what you get here

This is not a blog which expresses instant opinions on current events. It rather uses incidents, books (old and new), links and papers as jumping-off points for some reflections about our social endeavours.
So old posts are as good as new! And lots of useful links!

Wednesday, June 4, 2014


These weeks I should have been working on my “Scottish home thoughts from abroad” – clearing my mind, with the help of the dozen or so new books I’ve acquired, on the Scottish independence issue.
But, as usual, I have been distracted - this time by the work I have been doing on my little Romanian Guide/anthology  - sparked off by the pending visit of one of my daughters and building on the series of ten or so posts I did at the turn of the year..
I’ve reached the final haul – my compendium stretches now to 125 pages and about 400 hyperlinks. It’s been quite an intensive effort and I’m now trying to draw my thoughts together for the final, summary section.
I have tried to act as a modest guide – identifying what’s available and giving hyperlinks to other people’s text (in some cases entire books), images and music.
Even if I say so myself, I don’t know of any other such effort – in the depth and breadth of the references and pointers given. I’ve found a lot of misuse of the concept of a “Roadmap” in political circles in the past couple of decades but I think I can say that this is the best “Roadmap of Romania” I’ve seen!!

Even if I wanted to, I could not really sum this country up. I have known it for 23 years; it has become my home-base – at least, in the past five years, for half of the time.
When you read the older material which can be accessed – text and photographs – you do get a profound sense of the richness of Romanian society between 1880 and 1940 – rich in both possessions and characters. The architecture gives a clear sense of it – grand in the cities and individualistic if not eccentric in the towns and villages. 
Romania has lost a lot since – so many of its writers lost to either persecution or migration; so many of the more recent younger generation seeking their professional rewards abroad….
Despite the almost American nature of the spirit which is evident in the Bucharest streets, on commercial television and in the fixation with flashy cars and speed, the past is still clearly evident – in both good and bad forms.

All countries which were in the area of Soviet influence experienced suffered deprivations and repression – in one degree or another. It would be a bit invidious to encourage a league table of suffering although Ceaucescu’s invasion of women’s intimacy and the scale of (illegal) abortions that led to must rank as one of the worst measures in post-war Europe – along with the digging of the Danube canal and wanton destruction of villages in the 1980s.

Equally, however, more of us who were lucky enough not to experience the post-war communist repression should have the honesty to recognize the undoubted improvements to social life which such regimes generally brought to the life of peasants and workers and, in particular, their children - the parents of the present generation.

I have learned a lot about the richness of Romanian culture in the few weeks I have been drafting what was originally about 10 pages of blogposts. 
In a future post I will give some recommendations for best “freebie” reads and other goodies.

The map which heads the post is a marvellous panorama  of Southern Transylvania issued by a German company - it superbly shows my range from the northern angle. Most original!
I'm up in the  verytop left

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