Mid-november thoughts

Almost everybody I know talks about the presidential elections these days.

In case you don't know, the second round of presidential elections in Romania will take place on Sunday, November 16th, 2014. The two candidates still in the race are the socialist Victor Ponta and the liberal Klaus Johannis. While Victor Ponta is widely known for the plagiarism of his Ph. D. thesis, for being a spy - against our NATO allies, it seems - and for 2 years of governing Romania with bad results, Mr. Johannis became known as the German-native mayor of Sibiu, one of the most developed cities in Romania under his mayorship, being re-elected twice and fundamentally changing the image of that city for good. As somebody who visited Sibiu in 2012, 2013 and 2014, I can tell you that the 2007 European capital of culture (Sibiu) is, now (also due to the efforts of Klaus Johannis) one of the most developed places in the country, along with cities like Cluj, Timișoara or Brașov. That being said, I don't hide the fact that I will vote on Sunday. And that my vote will not be in favour of Victor Ponta.

However, the Sunday elections, or their result, are not the subject of this article. To be honest, as long as Romania will keep its EU and NATO membership, I try not to get too involved in this. But there are things that bother me and I want to write about them : every time we have elections in Romania, the social tissue is weakened. All the fractures and exploitable differences are used by the candidates, in order to get a few more votes and, under this respect, I think we just had the ugliest campaign in the last two decades, as normal people are turned against each other because of their political options. I am most offended by how the socialist candidate used religious faith (Christian orthodox, against the Lutheran faith of his rival, in a 86% Christian Orthodox Romania) as a mean to get votes, instead of tangible results as a PM.

Our politicians only know how to use hate as an instrument. This goes as well against the liberal candidate, in the present case. And this is a lose-lose situation. Our society doesn't have the antibodies to that. It seems we have not yet discovered the secrets of a normal political campaign and the logic of cohesion, and that we are not let to. It seems also that those in power, now or in the not so distant past, are not interested by - nor capable of - normality. They are only interested by the power, they are by no means interested into fortifying the society - and thus the Romanian democracy itself.

Kindle your mind,



I feel hope and faith.

Don't ask me why, I won't be able to give you any reasonable answers.

I look around and I see : things going the wrong way, (many) people making the wrong choices, for the second time, for the third, for the fourth... past becoming future, duplicating and repeating itself, nightmares turned to reality, defeats, painful losses.

A sample of superficial wisdom : most of us don't learn from mistakes. We just repeat them over and over and over again, convinced and convincing ourselves and each other it was the right thing in the first place. We are a bit too lazy to improve ourselves. This is what I see now as I take a look around me. Wish I was wrong.

Nothing seems to get better. And yet, somehow, it is my belief that most of the wrong things we do to each other, the least important ones, don't leave tracks behind, while - true - the most important do.

I try to take this in a positive manner : if I harm somebody badly, I still have the chance to redeem myself. It is hard, but it can be done. I had strong ties with most people I - intentionally or unintentionally, whatever, doesn't even matter - hurt. This hardiness - of me trying to make it up to someone - is what tied us together in the first place. It is what makes people become important to each other, I guess.

When we live together, we hurt one another, it cannot be otherwise. And, in that moment, we have to choose between running away, or getting closer.

You know what ? Don't ask too much logic to the post above. It's not meant to be logical.

With love,


I'm back

I feel the need to come back to blogging, just like I felt the need to take a break last year.

Around me, many things seem senseless, and yet, I feel hope and faith. I barely breathe due to my heavy schedule, and yet this blog is a part of who I am, and never ceased to be.

It'll be difficult to find the time to write, still, I think I can manage it now. If that will be the case, you will see here another post. And another. And another...

Kindle your mind.


Rosia Montana. Five weeks later

If my memory isn't playing any trick on me, this Sunday will mark five weeks since the beginning of the protests, held in the entire Romania, against the mining exploitation at Rosia Montana. I wrote less and protested a bit more. In times like these, the place to be, even more than behind the desk and writing articles about an injustice about to happen, is the street, protesting loud and clear against the injustice in question.

Unlike to many others, the amplitude of the protests - by far the most important in Romania since 1991 - was not - and is not - a surprise to me. Temperature in Romanian society has reached a climax. Most will probably disagree with me, but that happened for the first time in the winter of 2011 (with certain help from a important part of the media), and again this September (this time with no help at all). And if the demands of the people on the streets will not be met, this will certainly happen again. It is only a matter of time. And I'm not speaking about a long time, as a difficult winter awaits us just around the corner.

My bet is that politicians, no matter their political colour, will try to berry their heads in the sand as long as necessary, in order to promote as soon as possible the law allowing the exploitation at Rosia Montana, and thus ignore the tens of thousands of Romanians expressing their opposition in the street. The explanation for that is very simple: most of our parliamentary parties count on funding from RMGC in the next elections: presidential in 2014 and parliamentary in 2016. They also know that middle class protesting now is a difficult client when it comes to voting, so politicians imagine that they will be able to buy votes - like they did so far - by raising pensions or salaries.

 I write this article in order to try to understand what will happen next. My scenario is this: people will go on rising on the streets against the project, but the parliament (and the government) will approve the law. Afterwards, everything will explode. We will not talk about blocking deputies and senators on the streets of Alba, like it happened a week ago, we will talk, probably, about people manifesting in the tens of thousands in front of the infamous Parliament Palace.

