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A Country's Search For Meaning

It's incredibly easy to get sidetracked when you're trying to analyze the psyche, especially when you're talking about group psychology -in itself a loaded discussion where the lines between fact, generalization, and stereotype are as blurry as they get. Yet, this is what I have to work with, because with each page of Viktor Frankl's Man's Search for Meaning I was able to find parallels between his arguments and the mentality pervasive in the life of Romanians. His concept, logotherapy, is aimed at individuals not at groups, and yet, much of its tenets are based on his observations of prisoner mentality in Nazi concentration camps, where he himself was imprisoned during the Second World War.

Is it really fair to compare Romania and Romanians to Nazi death camps and their inmates? It depends if we're talking pre or post 1989. Even so I know it's dramatic, but without belittling what a concentration camp was, fifty years of imprisonment in one's own country with no hope for liberation has to have done some damage to the collective psyche. I'd go as far as to compare it to Frankl's three psychological phases experienced by prisoners in the lagers. At first, they suffered the shock of their incarceration. In post-war Romania this meant repression of the press, the church -particularly the 1.5 million strong Uniate church- intellectuals, political parties, and anybody who somehow didn't toe the official party line. This made for millions of Romanians who suddenly found themselves in an atmosphere of constant danger and undeserved repression.

Once Ceausescu came around, most Romanians would have entered the second phase, which Frankl describes as "a phase of relative apathy in which [the prisoner] achieved a kind of emotional death". Indeed, what could one do but 'deaden' all his feelings. With the police state firmly established and the borders sealed, what reason was there to hope one's life could possibly change, what could any individual -or even any civilian organization-  do to fight? Apathy, in this case, "was a necessary mechanism of self-defense...it forced the prisoner's inner life down to a primitive level...preserving one's life and that of the other fellow." Romania had become, for all intents and purposes, no more than a massive forced labour camp where one did as one was told, and where one could choose to accept it or to die.


Here's the interesting part though; in the camps, as under the brutal dictatorship through which Romanians suffered, most people didn't want to just give up and die. Frankl found this noteworthy. Amongst so much misery and despite no assurances that one would live out the day, prisoners just wouldn't give up on life. Why? It's a lengthy answer, but the at the bottom of it lies a crucial aspect: that in suffering there is still some meaning to life. For one, suffering has the possibility to be turned into a personal triumph and success. The worst cases, those who give up in despair, he realized, are those who find no meaning in their suffering. They either forget that there are others who care, need, rely on them or can't imagine that there is something they must do that nobody else can. Whatever the reason, this absence of meaning is a destructive catalyst and much like it affects individuals, it can affect a nation of individuals.

We know very well that in spite of the democratic freedoms in Romania, apathy still prevails, and indeed there are also socioeconomic conditions that contribute to it: hunger, exhaustion, pressure at school and at work can only intensify civic and political apathy. Why worry about the government mafia when one's daily existence is at stake? Frankl also mentions that prisoners had an inferiority complex brought about by having been stripped down to mere numbers even though many of them had once been 'somebody'. For Romanians, this inferiority complex is an ongoing saga, and ascension to the European Union didn't necessarily make it better. Comparisons between the standards of living are made daily, and the constant reminder that Romania ranks at the bottom of the EU is a constant blow to morale and even to any personal success. Like the prisoners Frankl describes, I've no doubt that the average Romanian "feels himself utterly degraded".

It seems as though after those dark years of communism, Romania is still in what Frankl describes as the third phase, where we're still only getting used to liberation. We don't believe that the freedoms we have are real, we expect that there are people somewhere, masters of our fate, making decisions for us and the best way to survive is by flying under the radar, or worse, rolling with the punches. That there are people who make some decisions for us is a fact. But we're the ones making masters out of them when they should be subservient to us. We think, like oppressed people everywhere think, that they give and they take away, and like serfs, if somebody's in a position of authority we either subvert it or bow down to it, so long as we don't challenge it directly -because we're afraid. Another facet of this phase is visible in the general 'moodiness' of the people here. Frankl described how prisoners, after liberation, had lost the ability to feel pleased. No wonder it's so hard to find a smile from a stranger.

