Archive | October, 2013

Despre lebede, barosani, cucoane si cetateni europeni

28 Oct

Maine primesc si medalie…Aici intentia mea de discurs – habar nu am daca o sa ma lase sa zic ceva dar macar am scris ceea ce as vrea sa zic…

Super ! – m-am scos si am devenit Cetatean European. Barosanul cel mare de la Parlamentul de Domni si Doamne de la Bruxelles m-a miruit in lumea buna a  europenilor si a dat mana cu mine.

Sa mai spuna cineva ca nu exista solutii functionale pentru incluziunea sociala a romilor!

Uite ca exista si eu sunt o dovada – inca vie. Unul cate unul putem sa devenim cetateni europeni! E drept ca in ritmul asta o sa ne ia cateva milioane de ani sa intram si noi in randul lumii – si asta in cazul in care nu ne inmultim, asa cum le e teama multora dintre concetatenii mei.

Pe de alta parte eu nu am decat un copil , deci nu sunt o amenintare- putem sa fim prieteni.

Si culmea este ca am fost propus de un austriac pentru premiul asta. La inceput am crezut ca poate este anti-lebede si asa s-a gandit sa-mi multumeasca. Apoi am aflat ca stia ca povestea cu lebedele a fost imaginata de niste jurnalisti amabili si iubitori de romi.

M-am tot gandit: de ce am primit eu premiul  ?

Stiti cum toti marlanii care vor sa isi justifice rasismul impotriva oricui se scot si devin oameni respectabili spunand ca au un prieten apropiat care fie e negru, fie tigan sau gay, dupa nevoie ?

Ei, uite asa ar putea sa fie si cu premiul asta: Europa a rezolvat problema cu rasismul institutional impotriva romilor.  Avem noi Cetatean European rom ? Avem! Ce ne mai plangem ?

Anul acesta am mai avut, ca romi, cateva mari realizari. Si aici nu includ faptul ca ne-am procopsit cu doi regi. Unul dintre romii nostri si in acelasi timp unul dintre cei mai buni sociologi romani , cea mai curioasa si inteligenta minte pe care am cunoscut-o, a devenit cel mai mediatizat roman.

Stati linistiti, ca nu a ajuns nici in Parlamentul European pentru ca nu a fost fiul presedintelui si nu a ajuns nici vreo scula prin Comisia Europeana. Nici rubedenie sau amic cu vreun baron local sau prim-ministru. Si nu e nici Gigi Becali .

De fapt, in ultimii 7 ani, in ciuda faptului ca Nicolae Gheorghe era considerat cel mai bun specialist pe problematica romilor din Europa, ca avea un CV absolut impresionant, ca vorbea 5 limbi fluent si mai intelegea inca vreo doua, a fost practic somer.

A ajuns in schimb in The Economist.

Pentru un necrolog.

In acesti 7 ani tot felul de tampiti anonimi au fost numiti in pozitii care mai de care mai importante. De exemplu, cucoana care e Comisara Europeana si se ocupa si de problematica romilor vede romi doar in filme sau in conferinte. Cand a fost sfintita in postul de Comisara avea zero experienta pe problematica roma si cu mult bun simt si-a angajat un cabinet de aproape 20 de specialisti dintre care niciunul nu are experienta practica sau academica pe acest subiect. In plus, Domnia sa vine din singura tara din Europa care nu are romi. Urmarind aceasi logica, sefa Departamentului pe Romi din cadrul Directoratului condus de ea este din Cipru si are aceleasi calificari fabuloase ca si Cucoana Comisar.

Institutiile Uniunii Europene sunt din ce in ce mai disfunctionale si ineficente. Felul in care sunt gandite proiectele finantate de banii europeni distrug societatea civila si stimuleaza coruptia, nepotismul si minciuna.

Cheltuim  marea majoritate a banilor publici alocati combaterii saraciei pe conferinte inutile in hoteluri de 4 sau 5 stele si pe rapoarte pe care in cel mai bun caz le citesc cei care deja stiu despre ce e vorba si care nu au putere de decizie.

