Letter to the Movement / Citizens of Romania (#1): “Why an ‘open space’ web-site / platform would help the movement”

Letter to the Movement / Citizens of Romania (#1):

“Why an ‘open space’ web-site / platform would help the movement”

Call to Global Action for Romania and Rosia Montana: Sunday, September 15
Call to Global Action for Romania and Rosia Montana: Sunday, September 15

 

Dear Friends –

 

The movement is growing but we are in a moment where our ability to share information effectively, to help get our message out, to help support people in becoming involved, in seeing or imagining themselves how they can contribute, and enabling good, easy communication between activists and engaged citizens across Romania and internationally really matters.

 

AT THE MOMENT we have been using Facebook very effectively and we havewww.rosiamontana.org as a main reference site. Thousands of activists and concerned citizens supporting the movement have felt and are expressing the need for something more. This Letter #1 seeks to: 1. Identify the need; 2. Share some ideas that could help us address it; 3. Ask YOU specifically if you can help create this site / platform to support Salvati Rosia Montana.

 

1. THE NEED, THE OPPORTUNITY, WHAT WOULD HELP

 

Four key things have been identified for a site that would profoundly help the movement. It could be:

 

i. A place where great documents, materials, pamphlets, posters can all be collected and put together so that people can find them easily and not have to search across many pages on FB. This should include: in Romanian, Hungarian, English, French, German, Spanish to start, and possibly also other languages if people can translate (there are many people able and willing to support the movement with this, so if we have a site up this could be managed easily and much more rapidly and effectively then we’re having it done now).

 

ii. A place where people can easily and openly communicate and share together on different topics / lines that can help build the movement. Some people might want to discuss and share ideas on ‘strategy & actions’ (how to develop the movement further and in a healthy direction). Others might want to share and have a space / forum they can discuss and exchange together on:

 

– how to reach out to and involve more people in the movement

– how to positively and constructively engage media and journalists 1. in Romania and 2. Internationally

– using arts, music, theatre and dance in your community / city to inspire and engage people for ‘Romania with dignity, jobs and self-respect’ or ‘Salvati Rosia Montana’

– research & materials development (to help write/develop great materials and to collect superb publications, reports, analysis and materials out there)

– coordination groups/action groups/discussion groups for different towns/cities so people can discuss and share information to help them organise

– and any other possible topics that would be relevant for people to be discussing and sharing on

 

These should be ‘open forum’/ ‘open space’ with people able to share and post ideas and discuss them together, and where people could ‘click’ support for ideas to show those they feel really resonate or could help the movement. These ‘on-line’ forums should also be complemented with on-site forums in each town/city/area. This technology is pretty easy, and has been developed for many movements and citizens’ engagements.

 

iii. A place where we can very easily upload information on ‘activities’ and ‘events’ taking place so people can ‘at a glance’ find what’s happening in their city, town, community, and also be inspired by what’s being done elsewhere

 

iv. A place where we can load great photos, videos, do it yourself guides, etc.

 

PHILOSOPHY / CORE IDEA AND HOW IT COULD HELP THE MOVEMENT

 

A) What’s important to be clear is: the idea is not to create a site which would ‘tell’ people what to do (a top-down organisation). The exact opposite. The site would be a ‘PLATFORM’: an enabling ‘space’ where people can come together and discuss more easily, and have a ‘one-stop’ source of information and useful materials to help to make it easier (and more effective) for them to get involved – and to be a democratic space where we can share information, ideas, inspiration, and discuss together.

 

B) A key philosophy and pillar of strategic thinking behind this is that: we need to support our ability to reach out to our broader societies, many of whom do not use the internet. The point isn’t to ‘put all our focus on a site’, but to create an ‘enabling space’ where it makes it easier for us to i. find what we need instantly and ii. share our ideas, successes, challenges and find support with each other.

 

C) This is important because: there are literally thousands of people asking ‘how can I get involved’ and a space like this could bring great information, inspiration and examples which i. they could use or ii. could inspire them to develop their own ideas. Having good materials gathered together (and available in several languages), will also overcome the difficulty that hundreds of people are asking ‘where can I get good information on this’ because media or potential supporters want it (there are some excellent materials already gathered on rosiamontana.org and other sites but they are all ‘static’ and depending on someone uploading them. A platform/open space site could be built to enable people/activists to upload great information directly – decentralising, democratising, and making it much faster and more effective).

 

2. HOW COULD IT BE DONE?

 

It could either be done by developing / enhancing the existing www.rosiamontana.org or by creating a solidarity / complementary site, closely connected, but that would be designed as a forum / platform model (using wiki technologies or building from easy to use platforms such as ning sites such as the Peace and Collaborative Development Network (PCDN) – which provides an easy to use platform/basis for people to add information, connect and link together, create different forums/discussion/work groups, post ideas, share videos, pictures, etc. and make it easy to find everything:http://www.internationalpeaceandconflict.org/)

 

I know absolutely nothing about site development and how to do this, but I know that Romania is one of the leading IT countries in the world and I know that there are hundreds of people supporting Salvati Rosia Montana who could help the movement but setting something like this up overnight.

 

It would be helpful though to not create 20 different sites like this and to duplicate efforts. If there are people / designers / programmers who can create something like this, it would be good if they: 1. Communicate together; 2. Create an ‘action group’ that takes it upon themselves to create this

 

SO

 

3. CAN YOU DO THIS? Or DO YOU KNOW SOMEONE WHO CAN?

The last two weeks have seen an amazing ‘rising up’. A breathing. A finding of dignity, courage, hope, passion, joy, dedication, determination and engagement. From the history of movements and ‘eruptions’ around the world though, we know this can far too easily collapse as well. RMGC/Gabriel Resources Ltd has extremely bright, capable, dedicated people committed to putting forward a project which will make their shareholders rich and be devastating for the country – and for those who need jobs in the region, as there are much better economic alternatives that can help create sustainable, real jobs and use the gold/wealth in Rosia Montana to support the people in the area and the country, not a misleading foreign corporation. To move forward..to build a real movement that will be dynamic, vibrant, and able to GROW; to build a movement that will be successful; to build a movement that will build upon all of the amazing energy, inspiration, creativity and passion that has come forth…we need to help put in place some of the ‘support’ foundations that can help with that. This is a ‘Do it Yourself’ (DIY) / ‘Do it Together’ (DIT) movement. There’s no person guiding, leading, or with the time, energy or capacity to do everything that’s needed to help it, to make it succeed. It’s a movement that needs: YOU.

 

If you have the skills, technology, understanding/knowledge to be able to set a site like this up and/or help create the site (or host it or whatever else is needed): please step up. If not: if you know a friend or friends who can, please speak to them. If you are an IT site designer/creator or a web-company that does this, you can also help out by quickly getting it set up – and then helping to improve it as needed.

 

In solidarity

 

#rosiamontana

#salvatirosiamontana

#romaniarising

WE ARE ALL ROSIA MONTANA!

The Save Rosia Montana movement is becoming an international movement of concerned citizens standing in solidarity with the people of Romania. It is most of all a movement of people who are acting upon integrity, upon information and understanding of what is happening, and upon a commitment to not stand back or be passive in the face of abuse, manipulation, and intimidation by incompetent political officials and an abusive corporation. Deep appreciation to actor Woody Harrelson and to the growing number of citizens – actors, artists, journalists, politicians, and concerned individuals around the world – who are standing in support with the people of Romania. This is a movement to protect the environment, a movement for dignity, and a movement that says ‘NO MORE’ to incompetence, disrespect, and abusive government which, together with RMGC, have been trying to rob, threaten and abuse the people of Romania.