It's important to keep in mind that Viktor Frankl wasn't just theorizing, he had survived misery that few people can even imagine. His suffering had a great deal of meaning, as he didn't only enrich the field of Psychology, but later directly, and indirectly, helped millions of people find meaning in their lives where previously they had suffered in an 'existential vacuum'.  Unlike psychoanalysts who arrive at a conclusion about the patient's illness by piecing together bits and pieces from the patient's life story and who, after years of therapy, can only really say "well, this is what your neurosis is and this is why", Frankl demonstrated that there is always an element of personal responsibility regardless of a person's nature or nurture and put the onus on the patient to live his life in order to satisfy a demand, or a set of demands, from Life -not the other way around.

Frankl felt that Freud's pleasure principle doesn't cut it, and neither does Adler's will to power. To him, it's about the will meaning and leading lives guided by values and principles that validate that meaning. Can we say that there exists a culture of values in Romania? Consider that the typical list of rules for kids in Romanian kindergarten sound like the warning on prescription medication: Don't do this, don't do that, no yelling, no running, no anything. Kids here are raised with a prisoner's mentality. In Canada we're now realizing that kids are being coddled. That's another story and it shows that nowhere is quite perfect, but at least the kids there learn rules that are positive and value-oriented: Share, play nice, apologize, ask politely, etc.

If values don't exist, there is no meaning to either success or suffering. We feel trapped because we are more often forced to react to circumstance rather than make use of initiative to create, to build, to rise above the problems we face in the present in favour of a future goal. And it's important that we have a good outlook for the future, it's our raison d'etre. Nietzsche's words are timeless, "he who has a why to live for can bear with almost any how."

What is the average Romanian's why?
Young Americans are quickly made aware of their unalienable rights to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness -in which the word 'pursuit' is probably the most relevant. The rights of Life and Liberty are tied in to strong laws, while the pursuit of happiness implies the freedom every person has to pursue personal goals. It's not perfect, it's not the be all to end all of life's meaning, but it implies that life is about the future and about goals, and also very much about individual responsibility. It implies that it's not about living simply for the present, but about a constant pursuit -whatever one's definition of the word 'happiness' entails.

- Why do you think happiness doesn't exist?
- I dunno...because that's what life's shown me.

- Life has never shown anything. Life just is, while we're the ones putting on a show.*

While economic conditions force many Romanians to lead 'present-oriented' lives, there is absolutely nothing stopping anyone living here from finding meaning in their suffering and from looking at their problems as obstacles that must be overcome; from pursuing happiness. This is what gives our life its purpose. We can't possibly believe that subsistence living is what life expects out of us, and it's no wonder that people who expect that life should deliver, or worse, the government, feel defeated and give up. We cheat ourselves into believing that life has control over our fate and this way we avoid responsibility. We are in fact responsible for delivering to life our talents, our sweat, and even our suffering, and through these we reach that elusive meaning.

It's kind of serendipitous that I read Frankl's book shortly after Saint-Exupery's Wind, Sand and Stars. He too, has something to say about responsibility. After describing his friend Guillaumet's ordeal following a crash in the Andes, he says that that the heroism of Guillaumet's survival lay in the sense of responsibility he was feeling towards his wife, comrades, and job, as he pressed on through the snow, refusing to sleep for days and defying death in the most adverse of conditions. “To be a man is, precisely, to be responsible. It is to feel shame at the sight of what seems to be unmerited misery. It is to take pride in a victory won by one's comrades. It is to feel, when setting one's stone, that one is contributing to the building of the world.”

And that, Romania, is what brings meaning to life. Caring about issues outside of your front door. Not worrying about the neighbour's goat. Working for the future. We need our kids to learn these values the moment they're old enough to learn anything. More than anything, we have to teach them about the most valuable freedom of all, what Frankl refers to as 'the last of the human freedoms': "to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one's own way."


*Savatie Bastovoi - The Devil is Politically Correct

Comments

  1. hai du te dracu de papagal cu americanii tai borsiti liberi ca un cacat in ploaie

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. ..zise un român cu mentalitate de prizonier. Nu-ti convine, nu mai arunca cu rahat in altii, ci repara-l pe-al tau.

