(Image source) It causes chagrin when one can no longer speak one's mind... The general Romanian atmosphere, particularly on Facebook at the moment, makes that very difficult.
Today, I have seen a friend of mine totally slammed for having opinions that dared go against those of someone else. That 'someone else' named her publically on a very aggressive status as a vehicle of pro-Basescu propaganda. You get the gist, I'm sure....
What is it about the average Romanian and his incapacity to listen, debate and discuss without insulting, yelling and using the most appalling language possible? How long has it been this way? The arrogance of 'my way or the highway' is every which way you turn. No matter what you say, what you do, there is always someone there to slap you down, prove you wrong, argue and condemn. Even worse if you are guilty enough to be a foreigner with opinions that concern their country and their politics. Oh whoa...then you're really in for it.
(Image source) I have had e-mails and FB comments that have needed rereading three times as I couldn't believe them the first two. And why? Because I do NOT agree with what is happening in Romania today. I do NOT agree with the riding rough-shod over democracy, over state institutions nor over the constitution. I did not and still do not. And I never will. As I have said many times before, I'll be very happy indeed to see the back of Basescu, but NOT like this. When it is done, it must happen legally, constitutionally and decently. Otherwise, it shouldn't be done at all. And furthermore, I hope he will be replaced by someone who isn't 'Iliescu's puppet', as Neagu Djuvara so pointedly said in an interview recently.
I have been able to have conversations and debates with only TWO people since all this circus began three weeks ago. One of them, Adrian, comments here often. We have opposing views but there's a certain amount of common ground if we look hard enough - my intense dislike for both parties being one of them. He and the second person, Ileana, send me articles to read, videos to watch... I still don't agree, but it is a rich and rare experience to be offered a look into another perspective without the usual belittling and arrogance - and is immensely valuable. We agree to disagree and that's that. No respect is lost and there is no haranguing.
But for the rest, I don't think I have ever seen such hatred, such foul language on FB in my life. I can only speak for the English where the 'c...' word has come up three times today. It is a word that makes me feel physically sick and especially when used by a foreigner. Why can't people be abusive in their own language and leave others alone? It seems, to me, to make it all the more repugnant. The 'f...' word too, though I'm not a prude, is another one. To see it once or twice, fine. But repeatedly? There are other adjectives one could use to underline a point. Such expletives do NOT make he/she using them any cleverer or any more admirable - au contraire.
For only the second time in three years on FB, I struck someone off my list yesterday. It took a while and I have to say I was sorry to do it, but eventually, I just couldn't bear the continual mocking abuse any longer. Being called a 'Basescu mercenary' was the final straw.
Why oh why are the majority (and I say that to imply there are exceptions to the rule - but only a minority) of Romanians incapable of civil discussion? Why must they consider that if Ion Popescu doesn't see things from their point of view then he's a cretin and that what he posts or writes is 'propaganda'? Surely, at this crucial time, people should be pulling together? But no.
(Image source) Continuing to insist they are right while Angela Merkel, Joseph Daul and just about every piece of foreign press are wrong has become really quite silly. True, Romanian eyes and western eyes see things in a whole myriad of different shades. Democracy to a Romanian is not the same as democracy anywhere else. Why do they vote for criminal mayors ("well, because he stole less than the other one did" or "he gave us firewood while the other one gave us nothing at all"), why do they allow convicted criminals to vote for the impeachment of a president ("because others did more damage") or why is it okay to plagiarise ("well, because everyone does it" - incidentally, the Ethics board just ruled Ponta did NOT plagiarise his thesis). What?!? What the EU have asked Ponta to do seems perfectly justified to me. But to them? How dare foreigners tell us what to do. Brings to mind a fabulous article brimming with common sense written by Sam just the other day (and you should see some of the comments he got in response. I rest my case)...
With regards to Romanian politics, well, I've had it. I've had it with the lies, the BS, the abuse, the manipulation. I've had it with the nasty e-mails, the digs and the sabotage of efforts made by people trying to help (however small that help may have been) but ended up serving other people's purposes. I've had it up to the eye-teeth and I have decided to keep well away from it all until the results of the referendum on July 29th. That'll come as a great relief to those who don't agree with me and who have written to tell me it's a shame I write anything at all.
I cannot tell you what a disappointment it is to see those I thought intelligent, cultured and sensible behaving as they are right now. I understand the passion, but I cannot understand the cruel treatment of others, the venom nor the vitriolic statements that seem to pour from their finger tips onto the keyboard and into their screens without any concern whatsoever for the hurt they may cause. It's the other person's fault anyway coz they're an idiot and deserve it. Right? Frankly, I'm past caring about being accused of having self interest or taking payment for going to a protest or being pro-PDL. I'm talking about others who have been subjected to nastiness they really don't deserve. No civility. No decency. No respect.