suffer - either as a result of police batons, the fat hands of Mircia Vlasa (Mayor of Pungesti) who cuffed a 12-year-old on Christmas Eve, or from hunger and cold....

copii(Photo source) Since riot police took root in Pungesti in early December after violent clashes with protesters opposing Chevron's intention to begin exploration for shale gas, the town has effectively found itself under severe curfew conditions unprecedented in peace time. Children have become so terrorised by the gendarmes' intimidating presence (and with cause) that some have not been able to attend school and others are reported to have started bed-wetting. The annual Christmas party for the children at school was cancelled. People have been confined to their homes, unable to go anywhere without questioning from the police. 

I don't know what the BOR, the Russians, little green men or the wild woman of Borneo have to do with all this - and really, I don't care much anymore. Abuse by authorities is two-fold in today's Romania: first, there is the willy-nilly passing of unconstitutional laws at the drop of a hat which go against citizens' basic rights and then there is the more visible direct abuse via riot police exercising force way above and beyond the call of duty, leading to the outrageous bullying and intimidation of citizens. It is impossible for ANYONE to turn a blind eye to either anymore. Pre-'89, such abuse was appalling, but post-'89 it is truly shocking and shows the terrible fragility of a young Romanian democracy.

pungesti13(Photo source) It is incredible to think that in an EU member state in 2013, such military intimidation on orders from Romanian authorities can be taking place under our very noses, remains largely unreported by the international press and NOTHING has been done to condemn this over-zealous, barbaric treatment of citizens of ALL ages, ie. both young and old alike. As for the mayor of Pungesti, he should have been thrown in jail years ago - not only for his recent falsifying of documents used in the leasing of land to Chevron, but also for his pilfering from the CAP (common knowledge, it seems) in his good old commie days at the very least.

It is fitting to remember that 24 years ago on 22nd December, communism fell in Romania and an outpouring of hope was born... chiar degeaba? For exactly nothing?

 

Further information:

- If you would like to read more about the situation in Pungesti and the fight against fracking in Romania, please see THIS new site.

- Please see a report by APADOR-CH on the human rights abuse in Pungesti and other useful links HERE.

- APADOR-CH and ActiveWatch demand the dismissal of the Interior Minister for the abuses committed at Pungeşti

- Petition: STOP Chevron and Police abuse in PUNGESTI, Romania (AVAAZ) - please sign if you haven't already done so!

- Facebook group: Frackoff Pungesti for materials on the warlike situation in Pungesti due to abuse by Romanian authorities and Chevron's fracking operations. Articles are posted here in several languages.

 

My thanks to Liviu C for the additional info and links.

Posté par Sarah in Romania à 02:30 - Commentaires [1] - Permalien [#]

25 décembre 2013

Sarah's 'Ode to Sarmale' - Merry Christmas one and all!

craciun2(Photo: Sarah In Romania)

 

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas!

and a little festive ode just for you! Any likeness to that of Pastorel is pure figment of your imagination!!

reindeer sleigh emoticon

Sarah's lil Ode to Sarmale

There’s something ‘bout sarmale

That turns my legs to gel,

I’m sure that all my readers

Know this feeling very well

 *

The prep is ceremonious

And it can’t be done alone –

For that accentuates the ‘dor’

And longingness for home.

 *

Ingredients loved and fashioned

Into each, a yummy roll -

And as you work with diligence

They fill your very soul!

 *

A layer of sarmale,

Varza acra makes one more,

Then we add the slaninuta

Til there ain’t no room for more

 *

A little taste for everyone

For dreams' sake and to savour,

Then we cook it, oh so slowly

Soaking up the Christmas flavour!

 *

And as it's cooking gently,

There are tipples to be drunk -

Noroc with tsuica or palinca,

Til your head is in a funk!

*

Once transferred into the oven

Sweet perfume invades your heart,

For this ‘oeuvre’ of such iubire

Really is a work of art.

