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January 21, 2022

The National Heritage accuses

In Romania, the national heritage has a historic value a great deal higher than that of its neighbours, also since, given the scarcity of historic documents, the physical assets of out national heritage are, first and foremost, the undisputed arguments of our historic continuity of over two millennia in the Carpatho-Danubian-Pontic region. This is why their destruction is tantamount to a most heinous crime which a normal society would not only punish in exemplary fashion but prevent it from happening to begin with, through drastic defence measures.

The deficient organization of this state is plain to see, also due to the most criminal acts of thefts and destruction of the national heritage that we have helplessly been witnessing for the past two decades. It all started with the stupid decision in late 1989, which opened Romania’s borders wide for a great deal of the national heritage being purloined and alienated. ­

And this has been going on unhindered to this date, when the sanctuary of Sarmisegetuza has been bulldozered with the dual purpose of stealing its invaluable archaeological assets, and grounds too, turned into an ignoble parking lot. With such precedent, could we still believe there is such thing as a Ministry of Culture in this country? Should it be that it is exactly through subterfuges aimed at contesting our national identity, by so-called “multi-ethnic” actions, the relevant minister tacitly stimulates the destruction of the national heritage? Why is it that the sanctuary of Sarmisegetuza and all the other historic monuments lack the most basic protection measures? Why did politicians in this country forget that UNESCO itself ties putting monuments on its list to their physical condition?

Annual Police reports each time specify the “unprecedented” magnitude of the crime phenomenon in the national heritage area, as well as the professionalism of the organized crime rings involved and their sophisticated equipment. Therefore, it’s been 20 years since national heritage assets have consistently been stolen Mafia-style, including paintings, ecclesiastical gold and silver objects, famous icons and other precious ecclesiastic items, ancient coins and ceramic pottery too.

Unauthorized digging of invaluable archaeological treasures leads to the destruction of such priceless assets including the sanctuary of Sarmisegetuza is. The number of forgeries too is on the rise on the art object market. All this happens with complicity from some ministerial officials or “experts” in restorations or traders in heritage assets, treasure hunters equipped with top performing, and destructive too, metal detection devices.

The alienation through criminal means, including the underground riches on the continental plateau of the Black Sea, attests quite clearly that the whole economic crisis here started with our attitude to­wards the national heritage. Its superior capitalization stands at the root of Romania’s very existence. Without being aware and using, in the national strategic interest, of our heritage assets, in the first place, there would not be no job creation, salary and pension increases, nor quality education or modern supra-structure, anything at all. For any country, nation, its heritage is the keystone of the process of development and defence against any impediments.

Actually, these were the grounds for the multilateral special Commission that met at Cotroceni Palace in 2008 to examine the national heritage assets. This is how “it was ascertained that heritage assets had long gone adrift. Of the over 15,000 architectural monuments part of the national heritage 15 year ago, only 6,640 are still in place. And the number only refers to architectonic constructions over one century old, left to dereliction in order to eventually be demolished to the benefit of the real estate ‘barons’. If the inquiry had regarded other heritage assets too, the conclusions would have been a lot more tragic.

And it is this magnified tragedy that we live today, and that, since such disasters are not noticed beforehand and prevented. And the tragedy grows bigger and bigger by the day by the very fact that they remain unpunished. It all led to the destruction of systems and echo systems, and the undermining of some standard institutions of the Romanian state. Romania is experiencing the biggest ecological plunder in the EU ever, via the illegal over 2 M hectares of deforestations of the past 16 years, deterioration of national reserves, massive deforestations that led to rivers going out of their beds and producing catastrophic floods. Landslides destroy entire localities, as well as bridges, roads and railways, dikes and levees, all of which are national heritage elements. And so are the books in the Romanian Library, whose value exceeds their weight in gold, which have been waiting in dirty basements for more than 30 years, in the yet-vain hope of being stored in a new, most-awaited location.

This is what the prevention, combating and overcoming of all the crises threatening Romania starts with, defending the national heritage, which includes all the genuine values that belong mostly to the generations to come.

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