07 juin 2008

Small update

Dear Everybody,

Following the outrageous video released by Virgin Media in UK for the Euro Cup, I scribed a rant on Wednesday night and removed it yesterday as it really WAS a stinky rant. Regret removing it now. Should have left it there. VM have since withdrawn the film, due to a massive reaction from the public, which showed Italy symbolised by the Colosseum, Germany by the Brandenberg Gates and Roumania represented by...fat gypsies complete with 'burta' and gold chains with huge Becali style crosses on the end. I was so horrified, disgusted.... The symbol of Roumania is surely the Ateneum, is it not? Or the rolling hills and monasteries of Bucovina, the Danube Delta with its magnificent wildlife, Bran Castle perhaps or Peles, the majestic mountains of the Carpati range? No wonder racism against Roumanians continue in the west with idiots like Virgin Media launching such uneducated, insulting tripe. If you want to see it, here's the link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UZxqCu0deHg

VM have 'offered' an apology to those who felt 'offensed' say HotNews. As punishment they should be forced to read history books and take a month's trip to Roumania. I say punishment, as for these idiots, it seems that a cultural period would be pure purgatory. Huh. It's what they deserve. Then maybe they'll be capable of making a film which really shows off this beautiful country and its people for what it is. That would be the apology deserved and justly merited. VM don't have the brains, intelligence or sensitivity, however, to understand a darn thing. Cretins. They are going to re-edit the film...I dread to think what they will come up with next.

On to beautiful, happy seeming things. My marvellous and ever resourceful friend Nicole has introduced me to an architect and painter, Gheorghe Leahu. I don't mean REALLY introduced as in a handshake and all. No. I mean that she has sent me some of his paintings to peruse. What gorgeous watercolours. They depict the Bucharest de Alta Data, Milla's Bucuresti, and I'd like to share a few with you. Virgin Media, look and learn...

Leahu_Bookstore_on_Mosilor  Leahu_Doamnei_street_19_Leahu_Hanul_lui_ManucLeahu_Lipscani



Leahu_MitzaLeahu_Ministry_of_JusticeLeahu_VillacrosseAren't they lovely? Warm, holiday colours. They are as follows: 1) Univers Bookstore on Mosilor; 2) str. Doamnei; 3) Hanul lui Manuc; 4) str. Lipscani; 5) Old houses along the Dambovita; 6) The Russian Church, str. Ion Ghica; 7) Sutu Palas; 8) Mitza Biciclista's house; 9) Ministry of Justice; 10) Passajul Villacrosse.

Thank you so much, Nicole. Another blinder!

P6060010What else to tell you? Ah yes, went to the BookFest yesterdayP6060002 at RomExpo. Must say I was disappointed, but I hate to admit it. In this country of literary maniacs, where were they? The place was a ghost town. Okay, it was 10h30 on a Friday morning. But still. I wanted to find a book on Bellu, and all the stand owners looked at me as if I were a fruitcake. What on earth do I want one of those for? There aren't any.P6060003 Point barre... No international stalls,P6060004 everything in Roumanian, no translations, nothing on tourism, history of P6060005P6060008the country that I could find, guidebooks. There were dictionaries, though. Lots of stalls, but nothing that interested me. If I was to buy a novel it would take me so long to read (I've been reading Alice in Wonderland for three years and haven't got to the Queen of Hearts yet - it's the longest tea party in the history of Lewis Carroll), and poetry is out of the question. I bought Bacovia just to say I'd bought something, but I can't read it in its original form. Poetry is far too deep and cultural for my useless, shameful Roumanian. Maybe one day. I left to go and see Tantza with heavy heart presuming that the Food and Drink Expo had probably hauled a larger public. It's better advertised, even in RomExpo itself.

My class with Eugenia was fun. She's progressed so much that I wonder if she's swallowed a microchip. She told me all about the three Capsa brothers, about Tudor Vianu (originally Jewish who converted before the war, apparently. Antonescu realised how useful he was and left the poor man in peace, she said), Toma Stelian and a mass of other interesting people. All in English. Improvement indeed!

