through archived FRONTLINE/World conversations around
Hedinger - Calgary, Alberta
It was interesting to see how another former Communist country
is handling the transition to the "free market" of the West.
While the piece was very interesting, what he [Andrei] showed
regarding the "pain of transition" is nothing new. My roots
are Polish and I can attest that Poland has gone through
much of the same turmoil and difficult times that Romanians
are now experiencing. I think any former Soviet Bloc republic
is going through the same "shock therapy." But it's good
to SEE the piece. Now that interest in Eastern Europe has
largely faded in the western (North American) media, (over
a decade after the collapse of the Berlin Wall) it is IMPORTANT
that people realize that life over there is very difficult
for many people.
Johnson - Boston, Massachusetts
Truth is that if there is an economic opportunity it's worth
grabbing. Is true Romania is more than Bucharest and Dracula,
[and] has also a good economic advantage driving from tourism.
However the best economic stability will come from their
knowledge workers in science and technology that can really
make an economic rush on the area.
Petru - Hyattsville, Maryland
atrocities against the Jews took place "after the Vienna
Diktat of August 1940 made Maramures County part of Hungary".
The soldiers who took the Jews were Hungarians. I am glad
you stressed this historical fact.
Bardan - Emporia, Kansas
It is sad for me to see the image of Romania presented as
if there were no hope for it. Most of the things presented
are true, but I felt their presentation was biased and came
from someone who really did not know my country. The irony
of the strangers who noticed only the bad aspects reminded
me of many things. For example, the documentary ends with
the image of a street vendor selling placenta that "can
relieve stress." I know he may have been ridiculous, but
at the same time I thought about who gets to write the history...why
do we always have to be presented as "others?" A whole other
world is left out there, unnoticed...It is as if I decided
to make a documentary about the US by presenting in an ironic
tone different bad aspects that I see around me. Assuming
that the rest of the world knows not much about the US,
I would present selected information - such as, for example,
images with people selling silly products on US channels,
people who take drugs, etc.
Gary - Boston, Massachusetts
We have just had visitors from Romania - the minister of
our partner Unitarian church in Transylvania - an ethnically
Hungarian area. One should not overlook the indecencies
performed on these people during communism and since. Don't
romanticize arch rightist, Tudor, he campaigned saying,
"the only good Hungarian in Romania is a dead Hungarian".
The EU should look closely to ensure that reforms are not
just lip service, that all minorities...indeed all the people
of Romania are treated with respect and given opportunity.
Great report Andrei.
Soare - Boston, Massachusetts Responds:
You are right Mr. Gary, the EU should look closely about
that, but I am afraid that if EU looks impartially closer,
they will find that the "rights " you are talking about
are missing and used for propaganda. Also they will find
that in a poor country like Romania, the minorities ask
for EU and international help to have thousands more financial
aid and developing programs than Romanians do. Next time,
be sure you talk not to only people from a singular point
Burca - Chicago, Illinois
The problem with Codrescu's story is the fact that he has
followed too closely the typical Western press approach
to Romania: Dracula, gypsies, women working abroad as exotic
dancers, etc. Only the orphans were missing. Romania has
so many other things to offer, besides those mentioned above
and good pretzels. Why not show those also? How about a
story on the country's brilliant students or rich cultural
heritage? Codrescu's approach only reinforces Western stereotypes
Codrescu is enjoyable and enlightening, as always. Dracula
was only a sideshow. The conversation with the local poet
was an eye opener. It appears the gypsies must still be
on guard, lest they awaken in a new camp.
Alb - New York, New York
I loved the story about India. Cambodia feature was well
done. However, I was so disappointed with the story about
Romania. The producer wasn't even capable to interview intelligent
people who really understand and can explain the situation
in Romania. I know a lot about Romania but I missed Codrescu's
point. Was there any??? PBS and Romania are and can do much
Higgens - New Orleans, Louisiana
I love Andrei Codrescu's work and read the interview with
Frontline World. I look forward to the television piece.
However, I must admit, I hope it is not the usual dracula
song and dance. Romania is more than Transylvanian misinterpretations.
I hope you'll cover the stark reality and abject conditions
under which many Romanians still struggle today.
Pasol - Brighton, Massachusetts Responds:
I am really amazed and obviously revolted by the story
and reactions. First, I want to congratulate and to thank
to Mr. Mark Higgens for his reaction to the story. Even
though he is not Romanian, he can see more clear and just[ly]
about Romania than the reporter.
Andrei Codrescu is a poet and should be seen as a poet.
All his poetry and writings are made by a wonderful and
beautiful imagination, but please don't let such a story
be on a national broadcast. The story is 90 percent wrong
as a reality and it doesn't reflect anything [of] the
Romanian spirit. What I want to say is that this story
created a wrong idea about Romania and its people. If
we search in his bibliography (Andrei Codrescu), we might
find different opinion of what Romania and Romanian spirit
means. I took this story as another modern poetry of his,
but what about the millions of Americans? Please don't
let only the "hot" stories about a country (be transmitted)
through the television.
In newspapers I read about Romania only when a monkey
escapes from a zoo and comes back every night to feed
its baby or stories like that. Fact: please check the
top 100 universities in the USA (or Europe) to see how
many Romanians are successfully getting their degrees
or are already professors/researchers. (Andrei Codrescu
is just one of them).
About the facts presented: Gypsies are (as much) a part
of Romanian population, as Jews, Hungarians, Germans,
Armenians, Turks, Russians, Bulgarians, Arabs, Greeks,
Serbians, etc. It is true that is the poorest [are] the
(least)-educated part of it, but whose fault is this?
As I know (I lived there for more than 24 years and not
that long ago), gypsies have the same rights( and not
only gypsies, but all the minorities) as Romanians do
PLUS some imposed by the European Union. The fact is that
they don't want to have more education than they think
they need, therefore after they learn how to count and/or
to write, they quit school (or they never attend). A story
about gypsies should be done, but please relate the truth.
-To make them a victim of the holocaust??? Please... In
World War I more than 10 percent of Romanians died in
the war and nobody said [anything] about the atrocities
[against] Romanians, moreover, we were marked as traitors.
Please also note that Mr. Andrei Codrescu left Romania
in 1966 and he declares that he left Ceausescu's Romania.
Well, the story is that Ceausescu was "elected" in 1965,
so I don't think he knows about the Ceausescu regime,
or about how it is to eat 100 grams of bread per day and
300 millileters of milk per week, or to have two hours
of hot water/week and approximately 10 hours of cold water.
The final conclusion: "He never pretends to stick to the
facts, even when they are the 'facts' of his life. "
I quoted here Mr. Richard Collins about Andrei Codrescu
in "Andrei Codrescu's Mioritic space".
Isaza - San Francisco, California
The diary of the priest is tragic. But I am glad that Romania
has put up its own memorial to its Hungarian minority and
once flourishing Jewish population. Reading that reminded
me why it is there are so few Jews left in Romania today.
I just hope that there will be more "testaments to
memory" so that the ostensibly sweet and simple (but
frighteningly xenophobic) songs of demagogues like Vadim
Tudor do not fall on vulnerably memory-free ears.