Uniunea Europeana este o idee senzationala si un proiect care ne-a asigurat cea mai lunga perioada de pace si prosperitate din istoria Europei.  Asta nu inseamna ca este justificabila sau de ajutor cultura aplaudaca ( un eufemism) amestecata cu aroganta  si  o rigiditate ingrozitoare a birocratiei europene.

Felul in care functioneaza Comisia Europeana si o buna parte a agentiilor europene incluzand Agentia pentru Drepturile Fundamentale in acest moment este impotriva proiectului European.

Parlamentul Europei este probabil cea mai buna dovada a bunei functionari a nepotismului, mai ales in ceea ce priveste Europa de Est.

Daca vom continua asa, singura sansa ca peste 10 -20 de ani sa citesc ceva pozitiv despre Uniunea Europeana, in afara discursurilor sforaitoare si adesea megalomanice ale functionarilor  europeni, va fi in The Economist.

Tot pentru un necrolog.

Cred ca suntem responsabili sa nu ingropam Proiectul European. Si sper ca ceea ce scriu si fac, desi adesea nu prea confortabil sau politicos, va ajuta la insanatosirea sistemului european. Si premiul asta il consider o incurajare de a continua.

PS. Cateodata (rar) fac greseli gramaticale. In acel moment legatura intre mine si Fane Spoitoru’ se restabileste solid in capul oricaruia care se crede genetic superior romilor. Nu conteaza cat de agramati sau batuti in cap sunt cei in cauza – superioritatea genelor lor devine brusc evidenta si se manifesta vanjos. Cel mai tare a fost un nene care dupa ce i-am bagat elegant un ”astia” in loc de acestia mi-a spus-  “ domnu’ Nicolae sunteti ca toti tiganii -cam anagramat “.  Folosesc un pic mai des “astia” de atunci…

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On Conformity

23 Oct

In the 1950s Solomon Asch discovered that under strong group pressure 75% of the group he tested agreed that three obviously unequal lines are equal. The only pressure they received were words.

Now let’s imagine this hypothetic situation of an intergovernmental institution.

This institution has a budget of hundred of billions per year. Let’s call this money the E-money. The institution pays its employees amazingly well – for the overwhelming majority of the people employed the pay is far better than they could ever make if working anywhere else.

Benefits are great and most of them have expensive lifestyles and significant loans to pay ( heavy dependency on their salaries) .  The leadership is appointed politically and it is hungry for more power. This power translates in distributing as much as possible or more the existing budgets in order to ask for more E-money and increase their leverage.

Most of the money we are talking about is sent to member states. In most of these member states political interests heavily control the distribution of the E-money. On top of this the political leadership needs to show very high level of absorption of these funds in order to stay in power. They want badly this money to be spent no matter what.

Funds are supposed to be mainly used by the local administrations. The local administrations happen to be some of the most corrupted of the institutions in these member states. Mayors are known for funneling money towards their own pockets or some other powerful local politicians. Their money and corruption can many times determine the results of the votes in the elections.

A fragment of the available money goes to NGOs that will have to implement projects mainly designed by people in the intergovernmental institution (people that are not experts on the issue but career bureaucrats) and people in the governments (also with no expertise as most are just public servants)  Most of these NGOs can not survive without this money. They have to apply for the poorly designed projects and spend all the existing budget in order not to be penalized.

There is a very serious money crisis of the mass-media. Most of the projects financed by this intergovernmental institution have a budget for advertising that is vital for the survival of many media outlets. There is a strong culture in many of the member states part of this intergovernmental institution that discourages criticism of your patrons.

Some of the E-money go to E-agencies that employ some other very well paid bureaucrats and some (few) experts . Most of those agencies produce very expensive reports and hot air that is used to justify their huge budgets. Only exceptionally these agencies do anything at the grassroots. Those reports matter for nobody else but the very few people that already know the problems.

All the above mentioned players have to work together in order to expose flaws of the system. If there is a serious scandal about the inefficiency of the way these funds are used then the very comfortable lives of these very powerful elites will be serious disturbed.

Let’s pretend that some of the E-money need to be spent on some of the most vulnerable group with a very weak or no representation among all the players.

What are the chances of conformity in the case of the European Commission and Roma funds ?  What are the chances of these main players to agree that the way funding works at this moment is profoundly damaging to the situation of Roma communities ? What are the chances even to agree on a serious investigation on how these funds are used ? Very , very small isn’t’ it ?