 *

Served with golden mamaliga

And a wonderful red wine,

It's impossible to muster up

A better way to dine!

*

Christmas can’t exist without it,

You can try, but won’t succeed,

Coz the loss is overwhelming –

Like a knight without his steed!

 *

So, a very Merry Christmas

May your joys be all complete

And sarmale always with you!

Pentru-n Craciun fericit!

*

sarmale2

Photo source

 

Posté par Sarah in Romania à 19:59 - Commentaires [9] - Permalien [#]

21 décembre 2013

'Three museums diverted from their mission' by Dr. Sanda Golopentia

sanda-golopentia(Photo source) Dr. Sanda Golopenția PhD, Professor Emerita at Brown University, RI (US), sent me this text yesterday, and has given me kind permission to share it with you here. In this one article, she sums things up in a nutshell defining what is planned for MTR, Antipa and the Village Museum as 'a serious act of cultural aggression':

Many thanks, Professor Golopenția!

 

Trei muzee prestigioase deturnate de la munca

și misiunea lor

 

Sanda Golopenția, Prof.Em. Brown University

 

            Institutii românești de talia Muzeului Țăranului Român și a Muzeului Satului au nevoie de susținerea inspirată a statului, iar Romania are nevoie de cultură. Prin comasarea celor doua muzee, ambele vor fi de fapt distruse cu bună știință. Fiecare dintre ele are un profil specific pe care se cuvine să-l respectăm și ajutăm să crească, iar nu să-l nimicim, ignorând chemarea lor și trecând cu tăvălugul peste munca și căutările mai multor generații. Muzeul Satului studiază și expune etnografic obiecte complexe — de la case de locuit din diferitele regiuni ale țării, cu împrejmuirile, anexele și interioarele sau uneltele lor caracteristice, la peisajul de sat, cu ulițe, meșteșugari și biserică. Muzeul Țăranului Român, clar delimitat prin nume, ridică problema omului, cu viziunea lui despre lume, cu valorile și conceptele lui, îndemnând la dialogul viu între civilizația țărănească din care provenim și modernitatea, pe care o dorim luminată și încălzită de trecut, în care ne aflăm. Fiecare dintre ele a acumulat în timp un material urias pe care urmează să-l gestioneze și să-l aducă ani de-a rândul în fața vizitatorilor, fie ei din România sau din străinătate. Fiecare continuă să dezvolte proiecte inovatoare și are, prin forța lucrurilor o concepție muzeistică proprie. Și, mai cu seamă, fiecare merită toată atenția din partea guvernului, sau a ministerelor de resort, în fapt nu o merită, ci o impune prin vizibilitatea și calitățile de excepție pe care le-a dovedit. Ambele muzee se bucură de o largă recunoaștere în Uniunea Europeană și de premii de prestigiu, ambele sunt locuri de pelerinaj cultural nu numai pentru români, ci și pentru cei care, în alte țări, caută drumul spre o armonizare a vieților noastre, prinse inevitabil în tensiunea trecut–prezent–aspirații de viitor. Ambele ilustrează capacitățile de creație și sinteză ale poporului român și constituie surse de inspirație de care să ne folosim cu bucurie.

            A caza o instituție care are nevoie de spațiu în locul ocupat de un muzeu de marcă precum Muzeul Antipa, care si-a restructurat de curând spațiul potrivit cu cerințele proprii de expunere, a muta apoi două alte muzee de prim ordin într-o rocadă întunecată, pe cât de bizară, este un act grav, de agresiune culturală. Nu cred că el cadrează nici cu guvernul nici cu variile ministere implicate. Și sunt sigură că, la reflecție, se va reveni asupra unei măsuri în care decizii pripite, neinformate sau indiferente la ce ar fi să respectăm bucuroși, au creat nu numai printre muzeografii și specialiștii noștri în științe sociale și, pe plan larg, în variile domenii ale culturii românești și europene, ci și în rîndurile largi ale celor care iubesc și respectă trecutul nostru, reflectând activ la ce-i datorăm și prin ce îl continuăm, un sentiment de nesiguranță și apăsare.

