The Feelings of Romanians – from Love and Respect to Hate
“It is not the young people´s fault that they never had a guide, albeit a spiritual one. Nor a coherent and correct educational system to teach them before anything else not to hurt their peers. We are all born with one chance, equally”
I was born in 1987 in Romania. More than surely I was given a mission that needed to be accomplished. The system for the “protection” of children and youngsters in state institutions has proven to be a huge failure. A failure that has produced victims and which unfortunately still producing victims. I love my country, I love my peers, but I have decided to put my foot down and do my best to help the institutionalized young people who not only miss their family, but also lack hope.
Let´s talk about discrimination. According to a study done by StudioLEX, discrimination is a great problem:
- 51% to a great extent
- 44% to a smaller extent
The most discriminated against groups are:
- People belonging to the Roma ethnicity: 46% of Romanians proclaim they would not feel comfortable in the company of a Roma person;
- People with physical or mental disabilities;
- People with HIV or AIDS: 77% of Romanians consider it is easier for people without HIV or AIDS to find a job;
- Homeless people;
- People addicted to drugs;
- LGBT: 54% of Romanians would not have lunch with a person of different sexual orientation.
Many people pose as orthodox-Christians who fear the wrath of God and whom respect their peers. At the same time, the same people discriminate, offend, knock about and point fingers. I feel we are witnessing a clericalization of the state.
When I was in the 11th grade, the first semester, I went into a thrift store and bought a pair of snap pants. I was thrilled to wear them at school. My colleagues teased me, they started pulling on the staples on my pants up to the point where I was forced to run and hide under the stairs of my high school. I felt harassed. I was being harassed.
I had become the puppet of my class mates only because I was the poorest kid in school. It is very discouraging to be seen as a poor person, as an abandoned kid, a lonesome kid. Goodbye self-esteem, belief in yourself! Welcome anxiety, psycho-social disorder, even depression.
How are they above anyone? The ones who offend and humiliate entire social classes, especially the young? We were born alone, we die alone. We will not be buried together with a excellence diploma in metaphysics, nor with giant house or luxury cars. These are probably the accomplishments of many Romanians. Where are the spiritual accomplishments?
It is not enough to give alms or just change to the person washing your car window at the traffic light. The way you behave in society implies more than just that. Regardless of one´s social status, of wealth or poverty, of the way we look; respect toward our peers is truly a virtue.
To love thy neighbor means to love yourself. We are the mirror of those we meet as soon as we leave out homes. Try to see in other what you see in yourself.
Love, respect, empathy are keywords which form the foundation of any solid society. Perhaps if we would love instead of hate, if we would respect and understand instead of pointing fingers, if we were more tolerant instead of venting our spite; then and only then would we see changes at a larger scale. Everything begins with us. With you, with me, with anyone. I wholeheartedly proclaim that we can fight problems and confront discrimination in Romania.
by Vișinel Bălan
Vișinel Bălan was raised in the foster care system. With a dramatic childhood, separated from his parents and going from one orphanage to another, Vișinel is today graduate of two faculties (Faculty of Law and National University of Arts, Theatre and Cinema), he holds a master degree in Criminal Sciences and is attending master courses on Groups at Risk and Social Services at the Faculty of Sociology and Social Work – University of Bucharest. He has initiated a series of ambitious projects that support young people from institutions to start an independent life.