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September 25, 2021

The investment of ideas

Romanians are tolerant especially with other nations and much less tolerant with each other. This is the source of the major deficit of their public conscience, self-despising and only praising what is external, foreign and counterfeited. The general sentiment of tolerance, of clemency pertains to the structure of the Romanian soul, while self-contempt was infiltrated into them for centuries by the invaders that surrounded the Carpathians, wishing to steal the big natural wealth present here. A complex wealth, with moderate climate, fertile soil, large forests, underground rich in gold, silver, platinum, oil etc. This explains why all the great creators of Romanian spirituality are by definition tolerant, show solidarity with those in suffering, while the poison of self-contempt and especially of lack of confidence in our national values, starting with the Romanian Language, are generated and also can be found in the immigration and emigration that reached a peak today.

The first mean of resistance is defending and cultivating our defining values, starting with the Romanian Language. This fundamental truth is plenary present in a reference work of the Romanian culture, unjustly ignored today precisely because of the pressure put by public self-contempt. The work is ‘The history of religious tolerance in Romania’ (1868), through which its author, the great scholar of European importance Bogdan Petriceicu Hasdeu demonstrates, without possibility of denial, the clemency of the Romanian people, its endless goodness, its wide spiritual availability resulting mostly from the respect for the others, not once from overrating their merits compared to his own traits.
Comparing his historic acts is always present in this fundamental book, the Romanian spirit of tolerance is projected at universal scale. The differences or similarities with countries like France, Italy, Germany, Spain are made without any complex and the clearly formulated truths are completed through a subtext which equally excels in many suggestions and an inexhaustible interrogative fund. Especially in this subtext I believe can be found the answer to the interrogations of today’s reader, avid to know how is it possible that Romanians, even in their language crystallized for over 15 centuries and with the essence filtered through many historic deposits, tolerate today so many foreign expressions, barbarisms. Although the Romanian Language has its own correspondences, with a much richer expressive fund, which frequently are dislodged from their normal structure and pushed to the edge.
Such questions are renewed on each new edition of the ‘Gaudeamus’ book fair. Because in their programme of events, the editions with this profile include not only book launches, exhibitions, presentations of publishing houses and writers, consecrated or debutants, but also some interesting debates that aim at analysing the vital problems which confront the present-day written Romanian culture. In spite of individual particularities, participants in such share the conclusion that the Romanian book market was and remains very permeable to foreign book. The positive aspect is that, in our country, there were – and still are – many translations not only from the big western cultures, but also from geographically neighboring languages. Alas, a similar availability for Romanian culture cannot be found in Bulgaria, Poland, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Ukraine, Greece, Serbia and in many other countries.
The most disproportionate situation can be found in Hungary. In the years before 1989, in parallel with translating, in Romania, of the Hungarian-language writers – those living in Romania and in Hungary – the works of Romanian writers were being translated in Hungarian language by Romanian publishing houses. These translations were for the possible cultural preferences of ethnic Hungarians living in Romania. Of course, these translations only penetrated Hungary of a sporadic, fortuitous manner. But today they are used as counter-argument in the debates that evince all these disproportions unfavourable to Romanian culture. Such omissions, operated by only one side, and not once intently, signify the refusal of collaboration, the obstinate inequality that equally accuses the passiveness, mindlessness of the pertinent institutions of the Romanian state.
When there are discussions, in these institutions, about the possibility to make the Romanian culture known at global scale, the enthusiasm of initiators is stopped by invoking the fact that there are no financing sources. Romanian decision makers mask their cultural incompetence by invoking the lack of money. Ignoring the fact that the final success of any cultural initiative especially pertains to the value of ideas invested here. Not only with money, but especially with ideas can a culture become known to the world. An example in this respect is France, whose programme aimed at sending its culture abroad is built around modern, innovative ideas. Why, for instance, can we not distribute, based on the French model, CDs with the greatest poet, in our case Eminescu, translated in foreign languages? Why the massive translations from other cultures, well paid, hence very present on the Romanian book market, cannot be made in a trade-off regime with translations of representative Romanian works into the respective languages? Why not making known, this way, the works of the Romanian Language poets from Basarabia, Serbia or Israel?
Ion debates on these topics, strong criticism are made especially against the Ministry of Culture in Bucharest, frequently led by a representative of UDMR. This politician also has some important initiatives, but translating Romanian literature into foreign languages is a secondary matter of concern, if not completely ignored. There are many practical and useful initiatives which the government largely ignores when they are about to come to life, and the founding of Romanian bookshops in large European capitals, with many Romanian immigrants, is postponed by each government.
Can hope come from young generations? Of course, but on condition of a substantial education, also of patriotic nature. Being known that loving one’s country, language and national traditions does not come against the principles of the EU and, on the contrary, ennobles them through a multilingual communication, increasingly demanded today in all thus twinned states.

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