Saturday, August 11, 2018

The protests: will they succeed?

Bucharest: tens of thousands ask for new goverment. Day 2.
I virtually stand with my friends and colleagues who are protesting in Bucharest and Timisoara. Like most Romanians out there, I hope the government will change to one like that formerly led by Dacian Ciolos and will succeed in reducing corruption and making changes that last. Pictures of the crowd and of the tear gas that was thrown at them can be seen across a number of major news channels including the telegraph.
wounded protesters
One of my highschool classmates
A message from an unknown couple

Do I think the protests will lead to lasting changes? The diaspora votes are what helped Iohanis become president, and Romanians working abroad made a huge effort to come to Bucharest. They travelled from all corners of the world to help him again. This is soon after the forced demission of Laura Kovesi, who almost succeeded in bringing order. Yet these efforts have so far led only to ineffectual changes. The defence minister is out "to account" for the miscommunication that resulted in 400+ injured people. Liviu Dragnea says he is sad it had to happen. He did go to Israel this spring. Did he find support there? Probably. Will that and other bribes to corrupt officials elsewhere be enough to keep him in power over this and future hurdles? I hope not, but I don't know. Donald Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel's capital and is still US president in spite of proof of Russian interference in the elections and bad language and abuse of women. Rudi Giuliani was paid to speak against the anti-corruption movement in Romania. The only visible change is that so far Liviu Dragnea is less obnoxious than in the past when talking to the press.

The trend of "elected" politicians who are not people one can respect is seen across Europe and America. I hope Romania will eventually find the strength to stand out in Eastern Europe like Canada has in North America. It most likely won't work out this way. Nevertheless, while I am sorry I cannot be in Bucharest today, I will continue to do what I can to help people around me achieve their dreams. I have also voted in every election, and will continue to do so. I support the people who have the strength to stand out there, chant, sing and fight for freedom.

Short answer to the question in the title: No, but I still hope for change and stability.

An obvious path that could work for depleted countries like Romania:
1. Accept immigrants. Eastern Europe is empty. Might have to do some work to entice them. 2. Work hard to integrate them. 3. Jobs and progress will stimulate more from the diaspora to return home.

Romania is not the only country that lacks young people. Russia just increased it retirement age to 65 for men and conceded to allow women to retire at 60, when the average male lives to 67.  Russian women who had more children can retire earlier. It will be interesting to see if Russia will follow such a path given its history and human rights issues.

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