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Instead of Revolution and Reform, Change and Accession
Arthur SUCIURomania’s accession to the European Union on January 1, 2007, is a turning point whose importance is comparable to that of the 1989 Revolution. It is a confirmation of the ideals of the 1989 Revolution, and at the same time another inaugural moment in the history of the Romanians. While in December 1989 the Ceaușescus’ dictatorship was ousted, and the communist repressive system with it, January 2007 gave us the opportunity and position to fully join the paradigm of Liberal democracy. In 1989 we only had the negative, the destruction of the foundations of a system; in 2007 we have the proof that the country’s reconstruction moved to the right direction and that the parting with the old communist paradigm is about to become a fact.
The consequences of this change are, in my opinion, very important, first of all because it brings us back to some minimal normalcy. It is only as a country which has reached a minimal standard of normalcy, that we can objectively understand our past and freely project a future. As it is perceived today, the trauma of the 1989 Revolution is almost healed; because today we can see clearly the steps ahead that we made during the transition; we can see clearly why the communist regime is condemnable and what we can do to remove its last relics; we can restore the connection to that “before the before,” the time of relative normalcy between the wars; and we can see deeper in history what it was, actually, that made us want to become a Western-style democratic country.
Subjective as this may sound, over the past 18 years the political right wing has had the most beneficial interventions and made the most important decisions concerning Romania’s future. This is not to say that the left had no contribution or only did bad things. But we will never forget, for instance, Corneliu Coposu’s insistence in 1990, in talking Ion Iliescu into introducing representatives of the historical parties in the new Parliament. It was then, and then alone, that the multi-party system was truly reborn in Romania. Unfortunately, FSN leaders, who had initially decided not to take part in the election, eventually did, and set up a super-dominant political entity. The President elected in May 1990, Ion Iliescu, became, for quite a long period, the promoter of all possible changes in the Romanian society. And these changes were very slow and intricate, with severe distortions of the political and social life and an alarming decrease of the right wing’s role as a political alternative. During the FSN-FDSN-PDSR government (1990-1996), for reasons related both to an uncertain international context and to a troubled historical background, Romania swayed between the West and the East. There were extremely powerful reactionary forces, those who sought either to preserve the status-quo, or to push the country to a direction that would benefit them. All political and civil forces had to close ranks around the Liberal and Christian-Democratic parties, in order to finally ensure the success of the democratic political alternative. The change in 1996 was the time of a genuine rebirth of the Romanian society, after six years of very shadowy transition and of the governing of an obsolete PDSR.
Today, we should be prepared to acknowledge the merits of the CDR government between 1997 and 2000. Primarily because of the painful measures to reform the economy, people’s living standards decreased, and that time does not bring out very nice memories. But if we analyse things in cold blood today, we realise that those sacrifices were ready. Thanks to those reforms, entire sectors of the economy, including the banking industry, were gradually healed, and in 2000 Romania had its first healthy economic growth since 1989. But that was by no means the only accomplishment of the troubled CDR government (of which PNȚCD and PNL were the key forces). The most important event was the start of European Union accession negotiations, at the end of 1999. A foreign policy firmly oriented towards the West and the values of Western democracies made Romania’s EU accession not only possible, but also feasible. And the one who supported this direction with the utmost energy and determination and, as we can see today, with concrete results, the one who cut off the ties with Moscow for good, was without doubt the then President of Romania, Emil Constantinescu.
Today we are able to correctly understand what the CDR government meant for Romania’s democratic development. It is high time we left bitterness behind and revised our perceptions on a time of major changes and major achievements in our recent history. We must also remember that those efforts, some unpopular and radical measures, as well as the flawed communication within the ruling coalition, led to the right wing’s electoral failure in 2000. This failure was so devastating, that it once again threatened to wash away the Romanian right as an alternative. Basically, in that extremely difficult context, PNL was the only right-wing party that secured its access to Parliament, with a less than spectacular score, and became the coagulation force of the Romanian right.
