The Purity of the Romanian Soul?
Obi Moore

I?m here since 1992, prior to that I?ve made my first trip here in 1990, I was an official observer from U.S.A at the elections, I was practicing law at Washington D.C. and I was a member of something called The International Human Rights Law Group, I was a member pro bono association, attorneys of private practice willing to spend time for a greater good if you will, if you can remember when the Berlin wall fell in November 1989 many people in Washington D.C. were caught by surprise, they were ill prepared for that event and necessary responses to it at the time George Bush senior was the president and there wasn?t a lot of  a media for public money to be devoted, so the public sector hires private persons. I was single and not married, I then came to Romania with three other lawyers that made an objective and balanced report about the elections here in Romania and it was much more critical than US government saw these things. At that time were very few people in Washington DC knowing more about Romania so for the next two years when someone from Romania would come to Washington I would get invited to the reception, to the round tables, so quite a few well known names in Romania that time visited US, so intentionally Romania became my interest. Living in Washington I was always interested in public policies, international affairs, there were a little bit my hobby. I was appointed to come to Romania because a few people in Washington were interested in Romania; it was a greater interest in Hungary, Poland or Czech republic. I grew up in Texas were the ethnic diversity was really based on the Latin influence and so the Mexican Americans, as we called them tahanos in Texas, were my ethnic diversity and I had three years of Spanish and learn much things about Latin cultures, and so I just said Romania is suppose to be a Latin island in a Slavic sea, I have read, so they were quick to accept a willing volunteer for Romania. It was an extraordinary education about the country to come here and travel around the country for two weeks, to observe the elections prior to and after, you learns a lot. I came back again to Romania in September 1990. Then I had two objectives: one was business and the other was continuing my human rights work. It had been the June mineriada and there were 51 students who have disappeared, they were arrested, they put them in jail. There was a great concern how these 51 persons were arrested. The International Human Rights Law Group wanted to deploy someone to Romania to come in September 1990 to investigate this. Petre Mihai Băcanu had discovered a mass-grave at Străuleşti cemetery. I was deployed along with a medical examiner from Chicago to come to take photos of those persons buried there to determine whether or not this could be students. The photos were taken back to Chicago to be examined by experts trying to determine the kind of death of these persons, the cause of death. But there were inconclusive, the overall assessment was that it couldn?t be a relation between those bodies and the students disappeared when the miners came into town.  So it was all this controversy about the commitment of the National Salvation Front for the values of democracy. That was my start here and I also attended that time a state oil company, they had in Bucharest in September 1990 the first oil and gas concessions conference with their offers to oil companies to consider. That was also an educational experience for me travelling all around the Carpetians looking at all those geological formations. Then I lost my enthusiasm, going to the Străuleşti cemetery was a very difficult and unpleasant thing?Someone says that you always know, you can understand the level of civilization of a country by going and visiting their prisons and morgues, and this was not a pleasant place to be?.  Then assistance money were started to be appropriate in Washington, money was made available to? I have three offers to come to Romania as a consultant because even it was a difficult experience during 1991. So I decided to come to Romania, I accept a consulting contract, basically was an institution building programmer, rule of the law, focusing on building the N.G.O. sector, civil society?and I travelled around the country organizing various meeting among civic leaders of all sides. One of the problems was to elevate the NGO at the level of prefect, they never been in the same room together, so they can talk openly, identify the problems, identify means and resources. I remember Sighişoara, Iaşi, Sibiu, Baia-Mare, Salonta, Braşov, Galaţi, Arad, provoking people just to say? the message was that the Americans won?t come and set things for you, you have to decide things for you, this is democracy, you have the responsibility of saying? your grandfathers were on different sides but now you have to find ways to associate based on your common interest and this was a kind of social exercise.

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