It seems hard to believe, but a bit more than 25 years have passed since that December day when Romania exploded and the Communism dictatorship ended! I remember those days, how many anxieties, how many hopes, how many dreams and, above all, how many illusions.
After a quarter a century, Romania and Romanians are definitely different.
In my opinion, as a Romanian who has lived all these years here and tried to adapt and understand the new society, the fundamental question for us might be the following: Does the democratic, positive change really happen?
Even if the question seems to be easy, there are multiple answers which mainly depend on cumulated political, economic, social factors and the personal experience of any Romanian. I strongly believe that the positive and the negative effects are, more and less, balanced.
In my view, a few potential benefits are, from a political and civic perspective:
• Free elections, open electoral campaigns
• Free speech, free movement around the world and free media
• Guaranteed civil rights by constitution and other laws
• A democratic policy for minorities (national, religious)
• Civic rights
• Full rights membership of the European Union, NATO and other international and European organizations
• Democratic principles, rules and regulations which, sometimes, are forced into practice due to the enrolment in various organizations
From an economic point of view:
• the free financial markets, where the prices and currency rates are established free based on offer/demand
• large system of private companies, small and medium enterprises, family businesses
• large pool of private education options
• private health system
However, as I was writing, the events in 1989, as any complex historic phenomenon, haven’t generated only positive effects.
My mainly concerns related to the negative effects are:
• The upside down value scale for the whole entire society, that generated great moral and ethical damages
• Promotion of non-values in almost all sectors, from governmental to local authorities, from economics and politics, to social areas
• The lack of professionalism in many domains, which has led to inefficiency, poor productivity
• Miming, rather than imposing democratic principles in many situations
So, another question arises: Which were the causes for this lack of performance?
I think that the experts (historians, economists, analysts) should do professional and very complex researches to identify the causes and, more important, to find the proper solutions for solving all negative effects. But, briefly, in my opinion, some causes might be:
• The lack of vision on an economic and social level
• Promoting personal interest against the social, general well-being
• The unclear and slow separation of powers
• The excessive implication of politics in all areas of activity
• The high level of corruption
In addition to these causes, one of the strongest, which I would like to underline, is the slow change in mentality. When I say mentality, I don’t refer only to the Communist one; I’m referring to the entire mix of mentalities resulting from our wonderful and so interesting history.
Finally, I like to say, as a survivor of the Communist era, that the balance is in favor, for positive, democratic changes, even though many changes are still to appear. Am I too optimistic? I don’t think so.
By Mariana Ganea, guest writer