Wednesday, October 27, 2010
One less good man in Romania
Romania lost this week someone it can ill-afford to lose – Ion Olteanu – whom I first met 15 (?) years ago in a small office in the prestigious Office of Government just round the corner at Piata Victoreii. He had been made a State Secretary - with a background not in politics or civil service but in philosophy and the voluntary sector. Indeed he was one of the founding fathers of the real aspects of that sector here – with a strong commitment to help younger people get involved in politics. Establishing youth parliaments in various parts of the country was very much his life – with all the European networking and fund-raising that involved. And his job in the Government Office was to help the government sector understand how to dialogue with and use properly the skills and energy of the voluntary sector. After a few years, he returned to full-time work with youth – with all the minimal finance that gave. To visit the family house was always amazing – with the rooms bulging with files, visitors and – open friendship.
A heavy smoker, he was diagnosed two years ago with lung cancer – but continued to the end to work. And we never heard any complaint.
We never appreciate our friends sufficiently – until they are gone. May God forgive us – and give Ion the mix of serenity and philosophical exchange which he would want and which he deserves!