(Photo source: AFP Photo / Daniel Mihailescu) Protests turned violent once again in Pungesti yesterday when clashes broke out between armed police and demonstrators. Journalist Lucy Kafanov reporting for RT in Moscow (?!!) was there on site and reported that protesters broke down perimetre fences and briefly entered the Chevron area. Riot police arrived and the violence that has become so familiar to us lately then ensued. The conflict has been ever-increasing this past week after the government imposed a military-style blockade against the town. Roads were blocked isolating residents and stopping children from getting to school.
According to THIS article, dozens were arrested and detained yesterday while 14 were charged with damaging property and possession of knives. Activist Brianna Caradja told THIS site that weapons had been planted on protesters to discredit them: "they are trying to “plant” evidence of weapons. We will know later, seems they claim to have found molotov cocktails, and other BS." Private riot police were supported by the private security company hired by Chevron. This video shows the private security agents attacking villagers with stones.
Injured demonstrators were taken away in ambulances. Please see THIS video of Kafanov's report for RT and all that was going on around her at the time.
(Photo source: AFP Photo / Daniel Mihailescu) As Kafanov reported from the other side of the road, the riot police closed in. "We're not quite sure why," she told the camera. Obviously, it was in an effort to clear the area. And yet, she and the protesters were standing on private property - their OWN land. Hardly surprising people were furious at being manhandled on land that actually belonged to them. Had the rough treatment taken place on the Chevron site, that would at least have made sense, for they were trespassing. But there, on the other side of the road, it was the riot police who were trespassing, not the journalist nor the demonstrators.
George Barda, a social and environmental justice campaigner had this to say (see RT video):
"In Romania, we have seen a leader who says no to fracking because the people don't want it and then when he's in power, he starts dancing to the tune of these major players like Chevron." He goes on to explain the risk for those living in the area and the long-term problems the project would bring.
[It really comes to something when one is forced to get information from the Russian Times because the Romanian press is not there doing its job...]
What a lousy, unfair fight it is. On one side there is profit, greed and military power. On the other, there are people with nothing much at all, trying to protect their land and livelihood. Hardly equal by any stretches of the imagination.
(Photo source) The unbelievable sweeping-under-the-rug as to how Chevron got hold of the land in the first place is hallucinating. It was leased by the mayor of Pungesti, Mircia C. Vlasă, to Chevron although he had had absolutely NO right to do so. According to TOTB, the land fell into his hands through an illegal exchange between Pungesti and another town, where Vlasă’s wife just happens to own land too. This mayor is said not only to have bullied and pressurised the citizens of his town, but also to have leased the land to Chevron without taking opinions of local residents into account. The locals themselves say that the exchange was made without proper regulations and if you saw the mug of this guy, you'd not doubt that for a second. See HERE for the DNA inquiry into the property rights Vlasă has over the land he rented out to Chevron. As far as legality is concerned, surely until it can be proven that Chevron obtained the land through the legal channels, they should get the hell off it? Right? Yes? No? At least a decision from the DNA should be heard before Chevron polishes another shovel or screws on another bolt.
Last month, Chevron filed a civil lawsuit against protesters in Poland who prevented the company from reaching one of its designated fracking sites, states RT. The company declared that the protesters had been violating its lawful right to access one of its four shale gas exploration areas in the country. If they have behaved in Poland as they are in Romania, then the 'lawful right' is certainly NOT on the side of Chevron.
(Photo source) Following yesterday's violent clashes, Chevron announced it was temporarily suspending activities in the area "as a result of unsafe conditions generated by unlawful and violent protest activities". Rather a short-lived pause however, for this morning it was business as usual at 8am...
When Chevron suspended plans to drill there back in October, withdrawing after protests turned nasty then too, some naïve souls hoped that would be an end to it - that Chevron would pack up and go home. The majority, however, knew that wouldn't be the case. Yesterday, the opinion was much the same. Pungesti is believed to be sitting upon vast gas reserves hugely coveted by both Chevron and the Romanian authorities. The country itself may hold 51 trillion cubic feet of shale gas, according to the US Energy Information Administration, and Chevron is NOT going to just give up what it has begun in Pungesti, and neither are the corrupt officials and politicians for whom greed is the faith.
(Photo source) The protesters show no signs of backing down either, however. As they stand brave and determined against the bullying tactics of a giant multinational and their own government, they also demand the resignation of PM Victor Ponta. What a disappointment he turned out to be for all those who were hailing him not so long ago.
Abuse by authorities is two-fold in today's Romania: first, there is the passing of unconstitutional laws 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 brutalising of unarmed 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.
Activist Brianna told PR, "Riot police (military in Romania) have been used in vast numbers, always extremely disproportionate to the number of protesters. We are calling for a stepdown (zic 'Ponta's'). Personally I would "step down" not only the government, but the whole parliament who sits fat and idle, passes crazy laws, and generally is only there to get richer (bribery is a proven fact)." I couldn't have put it better myself. They're nothing more than a bunch of shameless imposters and have one objective in mind - to enrich themselves on the backs of the people.
(Photo source) Protests continue tonight, whilst several hundred people are gathered in solidarity in Bucharest too. The atmosphere is tense. Hoards of police encircle the zone around Universitate, Academiei and the Facultatea de Arhitectura ready to intervene. Rezistenta Urbana says they are stopping anyone who steps off the pavement, asking whether they are there to protest or not.
The Chief of the Secret Service (SRI) has labeled the protesters at Pungesti eco-anarchists. If the definition of an eco-anarchist is one who fights for freedom, respect, dignity and integrity, then long live eco-anarchy.
UPDATE 17h50: Reports are coming in that locals have been arrested at random in Pungesti. Hotnews report that residents can't leave their homes without being questioned by police as to where they're going. Police have been posted in front of every single house. The road between Pungesti and Vaslui remains blocked and the entire area declared a 'special security zone'. A couvre-feu. In peace time...