P6070001Took Rosie to Parcul Verdi this morning for a free run. It's a bit like Wimbledon Common there - complete with horse dung. She decided to roll in a mountain of it and had to have a bath on return to base. She still smells awful and en revanche, the whole flamin' flat smells ditto...George will come to dinner tonight (I've made a fatouch Lebanese salad and am very proud of myself!) - just hope the obnoxious affluvia has dissipated by then!

Love to you all and til the next entry,

Sarah xox

Posté par Sarah in Romania à 11:55 - Commentaires [0] - Permalien [#]

05 juin 2008

Update so far

Chiliman2Dear Everyone,

Lots of you have asked about the results of our mayor vote. Glad you're taking an interest even outside Roumania. Imagine how proud I was to vote for the mayor of 'my' sector...and he won! Chiliman knocked'em dead in Sector 1. Hurrah! The mayors for Sectors 2 and 5 remain the same. The fight continues for central mayor, to be voted in two weeks. A very difficult decision though since it's between Oprescu and Blaga. It'll have to be Blaga however as Oprescu as mayor is unthinkable. Diaconescu is out. It reminds me a bit of the Chirac v. Le Pen fight we had in France...one can only vote Blaga, if you see what I mean. And one can't NOT vote.

What to tell you about the week so far? Saw Tantza yesterday who was quite depressed. She's home from hospital and her leg looks much better, but her get up and go has got up and gone. Please spare her a thought.

P6020006P6020012Tuesday (I think - lost track of time) I went on a mission to find Mestrovic's BratianuP6020010 statue on bd. Dacia, not far from the Roumanian Literature Museum and opposite the German Institute. It stands in a nice square backing on to the gardens and house of the Bratianu Foundation (which does...what exactly?). Who did I see there busily snapping the same statue but Dan, Nicole and Serge's friend. In Nicole's guidebooks she was quoted that the statue was in str. B. Amzei in the courtyard of the Collections, so that was my next port of call. I hadn't covered it on Nicole Tour 1 due to Rosie being with me - there was a large number of cats roaming around and I didn't want any fur flying.

P6020020The courtyard is no longer much to speak of. What used to be cobbled gardens filled withP6020023P6020024 flowers, lawns and statues (perhaps this one?), there are now only cars and skinny though very talkative andP6020025 friendly pusscats. I did find a bust of Bratianu, however, in the hallway of the museum. The architecture of the museum, university and surrounding houses is quite lovely, and I sought shelter under a tree from the hot sun for a while to absorb it all, very glad to have returned there.

P6020027My next visit was to Mavrogheni P6020034Church off Soseaua Kiseleff next door to the Peasants Museum. Rumi thought the statue was here. As I'd never heard of it, I thoughtP6020035 I'd better go and have a nose. Delighted to have done so as it's a gorgeous church, built in the later part of the 18th century. It has a pretty garden, is quiet and an oasis of peace after the traffic on the busy Pta Victoriei nearby. There certainly wasn't any trace of anything vaguely Mestrovic-like anywhere in the gardens or the church itself. I spent quite a long time looking, then collapsed on a bench in the shade with a street dog to talk to. He didn't know anything about any statues either, but was appreciative of half a KitKat. So Rumi, if you're reading, your Bratianu is on Dacia, not in a churchyard. And very elegant it is, too.

That was my culture for the week so far.

P6040039Rebecca came in to work with Miri yesterday, who's become quite the most P6040043gorgeous, giggly baby. It was lovely to see them both. Apart from that, life at BC continues much the same. We're past the mid-term mark so it's a bit of a rush now to get the syllabus covered. Today being World Environment Day meant no photocopying (!!), so that rather slowed everything down. One of my students gave me the address of an osteopath at the Osteoclinic. I'll call him Monday and make an appointment just to meet him before I let him anywhere near my back, dodgy to say the least since Monday. The weather has been weird with ever-changing pressure which probably explains it.