Around the world an increasing number of actors, politicians, environmentalists and concerned citizens - people who believe in and want to help Romania - are standing up to support the Salvati Rosia Montana movement; to support Romania.
Around the world an increasing number of actors, politicians, environmentalists and concerned citizens – people who believe in and want to help Romania – are standing up to support the Salvati Rosia Montana movement; to support Romania.

I was asked now by a friend and wonderful democratic activist in his own country if I was responsible for Woody Harrelson’s support for Salvati Rosia Montana (I most certainly wasn’t, and in fact had nothing to do with it, but my deepest appreciation, admiration and respect to those who did and to Woody Harrelson himself). This is my reply. I think…it may be inspiring, and important,for all of us…for today: we are all Rosia Montana!

“No Wassim, I had nothing to do with it. That’s the true beauty of this movement. There’s no one person making things happen. There’s no hundred people making things happen. There are tens of thousands of us – learning, working, sharing, supporting, building together. People who had connections to him must have reached out and inspired him, or he saw what was happening and chose to get involved. We need support from the people of Tunisia as well my friend. This is a historic moment for Romania. The people of Romania are doing all we can…for a deep struggle..a struggle to overcome shame, a struggle to overcome disempowerment, a struggle to make our government…for the first time in decades..or perhaps the first time ever…treat people with respect and fulfil their responsibility as elected officials…servants..of the people of this country…or to go. Woody Harrelson’s action is fantastic…because it recognises and gives respect to what the people of Romania themselves are doing. Every one of us who’s ever dreamed of something better for Romania, every one of us who’s ever…felt sadness when we see the corruption, incompetence and abuse of some of our elected officials; everyone of us who’s ever been to our hospital system, especially in rural areas, or our school system in rural areas, and seen how we are failing those most in need; every one of us who’s ever seen the tragedy of so many of our pensioners not having enough to survive in a life of dignity, while politicians increase their salaries; everyone of us…in Romania…around the world..who has ever dared to dream..that a life of dignity, a government and country based-upon respect and good governance, is possible…WE ARE ALL ROSIA MONTANA! …and we are rising! On Sunday, September 15th there will be a day of actions, celebrations, unity and rising across Romania, and solidarity actions around the world. Join us.”

Gânduri despre o țară pe care o iubesc… dintr-un schimb de opinii recent

Rosia Montana “… gândurile acestea sunt foarte personale, dar simt nevoia să le împărtășesc. Am lucrat, trăit și călătorit în aproximativ 90 de țări – în țări în război, după război, în țări sub regim dictatorial și în multe multe altele. Trăiesc sau vin în România de ceva vreme și pur si simplu m-am îndrăgostit de țara aceasta. Dar am observat un lucru ce oamenii îl spun mereu aici – mai mult decât în orice altă țară din lume sau decât în orice țară prin care am fost – cât de dezamăgiți sunt de deciziile alora. În majoritatea cazurilor această dezamăgire devine un pretext/ un argument/ o justificare pentru 1. a nu se implica; 2. a se muta în străinătate; 3 a se convinge pe sine si pe alții că nu se poate face nimic.

 

Și când te uiți la ce se întâmplă în lume, în țări cu condinții mult mai dificile, țări în care oamenii chiar se implică și chiar luptă pentru schimbare, unul dintre lucrurile pe care le vezi de obicei este că oamenii nu se plâng, ci se gândesc la cum pot să ajute să schimbe ce nu le place.

 

Într-adevăr  sunt condiții foarte dificile și grele în România. M-am plimbat din Cluj până în București pe jos și mi-am petrecut mulți ani călătorind prin România visitând multe locuri, vorbind cu oamenii, ascultându-i și discutând cu mulți români ce vin din diferite clase sociale, regiuni și educație, poate mai mult decât alți români au avut ocazia să o facă. Situația în România este dificilă, dar nu se compară cu țările pe care le-am văzut – unde oamenii, chiar și în condiții mult mai epuizante și grele, chiar și fiind sub presiunea unor consecințe violente, chiar și în condiții mult mai puțin luxoase, cu mai puține oportunități și mai puțină siguranță, iau atitudine și se implică să schimbe ceva, să rezolve problemele din țara lor și să construiască împreună ceva mai bun.

 

Ghandi zicea: «adevărul, chiar dacă în minoritate, tot adevăr este». Chiar dacă doar tu, eu sau oricare dintre noi ar fi singurii care să ia atitudine pentru ce știm noi că este just, să ia atitudine prin demninate, să ia atitudine prin curaj, să ia atitudine prin speranță, inspirație și prin fiecare bătaie de inimă, fiecare răsuflare, fiecare picătură de putere și curaj și determinare… tot ar merita, cât timp ar exista.

 

Steve Biko, unul dintre mai deosebiți lideri de tineri, ființe umane și revoluționari din secolul trecut, care s-a luptat pentru a schimba lucrurile în bine în țara lui și pentru democrație sub guvernul apartheid al Africii de Sud – unde a fost torturat de poliție până a murit pentru că a insitgat oamenii din Africa de Sud să ia atitudine – a zis odată: «cele mai mari lanțuri ale persecuției încep în mintea celor persecutați». România a fost asuprită de-a lungul a 400 de ani de către “intelectualii” și presecutorii locali care au condus-o și le-au spus oamenilor că nu pot face nimic, că totul în țara aceasta este rău și că nu merită mai mult. Aceste lanțuri nu există în realitatea României, nu în condițiile obiective, nu în limitările în ceea ce putem să facem, ci în mințile noastre și în cultura noastră: aici ne descurajăm, aici găsim motive și justificări – de multe ori mult prea superficiale și incorecte – pentru a doveni că nu putem schimba nimic, aici ne adunăm ranchiuna, furia și reproșurile față de ceilalți, înviovățindu-ne unii pe alții, oprindu-ne din a respira, a trăi, a simți, a experimenta și a utiliza acea solidaritate… acel respect(!) pentru ceilalți, chiar dacă nu suntem tot timpul de acord, pentru a lucra împreună pentru o schimbare reală.

 

Dar unul dintre lucrurile care mă inspiră… unul din lucrurile… care îmi dă speranță… care îmi face inima să bată mai tare… care mă încurajează… este faptul că în ultimii ani din ce în ce mai mult nu mai aud oameni spunându-mi ce nu se poate face, nu mai aud oameni prin cafenele plângându-se cat de greu este în România (și de multe ori chiar este foarte greu). Acum văd oameni care se implică. Oameni vorbind respectuos unii cu alții, cu ceilalți. Oameni… descoperind… speranța. Descoperindu-și puterea. Oameni… rupând lanțurile asupririi, fricii, dezamăgirii, furiei, reproșurilor și scuzelor din toate minciunile în care ne îngropăm pe noi înșine și unii pe alții.

