Is Romanian racism a symptom of a deeper issue?

[I sincerely hope my Romanian friends are not offended by my frankness and thoughts. I love this country and its people, but cannot help but be completely honest in my feelings and even speculations.]

I think about the level racism in this country a lot while I am here and now believe that racism in Romania is one symptom of a much deeper issue. The Romanian psyche clearly has been deeply wounded and corrupted by the past; nothing feels certain or solid or real here. Reason, science, logic, and even compassion and empathy seem like foreign concepts; lore, ways, and superstition still reign supreme here. And, of course, there is a melancholy in practically everyone over 30, that is pervasive, sickening, and absolute.

I often hear repeated misconceived ideas presented as fact. These arguments are often superstition or conjecture, and delivered with a surprising stubborn confidence–almost arrogance–but completely false and without support. For example, it’s widely know that Romanians have an infatuation with drafts and believe that they cause all sorts of medical illnesses. These memes and attitudes are everywhere. It’s unnerving and difficult to cope with.

There have been volumes written about the damage of Ceausescu and the Soviet regime, and clearly this was a social crime of historical proportions. And, I don’t doubt that this is the primary cause of this `greyness’ and distrust of everything that I see everywhere. But, considering that Romania has been a conquered or occupied nation for thousands of years–after all, it sits right on the land bridge between the east and west–maybe this issue of a damaged Romanian psyche, runs even deeper than modern history. [Pure, wild speculation on my part.] I wonder if anyone has ever studied it deeply–the nature of the Romanian psyche–and if the issues that I observe are unique to these people. I feel like there is something here worth examining and understanding.

Romania, on the outside looks like a developing modern European country, but on the inside it feels like it missed the Enlightenment and has a long way to go in healing deep, almost unrecoverable wounds–that probably can only be healed by a new generation exposed to a new view of the world. The contrast between profound beauty and profound sadness is not expressed anywhere else in the world as well as in Romania.


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