The truth is that despite what every single one of these players knows there are abysmal results of the Roma projects the European Commission mainly (if not always) wants to talk about positive practice. Senior managers are misinformed or do not care if they are lied to. The result is that the EC carries on with this charade that things are improving or could improve within the Roma communities with the help of the European Funds.  They can not until the system is not reformed.

I was told by well intended people that indeed this is a system that is and has been superbly beneficial to these above mentioned elites but it is also fundamental to decades of peace on the Continent and criticism could destroy this achievement.

This is a logical fallacy. There is no link whatsoever between what is now an extremely dangerous system of financing and encouragement of lips service and the achievements of the European Union.

It is not just the European Commission that runs a huge risks of conforming to an obvious lie but also the Fundamental Rights Agency, the Council of Europe, the OSCE, the UN and all other main funders of Roma projects.

A culture of conformity and lip service will destroy the credibility of the European Union. And that will be indeed a shame as the majority of us living in Europe want the European project to be a real success and not just a useless report of positive practices nobody cares to believe or read.

Criticism is not something good just when done by well chosen pet critics that can not influence whatsoever the outcome of the reports, talks or conferences dominated  by people that have huge incentives to conform to the lips service culture.

Criticism and powerful independent watch dog mechanisms are compulsory in order to keep in check such an important and powerful bureaucracy.

And indeed, once that is reformed we might stand a chance to reform some of the worst governments in the EU.

what we , Roma, are not – 2 and the European Citizen’s Prize for 2013

16 Oct

Roma are unable to live like normal people – 

if we receive social housing (flats) we will destroy them. 

we will make fires using the existing wooden floors 

Indeed – and that is because the fires made out of wooden floors are what we are born for and love to do. We love the challenge to rip these floors apart and try to set them on fire as we think is much better to sleep on the cement than wood (as it is well known we hate sleeping on beds). We also enjoy the toxic smoke that comes from setting on fire lacquered wood. We use this as a treatment for keeping everybody healthy in our families. 

 we  keep our horses in our  flats.

Yes, we do this because through a magical spell that can take place only in these flats we are able to transform regular horses in unicorns and Pegasus type horses much needed by the fairy industry.

The production of a Pegasus type of horse can be done only on the 4th floor flat of an old communist apartment building in Romania, Bulgaria, Slovakia, Serbia and Hungary. Any other Pegasus horses are fake.

Did you ever see a horse in your life ?  In case you honestly believe that “work-shy people” will go trough the miracle of putting a horse into a social housing flat every day for years you must be absolutely nuts. What do you think will happen when the horses shits or pees ? Do you believe we toilet train them?

We do have our spectacular idiots. But I have a hard time believing and a long experience working and living in Roma communities that shows that even most of our idiots will try to keep their horses in a 18 square meters , 2.5 meters high room – the average dimension of a room in social housing flat. Despite not trying the thing with the horses I surprise myself being an absolute idiot regularly.

Abject poverty is what makes people live in appalling housing conditions and not the genes. Centuries of exclusion push people in living abnormal lives.

Education – Roma are stupider and do not value education the same way as normal people do

Yes, as any parent – Roma parents want their children to be functional cretins. We believe that the dirtier, hungrier and poorer our children are the best for their future. Because we are care free closer to nature free souls we prefer our children to drink dew and eat rainbows. We would much more prefer our children to be barefoot in the winter and feel the soul of Gaya trough their skin and beg than lose their spirit in the warm comfort of private schools and be corrupted by wealth and luxuries.

Research shows that students from the poorest quarter of population have a 8.6 percent chance to get a college degree. For the top quarter the percentage is 75.  Nine times higher. And this is in the US.

The fact that you do not see a link between centuries of slavery, abject poverty, exclusion and educational achievements it doesn’t make you either smart or pragmatic. Quite the opposite.

 Roma are magical and dangerous – they can spell different curses on you

 Yes we are magical indeed. That is why we embraced happily hundred of years of slavery and we enjoy so much the racism it is gracefully bestowed upon us. Being able to perform magic and spell curses it proved to be very productive as we are obviously overrepresented in the ruling elites. The fact that practically all Roma in Czech Republic were wiped out during the Holocaust and other hundred of thousands were killed –some concentration camps during the second world war or during deportation in Romania is another clear indication of our magical and fortune telling powers.

