I have to be honest. Today doesn’t feel much like a celebration to me anymore.
It used to. December 1 was Romania’s “National Day” (Ziua națională a României), the equivalent to November 30 in Scotland or July 4 in the United States. Time to wave the flag, enjoy a day off from school or work, and be proud of your heritage.
In fact, some of the happiest moments of my adult life have occurred on December 1.
I was featured in a documentary on ProTV on December 1. I appeared on TVR (public television) on December 1 that was broadcast nationwide in both Romania and the Republic of Moldova. And I had a book launch (for a book written about Romania) on December 1.
But December 1 has taken an ominous turn, it seems to me.
Would a Rose Smell as Sweet?
For one, I keep seeing Romanian institutions refer to today as Grand Union Day (Ziua Marii Uniri) instead of National Day. That shifts the focus away from being a celebration of being Romanian to an event that commemorates a political act.
Yes, I realize that National Day is on December 1 precisely because that’s the fabled day when 100,000 people supposedly gathered in the cold rain in the tiny town of Alba Iulia.
But national day refers to the nation of Romania, whether that’s the current political nation and EU member state Romania or “nation” that means ethnicity, a celebration for all ethnic Romanians, no matter where they live.
“Great Union Day”, however, isn’t much of a celebration for a lot of people. It certainly isn’t for the for millions of Hungarians, Bulgarians, Germans, Serbs, Russians, Ukrainians, Ruthenians, Gagauz, Croats, and Poles who had their language, identity, and even homes stripped away during periods of forced “Romanization”.
And the “Great Union” is a particularly bitter name because the union clearly wasn’t that “great”. It lasted all of 20 years before Romania gave away Transylvania to Hungary, Dobruja to Bulgaria and Bucovina and Bessarabia to the Soviet Union, all without a single shot being fired.
That’s why there’s a difference between celebrating Romania (the country that it is today) and being Romanian versus celebrating a political act that ended up being a complete and total failure.
And frankly? All this talk of “great union” feels like a veiled threat against Moldova, especially when December 1 is a non-stop parade of guns, tanks, and rockets.
The Thunder of Guns
A friend of mine sent me the link to watch the footage of the military parades in Bucharest and elsewhere across the country.
My mind may be playing tricks on me, but I don’t remember such a fetish for the military playing such a prominent role in the December 1 celebrations when I used to live in Romania.
Sure, there was always a parade, and the parade included some military formations, but they were just part of a larger public celebration.
In fact, the “highlight” of the December 1 celebrations used to be a religious service held by the Patriarch of the Romanian Orthodox Church and then a speech from the President of the country and/or the Prime Minister.
Now, though, the whole thing feels like a 1980s scare film about the Soviet Union. Only, instead of parading through Red Square, the Romanian troops are marching down Kiseleff Boulevard, a street named after a Russian general who led troops to militarily occupy Bucharest 150 years ago.
And look at this screenshot from today’s military parade. A fat sack of shit tricked out in desert body armor and his face smeared with camouflage paint.
Who is this for, exactly?
Even worse are all the sweet lies from Romania’s so-called “friends”. Here’s Ukraine:
Very nice, except that the goverment of Ukraine shut down all the Romanian-language schools in their country. That’s the kind of shit that Romania used to get angry at Transnistria for doing, but apparently, it’s okay if Ukraine does it because Ukraine hates Russia and Transnistria doesn’t.
And here’s “good old” America:
Oh, right, not a single Tweet (as of yet) to congratulate Romania on their biggest holiday, just a heartfelt “thanks” for spending untold millions of dollars buying useless missiles.
Maybe I’m just getting old, but today doesn’t feel like much of a celebration. The vast majority of Romanians hate and loathe their government, a government which has spectacularly failed to meet ANY of its objectives in 10 years of being an EU member, and a government that’s propping up a hideously corrupt regime in the Republic of Moldova that has a 4% approval rating.
And all that military stuff just makes my stomach feel sick. Romania hasn’t been attacked militarily in over 100 years. There are between 3-5 million Romanians abroad who have gotten to know and embrace new cultures, and they don’t want a war with anyone, and no one wants a war with Romania.
And there’s very little to celebrate about Romania’s military anyway, stuffed to the brim with high ranking Communist-era thugs, murderers, and criminals.
Bah… let today be about celebrating Romanian identity, culture, language, and pride. We don’t need all the military stuff, the “Grand Union” talk, or lavishing praise on Romania’s dipshit, corrupt leaders decked out in “patriotic” military ribbons.
That’s why I’m going to call December 1 “Happy Romania Day” from now on. It’s the only way that I can keep my sanity.
HAVE A GREAT HAPPY ROMANIA DAY, EVERYBODY!