Claude Karnoouh: Romania remains an underdeveloped country, without power overseas

Anthropologist Claude Karnoouh, a specialist in human sciences (philosophy, social anthropology, sociology and linguistics), and also the owner of a degree in physics and chemistry, came to Romania in 1971, in 1973 conducting ethnographic research in Maramures.

He lectured at the Faculty of Philosophy of the Babes-Bolyai University in Cluj and at the University of Bucharest and he is the author of several works on Romania. In a dialogue with the Cotidianul daily, Claude Karnoouth drew a cruel radiography of the latest 20 years Romania.

The sins of the Romanian capitalism are the sins of capitalism in general, representing a single Weltanschauung: the profit, says Karnoouh. Nevertheless, the specific of the Romanian capitalism is the following: citizens benefit of no legislative protection. The laws do exist, but their validity has no chance against the mass corruption. And I am not the only one saying this, the EU is saying it too.

‘In the case of Romania, it seems to me that the elites have always thought they were being more clever than the people. After all, they were blinded by their own immediate interest’, Karnoouh said, also adding: ‘Why should the Western countries get involved, when the Eastern countries, the ‘former communist countries’, have behaved so nicely, the same as very loyal servants do, without protesting too much? […] Paying properly a few well-trained elites, as some circus dogs […] everything looked exactly like the West wanted it to look’.

Remembering his first visit in Romania, Karnoouh said: ‘the first meeting with your country happened in 1971 […] despite the nationalism-communism and the intensive development policy, which was exceptional in Europe back then, despite the communism, despite the prison-Canal of the 1950s, despite the fact that in many areas of the country people were living like they were still in the 19th century […] still, in the early 1990s many things seemed possible, although the West made it soon clear what it wanted, with the ones who executed the coup d’etat having immediately taken the economic-political power in their hands, with the blessing of the Western world […] Although the ‘crocodiles’ let the naive, the innocents play for a little while, very quickly the serious matters were taken into powerful hands […] we can see all that clearer today.

The economic and political power was found in the hands of former important members of the Romanian Communist Party (PCR) […] and more precisely of the many agents of the Securitate or of their children. And I am not referring to the small agents but to the top ones […] A growing poverty, made Karnoouh say: ‘the single matter that appears to me as being obvious right now is that the desert continues to grow between the poor and the supermarket’.

According to Karnoouth, ‘there exists no escape, no shelter, nowhere […] Romania will remain an underdeveloped country, with no power overseas […] that is what the West wanted. Nevertheless, you will see a few parrots pretending themselves to be intellectuals who will pray a ‘locally adapted’ capitalism and liberalism with their masters at the helm … It is true that the Romanian intelligentsia has for a long time developed exceptionally well a sense of servility, except from the Cluj school and its friends, with many theoretical-practical nuances having been pumped into the environment by the ‘Idea’ magazine […]

In the end, Claude Karnoouh also said that the power in Romania has become, due to Traian Basescu’s style (and due to its advisers) a Juan Peron-style power […] My experience with the third world thought me that liberty is more like an abstract word, an empty word, when there is no food in your stomach. The entire modern history, and not only, shows that the human beings are fighting first of all to survive, physically, and that this fight may have various references: religious, institutional, ideological […]

The true essence of the human being as it was revealed, not so long, by a Latin author – Plautus, and resumed by Machiavelli and later by Hobbes, is: ‘Homo homini lupus’. This is the purest essence of the human species […] Nevertheless, despite all these, exceptional things can still be done in art […], Claude Karnoouh said in the end.

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