I am fucking angry. Yesterday started off as a really good day. I didn’t have to work and we had fabulous, sunny summer weather. I appeared on not one, not two but three different television stations to talk about my heritage. Later I met up with some friends, had some drinks and listened to a live band play American country music. There was even typical American food from Texas style chili to hamburgers being cooked on the grill.
But when I got home, I saw on the news that while I had been relaxing and enjoying myself, the USL was busy shredding the Romanian constitution. Their “slow motion” coup d’etat looks to be achieved by tomorrow at the latest when they manage to bring down the president and install their own man in the job, leaving absolutely no one to stop them.
Foreigners everywhere were outraged, from ordinary citizens to even the American ambassador. Foreign newspapers published scathing articles about the situation. Deutsche Welle even compared the USL’s move to the rise of Nazism, a comparison a German newspaper does not make lightly. Nobel Prize winners in the New York Times showed their concern. Members of the European Parliament began talk of suspending Romania’s membership. EU ministers wrote official letters of remonstration.
But here in Romania, absolutely nobody cared. A few newspapers and television channels reported on the situation, but they always follow whatever is “controversial”. It is the entire basis of their financial profit for they are businesses. But did any Romanian people care? I saw next to nothing online, no calls for action, no petitions. Only about 300 people protested in Bucharest, a number which might even have been inflated. If anything happened here in Cluj, the second largest city in the country, I didn’t hear about it and I didn’t see anything even though I crossed through Piata Unirii (the main square) on my way home.
Many years ago when I was much younger, I had a job as a veterinarian’s assistant in an animal hospital. I would mop the floors, feed the animals, clean out the cages and do whatever other menial work that was necessary. But every one in a while I had to do one specific task which has haunted me for all my life.
Whenever an animal had to be euthanized, to be put to death, it was my job to hold the animal still so that the veterinarian could insert the needle. The owner of the animal would often be there, crying and heartbroken about losing their beloved companion but what we were doing was a mercy. The animals were old and sick and in terrible pain. Cradled in the arms of the one who loved them best, the animal would receive the injection and their suffering would come to an end.
But one day, I took part in a murder and I still cannot forgive myself for my part. A cold, unemotional woman came in with her son, a little boy who was crying and sobbing. His mother had their pet dog with them, a cute little brown and white puppy who was a frisky, normal, healthy creature and she demanded that the veterinarian euthanize her son’s pet. The veterinarian tried to plead with her to just leave it for adoption if she didn’t want it any more but she insisted it be euthanized as “a lesson” to teach her son for not properly taking care of his puppy. No matter how much we protested, there was nothing we could do as the law stated that the owner of an animal had every right to euthanize it even if there was no medical reason to do so.
I got called into the treatment room and saw that poor defenseless animal on the cold, steel table and knew I was being asked to take part in a murder. I could not have stopped it but I also did not have to take part in it. The mother stood over us, her face cold and unmoving as stone, her son in absolute hysterics, wailing with grief. The poor little puppy was scared and confused, being held down by two total strangers, uncomprehending what was going on. Yes, he may have made a few messes in the house and yes he may have chewed up the wrong pair of slippers or destroyed some furniture, but surely he did not deserve to die.
But you know what? I respect that dog. Even though he was being overpowered, even though there was nothing he could do to escape his fate, that puppy struggled. That puppy whimpered and cried and did his best to fight to live. It may not have been much but he gave it the best fight he could and did not cease until I saw the light dim from his innocent brown eyes.
But Romanians? They are letting democracy and the law of rule be murdered without so much as a whimper in protest. Fuck ’em.