I’m not very good at Politics – just average as any normal citizen, habituated to watching TV and judging the news. At Economics, a little less. In any case, not more than any other normal citizen planning his budget and thinking: ‘How can some people make so much money?’ At Justice, even less: just as much as a normal citizen who would want – sincerely so – to live in a fairer, more balanced society. Of Religion matters, I know very little – but I would expect, as any normal citizen, for the Church to practice what it preaches. At Sports, not at all. And so forth…
I do however possess an ability given by inclination (most likely), education and experience: the ability to read the world and the things as if they were a theatre performance. The politicians, economists, sports people, justice-makers, priests and even artists, I understand them as characters entering or leaving the stage, whether they be in conflict, allies, kissing each other, loving one another, undercutting one other, etc. A show involving people from Romania is bound to always be interesting and never boring. It will always contain that all-so-necessary dose of comic, picturesque, the bohemian: in any case, all the ingredients for what we can call a true spectacle.
For some time now though, this view of mine has started to fade, being replaced by a sensation of fear. I have the impression that, all of a sudden, the theatre set is broken and has collapsed, the actors are naked, stripped off of their capes and the theatre, its stage are now empty, offering an equally bizarre and frightful display.
After more than 25 years – period when in Romania honest, professional, not ‘connected’ and interested-to-build-something-good individuals (people with a normal instinct, in other words) have been systematically eliminated from everywhere, neutralised through humiliation and bullying and let’s admit it, through a Mafia-type of attitude – we have in front of our eyes the sordid result of such ‘sustained work’.
Romania is now a country that has not and can’t in any way find its leaders: the ones we could have thought of have either abandoned ship (completely unobserved and defeated by the system) or have become effigies of a time that has long ago collapsed (and that we did not notice either). The truly tragic element in this story is that true leaders are now an extinct species. It is needless to note that in this year’s local and parliamentary election show there won’t be featured also any of the usual buffoons, who despite their rotten message, were still able to produce a sort of humour that kept us hoping that the show could somehow continue. All the Buffoons have been arrested by the DNA (Literally translated: National Direction Anticorruption)
The artists are now stripped of their costumes, the theatre is a ruin, and there’s a general burnt smell.
Romania has indeed become, I think – and I wish to be wrong – the broken pot that Octavian Paler was talking about at a certain point. Only now we can see – very clearly – Paler’s prophecy fulfilled.
The most ardent question remains – after we will shake off the shock of such a broken show, and that would better happen as soon as possible – What is next? Who is going to enter stage left now? Because as the song so well teaches us: The show must go on!’
My answer is a pessimistic one.
In our country, Communism has never been truly condemned and I fear that it won’t ever be possible to truly condemn it. I fear that in Romania, the apparently endless postponement of pay day for those guilty of the prisons, genocide, starvation, bankruptcy, attacks on national security through continuous undermining of values, etc. – this postponement was not at all accidental. It was very intelligently preparing the entry on stage of a new species, cultivated in the Communist laboratories and released from the test tubes in the wild, where it has proven its resilience and prolific character.
The good news is that the old Communist virus is dead: it peacefully faded, guarded by the shadow of a transition period that (we know this now) will never end. The very bad news is that the mutant of this virus has survived extremely well: it is the ‘New Man’ square; it is the Brand New Man; it is the materialist-dialectical Man who is atomic bomb-proof and capable of unimaginable powers of adaptation. Compared to our ‘New Man Square’, the Western materialist, neo-liberal, post-modern, cannabis-legalising supporter, atheist and refugee-welcoming is an angel. An angel, yes! Because he can still find the strength, poor Westerner, to doubt things and to even sometimes meditate: a skill that can still maintain hope for the existence of a democratic instinct and ultimately of a human instinct.
For our Brand New Man though, this instinct has never existed and will never exist, because our Man is the shinny product of ceaseless and tireless experimentations on the conscience, on the depths of the spirit, on itself the power of man to sell its soul at a pre-agreed price. A very long series of experimentations that have tested the power of the lab mouse to ally itself to the experimenter and to learn to love and admire the latter – a level of performance never seen before.
This new species is therefore capable of anything, but first and foremost it needs to assert itself as anti-Communist and saviour, pro-democratic, Christian and multi-confessional, tolerant, pro-West, gentle, patriotic, tradition-bound but also foreign investor-bound, believing in Ressurection but also in Mercedes, believing in diversity but also in quietening whomever needs to be quitened.
This new test tube generation is also a spontaneous one (we could never have imagined something like this being possible) created 100% in the lab: it has no past and no values others than that of creating a new Romania, better and fairer, but bound to the lab.
In a deserted Romania therefore and where as I have said before it the burnt smell is very bad, the black sun of a new beginning is rising – an apocalyptic beginning. The protagonists of a show that this time around is total and completely humourless (and which I am sure will freeze the blood in our veins) – are ready to enter the stage. When I look back at what has been (I refer here to the recent and very recent history) I can’t stop myself from an ecstatic bewilderment: how could that old hilarious chaos and cheerful devastation organise themselves into such a perfect finale? It must be finally said that preparing for the entrance of this brand new type of Man and Romanian has been made possible – in a suicidal fashion – by those many who fought against the idea of value and professionalism with a determination that would have made our brave ancient fighters for independence red with envy.
Most probably out of the blind hate against all that represented value and normality, this formless majority (because it is only a mass of brutal beings) who call themselves the Romanian nation, have become the zombie-heralds of the end of history. The thundering of this end can be heard not very far, just like when a storm is approaching.