Nationalism and religious symbolism in Romania

Whereas we were having dinner in Iași I was asked whether Catalans are rather nationalist, to what I replied that, according to my perception, they are less than Romanians look like.

As example, all class rooms in the High School I visited have a Romanian national flag and shield of arms, and also religious icons (in a non-religious centre). This is highly unusual as far as I know in public Catalan schools. Regarding the religious icons, it seems to be an ongoing polemics since a long time ago. The most important Romanian poet ever, Eminescu, is said to be one of the first personalities who suggested the removal of these symbols from lecture spaces. As Alina explained to me, if a teacher does not opt to have a religious symbol in the class, students usually decide to buy themselves one and place it in the room. The other way around, churches normally decorate their buildings with national symbology and colours.

During National Day, which commemorates the Union of all historical Romanian provinces, I could see a lot of flags hanged up in shops and stores, but not as many in residential houses. What I learned afterwards, when we actually wanted to buy one flag, is that commercial buildings are to be fined if they do not hang a flag that day. And of course they have to buy themselves it before.

I noticed that some Romanians have presently low esteem for their own culture. As I also agreed with Tristan, it's clearly patent in their language usage, which is scarcely present in computer interfaces even among home users and, in other daily situations, English loanwords and expressions are abused in my opinion. Despite Romanians might be eager to reach modernity in an accelerate pace, I do not think that sacrificing their own identity is going to offer any benefit to the country as a whole.I do not know if other former Eastern Bloc countries are in such a similar situation nowadays. I suppose the government, trying to fight somehow this, use or enforce national symbols in maybe an exaggerate way, but the actual solution would be trying to boost Romanian pride.

After Bucarest session in Politechnic University, we discussed what could be done for improving FOSS situation in Romanian administration. I suggested that implementing and ensuring respect of open standards could be a previous approach, that is, with official documents in the Net. One participant clarified that first of all people should know that they "have the rights" to access these actual documents. I think mutual cooperation, for instance within groups and initiatives such as the FOSS local groups I met (Ceata or Rosedu), are the necessary tools for making possible a promising future, so Romanians will be able to hang their flags willingly by themselves confident about the kind of society they could be accomplishing. Links

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