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June 27, 2022


A Romanian called Tiberiu Useriu recently won one of the toughest and most difficult marathons in the world – the 6633 Arctic Ultra – for the second time. The infernal race covered 566 kilometres, close to the Arctic Circle.

Tiberiu Useriu covered the 566 kilometres of ice, snow, arctic winds and temperatures which often drop below minus thirty-six degrees Celsius, suffering from frostbites, wearing four pairs of pants and displaying super-human mental resistance.

The story of the Romanian ultra-distance runner from the ice inferno could successfully be used for a Hollywood production. A story that Tiberiu Useriu materialised in a book called “27 de pasi” (27 steps).

Briefly put, Tiberiu Useriu, the current world champion in the 6633 Arctic Ultra marathon, is the opposite of the man Tiberiu Useriu used to be several years ago, a Romanian convicted in Germany and Austria to 23 years in prison for armed robbery and attempted murder, a man who managed to escape prison twice and who in the end served 10 years in prison.

In his book, Useriu explains this miraculous inner transformation and unbelievable change of destiny: “At first, I was dreaming about revenge and a new escape. That’s what I dreamt in the first years of detention and it was hard for me to regret anything, because I was living in my bubble and that’s what I was hoping to continue doing. But after four or five days, I realised I must do something else and this helped me a lot. I started to meditate, I started to educate myself and to realise that this is not life and I must take another step forward.”

Many of those reading these lines will probably ask themselves at this point: All right, so what?

In life, a man can change in many ways. Good for him, for Tiberiu Useriu the man! Good for him for managing to accomplish this huge and miraculous transformation from an individual living at the lowest and most unfortunate levels of society into a positive hero, one worthy of being presented as a role model for children and for all those who definitively lost their hope for the better and in man’s strength and capacity to educate himself and to discover that fantastic side we all have in us – resistance in the face of evil’s temptation.

Yes, good for him and good for all those who really understand what the idea of resisting actually means. Because this editorial is about resistance.

And this fantastic resistance and perseverance, tenacity and concentration – which Tiberiu Useriu has stored and processed, transforming them, in the end, into success, renown and positivity channelled into an entirely noble goal – serve to outline and be the object of the traits of those thousands of Romanians who, starting three months ago, managed to resist in the streets, in front of the seat of the Romanian Government, for a cause.

A cause which – unfortunately and through a conversion completely opposite of the one that helped the ultra-distance runner become a positive character, a better man for himself and for humanity – ended up being the object of manipulation and perfect opportunity in the minds of some who do not have the faintest connection with what #resist actually symbolises for the people out in the streets.

A cause which, for some (at this moment only two), perfectly serves personal interests, the petty, rapacious desire to climb on top of the shoulders of the many to end up as rapidly, directly and emotionally as possible in the area of power and visibility – in the area of politics.

Thus, #resist has become, almost overnight, from a social movement of unprecedented extent and intensity in the last twenty years, a contextual gimmick, a field of speculations at the stock market of political bets and of the partisan fungus that never loses the opportunity to make a mockery out of and to irredeemably destroy the best and cleanest intentions and initiatives that the Romanian civil society has ever had since 1989.

#resist can become, very soon, another Romanian political party.

#RESIST has already become a Facebook page that bears the name ‘TheParty#RESIST” and which claims to be a virtual political space (!) “for all of us who, together, are building this party for a different kind of politics and a different kind of country.”

As the saying goes, no good deed goes unpunished.

And in this case, no good intention can go untouched, unsullied and undragged into the great Romanian political morass in which such movements and causes end up.

It would be superfluous to say that one of those who got hold of this idea on the go and saw it fit to represent an opportunity that deserves to be and must be fully used “happens” to be a former president of the UNPR Arges party branch, Mr Iulian Uta, businessman and great owner of a local newspaper.

Just as it is superfluous to predict what will pretty much come of this Romanian dream and cause in the end.

However, the moral remains but one: in a country in which a man can be spiritually reborn, even in the 11th hour, like Barabbas, a people’s resistance in the face of evil is not dependent on a hashtag and slogan stolen overnight or during daytime and registered as a party in the book of Romanian history.


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