      Delete
  2. pare rau ca parerea mea te-a incomodat, da imi pare bine ca esti liber sa te exprimi si tu, in felul tau.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Presupunand ca ar fi asa cum spui, tot mai ramane de lamurit cum anume trebuie schimbate lucrurile.
    Iar raspunsul la intrebarea cum ma tem ca nu poate fi gasit in Lumea Noua (SUA, Canada etc.) pentru simplul motiv in chestiuni de genul asta va lipseste complet experienta; sunteti ca o armata care defileaza frumos echipata, dar nu are botezul focului.
    Ce vreau sa spun este ca nici SUA, nici Canada nu au avut niciodata experienta purtarii unui razboi pe propriul teritoriu si nu au fost cucerite - cu tot ce implica asta. Ca urmare n-au nici cea mai vaga idee ce anume trebuie facut pentru a-ti reveni dupa o experienta de genul acesta.
    Ca sa folosesc o metafora automobilistica, o masina care a trecut printr-un accident nu poate fi condusa ca una proaspat iesita din fabrica. Cum reparam masina? Asta n-o putem afla decat de la cineva care a mai reparat masini.
    Altfel pareri... a dime a dozen.

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    1. Mi se pare destul de clar "cum?" -prin schimbarea atitudinilor negative si mentalitatea de oameni batuti (care poate am fost, dar nu mai suntem). Prin realizarea ca nu este nimeni stapan peste atitudinea ta de fiecare zi. Prin acceptarea responsabilitati personala de a fi mai buni indiferent de ce statut sau ce probleme ai in viata.

      Comentariul tau mi-a dat urmatoarea impresie: "Un alt Roman demoralizat care crede ca avem nevoie de un salvator (sau un mecanic) sa ne repare problemele pentru ca el nu e in stare sa faca ceva."

      Poate nu esti asa, dar daca la asta ai vrut sa comentezi din toate care le-am scris, e cam trist, nu? Si Romani din astia...a dime a dozen.

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    2. Stii cum repari?
      Strangi din buci si iei ciocanul in mana si incepi sa dai cu el in masina pana iese. Asta si iti dau americanii bani sa o faci. Asa s'a reconstruit si Germania si Japonia. Noi am fost mai fraieri :))) Ne'am luat tzapa cu comunismul prost implementat.

      Besides, am dubii ca multi din noi aici azi am vazut vreun razboi in viata noastra.

      Delete
  4. This is brilliantly accurate and truly encompasses
    most of what is inherent to the Romanian psyche and the actual state of things.
    Very well put together as well!
    J

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Though I am my own toughest critic, I agree :)

      Delete
  5. Ma tem ca n-ai inteles ce am vrut sa spun. Nu sunt demoralizat deloc si nici nu astept pe altcineva sa ne repare problemele.
    Din contra, tocmai asta spun ca numai noi putem rezolva problemele, iar tari ca SUA sau Canada se baga in seama in mod inutil si incearca sa ne convinga ca solutia problemei se trateaza intr-o anumita maniera, dar habar nu au despre ce vorbesc.
    Ideea mea era ca ar fi de bun simt pentru oamenii din... pentru oameni, in general, sa nu dea sfaturi in chestiuni pe care nu le inteleg.

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    Replies
    1. Si ce adica nu inteleg Americani, Canadieni, sau orice vestici a caru-i tari au fost construite pe conceptul de 'good governance'?

      Japonezi au fost atacati cu bomba atomica, Germanii ce sa mai spunem, si-au reconstruit o tara ramasa praf. Daca vrei sa spui ca Romania se afla unde se afla azi prin virtutea 'intelegeri' (ar fi prea comic sa spun 'intelepciuni') mai bine ascultam pe cel mai ne intelegator om, ca n-ar iesi mai rau.

      Daca numa noi putem rezolva problemele, dar dovedim an dupa an ca noi, din contra, agravam situatia nu crezi ca e cazul sa ASCULTAM ce spun si alti? E destul de clar ca noi chiar nu stim cum sa fim competenti, sa organizam o licitatie, si sa conducem o tara.

      Apropos despre intelepciune, asta e un quote care descrie ce se intampla aici:
      "The problem is not the problem, the problem is your attitude about the problem."

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  6. Cine e cel care asteapta altii sa ii rezolve problemele acum? :-D

    Eu nu ma refeream la vestici in general, ci la cei din Lumea Noua (SUA in mod deosebit). In general vest-europenii inteleg perfect conceptul de reconstruire a tarii dupa un razboi (spun in general pentru ca exista si exceptii - gen Elvetia, Islanda sau altele asemenea), dar nord-americanii nu. Pentru simplul motiv ca nord-americanii nu au trecut niciodata prin asa ceva.