There was never any Roma minister in any country in Europe. We are the most unrepresented ethnic minority in all intergovernmental institutions. The most important people in charge of taking decision on Roma issues at the European level come from countries that have either no Roma or an insignificant number of Roma. When appointed in those positions they  had no experience whatsoever on Roma issues.

The fact that despite all the above-mentioned facts there is a good number of people that believe  that we Roma have some extra powers is indeed magic. Magically stupid that is.

Roma are work-shy and live on public money

Some of us indeed, live luxurious lives based on years, decades and sometimes centuries of stealing from other people and taking advantage of far too weak governments or inept welfare systems.  These individuals do their best not to pay taxes and find all type of excuses and loopholes that allows them to avoid assuming the same responsibilities as the common citizens.  They are famous for having immensely lavish parties celebrating new births in the family or a marriage where they exhibit weird jewelries and clothes.

Some are called or call themselves kings, queens, princes and princesses. Some of them have even more ridiculous names such as Lords, Counts, Barons. Most of them are presidents, directors, CEOs of different banks, political parties, businesses or are relatives of some of the above mentioned people.

A very tiny fraction of these are Roma. Pragmatically the amount of money we lose on crooks that happen to be Roma represent a completely insignificant contribution to the immense waste of money we throw at Royal families, bailing out banks, fuel the corruption of public contracts, allow tax heavens and loopholes in legislation to benefit our richest elites. The estimated “businesses” of the Mafia are estimated at over 100 billions per year alone.

There are indeed some Roma that are work-shy. This is a serious issues with many people that live in abject poverty including Roma. It needs to be addressed but it is ridiculous to think that this is even in the first 20 main problems for why European countries are struggling. The fact that Roma issues are used by many racists or inept politicians in order to gain visibility and power is shameful. And we should make it stop.

In an hour or so I will receive the European Citizen’s Prize for 2013. It changes nothing. The European Union needs reform urgently . The Commission is not there to keep procedures and prevent an imagined Hobbesian society where everybody is out there to steal the EU money. The Commission is supposed to change idiotic procedures that are in place and make Europe a much better place. There are amazing benefits that came from the EU and the Commission. Some of the smartest and best people work in the Commission but pretending nothing can be changed in order to keep their jobs and paying lip service to advance in a job that is mind numbing will make people to distance themselves from Europe. Hope that is not going to happen. And (sometimes stupidly) I try whatever I can to not let it happen.

what we, Roma, are not

9 Oct

I decided following a very recent meeting that I should make my views about the Roma stereotypes known in order to avoid yet another silly meeting with well-wishing cretins. I hope people will read this before meeting me.

We have an innate gift for music and dance.

Yes .We can also walk on water and fly whenever needed on brooms and in some countries (where people call us crows) without brooms just using our gifts: hollow bones and strong arms. We can even teach the most gifted non-Roma how to do it.

This is also the main reason why the state airlines in Hungary went bankrupt and the Romanian airlines are almost there.

There are numerous cases of Roma children born holding their beloved musical instrument or a silver flute in their mouth. The rest of us have just divine voices.

We can tell you your future

Indeed. For instance – you my reader –  you will struggle, go through cycles of happiness, boredom, sadness, depression … You will love some people and hate others. You might or might not have children but the probability is better to have children. Ultimately and irrevocably you will die.

All the other people that say they can tell your future –teachers, coaches, scientists, shrinks, politicians, priests, sociopaths etc most probably will lie to you.

If you plan to  go soon for a Roma fortune telling -the future will be much clearer. In the immediate future you will be cheated.  You might feel good about it but that is the best you will get out of the experience. Go if you want to boast that you met Roma, know Roma or that you have a Roma friend.

Secret customs and mysterious traditions

We do.  We practice our secret customs and traditions in a parallel universe we cal DI (Don’t be an Idiot).

Our secret customs and mysterious traditions allow us to be separately and at the same time discriminated angels or genetically determined criminals depending on the mood of the journalist, politician, bureaucrats or whoever else wants to talk about us.

