While Romania is preparing for the European Parliament elections scheduled to take place later this May, several videos urging Romanians to vote went viral, reaching millions of views.
Although the elections for the European Parliament haven’t been very popular among Romanian voters so far, things are expected to change this year amid a general discontent with the local ruling coalition made up of the Social Democratic Party (PSD) and the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats (ALDE). Specialists believe that a higher turnout at the upcoming European elections in Romania, scheduled for May 26, would tip the balance in favor of the opposition while affecting the PSD.
A recent poll said that more than 39% of Romanians would vote for sure on May 26, a figure higher than the turnout of slightly over 32% registered at the previous EP elections. Most polls pointed to the fact that PSD and the main opposition party PNL have similar chances of winning the upcoming European elections, while the newly formed USR-PLUS Alliance is expected to rank third, which is quite important for them given that this will be the first time when they participate in elections.
Amid all these polls and expectations of the specialists, several videos urging people to vote have surfaced (or re-surfaced) on social media, becoming viral in a matter of hours. One of them, in which a grandmother urges her nephew to vote, reached a very high number of views in record time – 3 million in only 24 hours. But there are two other that made quite an impression, as they send strong messages and star popular Romanian actors.
- Because grandma said so!
Mircea Bravo, a very popular vlogger among young Romanians, shared at the end of April a video urging the youth (and not only) to vote. Why? Because grandma said so!
At first, the video seems to be yet another funny video made by Mircea Bravo but the message is as important as the event it focuses on - the European elections on May 26. It shows a young man (Mircea Bravo) who goes to his grandmother to ask her for money because he wants to take his girlfriend to Paris. When the grandmother finds out that he plans to go on vacation when the elections are scheduled to take place, she admonishes her grandson, who believes that the elections are not important and that a single person doesn’t make any difference.
“So, you think the elections are not important? Ok, I will give you money but you will not go to Paris because you’ll go to Caciulata (e.n. a spa resort in Romania),” the grandmother says. “If you believe that the elections are not important, then I will make the choice for you. Caciulata or Paris, it’s the same thing.”
“Ah, and let me tell you that you will also take Sandu with you to Caciulata.” As the young man objects to the grandmother’s idea, she says: “Well, you’re the one who said that a single person doesn’t make any difference.”
The grandmother then tells her grandson that he may not like the idea of somebody else taking decisions in his place, but that’s how she lived most of her life. And now, when everybody has the right to choose, the young people let others choose for them.
The video ends with the grandson calling a friend to ask him to go vote on May 26. When the friend asks why the grandson replies: Because grandma said so!
The video reached more than 6.6 million views on Mircea Bravo’s Facebook page and another 550,000 on the vlogger’s YouTube channel.
- A tougher approach
Another video starring Romanian actor Serban Pavlu, who is best known for his roles in feature films such as Everybody in Our Family or The Japanese Dog, as well as from the HBO series Shadows, was recently shared on social media and became viral really fast. The video takes a tougher approach, the actor criticizing harshly the current government while sending a message to those who complain that they have no one to vote for. He also says that revolting or sharing jokes on social media will not help Romania.
The video begins with Pavlu showing a funny meme of prime minister Viorica Dancila, followed by the ironic remark that the politicians must be very affected by all these jokes shared on the Internet. “You realize that, because of these memes, a few dozen emergency ordinances and pardons have been delayed for at least a few days. Plus, no matter what happens and who wins the elections, we look good on Facebook,” the actor says.
He then says that he can’t take it anymore as 30 years have passed since the 1989 Revolution and Romania is still led by “troglodytes”. “How is this possible? What will I tell my children 10 years from now if they ask me: <Hey dad, what did you do when Dragnea said that even if they sentence him to jail it doesn’t count? What have you done so we don’t go back to the darkness and isolation of Ceausescu’s age?> What do you mean what have I done? We made fun of them, we shared memes on Facebook, we made so much fun that we laughed our lungs out.”
The actor also urges Romanians to no longer invoke the argument that there are no good candidates to vote for because this gives “the guys from Teleorman” the chance to come and “put an illiterate at Victoria Palace (e.n. the government’s headquarters).” “There’s no one to vote for? What do you want? To fall in love with a candidate, to marry him? Think! Go and vote for the one you think is less stupid, because if the current ruling politicians win the elections again we will be the stupid ones, and then we’ll have time until the next elections to protest in the square and make unicorns from lights and share memes on Facebook.”
This video went viral fast, gathering 1 million views on Facebook in only 17 hours.
- Are you ready to give up on Romania?
Some of the most famous actors in Romania, namely Oana Pellea, Victor Rebengiuc, Mihai Calin, Medeea Marinescu, and Marius Manole, as well as well-known filmmaker Tudor Giurgiu and popular vlogger Mikey Hash star in a video shared by Platforma Romania 100 civic movement aimed at encouraging people to vote in the May 26 elections. All urge Romanians to vote, in spite of arguments such as “there’s no good candidate to vote for” or “I don’t do politics.”
“I am sick of accumulating frustrations after every election because people didn’t vote and because, in fact, two or three years after each poll, we end up being disappointed because things go wrong,” Tudor Giurgiu says in the video.
“I believe it’s important to vote. Indifference does nothing else but leaves the thieves to lead us,” actor Mihai Calin says. Meanwhile, Oana Pellea adds that “ it is not important to vote, it is essential to vote.”
Those starring in the video also say that we are all responsible for the country’s path and that protesting or showing the disappointment on social media is not enough if we don’t vote. They also touch the sensitive subject of those who leave Romania for a better life, but who want to return in a “democratic and honest Romania.”
“I believe we should give it a try. I know I will and I invite you to do the same. We have to think about our future, about the future of our children, about the future of our grandchildren,” Victor Rebengiuc says.
“I’m not ready to give up on Romania. Are you?,” comes the question from Mikey Hash. The video ends with similar questions: “Are you ready to give up on Romania?” and “Are you sure you want to give up on Romania?".
This video was also popular on social media, with almost 48,000 shares and more than 2 million views on Facebook so far.
Two other videos from 2014, both part of a campaign against voting absenteeism, re-surfaced these days on social media, also aiming to make people vote. They used main figures of the Romanian history, namely Moldavian voivode Stephen the Great (Stefan cel Mare) and prince Michael the Brave (Mihai Viteazul), to try to convince people that not voting is not a solution.
In these videos, both rulers find themselves almost alone in battle because the rest had other things to do or decided not to join the battle for various reasons. For example, in the video with Mihai Viteazul, the prince finds himself in a rather complicated situation before the battle, as only one more man came to fight.
“Where are my brave men?,” Mihai Viteazul asks.
“Mihai, the men said they don’t want to go through all this mud. You get dirty if you go through the mud,” was the answer.
However, the prince insists: “What about the Buzesti brothers?” (e.n. the line refers to the three Buzesti brothers who stood beside Michael the Brave in his campaigns against the Ottoman armies). The answer is that the Buzesti brothers “said that they are disgusted by everything that happens and that the others are more, anyway.”
The same, Stefan cel Mare also finds himself alone before the battle and one of the reasons for this situation is that “the others are more, anyway, and that there’s no point.” The ruler says: “But it’s our fate at stake here!” and the only brave man who came to the battle explains that the rest didn’t come because they “had to go to a wedding” or because “they go to the mountain every weekend.”
The European Parliament also launched a video campaign aimed at encouraging people to vote. The “Choose your future” video features “footage of newborns around Europe, who, as tomorrow's Europeans, will inherit the decisions we take today - including whether or not we will vote at the forthcoming European elections.”
(Photo source: Shutterstock)
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