28 C
Bucharest
August 6, 2021
EDITORIAL

The tragedy of poverty

Over the past 20 years, Romania’s population has lost over 2 million people, 10 pc, from its 1990 counterpart. A great loss, even if not as painful as the 2 million Romanian dead in the two World Wars, considering that the bulk of the former group was forced to emigrate by the chronic poverty Romania has been struggling with. While they are alive, they nonetheless say they will never return to their homeland on grounds of the “native” poverty. Speculation by some upbeat analysts that the émigrés will eventually go back home is but an elusive hope, and that since Romanians’ emigration is increasingly higher, and that despite the social-economic crisis growing worse all over Western Europe. The emigration becomes even more hurting given the most of the new émigrés are university or high school graduates and therefore people with a genuine creative potential who seek employment in the West, although all they get is low-paid menial jobs turned down by locals. Black labour is a painful reality encountered not just in Romania. Servile aping, a characteristic of so many of Romania’s so-called “strategic investors” is favouring black labour, as attested by the more than 20,000 cases of infringements on the Romanian labour legislation.The unrestricted abortions, which come to nearly 1 million annually, make the problem even worse. The National Institute of Statistics has recently warned that it’s more than 60 years since Romania did not register so low a birth rate as it does now. The Orthodox Church viewing abortion as a grave sin doesn’t have the expected outcome either, unfortunately. Should the Romanian women resorting to abortions, despite their religious faith, be seen as hypocrites? No, since it is the deep poverty Romania struggles coping with that lies at the root of this high abortion rate, a poverty that reflects negatively on the newborn themselves, so much so that Romania has the highest infant mortality rate Europe-wide. Each year, thousands of mere few month-old  infants die in this country and the tragedy strikes the other age groups as well by means of increasingly more frequent cardio-vascular, renal, lung diseases, diabetes and even AIDS.Despite the demographic collapse being Romania’s most serious problem today, due to poverty or other causes, Romanian politicians are indifferent and irresponsible to it. A European Parliament report warns about the decline and aging of the population in the European Union countries going to trigger a crisis ten times more severe than the ongoing social-economic one. Such prediction is more timely than ever in Romania, whose population declines by over 1 million people every five to six years. This, in turn, results in an overwhelmingly numerous retiree population which burdens the pension system to an extent that makes us wonder how sustainable it would be, and for how long, also since Romania pawned its future by taking large foreign loans.Clinging stubbornly to the present, without any vision for the future, remains the dominant aspect of Romanian politics. Prospective thinking is not an attribute of the Romanian politician, for whom acquiring as many personal possessions as possible rules supreme, which explains why they see themselves as democrats, liberals, socialists, independents etc. first and Romanians, last, an identity some of them despise altogether. Save for election time, when they call for “national solidarity” in support of some decisions that disqualify exactly their political capacity, or they bow out to certain ethnic xenophobes in order to muster their support that would help them stay in power, even if those minority xenophobes’ only aim is to split the Romanian territory in “lands” in line with the Kosovo model.And so it is that the multifaceted crisis Romania is grappling with manifests itself increasingly acute without Romanian politicians taking it seriously really. The appeasing, quieting political reactions, with the usual electoral promises attached to them dominate the picture. Expert warnings are often dismissed as adverse political leanings, and, as far as the demographic decline is concerned, the collapse, they say, is found all over the West, as if this “European alignment” should excuse the irresponsibility shown by Romanian politicians. As usual, the opposition points the finger at today’s government for the grave demographic, educational and health shortcomings, although once in power, the former will institute increasingly more aberrant discriminations, with favouring their cronies as the staunchest followed criterion. It is from this physical and moral tragedy that the greatest tragedy erupts, which the huge majority of the Romanian people struggle against.

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