 

Acesta a fost un răspuns foarte lung la ce ai scris tu și defapt dacă mă gândesc nu a fost chiar un răspuns pentru tine, dar o împărtășire a unor sentimente. Îl scriu din iubire pentru România, pentru casa mea, pentru toți oamenii minunați și frumoși pe care i-am cunoscut aici. Și deasemenea, scriu cu respect. Sper că nu am jignit pe nimeni. Este un sentiment… o perspectivă… o recunoștință din suflet pentru un popor ce ia atitudine.”

 

 

În cea de-a doua parte a conversației, ca răspuns la întrebarea dacă știu despre situația de la Roșia Montană și despre „faptul” că oamenii nu se implică, reflecția mea umilă a fost:

 

…. De fapt ştiu. Am călătorit acolo încă din prima zi a campaniei Salvati Rosia Montană .. și am fost chiar și în încăperea în care s-a decis crearea campaniei. Spre rușinea mea … și în principal pentru că am călătorit în ultimii 10 ani peste tot în lume cu programele noastre de consolidare a păcii … a trecut mult, prea mult timp de când am fost ultima oară acolo, cu toate acestea mi-ar plăcea să merg acolo din nou. Având în vedere realitatea și condițiile la faţa locului:

 

1. Eu nu m-aş aștepta ca oamenii să procedeze altfel decât până acum , și

2. Îi respect pe cei care s-au alăturat în efortul de a salva Rosia Montană.

 

Eu personal cred că există o responsabilitate pentru noi toți, fiecare dintre noi, pentru fiecare cetățean din România, de a încerca să înțeleagă de ce oamenii nu au acţionat, de ce noi înșine nu am acţionat. Cred ca oamenii … pe bună dreptate.. sunt obosiţi de “promisiuni”. Cred că oamenii încearcă să supraviețuiască de la o zi la alta și să-şi întreţină propria familie. Cred că mulți oameni sunt epuizaţi, dezamăgiţi şi lipsiți de putere. Cred că în această țară nu a fost niciodată o reflecție profundă, o discuție profundă și o ascultare reciprocă… despre ceea ce se întâmplă și despre tipul de țară în care vrem să trăim. Cred că rar, foarte rar, ne-am permis nouă înşine să ascultăm într-adevăr ce simţim, ca să nu mai vorbim despre ascultarea reciprocă. Cred că…dacă dorim ca oamenii să ia atitudine, oricine, inclusiv noi înșine, eu … trebuie în primul rând să-i tratăm cu respect. Cred că … dacă vrem ca oamenii să ia atitudine … trebuie ca mai întâi noi să luam atitudine. Nu intenţionez niciun fel de lipsă de consideraţie pentru sentimentele voastre. Autentica şi adevărata voastră dezamăgire. Frustrare. Poate chiar tristețe. Le-am înțeles. Profund. Și vreau să văd.. să găsesc calea… prin care să putem…. creşte … din acest punct … mai departe… la ceva … şi mai puternic. Vă multumesc.

 

Și unul din citatele mele preferatele:

 

“Eu nu sunt un optimist, nici un pesimist, dar am speranţă – născută din alegerile pe care le fac și acțiunile pe care le înteprind”.

 

Depinde de fiecare dintre noi, să nu ne uităm la ceilalţi așteptând ca aceştia să se implice, ci de a face propriile noastre alegeri, de a întreprinde propriile noastre acțiuni … și să luăm atitudine.

***

 

Când țara ta are nevoie de tine; când în acel moment ia naștere și se creează istoria, când ai ocazia să iei atitudine și chiar să te implici… să faci ceva… pentru tot ceea ce iubești, pentru tot ceea ce ai spus că-ți dorești… ce faci? Îți folosești la maxim abilitățile, talentul, posibilitățile artistice de exprimare ale propriei tale minți, propriei tale minți și tot ceea ce ai în interior? Îți folosești abilitățile, imaginația, capabilitatea de a face o diferență?… sau… comentezi din culise, plângându-te că „Sunt dezamăgită de faptul că nu ies mai mulți oameni în stradă”, în timp ce nici măcar tu însuți nu ieși afară în stradă/faci asta; dezamăgit de acțiunile și deciziile altora, în timp ce tu însuți nu ai luat atitudine și nici frâiele in mână. Acesta, acum, acest moment care se întâmplă pretutindeni în jurul tău: acesta este momentul. În care alegi … să te ridici… să te implici… să îți acorzi un moment unic, eliberator, plin de bucurie și însuflețitor… să te implici cu întreaga ta ființă, cu tot ceea ce ai, cu toată mintea ta, cu toată inima, bucuria, dorința, pasiunea, inteligența, creativitatea și dedicarea… este unul din cele mai prețioase daruri pe care niciodată nu ți le vei acorda ție însuți, copiilor pe care poate-i ai sau pe care îi vei avea, într-o bună zi. Cea mai frumoasă mulțumire adresată părinților tăi. Cel mai mare „DA” pe care-l poți cânta, dansa, striga din toți rărunchii, mintea și inima ta bătândă. În România… ne-am săturat să blestemăm și să ne plângem de „negru ” este totul. Veniți. Veniți să ne ajutați să aprindem suficiente lumânări pentru a lumina inimile și mințile fiecărei persoane din această țară. FII – tu, tu însuți, acum – FII schimbarea pe care vrei să o vezi în lume, în România, în viața TA. Iar atunci când… peste ani și ani… când copiii, prietenii și colegii tăi… când  TU te vei întreba, într-o bună zi: „Unde am fost atunci?”, vei putea spune cu mândrie, din tot sufletul: „Am fost acolo. Am făcut o diferență.”

 

Te-ai săturat să blestemi despre cât de „negru” este totul?

Vino să aprinzi o lumină și fii schimbarea pe care vrei să o vezi în lume.

 

5 Important Actions for Save Rosia Montana

Save Rosia Montana Youngest Demonstrator
Save Rosia Montana Youngest Demonstrator

 

Can you help make these happen?

 

The movement’s growing and more and more people are getting involved. Here are 5 things you might be able do to help make the movement grow further.

 

1. A web-page to show all events being organised in Romania and Internationally

 

People are now organising events all across the country and around the world for a Global Day of Action and Celebration for Romania and Rosia Montana on Sunday, September 8th. To help people see how they can take part or to share information on events they’re organising, can a web-page be put up on the Save Rosia Montana web-site (www.rosiamontana.org) or elsewhere that allows people to easily see and follow what’s happening in their cities, to add information on events, and to connect / link with events pages on Facebook?

 

2. A web-page to gather all good quality articles in national and international media and links to radio and tv programmes / video postings

 

There’s a lot of great information and coverage in the news of the demonstrations and what’s happening across Romania – and its support internationally. While people are posting this on the internet many people (including supporters around the world) are asking for an ‘easy to find’ page in English (and one in Romanian) where they can see all the different news postings gathered). This could also be put up on www.rosiamontana or anywhere it’s easily accessible.