22h:Bucharest: The number of police hugely outweighs the number of protesters. There have been serious skirmishes between jandarmi and demonstrators (as the absurdly named 'negociatori' stand idly by either watching or helping with the roughings up) - one in which a 16-year old was beaten up by police. There have been numerous arrests. Examples of police brutality can be seen all over FB via photos and articles by those who were there. FOR SHAME!!
Pungesti: Things haven't been much better there tonight either. Just one of many stories this evening is of Costel who went to his local shop in Armasoaia, and came nose to nose with police. As a result, he needed treatment at Vaslui hospital for head injuries...
Silent night, Holy night. Not.
If you haven't signed THIS petition by AVAAZ, please do so.
Gata for tonight. More news tomorrow.
(Photo source) You may remember back in October when Chevron suspended plans to drill an exploration well for shale gas in the north-eastern town of Pungesti after thousands demonstrated against the project both there and in Bucharest. Finally, Chevron was seen to back off, at least for a while. Some naïve souls hoped that would be an end to it - that Chevron would give up and go home. The majority, however, knew that wouldn't be the case. Well, six weeks later, Chevron have returned....
At around 4am on Monday morning, Romanian riot police, jandarmi and firemen joined forces in an attempt to break resistance lines. Police and Chevron vehicles blocked the road linking the town with Vaslui, and surrounded the protesters' camp in a privately-owned field right next to where the company giant plans to install its well.
The Nine O'Clock website reported that 40 people were beaten, detained and then taken to the nearest town for further questioning. That link seems to be broken, but I'll add it when it's working again. Romanian-Insider reported on the arrestation of thirty “for hostile behaviour” while the jandarmi blocked access so that Chevron could get on with the job in hand.
(Photo source) Activists claim that around 1,000 law enforcers took part in the operation. The police, however, put the number at three hundred. Journalists were reportedly permitted to 30 minutes at the scene under police escort, and all this in a country that considers itself civilised and democratic... See THIS video for a pretty good idea of what unfolded at 4am and THIS one a little later on in the morning.
"You would not believe what is happening here," said one of the activists during a phone call. "A chain of jandarmi is surrounding the entire area, private security forces all over, guarding Chevron trucks and workers. It's like a battlefield," reports TOTB.
A press release from Chevron representatives officially confirmed the recommencement of exploration procedures for shale gas. The Romanian Jandarmeria also issued a statement in which they said all measures were to protect the community and to establish proper conditions for Chevron to pursue its activity. 'All measures' meaning the beating of protesters with truncheons? Really? On their OWN LAND?!? And how does that protect the community when these people ARE the community...
Representatives for the Jandarmeria stated that protesters had illegally blocked the main road which, according to George Epurescu, a researcher at the National Institute for Laser, Plasma and Radiation Physics in Bucharest and supporter of the protesters, is pure fabrication. The protesters were on the side of the road and traffic was not hindered in any way. It was a peaceful protest against the usage of the land leased by the mayor of Pungesti, Mircia C. Vlasă, to Chevron although he had had absolutely NO right to do so. According to TOTB, the land fell into his hands through an illegal exchange between Pungesti and another town, where Vlasă’s wife just happens to own land too. Nu mai spune... This mayor is said not only to have bullied and pressurised the citizens of his town, but also to have leased the land to Chevron without taking opinions of local residents into account. The locals themselves say that the exchange was made without proper regulations and if you saw the mug of this guy, you'd not doubt that for a second. See HERE for a DNA inquiry into the property rights Vlasă has over the land he rented out to Chevron.
(Photo source) The people of Pungesti have been protesting against shale gas drilling in their region since at least early spring. Once again, the jandarmi showed up to intimidate them, refusing access to anyone who wasn't from the town.
This article says that Chevron was there in September handing out t-shirts, caps, kites and beer at the fair held weekly in Silistea, the village where the first drilling equipment is set to be placed. Moreover, one of the local counselors served sarmale to the locals to appease them. Les douceurs...
The exploration for shale gas in a community clearly rejecting the opinions of its residents goes against Chevron’s officially stated commitment to protect the people and the environment and to consult communities regarding local needs. Chevron faces not only opposition from Pungesti, but a very loud NU from the majority of the Romanian population. As for 'protecting the people', that's an overwhelming fail - those who were hospitalised as a result of police brutality on Monday bear witness to that. No need to even mention the 'environment' bit.
What happened on Monday must have seemed like something out of a Hollywood film: Local children were stopped on their way to school as the road connecting the town to others was blocked by police; any gatherings of more than three people were dissolved by authorities; some villagers were chased into the woods by police, who are said to have beaten them up; protesters who were taken to the Central Police Station in Vaslui were refused the right to contact press or lawyers.
Just like a film indeed - except it wasn't. For shame. It really happened. And why? Because corruption is the law, greed is the faith and if you don't bend the knee to both, then you get beaten up, thrown into a police van and taken away for questioning. Clearly, this was planned by the local authorities, police and Chevron in great detail so equipment could be installed and work could begin.
Greenpeace slammed the police 'intervention' yesterday as "a serious abuse against freedom of expression", underlining that the permits given to Chevron are currently being challenged in court. Challenged or not, Chevron has said its exploration work began on Monday as planned, despite the mayhem going on around them.
During a TV debate today broadcast on Romanian public television, Chevron Romania's CEO Tom Holst appeared supremely defiant and unbelievably arrogant, promising that the energy giant had absolutely NO intention of leaving Romania. His words have been seen by many as 'a declaration of war'.
