Merry Christmas, Romania

December 23, 2010

Today, 23 December, a 43-year old man jumped from one of the balconies of the Romanian parliament, during a session.

He hit one of the benches, bled severely to his head, and was taken to the hospital. It seems he will survive, we will see in what shape. The man works as an electrician for the national television. He makes about 300 euros a month. He has two children, one of which suffers from autism and apparently requires therapy that costs over 5o euros a week. His wife was paid 150 euros as a carer for the boy with autism, an allowance which had been cut by 25 percent in the governmental austerity drive. The family was indebted to banks. This is the information about the man provided in the hours following his act by his collagues. Before he jumped, the man screamed “You have killed our future!” and “You have taken the bread away from my children’s mouths!” Probably much more information will emerge, but all the crucial information is there. This is a sane person, not someone deranged. He was working a normal job, a decent job supposedly. He is not an exception in any way, he is just a normal person. But he must have not been able to see any way out, any solution, any answer. The despair must have overtaken everything else. One would expect his act would awaken the consciences of those in the parliament. Many seemed shocked. But they’ll all just express regret and move on. The opposition will use this gesture to emptily criticize the government’s austerity plan. The government will go on with the cuts, insisting it is the only way (they in fact did go on with the parliamentary session, after a minimal pause). They will shed a tear for the televisions. They will then fuck off to Poiana Brasov and Monaco and wherever else, to stuff themselves with Christmas meals and exchange luxurious gifts with their pretty mistresses and reliable business partners. Life will go on next year. And probably quite a few other people will jump from balconies, from their own, not the parliament ones, in anonymity. Quite a few old people will freeze to death in the lines for free bread. Loads more will pass away quietly, not affording the medicine, not affording the heating bills, not seeing a way out.  It’s as bad as that. Today showed how Romanians crack, little by little, not going in the streets to scream their anger, just taking it all in, until they can’t take it in any more, till they crack, one by one, alone.

“Ce ne lipseste? Ce liant

A fost substras de la-nceputuri

Nisipului ce face valuri

Redesenate de-orice vant,

Sau ce mortar fara de care

Zidul se-nalta spre neant,

Ca sa se naruie grabit

De presimtirea unui gand?

Ce ne lipseste? Doar petale,

Ce nu se strang intr-o corola,

Si numai fire lungi de lana

Ce nu pot tese un covor,

Si pietre vajaind prin aer

Nestranse intr-o baricada,

Doar disperari desperecheate

Si conservate in umor.

(Ca niste foetusi otraviti

De chiar metabolismul mamei

Si pusi in spirt- dovezi si mostre-

A vietii scurse fara rost)

Ce ne lipseste? Clei de oase

Frante pe roata, un cuvant,

Intraductibil in sfarsitul

Unde noi insine am fost.”

(Ana Blandiana- Liant)

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