The Bookfest is on at RomExpo, and I shall pop in Saturday morning on the way to Bellu - my mission for this weekend. Would you believe that I went to every bookshop on Dorobanti, this end of Stefan Cel Mare and Magheru for a book on the afore-mentioned cemetry - none anywhere. Not even Noi or Cartaresti. Not even a pamphlet. Thank heavens for Nicole and Internet! Speaking of Nicole, she's still suffering terribly from lumbago - today being Day 10 of her ordeal, with no improvement despite horse pills. Please spare her a thought too, and send her healing vibes.

Lucia has left for Geneva back Sunday afternoon, Aura's plane took off (with her in it, presumably as I have no news to the contrary) bound for Istanbul at 19h30 this evening return early July, Mary has left for Paris and Gaby is with her mum 25km from Bucharest...so the team is depleted.

And that's my news. The BC timetable has seen to it that I have no life from Monday to Thursday, and tomorrow I have cover to do for a colleague on paternity leave, plus a private lesson with Eugenia and a cup of tea with my Tantza. More as it happens.

Two sad pieces of news to share with you: Lidia in Brasov lost her beautiful black snoutzer dog Nenah this week, and Dana has just e-mailed to say her dog died this evening. How awful for them both. Losing an animal is like losing a child for those of us who either don't have any or whose children are now grown and no longer need nurturing. I remember Paul Dunn preaching at St. Paul's after the death of Norrie's dog (or maybe it was his own dog - I don't remember). He said that there is, of course, an animal heaven, full of glorious adventures, especially for dogs - bone burying and digging, cat chasing, tummy rubbing, ear scratching, rolling in lush green grass and endless good nosh. I know that this place exists for animals for they deserve it far more than we do. Infinite loyalty and goodness, trust and fidelity. Animals don't know cruelty from their own race, how to torture one another, how to double-cross or destroy lives for pleasure. For that reason, heaven is there for our wet-nosed, four legged friends. I'm quite sure of it.

Love to you all, Sarah xox

Posté par Sarah in Romania à 21:59 - Commentaires [0] - Permalien [#]

01 juin 2008

60 Years of Israel

P6010001Dear Everyone,P6010008

Sunday night already, and just back from the celebration for 60 years of Israel and a little time with my Lucia and George. It was a lovely evening, and albeit having to leave early and the absence of the klezmer I was so  dying to hear, the show was great and the ambience even more so. A lady sitting near us told Lucia she felt as if she was in Israel.

The foyer of the National Theatre was decked with stalls of P6010010books, travel info, school data, religiousP6010011 objects, jewellery, art, wine and there was even a group of childrenP6010002 dancing traditional folkmusic which was rather sweet.

It was a very moving show. The whole audience seemed to know every song. They were up on their feet dancing and singing, even the crumblies amongst us!

P6010013Bravo and thank you JCC for organising such a wonderful celebration. Roll on 70th birthday! Maybe I'll be able to stay long enough for the Hatikva. My flag is in a vase on top of my bookcase waiting.




Posté par Sarah in Romania à 21:53 - Commentaires [0] - Permalien [#]

Caru' Cu Bere

Caru_cu_bere10Caru__cu_bere6I knew Caru' cu Bere had always been a beer cavern, founded in 1875 and so-named because a beer cart delivered there...but that was the extent of my knowledge. Its history, however, is fascinating.
As the Peace treaty was being signed in Berlin in 1878, Ioan Cabasan was buying a delapidated house behind Zlatari Inn, on str. Stavropoleos in central Bucharest. At the time, much of the original Constantin Voda Inn there before had been demolished. In 1861, this was a large open area, opening onto the Stavropoleos and St. Ioan cel Mare inns. To the south, imposingly towering over the slums was Nicolae Brancoveanu’s palace, where the Mogosoaia Bridge began.

For an businessman, this space was pretty interesting, albeit a dump! Soon more substantial incentivesCaru__cu_bere7 appeared, such as the wooden panelled circus “Walhala,” alternatively used by German artists and politicians.