This irresponsible attack on human and civil rights, a force deployment not seen in Romania during times of peace, comes just ONE DAY after Romania's National Day and a backdrop of national AND international protests against fracking and cyanide usage in Romania that have encompassed three long months. Who is listening? Chevron? Gabriel? RMGC? Ponta? Certainly not the latter. The Guardian reports: 'Prime minister, Victor Ponta, has responded to anti-fracking protests around the country, saying that "the actions of the gendarmes were 100% according to the law and I congratulate them for this." He can deny anything untoward happened all he likes, but victims (both locals and activists) have medical certificates attesting to broken ribs and other injuries. Such abuse, termed 'legitimate' by Romanian authorities, merit nothing short of MASSIVE international indignance. Over 28,000 people have signed a petition pubished by AVAAZ - see HERE - over the last 48h calling for a firm position by European and international human rights decision-makers to condemn the abuse undertaken by Romanian armed forces who behaved like a hoard of mercenaries against unarmed civilians.
It's as if the last twenty-four years never happened and the communist regime is alive and well after all. But then, we knew that, didn't we.
(Photo source) This is a happy update for anyone following the story of Cleo's Angels!
Last Sunday, Claudia left Bucharest via special animal transport to take nine sponsored cats to safety. If you haven't been following the story of Cleo's Angels, please see HERE, HERE and HERE. Bound for the one and only cat shelter in the whole country, SOS Animale Abandonate Resita in the Banat, it was a long eight hour trip by road, but I understand the cats were extremely well-behaved.
Surya, Hermes (recovering well from his close encounter with canine jaws and subsequent surgery), Jackie, Dolo, Porto, Sonto, Dupli, Lunienka and Ariadna have settled into their new home pretty fast judging by the photos posted on FB, see HERE. The shelter itself is great - places to run, hide, climb and snuggle, whilst the director Ilie and his cat-shelter team are dedicated and, frankly, wonderful. Take a look at THIS lovely video of the day the cats arrived. Hee! Hee!!!! Marvellous!
(Photo source) Since last Sunday, sponsorships for two six-month old kittens, Lunienka and Ariadna, have fallen through so if anyone reading could help via paypal or bank transfer (easier if you are Romanian than living elsewhere as the transfer charges are nothing short of extortion), you'll find the details further down on this post. To keep a cat at Resita, the charge is 12 euros a month which covers food, vet bills, etc.
There is a contract between Claudia and Ilie, stipulating that all money received via sponsorship will be used for the sponsors' particular cats, and photos and news will be sent regarding 'their' cat at regular intervals.
Meanwhile in Bucharest, there are another 15 or so cats that need your help. Most of them are semi-wild or completely feral if I'm not wrong, and catching them is an issue as is homing them. Claudia has managed to neuter/spay and vaccinate several of them, however, and I'm in no doubt that she will continue down that rather exhausting though very responsible and admirable path.
There is something important that I would like to mention here: Claudia has been taking care of over 20 cats (although the numbers come and go) by herself for several years. She has neutered, spayed, vaccinated, fed and paid for vet treatment when necessary entirely alone. She has NEVER asked a penny from anyone and is mortified that she has been forced, now, to do so. She is afraid of being seen by foreigners as 'just another Romanian with an open hand', scared we will think badly of her for needing help after so long. Of course, those who have rushed to her aid do not think these things at all and admire her very much for managing alone all this time. Now, though, Claudia need not cope by herself. Let us show her that we can do a better job than the local townhall in sector 6 (who falsely declares it's a dog-free zone) by helping her find sponsors and/or forever homes for those tame enough to adapt.
(Photo source: the new arrivals explore their new surroundings) To everyone who helped with the transportation to Resita, all the sponsors so far, and for showing her she is no longer alone, Claudia thanks all who have helped, donated and contributed.
In the meantime, if you would like to sponsor Lunienka and Ariadna or send a donation to the cat-shelter in Resita:
PayPal account: SOSAnimaleAbandonateResita@gmail.com
Bank details: Asociatia pentru protectia animalelor RESITA ,,SOS ANIMALE ABANDONATE''
BANK: BCR, Bulevardul Regina Elisabeta Nr 5, sector 3, Bucuresti, ROMANIA
Registered Charity Number: 24989989
(Photo source - safe at last) If you would like to visit Claudia to meet her cats in view of offering one of the tamer furrballs a forever home, you can reach her on 0748.992.440 or via FaceBook. You can also adopt a pussycat from Resita, too, of course.
Thanks once again to Claudia, Ruxandra, the kind-hearted vet who vaccinated for a very low price at such short notice, Ilie and his team, and all sponsors and donators both present and future!
All photos by SOS Animale Abandonate Resita
(Photo source) The Romanian Senate rejected the bill on gold exploitation at Rosia Montana submitted by the government today, thus adopting the Special Commission's report (see yesterday's blogpost HERE). The Senate ruled on the rejection with 119 votes to 3, and six abstentions. A second and final vote is now awaited from the Chamber of Deputies on 27th November, or thereabouts.
PSD leader of the Senate, Ilie Sarbu, said during the preceding debate that the project and all those involved in approving it will be investigated by the Justice department. Not much peace of mind over the next couple of months, then, for those who acted illegally and made nice tidy profits on the side. I wonder if anyone will end up in the clink for their just desserts? See HERE for a list (by no means exhaustive) of potential porridge-tasters courtesy of the Romanian prison service...
Sarbu added that all documents pertaining to Rosia Montana need to be declassified for there is a Romanian tendancy, he said, to hide prostii... Nicely put. There must be loads of it.
The Rosia Montana Commission stated, according to the report, that the bill did not satisfy complex requirements needed for the business of mineral extraction in Romania, hence why they proposed the rejection.
"Given the deficiencies of the current law which does not take into account the specifically large mining project in question, the Commission recommends completing the legislative framework with measures to stimulate the implementation of projects of this magnitude. The Commission deems it necessary to establish conditions of fair partnership between majority shareholders and the company of the Romanian State, in compliance with community requirements and the principles of sustainable development in the regions of the project", said their report.