We are dirty and stink 

Yes, when we are dirty most of us stink. You might smell like roses after you worked hard, dealt with garbage or working out at your gym but that is a gift is reserved for you and your close friends and relatives.  Roma that live in abject poverty have a higher probability to stink, which is proportional to their – you guessed – abject poverty.

It might be that you think if you were blessed to have been born in a slum next by to a garbage dump you would have ended up as a walking advertisement of a mix of Ariel, Armani and Chanel 5 but it is more likely you are just an average racist.

If you think that humans natural instinct is to make soap, detergent and shampoo and put cleaning high above in their basic needs -then you are special and deserve to run us all and be called Ra, Saint Peter, the Saint Feathered Snake, Viviane Reding or whatever will do for you.

We are free souls, overly emotional and much better in touch with nature than the other

Compared to the idiotic bureaucrats and diplomats that think they make me a compliment by saying this we are indeed like that. Otherwise we are just as boring as you are.

Cum sa distrugi societatea civila – un proiect european

4 Oct

 

“Cea mai neagra disperare care poate sa cuprinda o societate este frica ca traind onest e inutil”

Corrado Alvaro

 

„Hai, măi, Valeriu, mă laşi cu şcoala asta! Ce mare căcat ai făcut tu cu ea ?”

…Robinet este un puşti din Ferentari. Are17 ani, frumuşel tare – brunet, cu ochii albaştri. Ne-am cunoscut acum patru ani. Am jucat fotbal împreună şi am încercat să-l conving să rămînă la şcoala. N-am reuşit decît partial. Robinet a crescut înconjurat de hoţi, droguri, şmecheri, interlopi.

„Zi, Valeriu, cîti ani de şcoală ai făcut?”

Îi răspund: vreo 20, în total .

„Şi de cît timp munceşt?”

De mai binede 20 de ani .

„Şi ce ai? Maşină? Casă? Bani? Cît ai cu totul, aşa?

I-am spus – incluzînd datoriile de la bancă. A rîs.

„Băi, Valeriu – pai pe şmechereală şi cu puţin noroc pot să am mai mult decît tine în doi ani. Îl ştii pe …”

Sînt fondatorul şi am fost şeful unei fundaţii (ONG) din România. Fundatia pe care am condus-o pentru 5 ani a cîştigat premiul UNICEF pe 2012 şi premiul special la Gala Societatii Civile în 2012.

La începutul lui 2013 am decis să demisionez şi să nu mai lucrez în societatea civilă.

Felul în care este gîndit sistemul de finanţare al societăţii civile în România este disfuncţional şi de cele mai multe ori împotriva societăţii civile. ONG-urile devin încet, dar sigur, prestatoare de servicii (cel mai adesea corupte) pentru Uniunea Europeană, guvern sau administraţii locale. Functionalitatea lor este incet restransa la asigurarea unur servicii care sînt considerate complicate sau nesigure de cei care platesc iar contributia lor la schimbarea in bine a societatii devine in cel mai bun caz minimala.

De asemenea, fondurile europene sînt gîndite pentru Franţa, Germania, Anglia – ţări cu birocraţii bine plătite, care au mult mai puţine motive pentru a risca frauda sau corupţia. Birocraţii europeni care au gîndit parcursul birocratic au pornit de la ideea greşită că societatea civilă în România  este la nivelul societatii civile din Europa de vest, şi-a dovedit utilitatea şi poate fi susţinută financiar de către cetăţeanul român responsabil  şi că, în acest fel, se poate acoperi co-finanţarea obligatorie pentru accesarea fondurilor europene.

 

Vorbind despe fondurile elvetiene, ca şi despre cele norvegiene, acestea au priorităţi şi conditionalităţi stupide, din cauza faptului că oameni care le-au gîndit nu au nici experienţă, nici motivaţia necesară pentru a le adapta la nevoile reale din ţările sărace.

Astfel că ajungem să aruncăm bani pe conferinţe, pe rapoarte inutile, pe traininguri irelevante. Stimulăm raportări false şi ţinem discursuri sforăitoare.