The constructions of “La pisica neagra” and “Baltador,” both located in the Zlatari Inn wing opening onto Stavropoleos, rapidly turned the area into promising commercial potential. In 1878, a merchant from Bacau, Dumitru Marinescu, set about building a brewery in the neighbourhood, finished in 1899 and known as the Bragadiru brewery. The owner was already looking for clients to sign sales agreements, and among them was Cabasan. Under such favourable and fool-proof circumstances to trade, the latter decided take the plunge into business. On May Day 1879, he opened a beer house in the building on str Stavropoleos and named it “La Caru cu bere” (The beer cart).
Caru__cu_bere8It was to be shared with the Capsa brothers’ company, a celebrity untouched by the passage of time. A new era began. The owners commissioned the plans for the reconstruction and redecoration of the pub to Austrian architect Siegfrid Kofezinsky. Radical reconstruction and improvement works began in 1888 - the date is mentioned in several memoirs  - and was completed eventually in 1924. The old, modest building was demolished, the central building erected, along with the cellar, the kitchen and the front part, in neo-Gothic style.

The interior is decorated in a myriad of styles, with a Byzantine influence represented in balconiesCaru__cu_bere4 and banisters,  combined with the gilded frescoes and the stained-glass windows of the Bavarian academic style. A statue of old Ghita the cellarman holding a lamp in his hand was added later at the foot of the stairs, next to the balcony. The pub features were also changed, and in 1902 it was both a beer house and a restaurant, although ads tried to reassure the old customers that “special beer from the Bragadiru brewery is served every day and evening, until after the late night shows.” Brothers Nicolae, Ignat and Victor Mircea, born in Cata village near Medias, had new ideas, French rather than German. As far as the menu was concerned, customers from Transilvania, the most numerous over the years, reminded them of the taverns at home. The Praguer sausages with horse radish, frankfurters, boeuf salad, mushy peas were very popular not to mention the always present “small bottle” of “Lacrima Cristi” wine, which old Ghita the cellarman took care of for over a quarter of a century, in the cellar. Beer drinkers were offered draught beer directly from the cask. (pic left: the bar)
“Caru cu bere” was indeed unique and its unrivalled fame wasCaru_cu_bere13 secure. Before the WW1 outbreak, one of the brothers, Victor, abandoned the family business and set up his own beer house especially for officers, under the new Military Palace inaugurated in 1912. Ads indicate that he took full advantage of the fame gained in “Caru cu bere,” and he named his pub “the Victor Mircea beer house.” A man of innovative spirit, he was also the one who took over caru_du_bere14the management of the restaurant inside the Gara de Nord (railway station). Thus, theCaru_cu_bere11 Stavropoleos pub was left with two owners only. Soon, Ignat was also to try to start his own business. With his brother Nicolae’s support and advice, he bought a tavern and costly transformed it into a beer house named “Ignat Mircea.” He too tried to take advantage of the fame that “Caru cu bere” had secured for the Mircea family. He failed however, and in Caru__cu_bere151929 the Roumanian-British bank declared him bankrupt. Unfortunately he didn’t go down by himself. As he had guaranteed his brother’s credit and the bank threatened to take away his pub, Nicolae committed suicide, falling from the second floor above the cellar, as we learn from the newspapers of the time. Bucharest locals decried the misfortune, but equally clear was their concern with the future of the famous pub. Times were testing but the company and the beer house survived.

Apparently, the new owner did not interfere with the “house customs,” which explains the popularity of the beer house among the German officers between 1942 and 1944. Then came the occupation by the barbaric Red Army and the P5310043abusive seizing of the pub in 1948-1949 (so-called “nationalisation”). The Russian officers, bothered by the “German paintings,” ordered that they be covered in red paint, so that everybody would know who the new master was, and that decorations be covered in white paint. Whether communist or apolitical, Bucaresteans were appalled by the mutilation of their beer house and shortly after Stalin’s death 1953, works were carried out to remove the red paint.

