Ok, this is sounding more and more like a personal blog, so I will indulge this round again in ranting on my idiosyncrasies. One of these, quite stubborn, as it doesn’t let me live in peace is ‘on being Romanian’ or, more precisely, what it takes to be Romanian. Do you need a special something, a certain ne je sais quoi, to be born, live and act Romanian? Well, a few things, in my view.
First, you should be selfish: if you travel abroad do not get in touch with your fellow citizens, do not help them and do not talk with them. What you can do though, Romanian like, is dissing them with every occasion you get; if it happens than one Romanian is smarter, faster and better than you, then you MUST envy him/her, wish him/her bad luck and quietly pray that he/she will not succeed no matter what. If he/she will strike against all the odds, then you must humiliate this person somehow, find something from the past and splash it out.
Secondly, if you are born Romanian you will not help another Romanian; I have already said that. By the contrary, everything must be a competition die or get dead. No sharing information, no helping hand, no good words, no positive feedback, no harmless good intentions, nothing like it, God forbidden. You are on your own and you must eliminate competition, precisely smarter and better than you. As a Romanian, you simply cannot acknowledge and accept that others are better than you this is impossible. Envy has an un-limited dimension in this country. Not getting me wrong, I know a few projects/groups in Romania, made by Romanians who proved that occasionally solidarity is possible among Romanians: there is a group of young artists promoting each other but also doing common good projects, likewise a few groups helping Romanian students wishing to study abroad and collecting and sharing a huge amount of information pro bono, in the good style of European universities, where students share between themselves lots of ideas, notes, give and receive constructive feedback that will help them do a better job. Also, in any other European country when you meet new young people, you are almost immediately assimilated and introduced to their groups and invited to events and everything goes naturally, effortlessly. In Romania, if you belong to certain group, then is YOUR group and only yours; you will not allow another, a marginal to enter, you keep others aside. If one succeeds in this endeavour, then you have to play alike, fake it until you make it, as everyone does the same, in an all exclusive membership club.
Thirdly, constructive feedback is almost a neologism in this country. You are not allowed to criticize a Romanian, whatever he does. We don’t like critique, constructive or non-constructive is not relevant. We do things better here, our way, and we said that to Europe many times until these dull Europeans got it in their heads, and now Europe must do something to accommodate itself to the Romanian aquis; basically we did not integrate to EU, Europe must integrate in Romania, and that fast. Romanians will use often though this paradigm of ‘constructive feedback’ but is just a euphemism for blunt hostility, anger and a clear intention to smash you in pieces, if possible.
Fourthly, in general, neither Romanians want, nor they care for this country to be better, they care primarily about themselves. Exceptions are allowed, things are warming up a bit in this direction. Politicians do not give a damn; they are unscrupulous, arrogant, self-interested bastards. The people are poor, they strive a lot for the bread, go to pick up strawberries in foreign countries, abandon their children hoping for a better income, journalists are more often than not like small business affiliated to a certain power interest, NGOs likewise so lately, everywhere you perceive self-centred interests and hidden agendas covered up in nice words like soap balloons. The few journalistic investigations uncovering big corruption, money laundering, dodgy business and incompetence have no follow-up, nobody feels any sort of responsibility. How could they? Many ‘big’ journalists made their own business under one or the other of our governments, business people likewise, they lobbied and courted one or the other power centres and usually the most successful business, the one success story started from scratch has a liaison in the political background that we don’t even want to know about. My excuses to the very few serious business people out there, but I don’t know them yet.
Fifthly, Romanians have no shame: they can lie continuously; they will lie into your face without blinking. They also have no respect for their word and no shame. Do not be surprised if you deal with a so called business man, well travelled, and perhaps well educated in a foreign university, who has, under his apparently fine tuned manners, the worst type of impolite behaviour you will meet around these beautiful lands: the hypocritical jerk that will walk over you as soon as you turn your back. Beware; you cannot trust Romanian business men, as you cannot trust a Romanian politician. That so long awaited young political elite is not coming, is it all outside this country already, maybe they will make great politicians and business men in those countries, which treat them as they deserve and where they don’t need to compromise in order to ‘make it’.
Romanians complain a lot too, just look at me here: about themselves, about anyone else, about anything. I am Romanian, so I am not perfect, I am guilty by birth, therefore I should not fume against my fellow citizens, like an ungrateful, but I am just very tired, I regret returning to this country, it seems more and more like the worst decision I have ever made. I will never blame those leaving and not ever wanting to hear what is here. Romania simply does not deserve its good people and I know what it takes to stick around and hang in there and fighting to change things around these places……it is a long and exhausting battle and you must have some commando skills to survive in these volatile valueless grounds.
(photo from Vivid)