Resilience. Determination. Energy. It was Day 6 of a historical movement in Romania: 600.000 people took over the streets on Sunday and continued to protest. It is now Monday and Day 7 of protests. It is amazing what love and belief can achieve. Romania, let ‘em all know how you truly are!
People are still determined not to let THIS ONE go away. It was too much. Those people going every evening after work to protest don’t wish to overturn the vote of many; they simply wish to overturn a PM who doesn’t represent them and (very simply put) who takes orders from another guy which we all know is corrupt and stained.
I watched for the past days fascinated how the country I left years back in a semi-lethargic state is now awake. Romania, I am proud! This is the image that went around the world last night (Sunday, 5 Feb). And this is how I hope my country will be remembered from here onwards.
(Before anyone will jump to any conclusion, I want to underline that my level of political involvement is, as usual, zero. Yes, I watch, I inform myself, I care and most of all, I go to VOTE! No, I don’t tend to speak about my political views in public, I don’t criticize the ones that do, but would appreciate if my position is also respected.)
Colleagues and friends which are not Romanians are asking me what is happening in my country. The story can be read here or here or (a very good summary) here. International sources are reporting on this for about a week now. Romania, my country, the country I am praising everywhere I go, is finally in the news as an example of resilience and determination.
My personal take and summary: about 600.000 people went on the streets in order to continue showing their disgust towards the politicians that tried to insult their intelligence by passing secretly a decree that would decriminalized some corruption offenses. This, while also acting smug and cocky, ignoring the mass movement and its voice. Protests are going on for days and every day the number got bigger. The movement has taken the name #rezist, inspired from US-campaign #resist.
Politics or civic activism?
I say the latter. Most of those 600K (or 500K, according to other sources) are there to protest; Attention: not against a party, but against corruption. Not against the result of elections, but against the way a new PM used the power in his first days of mandate. It is not youngsters against elders, it is not rich against poor. It is simply a mass of people sick of being taken for fools, a generation that became aware of its power to change things. Say what you wish, I find nothing wrong with that.
Hands off the protest
Of course, there always will be parties that will try to discredit the movement or to attach their names to it (depends on which side they are). The reality is this is NOT against or for PSD or USR or PNL. This happens because some people insulted a whole country, by deliberately slipping in some decisions to be in their advantage. To those trying to instigate, to separate, to create disorder or to take the laurels from this, I say: hands off!
Of course, there is an emotional reaction in all this. Thank God we are able, as a nation, to still resonate with each other and to align our emotions. Interesting enough, some voices say this is bad. Emotion = manipulation. Then whomever manipulated 600 K people is a true master and can change the world, not only a country’s Government. The reality is we do not have such a powerful figure to be loved and followed by so many in Romania. But we do have a country that we love deeply and honestly, and this might be the only manipulator in this whole equation.
What do we see in this?
Each one of us, Romanians, see in this something different. Some see the anger, some see the power of masses, others their right to voice their opinion. Some other see this as a duty to their country and finally there are the dreamers which care about an idea and know that “having a dream“ can take a nation far away. The dream is to continue the fight our parents and grandparents started in 1989, to limit the corruption, to finally sanction the ones that are not good enough for our own country. To finally make our country better
Romania became last night an inspiration for other countries all over Europe. I read times and again reports from around the world. FT, NYT, BBC, CNN, Guardian and other media outlets followed and reported on the situation in Romania. I watched night after night online what was going on in the street.
On twitter I saw many messages of support and admiration from people all over the world. #ProtestlikeRomanian was a hashtag used to express their support.
My way of protest
Yes, there were protests organised in Brussels. And no, I did not go. Not because I was lazy or not resonating with the idea. But for the simple reason that I knew that, in this very political environment, naturally things will finally turn political.
And so they did: today, there was a protest organised in front of European Commission’s building and although I was there, I decided not to join. Political figures showed up and photographed themselves with the people protesting. I knew some of the protesters and I also know well that their intention was not to support a party or another. Unfortunately, these are things you cannot control and I will not let anyone transform this into a boost of image for himself.
I am sorry for not being there, but in my defence, I did sing and cry with all of you back home. My friends that went to protests every night became my inspiration. The stories I read and things I hear from Romania do give me the drive to believe. I always believed in my country, people just thought I am silly.