Tuesday, 22 December 2009

20 Years

Exactly twenty years after the overturning of Ceausescu's regime, there are some very educational facts for young Romanians today, who were either too small to remember the events or were born after the Revolution.

First of all, 85 of the top 100 currently most influential (and wealthiest) Romanians occupied key positions in Ceausescu's regime. As John Simpson, the BBC correspondent who covered the Revolution back then, put it: it is a lesson on how not to do a Revolution.

And what more beautiful irony can be presented to the Romanian people today, than the still reverberating farce of a totally corrupt presidential election which just ended recently and the President was sworn in yesterday, on 21 December - 20 years after Bucharest, too went up in flames, literally and metaphorically.

The election presented Romanians two main candidates, both with extensive communist past and extensive ties with the Ceausescu Regime of the past...

On top of this, the winner, Traian Basescu, has accumulated votes in a somewhat interesting manner - one is reminded of the recent Iranian and Afghan elections...

Just one example: during the last hours of the extremely tight first round, he had so many votes from the Romanian diaspora at the embassy in Paris, that calculating with basic mathematics it shows that Romanians at that embassy spent 13 seconds per vote... which is a remarkable feast of 'speed voting'.

After this world record breaking wave of votes for Basescu, the person in charge of the voting at the embassy in Paris has immediately received a job as Government Minister... by pure coincidence, of course.

In face of such blatant and far from covert corruption, one has to wonder: just what more does the current 'regime' have to show to Romanians of today to open their eyes just what kind of 'democracy' they live in?

And one doesn't even need to add to this the unimaginable organised corruption that rules the country on every single level of administrative and political power.

It is only a small baroque ornament, that the Democratic Union of Romanian Hungarians, a party who claims that represents the rights of the Hungarian minority in Romania, strikes deals with any and every possible party in power...

So the very same Prime Minister and virtually the exactly same Government that this Hungarian ethnic party signed vote of no-confidence against is now the great ally of Bela Marko, the leader of the Hungarian ethnic party... and they occupy 4 Minister positions in the Government they were only months ago so against... saying that they did this for the good of the Hungarian ethnic population they sooooo represent...

At the end of the day, the Emil Boc Government No. 4 (as he is the PM now for the 4th time( is almsot exactly the same Government that was deemed anti-constitutional and corrupt even by Romanian standards only a few months ago... the same monsters have returned now...

It truly is a country that even after 20 years of so-called 'democracy', applies every day the visions of Kafka, Mrozek and Camus... reaching levels of absurd tragicomedy that are beyond most people's imagination.

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Winding roads

While anti-communist demonstrations in Timisoara (the city where the 1989 Revolution started) and Bucharest have flared up, considering the current presidential candidates are all tightly connected with the former regime, another remarkable event took place.

The first 42 kilometers of the infamous Transylvanian motorway has been inaugurated.

What makes it remarkable is that it took six years, seven directors and five Government ministers to get this small chunk of the planned motorway completed.

Hungary, in comparison, completes 40-50 kilometers of motorways per year.

Until 2013, the company making this ill-fated motorway has to complete 370 kilometers of it... while to just build 15% of this motorway, almost half of the funds has been spent already.

The more tragicomic element of this vast fraud operation (as the funds have disappeared into the most expensive bits of road ever built anywhere, and this portion didn't even have to cut through the Himalayas let's say...) is that the motorway was hampered by all sorts of mishaps.

All kinds of 'archeological finds' stopped the work, in some cases some old half-demolished buildings in the middle of nowhere from 1950 which were proclaimed to be of key cultural importance...

The completed tiny portion is not even truly functional, entrance to it is made via an improvised concoction and the traffic node near the city Turda is not completed yet.

So we have 42 kilometers of heavy concrete and asphalt, semi-connected to existing roads and this is a great success.

Where the rest of the money will come (let's face it, the other half of the funds not yet spent will, in this manner, be sufficient for another tiny portion of road), nobody knows.

One thing is sure, in the same way, 90% of it will disappear into pocket linings as it did before...

Ceausescu had his grand dreams, and ironically he used to deliver (often unusable and semi-collapsing) materialisations of those dreams.

But this neo-communist regime is so busy with robbing the country blind, that even 15% of one single motorway, built in six years, is a heralded success.

Not quite sure any more what is more tragicomic.