            Muzee de talia celor trei pe care din câteva trăsături de condei cineva care nu le înțelege e gata să le devieze de la rostul lor adânc, definit cu trudă, în ani, de mulți iubitori ai culturii, nu se refac ușor. Și nici nu avem multe.

            Vara trecută, la Paris, erau expuse fotografii ale unor aranjamente ale Muzeului Țăranului Român. Nu era pentru prima oară și nu era singurul loc de expunere în Franța a muncii muzeului. Alții pot vorbi de alte experiențe. A mea a fost specială în măsura în care am vizitat Muzeul Țăranului Român la Paris, grație inițiativei unui francez, într-o zi obișnuită de vară, fără aniversări sau prilejuri speciale. Am ridicat capul și m-am simțit parte activă și recunoscută a Europei. Datorez bucuria acestei clipe colegilor mei de la M.Ț.R. Obligația de a asigura continuitatea bună a muncii lor ne revine fiecăruia și nu poate fi eludată de organismele menite să ne reprezinte cultural.

 

You can now also find Dr Golopentia's article on Hotnews, Revista 22, Contributors and Ziare.

Posté par Sarah in Romania à 15:40 - Commentaires [0] - Permalien [#]

19 décembre 2013

Ponta and Plumb set to destroy the Romanian Peasant Museum

MTR(Photo source) Yet another vicious beating from Romanian authorities, this time aimed at the Romanian Peasant Museum (Muzeul Ţăranului Român - MTR)...

PM Victor Pontaur is all for an absurd draft resolution dreamed up by the Sinister of the Environment PSD-ist Rovana Plumb (all those out in the streets protesting against the RMGC project and fracking know her only too well) to move the nearby Grigore Antipa Museum of Natural History there, thus destroying MTR and its grounds as we know it. Actually, it destroys two museums in one fell swoop. It makes absolutely no sense whatsoever, neither culturally nor financially, and has been vehemently denounced by Muzeul Ţăranului Român's Director Stephen Virgil Niţulescu, who has addressed this open letter to the PM. In it, he says that such an act would "destroy an institution fundamental to the Romanian soul" - an error that would be manifest of the "communist regime."

This comes after 13 million euros was spent on Antipa's entire recent renovation. It was reopened in September 2011.

Grigore Antipa and MTR are the two most popular museums in the whole of Romania - and the most researched on Google in 2013 - but since when did common sense ever have anything to do with the price of fish, for goodness sake?

rovana-plumb-sinistra-mediului(Photo source) What's the point of such a monstrous attack on Romania's culture, you'll be asking. Aren't we all. Clearly, this wonderful new space one now finds at Antipa has plenty of promise for Plumb and her ministry. She wants it for herself. A cultural hub that is successful and always full whenever I have visited is wasted as a museum in her opinion. So, shove everything into the site of today's lovely Muzeul Ţăranului Român (MTR), move all those collections to The Village Museum (Muzeul Naţional al Satului) near Park Herăstrău, thus eradicating MTR entirely. Gata. Another great day's work.

Unsurprisingly and just as you'd expect, the two 'new' museums will come under the Ministry of the Environment. Ponta has commissioned Gigel Stirbu, the new Minister of Culture, to handle the project. Ponta's explanation for the change in ministry is related to the Ministry of the Environment's access to EU funds, whereas the Culture Ministry has none. See THIS very good article (in Romanian) for more on EU funds v Culture.

During Gigel's recent swearing in as Minister of Culture, President Traian Basescu advised him against the merging.

"Merge them!" was Ponta's uncompromising (and as usual, elegant) reply.

