Saturday, January 31, 2009

Stelian Tanase: Nobility and Professionalism

It was such a great pleasure to attend the meeting between Mr. Stelian Tanase - writer (his latest book titled "Maestro"), researcher, professor, political analyst, journalist and TV producer - and the journalism students at the University of Bacau on the 22nd Jan. The pleasure came simply out of the honestly open communication atmosphere. With great personal charm and supportive attitude towards the youngsters in their 20's in front, Mr Tanase shared his ideas about television as "show lacking substance" but also as a means that teaches and measures efficiency fairly, about the empowering profession of a journalist - as opposed to that of a "newspaper clerk" - and the crucial importance of being personal and creative, irrespective of the external commands, and also about the way in which we can build credibility in a mixed (-up) society. He defined the press as "the active zone of the society", where people can exercise their will to know.

This meeting was also useful for all professionals as Mr. Stelian Tanase brilliantly pinpointed the importance of keeping the required distance in one's profession - outside and within - so difficult to do, indeed.

Mr. Tanase is one of the many local intellectuals drawn to the USA but one of the few ones who decided to come back. Why? Maybe because he is more useful here, in an existential way, maybe because he could soon be, as one of his characters, the one who can take responsibility and have the authoritative attitude for a question like this: "Mr. Prime Minister, why don't you step down?"
Mr Tanase is the best researcher that I know of - fully dedicated to revealing the meaning of truth.

I have also been impressed by Mr Tanase as being an interlocutor who offers you the great vast space of dialogue. He is not a speaker who crushes and enforces, but an interlocutor who knows how to add to the creation and development of authentic dialog - a true free spirit!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Mr. Barack Obama's Speech

Mr. Barack Obama's speech on 20th Jan. in Washington DC marks the voice of leadership - not only of the USA, but the voice of all leaders of countries as they should be.
We are still expecting Obama here. Do you have him?

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Florin Chilian: Living Music...

The most beautiful song I have listened to in the last 20 years is Florin Chilian's "Zece" / "Ten" - simply divine, simply enjoyable.

Mr. Chilian's life story is special, indeed, for many reasons, which made him become the 'realistic cynic' he likes to consider himself.
But the reason I find most illuminating is that the musician took part in the Romanian revolution of '89 in Bucharest, being the participant and witness to the very change of history - with its bitterness, anguish and, maybe, hope, from inside - unlike the many of us, who were passive puppets in a manipulative show. The major distinctive difference between us and him is that he knows... This is a fragment from an eye-opening article written by Florin Chilian a while ago, titled "The fear of fear and the shame and the disgrace":

"I know it was December 21st and that I was beside Vali Sterian [singer and musician] at the Palace Hall. A woman was going down the stairs with a loaf of bread in her hands crying „Bread for Timisoara!”. I took the step in the street beside her. I don’t know what I reckoned with my 20-year-old mind but I know I reckoned and that I took responsibility for that step with all its consequences. Even now I believe that at the root of my gesture there was just selfishness. I knew the implications, I could see the rows of soldiers with their guns aimed at us and I could also see the cameras that were filming everything behind them. I cared for no one or nothing except for the thought that I could no longer look at myself in the mirror if I did not take that step, my look having crisscrossed the one of that woman who was shouting, breaking the bread in her hands. I have spoken about those cameras that recorded everything on December 21st, but nothing…They were the same then, just like now, responsible for the ‘editing’ of reality.

Another day in front of the TV building, also December 1989. I heard some heavy automatic gun shots, as if of TAB and a boy my age fell gunned down right beside my shoulder. Then it happened. I raced terrified down towards Dorobanti Square. I didn’t care about anything, I was no longer rational, I couldn’t think. Fear, terror and running away from there, that was all! I was nothing. An animal controlled by a terrifying fear. I couldn’t assume anything, I wasn’t thinking. Only fear controlled me, that was all! All the time I ran I knew I had to take him from them too, but I couldn’t stop running. Only a moment before that, we were both talking. I was not able to stop and I was fooling myself that he was dead anyway and that I couldn’t help him in any manner. 50, 100 meters that’s how long I ran to shelter myself. I began to ask people to come with me back to take that child from there. I came back and, helped by two people, we took that body from the TV building wall, asking someone with a pick-up Dacia to take him to hospital. A tall thin boy asked me what had happened. I looked at him and all of a sudden, all details of the previous days, since 21st , came back to my mind. I told him that everything is a farce, an arrangement, that nothing was true and that I was leaving home because I was very tired. Later, on the 17th January, I wrote a song, “Attack the Person” and it entered the Decalogue as the second commandment.

Strange is human mind, strange connotations does it find in everything. More than anything else I remember those tens of meters of fear, of running away and I become really, deeply ashamed. Maybe this is just another form of insanity that has to do with “artistry”, and, even if it were so, I know that I swore to myself then that I won’t let myself be afraid again. More terrifying than fear itself are the awareness of fear and the fear of being afraid because this makes you un-human, annihilating even the last trace of humanity inside you. That’s why I don’t keep my mouth shut, and not because I were some sort of hub of the universe or, worse, some sort of whacko who’s always about to start a fight, for nothing. That young man can no longer “fight” with anyone for the beliefs that had brought him there, next to the wall of TVR [Romanian Television]. I am terrified of fear. The fear of fear and then I’m ashamed, disgraced..." (Jurnalul National, online edition, 23.09.07)

What a life lesson, for those who know how to listen...
So, Mr. Chilian's artistic creativity comes from true living and not artificial word games. Simply inspiring!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

"We've got a Life. What do we do with it?"

Probably the best audiobook I have ever listened to is the delightful discussion between Mr. Horia Roman Patapievici and Mr. Andrei Plesu under the title Inapoi la argument / Back to the Argument - We have a life. What do we do with it?

This is a universal question, after all, for each of us, no matter the time, no matter the place, and finding answers to it represents the very basis of our existence. The two Romanian scholars try to help us in our own quest:

1. Stop and think: you need moments of self-reflection

2. Get out of roles: if you take too many roles, you'll miss your life

3. Start the day with something you like

4. Have little pleasures with a few friends (e.g. talking)

5. Have a good sense of humour: this will help you take distance from things

6. Think of death: it will help you make things relative

7. Find your own CENTRE: probably the most difficult to do. It can be an intellectual project, a person, a mission...