For some time now the Romanian government and its apologists have been peddling the line that the country’s president Klaus Iohannis is a foreign agent whose mission is to break up the country.
Truth is of course, Romania broke up into two distinct pieces a number of years ago. There are now – and have been for some time – two very different Romanias: one which looks forward, and one which looks back. One which sees its future in Europe, and one which sees its future further east (or simply in isolation). One which believes in individual human rights, and one which believes that the wishes of the state are paramount and are happy to inform on their neighbours.
You get the picture.
This dichotomy was perfectly demonstrated yesterday with the news that Romania’s Child Protection Service has asked its regional agencies to investigate parents who have taken their children to the recent anti-corruption protests that have taken place up and down the country. Invoking a rather vague clause in child protection legislation, a number of busy-bodies have claimed that it is illegal to use children for political ends and that those parents who have taken their children to the protests are in breach of the law and liable to heavy fines. As we said yesterday: We confess. Now bring it on. Let them try to fine us.
There are two things we find remarkable about this little storm in a teacup.
Firstly, that there are people ready to run to the authorities in order to report what they consider to be irresponsible, unpatriotic behaviour on behalf of some parents. Do these people think that children should be obedient, do exactly what they are told and be unquestioning before authority? Do they not believe that the rights of the child are the same as the rights of an adult? Do they believe that taking a child to a peaceful protest against an increasingly despicable, undemocratic and corrupt regime is really something to be condemned?
We were taken on numerous protests and demonstrations as a kid (primarily CND) and we feel that it gave us a firm grounding in civic responsiblity. No, we didn’t bring about the end of nuclear weapons but we certainly learnt what it meant to stand up for something you believe in.
Secondly, it is almost stupefying to discover that one of the most eager of the little band of informers all too keen to tell tales to the authorities about nasty parents such as ourselves is not some old hag (the kind of woman who approaches you in the park demanding to know why your child is eating an ice cream in May) but a young lad from Constanta, Alexandru Bajdechi.
Incredibly it was Bajdechi who – doing his patriotic duty in classic Securitate / Stasi style – formally complained to the authorities that USR leader Nicusor Dan had taken his child to a protest, thereby using the child for political motives (even though, as any fule kno, the protests are not political: they are about demanding a minimum standard of ethics and transparency in Romanian public life):
Alexandru Bajdechi is clearly a young lad with an awful lot to learn, trying to make a name for himself. We all did things at that age which now make us cringe, and in a few years Bajdechi will no doubt realise that he has been a bit silly.
Meantime: Stay vigilant comrades! Inform all suspicious activity to the relevant authorities! Enemies of the state must be eradicated!
PS Will Bajdechi be reporting Bucharest mayor – and another critic of parents taking their children to protests – Gabriela Firea to the authorities? This photo would suggest she is no stranger to making use of children for political ends: