Letter to the young world

Author: Maria Comandasu


There is time to work and time to love. There is no other time

Coco Chanel

In the place where I grew up, people don’t think very much about the world outside their community. They spend their life taking care of their children, praising God for a better day tomorrow and cherishing their friends. The nature surrounding them is always seen as a gift from heaven and they don’t need special policies to understand that. They are helping each other before knowing the Good Samaritan story and they never, but never expect something in return for their good will.

I grew up there taking for granted their way of life. And my future plans, my hopes and all the dreams lying in between were built on this image of the world. But as I was going to discover, few people shared the serenity and the light soul of those from the little village were I spent my childhood.

The years brought into my eyes the bigger picture of the current world – a world where my country is trying to find its own path, a world that it is collapsing under its own ancient structures. Modern society has new rules and no time at all for the simple yet meaningful gestures of compassion. Given the circumstances, people are not to be blamed, because no agreement has been set between modern philosophical systems that man can ignore the one next to him, rather than trying to understand him, thus returning to primary values like love, empathy or trust.

And from where I am standing right now, the consequences are to be feared. I have said that my country is trying to find its own path, but maybe a better word would have been “struggling”. The shadows of its past never seem to fade and every effort that is being made to bring fresh air into the old system it is condemned to death.

As a part of the younger generation, I have no fear of words or statements: I live in Romania and I would not change that. Despite its lack of articulate plans for development, despite its Romany citizens that are spreading bad fame around other nations, despite all the black spots on the canvas that could make my country look better, I still feel love and great belief in its future. And you want to know why?

Because all the steps made by the young people living in my country are entitling me to do so. It is often said that we should start every single thing with ourselves, that we should stand for the things that makes us human, that we should be the change we want to see in the world. And they are all doing that: young students building NGOs that stand for humanitarian causes, young people giving away their free time to help those in need, those whose homes have been taken away by the waters, those who do not have a shelter above their heads… They are trying to give the word “hope” new shapes, extend its meaning until everybody in this country is going to feel the same. Their voices might be frail, but they are numerous and so are the lives they have managed to change. The young persons who let indifference aside are the seeds of the Romanian civil society.

And they know one thing from the start: the world is busy, its agenda is crammed with problems that no government in the world can solve immediately and that if someone does not turn their head at the small issues that are affecting millions of lives, nobody will be able to do so in the short term. 

Because Romania lies geographically at the far Eastern end of the European Union, we might or might not be of any concern for the main agenda of the world any time soon. And there are events happening here and close around this country that only a strong civil society can fight for.

In Romania, the media acts in a strange way, trying to fill its agenda with corruption scandals, instead of the world economic crisis and its local effects for the Romanian people. An important point to notice here is that the current political and economic climate of Romania has a very strong negative impact on the initiatives that could make a difference, especially among young people that adhere to values like progress towards the western world, civil rights, human rights and all the other subjects that could bring us closer to the western world. Every young man has seen every election in this country as a potential salvation from all the wrong values that communism brought to Romania.

But everyone who made it to the top betrayed his electors, demonstrating not only the lack of the aforementioned values, but his adhesion to all the traits that the youth of Romania hated most: corruption, indifference to the people suffering from poverty or diseases, turning a blind eye to the children that have no schools, or means to attend any level of education and lack of concern for the organizations that are trying through private means to solve some of that.

Our forests are being cut; the air in our cities is hard to breath, our grandmothers and grandfathers are being forgotten by all plans of economic reconstruction and our hospitals are surviving due to unimaginable efforts… Young Romanian people have sensed that, their hearts pounded to ideas of improvement and their vocation of world citizens made them act as one. They started involving the big companies into plans that will help plant new forests, they conceived innovative campaigns that drew attention to the dangers of pollution, teaching people how to recycle, how to respect the environment they are living in. And all these things were done long before the concerned authorities did anything in terms of policies or laws. So this is my hope, the light that enforces my belief in the future.

I am strongly convinced that awareness is a powerful weapon and that if beautiful initiatives will keep developing there will be a powerful Romanian civil society in the near future. It might not be enough for a sudden change of an entire country, but it will be just the start to the right path. It is said that if you wait long enough, someone will agree with your point of view. It is why I will never close my eyes and I will always keep seeking for those who will want to find solutions.

And I can not stop from thinking that if a strong structure as such described before would have existed, our young brothers from Moldavia would not have felt alone in their combat for freedom. There, where the salary rarely exceeds $150 and the people are poor and oppressed by a communist regime, young people filled the streets of Chisinau and they participated in the anti-communist demonstrations. But they were beaten and arrested. Young, enthusiastic people that believe that the change to democracy is lying in their own hands…     

Emile Zola once said "If you ask me what I came to do in this world... I will answer you: 'I am here to live out loud." And this is what all young Romanian people and East-European young people should do. For their countries, for their souls, for all the children from the small villages who believe that sharing, loving and giving are the natural ways of acting in life.

The past is irrelevant. The present is improvable. But the future must have the sound of change.


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