    Cu toate astea observ ca americanii sunt loviti de duhul genialitatii si le stiu pe toate, chiar si cum sa iti revii dupa o trauma pe care ei n-au experimentat-o niciodata. Asta imi aminteste de un proverb chinezesc ce suna cam asa: "Cincizeci de bastoane peste spatele altuia nu dor absolut deloc".

    In esenta eu nu cred ca noi agravam lucrurile si totul merge din ce in ce mai prost. Da, nemtii si-au reconstruit tara si au ajuns la un anumit standard, dar nici ei n-au facut-o intr-un an doi. Au facut-o in multe decenii si (economic, cel putin) au avut de reconstruit numai cladiri si fabrici nu si mentalitati (ceea ce merge mult mai incet).

    Noi nu suntem nici mai inteligenti, nici mai putin inteligenti decat alti europeni. Lucrurile merg prost pe moment, insa Romania a evoluat din 1990 pana astazi; ne-am impiedicat de multe ori, am facut si multe greseli, dar per ansamblu am mers inspre bine. Doar ca schimbarile atat de radicale sunt lente; asta este, nu trebuie nici sa ne deprimam nici sa ne panicam din cauza asta.

    Asadar e dreptul nostru sa decidem ce si cat dorim sa schimbam pe aici prin Romania (in principiu eu sunt de acord cu filozofia de viata a vest-europenilor, dar nu chiar cu toate aspectele). Iar dupa ce decidem ce acceptam si ce nu, modul in care poate fi facuta trecerea de la un stat comunist la unul capitalist nu are cum sa fie lamurit de americani. Ei n-au facut niciodata aceasta trecere.

    ReplyDelete
  7. De data asta, sunt de acord cu aproape tot ce spui, mai mult cu faptul ca a)Noi trebuie sa schimbam tara noastra si b) Romania a progresat mult din '90. (Chestiile merg mai rau din punctul de vedere politic unde tot incompetenti si corupti umpla parlamentul).

    Chestia cu Americani, poata n-am fost clar, dar cred ca exista o mare diferenta intre sfaturi/exemplu si interventie (a la Irak, Afghanistan, etc..) Bine, ei n-au trecut prin schimbare de regim ca si aici, dar nu inseamna ca filozofia de guvernare si modurile in care e aplicata la ei nu poate lucra aici. Daca am avut un regim comunist inainte nu mi se pare ca are de a face cu ce ar trebui sa se intampla, si de ce exemplu Nord American de atidunine vis a vis de 'work ethic', guvern, implicare civica, etc ar fi ceva de care nu ne putem folosi.



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    1. Chestia cu politicienii corupti e adevarata, dar inevitabila. Coruptie exista peste tot in politica, in toate tarile, numai ca la noi e mai multa Deocamdata. Cu timpul se va aseza in limitele generale ale tarilor UE.
      Si sunt de acord ca filozofia de guvernare din SUA, spre exemplu, ar fi buna de aplicat si pe aici in mare masura, numai ca pentru asta trebuie parcursi niste pasi. Iar pasii acestia presupun timp, trecerea prin anumite etape. Si experienta directa.
      Tot ce incerc sa spun este ca americanilor le lipseste experienta directa despre cum se fac aceste schimbari. Vin doar cu o teorie despre cine ce ar trebui sa faca pentru a se schimba, insa practica e intotdeauna diferita de teorie. Poate un boxer spre exemplu lupta pentru titlul mondial inca din primul meci, indiferent cat s-ar antrena la sala? Nu pentru ca trebuie sa duca multe lupte pentru a aduna experienta. Cand au trimis astronautii pe luna nu au trimis cel mai experimentat echipaj pe care il aveau? Care soldati sunt mai pretuiti, cei care au trecut prin multe lupte sau cei care tocmai au iesit din academie? Intotdeauna experienta e foarte importanta pentru ca teoria e una, dar practica poate fi foarte diferita.
      Toata lumea e de acord asupra scopului final, insa eu cred ca pentru a ajunge la el trebuie mai multa rabdare din partea tuturor. Si mai putina naivitate (aici ma refer la romani, insa si asta va disparea o data cu experienta).

      Delete
  8. Hi Matt,

    It seems like you’re getting your baptism from this blog’s participants. Well, some of them needless to say. Perhaps you should avoid making comparisons between North American social and civic values and the social realities within the Romanian society. There is too much to grasp and there is no foundation to build on it.

    A large percentage of Romanian is fiercely against the USA and implicitly Canada. If you go down to the nuts and bolts no one can explain accurately why are they doing that save the usual bullshit generously offered by biased media.