 

3. Make visible clear scientific, environmental, social, cultural and political arguments for why we oppose this project and want something better for the country

 

Many people across the country support the project or are undecided – and for good reasons! We can’t just condemn anyone who has a different point of view or doesn’t agree with us, and we don’t need to. What’s great about this movement is that we’re being the change we want to see for the country. If we want government and people to listen to each other and have better governance and respect for dignity and for each other, let’s ourselves be a model of that in the way we’re organising and working for change in the country. Many people support the project for the obvious reality that we have a major problem in Rosia Montana and rural areas across the country of poverty, lack of good jobs, and lack of investment in infrastructure. They think the project may help with that. I don’t agree that the project will do this, but I do agree on the need for improving jobs, quality of living, infrastructure and opportunities – in rural areas and across Romania. Since I’m writing this on a computer and use a mobile phone and keys to my house, you can also imagine that I – at least in some way – support mining. What I don’t support though is the impressive bad practice of this company, or the often dishonest and corrupt ways the project has been developed over the past ten+ years, and I don’t agree with the unacceptable levels of complicity and bad governance we’ve seen from our political class in relation to the project. We need and can have: good governance; economic development done in ways that support and sustain environmental sustainability; and use of our national resources to create jobs, opportunities, investment and infrastructure for Romania – not just for the profit of a few stakeholders abroad. We can also have discussions, even if we radically and passionately disagree with each other, in ways that are respectful, and help build a real culture of civic dignity, democracy and mutual respect and solidarity in this country. If we have good scientific, environmental, social, cultural, political and other analysis and arguments for why this project should be opposed (and I’ve seen some wonderful ones) can we collect them together in an easy to use ‘guide’ to Rosia Montana, that can be shared widely in Romanian, Hungarian, English and other languages, that can be used for advocacy, lobbying and informing media and decision makers, and that can also be discussed with people who are undecided or even supporting the project. And: let’s make sure it has quick, one page ‘fact sheets’ and is done in an attractive way, so that people see clear arguments and facts. Let’s also make sure it’s rigorously accurate and correct!

 

4. Take the time to really talk to people and recruit people for September 8

The energy and excitement in the movement are growing all across Romania and around the world. More and more people are becoming involved. It’s important that we take the time to really talk with people – with friends, with colleagues, neighbours, people who oppose the project and people who support the project – and with respect, imagination, creativity and inspiration, invite and encourage them to take part. Especially: recruit and inspire people to join the Global Day of Action and Solidarity for Rosia Montana on September 8th. Let’s get 100.000 plus people in the streets all across Romania! Does it seem ambitious? Impossible? It’s not! If we all organise, if we speak with friends, if we turn this into an amazing, democratic movement and celebration – for dignity, for good governance, for civic participation, and for the environment – we can make it happen.

 

5. To make that happen, we need to go into the streets…and beyond!

Getting out into the streets is a vital part of this movement. It’s also an amazing and exciting part! Many people have been saying that they’re taking part in ‘demonstrations’ for the first time – and they’re loving it! The demonstrations have been places of unity, creativity, celebration and inspiration. People feel that they’re finally standing up for something that matters to them – and seeing thousands more doing the same! There have been discussions, songs, and amazing solidarity. This is only going to grow – all across the country. To make it grow though, we need to also be creative in other actions we can add to these. One of our main goals should be to invite all the people of Romania to take part – and to do that in a way that reaches out to them, respects them, and makes them feel excited and positive about participation. This could include:

 

Organising concerts – in the streets, in cafes, pubs, with friends – between now and Sunday and using music and song to inspire and encourage people;

 

Go to highschools and engage students! “Schools back” and elementary and highschool students are going back to school. Let’s energise every school in this country to be a ‘site’ of mobilisation, dialogue, inspiration and engagement, and get students discussing what’s happening – and being a driving force of the energy and preparations for Sunday! Children and youth are part of the future of Romania! Let’s really reach out and get them involved.

 

Organise workshops, ‘discussion cafes’, panels, and ‘civic forums’ to reach out to people more broadly and create space for discussion, questions, sharing different opinions. At its heart, a lot of what’s happening now is people across the country standing up for and demanding better governance – and doing that through active citizenship and participation. So let’s go one step further. Let’s put into practice good governance and democracy by creating citizens forums and democratic spaces for dialogue and discussion across the country, and let’s turn these spaces into experiences of empowerment and building respect, dignity and solidarity.

 

Recognise how important you are! Right now you might be taking part in actions and events across the country, thinking about taking part, or annoyed and upset about what you’re seeing on the streets! We can have a range of different thoughts and opinions about what’s happening. Whatever you’re thinking though: know that you’re important and your thoughts and actions are important. Whatever your opinion, we have a responsibility (and a right) to inform ourselves about what’s happening – and we can also help other people to be informed as well. Getting involved or not getting involved is also ‘voting’ for what you want in Romania. And, if you are getting involved: can you talk with your parents, your family, your children, your friends, colleagues, neighbours and others to encourage them to get involved as well? Imagine if, instead of just going to the demonstrations, we all think of 5, 6, 10 other people we want to get to come along as well. We’ll reach 100.000 plus people in no time, and you’ll have helped make it happen!

 

And there’s a lot more! You can use poetry, letters to the editor, standing in your city, town or village with a sign informing people about September 8th, going into cafés and getting into discussions there, reaching out to unions and syndicates, pensioners associations, and much, much more! Key: Facebook helps, but if we want to really involve people, we need to talk face to face.

 

Most important of all, remember that this is a celebration. This is about people participating, celebrating what we want to see in the country, standing up for the environment, living solidarity, and refusing to be complacent, cynical or disempowered any longer. These are 5 quick ideas. Maybe you have a dozen more. Be creative. Be inspired, and most of all: believe in yourself and that yes, now, in this moment, you can make a difference.

 

Two important things to remember:

 

  1. The RMGC / Gabriel Resources project will not succeed, because people will not let it succeed.

 

  1. Your action, your choice, your involvement matters

 

And a few quotes to inspire you:

 

“I am neither an optimist nor a pessimist, but I have hope – born of the choices I make and the actions I take.” KFBJ

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” Margaret Mead

“Caminante, no hay camino. Se hace camino al andar.” “Traveller there is no road. The road is made as one walks” Antonio Machado

“Be the change you wish to see in the world.” Gandhi

Roşia Montană: Romania Rising

ImageAn Interview by Diana Campean for Revista Bulevard (http://revistabulevard.ro) with Kai Brand-Jacobsen, Canadian-Norwegian-British by background, and now ‘adopted’ by Romania.

[This interview is currently being translated into Romanian and will be published shortly on http://revistabulevard.ro]

Mr. Brand-Jacobsen works as the Director of the Department of Peace Operations (DPO) of PATRIR – the Peace Action, Training and Research Institute of Romania (www.patrir.ro). He has experience working in mediation and peace processes, violence and war prevention, and post-war recovery and reconciliation, as well as training, strategy and organization of civic engagement and nonviolent actions around the world. He is an advisor to governments, UN agencies and missions, and civil society organizations, and is passionate about Romania – a country he calls home.

 

I see that you are very engaged now on the issue of Roşia Montană. Tell me, what’s your opinion about what’s happening right now with Roşia Montană?

 

I think at this point it’s essentially about two issues: a community’s, and a people’s demand for dignity, and to be treated with respect; and a country and people around the world standing up for the environment. To tell you the truth – what’s happening now in Roşia Montană and across Romania is beautiful. In Bucharest, Cluj, Timisoara, Iasi, Baia Mara and cities, towns and villages across the country, citizens of Romania are getting involved and standing up for their country, for themselves, and for each other. People are taking part in demonstrations, celebrations, concerts, workshops, writing articles, discussing and sharing together. There’s a new energy, a new spirit to the engagement. What you feel everywhere is a sense of commitment, a sense of solidarity, and most of all a sense of hope and confidence. And they’re not alone. There have also been solidarity demonstrations and events all across Europe and around the world, and many politicians across the EU are stating their concerns and opposition to the RMGC project.

