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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!

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Bucharest Flames

Romanian politicians don’t do resignations. When, a few years back,  one of their previous Ministers who had migrated to Brussels as a Euro MP was one of three Euro MPs to be caught in a sting, the other two quickly resigned but not Adrian Severin…..When Victor Ponta became Romania’s Prime Minister some 3 years ago, he was almost immediately discovered by a global scientific journal to have committed extensive plagiarism for his PhD. He shrugged that off – although it had immediately led to resignations of German and other national Ministers guilty of such transgressions. But not in Romania…..Even being indicted a few months ago by the country’s powerful anti-corruption brigade (DNA) didn’t seem to rattle him – only one of the charges would have been liable to remove him.

But Ponta duly went (pushed it appears) this week as public anger at political shamelessness reached boiling point - first from the death of a police outrider escorting a the Ministry of Interior’s car which had no right for such protection but then, at the weekend, from almost 50 deaths in a night-club which, like all such places in the country, had absolutely no fire or safety precautions…… The “Sarah in Romania” blog can always be relied upon for a caustic comment on such matters – and her latest comment doesn’t disappoint..….

This time their seems some focus for policy change to the anger….the country now has a President who has used at least the language of radical change (although the jury must remain out on whether he has the capacity to deliver); and the street protests which were normally led by a party political element look this time to have a slightly more hopeful base in the citizens……but so-called “civil society” (about which one does not hear so much these days) has never really taken off in Romania – despite the extensive funding it got from external sources…..

There simply is no moral authority in the country – the Orthodox Church is one of the richest organisations (as in Greece) taking tithes from poor people; running money-spinning projects (such as TV and Radio); priests are civil servants their salaries paid by the state; and the Church is now vying with Ceaucescu’s construction megalomania with the scale of the new Cathedral it is starting to build in Bucharest – whose grounds already groan under the number of churches….. 

I had a little soiree at my flat in Sofia this evening (coincidentally the night the Brits celebrate the night of Guy Fawkes’ failure to blow up Parliament in 1605!) at which I discovered that the Bulgarian Orthodox Church enjoys no such advantages here….Why the difference, I wonder – although the two neighbouring countries – as I’ve frequently noted in the blog - are SO different (in all respects) that I shouldn’t have been surprised….

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