    Some people are so opinioned and defensive one just can’t unroll debates no matter the topic. It’s not their fault though: it is the way they’ve been raised, it is what they see nowadays and … it is what is it and nothing more.

    It is too much to be done and little time left to accomplish the most basic social principles. Based on the political and economic intelligence reports I have access to, things are rapidly heating up in Europe. The North-South axis will emerge and become the new reality soon and the West-East axis will become history. There is simple no money left, there are too many gaps among European Union’s members and the “two, perhaps three speed Europe” concept is not working. The more the Germans struggle to keep the Euro alive the worse the financial outcomes. Within the last month the division crack among Germans themselves had turned into wide open seismic fault line. That doesn’t help either.

    About a month ago Chancellor Merkel had had a quite depressing meeting with our Premier Harper. Some of the topics have leaked internally and things are not good at all. Quietly and discreetly most North American banks are minimizing their exposure on the European market. Madame Merkel’s goal was to stop the retreat however it was in vain. I deeply respect this wonderfully perseverant woman but needless to say she’s losing the war despite many local victories. And she knows it, that’s the saddest part of the story.

    I suggest you should dedicate some of your spare time and calibrate your scanner on the well informed and accurate media from UK, Germany, USA, Canada and Australia. There are many interesting things going. I would also suggest taking a peak once in a while on the Russian External Affairs website called The Voice of Russia. It won’t take you long to put the puzzle together and the new maps will reveals themselves.

    What worries me is the turn Romania is taking since this summer’s events. There are less contacts and agreements with the EU and more friendly and open gestures and contracts towards the East. The Romanian politicians have seen the cracks in the European structures and it becomes apparent they got themselves a deal: turn the helm 180* and go full throttle East. Mark my words Matt: the beacon is getting awfully close. It’s not a friendly signal I’m afraid.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sa spui ca Romania merge spre est (adica spre Rusia) din punct de vedere politic - asta e o... naivitate, ca sa fiu politicos. In toata istoria ei Romania n-a mers niciodata in directia respectiva (cu exceptia situatiei in care eram cuceriti de rusi numai ca atunci deciziile nu le luam noi). Chiar daca vreun politician ar dori sa faca asa ceva, sentimentele antirusesti in Romania sunt atat de raspandite incat nimeni nu l-ar urma.
      Nici din punct de vedere economic nu mergem inspre est. Din pacate. Tocmai pentru ca ii antipatizam pe rusi atat de mult aproape nimeni nu doreste sa faca nici macar afaceri cu ei. Ceea ce iarasi e o prostie pentru ca produsele noastre (atatea cate sunt) ar putea gasi mult mai usor loc pe pietele putin pretentioase din est fata de pietele suprasaturate si ultracompetitive din vest. Toti vesticii - in frunte cu Germania si Franta - se intrec in a avea relatii economice cat mai bune cu Rusia, credeti ca de prosti fac asta? Banii nu au miros - ca sa citez un imparat roman.

      Delete
    2. Hey Rares,

      Thanks for the comment, but not so much for the depressing outlook.

      Europe's clearly got a tough road ahead and it will most likely get worse before it gets better, I can see that. There are too many reactionary and panicky policy measures in place, and too much division.

      In all this, Romania's story is a geopolitical one, not just economic; Eastern glances have always been cast and the trend's not about to stop, regardless of the situation in Europe. If I were to make comparisons of life, economics, and attitude between Romania and Russia, I'd never run out of material.

      I prefer to stay away from too much economics talk though. I use it more as an example of potential for growth when people have the right attitude. The 'right attitude' is Western, and more so North American. The reason I make these comparisons is because I can pull from a near endless supply of examples where Values and a positive outlook are catalysts to personal success (be it economic or otherwise). I couldn't do that by looking Eastward.

      The last thing this country needs are more examples of unaccountability, corruption, and serf mentality; examples of which there are too many the further East you go. Our politicians may feel at home there, but it doesn't mean the rest of us should.

      It's a crazy uphill battle, I know.

