Reflection on a country I love…

Reflection on a country I love..from a recent exchange…

“… it’s very personal, but I’d like to share a reflection. I’ve worked, lived and travelled in about 90 countries world-wide – in countries in the middle of war or after wars, in countries under military dictatorship, and many, many, many more. I’ve been living in or coming to Romania for quite some years now, and have fallen deeply in love with this country. One thing I notice though, is that I hear people here say — more than I have ever heard anywhere else in the world, or in every other country I’ve ever been in put together — what they are ‘disappointed’ in in the choices of others. In most cases, this becomes a reason / justification / legitimisation / argument for 1. why they don’t get involved; 2. why they’ve moved abroad; 3. why they convince themselves and work to convince others that nothing can be done. And when you look at what’s happening in the world, countries in UNBELIEVABLY MORE DIFFICULT CIRCUMSTANCES, countries where people DO ENGAGE and DO WORK for change, one of the things you often see is that, rather than people saying what they’re ‘disappointed in’ in others, they look at ‘what can I do to address this situation that I think needs to be changed.’ There are very, very difficult and hard situations in Romania. I’ve walked across this country by foot from Cluj to Bucharest and spent years travelling across it, and seen perhaps more of Romania, and talked, listened and spoken with more Romanians of more classes, regions, and diverse backgrounds, than many in Romania have the chance to. There are difficult situations, but nothing like what I’ve seen in so many countries and regions of the world – where people, even in the face of incredible challenge and adversity, even in the face of overwhelmingly greater threat and overwhelmingly less luxury, opportunity and safety, stand up and get involved to work for change, address the problems facing their country, and BUILD together something better. Gandhi once said: “truth, even if a minority of one, is still the truth.” Even if you, I or any of us were the only ones to stand up for what we know is right, to stand up with dignity, to stand up with courage, to stand up with hope, inspiration and every beat of our heart, every breath in our body, every ounce of our will power and courage and determination…it’s still worth while standing. Steve Biko, one of the greatest student leaders, human beings, and revolutionaries of the last century who worked to make things better in his country and struggled for democracy under the apartheid government of South Africa – and was tortured to death by the police for inspiring the people of South Africa to rise – once said “the greatest chains of oppression begin in the minds of the oppressed.” Romania has been brutalised through more than 400 years by “intellectuals” and DOMESTIC oppressors who have ruled over it, told people there’s nothing they can do, told people that everything is bad and they don’t deserve better. It’s greatest chains exist not in the reality of the actual situation in the country, not in objective conditions, not in limitations upon what we can do, but inside our minds and in our culture: where we disempower ourselves, where we find justifications and reasons – often all too shallow and incorrect – for why change can’t happen; where we develop resentment, anger and blame towards others, all of us blaming each other for the same thing, and preventing us from breathing, living, feeling, experiencing and practicing the very solidarity…the very respect(!) of each other, even when we disagree, that we need to work for real change. …. But one of the things that inspires me… One of the things…that gives me hope…that makes my heart beat faster..that encourages me…is that more and more over the last two years, I don’t hear people telling me about what others have done that disappoints them. I don’t hear people telling me what can’t be done or sitting in cafes and whining and complaining about how hard things are (and they often are very hard). I hear..people getting involved. People speaking respectfully with each other, to each other. People…discovering…hope. Discovering their power. People…breaking the chains of oppression, of fear, of disappointment, anger, blame and excuses within..of all the lies we cover ourselves and each other in…and rising. This was a very long response to what you wrote, and I think not even really a response to ‘you’, but a sharing…of a feeling. I write it..with love…for Romania, for my home, for all the wonderful and beautiful people I’ve met here. And with respect. I hope I haven’t caused any hurt or offence at all. It’s…a feeling..a perspective…and a deep appreciation, for a people…rising.”

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2 thoughts on “Reflection on a country I love…

  1. Thank you very much for your kind words! 🙂 You`ve really met the real Romanian vibe and I am really happy that you too have seen positive changes of attitude in my country in these past 2 years. Enjoy your stay in Romania! 😀

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