The Purity of the Romanian Soul?
Obi Moore
 

I saw all kind of people, generally speaking what I sensed was a very fundamental need to exercise their minds, their bodies, their thoughts? they were never permitted previously, to? really even openly consider, to think about they certainly didn?t think about and now all of a sudden here an American standing in front of this people saying: tell me what you really think about, tell me what are your concerns about, what are the problems, how we achieve solutions. I had much compassion for this people at that time it was as if they had been kept in a little box unable to move and all of a sudden they were released from the box. Well, may be you get out for a while but you are still set in that corpse position, even now the box has been removed, because, you now, somehow the box  has become comfortable, or that position was the single comfortable, and now people are saying, you can move your arms, you can move your legs, you?re free to move about, and go where you want to go, and is uncomfortable for some people to have to do that, many of them had already just said ?this box is my destiny, I don?t really want to get out, don?t make me get out?. So many of them were afraid, and even angry that they have been forced to come out, because somehow their children or dependents that were responsible for? those who didn?t ? those who were described as lost generation, they were mentally gave up, tunned out. All of this change was too much to absorb and assimilate. Particularly pensioners were mentally given up. So it was very difficult, because changes are painful for all of us, even in United States? I saw people quiet for hours during those meetings and eventually their emotions  were just boil up and finally they would say something in response to a question, they just pourred out all of this toxic anger. So that?s why if you ever try to organize a very tight seminar of active discussions, they never do it, because people would never ask questions; they would make commentaries and speeches and so on. But that was OK. They needed to do that, they need a sort of omens to get these things out and to feel their words themselves. I grew up in a country where you?re always permitted to do all of these. People say: persons from developed democracies take their rights for granted? we do, we do, but we?ve learn. The other thing that I saw is related to market economy, decision making is that not growing up in a culture where you are constantly, as a child even making choice about values, your parents would give a quarter or a twenty-five cents and say? OK, you can go to the store and you can buy whatever you want ,but you just have a quarter and you, you would have to make that decision, as a six year old child and you will be looking to see how much  does it cost and so on. And sometimes you come home and you would say this candy is not very good, I?ve made the wrong choice, I should have got that other one, I knew that my brother got this one, in fact I want his and mummy, mummy I want his, no, no, you?ve made your choice, that?s your choice, you have to live with this. That was not part of the culture here.

That was an extraordinary opportunity to observe these things and I still have wonderful mementos from these events, people coming to you? because these were people that an ambassador wouldn?t have time to get to have extensive discussions. During that time I met my wife, she is Romanian. It was the last thing I was thinking about, but for me it was, you know, at first sight, I just said? At that time I wasn?t socialized with the Romanians. It was a policy of no fraternization at that time when I met my wife, because the Securitate files have not been opened for the US government every Romanian was a potential for the Romanian Securitate and so when I was first seen with my wife, in December 1992, at the American school, the next morning I was called into the embassy to say I saw you with that Romanian woman, don?t you know that you are violating the no fraternization policy?! And I said, excuse me, I?m not a diplomat, I don?t have diplomatic immunity here in Romania, I?m a consultant, a contractor, contracting with the U.S.I.D., but, I said, if I got the responsibilities to act within the duties of a diplomat give me the benefits of that, give the diplomatic immunity, give me access to the U.S. commissary, where we can go and buy. Back on those days western products were not available, the embassy brought overall of these specialized products, you know Coca-Cola, potato chips, and all the necessities that Americans had to have, give me access to that, give me diplomatic immunity, give me access to the overseas mail?.anyway I was permitted to socialize with my wife. We ended that getting married, a year and a half later. We have been married ten years, have two kids.

I say I marry the first Romanian woman that would go out with me? She came because she was recommended by someone for me to hire, I was looking for an assistant?I just said I do not want? I have other plans, so I convinced her would rather work to somebody else, rather than working for me. She went to work for The American Bar Association which had a project here that I knew. So we got on these projects travelling around the country, she travelled with me because The American Bar Association had a program here trying to implement rule of law programs, we were working with  the magistrates schools to train judges and so on?She was very much a part of all of these efforts. You know, I look back and I wonder why I had such a connection with the Romanian people? I guess coming here in 1990 after  the falling of the dictatorship? when you were talking with the ladies you saw how bright and  talented and gifted they were and very attractive people, and you just saw that great injustice that had held these people back so many years under this personality cult of the Ceausescu regime? When I was touring Casa Poporului I?ve got in mind that megalomania and you say:  ?My goodness how could someone used the resources of the country for something like this?. When an average person couldn?t find a banana to buy on the street?

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