The most significant achievement of the CDR government was, as I have already said, the pursuit of a clear direction for Romania’s future. The change operated in 1996 made the Western orientation and the European integration irreversible. The 2001-2004 PSD government was thus unable to return to the PDSR-style practices of the early ’90s. PSD largely followed the same direction, carried on the reforms, often took clear right-wing measures, opened negotiation chapters with the European Union and finalised them until the end of 2004, and completed Romania’s accession to the North-Atlantic Alliance. On the other hand, in the same period corruption rose to alarming levels, and measures aimed at intimidating the media, the political opposition and civil society were steps back in Romania’s journey towards consolidating democracy. Instead of opening up to citizens and encouraging their participation in the political and social life, PSD chose an excessively centralised policy and continued to apply principles specific to welfare states. Also, PSD tried to avoid critical aspects of the transition, such as denouncing communism or the moral reform of the society. The Iliescu-Năstase government barred the appeal to the past, and with it Romania’s progress towards normalcy. In this respect, the early 2000s were particularly difficult for the opposition and particularly for PNL, which was under a duty to preserve the right-wing alternative in Romania. The Liberals were aware that they were the only ones who can do something to make things right. The victory of the D.A. Alliance in the 2004 election was a decisive step in this respect.
While in the early ’90s the right wing and the democratic forces in Romania primarily gathered around PNȚCD, over the past eight years the Liberals were in charge with the progress of the right and with carrying on the democratic processes. In contrast, one may state that the situation during the PSD governmental term was even more difficult than the one during which the Democratic Convention was established, in the early ‘90s. Under-represented in Parliament, with the civil society ever more silent and indifferent as to what was going on in Romania, with an increasingly atomised population and with people vulnerable to the governmental propaganda and to showy social protection measures, PNL managed to quickly build a viable political alternative. In retrospect, the establishment of the D.A. Alliance and its electoral victory were vital steps towards the Liberal victory.
Romania’s journey towards normalcy restarted after 1989, but normalcy as such and the certainty of an evolution towards a state with consolidated democracy only came with Romania’s accession to the European Union, on January 1, 2007. It was around this moment that Romania made substantial progress in fighting corruption and ensuring the independence of the judicial system. It proved complete openness to the acknowledgement of the past and the moral reform of the society, particularly of the political class. And to make sure that everything that was “before” can no longer influence what will be “after,” Romania resolved to acknowledge its past and condemn the criminal and disgraceful deeds of the undemocratic regimes of the past. What the CDR government started in 1997, the Liberal government completed in January 2007. Romania’s EU accession is, in its last stage, a Liberal accomplishment, and the project as a whole is an achievement of the historic parties PNL and PNȚCD. Unlike in the CDR governmental term (1996-2000), when economic decline was reported in the first three years, the Tăriceanu government (2005-2008) gave Romania an economic growth rate above the European average. The right has proved its capacity to provide wellbeing as well, not only the sacrifice of reforms. We may be tempted to believe that normalcy is drawing near—but, as we already know, new dangers loom ahead.
By Arthur SUCIU
Publicat în : English de la numărul 63
Revolutia din decembrie 89: Pacatul originar, sacrificiul fondator este prima carte dintr-o serie de sapte volume dedicate ultimelor doua decenii din istoria României. Nu am pretentia ca sunt detinatorul unui adevar politic, juridic sau istoric incontestabil, si sunt gata sa discut si sa accept orice documente, fapte sau marturii care pot lumina mai bine sau chiar altfel realitatea. Educatia mea stiintifica si religioasa m-a ajutat sa cercetez faptele în mod obiectiv, eliberat de ura sau intoleranta. Recunosc însa o anume încrâncenare în ceea ce am scris venita din durerea unui om care a trait în miezul evenimentelor si se simte lovit de acceptarea cinica a crimelor, abuzurilor, coruptiei si minciunii, sau de indiferenta la fel de cinica cu care sunt înca privite de catre o mare parte a societatii românesti.... Am scris aceste carti de pe pozitia victimelor mintite sau speriate, care nu-si cunosc sau nu-si pot apara drepturile. Le-am scris de pe pozitia milioanelor de români cinstiti care cred în adevar, în dreptate si în demnitate. Emil Constantinescu (text preluat din Introducerea cartii).
