Alina Mungiu-Pippidi: “Ceauşescu, the Book and the Union”

We recently celebrated the Union of the Two Principalities, as well as Nicolae Ceauşescu’s birthday, who would’ve been ninety years old, had he not been executed on Christmas in 1989. Upon such occasions, you can’t help but wonder what the balance of Romania’s national reconstruction process is. The citizens of Bessarabia have come to purchase Bulgarian passports for EUR300; the peasants in Romania’s poorest areas erect barracks on the outskirts of Italy’s major cities and rebuild their lives in a new, rudimentary language which no longer has anything to do with either Dante or Eminescu, it is the language of the periphery with no nationality.
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After the fall of Communism, in the year 2001, European statisticians discovered that Romania ranked last in terms of youth participation to all stages of the educational process, by people aged between 15 and 24. Without even discussing the quality of the education they are receiving, transition therefore entails a return to illiteracy in various guises. As such, it doesn’t surprise me that people will whistle during the Union festivity, or that stupid TV shows are being made, during which we discuss the purpose of Eminescu. The work undertaken by Haret and Iorga is not completed, and the our society’s teachers, whom we pay in deplorable wages, are looking at one more century of apostolic work.

Excerpted from an article published on January 29, 2008 in the APEL press network

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