What’s happening now in Roşia Montană, in Romania, is at it’s heart about the fundamental desire of people in Romania to have good governance, to hold politicians accountable, and to do away with decades of abuse, corruption, bad governance and broken promises. It’s also a sign of change. People aren’t simply complaining anymore. They’ve gone beyond pessimism and cynicism, and are instead asking and discovering themselves what they can do and how they can get involved.

It’s about all Romanians – every grandparent, every entrepreneur, artist, student, worker, teacher, doctor, journalist and even every politician…about every citizen in this country, asking ourselves: what type of country do we want to live in? How do we want to be treated and to treat each other? What do we want for the future of our country?

Good governance, environmental protection, and economic development don’t just happen, especially in a context of often substantial corruption and bad or misgovernment. But they can happen, from people becoming involved, standing up for what’s important, and being part of shaping what they want for the future of their country. That’s what’s happening now in Roşia Montană and across Romania.

 

What’s your position about this project, about people vs. politicians’ reactions?

 

I’m skeptical of the project. I’m not against mining. Anyone who uses computers, phones or other products would be hypocritical if they were to say they’re against all mining. I do, however, believe 1. That we need to dramatically improve the environmental standards of how mining is done; and 2. That when mining is implemented, the resources and profit should principally benefit the population of the area and the country. In the case of this project, I believe the track record of RMGC and Gabriel Resources Ltd. in Romania over the past 10+ years has involved too much dishonesty, lying to the Romanian population, manipulation and disinformation, and fuelling bad governance and corruption. I can understand and have profound sympathy for the many people and families in Roşia Montană who want the project. And this is the reality. Many families there do want the project. They want it because it promises them jobs, opportunities, and a better standard of life. I think this is a challenge we need to honestly engage and address. It’s also a challenge that affects much of Romania, particularly the countryside, and not just Roşia Montană. There is a profound need to develop a real, robust plan for improving standards of living, infrastructure, and social, cultural and economic, employment opportunities across Romania’s rural areas. The RMGC project though is not the answer. If a country with a responsible record, from Romania or internationally, and practicing good practice, sustainable mining techniques wants to engage in cooperation with the local population and national government, and with integrity and the highest standards, this should be supported. This company has not done that.

I don’t think though that it should be about ‘people’ vs. ‘politicians’. Politicians are elected by people. They are, or should be, the servants of the country, doing a service that should be honoured and respected. Today unfortunately that’s not always the case, though there are many wonderful politicians and public servants across the country that are doing their best. I think sometimes there are differences because people have different, legitimate points of view. It’s hard to see how to best address the challenges of economic development, overcoming poverty, creating jobs, and protecting the environment. When there are legitimate differences based on legitimate points of view, we need dialogue, mutual respect, and collaborative leadership. A reality today though is that too much of our political class is, effectively, corrupt, dishonest, abusive and incompetent, and does not act in the best interests of their constituents and the country.

Politics though isn’t just about voting. It’s about the life of the community, the country, what type of society we want, and the decisions and actions we take to create it. Today, real politics in Romania is happening in people’s lives, and in the streets and piatas of the country where these demonstrations are taking place.

 

You followed the demonstrations. What do you think about Romanians’ protests? Are they doing it right?

What I saw on Sunday and in the lead up to the demonstration was powerfully inspiring. I think Romanians across the country and internationally, if they saw the demonstrations, spoke with those involved, take the time to know why people are coming out onto the streets – they would be proud. What we’re seeing now is a creative use of social media to mobilize and engage people. People across the country discussing and engaging their friends and colleagues. Coordinated efforts to reach out to and engage the media to provide better and proper, honest coverage and reporting of what’s taking place. In some areas we’re seeing musicians getting involved. On Sunday in Cluj you could see entire families, grandparents, people walking their dogs, pregnant mothers and parents with their babies. This is definitely a very good, and very beautiful way of protesting, because it’s a way that’s fundamentally built on creating a respectful, inclusive space where all the citizens of this country can take part. Together with this, workshops, discussions and events are being organized in many towns and cities across the country.

The dedication, commitment, courage and integrity of those who’ve been involved in the Save Roşia Montană campaign in Romania for more than 10 years now has been an inspiration to many across the country. As more and more people become involved in the coming days, I think it’s important to take the time for dialogues – to listen to people’s questions, concerns and their opinions, and talk to each other to engage more and more people. If we’re saying we want a better Romania, a Romania with good governance, with respect and dignity – we need to also manifest that in the way we’re engaging. For example, I think it would be wonderful to reach out to teachers and professors and encourage them to hold ‘dialogues’ and discussions in their classes, so that students and the new generations of Romanians are deeply thinking about and engaging on these issues. It would also be good for national media to hold public dialogues – respectfully – with those supporting and those opposing the project, and giving space for informed discussion so that people in the country can form their opinions.

I would also strongly encourage those engaged in the movement or those concerned with what’s happening in Roşia Montană to:

be creative. What’s happening now in Romania is extraordinary and beautiful. This is a wonderfully creative country. Let’s use the arts, music, theatre, and creative forms of expression to reach out to and inspire people.

use our government. Whatever we think about the government and political system in Romania, it should – it needs – to be there to serve us. Romanians all across the country should be speaking to their local city halls, elected authorities and prefectura to get them to oppose the project, and should be writing to their representatives in Bucharest and to their MEPs to state their opposition

be visible. The demonstrations are important moments to come together and show an incredible democratic unity and engagement. It would also be great to stores to put up signs in support of Roşia Montană, to put posters and pictures in our windows, on our cars. Let’s encourage engagement and celebration of this incredible movement across the country.

In other demonstrations and democratic movements around the world we’ve also seen the importance of organizing workshops and training programmes which create a space to bring people together, create links, inspiration, and improve peoples skills for democratic organization and participation. Modeling what people want to see (as I wrote above) is also very important. If we’re saying we want to be treated with respect, we should treat others with respect, even if we don’t agree with their policies or approaches.

I can only respect and appreciate the engagement and dedication that we’re seeing across the country – and do all I can to engage and support it, as someone who considers Romania home, and believes in the beauty and potential of this country.

I know that you’ve been involved in what’s happening with citizens’ risings in other countries like Turkey and Brazil. Can you compare this with what these things that are happening right now means for Romania?

I’m a firm believe in the importance of solidarity and learning from people’s movements and struggles around the world. What we’ve seen in Turkey and Brazil are expressions of the deep challenges and contradictions those countries are facing and going through right now – just as Roşia Montană is an expression of these in Romania. Some of the things we can learn from these movements – from both their success and challenges – include:

–       generate hope and inspiration, and help people identify with what’s happening. People become involved when they feel there’s something worth becoming involved for.

–       Unite people – don’t demonize. One of the major challenges in Turkey and Egypt today is the deep polarization and seeing anyone who doesn’t agree with you as an ‘enemy’ or ‘terrorist’. This often happens in Romania and around the issue of Roşia Montană as well, with insulting, demonizing or belittling those who don’t have the same opinion. I think Roşia Montană and Romania deserve and need better. We can stand up for what we believe in while treating every human being with dignity and respect.

