We interrupt our normal program with the following news: Romania is being weird. Fighting for its dignity or going through some pre-election jitters, we’re not entirely sure what’s going on. Here are some things we are sure of though: whatever it is that’s happening, it’s very confusing and leading us on an emotional rollercoaster of sorts: we went from hoping for change and wanting to “join the cause” to thinking that this won’t lead anywhere because they’re doing it wrong. And then back. A couple of times.
Please don’t misunderstand, we haven’t forsaken our country (no more than it has forsaken us -_- ), but it seems that even the people taking part in the riots aren’t sure of what they want. You have elderly people asking for higher pensions, working men and women asking for less corruption, young adults shouting for freedom, some even wanting a change of regime. The one thing everyone agrees on is that a change is needed.
As a matter of fact, Vivid Illusion got a bit carried away when hearing about the first few riots and her imagination already lead her to the “field of battle”, as you can see from the following bit of text:
We were both born in 1989. We didn’t experience communism, the fear of our leaders, waiting in lines for days just to get a loaf of bread or shivering in our own homes every winter, but we do know one thing: current-day Romania is not what people rioted against and died for in 1989.
Both of us decided to leave the country. We’re not sure to what extent of permanency, although our ideal situation does include frequent returns to Romania: during breaks. No, we didn’t leave because our lives were harsh or due to injustices committed against us. We left without putting in massive amounts of effort to change something, without trying to defeat the system that disgusts us both. In that case, how come we’re complaining about the evolution of our political class, of how corrupt our leaders are, how much stupidity and ignorance our Government can withstand and how absurd our legislation can be at times? We’re doing all that in the exact same manner in which everyone else does it, regardless if they’re in the country or abroad, students, working or retired: in silence. We all complain, we know things aren’t right, we all want something better. And we all censor ourselves, thinking that it’s well out of our hands anyway.
And then something changed. A simple legislative change managed to create an impressive tumble effect: after 22 years of allowing itself to be trampled upon, the people of Romania started dreaming and hoping again; they gave up muttering and started shouting the truth for everyone to hear, understand and fight for. They saw that change won’t just happen. And, for the first time in 22 years, they seem to be willing to fight again.
What’s our part in this? None. We’re too far away and too disconnected for it to seem real; we are holding on to our hope though, as are most Romanians, scattered across the world. Sure, we have friends here, some probably have families and great lives, the likes of which they never could have had back home. But then comes the problem: for some it’s still home and we still dream of it.
We were both born in 1989. Some people call us the “generation of revolution”. And after 22 years in which we’ve been living off the change our predecessors fought for, maybe it’s time we honor our change. We’re the generation of revolution. How about we revolutionize something?
And following her example, Immah tried imagining how things would look like if we were back home, going to the protests, fighting for our rights and for a better future. The results were… well… disconcerting.
But it’s not only us. Another thing that these riots revealed is that Romania is a country inhabited by trolls. You’re probably acquainted with the current meme phenomena, right? Well, so are we. And so are the rioters, as a wide selection of pictures can prove.
In the midst of “No More Corruption” and “We Want A Better Life” banners, one can find the Romanian trolls, with slogans like “Basescu, GTFO!” (Basescu is our country’s beloved president. Charming chap, really), “Who still uses Internet Explorer 6?!”, “We want cheaper Photoshop and no more Comic Sans” and “CHUCK NORRIS, HELP US!”. What can I say, we’re nothing without our sense of humor.
Bottom line: we still have no clue what’s going on. We’re just left with hoping that something does change (for the better, at least this time) and that Romania has indeed woken up. We’re just bummed it didn’t happen while we were actually around.