MINTEA CEA SOCOTITOARE
de academician Mircea Malita, Editura Academiei Române, 2009 În volumul de eseuri Mintea cea socotitoare, aparut la Editura Academiei Române, acad. Mircea Malita formuleaza în crescendo o serie de întrebari grave ale timpului nostru: Daca omul este rational, de ce se fac atâtea greseli în economie
sau în politica?; Daca rationalitatea nu e de ajuns, care ar fi rolul întelepciunii?; Din viitorul imprevizibil putem smulge portiuni, daca nu certe, cel putin probabile?; Ce si cum învatam pregatindu-ne pentru viitorul nostru?; Este în stare omenirea sa îsi vindece crizele?; Ne asteapta oare un dezastru final? s.a. De-a lungul anilor, acad. Mircea Malita a staruit asupra acestor teme în lucrari recunoscute, însa acum o face raportându-se la dinamica realitatii imediate, inspirat de cuvintele lui Dimitrie Cantemir: socoteala mintii mele, lumina dinlauntrul capului. Eseurile sunt structurate pe patru parti - Mintea senina, Metaforele mintii, Mintea învolburata si Privind înainte. Finalul este de un optimism lucid care tine seama de potentialul de rationalitate si imaginatie al mintii umane si, fireste, de generatiile tinere care îl pot valoriza benefic.
Această carte de poezie este seismograful de mare sensibilitate care înregistrează cele două întâlniri ale sufletului, deopotrivă cu URÂTUL care ne schilodește ca ființă, ca neam, dar și cu FRUMUSEȚEA sufletească nepoluată ce stă ca o fântână cu apă curată pe un câmp plin cu peturi și gunoaie nedegradabile. Ce poate fi mai dureros decât să surprinzi această fibră distrusă de aluviunile istorice încărcate de lașități, inerții, apatii, compromisuri devenite congenitale ale românului? Vibrația versurilor, directețea lor, simplitatea dusă până în marginea cotidianului paradoxal n-au efect distructiv asupra tonusului moral al cititorului, ci produc neliniștea cea bună, cum ar spune Sfinții Părinți. Citești în revolta și durerea poetei un mănunchi admirabil de calități: o demnitate neînfrântă, o fiziologie a verticalității și, mai ales, o inimă creștină, o inimă din ceruri, cum ar spune poetul latin. Căci, în această inimă din ceruri, există lacrimi deopotrivă pentru românul umilit, distrus până și-n visele lui, dar și pentru copilul din Gaza, cu sufletul și trupul chircite sub șenilele tancurilor unui război ce tinde să devină mai lung decât viața lui, ale unui război-viață, lacrimi pentru copilul evreu ce nu a putut fi salvat de la deportarea bestială, lacrimi pentru Tibetul sfâșiat. Și toate acestea fără impostura unui ecumenism sentimental, ci izvorâte din acel suspin curat românesc ce face esența lacrimii creștine. (Dan Puric)
ISLAMUL SI SOARTA LUMII - Fundamentalismul islamic ca ideologie politica de Virginia Mircea "Islamul si soarta lumii - Fundamendamentalismul ca ideologie politca invita la o reflectie mai adanca asupra porceselor lumii contemporane. Judecata critica si independenta a autoarei a produs o lucrare de o veritabila investigatie stiintifica, exact la momentul in care tema tratata deseori fara solutii si perspective ocupa scena din fata a politicii si problemelor mondiale. Cititorii o pot aseza cu satisfactie in bliblioteca lor de referinta. Vor fi mult ajutati in intelegerea evenimentelor care ne sesizeaza in prezent si intr-un viitor in care tema nu se va desprinde de mersul lumii contemporane." (academician Mircea Malita)