Total Pageviews

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Minus Six Days

Today I had breakfast with Lucian Bogdan, the brilliant Ph.D. student of American Studies who helped me with my course in that discipline back in 2009.  Lucian is 250-pages into his thesis on the history of American/Romanian diplomacy in the immediate aftermath of WWII, as the country was being taken into totalitarianism by the Communists.  Lucian has spent weeks pouring through the archives in Bucharest.  He is likely the most knowledgable living scholar on this topic.  He is a fascinating thinker.  His viewpoints on the modern world are highly interesting to me.  He reads and thinks about the political news periodicals.  He follows world economics.  He is quite a guy.

My 3:00 PM lunch/dinner was with my new friend Vlad Ciurca, to whom I was introduced by Ray Wright during his apartment renovation project this past November.  We ate at Indigo, an Indian restaurant that I now consider a "good find."  It was delicious.  Thank you for the suggestion, Vlad.

One other act commited today was to post the following on the Facebook Cause "Let's Improve Romania's Image."  I have not previously ventured this far into political observation, but events of the past weeks have led me to offer these thoughts:

For Romanians it seems fashionable to make disparaging remarks to foreigners about Romania. I find that sad. For Americans it is considered unseemly to disparage America. Many of us Americans criticize our government and elected officials, but we generally profess sincere love for our country.

Romania has educated you Romanians. It has given you much of value in terms of a sense of right and wrong, and in terms af a loving culture. Romania is your beautiful homeland. You know in your hearts that if you leave it, you will miss it.

Romania deserves your love, even if its government and elected officials do not. I want to hear fewer sick jokes about Romania, and more positive proposals for transparency, for honesty in government, and for a service attitude on the part of the bureaucracy. If you do not like the officials, elect new ones. And do not tell me they are all the same. After two election cycles in which the party in power is thrown out, all parties will get the message.

I am now completing my second stint as a university professor in Cluj. I will be going home next week to New Hampshire, USA. I love it there. But I also love being here. I sincerely hope to come back, yet again. God bless Romania!


  1. Duncan,
    I have to say being here in the US for a year a half has made me see my country in a totally different light, and it is true that whenever I can I shed a bright light on it, but the fact, unfortunatly, remains that very little is going to change in the near future. I agree that we will have to elect new government but the fact remains that until the people that are still trained in the old regime thinking are not away from the power, it does not matter how many govenrments we change they will all be the same. The young people like me that have a different way of thinking are very unlikely to reach a high position in which to have a say in the well-being of the country. My oppinin is that it will have to pass at least 30 more years until these things change, unfortunatly. and I really hope to see the better days of Romania. thank you very much for being a ferm believer of my home country Romania.

  2. Such pessimism is rampant here in Romania.

    Romanians have not learned these lessons of representative democracy:

    1. The country cannot afford to wait for people to die in order to bring about change. (That was a failing of monarchies.)

    2. You need only organize enough voters to become the swing-vote that switches power between political parties.

    3. You can today organize a voting block toward a new ideal quickly, using the social media.


    a. November, 2008: Obama Campaign succeeds.

    b. 2009-10: America surges Leftward.

    c. November, 2010: The voters take Congress away from Obama's Left-leaning party.

    Romania needs a young, idealistic leader with the courage to advocate for a government of Transparency, Honesty and Service (THS). (Hmmm. Perhaps those initials are not a coincidence.) Why not bring your MBA home and become that person?

    Can you imagine the improvement in the image of Romania among Europeans, if such a movement were to succeed? It would make the change in America's image that Obama's election brought about look minor.


Please use no profanity in your comments. My granddaughter and other young people will be reading this blog. Thank you.