Under new ownership, the “bourgeois” tradition lost its appeal: the horse radish Praguers were replaced with the more popular Olt sausages, the mushy peas were taken off the menu.... “Caru cu bere” was perhaps doomed to become a regular Socialist beer house. Clients were still numerous however, and most of the time graced by artists. The decadence lasted untilCaru__cu_bere9_unrestored 1986, when large-scale restoration work began, coordinated by painter Nicolae Gheorghe. He restored not only its past elegance, but also its lost dignity, at the expense of proletarian clients. Today, the Caru' Cu Bere is part of the City Grill network. Murals and frescoes on the walls and ceilings and the gilded decorations look just as they did 100 years ago, tables have been reconditioned, along with the oak wood furniture. Superb stained-glass windows filter the light, and chandeliers have regained their lustre. Downstairs in the cellar is a genuine museum displaying beer steins and pints from various periods. There is also an unrestored part of the building that gives access by winding stairway to other apartments and rooms above and behind the restaurant (see pic right). I have to go and check it out!
P5310029It's a great place to meet, drink and eat, the live music is usually very good, though sometimes a little overbearing, and ranges from gypsy music - see HERE, traditional Romanian music. No kitsch at all (with the exception of 'Voulez-vous Coucher Avec Moi'!!!). Bravo! Just a little word of advice: don't forget to reserve in advance - the queues sometimes stretch past Stavropoleos Church, and as the service isn't that rapid, you could be standing there waiting all night! Everyone wants to experience a bit of Caru' cu Bere, and who can blame them, for this is a sparkle of Bucuresti de Alta Data, a memory of the Little Paris that was  and is still present here in this haven of marble, wood, frescoes and ambiance.


Posté par Sarah in Romania à 11:45 - Commentaires [1] - Permalien [#]

31 mai 2008

Criticism from Lonely Planet

Lonely_PLanetLonely Planet 2008 Guide:

Foreign tourists who visit Romania are advised to avoid pickpockets, taxi drivers without taximeters and stray dogs

by Radu Rizea HotNews.ro

Miercuri, 28 mai 2008, 9:51 English | Bucharest

"Thieves, taxi drivers who don't use their taxi meters, stray dogs,P5270063 unpleasant surprises with restaurant bills and the aggressive driving are main issues in the Lonely Planet article about Bucharest, in the 2008 edition of the guide.

P5270076The guide warns that pickpockets and thieves are an issue not only in Bucharest, but also in Brasov, Constanta, Iasi, Suceava and Timisoara. Bags should therefore kept zipped and out in front, so they can't be cut.

In restaurants, the author finds three problems: different menus (one to order and a more expensive one, when it is time to pay), prices per 100 grams, while the portion is at least 400 grams or serving other wines than ordered, at significantly higher prices.

The guide also warns tourists not to use taxis without taxi meters and to avoid dogs,P5270084 claiming that each and every citizen in Bucharest was at least once bitten by a dog. Furthermore, medical services are not trustworthy enough in P9290073case a tourist is bitten.

The Lonely Planet guide, taken over in 2007 by BBC Worldwide, publishes some 500 titles, produces the "Lonely Planet Six Degrees" TV series for Discovery Networks and owns the lonelyplanet.com and lonelyplanet.tv websites.

The author of the article says he stayed for 18 months in Romania in order to gather information. Similar recommendations were published by Le Routard guide for the 2006-2007 edition."

AgapiaYes, yes, okay it's all true. Taxi drivers without metres are cruising for targets andAteneum you'd be an idiot to get into one, there are restaurants who rip off tourists, the medical services are chronic if you're daft enough to travel without medical insurance which entitles you to good care at the Euroclinic. But as for the dogs...guys, what on earth would you be doing touching a wild dog anyway??? Come on. Even if you're a passioned dog-lover, you can tell which dogs you can pet, and which ones would rip your arm off at a glance. Be reasonable!

