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January 27, 2023

Imperative or student responsibility

Throughout a long-standing tradition, student life in Romania has been an active and responsible hard core, with attitudes in front of which, exactly as they represented the authentic Romanian conscience, the authorities in the late 19th century, for example, found themselves compelled to integrally respect. That’s because Romanian students have always been a superior model of behavior, primarily due to their grand ideals and devotion proved while fulfilling them. In the manifestations of students there was an enlightened, constructive radicalism, a spirit of sacrifice in the service of the highest Romanian ideals some university professors, some of the stature of Bogdan Petriceicu Hasdeu or Nicolae Iorga, would cultivate also as spiritual parents of the students. The generations of Romanian intellectuals developed during the two decades between 1895 and 1915, are the generations of Bogdan Petriceicu Hasdeu and Nicolae Iorga; generations nurtured by the national spirit, ready for any sacrifice for the accomplishment of the first and foremost national ideal – the unity of all Romanians in a single state, grounded on cultural unity and national solidarity.

Those were the generations that, through an exemplary spirit of sacrifice, accomplished the Greater Romania.
A very eloquent fact as to the deep influence Nicolae Iorga, for instance, had on his students, is his address on 13 March 1906, known by the name of ‘Fight for the Romanian Language’. The large-scale student movement was aimed at the wealthy classes, the ‘elitists’ of then and ever, estranged from the national culture. When the representatives of the ‘elitists’ stubbornly insisted to stage a play ion a foreign language at the National Theatre in Bucharest, Nicolae Iorga gave a fulminating speech in front of the Bucharest students whom he called to take to the streets and stop the defiance of the ‘elitist’ classes of the national language. The students enthusiastically followed him and serious clashes with the Police took place in the National Theatre. The students raised barricades, sang ‘Wake up, Romanian!’ and the incriminated play was suspended. It was that heroic generation of intellectuals who, 10-11 years later, were going to bleed on the battlefields of Marasesti to make Greater Romania.
Down the same line as a spiritual mentor, in 1907 Nicolae Iorga uttered the devastating curse ‘May God forgive them!’ to the elitist gigmen, guilty of the crimes committed against the big peasant uprising of 1907.‘Still in 1908, the same Nicolae Iorga was elected, also with the support of the students, as Secretary General of the Cultural League, to the programme of which he introduces the ‘education of masses’ and ‘awakening and strengthening national Romanian conscience’.
I would like to believe that it is in the same brilliant tradition that the academic milieus have been at least mentioning the need to restore the unity of student action. One such initiative is the recent public statement of a group of students from Galati. They accuse impudent politicized attitude because of which ‘Romanians’ children do not have nourishing and natural food and pupils started school without text books. What have you been doing all summer?’ – the students are asking Romanian politicians. And they are giving the answer themselves: ‘You have been traveling and you have been drinking. Where is the beauty of the first day in school, with the ABC book on the table, and a rose lying on it?… Because this is how it had been before 1990. And the first formers would pass underneath the tunnel of flowers made by eight formers. How can a pupil study today unnourished and frozen? There are no more book stores and libraries. The former bookstores have been turned into footwear and liquor shops’. All such accusations implicitly call for a unity of action of Romanian students.
The idea of unity as such is welcome, knowing that the disorientation grows among the younger generation and illiteracy amplifies first of all because of the decreasing economic motivation of knowledge. A rigorously defined position of the student community as the most active and the most receptive nucleus of the demands of the future can act as a catalyst for restoring the social prestige of professional competence. And it could also give the specific student capacity of mobilization and action a more accentuated constructive nature through this very attribute of superior moral motivation. Hence such a dignity can be obtained through backstage negotiations that are transient and ephemeral. No matter how many ‘agreements’, ‘conventions’, ‘pacts’ student organizations may conclude based on strictly political criteria, they would just strengthen a minor spirit of a group, of an enclave, undermining the very representative character of the students. On the other hand, the integration to the conduct of the students of superior principles such as the supremacy of value, of education and competence, identification with our major national ideals give students the social and moral condition they deserve.
From g\here results – we believe – the need for the various student organizations to emancipate themselves from the fosterage of political parties. The students’ action at a cultural, social and even political level must be the extension of their own spiritual and moral condition and by no means a borrowed ritual. The choice of one way or another in developing Romania must be put under the sign of an aware analysis, of an effort of synthesis and national solidarity, and not be the consequence of outer pressures ’r the result of alignment with pre-set ideas and models. As a matter of fact, students themselves, for a good reason, adhere to the idea that such emancipation would be the first prerequisite of establishing in the academic mentality a genuine supremacy of quality. The process as such begins with the option for the quality of one’s own training. In the process of academic education, the conditions for using hostels, the criteria for the award of the various bursaries are, of course, important, but they should not exhaust, as it usually happens, the concern of student organizations about the quality standards in Romanian education. Knowing that, post-graduation, the only criterion that matters is scientific and professional competence.

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