Mailbag


Hey kids, time for a Dragobete themed mailbag, even though not a single person mentioned the holiday to me today. Ah well, what can you do?

Hey Sam, will you link to my bullshit 100 word article on your website?

Sure, if it’s good, or has something useful or relevant to it. Or if it is written in at least halfway intelligible English. Or has a beginning, middle, and conclusion. You know, basic stuff. Otherwise, I’m afraid I’m going to have to pass on this wonderful opportunity to send my readers to go read some horseshit you wrote while tapping on your phone in the bathroom.

Hey Sam, will you follow me on FB/Twitter/Instagram etc?

If you’re asking, probably not :P It’s nothing against you, it’s just that you’re a spambot 99% of the time. If you’re a human being then sure, let’s be follow buddies!

Hey Sam, why did you link to my completely public blog? Take it down right away!

You mean the blog that is open to the public and has absolutely nothing secret on it? Yeah, I’m not quite sure that you understand the way the internet works, sir/madam.

I have a pretty comprehensive privacy policy which you can read at any time from the main menu (three horizontal bars on mobile devices). I don’t scrape your Facebook posts or Snapchats or whackadoodle Tumblr manga stuff, and I don’t post embarrassing photos of people drinking, taking drugs, or doing sexual stuff, even if it is occurring in Romania and would be of interest to some of my more prurient readers.

I’m a pretty busy guy so I set the Unsleeping Eye to watch public sources of information, which include free blogs on major blogging platforms. Here’s an idea – and I’m just putting this out on the table for you to consider – set your damn blog to “private” and then share the stories that pretty much nobody cares about with just you and your special friends. Cool? All right.

Sam, you’re a traitor!

I assume by saying that that you mean I’m a traitor in the metaphorical sense, as I am far too busy working and taking care of my wife and family to engage in offering some sort of material aid (what aid? I’m the one who needs aid!) or “comfort” to some kind of enemy. And which enemy is that, exactly? I’m not constantly putting ISIS training videos on my website, which is what CNN, the BBC and France 24 do non-fucking-stop to my continual irritation.

Even assuming such a thing as a metaphorical traitor actually exists, I don’t see how I or anyone else could be one. In a democracy, people have different opinions. I have mine and you have yours. Neither one is “traitorous” unless they tell on falsehoods and lies and thus “betray” their stated intentions. And I assure you that my opinions are entirely my own.

If you don’t like what I have to say, okay then. That’s called you having an opinion about my opinion. Got it, genius? And we can debate, or discuss the issue, or just run around pointing fingers and shouting names, but none of these behaviors makes us traitors.

Sam, you should call yourself “Sam Cel Rus” and be deported to Siberia for a re-education program like the real Bessarabian writers were!

Gee, thanks!

First of all, I cannot quite comprehend why any individual who is pro-Russian would then be deported to Siberia by the Russians. LOL

Secondly, I’m definitely not a real Bessarabian writer. I’m not even a fake Bessarabian writer because I’m not a Bessarabian (which I guess means Moldovan) writer. I write in English from a computer located inside the Republic of Moldova but I’m definitely not a member of Writers Union of Moldova.

Third, in case you’ve been in a coma, the Soviet Union dissolved 25 years ago and nobody is getting deported from Moldova to Siberia anymore.

It sure is fun to hurl accusations around though, isn’t it? Well, what you don’t know is that my wife is a writer and “Bessarabian” so I actually went down to the Uniunea Scriitorilor din Moldova (what real Bessarabian writers call themselves) and had a long chat with the guy running the place. I originally went there to find out what the requirements of membership were (for my wife, not me) and then ended up having a long talk about the big monument outside which commemorates the (real) deportation of writers to Siberia.

It was a pretty rough time back in those days and those guys (no women) went through a lot and really suffered for their views. I’d like to think we live in more enlightened times now where people can feel free to express their views without having to recreate the fear of the past. I guess I’m weird in that way ;)

But hey, if you really think that deporting writers for what they have to say is a good thing, you really should go talk to the members of the Uniunea Scriitorilor din Moldova. It’s not quite so funny then.

You’re still a dirty Russia lover, you punk!