In my view, the key of the situation is here: today, it is very difficult to register a political party in Romania. It takes 25,000 signatures gathered in 20 counties (if my memories do not play me tricks) to do that. In a country like Romania, it is extremely harsh to meet this demand, and the result is that most citizens are not represented by the main political parties. This is a main deficiency of the political system. Will the protesters understand that the key demand is to modify this law, and ask for more democratic representation?

To be honest, and against my desire, I doubt it.

Nevertheless, the effort is splendid. And it is giving me hope.


Protests in Bucharest. After four days

This is the fifth day of the protests.

Mostly young people are gathering again today, in University Square, to rally against the decision of the government to sustain the exploitation at Rosia Montana.

After the initial protests on Sunday mainstream media had to react and tried to minimize the protests and their meaning, and even tried to change the public agenda. Those who have chosen the uncomfortable way of protesting into the streets were accused of being nothing more than a bunch of dreamers, hipsters, socialists and anti-capitalists. Generally, these accusations were made by that part of the press previously involved in agreements with RGMC.

In fact, protests at Piata Universitatii have nothing to do with the right or the left. People are equally dissatisfied with both, to be honest. The protests have a lot to do, for a change, with the way governments (politicians) understand how to govern Romania. They have a lot to do with the huge distance between politicians and citizens. They have everything to do with what is generically called BAD GOVERNMENT, lack of legitimacy, lack of dialogue between the power and the rest, lack of real democracy.

Again, these protests are not against (foreign) corporations and capitalism. All the people I know, people who are involved in these protests, generally work in a foreign corporation, have better education than most of their compatriots, have more money, travel more and mostly vote with the right wing - when they do vote. They are not nationalist, they are only patriots. Personally, I have two jobs (one in a foreign corporation), I travel abroad and I vote with the right, when I do. These protests are against such a situation when a certain government tries to impose a law dedicated to a single company, a law which can be described in a few words as a result of the lobby of the company in question. What has this to do with (opposition to) real capitalism ?

If I decided to get out and protest, not only to observe, it was because this is a clear situation of abuse. It is a clear situation of aggression against individual property. It is also a very, very clear situation of a extremely bad deal made by a government pretending to represent me, and in the top of that, eventually it is I who would have to support the costs for many years to come, along with my compatriots, not the members of this government. Guess what ? I don't want to, not anymore.

PS. I am sure there are plenty of bad deals already made, in mining as well as other fields. These protests represent a landmark : it is with the dismissal of Raed Arafat last year or the law on Rosia Montana this year that people show all of this is enough. Such deals made by those who temporarily govern the country will no longer be accepted by the society.


Protests in Bucharest. Plus, a little story about gold. Romanian gold.

I just got home after a few hours of protesting.

Some 5,000 people gathered today in University Square to protest against the recent decision of the Romanian government to start the exploitation of the Rosia Montana gold mines. Much more than the people protesting last year in January. Other thousands gathered in other cities of Romania and abroad : Cluj, Timisoara, Brasov, Iasi, Alba Iulia, Targu Mures, Bruxelles, Amsterdam, Oslo.

Rosia Montana is a small village in Alba county, in Transylvania, and studies show that a few hundreds of tons of gold and about 1500 tons of silver could be extracted out of the place. The state wants to allow a Canadian corporation, RGMC (Rosia Montana Gold Corporation) to exploit the gold in Rosia Montana, using cyanide. Promises are that, in order to prepare the exploitation, 1,200 jobs will be created for a period of about 2 years, and 600 jobs for about 20 years, and that the state will get about 200 million euros.

Problems occur, though, if we take a look at the conditions of the exploitation:

A. A site full of history will be destroyed. Romans and Dacians were digging for gold there 2 millennia ago.

B. The money obtained by the state, used as a pretext by the government in order to promote the project, could be easily obtained from other sources, for instance European funds. Each year Romania could access funds more important than the entire value of the Rosia Montana project.

C. Finally, ecological costs: 4 mountains tops destroyed, 3 villages wiped out, a lot of cyanide in the waters, pollution.

A few words about the law the government is trying to promote: it actually obliges all the institutions to allow the exploitation, even if existing laws are respected or not. RGMC can expropriate, in the name of the Romanian state, all lands it could need, thus meaning that a company with foreign capital can expropriate whoever it wants in the region.

I must say as well that this corporation got the support of the entire Romanian political class, of the mainstream media, and also tries to influence the public opinion, forums, sites, using trolls. In short, a very aggressive strategy.

What I saw tonight: 

About 5,000 people, occasionally more, young, well organized, motivated and determined. There was no press at all. Of course there were few reporters and occasional TV crews, but it was clear to me that this protest was boycotted by the press. Easy to explain: there is no politics-free press in Romania. The former government explicitly supported the project, the current government also supports the project and tries to ignore these protests. I cannot forget the recent days when the wife of Mr. Ponta, actual head of government, threatened to chain herself if the project would be launched by the former government. Mr. Ponta himself, after announcing the law as Prime Minister, told that, as a deputy, he will vote AGAINST the law he announced himself. I wonder what is the position of Mr. Ponta, chief of the Socialist-Democrat Party...

In short, no press presented at all a protest were THOUSANDS were present.



Romania in photos

New footwear fashion - Vama Veche style.

Nothing more pleasant than walking barefoot in the hot sand. I believe it was also a liberating experience.

This picture goes to the one I love.

Kindle your mind.


Vama veche

The angle is not the best :), but the waves are truly awesome.

Kindle your mind.