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    3. "The 'right attitude' is Western, and more so North American." - My point exactly. Europeans (even Western Europeans) do not have the same way of doing things as North-Americans because their history shaped them in a different way. Just as the life experiences of a person shape his/her mentality, the history of a people shape the mentality of that people.
      Americans don't seem to be able to grasp this obvious fact. They get frustrated if anyone thinks different than they do and have no patience; they expect the others to instantly change their mentality in way compatible with the American way. The hope that Romanians will some day think and act like the Americans is unrealistic; it will never happen.
      What is possible and I hope to see it someday is for Romanians to have a mentality similar to French or Spanish. Therefore I expect for North-Americans to keep on being frustrated. :-))

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    4. This is where we get into technicalities and discuss differences between "attitude" and "mentality". Attitude is first of all much more personal. While mentality is usually *shaped* by external influences.

      It's more important for people to have the right attitude as individuals. Attitude, as Frankl pointed out, is the most important freedom of all.
      The same thing can't be said about mentality though, because it's much more collective and, in a sense, loosely defined. I can honestly say I dislike American mentality in general, but admire the attitudes Americans have: "I can do it", "Nobody can stop me", "I'm not giving up", "I can do better" and all the like. When tasks are approached with this attitude, it doesn't matter what the country's collective mentality is.

      Romanian mentality could never be like any other country's. We're Romanian and there's a lot of baggage to our identity. What we need to do is realize that we are all free to choose our attitude, and that we should choose the right one.

      Delete

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The Cluj Guide to Dining Out

Note: This is a 2016 update to the post originally written in 2012. 

Back in 2012, Toulouse was the only place in town to serve a halfway decent hamburger. How things have changed. There's been a veritable burger revolution and you'll be hard pressed to find bistro-style restaurants that don't offer the king of sandwiches. There are also several new, and very good, additions to the city's fine dining roster. But maybe the most positive change is in the market itself. Patrons have become more discerning about their options, there is a deeper appreciation for consistency, and, as a result, restaurants have responded with an elevated level of service and quality overall.
But there's still no authentic Mexican...


So, with no particular order in mind, let's get into it, shall we?

Via- The simple name denotes understated excellence. At least that's how I look at it now. Over the past couple of years, Via has cemented itself as one of my favourite Cluj …

Rosia Montana - An Informed Reply

It's always a pleasure to see a new email message from somebody who's been reading this blog. In this case, the message came in from a reader who first contacted me last year. He moved to Canada quite a while ago and settled in the Northwest Territories. He wanted to respond to the previous post on Rosia Montana, but given the length of the reply, I've asked him to allow me to publish it as its own post. He asked me not to share his name, but outside of that, I'm copying it verbatim.

(Edit: In Romana mai jos)

Hello Matt,

Here we go again: Rosia Montana. I got involved in this project about four years ago. I had had phone interviews with radio stations in Bucharest; I published several articles in two or three magazines in Bucharest. I hosted, guided and loaded up with data and portable computer equipment one “Romanian explorer” as the Romanian media called her: Uca Marinescu. Perhaps the name rings a bell. Anyhow she never got back to me; there was no feedback, no follo…

Why Romanians Don't Like Romanians

To my knowledge, this national self-loathing is a uniquely Romanian experience. Maybe we share it with some of our neighbours, but I doubt it. I've never seen a people dislike their own as much as the Romanians.
This is going to be highly generalized, but as with most things I write here it's rooted in personal experience and observations. Don't hate the player, hate the game.

1. Romanians like the exotic, to be Romanian is the antithesis of what it means to be exotic.

2. Romanians are often prejudiced. The thought process goes something like this: If you're Romanian you're probably bereft of interesting experiences and financially limited. You're from 'the-worst-country-on-earth', after all. If  you're well off, then you're just a rich asshole (probably a thief, too). Either way, your Romanian-ness ensures you're seen as a person with limited horizons who likely can't offer anything new or different.

If you're Western European or Nort…

Johnny Angel And The Stray Dogs Of Romania

There's this bullshit petition that's been floating around on twitter. An update to Romania's laws on stray dogs is going to result in the euthanasia of Romania's stray dog population. The animal activist set is in an uproar. In other words, in a country where a significant number of people survive on subsistence wages, and where they suffer the added indignity of being attacked by flea-bitten strays, this is the primary focus of the international civil society. I'm not going to link the actual petition because it has zero merit, but I'm going to address the absolutely false, misleading, and pretty much insane claims that it makes, one point at a time.

Let's start with the law itself. It defines a several new provisions to an already existing 2001 law that deals with "ownerless dogs" aka. 'Maidanezi' in Romanian, aka. Strays. I'm not going to put every single bit of it, just the clearly relevant aspects of it. Also added emphasis in bo…