–       Fundamentally – it’s about coming up with real solutions to real challenges. Demonstrations can be sustained from a while. From days to weeks to even years. At the end of the day though – there are also significant, real challenges and contradictions facing the country. We need to find the way to mobilize the intelligence, capacity, and engagement of the people of Romania to address these. The politicians have shown for the last 20+ years that they can’t. At least not on their own. It’s also not only their job. It’s a job for all of us.

Like Brazil, Turkey and many other countries, what’s happening now in Romania is fundamentally about governance and how we, as a society, as human beings, want to live – to be treated and to treat each other. It also links with the global movements we’ve seen around Occupy over the past two years. This is an incredible moment in the world. In the face of economic crisis, of increasing gaps between the rich and poor, of escalation of wars and violence by a few countries, people – every day people – are saying they want something better. They’re rejecting pessimism and the message that there’s nothing they can do except surrender to the interests of corporations and abusive elites, and celebrating our amazing capacity as a species to create, to innovate, to solve problems. We can definitely compare – even if the situations in each country are quite distinct – and, more than that, we can learn from and support each other.

What do you think Romanian people who are against RMGC project should do?

 

Stand up. Get involved. Raise your voices. Have the courage to take part. Join the demonstrations. And more than that – bring your neighbours, your friends, your colleagues. Especially that section of society that reads Boulevard, that travels to Greece and across Europe and internationally for holidays, that has relatively good jobs or believes in art, creativity, good cooking, design…come out and join the rest of your country! Harbouring hopes for a better future in our hearts and reading about it in magazines is wonderful. This is a time when you can do more and you should expect more from yourself. Harvey Milk, an amazing human being, campaigner and politician from the United States used to start every speech saying, “I’m here to recruit you”. What’s happening now, this moment, is here to ‘recruit’ every Romanian, everyone who lives in this country, to stand up, get involved, and allow yourself…for one moment, for a life time…to hope, and to be part of making something better.

 

In our first interview, you told me that you would like to see in Romania a movement of masses, with the entire population standing up and becoming involved for what they love. I would like to think that this is happening now. Not with all the people, but thousands. What do you think?

I agree. In part that’s exactly what’s happening now. This movement, this becoming involved, won’t happen just in one moment or one place or one issue. It will happen in thousands and thousands of moments across the country. It’s taking place in schools when teachers are doing their best to educate and inspire. It’s taking place every time a journalist sits down to really write about what’s happening in the country, and to inform and encourage people to take part. It happens when people are coming together, discussing, standing up for their rights, creating, making something better. At the heart of the movement around Roşia Montană isn’t just saying ‘no’ to what people oppose and reject – bad governance, corruption, an abusive company. No. At the heart of what’s happening today around Roşia Montană, across Romania, is an extraordinary, wonderful, inspiring yes! To hope. To self-confidence. To solidarity. To mutual respect. To knowing that it is possible to be the change, and to make what you really love and believe in come true. This is what’s happening today in Romania.

Thank you!

Note: Together with many thousands of others across the country Kai Brand-Jacobsen is involved in promoting and encouraging people to take part in a day of action and celebration on Sunday, September 8th. Events will be taking place all across Romania and around the world (https://www.facebook.com/events/175025629350851/?notif_t=plan_user_joined). The aim is to bring more than 100.000 people out into the streets of Romania in a celebration of the country and in support of Roşia Montană. If you’re in a town, city or village where an event is happening come take part. If you don’t know of anything planned in your area, perhaps you can help to organize something.

Românii iau atitudine – pentru demnitate, respect și un viitor mai bun pentru țara lor

[Every now and then I’ll have posts in Romanian]All generations coming out to support good governance in Romania and stop the RMGC project

            În jurul lumii, cetățenii încep să ia din ce în ce mai multă atitudine împotriva autoritarismului, împotriva abuzului de putere larg-răspândit la nivelul oficialilor aleși, alături de proasta guvernare și încep să ceară politici raționale de care să beneficieze nu doar o mână de oameni sau câteva corporații străine. Strâns legate de acestea sunt cererile de a pune capăt corupției și necesitatea de a trata cetățenii cu respect. România este cel mai nou front în această mișcare globală pentru o bună guvernare, democrație și demnitate, iar poporul român este cel care – prin creativitate, solidaritate și devotament – ia atitudine, trăgând la răspundere guvernul său și cerând un viitor mai bun pentru țara sa.

            România este o țară cu o cultură extraordinară, frumuseți naturale incredibile și o istorie bogată, deși deseori tragică. Mulți oameni care au căutat dincolo de titlurile știrilor din străinătate și au avut oportunitatea de a călători în această țară s-au îndrăgostit foarte repede de ea. Din nefericire, căldura, cultura, ospitalitatea și energia uimitoare, inovația și creativitatea acestei țări sunt mult prea rar întâlnite în străinătate.

            Acasă, de aproape 20 de ani, cetățenii români au trecut prin diverse perioade de proastă guvernare și corupție larg-răspândită. Chiar și după aderarea la Uniunea Europeană, în multe părți ale țării, serviciile de bază și infrastructura lipsesc, în timp ce pentru copiii din zonele rurale și zonele urbane sărace, sistemul educațional se prăbușește la nivel elementar și secundar. Milioane de români au plecat în străinătate pentru a munci.

Totuși, aceasta este doar o parte din imaginea de ansamblu. Cetățenii, oamenii din fiecare pătură a societății, se luptă cu ceea ce se întâmplă în țara lor, în societatea lor și în viețile lor, încercând să găsească un sens. Deși nu a existat niciodată un dialog răspândit, deschis și inclusiv la nivelul țării – despre ceea ce s-a întâmplat în România, despre ceea se întâmplă acum și despre ce fel de societate, ce fel de țară vor oamenii în viitor – mii de discuții încep să apară de-a lungul țării. Discuții – și măsuri.

Încet – și ca rezultat al implicării multora, de la artiști, la organizații ale societății civile, de la antreprenori, la uniuni, jurnaliști și alții – românii încep să-și dea seama că pot construi un viitor mai bun. Și că totul depinde de ei înșiși pentru a face aceasta.

Oricine a petrecut timp în România a dat peste un popor primitor și minunat. Un popor inteligent, integru și activ, o țară în care expresia artistică și culturală se dezvoltă și înfloresc, în care organizațiile societății civile – câteodată în contexte dificile – sunt active și se implică. Deși guvernarea este deseori, per ansamblu, slabă sau groaznică, sunt mulți – de la autoritățile locale, la ministerele naționale – care fac tot ceea ce pot pentru a aborda provocările specifice și a îndrepta lucrurile în țară. Per ansamblu, este o țară care în mod sigur se dezvoltă – prin energia, creativitatea, inovarea, speranța și munca din greu a poporului său. Totuși, golul cel mai bătător la ochi este absența continuă a integrității și a bunei guvernări transparente din partea liderilor politici ai țării.

Este de datoria noastră… părinți, artiști, antreprenori, studenți, muncitori, lideri politici, cetățeni ai țării.

