I’ve been busy as hell lately, celebrating birthdays, taking more homeless people to the doctor, nursing a cat with a broken leg (she’s okay now, thank goodness) and doing a ton of writing for my new book but I’ve still had time to keep an eye on the news and it’s been a doozy here in Romania lately.
Isn’t it always?
- The fallout from The Perfect Dog Storm continues, with hundreds of people protesting in Piata Romana, demanding the euthanasia en masse of Bucharest’s estimated 68,000 stray dogs. I find the whole protesting thing bizarre (somewhat) because the dog attack that prompted all of this occurred on private property and yet no one is blaming the company that owns the land where this happened nor is anyone protesting outside their gates despite the fact that both the company and the security guard on duty at the time were both fined.
- On Thursday I watched the incredibly elaborate and unapologetically gauche funeral for Ionut Calin, the little boy who was killed by dogs last week. Dozens, if not hundreds, of family members and friends were on hand to cry and weep for the cameras yet nobody asked any of them where the fuck they were when a 4-year-old and 6-year-old boy were playing unattended on a company’s property, waving sticks and provoking stray dogs until they were mauled to death.
- Nobody from any political party or organization or protestor has yet to say a single word against the grandmother, who was so far away from the kids she was “watching” that she didn’t even hear them screaming as a pack of dogs engaged her grandkids. Why does she bear no responsibility? Seriously, WTF?
- I remember back in 2006 when a Japanese businessman was bitten by a stray dog on a public street and bled to death in Bucharest. At the time, public opinion was on the dog’s side and he became a celebrity unto himself, with people rushing to adopt the animal. But in 2013 when a little Romanian boy with a Romanian name gets mauled now the public is baying for blood. A rather sickening display of racism in my opinion.
- The “rightwing” parties in Romania (i.e. Basescu and allies) are all calling for the mass slaughter of animals. The “leftwing” parties (i.e. the governing USL coalition) all rushed to blame Sorin Oprescu, the mayor of Bucharest, for kicking the can down the road by proposing a referendum for October 6. Some “leftists” also want the mass dog slaughter to take place but others are a little more hesitant and so far the Parliament has yet to do a goddamn thing about it either way.
- Originally I was critical of Oprescu’s idea to hold a referendum. Even though the guy is a total idiot, sometimes even a stopped clock tells the right time and I think he got lucky in the sense that his complete panic and paralysis led him to make the right decision. Now he’s got at least three weeks for someone else (primarily the USL) to make a decision, which we all know will be a bad one, and get blamed for it instead of him.
- All the Romanians I’ve heard from or spoken to are 100% in support of the mass slaughter of animals. That may end up being the popular domestic decision but this isn’t the 1990′s anymore (when Basescu was mayor of Bucharest). Twitter and the British press were already aghast and up in arms about Romania’s “Final Solution” style method in which stray dogs are mistreated, starved and executed. A few thousand fresh dead dogs will set the western media on fire with anti-Romania criticism.
- The one question nobody is asking about these 68,000 stray dogs in Bucharest is what the hell they are eating. I’ve never heard of an animal that can live without food. Whether it’s garbage or handouts, the dogs of Bucharest must be consuming several hundred kilos of food on a daily basis and yet that’s never discussed or mentioned.
- I realized that there’s no way in hell Oprescu was out of the country for a “medical check-up” last week when the dog attack story broke as it makes no sense. Bucharest has all the medical care a man with money could ever want and I’ve found no information that Oprescu has any weird or unusual illnesses. Fifty bucks says he was with a mistress and that’s why he “couldn’t be reached” for several hours. I can’t prove it of course but even a half-ass journalist in Bucharest could follow him around for a while and I’d bet they’d find the proof that I’m right.
- As if calling for the mass murder of thousands of dogs wasn’t bloodthirsty enough, yesterday I had the misfortune of watching Basescu give a press conference where he delightedly announced that Romania had signed on with its allies to push for some kind of military “intervention” or bombing of Syria supposedly in retaliation or response to an alleged use of chemical weapons by the Syrian government. I never did understand why blowing someone to bits with a “regular” bomb is okay but gassing them with poisonous chemicals is somehow “unethical”.
- Speaking of Syria, everyone’s favorite terrorist, Omay Hayssam, had his court appearances postponed until October so he can continue hanging out in jail for a while longer while literally no one has yet to ask or answer the question about where in the hell he was even arrested. Was he in Syria? Was he in Iraq? Nobody cares but me, apparently.
