Basescu Rally in Unicorn City

respects “The English” slightly less :P

Oh my goodness. I went to the Basescu rally (miting) yesterday here in Unicorn City. I stood in the burning hot sun for about two hours, squeezed right into the middle of the crowd and filmed the whole thing for your edification and/or amusement. My head and arms are bright pink on the verge of a sunburn and my arm was trembling from holding the video camera aloft. Whew, the things I do for you!

The video is less than 15 minutes long because I didn’t include all the “warm up” speeches from the other politicians and leaders, nor did I include all the music (except for a brief clip at the end). What you’ll see below is solely the part where Basescu speaks.

I know some people are going to question why I went to this event. To begin with, the president doesn’t come to my town every day and hold huge rallies. Secondly, obviously we’re in the midst of some rather serious political turmoil in this country and this was my chance to see it firsthand. Frankly as much as I loathe Ponta and Antonescu, if they had been in Cluj yesterday I would’ve gone and seen them as well.

The crowd, despite the heat, was immense. I heard figures of 15,000 people but haven’t seen any “official” numbers. I can tell you that the entire square was jam-packed with people so there were definitely several thousand. Some of the attendees were obviously party members “on the job” so to speak, waving white flags and wearing identical white shirts. Some of the signs were professional looking and probably the product of party organization as well.

On the other hand, there were definitely lots of “ordinary” people there (including the guy with the shirt in the picture at the top of this post). I had someone ask me about the age of the crowd and I can tell you that there were lots of people there of university age. I was standing next to three girls who were all 20 or 21. Some of the crowd was a bit older (my favorite participant with her handwritten sign can be seen here). I definitely saw lots of homemade signs and there were definitely a lot of local, “regular” folks down there for their own personal reasons – after the rally ended I was walking the same direction and heard their conversations between them so they weren’t bussed in with party buses or any of that.

Obviously this was a pro-Basescu rally so there was some anti-USL comments. To support Basescu in the referendum voters will have to choose “no” on the ballot, which lead to a lot of crowd calls like “How are you gonna vote? NO! Do you like what they’re doing to our country? NO!” etcetera. Frankly with the heat and the vitriol in some of the speeches (Vasile Blaga, I’m looking at you) I was starting to get worried there might be a riot. At one point a Lufthansa plane flew overhead on its normal landing pattern and a guy next to me shouted “I thought that was a USL plane come to spy on us!”. I am quite sure that if a group of people showed up bearing pro-USL shirts or signs, there would’ve been physical combat.

What with all the “no!” crowd calls and attacks on the USL, the rally was far more negative than I thought was necessary. Instead of focusing on the positives, support Basescu, support the Constitution, support this and that, the speakers tended to focus on the negative. Obviously I’m aware of the political situation in this country and this rally involved one of the major contenders in the boxing ring but I’d have preferred more statements like “with your support we will achieve X” and less trading insults. As we say where I come from, when you get in a shit throwing contest, even the winner goes home dirty.

Although the various speakers were not included in my video above, one guy was definitely cracking me up (Traian Razvan Ungureanu) with some of the things he was saying, my favorite being that USL stands for Uniunea Slabirea Leulului (Union for Weaking the Leu). Tragic but funny.

Either way, for whatever it’s worth, it was good to see people being involved in the democratic process and hopefully get energized to continue to participate even beyond the July 29 referendum.

7 Comments Add yours

  1. Sitara says:

    Huh…I wonder, what Traian Basescu would have said some 25 years ago, had someone told him that one day he’ll be teaching democracy to an entire nation? Such persons, totally able to see the light (the light of democracy, I mean) and completely renounce some false ideology they had formerly embraced, never fail to move me to tears.


  2. nttChris says:

    Dear Sam, you are so biased lately that I can not believe it. Why dont you go and record the meetings against Basescu, with 15 thousands in Timisoara and, 2-3 days ago, 20-25 thousands in Constanta. Cluj is a PDL area, because Boc was appreciated as mayor there, but Boc and Basescu were calamities for this country, unfortunately.


  3. iamronen says:

    thank you for going and for providing a glimpse in what went on.


  4. Rocky's Dad says:

    Sam, please don’t get mad at me (I hope I’m the only one who is not impressed), but I hope the sunburn will teach you a lesson. All your hard work deserves appreciation, although I for one am not a bit interested in basescu, ponta, antonescu and all the bunch of losers. PDL si USL, aceeasi mizerie! So I hope you won’t mind if I didn’t watch your video (is there anything special to be seen?)

    I was wondering (since you stood there and listened to basescu’s speech) did he use this opportunity to lobby for private, foreign companies again (he must have some unpaid dues)? I guess this time (as a suspended president on the verge of being sacked) such a lobby would probably be less incriminating…

    P.S. Kinda difficult for basescu and his gang to focus on the positives, don’t you think? I mean, which “positives”?


    1. DLK says:

      Dear Rocky’s Dad

      You might not be a bit interested in politics and I agree that politics is a very dirty business everywhere, including in Romania.
      Unfortunately, it’s very important. You don’t care how many taxes you pay or where they go? You don’t care about schools, roads, hospitals, pensions, visas, rules for the businesses? Everything is politics, whether is like you it or not.


      1. Rocky's Dad says:

        Dear DLK,

        I suggest you pay a little more attention when reading comments posted here. Where did I say that I was not “a bit interested in politics”? I guess you think that “basescu, ponta, antonescu and all the bunch of losers” equal “politics”… Well, that’s your opinion, but please don’t put words in my mouth.


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