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Unbearably Easy

29 Sep 2004 - 00:00


Monday evening. Seven o’clock. News bulletins begin on all television channels with the report on the dead girl, as if we would be all cast in a seemingly endless English movie, shot before WWII.

At the Public Television there was no word of Adrian Nastase [current PM]. He must have gone away to attend some business of his, so we did not see him on TV. [Mircea] Pascu [current defense minister] on the other hand was shown twice, and amazingly doing the trick to jump from an all-road vehicle in Iraq into an (again) English-made plane flying over Romania. Mind you, something is in the cards for this minister, I said to myself but not gave it a second thought afterwards: people like him always come out well, from any circumstance they are faced with.
I almost touched the remote to change the channel and go back again to the never-ending soap-like reports on the usurers blackmailing the Romanian [political system]. And yes, my reward comes finally, as I diligently and SM-like follow all evening news casts.
The Public Television again made my day. An elderly gentleman [author hints at President Ion Iliescu], wearing a light colored sweater speaks nervously and gestures a lot with his hands, saying something about phreatic waters. Anther bald middle-aged gentleman [author hints at DP leader and Bucharest mayor Traian Basescu] completes the remarks of the first one, in an equally morose mood. Various people agree with them, in a somewhat uneasy way, as if apologizing that they are caught on camera between the two of them.
The off-camera voice says something about solving the issue of water supplies for Bucharest. The water pressure would go up, he says, which is always something I welcome. But things will not happen just now, but in 2005!
Oh, that’s the catch: only after the elections…
The two men so much at the center of the report are not introduced to the viewing public, One of them is Ion Iliescu, and the other one is Traian Basescu.
I must have seen them before, in the murky times between the time of [dictator Nicolae] Ceausescu and the time of Romanians going West to pick up other peoples strawberries.
Sure, the two of them are very close to the people, giving away the bread to the people. Now they go together over bumpy roads. They might have a lot more in common, but the cameraman does not place them in the same frame, as if that image, void of their names and official capacities would inadvertedly give up their true identity.
President Iliescu and Mayor Basescu were left only with their faces and their worried faces looking into the ground as they paced the same road, when someone decided that calling them by their names was a big political mistake at such a delicate, fragile moment for the country.
Better still to show Pascu twice, jumping over continents, than Iliescu and Basescu roaming about slums, like two famous bums of our era.
Each one of them, in his own terms, is OK. Well, that’s a matter of personal taste. One is leaving [office], the other is up and coming, but they do the same thing for the past 15 years.
They do have something in common: the water.
The elderly guy is well trained in the murky depths were nature’s plots are born from. [Iliescu is a former hydroelectric engineer.]
The other goes for the shining surface of sea-waters, caring the memory of ships of before. [Basescu is a former ship captain.] The two of them met at Crivina to discover springs, more powerful springs than any discovered before them, but still hidden from sight.
The Public Television decided that this meeting of the only two really chosen [meaning also personally elected] men was not to go unnoticed.
But since we could see them, it was better still to not know who they were. Rulers were always born out of our fear and our sensitivity.

Translation: ANCA PADURU

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