Paulina Popoiu, general manager of the Muzeul Naţional al Satului, told AFP that nobody had spoken to her at all about the merger project with MTR, and that if it were to go ahead, it would be far from an easy task.

save mtr(Photo source) Bucharest's beloved MTR was founded in 1906 under a royal decree signed by King Carol I as a Museum of Ethnography, National and Decorative Art and Industrial Art and was closed during the communist period. On 15th February 1990, the then-Culture Minister Andrei Plesu named painter Horia Bernea director of MTR. In 1996, the museum won the EMYA - European Museum of the Year Award. Over the years, it has flourished not only as a museum within itself, but also as a culture centre for conferences, exhibitions, book launches, concerts and hosts folkloric and traditional crafts festivals. The museum itself documents Romania's fascinating rural past - colourful costumes, hand-painted pottery and a complete 18th-century wooden church. A separate section documents collectivisation in communist Romania.

Clubul Taranului Roman 04(Photo source: Clubul Taranului Roman) This is yet another wilful act to destroy Romania's culture, already in the throes of what seems to be purposeful dismantlement. It is certainly not the first time museums are targeted, see HERE and HERE. This most recent development was decided with NO public debate. So much for transparency. Puiu Haşotti (PNL leader in the Senate) has likened it to being on a parallel with Ceausescu and his monstrous destruction of Bucharest's churches, whilst anthropologist Vintila Mihailescu has described it as a 'huge political gaffe' and 'an attack on national identity'. Andrei Plesu, Cristi Puiu, Gabriel Liiceanu and Dan Falcan have also expressed their alarm and deep disapproval. Even Gigel says he doesn't agree with it.

Vintilă Mihăilescu

Citeste mai mult: adev.ro/my0ealEven Gigel has voiced his disapproval of such a move, albeit admitting that he doesn't know much about it....

PLEASE add your name to the petition HERE. So far there are 419 signatures at the time of writing. That is NOT enough. If we care enough about Romania to get out there on the streets to protect her land, her mountains and her future generations from cyanide gold extraction and fracking for shale gas and to oppose politicians introducing laws and legislations at the drop of a hat that absolve and promote those wrecking and undermining the country at a rate of knotts, then surely we should be indignant enough to stand up for her threatened history and cultural institutions, too. Right? This CANNOT be allowed to happen. Not again. It MUST be stopped.

paws off!(Photo source) There is a public Facebook page for you to visit HERE full of articles, info and events, keeping you up to speed. There will be two flashmobs tomorrow at MTR - one at 14h and a second at 18h. The message is simple: 'Solidarity with MTR'. Please be there if you can.

 

Update, 19th December: Late last night, it was reported that Pontaur has decided to 'take a step back' from the MTR merger with Muzeul Naţional al Satului due to public uproar at the news. God forbid that Ponta should do anything unpopular!! Good. Regrettably, however, it's just a pause. He is still determined that Antipa move to MTR and mutation of responsibility from the Ministry of Culture to that of the Environment go ahead...

Watch this space as news comes in. It doesn't end here.

Please don't forget the two flashmob events at MTR, 14h and 18h today!

flashmob mtr(Photo source) Later: Today's 14h flashmob unfolded with around 40 people in front of MTR, and the 18h 'session' with approx. 30. The museum kindly served hot tea to all, including the bus load of jandarmi. A hearty bravo to everyone who showed up at such short notice and an even bigger bravo to Roxana and others for organising it!
Smiley

Greed (and that's what this is about) MUST NOT triumph over culture and national identity, any more than it should over environmental safety, health, justice and basic human rights. Not today, not tomorrow. Not ever. And definitely not in OUR Romania...

 

For more, please see Roxana Dascalu's article for Econtext.ro HERE.

23rd December: Today the Romanian government officially renounced plans to merge MTR with the Village Museum 'for the time being', also shelving ideas to transfer responsibility from the Ministry of Culture to the Environment. Mr Nitulescu expressed hope that the momentary decision would turn out to be the final one, for if it were found to be the contrary, street protests would follow. Too right!

Ponta said that no one ever wanted to merge the museums in the first place. Huh?! Nuff said. What's more important is that Ponta has knocked the project on the head (for now) and will leave MTR alone. The staff of MTR are understandably 'grateful' and have no wish to experience any more 'delicate' situations with Ponta. The museum is safe.