Bran2Bucharest_streetOf course there are negative points travelling here, but that's the case in EVERY country. I haven't read the 2008Bd_Unirii Lonely Planet, so I can't really comment. I just hope that the wonderful things about Roumania are mentioned, too - the incredibly overwhelming generosity and hospitality, the warmth of the Roumanian people, their fabulous and completely silly sense of humour, their gift of throwing the most marvellous parties at the drop of a Rural_country2hat, the art, literature, music and history, the beautiful buildings and parks, the great food... I could go on for hours, and that's only Bucharest! The joys of the mountains, coast, delta and countryside would takeIMGP0043 another week!

I've always appreciated LP for its excellent guide books and hope this isn't the beginningP5290244 of the end of that particular happy relationship! Don't be put off by the criticism. Just be streetwise and sensible, wherever you're travelling. This is one country not to be missed - Rural_villageit'll touch your heart and perhaps even change your life as it did mine. It certainly makes you prioritise and look inwards. How I love it!

Incidentally, the pix are all mine (apart from the book cover at the top) showing: Rucar, Cheia, Piatra Craiului, a lovely church carved into the mountains visited with Lucia and George (can't remember the name - sorry), Agapia, the Atheneum, a road in Bucovina, violinist in str. Lipscani, fountain at Pta Unirii, hay-making near Piatra Neamt, another field in Rucar, hay cart somewhere in Moldavia and a cobbled street in Sighisoara. Roumania really does look like this. So, let's have no more of it! Do notice there isn't a street dog in sight. But if you want one, là voilà! I'm sure you'll agree that he doesn't look very vicious! Actually, he ate my Easter cake as we were leaving Cocos monastery....PA260185

Love, Sarah

Posté par Sarah in Romania à 13:07 - Commentaires [1] - Permalien [#]

Constantin Ticu Dumitrescu


Radio Roumania International

"Launched at the Romanian Cultural Institute in Bucharest, the project is an effort to reconstruct the historyDumitrescu3 of the Romanian gulag. Arrested by the communist political police in the late '40s, while a high school student, the former Christian-Democratic MP and member of the Senate Committee for the investigation of abuse and corruption, Constantin Ticu Dumitrescu (http://ro.wikipedia.org/wiki/Constantin_Ticu_Dumitrescu), is the president of the Association of Former Political Prisoners and initiator of the Lustration Act- the law that was supposed to ban former communist dignitaries from power.

Dumitrescu1The first part of the series, titled “Recourse to Memory” and written between 1979 and 1981, when Ticu Dumitrescu was running a small forestry site in Vrancea mountains, Eastern Romania, includes the actual memoirs. The other two volumes, entitled “Recourse to Documents,” include statements, transcripts and reports on the interrogations he was subject to. Dumitrescu presents here information on the operation of the communist repressive apparatus, the Securitate in particular. Unlike other authors that have approached similar topics, Ticu Dumitrescu had an Dumitrescu2opportunity to study the Securitate archives within the CNSAS, which contributed to the exposure of hundreds of people who collaborated with Securitate or were involved in political policing, and at the Justice Ministry, where he obtained copies of important documents.Dumitrescu4

Attending the event, President Traian Basescu, who in December 2006 officially denounced communism as criminal and illegitimate, resumed his criticism of former communist party leaders who are still present in today's political arena. He stated that, while he would never go as far as to claim that he was a dissenter, he would nonetheless struggle to have Dumitrescu5“the truth on communism brought to light.” Ticu Dumitrescu decided to publish these memoirs, which he felt was a “moral duty,” after having survived persecution in communist prisons, so that his experience may help the generations to come. They are only one page in a large-scale trial of communism, added to other works that look at the crimes of the former regime. During thousands of days of incarceration and investigation, Ticu Dumitrescu never lost heart. This earned him, quote, “the most paradoxical title of nobility in the history of mankind:” that of political prisoner. It cost many people their lives. Those who received this title didn't seek it, and those who offered it didn't realise it was ennobling."

See also: http://www.hotnews.ro/stiri-cultura-3095032-marturie-document-constantin-ticu-dumitrescu.htm




Posté par Sarah in Romania à 09:21 - Commentaires [0] - Permalien [#]

30 mai 2008

Oh boy...