Yep, you are so right. You figured out my secret. Good for you.

Why do you support Transnistria? Don’t you know they’re evil?

I’ve been living in Moldova more than a year and a half and I’ve yet to hear a local person badmouth Transnistria. Instead, all the hateful propaganda is always coming from a Romanian person who couldn’t find Tiraspol on a fucking map.

Yes, on some occasions, the T-N authorities have harassed and/or shut down a school that taught the Romanian language inside Transnistria. I fully condemn this just like I condemn all forms of censorship (you might notice that free speech is something important to me). Absolutely a boner move and I’m glad it’s since been resolved. If it happens again, I’ll condemn it again, the same as I’d condemn shutting down a school teaching Spanish in the United States or Xulu in South Africa or X language in Y country anywhere on the planet.

As for the rest, Transnistria is not some mini North Korea where a psychopathic royal family controls the population through concentration camps and their own weird religion.

T-N is shaped like a banana and has no natural (mountains, rivers, etc) boundaries with either RM or Ukraine, its two neighbors. Anyone in T-N who wants to leave can walk on right out, as there are no walls, fences, or even border guards. Likewise, anyone who wants to go into T-N can ride a bus, take a train, pedal a bicycle, or do cartwheels across the border as there are no restrictions whatsoever.

People in T-N come and go as they see fit, and nobody lives in a concentration camp (or “re-education” camp) and the jails aren’t full of dissidents. Between Moldova, Ukraine and Russia, almost everyone in T-N has dual citizenship which means they have even more protection against any “evils” performed by the T-N government.

The T-N government consists of a parliament with 43 deputies, split by different parties. As far as anyone from the outside can tell, the voting there is pretty much free and fair. There’s also a president and the man currently in office (E. Shevchuk) defeated the guy who was already in office (I. Smirnov) as well as the candidate that Russia preferred (A. Kaminski). Seems more or less fair to me there as well.

Except for the fact that T-N is not officially recognized as a country, I’m not sure what makes it so special. Plenty of ethnic Romanians (Moldovans) and ethnic Ukrainians live there and while I’ve only been there once, my wife has been there many times and spoken Romanian on the street without getting attacked, beat up or whatever else Romanians think happens in T-N. The official language is Russian but that’s also true of lots of other countries.

Crime seems to be pretty low, the war has been over since 1992, and people go about their business just like everyone else everywhere on the planet. T-N has its own quirks and unique customs, but so does every other country. Transnistrians come to Chisinau every single day and run businesses here and go to school and do normal stuff, and you’d never know they were T-N unless you asked them, saw their passport, or looked at their car license plate.

I’m not touting T-N as some kind of paradise. All I’m saying is I don’t see what’s so evil about them except for a few dumb moves to try and close a Romanian-language school.

The people who live there (who, again, can leave freely any time they want) just want to be independent from the Republic of Moldova. And they especially don’t want to join Romania. That’s their choice. I respect people’s drive for independence and autonomy and that’s why I support Transnistria. It doesn’t mean I think their government is always fair and honest, that there’s no corruption, or that it’s wonderful that they kept the KGB instead of renaming it like RM and Russia did, but that’s their business, isn’t it?

I have no desire to be ruled by Romania either. Why would I? The country might be beautiful both in terms of nature and the spirit of the people but Romanian politicians are some of the worst leaders I have ever seen in my entire life. True, they don’t rule with prisons and deportations to work camps, but the major political parties are essentially criminal mafias. Why in the fuck would anyone want those clowns getting even MORE power?

And, you do realize, even the European Union has been importing goods from T-N for years. And that includes Romania, as there’s a little T-N steel in every Dacia that rolls off the assembly line in Craiova.

If you don’t like the T-N administration, then fine. But let’s at least be reasonable and agree that they’re just doing their best to live life how they see fit, and leave it at that.

Sorry Sam, but if you don’t hate Russia then you don’t love Romania and the United States!

Wow, I guess my lifelong sci-fi dream of building a time machine and going back to 1984 has just come true! Sheesh, really?