I don't have a shred of faith in the PM, however. As we have seen with examples of Rosia Montana and Chevron, a spotlight lull often means theatrical effect for a false sense of security. They make me fiendishly nervous.

The petition which now has the support of a couple of thousand including Andrei Plesu, Ion Vianu, Marius Oprea, Marilena Rotaru, Andrei Pippidi, Dorel Sandor, Teodor Baconschi, Sanda Golopentia, Bogdan Suceava, Raluca Stirbat, Maria Raducanu, Victor Rebengiuc, Mariana Mihut and Maia Morgenstern will continue. Please, if you haven't yet added your voice, you can sign it HERE.

Watch this space - I'm uncomfortably sure we haven't heard the last of this....

Posté par Sarah in Romania à 01:04 - Commentaires [1] - Permalien [#]

16 décembre 2013

A violent night in Bucharest, Willy Schuster and the rest

vlad petri(Photo source: Vlad Petri) Another night of protests in Bucharest - and yet more scenes of intimidation and police violence...

Around 2,000 people are reported to have demonstrated against USL and the Ponta government for trying to subvert justice through their amendments to the Penal Code adopted last Tuesday. The event, entitled "Protest against crooks in Parliament", was scheduled for 16h at Piata Universitatii by the symbolic fountain which has borne witness to so many other protests in Romania's modern history, and is deeply representative of both loss and hope.

At the appropriate hour, 200 or so demonstrators were au rendezvous waving banners of "Shame!" "Super immunity? No shit!" "Democracy Error 404 Not Found", "Down with Basescu, Ponta and Antonescu!" and "All parties, the same misery!", say Hotnews. Impossible to argue with a single slogan. Jandarmi used tear gas to disperse protesters in front of the Government building later on, where they had gathered to call for Ponta's resignation and the violence that we have become so used to seeing perpetrated by so-called 'law enforcements' did not fail to rear its ugly head once again.

oreste(Photo source: Oreste Teodorescu) Here is Hotnews's report on how the rest of the evening unfolded, and please see THIS video, too:

16h50: Chants of "All parties, same mess!", "Down with Ponta, you are a liar!", "Down with Basescu, Ponta and Antonescu!", "United, we'll save Romania!".

17h: Around 1,000 people, now. Chants anti-USL, anti-Basescu, on shale gas and RMP are heard.

17h20: "Romania, police state!" While more protesters arrive at Pta Universitatii, others leave due to the cold.

17h40: From megaphones, one can hear "Romanian press, full of lies."

17h55: Crowds start moving towards Blvd. Magheru. The jandarmi try to cordon them off. Scuffles between protesters and police opposite the Intercontinental break out.

spre Guvern(Photo source: 'Se inainteaza printre masini pe Calea Victoriei in drum spre Guvern' - Cristian Vasile)

18h05: Following violent confrontations with jandarmi, protesters block traffic on Blvd. Elisabeta at the junction with calea Victoriei. They start marching towards the Government buildings, are stopped by a huge police barrage and remain on Bd Elisabeta.

18h17: Violent clashes at the intersection with calea Victoriei. A wall of jandarmi block the roundabout and intersection. Violence ensues along the entire street.

18h45: More violent clashes. Protesters break jandarmi lines after repeated scurmishes in which many are trampled underfoot, and continue along calea Victoriei towards the Government buildings.

19h08: Protesters arrive in Pta Victoriei, in front of the Government building. Chants of "Resign!". Some demonstrators block traffic in front of the Antipa museum.

19h32: Jandarmi use tear gas to disperse a group of protesters trying to break police lines to reach the Government buildings. One protester is arrested. A separate group of protesters who seem to be football fans, push demonstrators directly against police lines causing further tension. Jandarmi respond with tear gas, after more scuffles.

19h46: Some protesters light flares and throw them into police lines. More violence. 