 

Problema reală care decurge din toate acestea este faptul că nu reuşim să sprijinim în mod sustenabil pe cei care lucrează în comunităţi şi care, intr-adevăr au un impact real.

Am discutat toate acestea cu înalţi funcţionari europeni şi cu ambasadori. O parte dintre idei nu sînt ale mele, ci ale lor. Toată lumea este de acord că problemele de mai sus există şi că ar trebui rezolvate.

 

Să minţi pentru o cauză nobilă

Cu toate acestea… „aşa funcţionează afacerea – nu avem cum să o schimbăm – trebuie să te adaptezi la sistem”. Trei reprezentanţi (incluzînd un diplomat) ai celui mai mare finanţator al societăţii civile din România mi-au spus asta, văzînd şi fiind de-a dreptul impresionaţi de ceea ce facem în cartierul bucureştean Ferentari.

Traducerea aprecierii a fost de fapt alta. Ni s-a sugerat, cu alte cuvinte că „trebuie să minţim”. Să scriem proiecte false şi să întocmim rapoarte false. Să „furăm” practic din banii pe care îi primim pe nişte proiecte (despre care ştim chiar din momentul în care le scriem că sînt tîmpenii, dar tîmpenii „agreate” de cei care ne vor evalua), pentru a primi finanţarea pentru ceea ce ar trebui de fapt să facem.

Cei care ştiu că, într-adevăr facem lucruri bune, vor închide ochii şi ne vor accepta rapoartele false, ştiind că am meritat, în fapt, să fim finantaţi.

O bună parte a ONG-urilor din România sînt astfel vulnerabile la un audit serios. În cele mai bune cazuri, managerii ONG-urilor fac o echilibristică la limita legalităţii, pentru a asigura supravieţuirea organizaţiilor pe care le conduc. Compromisuri, fraude, minciuni sau exagerări în raportările către finanţatori sînt nu numai caracteristici ale clasei politice româneşti, dar şi ale societăţii civile.

Fondurile europene distrug sau compromit societatea civilă din România. Cele mai multe ONG-uri au sărit de la finanţări de cîteva zeci de mii de euro pe an la cîteva milioane, în condiţiile în care capacitatea instituţională nu a crescut.

 

De la activist la manager

Liderii activişti care doreau să schimbe România au devenit manageri (în general fără experienţă sau educaţie formală) de companii cu bugete enorme, dependenţi de salarii nejustificabil de mari. Banii au devenit principala motivaţie a celor care se angajează în ONG-uri.

Funcţionarul public care selecţionează şi supervizează proiectele europene primeşte uneori un salariu de zece ori mai mic decît salariul aceluia pe care trebuie să-l controleze. Acelaşi funcţionar ştie că, în fapt, ONG-urile în general mint că au bani de co-finanţare şi că folosesc o parte din salariile supradimensionate din proiect pentru a acoperi finanţarea pe care au spus că o au. Ştie, de asemenea, că ONG-urile vor fi obligate să aibă costuri ineligibile şi că vor încerca să le reducă prin tot felul de inginerii financiare care pot fi interpretate ca fiind legale sau ilegale. Ştie şi că legislaţia este prost făcută şi permite ambiguitate. Ştie că trebuie să distribuie bani – cît mai mulţi bani. Ştie că ONG-işti vor prefera să-i dea o şpagă serioasă decît să aibă proiectul blocat – ceea ce ar duce la falimentarea organizaţiei.

În 2008 am fost invitat să evaluez proiecte depuse pentru finanţări europene. Le-am respins pe primele şase pe care le-am evaluat. Unul dintre  ONG-urile care au aplicat  dorea o finantare enorma incluzand 9 calculatoare super performante pentru a ţine evidenţa a mai puţin de 300 de beneficiari. Finantarea unei masini si cererea de finatare pentru combustibil erau si ele cererei aberante.  In mod practic oamenii ar fi trebuit să meargă continuu timp de 8 ore în fiecare zi în cercul de diametru de maximum 2 km în care se aflau acei beneficiari.

Mi s-a spus ca trebuie aprobate 42 din 45 de proiecte, şi că ar trebui să am standarde mai flexibile. Am refuzat.