- In a game that meant nothing in terms of points or standing or anything else, Hungary and Romania played a soccer (football) match the other night. I got to watch the surreal footage of clouds of teargas smoke drift through Gara de Nord train station on Friday after thousands of rabid Hungarian fans arrived before the game. Why anyone thought this was a surprise or shock is beyond me.
- As an American, there’s always this weird seeming “paradox” where Europeans are generally calm, non-violent and peaceful except when it comes to football matches and then you see violence and hooliganism of the worst sort. I realized that all the stupid shouting and scarf waving (hand to Jesus, it’s what they do here) is the only way for tens of thousands of young men to blow off steam. Frankly they should’ve opened up the National Arena stadium in Bucharest in the afternoon for the fans of both teams to fight it out, cage match style. Better and safer than sending in hundreds of riot police with tear gas and batons to Gara de Nord and Lipscani, that’s for sure.
- In fact, they should do that before every match. Let the supporters from each team (esp Steaua) duke it out with the supporters of the other team before the game and then the remaining fans watch eleven men kick around an inflated nylon ball for an hour in peace.
- All week long, thousands of protesters here in Unicorn City as well as other cities (including Dirty B) have been protesting against Rosia Montana. I’ve even had several hundred new visitors to my one and only post on the subject. The USL is running away from this as fast as possible and now Gabriel Resources is threatening to sue Romania for breach of contract. Hilariously (for those of us watching this on TV and unaffected directly), I’ve seen the local mayors in the region pressing Ponta/USL to authorize the mining in Rosia Montana precisely because without it, there’s not many jobs to go around. All in all, a classic Romanian governance clusterfuck where even the corrupt officials can’t get their shit together well enough to get paid and the people at the bottom just get pissed off and fucked over in the end.
- Quite frankly even if there was only unicorn dust in Rosia Montana (instead of gold and silver) and it could be extracted with the power of butterflies (instead of a giant lake of cyanide), the whole thing would still be a foolish endeavor as the payments going to the government would end up 1) in the pockets of corrupt politicians and their gangster allies and 2) going to pay off the IMF and World Bank and EBRD and all the other gangster bankers.
- So far in 2013 the biggest protests (in terms of number of people and staying power) have been against Rosia Montana and the biggest protests in 2012 were against ACTA (evil copyright law) and against the firing of Arafat (health minister). Interesting in that they’re all reactionary, meaning against something rather than for something.
- With all the bodies in the streets, the signing of the document privatizing CFR Marfa finally happened. Whew! First the original contract got signed by the Transportation Minister, Relu Fenechiu, then the dirtiest politician in office, who then got convicted. Ponta proposed the greasy-haired mook Ovidiu Silaghi to replace him but President Basescu rejected the nomination and postponed it until August 23. Silaghi is now facing multiple inquiries into corruption and influence peddling himself and so resigned from the (Romanian) Parliament and jumped over to become an unelected member of the European Parliament. Ponta ended up choosing Ramona Manescu, who signed the “final” document this past week, a woman who, like her boss Ponta, has lied about her educational achievements. Meanwhile GFR, the alleged “buyer” of CFR Marfa, is facing plenty of problems of its own and the terms of the CFR Marfa privatization deal allow GFR up to seven weeks to “show the cash” or raise 200 million euros, all of which (if produced) will go straight to western bankers.
- In better news, Florin Huidu, the father of the murdering fucknut Serban Huidu, gave a televised interview about how his family is “cursed” and how nobody will give his poor little son credit for “helping” kids at a cancer hospital. Boo hoo, I’m crying a river.
- And to end this on a positive note, I see that Romania is once again raising the price of obtaining a passport, which already costs an arm and a leg (even the American gov’t doesn’t charge that much). This document is absolutely useless inside of Romania for its citizens (seriously, you can’t even open a bank account with it) so the only thing it’s good for is getting the hell out of this country. Since everyone seems hell bent on doing just that, the government has wisely decided to milk its emigrating citizens as much as possible on their way out the door. Foolishly however, the price of renouncing your Romanian citizenship remains unchanged at only 600 lei ( about 175 dollars).
- No, just kidding, I can’t end on that story! Much better is Elena Udrea’s interview with Click!, Romania and Alison Muter’s favorite source for news, talking about how 30 years in politics and three children all mean nothing without a man by her side.
AND I SAY ROMANIA IS MY COUNTRY!