The Return of the Nonprodigal Son
Mihai Pascal

The children didn?t come back to me. One year ago my son started working for my business, but he is still a commuter. I hope he settles here, but his decision depends on the way the firm will go. My children speak perfect Romanian. They consider themselves Israeli, because in the Mosaic religion it is the mother who decides the nationality of the children. They grew up in Israel and they are of Mosaic religion. They love it in Romania, although it is very hard for them to understand and to stand the old Communist mentality. We all had and we still have double citizenship: Romanian and Israeli.

It was harder for my boy when he came back here for the first time. In the beginning he couldn?t understand the attitude towards work and many other things connected to the outdated life conceptions. He needed a lot of patience and explanations. He had to remember his first childhood years spent in Romania, to get back in touch with his friends and his teachers. That was the only way he could adjust to the Romanian reality and tune it in with the European capitalist conceptions he got in Israel. He understood that not everything is black here and that not everything is pink over there. There is need of a lot of effort and of a lot of understanding. The good thing in Romania is the respect for books and for culture.The school system is good and it is respected. Teachers are respected as well. There is a lot of reading and thinking done in Romania.

Even if I was not in the country I kept in touch with my friends and I reconnected with them all. I don?t see much of them these days because I am very busy, but I am happy every time we can get together. I don?t have the feeling that I was absent for so many years.

When I left I was just another member of my family. Meanwhile, before I knew it, I have become a sort of ?pater familiae?. I take care of all of them. In fact, ever since I left I never stopped thinking of them. I had an old mother and siblings. From the beginning I wanted to get better off in order to be able to help them out, because life was tough in Romania. I did all I could to help them. Now I am the oldest in the family and I still do whatever I can to help them. I brought them all to Iaşi. Both my brother and my sister are here. I talked my sister into going to University to Iaşi. We are all gathered here, together. We didn?t sell my mother?s place in Baru, even if we rarely go there. It is the way things must be. Our family?s grave is there and we had to keep a piece of what was left of the property, even if it is not a house, but an apartment in a flat. This is it!

I am surprised that nobody does anything to stop the brain-drain from Romania. Of course, everyone has the right to go wherever, but this country should offer the decent conditions that would make the people stay instead of go some place else. I am saying that because less than 50% of the people who leave are not able to lead a dignified, honorable life over there. It is a pity that very many fail because of the conditions and because of the unadjustability. This is what I see when I look at the Romanian Diaspora. It is not united, it is not strong enough to have a say in favor of Romania, at international or national level. They cannot positively influence things. Compared to the Polish or the Hungarian Diasporas, ours is split and powerless. Hungary is a smaller country than Romania, but it managed to create abroad strong groups and a united Diaspora. And the Hungarian state keeps in touch with it. Many Romanians leave in search for adventure. It is good neither for them, nor for the country. Why aren?t they united? Because their mentality is the every-man-for-himself type. It?s sad!

Returning to Iaşi after fifteen years feels like being backed home. Had I settled in a different city it would have been harder for me. But here I found my own again. I am backing home, together with the same people, in the city that forged me and which I know so well.

                                                                        Interview by Vlad Manoliu

                                                                                                                Translated by Cora Moţoc

 <<  1  2  3  4  5

Martor nr 1/1996
Martor nr 2/1997
Martor nr 3/1998
Martor nr 4/1999
Martor nr 5/2000
Martor nr 6/2001
Martor nr 7/2002
Martor nr 8-9/2003-2004
Martor nr 10/2005
Martor nr 11/2006
Martor nr 12/2007

© 2003 Aspera Pro Edu Foundation. Toate drepturile rezervate. Termeni de confidentialitate. Conditii de utilizare