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If I don’t speak out, I may as well be dead.

There’s so much stirring in me right now, that I feel like my whole reality has been turned on its head is a mere few days. My most burning wish right now is that my generation, my wonderful generation in which I put so much of my trust, not allow themselves be hijacked by the political aspect of the situation. Years (decades even!) of frustrations, anger and resentment are bubbling up now and have determined these beautiful people that you now see in the streets to finally budge from the stillness we inherited from the older generations. They had an excuse – the political regime was terrifying, information was scarce and strictly controlled. We have no such excuses, we need to speak out, or else we may as well be dead, or else all our smarts and all the technological resources we have available amount to absolutely nothing.

I’m baffled when I read some of the online reactions about the fire at the Collectiv club in Bucharest. I’m shocked by the statements that some make and I can’t help but shudder: we’ve evolved so little these past few centuries! We’re so cruel and relentless in our desire to make other suffer for whatever wrongdoings we’ve experienced or for frustrations we don’t even realise we have. Some of us sound like we’re straight out of the dark ages, when we didn’t know better, when everything around us was a mystery from a scientific point of view and we feared even a black cat that crossed our paths. I guess the tragic events of last week weigh lighter on our conscience if we start a witch hunt, blaming occult, mystical powers, satanism or even God’s wrath for them, rather than admitting that we, as human beings, have failed those who died or who are still fighting for their lives.

I was baptised an Orthodox Christian, but I’m faced with doubts about my religion as I see it now. Let me be clear, not about my faith, not even a bit!

I’m disappointed to see that so many of the people who are supposed to offer spiritual comfort and guidance can be so narrow minded that they don’t realise faith means so much more than dogma. Faith is more than a person who goes to church on Sunday and then the next week goes and rapes an innocent girl (yes, I’m talking about the gang rape case of the girl from Valeni and those 7 church-going boys), or a man who goes to church and then straight to the village bar and gets so drunk that when he gets home he ends up beating his wife senseless. These things happen still in this day and age, let’s not even try to deny it. So how is a person who might have rock music as their favourite music genre, or someone who decides to dress up  for Halloween as a cartoon character, or someone who loves a person of the same sex (who, be it said, may all be church-goers as well) be worse human beings than my previous examples?

The Orthodox church needs to wake up and realize they can’t make the young generation accept their authority, or convince them to seek guidance in church as long as the church thinks and acts like it did hundreds of years ago. Dogma that has stayed the same for millennia will not make today’s people listen. It was created for people who had so little information about the world and about themselves available, that they needed rules to make sense of everything that was going on around them, they needed very close monitoring and guidance. And I have nothing but respect and gratefulness for the church for all that. But not all legacy is good and applicable in the same identical way millennia later. And being scared of evolution means being scared of life.

So you can’t make me or my peers love the church by trying to scare me (those people marching on the streets are fearless!), by threatening me, by blaming me and telling me what a wretched person I am for my musical preferences, for example. You won’t make me love and respect the church by stating that because I want to know myself better, to improve the way I am and the way I interact with others, in a nutshell because I seek to become a better person through psychology and knowledge of the world in general, I am surely dabbling in obscure, satanic rituals and my faith in God is second rate in your eyes. No, my faith is strong and it’s pure, and I won’t let anybody make me feel otherwise. And I certainly won’t allow anybody to make me feel like I must be promoting the devil’s work because I dare think.

There’s so much change that’s desperately needed in this country. It’s not just the political class. They’re merely one symptom of a deeply rooted disease that stretches wider than a few days, or even a few years for that matter, can heal. Before things can really take a turn for the better, we need to change mentalities. We need to become more accepting of each other and I dare say more forgiving, we need to stop bowing our heads to the inevitable, to the “it’s always been done like this”, to the “what will they say?” and to the “what can I do? I’m just one person”. True change comes from within and I pray that every single person in this country begins to understand that. Otherwise, we really are doomed.