Stefanie R. and Stefanie S.

Urgently needed: Any and all strong-willed women, with a general distaste for Gold Corporations, to inhabit a house in a small village and fight like hell against a planned gold mining project. Preference will be given to women bearing the name Stefanie..

Stefanie R.* was writing for a professional journal in London. Stefanie S. was spreading peace in Cluj. One day they heard a whispering in their ears… Your name is Stefanie and your presence is much needed in a red mountain in Transylvania. There you shall become a fierce fighter and you must put an end to much of the evil that persists in that region. Be bold and brave! You have not to fear; for there will be another Stefanie at your side. You will be a terrific duo and you will do much damage to the godless Gold corporation that is causing strife to the mountain. Go and go soon. Peace…

"No No No! We are not trying to convince anybody that the gold mining project is a bad one, we are simply tring to empower the local residents to make informed decisions themselves and to have the ability to defend their own interests." Stefanie S. assured me. In other words, bring the power to the people.

Of course they are extremely opposed to the gargantuan mining project sitting in their backyard. The Rosia Montana Gold Corporation, the bastards who want to turn the whole area into a dependency of the moon, craters and all, are their arch enemies. All of their all and all of their innards are squarely focused against them. All the time.

Working as the on-site Alburnus Maior representatives in Rosia Montana, they pass out flyers, show educational films and are getting people to sign petitions. Their hope is that with a sufficient collection of signatures, they can oblige the major of Rosia Montana, a turncoat now on the payroll of the mining company, to hold a referendum on the issue.

One of their strongest points of protest is inhabiting a house in Rosia Montana that the corporation would dearly like to buy. Leaving their home, which doubles as their office, is not at all in their plans. In case it ever comes to an order to relinquish their abode, they will turn first to the regional court of Alba Iulia, after that Bucharest and if push and shove turns into an all-out rumble, they will make their stand at the International Court in Strassbourg.

In the meantime the corporation can’t dig, but as they are moving in hard on the village, ruin finds itself rhyming with reality. As not everybody has been as steadfast as the Stefanies, up to 30% of the village inhabitants have already turned their property over to the Goldies and have left town. This has an obvious effect on services: Anybody with a toothache or a flu needs to drive, hitchhike or rollerskate to a neighboring town where dentists and physicians still have office hours.

It also remains an open question of how long the cemetary will be open for more RIP’s, and even whether the local school will push arithmatic and spelling for much longer.  Fortunately foodstuffs are still available, but buying out and closing down the grocery stores is also an obvious goal of the corporation, which would effectively turn the town into a near-uninhabitable one and spead up the procurement of the remaining property deeds. Yet here as well the company can expect to face tough resistance: The owner of one of the stores is also a member of Alburnus Maior, and will be no more easily gotten rid of than the Stefanies.

Stefanie R is counting on her previous experience in Romania to be a boon to her Rosia Montana efforts. At an earlier period she lived in Sigisoara, a popular Transylvanian tourist destination, where she campaigned with the local opposition against the erecting of a Dracula amusement park nearby. This was a success story and it has propelled her hope that she can and will be victorious here too. "Come back and visit us in this beautiful countryside once we have sent them scrambling for good" she tells us.

* Footnote: For both stylistic as well as identity protection reasons, their names have been changed very slightly. One of them sports an extra a and the other one gets an h and a p. They both lose a letter each.

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