Mi s-a spus apoi în mod explicit că trebuie să aprob, căci este vorba despre bani europeni, pe care altfel îi dăm înapoi. Am preferat să demisionez, deşi evaluările erau foarte bine plătite. Proiectul exemplificat a fost aprobat.

Un director de la Comisia Europeană îmi justifica acum cîteva luni că nu există linie de buget pentru finanţarea lucrului în ghetouri şi că cei 550.000 de euro cheltuiţi pe o conferinţă despre sărăcie, de o zi şi jumătate, la un hotel de 5 stele este absolut stupidă şi fără nici un rezultat. A trebuit să fie însă făcută, căci altfel banii ar fi fost returnaţi.

 

Cea mai scumpă birocraţie din lume

Banii europeni sînt bani publici. În loc să fie găste modalităţi prin care fondurile europene să devină eficiente, funcţionarii Comisiei Europene fac tot ce pot pentru a păstra un status quo idiotic, dar perfect comfortabil. Din cînd în cînd, Comisia aruncă pisica moartă în ograda guvernelor.

La o întîlnire cu fostul ministru al fondurilor europene, ni s-a explicat că interesul României este de a atrage fonduri cît mai mari şi că poiectele sociale sînt prea mici şi deci neinteresante pentru minister. În acelasi timp, era de acord că problemele sociale în România sînt cele care ar trebui să fie prioritare şi că proiectele mari au riscurile cele mai ridicate pentru a fi vînate de mafioţi şi politicieni corupţi şi, într-un final, de a fi închise de către Comisia Europeană. Oricum, pentru a rămîne în poziţia de ministru el era obligat de a atrage cît mai multe proiecte mari, foarte riscante, şi de a ignora proiectele de care în fapt România avea mult mai multă nevoie.

Stimulentele pentru corupţie şi minciună a fondurilor structurale sînt foarte serioase şi continuă să fie ignorate atît de către Comisia Europeană şi guverne, cît şi de către ONG-uri. Toată lumea are un interes ca banii să fie cheltuiţi, indiferent cum. Comisia are nevoie să-şi cheltuiască bugetul şi să ceara un buget mai mare care să justifice salariile celei mai scumpe şi comfortabile birocraţii din lume. Guvernele au nevoie să atragă cît mai mulţi bani pentru a arăta bine în faţa alegătorilor şi pentru a putea să-şi finanţeze clientela politică. ONG-urile au nevoie de banii europeni, fără de care marea lor majoritate nu ar putea exista, devenind dependente de un nivel de trai care e foarte apropiat de cel al demnitarilor de rang înalt.

Din pacate, mulţi dintre cei care cer reforma sînt incapabili să accepte nevoia de reformă din interiorul propiilor instituţii sau organizaţii. Liderii societăţii civile din România sînt la fel de ezitanţi în a se reforma, precum sînt şi politicieni români sau funcţionarii europeni. Desigur sînt şi excepţii, dar excepţiile existente nu sînt capabile să forţeze reforma.

Ideea lui Robinet, că închizînd ochii şi mergînd pe „şmechereală” şi „cu un pic de noroc” ne „scoatem” este în fapt dominantă nu numai în ghetoul în care creşte, ci si în interiorul elitelor societăţii româneşti şi birocraţiei europene. Singura diferenţă e că educaţi la cele mai bune universităţi din ţară, sau din lume, cei din urmă vor găsi  justificări şi cuvinte sofisticate, aşa încît să poata justifica coruptia, furtul şi lenea intelectuală.

Reforma e totuşi posibilă. Avem îndeajuns de mulţi oameni capabili să producă schimbarea. Problema este că cei care ar trebui să se schimbe, au mult mai mult de cîştigat în a păstra sistemul aşa cum este.

First step – stop dreaming

2 Oct

Mofleni – near by Craiova 2003

Irina was 16years old in 2003. She had AIDS. Her hands, face and clothes were filthy as she spent most of her time scavenging through garbage to help support her single mother who also had AIDS and her siblings, one also with AIDS. She lived in a tiny shack with just three walls and a cardboard roof, along with 7 other people (see picture). Irina received medication to keep her healthy from a charity organisation in Belgium . When the medication ran out her sores would not heal. The hospital in Craiova would give her medication that did little to help.