It just keeps coming. Scandal on TVR - Corneliu Vadim Tudor goes balistic...what a foul man. He was one of the beasts who slammed Monica Lovinescu...need I say more? See Stiri: http://stiri.rol.ro/content/view/127566/8/

Enough of that. Going to work.

Posté par Sarah in Romania à 11:59 - Commentaires [0] - Permalien [#]

Politically apt at 1 day old!

new_bornThat's what I call advanced! Even new-born Roumanian babies have political opinion, never mind the maidanezii!!!

Nine O'Clock, 30/05/08, issue 4192

PIN accuses: 24 newly-born on Oprescu’s list of supporters

The row between the leaders of the National Initiative Party (PIN) and the independent candidate for Bucharest mayor, Sorin Oprescu, continues even during the last days of the electoral campaign. PIN representatives accused yesterday that the list of supporters tendered by Oprescu at the Municipal Electoral Bureau (BEM) includes a number of 24 new-born babies and a man who left for Italy five years ago. ‘Following a telephone-conducted inquiry into the list of Sorin Oprescu’s supporters by PIN Vice-president Lavinia Sandru, aside from not even 1 per cent of those questioned admit to being signatories, another incredible finding was unveiled: 24 babies born on 13.04.2008 and 16.04.2008 respectively appear to have signed in favour of Sorin Oprescu’s candidacy,’ according to a PIN release to the press. By the time ‘Nine O’ Clock’ went to press, Sorin Oprescu had not taken a stand about the accusations against him

Posté par Sarah in Romania à 11:34 - Commentaires [0] - Permalien [#]

The Non-Vote

P5300004Dear All,

I really can't accept this 'right not to vote' stance...how can I? People died so weP5300002 could go to the polls. It's the very fundamentals of democracy. If one isn't happy with the state of things, then go vote - it's a voice. If you don't vote, you have given up your right to have an opinion, so shut up and stop moaning. That's my view. I understand that here in Roumania it's a very difficult choice to make - is there a single unblemished candidate? Between Basescu, ex-Iliescu and Becali, it's a hard decision. But there are some better than others. Chiliman for a start. My P5300003Roumanian friends, my ex-pat friends with the right to vote (ie. residents' permit) - get out there Sunday and make your voices heard. For me there's nothing more cowardly than a non-vote. You'reP5300001 not showing anything by it, you're proving nothing. Only that you don't care. And that, for me, is unacceptable. Here ends the sermon!

Please find below article this morning from Nine O'Clock.


The Deep Revulsion

Nine O'Clock, published in issue 4192 page 4 at 2008-05-30

The right not to vote is just as important of that of expressing your option.

Candidate X is a notorious Securitate man. His file is the evidence! Candidate Y has built his wellbeing by doing business with the underworld. Another one was interned in bedlam; it’s been proved: his medical report was published in a newspaper… Sounds familiar? These are just a few of the ‘revelations’ published in the press during last week.

Only three days left until the first round of local elections and the battle is heating up. As usual, the ‘heavy dossiers’ are thrown on the market in the run up to the polls. Things that could have (and should have) been published long ago. Some of them, trivial. Others, which should have been brought to public knowledge right away.

But no! They have been kept as ‘decisive’ campaign ammunition in the view of those who sneak them in now – against pay or not – on various media channels. They will only make the stench even worse of an electoral campaign that stinks bad enough already… Still, they will have an effect: to make the deep revulsion anticipated for June 1 even deeper.

What will happen Sunday? I can bet the turnout will not exceed 40 percent nationwide, and will hardly reach 30 per cent in Bucharest. One telling signal was the referendum last year, despite the political stake and the passion thrown into play. Another signal is that people have matters of their own to deal with. And the last, and not least, electoral programme viewer ratings being quite low in the past few days.

None of them succeeds in gathering more than 150,000 viewers at most before the small screen. Does this attitude from the public deserve condemnation? Yes, according to some fellow journalists. In my view, no. The right not to vote is just as important as that of exercising your option. Both have been won and both deserve respect.