The Commission also drew attention to possible (possible?!) breaches of legislation during the development of project licensing for Rosia Montana and equally recommended the declassification of so far classified documents relating to it.
So, what does that mean? Are we done here? There has been much jubilance at the news - on FB at least. Personally, I believe this to be just a temporary breather and so cannot be as joyous. Although this is a step forward in the right direction, it is not a great victory in any other way than symbolic, showing that, with civil unity, se poate. However, perhaps today's result has been designed specifically to lull everyone into a false sense of security, encouraging the belief that the danger has passed. Any supposition that a victory has been achieved here, though, is dillusional. The Commission's conclusions mean there is still a long way to go. A MASSIVE win is required in order that real transformation can ever truly take place in Romania - and this isn't it.
Unconstitutional shenanigans full of irregularities and abuse of power have been rejected - great! But that is NOT a victory. It is NORMAL in a democratic country. It would be a HUGE error to think that because the bill has been thrown out (in its current state), the abominable threat against which hundreds of thousands have been opposed no longer exists. The report does NOT say that the RMGC project was bad for Romania, nor that it was unconstitutional. The conclusions relate to an expansion of the legislative framework for the mining of gold and silver, and that could very well disguise the interests of RMGC.
Please see HERE for what Eugen David had to say.
The Commission also endorses the point of view of Barbu, the Minister of the Uncultured, who believes that Rosia Montana has no unique features meriting a place on the UNESCO World Heritage list, contrary to studies by both Romanian and foreign experts. In short, the whole thing results in clear evidence that the Romanian government has not laid down its gauntlets. To be sure, pressure from RMGC will increase - and there will be a whole load of nervousness regarding potential press leaks telling of cosy relationships between the Gold Corporation and certain members of the 'elite'... Who can blame them?! They have an awful lot to lose!
We are in mid-November. Winter is just around the corner leading to a very plausible drop in protesters out there on the streets, which would only be to the government's advantage. The current politicians have truly learned nothing from the lessons of Rosia Montana. They are far too arrogant. The greed of the barons along with personal political interests still lord it over what is best for the Romanian people. Watch this space for the decentralisation law that Ponta's bunch of cronies want to see pass through Parliament without debate, which would permit a transferring of power to local authorities (all 'bought', of course). It would be the beginning of the end, and is a horror of a bill that MUST NEVER PASS. Many professionals and NGOs warn that it will seriously threaten cultural heritage (no kidding), but since when did that matter?
What has been gained by the rejection of the Rosia Montana project, then? Nothing, really. Just one abusive law to be followed by another, resulting in the same ends: the destruction of patrimony and the environment.
Unless we refuse to allow it.
When a general bill for mining has been put forward that outlaws misappropriation, bribery, corruption, illegal expulsion, lying, selling one's country down the river to foreign investors, hiding documents, infiltrating protests, purposely misinforming the public via media channels, poisoning the eco-system with cyanide and blowing up mountains and cultural heritage (with punishment clearly stipulated for those who dabble in any of the aforementioned), THEN we'll have won. THEN we'll have our victory.
Noi de-aicea nu plecam, nu plecam acasa
Pana nu vom castiga libertatea noastra...
(Photo source) What is it going to take for RMGC to understand and accept that their gold-mining project at Rosia Montana is NOT wanted in Romania?
Last Monday, the joint parliamentary commission for Rosia Montana voted NO to a draft bill submitted by the government that would have given the go-ahead for Europe's largest (and most dangerous) open mine to move forward in Romania. The news sent the Canadian mining company’s stock down 10%, or 9.3¢ to close at 82.7¢ on the Toronto Stock Exchange. No sympathy whatsoever from this corner, and certainly none from the hundreds of thousands of protesters out in the streets either.
Jonathon Henry, the chief executive of Gabriel Resources (the parent company of Rosia Montana Gold Corp.), remains 'confident' however that all is not lost. Romania's parliament is considering a general gold and silver mining bill which could still leave the door open for Gabriel’s project - a point that gives hope to RMGC and stokes fury and indignance for the protesters and NGOs who have been demonstrating for the last 14 years, along with those out there across the globe week after week since 1st September.
“It doesn’t mean the plan is dead in the water. What they have said is that they believed that a project that was as complex as ours shouldn’t go through as a separate bill,” said Henry.
(Photo source) Yeah, right. The so-called promised 'scientific and technical' report presented was anything but scientific and technical - there was no mention whatsoever of a single constitutional flaw within the government's draft bill, eg. the infringements of private property laws or the grave violations of Romania's Constitution. And neither did it address opinions and arguments made by experts. It excels, however, at going around the houses to circumnavigate the law and is nothing more than a list of transcripts and calls for re-negotiation instead. It is, basically, killing time.
"We can already anticipate that the lobbying made by the Prime Minister for the mining industry will turn to new tactics, no less harmful for the entire region of the Apuseni Mountains. Our protests continue and we will insist on the resignation of all those who initiated the draft bill. Recent declarations from the political leaders show clear intentions to find new means to deceive public opinion. Their new ideas are even more graceless and dangerous, but I rest assured that people who have taken to the streets over the last months will shout down any of their plans, because they are much more intelligent and skilful than any of the cyanide addicts in Government", declared Eugen David.
Indeed, the largest public protests in post-communist Romania are not going to cease and the protesters themselves show absolutely NO sign of letting themselves be manipulated into violence, though efforts have been made through provocation and infiltration - an old communist tactic - for them to do so. 11 weeks of perseverant street protests have been solid proof of a powerful and intelligent civil society determined in its decision to oppose a corrupt political class that is completely detached from its peoples’ interests.
The Save Rosia Montana campaign has denounced the commission from the very beginning as being utterly useless - and this simply proves their point.