Mofleni3

The smell was terrible as the shacks were built right on the garbage dump. The air was toxic, thick and sticky due to the fact that there was always some garbage burning. Corpses of animals rot meters away from the crooked houses, where the children plaid. Around 130 lived on the garbage dump in Mofleni. 82 of them were children in 2003.

When it rained, the floors of the houses became mud. The rooms were full of flies and there was no electricity or running water. Rats were everywhere and rats bit many times children. Two children died in 2001 in an accident buried under trash .The houses built on the garbage dump were slowly sinking into the ground. Some of them grew pigs which were almost wild. The pigs eat from the garbage dump.

Irina died. So did her mother.

Most of the people that I knew there migrated to Italy starting in 2007. They live of garbage there as they did on Romania. Others took their place on the garbage dump in Mofleni dreaming that one day will also sort garbage in Italy.

Ferentari – Bucharest 2013

There are lots of syringes are on the ground. Many children’s parents are drug addicted.  Sometimes they send their children to gather syringes for the periodical exchange syringes programs. Needles prick some of them during the process. Too many have hepatitis B or C. Rarely the illness will be detected in time.

WindowDrugsBuna

Many of the drug addicts are at a very high risk of HIV. Most probably in their majority they are HIV positives but they have never been tested. The number of overdose deaths has increased in the last years. Since the beginning of the year 5 of the people I knew including a 13 years old died of overdose. His brother died of overdose 4 years ago. The mother is left with just one child. He is 5. The probability for him to end up the same way is high; out of the 109 young adults ( between 21 and 23 years old) that I polled – 46  were addicted.

Sewage from one building leaks out in the street. Rats are common; so are the stray dogs.  During the summer the rats population explodes and there are cases of children being bitten by the big rats. There are two women washing their carpets on the street. Too many children are on the street – it is a school day – education it is rarely a priority for them or their families.

On the street close to the near by cemetery there are always 4-5 prostitutes waiting for their clients. Drug addiction and HIV among the prostitutes is more of the norm than the exception. Some of them make enough money to feed the addiction of their boyfriends and friends.

Two of them live in the shacks behind the big hot-water pipes near by.  There is one girl that lives on the pipes. Children call her the Owl – her big eyes, the uncanny way she walks on the pipes and her abilities to kill rats are the reasons why this nickname seems appropriate. She sleeps on the pipes inside a cement casing built to protect the pipes. The space between the pipe and the cement ceiling is around 40 cm.I had the feeling of looking into a grave.

Latevilocuinta1

Most of the children, youth and adults in the ghetto are part of lost generations. Their choices are limited and their lives are Hobbesian -shorter, nastier and more violent than most of us could imagine.

DrugAddictontheStairs

The chances are that a good number of the children will become him. He lives wherever he can. In the winter he lived on the 4th floor on the stairways of the building. He will do whatever he could to get his fix.

The children that are playing now in the dumpsters looking for toys will turn at best into old people that collect garbage for living. The cycle is simple, cynical and scary similar in all the ghettoes I know.

The ghettoes are exploding in numbers and everywhere I went the majority of those living in the ghettoes were children. These children could be part of a positive European future but due to hypocrisy, ineptitude and racism they more likely will become a European nightmare. Mofleni and Ferentari are more trends nowadays than exceptions. Many of these children will end up in ghettoes in Western Europe. Prostitution, begging, theft and garbage recycling will be the best options available for them there.

In the meantime in Brussels and elegant hotels and conference rooms all over Europe most of those that should bring about a change waste money and time on dreams and words that are meaningless for most of us who work in the ghettoes.

The EU Commissioner in charge of Roma issues (most of the children in ghettoes in Europe are Roma) has done nothing in the last 4 years since she is in charge besides strengthening a culture of shameless self-promotion and lip-service.

The national governments are not doing much better. A good part of the civil society has become a mirror of the institution they are supposed to force to reform. Experience is built on facebook , internet and emails while work at the grassroots has become “obsolete”.

Nightmares that explode into reality will for sure bring about dramatic reform due to enormous loses.

It is easy to avoid a crisis and improve the situation that but for that we need first to stop dreaming and confront the nightmarish reality in the ghettoes.