Asta e ceea ce face atât de importante recentele demonstrații care au loc de-a lungul țării. Nucleul campaniei „Salvați Roșia Montană” („Save Roșia Montană”) este derulat de mai bine de un deceniu. Obiectivul său principal este protejarea frumuseții istorice și naturale ale Roșiei Montane, pe care Roșia Montană Gold Corporation (RMGC), deținută majoritar de compania  canadiană Gabriel Resources Ltd, caută să distrugă, prin exploatarea de mine deschise la scară largă (inclusiv folosirea cianurii pentru extragerea aurului). Proiectul RMGC are un istoric uimitor de corupție, mituire a jurnaliștilor pentru promovare pozitivă, „influențarea” liderilor politici, precum și neputința de a respecta standardele legale de mediu naționale și internaționale. În vreme ce multe dintre aceste greșeli din trecut au fost oarecum abordate, afișarea uluitoare a aroganței, a lipsei de respect pentru oamenii țării, abuzul exagerat și corupția, au făcut ca RMGC și Gabriel Resources Ltd să nu mai fie bine-veniți în țară.

Pentru acest motiv, precum și sătui și dezgustați de afișările continue de incompetență, aroganță și lipsa unei bune guvernări de bază din partea elitei lor politice, românii din toate păturile sociale, de orice profesie și convingeri politice, au ieșit în stradă și au recurs la mijloacele media pentru a protesta și a se opune măsurilor recente ale guvernului de a derula proiectul. Cererile lor sunt deopotrivă simple și profunde:

  • Să fie tratați cu respect de liderii politici aleși pentru a servi poporul;
  • Să apere moștenirea naturală și culturală a României;
  • Să construiască o țară mai bună;

La demonstrațiile de la 1 septembrie au participat zeci de mii de români, care au ieșit în stradă, în orașe și în sate în toată țara. Puteau fi văzuți părinți cu copii, mame însărcinate cu copii nenăscuți în pântece, dorind să protejeze moștenirea țării pentru generațiile viitoare. Oamenii își plimbau câinii. Bunici și trecători s-au alăturat. Important, totuși: fiecare a știut pentru ce era acolo. Aceștia sunt oameni, bine informați, care fac o alegere – și exprimă o cerere. O alegere de a deveni implicați, de a lucra pentru ceva mai bun în țara lor, de a-i trage la răspundere pe oficialii aleși, de a-i opri pe RMGC și Gabriel Resources Ltd în țara lor. O cerere de a fi tratați cu respect.

România își găsește drumul. Conversațiile – odinioară – pline de plângeri, cinism și disperare, se transformă în discuții între oameni despre ceea ce fac ei și despre ceea ce vor să facă. Speranța devine vizibilă pe zi ce trece, prin noi afaceri,  noi evenimente culturale și noi inițiative. De către oameni care aleg să-și trăiască viețile în mod diferit – să fie schimbarea pe care vor să o vadă în țara lor și în lume. Poporul român a decis să ia atitudine. Duminica aceasta zeci de mii de oameni au fost pe străzi. Duminica viitoare vor fii zeci de mii mai mulți. Țara s-a săturat de abuz, corupție și incompetență în rândul liderilor politici. Din fericire, ea are o bogăție incredibilă, care constă în milioanele de cetățeni, care acum se implică în construirea unui viitor mai bun – pentru ei înșiși și pentru generațiile care vor urma.

Oameni din lumea întreagă, alăturați-vă românilor în lupta pentru mediu și demnitate – „România, suntem alături de tine! Salvați Roșia Montană!”

În Aarhus și Copenhaga, Danemarca; Amsterdam și Maastricht în Olanda; Berlin, Bonn, Munich și Freiburg în Germania; Bruxelles, Belgia; Budapesta, Ungaria; Chișinău, Republica Moldova; Fair Isle și Londra, Marea Britanie; Geneva, Elveția; Helsinki, Finlanda; Madrid, Spania; New York și Washington, SUA; Praga, Cehia; Varșovia, Polonia; Vilnius, Lituania; Oslo, Norvegia, și oriunde altundeva, zeci de mii de oameni s-au alăturat pentru a sprijini poporul român și Roșia Montană, în demersul lor pentru demnitate și bună-guvernare și opoziția față de practicile abuzive și exploatative ale Roșia Montană Gold Corporation (RMGC) și Gabriel Resources Ltd (Canada).

„Aur murdar”, de Der Spiegel

http://www.spiegel.de/international/europe/romanian-mine-a-symbol-of-new-push-for-resources-in-europe-a-896857.html

 

„În cazul în care mina este oprită, va fi o victorie pentru mediu împotriva tuturor sorților. Alături de numărul crescând al grupurilor din întreaga Europă care luptă pentru cauze similare împotriva giganților minieri, exemplul României ar stabili precedentul pentru ceea ce poate fi obținut chiar și prin cele mai limitate mijloace.

Este întocmai această perspectivă cea care l-a motivat pe Victor Boștinaru să lupte de-a lungul anilor. „Acesta este un proiect de pionierat. Dacă nu-l oprim, cine știe ce va însemna pentru viitorul mineritului de aur.”

Alte zeci de mii de oameni se alătură

Duminica viitoare, 8 septembrie, alte zeci de mii de oameni se vor alătura într-un al doilea șir de demonstrații și celebrări pentru România care vor avea loc peste tot în țară. Oamenilor din lumea întreagă, cărora le pasă de mediu, Drepturile Omului și buna guvernare, sunt rugați de asemenea să-și facă auzite glasurile, să se alăture și să ceară  Parlamentului României să oprească proiectul RMGC și Gabriel Resources Ltd (Canada) în Roșia Montană.

Notă din partea autorului: Kai Brand-Jacobsen

Am extraordinara plăcere și onoare de a locui în România de aproape 12 ani. O consider casa mea. A fost însuflețitor să văd ieri bucuria, angajamentul și dedicarea și implicarea a mii de oameni aici în Cluj, și să văd fotografii ale unor evenimente similare în București, de-a lungul Europei și în întreaga lume. Oamenilor din România: aceasta e o țară minunată. Voi sunteți oameni minunați. Aveți dreptul să luați atitudine: pentru voi înșivă, pentru un viitor mai bun, pentru viața și societatea pe care le doriți. Nimeni nu vă poate lua aceasta – decât voi înșivă. Iar dacă într-adevăr luați atitudine, vă veți alătura altor zeci de mii și, ulterior, altor milioane. Alături de oameni care cred și vor un viitor mai bun pentru această țară – și care vor ca oficialii guvernamentali și deputații aleși să-și folosească timpul astfel încât să servească interesului României, și nu intereselor abuzive și ilegitime ale unei companii miniere străine. Pentru voi, pentru copii voștri și pentru nepoții voștri, veniți în stradă pe data de 8 septembrie. Aduceți prieteni, vecini, bunici, copii. Chiar dacă nu ați mai participat la o demonstrație publică, alăturați-vă acum și luați parte la scrierea viitorului țării voastre. Și… vă mulțumesc, pentru ultimii – mai bine de – 12 ani, pentru că m-am îndrăgostit de țara voastră și pentru multe altele care vor urma.

Romanians take a stand – for dignity, respect, and a better future for their country

Around the world citizens are increasingly standing up to authoritarianism, wide-spread abuse of power by elected officials and bad governance, and demanding rational policies that don’t only benefit the few or foreign corporations. Linked to this are calls to end corruption, and the demand that citizens be treated with respect. Romania is the latest front in this global movement for good governance, democracy, and dignity, and it’s the people of Romania – with creativity, solidarity and commitment – that are standing up, holding their government to account, and demanding a better future for their country.

