The Romanian Athenaeum

I love my country! Because it is where I was born. Because it is where my loved ones have roots. Because it is beautiful – still beautiful, in the parts that have escaped the destructive fury of the majority of its inhabitants. I love my country,  but I don’t think that loving your country means keeping your eyes closed in front of what goes wrong with it. I don’t think that a patriot is a person who eagerly hides the junk in the closet and pretends everything smells roses. I don’t think that claiming the world is pink really makes it better. On the contrary: I think that a lot of the bad in the world thrives on our refusal to name the bad, recognize the harm it does to our lives and fight against it. I feel that if you really love your country, then you owe it honesty. I don’t think hypocrisy, conformism, servility, opportunism, are traits that define a patriot. Whenever I read Emil Cioran’s sad, bitter, painful thoughts about Romania, I realize that you can only write like this if you really feel for your country! If you care for it, if you are affected by seeing it go down, instead of going up. If you understand that your beautiful, rich, deserving country has been devastated, all throughout history, by its people. By a majority of its people. I’d rather read Cioran’s thoughts of Romania, or open my mind to the reality that is all around me, than waste even one minute with the official blah-blah-blah saying everything is great, and only a few cavillers refuse to see it.

Romania is a beautiful country – what a pity it’s inhabited… I don’t know who said this first, but since then it has become a too familiar saying. It makes me sad to hear it, but I can’t pretend it is not true. Pretending is what the large majority of Romanians have kept doing, for too long a time – to nobody’s benefit, not theirs, not their country’s. Why waste the time and energy to hide the reality from your own eyes? No honest person has a reason to do this – as for the ones who do, that is another story.

A real change in Romania will happen only when its people will start to really love their country, to really care for it, to really fight for it. In that moment, they will stop admitting to its devastation, to its destruction, to its going nowhere, to it being transformed into a humble country, by its eternally humble people…

Romania is a beautiful country – what a pity it’s inhabited… I do hope there will come a day when this saying will not describe Romanians anymore…