(Photo source) If Romania needs an eco-safe and profitable mining contract, THIS is NOT it. Until the people of Romania have proof of a responsible and competent political class that is not blinded by self-interest, such grandiose projects should not even be contemplated. Surely, Romania finds herself in an extremely strong position today, for Gabriel is not the ONLY mining company out there wanting to profit from her gold. In that case, Gabriel should be given the boot once and for all, and another eco-conscious, reliable company found (preferably not a Canadian one, see HERE for why) that could put forward a cyanide-free, law-abiding project that is beneficial for the Romanian people as a whole. Right?
Romania will NOT profit from RMGC's project. Not today, not in years to come, not ever. Gabriel MUST GO. 900 jobs over 16 years? Is that the best of the arguments in its favour, for it is no reason to string out these negotiations yet further still - and I would bet my bottom dollar that the majority of those jobs would be outsourced to lower labour-costing countries such as the Ukraine, in any case. In addition, the number of local jobs that would actually be LOST as a result of such a project are in their thousands.
As for the money to be made by Romania, frankly, everybody knows it's peanuts. For those still arguing on the tax the Romanian state would receive from RMGC, well, documents leaked have shown that the mining company is exempt and will only start paying up once their own debts are paid off. For all we know, the company may not generate any profit at all thanks to financial loopholes, and thus end up paying no taxes in the long run. The Romanian state itself is set to make a paltry 2-4 billion euros over the entire 16 years, whilst anything more is pure speculation. The biggest winner for the whole project is, and has always been, Gabriel. Is it really worth it?
(Photo source) It is certainly not worth the toxic water; a cyanide lake visible from the moon; a screwed up eco-system: four exploded mountains; mass expropriation (974 households and over 2000 people); the destruction of 10 churches, 12 cemeteries, 40 houses (listed historic monuments), 50 historic monuments (7 classified); the huge and invaluable loss of heritage and patrimony (Roman galleries unique in the world); the eradication of 250 hectares of forest and the total devastation of one of the country's most beautiful regions. But RMGC and its backers seem to think it is.
There is, in fact, NO amount of money that would justify such an environmental massacre.
RMGC has promised over and over again that the area would be 'cleaned up' after all gold has been extracted. 'You wouldn't even notice we'd been there,' Dragos Tanase declared on more than one occasion. Well, maybe those 4 blown-up mountains would give the game away for a start. How would they set about 'rebuilding' those, much less hiding them?
Gabriel has threatened to sue the Romanian government for over $4bn, should the project not go ahead. But on what grounds? Do they have a legal basis to do so? It is UNACCEPTABLE for a company to threaten a country - and the hundreds of thousands of protesters out there on the streets echo the sentiment. For that reason, and for that reason alone, RMGC should be shown the door. NEVER should they be permitted to extract a single ounce of gold from Romania's soil. Ever.
(Photo source) I am hoping Henry is wrong. I am hoping that, though I have no respect for the Romanian government whatsoever and trust them even less, they will NOT be prepared to take a final gamble with yet another mining bill that could mean losing their hold on power for the sake of Gabriel - a foreign company known world-wide for its disinformation, its unlawful PR campaigns, its bullying of journalists, and its employees heavingly spamming media outlets and blogs with propaganda using proxys when necessary. It is repugnant. Enough is enough.
Gabriel/RMGC, get out of Romania. Your time is up.
Romania will NOT be held to ransom. And it is NOT for sale.
For all of you following the story of Claudia's 24 cats now known as 'Cleo's Angels' in Sector 6, Bucharest - see past posts HERE, HERE in Romanian and HERE - there's good news and there's bad news...
Let's start with the good news: News is just in that Princess Rouge has been adopted in Bucharest by the parents of Nicoleta B., a lady who has already given a home to one of Claudia's cats in the past. Princess Rouge will leave Claudia's tonight. A happy ending for one little innocent soul who deserves nothing less than a safe and loving home, tender arms and long-term adoration.
(Updated at 21h) And now for the bad news, which turned out far better than expected...
Gorgeous, affectionate Hermès was caught and brutally attacked by dogs this morning. There are photos of him and his horrific injuries, but I cannot post them here - I cannot even look at them.
Following an exploratory x-ray earlier on today, the vet miraculously diagnosed no bones broken and no organ damage - however, the external injuries took approximately two hours to repair in surgery tonight. It is unbelievable that Hermès escaped with nothing more serious, and how he did so is beyond us all. Thank God.
He will stay at the vet's tonight for observation, and be taken home to Claudia's tomorrow.
He will obviously require a lot of care, time and love over the next few weeks as he convalesces, and I have absolutely no doubt that Claudia will be there for him as she has always been, ever since she found him.
Hermès was always in more danger than the others because he is so tame, so friendly. Now, more than ever, Hermès needs a forever home. Not a foster home, not a shelter, but a forever home. Long term, permanent, sure and safe. This can NEVER happen again. It is the second time he has survived a vicious dog attack - the first killed his sister.
Sector 6 was known for its aggressive maidanezi particularly around Drumul Taberei, Pasajul Lujerului, Gorjului and Bd. Uverturii. Poor things - starving, terrified, cold, I'd be aggressive too. And dogs, when in packs, are not known for their elegant table manners. As always, please know that this post is NOT anti-strays. Far from it, for the dogs are not to blame. This post, like all the others, is anti- the greedy, incompetent officials responsible for putting them (and the cats) there in the first place. In the first half of 2013, there were 500 incidents of people attacked by street dogs in sector 6 alone. In September, the area underwent a clean-up of its street dogs and was declared a 'dog-free zone'. Huh! Yeah, right.
Mr. Manescu, Mayor of Sector 6, could you explain then HOW there can be 17 dogs (sometimes more, but never less) ALWAYS hanging around outside Claudia's if your officials have done their jobs efficiently (and hopefully responsibly, ie. take the dogs to shelters to await adoption, rather than dumping them on the outskirts of Bucharest, pocketing the budget earmarked for the job)? What are they? Ghost dogs? No - because they are killing cats. The animal rights ONGs have been so very focalised on saving the dogs that the cats have been completely forgotten. Well, "Cleo's Angels" are a reminder.
