Life is just a mirror, and what you see out there, you must first see inside of you. (Wally Amos)
I walk on the street and I see a big parade of faces, costumes and identities. The life that these people emanate describes the scene from a satire, a film noir…a paradox. The people and faces don’t mix and the graveyards are way too far, as life emerges from everywhere.
Some people have shiny shoes and others have dirty clothes. The smell of perfume spreads over the dirty faces of the ones that represent the black landmarks on the streets of Bucuresti. And this is a story about the people who don’t exist…the ones that appear only as ghosts in the cities, the ones that our societies don’t really care about, the ones that whisper in our ears the truth about our equality in theory but not in everyday reality.
Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it’s time to pause and reflect. (Mark Twain)
The economic power divides people into distinct groups and aligns them on a continuum, from rich to poor and unfortunately, sometimes, from happy to unhappy. Poverty induces marginality and social expulsion, pushing individuals on the edge of a centrifugal society, towards isolation and limited access to any means of survival. Life is painted on the pavement of the streets and on the dirty ruins called walls, where the people, the rats and the diseases breathe the same air and live together in a ghetto that operates as a prison.
The equalitarian policies that Romania benefited from during the communist times, allowed people to eventually have a roof over their head. Nowadays the Anti-Poverty Commission declared that a man needs to work 143 years in order to afford to buy a house, one in two people lives on the edge of poverty and one in three on the edge of starvation. Our Government doesn’t even try to pretend that it cares about these people and it is no coincidence that the Social Policies cease to make any difference, while people are trying to fight against Don Quixote’s wind mills in wait for a new day.
Love and business and family and religion and art and patriotism are nothing but shadows of words when a man’s starving. (O. Henry, Heart of the West, 1907)
Just as I am writing these lines, Bucuresti is the capital that hosts “Les jours de la francophonie”, an event that brings together the political elite of the francophone states all over the world in an attempt to discuss about the coordination of political activities, the promoting of cultural diversity and of shared democratic values, the support of education and sustainable development. The budget for a week of fun, culture and political discussions was an investment of 10 million euro from the romanian authorities. And no one has anything against culture and politics, but the common people are sick of words and promises that are blown away like dandelions in the spring winds.
Our political leaders don’t care about the people. And this is a statement that I can assume responsibility for if anyone could prove me that I’m wrong. But I doubt it…and unfortunately this is what every poor or homeless person that starves on the streets of Bucuresti would say. And they say it for years now. Still, their voices don’t have enough power to shatter the windows and walls of the monstrous building where their future is being decided. And they remain outside in the pouring rain while the autumn cool wind blows their houses away, together with their dreams and hopes of change in brave new worlds.
The pure and simple truth is rarely pure and never simple. (Oscar Wilde)
Tomorrow might be just like today, or maybe not… But I hope that one day the silent voices will deafen the ears that never listened. But most of all, I hope that there will come a day when I will walk on the streets of my home town and see that people took off their masks of ignorance and break the hearts of stone that drive expensive cars, with the speed of light, while ignoring the ones that beg their mercy on the grey pavement.
The day when people will realize that everyone is part of everyone else, would be the day when the change will break free. And there will be no more children sleeping in carton boxes, people sharing rooms with rats, old people dying alone in ruined houses without water and electricity after 40 years of hard work, children that will never be registered anywhere as Romanian citizens because they were born on the street by abused mothers. There will be no more tolerance for the ones that have the power and are suppose to make a change, but don’t look down to see the ordinary people that every four or five years put them on a pedestal and invest them with the authority to change their lives for the better.
Be the change you want to see in the world. (Mahatma Gandhi)
Meanwhile we should keep our eyes wide open and see the reality that surrounds us. The streets speak for themselves and people live out loud even in the darkest bunkers. And maybe these people need a helping hand from other people that can help them even with the most insignificant things…someone who comes from the ordinary world not from the luxuriant rooms of the Government buildings. And if they would hold hands and smile in front of these buildings, all the walls and antiphonal windows will explode while the dandelions will grow in the newly created public spaces for the “little people”. And that is when the political leaders will realize that people and realities do not cease to exist when they are ignored…