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August 12, 2022

The corrupt of today, the candidates of tomorrow?

Some descent from lavish limousines, flashing watches worth thousands of euro at the wrist and with an arrogant grin on their face, walk past the poor and revolted retired persons, journalists on minimum national pay, ‘wipe’ the uniforms of policemen piled by bank loans and enter, proud and with big steps, the dim offices of the prosecutors with the National Anticorruption Directorate (DNA). Many walk out with their head lowered, obsessively whispering the word ‘innocent’, with steel ‘bracelets’ at their wrists and with small steps, pushed up into gloomy police vans. Other are carried out of their opulent villas, posh restaurants, parks, cars, offices or cemeteries by law enforcers wearing face masks, with marked money pouring out of their pockets and are ‘put up’ in the greyest square metres they ever saw in their entire life, behind heavy iron gates that break them from the bright future they were picturing just hours before.
They are the corrupt ones. The world is full of them. But, in Romania, an entire cart seems to have tipped over. Drawing the line, this country looks as it, until recently, had been a huge village without dogs, where the peasants have been relentlessly labouring, having no respite to look around and see what’s going on and the nobility stripped them of everything they had.
Today, Romania is at the height of a cleansing campaign, a fight against the tentacles we realise are much longer and entangled. Every week we have at least one corrupt suspect among the locally elected officials or civil servants who is locked away. The fight seems to be increasingly resolute, and so seems DNA chief Laura Codruta Kovesi, this Corrado Cattani whose foot crushes the Romanian La Piovra. Until when? Up to where? – are normal questions asked by Romanians who will be called to the polls to vote in the local election next year.
The disgust with the political community has never been as major as it is now. The curses against elected officials have never been more emphatic. The regular person has never been more despaired about his/her future. And not because people are not happy that the justice system is, at last, doing its job for the first time in post-communist Romania, but because a void is left behind any corrupt politician who goes behind bars. It shouldn’t be like that. It seems that no one still wants to be a mayor, for example, only for the sake of the community and not for the personal benefit, as it’s been so far. It seems that no one wants to take up positions in the state apparatus as long as they are no longer able to do the good old tricks with fictitious agreements and fixed tendering. The audacity of the Mayor of Bucharest, Sorin Oprescu, recently caught with bribe on him amidst the massive current anti-graft campaign, does not offer any promising prospects. People wonder if perhaps DNA is not a Hercules whose Hydra has drunk the immortality elixir, or a Corrado Cattani alone against the world, a Don Quixote fighting with the windmills.
And even if there will be honest people in this country, ready and willing to let themselves in for the rule, who will still trust them? That’s because, according to the various opinion polls and recent history evidence, Romanians are a blatantly forging people, a people who forget quickly the evil done to them and who is willing to entrust with more confidence a known evil than an unknown evil. Giving all that, we should not be surprised to see among the candidates in the next election people who are being arrested or even convicted of corruption in high-profile cases as we speak. Romanians forget quickly.

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