We are snowed in. Thoroughly! The city is beautiful and I may say even serene despite the desperate attempts of lunatic drivers to stand up to what a particularly generous winter is throwing at this city. Bucharest is a city that is never quite like others and where public services are haphazard and erratic at best of times. These days traffic is such a nightmare that, if reasonable, we are constrained to stroll leisurely through heavy snow. It is difficult, cold, but beautiful and gives you time to reflect without being angered by other equally stressed drivers.
On the political scene the big news is that the court rejected the challenge PSD presented and opened the way for validating the elections. This promptly happened earlier this week. They didn't even bother to discuss the three different issues backed by proof raised by Geoana's party. This despite a growing number of evidence of at least serious questions regarding the electoral process ... Consequently Mircea Geoana did what was the only decent and responsible thing to do: he conceded in order to avoid a further and protracted political scandal while he mentioned the intention to continue the investigation via the means of a special parliamentary commission. As an additional quirk the official results show he actually "won" the election in Romania but he trails the incumbent about 70.000 votes out of 150.000 abroad. Promptly on some "free" blogs the country is now called "strawberryland". This is a pun on the votes of Romanians in Spain and Italy generically called strawberry pickers. Of course this is a meaningless and bitter thing to say. On one hand the Geoana campaign totally missed this political demographic and on the other hand the number of serious flaws in the process make rather questionable their responsibility in the result.
The overall situation is a bit "green" as we say here. The prospects of a stable (and competent) government backed by a large majority are slim. The returning president's party is using any possible mean to dislodge MP's from the socialist and liberal groups in the parliament and this with some success. A bunch of 12 or so deputies and senators have declared they will quit their groups and sit with the "independent" group led by a famous and fairly sinister turncoat general - he left PSD some time ago when he failed to appoint himself minister of interior and promptly joined the "presidential" camp. This way the president's party amassed a majority in both chambers. It is enough for most activity except changing fundamental laws.
We have a new prime-minister designate: the same pathetic communist activist styled guy (except he claims in a terrible wooden tongue his conservative and rightist credo) the parliament deposed three month ago! I have the very bizarre and unpleasant feeling of living in a time loop. A kind of semi-nightmarish groundhog day. For now it seems the government coalition will be the PDL - the president's party - and the Hungarian minority party. The latter are always interested - they have been in government for about 16 of the past 20 years! With parliamentary support from the group of the other ethnic minorities (it is officially called so) and the "independents" group before mentioned. There are high chances the cabinet will pass through parliament and by Christmas we will have a functional government of sorts. We will have to see how the budget looks like in January next year but times will be tough.
Apparently the socialists and the liberals will form the opposition. After a few tough days the party rallied around Geoana and except a few voices known previously to be in both camps there seems to be solidarity with somebody who has put a lot of effort in this last campaign.
Next week Romania celebrates twenty years since its Revolution. Also it commemorates its tragic victims. It is equally tragic to see that former apparatchiks and nomenclatura types mixed with straight out former securitate operatives, all directly linked to the oppressive Ceausescu regime are getting an almost total control over this country.
Christmas is coming and the country is all white. Hanukkah lights are still on. The fight should go on for a good society. Ever since the enlightenment it never ends. The Leviathan is always near and we only live a stalemate.
Saturday, December 19, 2009
Monday, December 07, 2009
Apparently we cannot yet escape this gutter. We are still idiotically pleased with cheep symbols of acceptance given by the bigger and richer nations, unaware or uninterested that we inspire nothing but contempt. We accept as inevitable the shambolic state of our economy and the eternal condemnation to poverty for a vast majority and total medieval misery for some in exchange for a free ticket to rob and plunder and subject by will of the polls. Democracy is nothing without a republic of citizens. Instead of citizens we have mobs and cliques. With one clique in particular using an invented populist “majority”. I am afraid so few of us are conscious or care for the pity mixed with avoidance we elicit abroad.
We have again embraced the nauseous and noxious path of personality cult. We chose en masse the ultimate populism. Elections may be fraudulent but that is the least of our problems. Democracy is robed and raped, devoid of any content and relevance in a system where the power rests again and again and again with the ubiquitous remnants of the most appalling underworld. Former securitate executives, former servants of the political police and other seedy nomenclature types related to this crowd or their relatives are choking this country. When somebody tries to change things it will be defied whether he or she comes from left or right.
If the result wouldn’t be enough on its own, I received today an e-mail showing the depth to which the communist style ass kissing and opportunistic positioning can go. A colleague of mine just sent out an e-mail promptly attaching a speech by the deposed and interim PM to show her most loyal allegiance. Pathetic and ultimately rather sad, as I am tonight for this entire nation, for those that I know are ashamed, and last but not least for one man that I know promised us something else. I believe him. I trust he does not give up.
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you
But make allowance for their doubting too,
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:
If you can dream–and not make dreams your master,
If you can think–and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ‘em up with worn-out tools:
If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it all on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breath a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on!”
If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings–nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;
If all men count with you, but none too much,
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And–which is more–you’ll be a Man, my son!
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
Thursday, October 08, 2009
— Marguerite Yourcenar />
— Marguerite Yourcenar
Monday, October 05, 2009
Sunday, June 07, 2009
Thursday, May 21, 2009
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
To leave Istanbul one has many choices. There is the train right from beneath the streets of Sirkeci at the nexus between the Golden Horn and Bosporus. Reminiscences of the Orient Express are of course excused and thoroughly justified. Then there is the soulless and practical option of taking an international flight but the real beauty comes in the form of the divers choice of ferries to all imaginable destinations in the Bosporus and beyond in the Med and Black Sea. I like how Kara Deniz sounds ... But then Istanbul is so big that like in NY one has the option to turn around, regret, hesitate for a long, long time as the city stretches all over the shores for miles. It is all Istanbul, bridges, ships, shores, waves, hills, lights, mosques and minarets, red flags, shops. All alive and bustling with Istanbulus always erratic, always busy, always away ... traveling in their own city. And us ... coming and going. Returning is not an option is a disease.