By definition, the Diaspora is an entity that inspires respect and has always inspired respect, regardless of the country of origin and of the period discussed.
During the last week, the word Diaspora was on a rising trend and was among the most frequently pronounced in the public space in Romania and all over the world, due to the scandal caused by the inefficient organizing of voting procedures for Romanians living and working outside the borders of their native country. Their effort and tenacity deserve constant appreciation, yet the recent events that involved the Diaspora deserve a surplus of attention and a careful analysis and are a priceless lesson for all of us.
The Romanians who chose to live in exile, sacrificing themselves in order to build a career and a dignified destiny far away from their country, departing from their nation, their families and loved ones, their life and former profession exercised in Romania, were always seen with respect and admiration, during the Communist dictatorship, during Interwar times, as well as at the beginning of the century, due to their persistent struggle to contribute, each in their own ways, to the development of their own country and to defend the rights of their countrymen who remained home.
For decades, valuable intellectuals who had gone to live overseas, especially during the Communist regime, never forgot where they were coming from, their springs of origin and never ceased to think and vibrate in the language of the Romanian soul, to fight and contribute in their own way to defending the sacred values and ideals of their country and nation, as well as to the economical development of Romania.
An editorial would not be enough to fully point out the merits of our remote heroes, who, throughout history, preserved their passionate love of their country and struggled with all their might so that the fundamental rights of Romanians left at home would be defended: national identity, freedom, a dignified and economically prosperous life. These heroes have a well-deserved place in history books, in specialized treaties, as well as in the collective conscience and the hearts of Romanians.
Regardless of the referred historical age, the Romanian Diaspora was a powerful force, with a great impact on political, economical and social evolutions in the country.
Aware of the massive impact this far-away force had and its ability to impregnate new ideas and doctrine values on the consciences of Romanians left at home, the Communist “Securitate” did anything in their power to divide and to antagonize the Diaspora. Because a united Diaspora that inoculates democratic ideas, principles and values from outside the Iron Curtain was perceived by the repressive institution as a great and dangerous threat for their specific techniques of propaganda and manipulation to keep the collective mind of the nation under drastic control, with people living inside the borders impregnated only with those ideas that would turn them into an inert mass of maneuver, with washed brains: the puppet collection of the Communist Party, a sort of dolls put in operation with the small key, who even to breathe were not allowed without the Securitate acknowledgement. As to come into contact with fresh ideas and principles behind the Iron Curtain, no way.
After the 1989 Revolution, when the liberty to travel led to a substantial increase in the number of Romanians living and working abroad, the force named the Diaspora consolidated not only by means of number, but also due to their actions intended to lead to the coagulation of strong communities, led by associations and organizations that have an increasingly powerful voice, shouting out loud for the rights of Romanian citizens regarding a dignified treatment, equal to other immigrants, including residence right, health insurance, schools for children, as long as the members of these communities abide the laws in force of their adoptive countries, work honestly and contribute to the GDP.
The Romanian Diaspora, estimated at a total of 8 – 10-12 million Romanians living outside our country’s borders, once again proved that it was a force, economically as well, as the billions of euro sent home all these years by the Romanians working abroad substantially contributed to Romania’s GDP as well. By example, last year, Romanians working abroad sent EUR 4.2 billion home, which is a greater sum than the one invested by foreigners in Romania. A substantial sum, although it was drastically reduced, almost to half, by the economical and financial crisis and by the unemployment in their adoptive countries, compared to the year 2008, when the money sent home by Romanians working abroad totalized EUR 7.8 billion.
In the first years after the 1989 Revolution, our country’s interests to find its place in international organizations did not have a powerful lobby made by the Romanian communities in the world’s greatest capitals (such as the consistent lobby by the Hungarian Diaspora in America on the US Congress for the admission of Hungary in NATO , when Washington and the Euro-Atlantic community started considering the possibility to admit new members from the former Communist group of Central and Eastern Europe, out of security reasons).
Today, though, the Romanian Diaspora is increasingly well organized, powerful, more united and determined to impose itself as a respected voice, heard not only by the authorities of countries where massive Romanian communities live (Spain, Italy, etc.) and where representatives of Romanians are co-opted by the authorities of their adoptive countries in the decisions taken by the Mayoralties to better cover the necessities of Romania-based immigrants.
Due to the force it represents in certain countries, such as, by example, Spain and Italy, because of its number as well as of the contribution to the GDP of the respective countries, the Romanian Diaspora turned into an important factor that influences authorities’ crucial decisions in their adoptive countries, regarding social and charity measures.
Respected by the authorities of other countries, but humiliated and taken for granted by the Bucharest authorities by a poor organization of voting stations abroad, the Diaspora proved, by the fantastic mobilization that determined them to resist for hours in extremely long queues to vote for their president, that it is a force which cannot be ignored and ridiculed, a tsunami-like force with a shock wave that produced an unexpected ending in the case of the Romanian presidential elections, as the results were overturned. The favourite in the opinion polls, Prime Minister Victor Ponta, considered as the responsible party for the terrible organization of the elections abroad, was painfully sanctioned at the ballot box, with a massive vote of censure, as many voters inside and outside Romania’s borders went to vote not necessarily because they supported Iohannis, but because they wanted to teach a lesson to the PSD candidate by voting against him.
This unprecedented mobilization of Romanians all over the world for the elections of November 2 and 16 also resulted in a record voter turnout inside the country, as they crowded at the ballot stations to express solidarity with their fellow countrymen from the entire world who have been humiliated.
This, crucially influenced the results of the runoff elections and Romania’s political future for at least the five next years and will certainly be mentioned in history books, at the chapters about “elections” and “vox populi”.
Moreover, the Romanian Diaspora proved once more that it was a major force, with a crucial impact on the evolution of its home country, economically, socially and politically. It proved to be a powerful voice that cannot be ignored, that must be always taken in consideration, an entity that must always be treated with respect, gratitude and admiration.
Treated properly, with respect for its dignity, efforts and sacrifices, and admitting its incontestable role on the evolution of the country, the Diaspora can become even more of a bridge connecting Romania to the countries were massive communities of Romanians live, with a fantastic impact upon the improvement of Romania’s image in the respective countries. This image is frequently encrusted in false impressions and clichés, and, starting out of isolated cases, it frequently led to unjust generalizations that have nothing to do with reality.