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February 25, 2021

Zoe Petre: “Basescu is relying on power structures traditional in communist dictatorship”

Close to the group of USL intellectuals, Zoe Petre, former president Emil Constantinescu’s aide, stated in an interview for ‘Adevarul’ daily that the “Basescu’s intellectuals” formula is correct “if and only it refers to those intellectuals that abdicated from their position of criticism in order to permanently eulogize the Leader: irrespective of whether they do it out of honesty or in a mercenary way, gritting one’s teeth or smiling ecstatically, the renunciation of the critical distance is the one that gave them the aforementioned label. I don’t see why an intellectual that compares Ceausescu to Pericles is more condemnable than one that states Basescu is a visionary.” Zoe Petre added that she tried to differentiate between the intellectuals charmed by Traian Basescu’s “spontaneity” and their accomplices interested in the money they can obtain from the Romanian budget under the president’s protection.

At the same time she stated she is amazed by the eulogies brought to President Basescu, which, according to her, strike a false note compared to the President’s deeds, adding that “anyone not blinded by adoration for the captain” can perceive this disparity. “If such excessive – and stupid – eulogies are made by Romania’s prestigious intellectuals we are all ashamed, just as we felt embarrassed when Sabin Balasa was transforming Ceausescu into a golden and celestial flier.”At the same time, the former presidential aide expressed her support for PNL President Crin Antonescu “because, as I know him for three decades, I have the conviction that he has the political intelligence and the necessary good faith to block the anti-democratic side slipping that Traian Basescu provoked in recent years.” Asked why in Romania there is the belief that intellectuals should be “someone’s,” that someone has to “hold them in arms,” Zoe Petre stated that she does not believe this is Romania’s shortcoming, “it’s rather the responsibility of successive generations of intellectuals that sided with power, no matter how excessive and hideous it was.” The former presidential aide considers that “the intellectual’s condition is difficult when assumed in good faith: the real intellectual lives simultaneously in two worlds, the world of ideas and the world of palpable realities.

They communicate but do not merge and they often argue violently – the wise man’s quarrel with the world as one would put it. Likewise, the intellectual lives permanently under the sign of critical discernment, which makes him uncomfortable for others and for him too.”

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