The 1st of Decemer is the Great Union Day here in Romania. It’s the national holiday when we all celebrate the unification of Transylvania, Bessarabia and Bukovina with the Romanian Kingdom. It’s also the day when all the Christmas lights and decorations are on and up around the whole country and everything starts to look and feel very festive.

We have 2 more weeks until the 1st of December, but everything is getting prepared already.

Yesterday morning I saw 2 groups of 3 men each, one group on each side of the road. 1 man was holding tons of red, yellow and blue colored flags (such a huge amount you couldn’t see his face) and the other 2 were holding a ladder. They were walking in the morning fog with their heads down, because it was cold af yesterday here in Cluj. They were walking from lamppost to another, hanging a flag on each. It was their job to decorate this part of the city. To get it ready for the big day. It marked me. It marked me because this is pretty much the perfect illustration of how we are. As a nation.

I am not romanian, but I was born and raised in Romania, I love this country and it is my home. So when I say “this is how we are”, I am not blaming the people I share this country with. I mean all of us. Including me.

Our country is burning. And we are decorating for the Great Union Day. Isn’t it… idk inappropriate?

A few days ago there was a huge fire in a hospital in Piatra Neamt. People died there… 10 people to be precise. The doctor who tried to save them got injured as well, and he was transported to Belgium. Why? Because 5 years after the tragedy of Colectiv we are still not prepared to treat our patients who have severe burn injuries. After 11 months of global pandemic we are still not prepared to treat people who get sick. We burn them instead … literally.

But we are so great at making things look fine. Tara arde si baba se piaptana*, we say. And we are what we say.

It’s so easy to get over these things, and pretend that it could never happen to us. It’s so easy to decorate the cities and celebrate properly our nationl holiday, and pretend that everything is just fine. But I don’t want to forget that while I was celebrating my little cousin’s birthday in Switzerland 5 years ago, people died. In my country.

A picture I took this Saturday while the hospital in Piatra Neamt was on fire

I don’t want to forget that while I was having fun with my friends last Saturday by the fire, others burned to death. In my country. Again. I don’t want to forget these things, and I won’t. You shouldn’t either.

*the country is on fire, and the old woman is brushing her hair


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