Today we are fortunate enough to have Redwine as our guest interviewee. Romania is not a subject many of us think about often. This is a chance for us to learn about Romanian history and culture.
1 Many people are unaware that Romania was under Ottoman rule. How did the Romanian people achieve independence?
2 How is Vlad the Impaler treated in Romanian history?
3 Are Romanians amused that every horror tale seems set in Transylvania? It does make for a better backdrop than haunted American suburbs. I am sure Elmer or someonelse is dying to point out the Stepford Wives and Amityville Horror were set in suburban Ameica.
4 Moldovans also speak Romanian is there any talk of a reunification between the two countries.
5 In the West there were many stories about the plight of the Roma more commonly known as gypsies in the eighties. Has their situation inproved? Are they still considered outcasts?
6 How did Romania end up on the German side in WW2?
7 This also set the stage for brutal reprisals by the Soviets. However, Bulgaria which never sent troops to fight against the Soviet Union also had a somewhat less brutal period of bloodshed in the late foutries to the fifties.
8 People are unaware that the satelite countries had their own gulags. The Black Book of Communism is quite explicit that the brutality of the Communists in Romania was extreeme in any comparison to any of the satelite states.
9 What are the major political parties in Romania today?
10 Has governmental corruption become endemic in Romanian culture? Has government officials taking bribes and kick backs become part of the local culture.
11 Has the transition from Communism to a market economy been difficult? I do remember several fashion companies producing products in Romania from my days as a fashion executive. What are the key sectors of the current Romanian economy?
12 Do Western leftists understand the realities of life under communism? I am amazed
at some of the absurd statements I read at Sonia's site defending Castro? These people do not have the ability to seperate flowery Marxist rhetoric from the dismal
reality of life under Communism.
13 You and I have discussed the near religious zealotry on the far left. It seems that some have an almost religious devotion to failed ideas. The hope springs eternal that each new messenger of Marx will triumph where others have failed. The latest savior is Hugo Chavez and when he fails they will find another. The notion that the system doesn't work and always produces repression never seems to enter the minds of the faithful.
14 Has reflexive mindless anti-Americanism become a staple of the far left.
15. You have noted the anti-Semitism on the far left. Are members of the far left aware of how regular people view their obsession with Jews and the plethora of anti- semitic conspiracy theories.
16 We are familiar with the trial of Ceausescu and of his crimes against the Romanian
people? Were any of his subordinates held accountable and tried? How has Romanian justice dealt with Communist crimes against the Romanian people?
17 Does local TV show any American TV shows. Are American films shown with Romanian subtitles or are they dubbed into Romanian.
18 What are some of the tourist highlights that you would advise Americans to visit.
19 How are the costs of higher education handled in Romania. Does the state pay for the cost of a college degree or does the cost fall on the individuals?
20 Is the medical system socialized. Do you wait on long lines for medical care. Are
there private doctors that work outside the system? I live in a border region and there are Canadians on line at some of the local doctors offices. In fairness some of my coworkers do cross the border for dental care.
21 How does the government raise money? Is income taxed in Romania? Are a percentage of sales taxed? Are funds raised via import tarrifs?
22 Has there been any attempt to restore native species like the Wolf or the Winessent (a animal closely related to Buffalo) into the environment. NY State restored the otter and Peregrine falcoln in the last decade. The Beaver seems to have returned without help in NY State and in Vermont.
23 Klezmer music which has its roots in Romania, Poland and the Ukraine has become fashionable in some parts of America. I do consider it somewhat disturbing that my parents musical tastes are considered to be cooler than mine in some circles. Klezmer music is a fusion of Eastern European, Jewish and Gypsy music. Has this type of music become a relic of the past? Is local Romanian folk music still popular?
24 Has there been a renewed interest in Christianity with the end of Communism?
25 Has the European Union been a help, hinderance or irrelevant to the Romanian economy?
I want to thank you in advance for helping many American readers learn about your country. Romania is not a topic that is often discussed in our blog community.