Ruxandra has created a lovely Facebook page entitled 'Cleo's Angels'. Please go and visit it. It is full of photos, updates and news. If you could 'like' it and share it, that would be a great help - perhaps someone else will fall in love, leading to other little souls being as lucky as Princess Rouge.
If you would like to go visit Cleo's Angels with a view of adoption, please call Claudia on 0748.992.440.
Claudia was planning to go to Resita to visit Ilie, the director of the one and only cat shelter in Romania, who has agreed to take 15 of her cats. She intended to talk to him about a written agreement so that everyone knows who is sponsoring which cat, etc - but she will probably put the trip on hold to take care of Hermès.
Rares Manescu, Mayor of Sector 6, you are an utter disgrace. You have the blood of both Cleo and Hermès as well as all those others (with four legs and two) who have suffered at the jaws of the strays of sector 6 on your hands, though I don't suppose you care. As for oprescu, don't even get me started.
Hermès has survived a terrible, brutal attack and will live to see another day. All our thoughts and prayers are with him for a speedy recovery - and a forever home....
(Photo source) Some GOOD news to share with you tonight:
Following an outpouring of concern for the terribly dangerous (and recently fatal) situation of Claudia's 24 cats in Bucharest's sector 6 posted yesterday (see HERE in English and HERE in Romanian), Ilie Eduard, owner of the ONE solitary cat shelter in the whole of Romania Sos Animale Abandonate Resita, though extremely full, has said that they can take fifteen. FIFTEEN!!! Thank God! What a relief for Claudia, and a blessing for those fifteen pussycats who have been at such tremendous risk. Thank you so, so much, Ilie.
The shelter in Resita is totally legit and very professionally run - please see their FB page for photos, posts and news of their furry residents. Board at the shelter costs 50 RON per month (around 12 euros) - and so, everyone who has e-mailed me asking what they can do to help, voilà the answer: How about sponsoring one (or two) of Claudia's 15 cats bound for Resita, until homes can be found for them? There is great urgency to remove them from the perils of the streets, so the sooner sponsors can be found, the sooner they will be safe. Details of payment can be found at the end of this post.
Here are just a few of Claudia's cats, soon to pack their bags for the Banat region of Romania unless someone reading this falls in love with one of them and rushes to sector 6 to adopt him/her. A home. Loving arms. An armchair... They deserve nothing less
This is Rudolf (Rudi) Isn't he handsome? Rudi the Tomcat hasn't been sterilised because he won't let Claudia catch him - YET! But Claudia hasn't given up on that venture. Rudi has an injured leg and runs about on three, so he is not as quick as the other cats - he is therefore at enormous risk from the local dogs. For more photos of Rudi, please see HERE.
And this is Codi. Codi is around two and a half years old and semi-tamed, so could be adopted at any time. She is spayed, fully vaccinated and has a vet-book. She lost her tail in an accident, but makes up for it in being simply adorable (as you can see).
Next is Alex(andra), also about two and a half years old, spayed and vaccinated. She is regularly dewormed and has a vet-book. She is also semi-tamed and so, like Codi, would quickly adapt to family life. For more photos of Alex, please see HERE.
This absolute darling is Hermes. He is in constant danger because he is so tame. Just look at him. How he has survived up until now is nothing short of a miracle. He has been neutered and vaccinated and can use a litter tray. For more photos of Hermes, please see HERE.
Meet Dolo. He is around 3 years old, neutered and vaccinated. He was born on the streets, had 4 brothers but he is the only survivor. His mother was a beautiful black cat who died, too. For more photos of Dolo, please see HERE.
This gorgeous boy is Porto. He is around 2 years old, neutered and vaccinated. He is periodically dewormed and has a vet's book.
Rouge is around two and a half. She is spayed, vaccinated, periodically dewormed and has a vet's book. tame and very friendly, she is at great risk of aggression - both from dogs and people. She, like all of the above, desperately needs (and deserves) a home. For more photos of Rouge, please see HERE.
To define the harrowing existence for cats on the streets of Bucharest is an almost impossible undertaking. The terror, the constant risk of aggressivity from both man and dog, the hunger, the cold. The omni-present dangers. Cats on the streets rarely live longer than two or three years old, weakened by repetitive (and very early) pregnancies, disease, starvation, human cruelty and, of course, the dogs. Claudia's cats are luckier - they are spayed/neutered, vaccinated and many are regularly dewormed. If it weren't for the dogs, perhaps they would have more of a chance.
I would like to add here once again that this is NOT an anti-maidanezi post. Dogs chase cats. It's instinctive. The dogs do not merit the horrors they endure on the streets any more than the cats do - they co-exist in a living hell because corrupt officials are too incompetent, too greedy and too indifferent to do their jobs decently and efficiently.
Tonight, Surya didn't come when Claudia called the cats for their dinner time. She called and called for two hours, but so far, there is no sign of her. Claudia hopes she is hiding somewhere. She has asked me not to include a photo of Surya above until she is found. The recent images of her Cleo mauled to death by dogs plague her... These cats MUST get to Resita or be homed AS SOON AS POSSIBLE. No more victims in sector 6! PLEASE HELP!
If you would like to adopt one of the cats above, please call Claudia on 0748.992.440
If you would like to sponsor a cat once he/she has arrived at Resita for 50 RON (12 euros) per month, please specify which cat you'd like to adopt by distance and see the following details. As soon as there is a solid, watertight agreement between Claudia and Ilie, we can begin sponsorship.