It is rather the attitude of politicians and analysts that deserves condemnation, who are oblivious to the fact that the surrounding world is changing. That people are fired by passions other than their leaders. The gap grows increasingly wider. The deep revulsion has explanations of its own, a trend worthy of some serious debate…

by Adrian Halpert

Posté par Sarah in Romania à 11:00 - Commentaires [0] - Permalien [#]

29 mai 2008

The mad dash for Mayor, June 1st

Candidates_Town_HallDear All,

The run up to the elections has taken on a certain frenetic edge. Posters everywhere, distributors tearing around with flyers, pens and matchboxes screaming 'STOP jafului, STOP coruptiei!' (Stop the rip offs, stop corruption!)either people are sure of their allegiance or they're so confused by the dodginess of each and every candidate that they are not voting at all. I must say that I've spent a lot of time thinking about who will get my vote, proud, at last, to vote for someone somewhere and as this is the country of my heart, I won't let this pass without my cross in the box...I have at last decided. But it's between me and the ballot box, so you'll never know!! Haaa! Suffice to say that voting for a candidate from PD-L (Basescu's motley crew) seems a lot less damaging than supporting PSD (ex-Iliescu) or PNG (that idiot Becali)...however, there's not a great deal of difference between the lot of them. As Gaby says, 'the roots come from the same tree' and as we all know, the famous apple never falls that far! Most of them come from the old school anyway. But I can't ignore my right to vote for the mayor of my favourite place to be.

Here are the choices:

Candidates_Oprescu1) Sorin OPRESCU, independent candidate, though linked to Iliescu. Looks like a lizard, is mafioso without shame, director for the municipal hospital, and a surgeon (apparently a good one). He's tried for mayor before with PSD, was up against Basescu in 2000...and lost. I've a very bad feeling that this time he'll be luckier. When I look at this photo, he reminds me horribly of Ceausescu and gives me goose pimples.

Candidates_Blaga2) Vasile BLAGA, PD-L, Basescu's right hand and every inch a red-faced bulldog. He was minister of the interior and thus responsable for public administration. It's his first attempt for the Town Hall. He's a strong chap, Gaby says 'a tough geezer' (who taught her that?!!!).

Candidates_Gusa3) Cozmin GUSA, PIN, was in PD but protested against Basescu. Now he works alongside Lavinia Sandru anoher ex-PD (not in the French sense!). He's founder of PIN. He's young, has new ideas and seems quite savvy as to what Bucharest really needs. He promises 'a studio for every Bucurestean' meaning everyone has the right to a roof over his head. See http://www.cozminprimar.ro/ . Slogan: 'Ce e în gusa, e si în capusa' - I speak my mind

Candidates_Orban4) Ludovic ORBAN, PNL, now minister of transport (saw him on a programme of traditional Roumanian music and thought he should stick to his day job - now I'm not so sure, but he sang like a drain!)

Candidates_Diaconescu5) Cristian DIACONESCU, PSD, I liked him best til lunchtime, and then decided he was foul. He's with Iliescu...


6) Marian VANGHELIE, PSD but may be independent as too many candidates from PSD..frankly have no idea. Maybe he doesn't know either. He's illiterate, speaks appallingly and has the same 'charisma' as Becali. He was mayor for Sector 5. People there were pleased with him as he painted the blocks in pretty colours, created soup kitchens and offered cheap tickets for New Year celebrations for the over-60's.


7) Andrei CHILIMAN, PNL for sector 1 - intelligent, well-educated and from a good family - my favourite to date...

Even the street dogs, maidanezii, are doing their bit. The Roumanians are so inventive! See what Rosie's distant family are up to:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FRIZI3km5HY 

Conclusion...Razboi la Bucuresti...orasul este în fierbere! The young and the restless part 1 and there's no stage better than Bucharest! Watch this space.

Love, Sarah

Posté par Sarah in Romania à 21:52 - Commentaires [0] - Permalien [#]

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