 

Romania is a country of extraordinary culture, incredible natural beauty, and a rich if often tragic history. Many people who’ve looked beyond headlines abroad and taken the opportunity to travel to this country have quickly fallen in love with it. Unfortunately, the warmth, culture, hospitality and amazing energy, innovativeness and creativity of this land are far to rarely seen abroad.

 

At home, for nearly 20 years Romanian citizens have experienced varying degrees of bad governance and wide spread corruption. Even after entering the European Union, basic services and infrastructure are failing in many parts of the country while for thousands of children in rural areas and poorer towns the education system is effectively collapsing at elementary and secondary levels. Millions of Romanians have gone abroad to find work.

 

Yet this is only part of the picture. Citizens, people at every level of society, have been wrestling with what’s happening to their country, their society, and their lives, trying to make sense of it. While there has never been a broad-based, open, inclusive dialogue in the country – about what happened to Romania, what’s happening now, and what type of society, what type of country, people want for the future – thousands of discussions are springing up all across the country. Discussions – and action.

 

Slowly – and as a result of the engagement and work of many, from artists to civil society organizations, entrepreneurs to unions, journalists and others  – Romanians are beginning to realize that they can build a better future. And that it’s up to them to do it.

 

Anyone who has spent time in Romania has come across a warm and wonderful people. A people of intelligence, integrity and engagement, a country in which artistic and cultural expression are developing and flourishing, in which civil society organizations – sometimes in challenging contexts – are active and engaged.  While governance on the whole is often poor to terrible, there are many – from local authorities to national ministries – who are doing the best they can to address specific challenges and work to make things better in the country. On the whole, it’s a country that is definitely developing – through the energy, creativity, innovation, hope and hard work of its people. The glaring and most obvious gap though, is the continuing absence of integrity, honest, and good governance from the country’s political leadership.

 

It’s up to us…parents, artists, entrepreneurs, students, workers, political leaders, citizens of this country

 

That’s what makes the recent demonstrations taking place across the country so important. The core of the Salvati Rosia Montana (Save Rosia Montana) campaign has gone on for more than a decade. Its main objective has been the protection of the historical and naturally beautiful area of Rosia Montana, which the Rosia Montana Gold Corporation (RMGC), majority-owned by Canada’s Gabriel Resources Ltd, have been seeking to destroy through large-scale open pit mining (including the use of cyanide for gold extraction). RMGC’s project has shown a stunning legacy of corruption, bribing of journalists for positive coverage, ‘influencing’ of political leaders, and failure to abide by national and international legal and environmental standards. While many of these past mistakes have been somewhat addressed, the stunning display of arrogance, disrespect for the people of the country, and rampant abuse and corruption have made RMGC and Gabriel Resources Ltd. no longer welcome in the country.

 

For this reason, and sickened and appalled by continuing displays of incompetence, arrogance, and lack of basic good governance from their country’s political elite, Romanians of every background, profession and political persuasion have been taking to the streets and social media to protest and oppose the government’s recent measures to move the project forward. Their demands are at once simple and profound:

 

To be treated with respect by political leaders elected to serve the people;

To protect Romania’s natural and historical heritage

To build a better country

 

Demonstrations on September 1st witnessed tens of thousands of Romanian citizens taking to the streets in cities and villages across the country. Parents could be seen with their children, and pregnant mothers with their unborn babies still in the womb, wanting to protect the country’s heritage for future generations. People walked their dogs. Grandparents and passers by joined in. Importantly though: everybody knew what they were there for. These are people, well informed, who are making a choice – and a demand. A choice to become involved, to work for something better in their country, to hold elected officials to account, to shut down RMGC and Gabriel Resources in the country. A demand to be treated with respect.

 

Romania is finding its way. Conversations once filled with complaining, cynicism and despair are turning instead to people discussing what they are doing and what they want to do. Hope is becoming visible daily in new businesses, new cultural events, and new engagements. By people choosing to live their lives in a different way – to be the change they want to see in their country and in the world. The people of Romania have decided to stand up. This Sunday there were tens of thousands on the street. Next Sunday there will be tens of thousands more. The country is tired of abuse, corruption and incompetence in its political leadership. Fortunately, it has an incredible wealth, in its millions and millions of citizens, now getting involved to build a better future – for themselves, and all the generations to come.

 

People around the world join Romanians in standing up for the environment and dignity – “Romania, we’re with you! Save Rosia Montana!”

 

In Aarhus and Copenhagen, Denmark; Amsterdam and Maastricht, Holland; Berlin, Bonn, Munich and Freiburg in Germany; Bruxelles, Belgium; Budapest, Hungary; Chișinău, Republica Moldova; Fair Isle and London, UK; Geneva, Switzerland; Helsinki, Finland; Madrid, Spain; New York and Washington, USA; Prague, Czech Republic; Warsaw, Poland; Vilnius, Lituania; Oslo, Norway and elsewhere, tens of thousands of people around the world have joined in support for the people of Romania and Rosia Montana in their demand for dignity and good governance and opposition to the exploitative and abusive practices of the Rosia Montana Gold Corporation (RMGC) and the Canadian Gabriel Resources Ltd.

 

“Dirty Gold” by Der Spiegel

http://www.spiegel.de/international/europe/romanian-mine-a-symbol-of-new-push-for-resources-in-europe-a-896857.html

 

“If the mine is stopped, it will be an environmental victory against all the odds. With an increasing number of groups across Europe fighting similar battles against mining giants, the Romanian example would set a precedent for what can be achieved even with the most limited of means.

 

Its that prospect that has kept Victor Bostinaru fighting through the years. “This is a pioneering project. If we don’t stop it, who knows what it will mean for the future of gold mining in Europe.”

 

Tens of Thousands More Joining In

Next Sunday, September 8, tens of thousands more will join in a second series of demonstrations and celebrations for Romania taking place across the country. People who care about the environment, human rights, good governance and dignity around the rest of the world are also asked to raise their voices and join in, and demand Romania’s Parliament to end the RMGC and Gabriel Resources Ltd (Canada) project in Rosia Montana.

 

Note from the Author: Kai Brand-Jacobsen

I have had the extraordinary honour and pleasure to live in Romania for the past nearly 12 years. I consider it my home. Yesterday, to see the joy, commitment, dedication and engagement by thousands of people here in Cluj, and to see photos of similar events in Bucharest and across Europe and around the world, was inspiring. To the people of Romania: this is a beautiful country. You are a beautiful people. You have the right to stand up – for yourselves, for a better future, for the life and society you want. No one can take that from you – except yourself. And, if you do stand up, you will be standing together with tens of thousands, and eventually millions, more. With people who believe in and want a better future for this country – and who want government and elected officials who use their time to serve and benefit Romania, not the interests of an incredibly abusive and illegitimate foreign extractive company. For you, for your children, and grand children, come out on September 8th. Bring friends, neighbours, grandparents, children. Even if you’ve never taken part in a public demonstration / celebration before, come join now, and be part of making your country’s future. And…thank you, for the last 12 years and more of falling in love with your country, and for much more to come.