Asociatia pentru protectia animalelor RESITA ,,SOS ANIMALE ABANDONATE''
BANK: BCR, Bulevardul Regina Elisabeta Nr 5, sector 3, Bucuresti, ROMANIA
Registered Charity Number: 24989989
Please, let's not leave Claudia's cats out there any longer than absolutely necessary. There have been too many victims - and there will be more if something isn't done FAST. And let us pray hard tonight that Surya is hiding and Claudia will find her safe and sound in the morning. The other possibility doesn't bear thinking about.
Thank you all in advance for your generosity, empathy - and your love of animals.
(Surya's 'home') Wednesday 21h40: More good news: Surya, Claudia's cat who didn't show up for dinner last night when called, was found safe and sound earlier today - she had been locked in a nearby garage, unable to get out. Claudia sent me some photos of Surya's usual daytime 'home' - a gap between two garages... Each night Claudia takes her into her basement to keep her safe and lets her out every morning, except in winter and during bad weather - then she stays in the basement where it's warm.
And so, meet little Surya, approx. 2 years old, spayed, vaccinated, regularly dewormed and with her own vet's book. When Claudia found her near her block, she was already very tame. She is ready to be adopted at any time - and waiting for you... Everyone is so glad she is safe tonight - but what kind of a life is this for a little soul?
More news as it happens...
(În fotografie: Cleo) S.O.S.!!! URGENT! Tocmai am primit acest mesaj privat disperat, prin intermediul retelei Facebook:
„Există o colonie de pisici (circa 20) în Bucuresti, în sectorul 6, îngrijite de o doamnă care iubeste pisicile. Din păcate, în zonă sunt si trei haite de câini vagabonzi, iar aceste pisici le cad victimă. Cel putin două din ele sunt omorâte brutal în fiecare săptămână, iar doamna care are grijă de ele aproape că a înnebunit, tot încercând să le protejeze. Dânsa a primit si amenintări din partea celor care locuiesc acolo; i s-a spus că dacă sperie si goneste câinii, or să-i fie omorâte toate pisicile.”
As vrea să precizez de la bun început că acesta NU este un articol „anti-maidanezi”. Oricine mă cunoaste stie foarte bine cât de mult iubesc si câinii, si pisicile; stie că am scris articole împotriva eutanasiei (vezi AICI, AICI si AICI, de exemplu) si am difuzat o multime de articole si afise despre atrocitătile comise de diversi monstri umani împotriva câinilor maidanezi din Bucuresti, de-a lungul anilor; deci NU asta este problema în textul de fată.
Problema este următoarea: în Bucuresti NU există nici un adăpost pentru pisici. Poate nu credeti, dar este purul adevăr. Mai mult: există doar UN singur adăpost pentru pisici în TOATĂ România. Se numeste Sos Animale Abandonate Resita si este administrat de un particular; este cât se poate de legal si foarte profesionist condus, dar plin până la refuz.
(În fotografie: Cleo) Ultima pisică ucisă cu doar câteva seri în urmă în sectorul 6 a fost Cleo... Fotografiile pe care le-am văzut, cu rănile ei sunt absolut înfiorătoare. Acest animal trebuie să fi murit într-o agonie îngrozitoare. Noi, ca cetăteni civilizati si responsabili, NU PUTEM să permitem să se mai întâmple asa ceva.
Asadar, ce rămâne de făcut, pe termen scurt: dacă aveti un suflet mare si doriti să adoptati un sufletel care are mare nevoie de un cămin sigur si iubitor, CHIAR ACUM, din sectorul 6, vă rugăm să luati legătura cu Claudia Popa CÂT MAI REPEDE, la numărul de telefon: 0748.992.440. Toate aceste pisici sunt sterilizate si vaccinate.
Pe termen lung: o prietenă de-a mea, Ruxandra caută în momentul de fată solutii pentru înfiintarea unei asociatii care să permită deschiderea unui adăpost felin în Bucuresti, finantat în conditiile legii si cu statut oficial. Dacă reuseste să facă asta, vă întreb, cititorii mei: există printre voi cineva care e gata să ajute din punct de vedere financiar, să facă voluntariat, să doneze mâncare – sau, poate, vreun medic veterinar (sau doi) care să aibă generozitatea să ofere asistentă medicală s.a.m.d.? Ruxandra s-a gândit deja la cineva care să conducă adăpostul, dar, bineînteles, nu e suficient un administrator; e nevoie de mult mai mult ajutor. S-a luat legătura si cu organizatii neguvernamentale, dar fără succes. Sunt implicate în salvarea câinilor, dar nu si a pisicilor.
(În fotografie: Cleo) Imediat ce o să avem ceva concret, Ruxandra va deschide o pagină pe Facebook: „Îngerii lui Cleo” – după numele ultimei pisici care a fost omorâtă... Am să public link-ul aici, pe blogul meu, în momentul în care pagina va fi creată, ca să puteti să aflati mai multe. Si, bineînteles, vor urma si alte articole despre acest subiect.
Avem în fată o situatie teribil de dificilă, atât pentru câini, cât si pentru pisici, dat fiind faptul că primii NU au nevoie de publicitate negativă. E o problemă foarte delicată si nu stiu cum să o abordez fără ca oamenii să nu se pripească si să tragă concluzii gresite. Repet: acest articol NU este îndreptat împotriva câinilor maidanezi din Bucuresti. Departe de mine asa ceva. Atât maidanezii, cât SI pisicile fără stăpân din acest oras trec prin teroare si suferă actele brutale de care stim, din cauza coruptiei, incompetentei si lipsei de responsabilitate a oamenilor. Dacă acest articol este împotriva cuiva, atunci este împotriva autoritătilor, ale căror lăcomie si lipsă de decentă sunt rădăcina tuturor relelor.
Vă rog: haideti să „lucrăm” împreună si să găsim o solutie care să NU conducă la si mai multă ură împotriva câinilor (câinii hăituiesc pisicile – e adevărat!), dar care să SCOATĂ pisicile din acest context foarte periculos.