Russia is a country. There are between 185 and 212 countries on Earth, depending on how you define them. Sometimes the government of Russia does things I (or you) might disagree with and sometimes they do things you (or at least I) might agree with. That’s how governments work. I can disagree with the Russian government’s crackdown and harassment on LGBT people while while agreeing with their ban on GMO foods.

As for Russian people, there’s a few hundred million of ’em, so who knows what “they” are like. My next-door neighbor is Russian and is an ignorant redneck who likes to hang out in his homemade shack and blast Russian pop songs on his phone while chopping wood. Not my favorite guy, and his wife is one of those people who always shouts instead of talks, but that’s how some people are. I met plenty of ignoramuses in the United States who were pretty much the same as my Russian neighbors now.

This whole “evil versus good” is just pure propaganda, driven by people who let the Cold War films and TV shows addle their brain. In some cases, I know it comes from the fact that the Cyrillic alphabet is really weird if you’re like me and grew up with the Latin alphabet. Got it.

But can we try to be adults and separate the silliness of cowboys versus Indians, or whites against blacks, or crusaders against infidels (etc etc) from reality? Some people here speak Russian. So what? It’s just a language, and it’s one with a rich history of poetry, literature, music, and culture. It’s not just Moldovans who appreciate Russian culture (one of the biggest streets in Chisinau is named A. Pushkin, for goodness’ sake!) but also respected Romanians like Adrian Cioroianu.

Furthermore, nobody is Moldova or anywhere else is forcing you to speak Russian, unlike in many countries where speaking Russia is banned/censored and people ARE forced to speak another language (Estonia, Ukraine, and Latvia, I’m looking at your dumb asses). The Russian Federation is composed of 87 different “states” and there are 35 official languages besides Russian. So even inside Russia itself, nobody is forced to speak Russian.

Russian is also a historic language of Romania and is spoken today not just by recent immigrants but by people who have been in the country for hundreds of years. There’s even a Russian-speaking member of parliament in Romania.

And, in case you’ve been in a coma for the past 25 years, the Russian Federation (the proper name for the country) is not the Soviet Union. Yes, I know it’s fun to pee-pee in your pants and be scared that Vladimir Putin is the new Stalin, but it just isn’t true, although someone should tell Jens Stoltenberg that.

Sam, you’re some kind of bleeding heart liberal!

I assume this term is referring to the traditional divide in American politics between “liberals” and “conservatives”. As a “liberal”, I guess that means I’m expected to support the Democratic Party instead of what “conservatives” do, which is support the Republican Party.

Frankly, I don’t give a shit about either party, and I have no intention of voting in this year’s presidential election. I’m American in some senses like my character, belief in free speech, and self-reliance, but in most other ways I’m pretty Romanian now. I know lots of Romanians who are more politically aware and interested in American politics than I am.

I find most American politics boring at best, or ridiculous at worst. As far as I’m concerned, both parties are essentially the same and most national politicians are clueless religious bigots who do not accurately represent the interest of the American people.

Satisfied?

Sam, you’re always wrong!

I know. You should talk to my wife :P

Aww Sam, don’t be sad. I still like your stuff!

Thanks. I know you’re just a figment of my imagination but it’s okay. I realize writing a comment or email takes a lot of work and you’ve got some cat videos to watch on Facebook! Maybe next time, eh?

Sam, you love Muslims and want refugees to destroy our way of life!

Right. Obviously you’ve never met a real, flesh and blood Muslim in your life as they’re just normal people. Try turning off your TV and walking into a mosque (they’re in all major cities, including in Romania) and having a chat instead of playing more video games or whatever it is you’re doing that’s fried your tiny rat brain.

As for refugees, the United States was built on refugees and that turned out pretty well, don’t you think? And if you think Syrians in particular are evil monsters then go ahead and throw your fucking precious iPhone in the trash because Steve Jobs was the son of a Muslim immigrant from Syria *gasp*

Maybe if you’d give these people a chance then the next awesome tech gadget could get invented in Romania, eh? Oh well, guess not.

Sam, I can’t bother to read what you write so tell me your email address so you can read what I write!

Sure, why not? It’s samcelroman@gmail.com

Hope to hear from you soon!

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