20h: Chants of "The plagiarist lied to the people!" and "Down with Iliescu!"

20h17: The number of protesters begins to decline. Anti-Ponta chanting continues.

20h20: Georgian Enache, spokesman for Bucharest Gendarmerie tells Digi24 that the initial group of protesters had been infiltrated by football fans who provoked the police, throwing objects at them. According to Enache, among the protesters were members of Steaua Bucharest.

20h25: Piata Victoriei: Jandarmi surround the crowd of a remaining 200-300 protesters.

20h30: Protest leaders say that their megaphones were confiscated, and some of the demonstrators were hauled off to the police station in sector 2 where they were apparently beaten. In front of the Antipa Museum, protesters try to break police lines.

Almost all chants and slogans were directed against USL and Ponta. But of course. What the hell did they expect? Christmas cards?!? By 20h45 it was all over, says Hotnews. But not quite.

willy(Photo source) What this article doesn't mention is the story of Willy Schuster, a PEACEFUL protester in Floreasca hospital tonight with a broken finger and a head injury after being beaten up by fist-wielding jandarmi .... I'd like to yell 'RUSINE!!' but it's gone way past that point. See THIS video. Mr. Schuster said he was just standing there talking peacefully with a 'negociator' (we all know about them) and at some point, was pushed from behind by jandarmi who isolated him and then beat him.

Mr Schuster, a farmer from Mosna in Sibiu and president of the Eco Ruralis Association, is one of many activists opposing the exploration for shale gas in his region. He was beaten with truncheons and punched in the stomach. He was then arrested by police and taken away covered in blood.

Willy Schuster is not a nobody. Far from it. He is a much respected man. He has become a symbol of the fight for citizens' rights in Romania and was beaten up tonight by those meant to UPHOLD and PROTECT those rights - but DO NOT.

erwin(Photo source) The Hotnews article DOES report on scuffles, scurmishes, violence, but it doesn't mention names. So here's one: Willy Schuster. And then there's also the independent Euro-Parliament candidate for 2014, anti-Rosia and anti-fracking activist Erwin Albu from Brasov, who was hit in the face and has a shiner to show for it along with a probable broken nose. He and Mr Schuster were at the protest together. There are others. Many, many others, and they all have names. You'll find them in Bucharest, and you'll find them in Pungesti.

two sides(Photo source) On FaceBook tonight, a photograph is doing the rounds entitled 'The principle problem of the Romanian people', taken by Doru Oprisan. As you can see, it shows two halves of a situation: on the left, you have a warm and cosy café where young people sit around laughing and joking. On the right, there is the street directly outside full of protesters and jandarmi. We are asked not to judge those on the left too harshly, for perhaps they do not know what's going on, or perhaps they have been part of the protests but simply aren't tonight. The image is real, the interpretation subjective, but the title speaks volumes.

rusine(Photo source: Vlad Petri) But when the state authorities of Romania start to lie (and not for the first time by a long chalk), you can be sure that the truth will end up out there in the streets. It may take a while, but when the mamaliga explodes, it does so in dramatic proportions. You'll hear that truth in the voices of the protesters. You'll see it on their banners and posters, and you'll see it in their eyes. You'll feel it in their bruises, broken bones and spilled blood. And you'll smell it. You'll smell it everywhere you go.

If Ponta and his bunch of corrupt, shameless crooks believe they can get away with empocketing an entire country for their own ends, playing with laws to protect their sorry interests, infiltrate and discredit protesters in ways reminiscent of pre-89 and have unarmed citizens beaten up by their bully-boys in uniform whether it is in the capital or in Pungesti, they can damn well think again. The more blood that is shed and the more justice gets shafted, the more insensed the people will justifiably be. The louder they will shout and the harder Ponta and his rabble of manipulative imposters in comfy chairs will fall. Their days are numbered and the clock is ticking. They will not win.

 

Posté par Sarah in Romania à 02:00 - Commentaires [3] - Permalien [#]



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