Translation English-Romanian: Mihaela Marinoiu
"There is a colony of cats (approx. 20) in sector 6, Bucharest. They're being taken care of by a "cat lady". Unfortunately, in the area, there are also 3 packs of stray dogs and these cats are their victims. At least 2 of them are brutally killed every week and the woman who takes care of them has almost lost her mind trying to keep them safe. She was also threatened by people there that if she scares the dogs away they will kill all her cats."
I would like to make it very clear from the off that this is NOT an anti-maidanezi post. Anyone who knows me will be well aware of my love for both dogs and cats, know I have written anti-euthanasia posts (see HERE, HERE and HERE for example), and shared articles and posters galore against the atrocities committed by monsters against the strays of Bucharest over the years, so that is NOT the issue.
The issue is this: There is NO cat shelter in Bucharest. Believe it or not, it's true. In fact, there's only ONE cat shelter in the WHOLE of Romania. It's called Sos Animale Abandonate Resita, and is privately run, totally legit and very professional but full to bursting point.
(Photo: Cleo) The last cat to be killed just a few nights ago in sector 6 was Cleo... The photos I saw of her injuries were absolutely horrific. She must have died in the most excruciating agony. We, as civilised, responsible and compassionate citizens, CANNOT let it happen again.
So, in the short term, if you have a big heart and you'd like to adopt a little heart in dire need of a safe and loving home RIGHT NOW from sector 6, please contact Claudia Popa ASAP on 0748992440. All the cats have been neutered/spayed and vaccinated.
In the long term, a friend of mine, Ruxandra, is looking into founding an association so that a cat shelter can be set up in Bucharest and funding carried out legally and officially. If she does this, would any of my readers be prepared to help financially, be volunteers, donate food, or maybe there's a kindly vet or two out there who would be prepared to give medical assistance, etc.? Ruxandra already has someone in mind to run the shelter, but, of course, a great deal more help will be needed. ONGs have been contacted, but to no avail. They are involved in saving dogs, but not cats.
(Photo: Cleo) As soon as there is something concrete, Ruxandra will set up a FB page, "Cleo's Angels", as she was the last to lose her life. I will add the link here when it's in place, so you can find out more. And of course, there'll be blogposts to follow.
This is a terrible situation as much for the dogs as for the cats, since the former do NOT need negative publicity. It is a very delicate issue and I am not entirely sure how to address it without people jumping to the wrong conclusion. Again, I repeat, this is NOT a post against the stray dogs of Bucharest. Far from it. Both the maidanezi AND the stray cats of the city live the terrors and brutality they do because of human corruption, human incompetence and human irresponsibility. If this post is anti- anything, then it is anti- the officials whose greed and indecency are at the core of it all.
Please, let us work together to find a solution that does NOT lead to yet more hatred towards the dogs (dogs chase cats - it's a fact) but gets the cats OUT of this very dangerous environment.
(Image source) Alexandre Herlea's letter to UNESCO's CEO dated 14th October concerning Rosia Montana's inclusion on the World Heritage List has been translated into English so that it may be shared yet further still and understood by those who do not speak French. Mr Herlea is President of La Maison Roumaine here in Paris.
LA MAISON ROUMAINE
Alexandre HERLEA, Président
Dear Ms. Bokova,
I address this letter to you concerning Rosia Montana’s inclusion on the World Heritage List – a site in Romania which is today under serious threat from RMGC’s mining project. I write as President of La Maison Roumaine, the Romanian community’s oldest association in Paris and listed in France as a learned society, as well as on behalf of numerous other associations and ONGs both Romanian and otherwise (Alburnus Maior, ARA, ARIN, Fundaţia Culturală Roşia Montană, ICOMOS Roumanie, OAR, OVR International, OVR Solidarités, Pro Do Mo, Pro Patrimonio Foundation, Pro Patrimonio France, RPER France, RPER Roumanie, Salvaţi Bucureştiul), who have voiced their wish to be associated with this appeal to UNESCO.
Romania’s entire civil society demands that its national authorities urge the Commitee of World Heritage to include the whole of Rosia Montana’s mining site on the World Heritage List. In other words, to submit an updated Tentative List to UNESCO with a request for the inclusion on the World Heritage List of this valuable site of cultural patrimony which pre-dates Roman antiquity.
Experts with no financial implication to RMGC’s mining project have unanimously agreed that this heritage has exceptional worth for both Europe and humanity as a whole. Numerous reports and resolutions from prestigious cultural and scientific institutions have highlighted this too, amongst them, that of the Romanian Academy and several other institutions with close links to UNESCO, namely ICOMOS (International Council on Monuments and Sites), IUHPS (International Union of History and Philosophy of Science) and ICOHTEC (International Committee for the History of Technology), as well as those from IUA (International Union of Architects), CTHS (Committee des Travaux Historiques et Scientifiques), ORA (Order of Romanian Architects), etc. The last resolution carried out by ICOMOS concerning Rosia Montana’s mining site is dated 6th October 2013. Furthermore, Europa Nostra, the Voice of Cultural Patrimony in Europe which comprises of more than 400 organisations and associations, added Rosia Montana to its list of 7 most endangered European cultural sites in May of this year.
I address this letter to you as certain highly placed Romanians in powerful positions would like us to believe that it is UNESCO’s procedures which lie at the heart of Rosia Montana’s non-inclusion to the World Heritage List. It would be deeply appreciated if you could remind the Romanian authorities that updating the Tentative List, even if it must be done with the participation of a wide range of partners including site managers, local and regional authorities, local communities, ONGs and other interested parties is the duty of each State, of each government. The Romanian government is the sole body responsible for the submission of Romania’s updated Tentative List to UNESCO. It could be followed by an inscription file which would then be treated (providing it is complete) accordingly.
With great faith in UNESCO, we hope that your help and support will enable us, finally, to save Rosia Montana - a site of exceptional heritage.
Former minister of European Integration for the Romanian government