Somehow after the last 3 days, the national mourning time I decided to respect and kept my mouth shut, did not curse and yell and scream and express my panic attacks in one aggressive, violent form or another, I ended up thinking again about Le Maimutz de la Roumanie.
I did feel it all, everything you all wrote or spoke to me about. I asked myself why is it so important to me, to all of us. Why does it hurt in so many ways. Tragedies happen all the time. People die out of other people’s ignorance or incompetence or madness or doctrine or whatever else we, the human beings, decide to do to each other. I felt bad for each one of those tragedies around the globe.
Was it because it happened the day I left Romania and it had been the first thing I read when I turned my phone back on? Was this tragedy feeling differently because it was in a club and I go to clubs a lot? Was it because all of us who lived in Bucharest and went out to listen to music in the last 10 years or so, we all know somebody who knew somebody who was there that night? Was it because it literally could have been any of us? Cause we all went to bars/clubs like that, we know them, we know how it feels at those free concerts, crowded and blurred in smoke, how fun it is, live music with our friends and the whole world can go to hell! Maybe it was all of that.
But mostly i felt shame. Because all these years I never, not even once, asked my friends who own some of these clubs/bars or somebody who works in those places: why do you have only one door, to enter and to exit? It never ever crossed my mind to look or ask if there is a fire extinguisher at least. I was extremely angry when some club owners refused to let people in after the club was at full capacity, some clubs were doing that back in the days (Expirat The Other Side was one of them). I literally thought come on, what’s an extra person or two…yes, I did. I even laughed when some people would tell me what tricks they had to do in order to avoid respecting one regulation or another...Whatever caused the tragedy last Friday it's been there for years. We all know it.
I also felt stupid, naïve and immature. I honestly thought that, in spite of everything, the state, the city, the mayor, the law is made to protect us. I honestly thought in case of an emergency they, the ones we chose, voted and we're paying, have a plan to save us, to take care of us, they got our back. How dumb is that?! To still think that after you saw a plane crashed in the mountains with all the passengers on board alive, left there to froze and die for 8+ hours. Because the ones who's only job is to be prepared for these types of emergencies could not find them. For 8+ hours. Year: 2014. And then it happened again in a lake. To still believe in those people, we see what they do with their lives, what they understand from politics, how they made their fortune and what they do with it, we see their faces and hear their lies and we know they’re rotten to their bones, from those people I expected to have our back, to protect us, to make laws for us, to have a plan to save us if God forbid an earthquake or a fire….how stupid is that? Very.
I keep hearing talks about honor. What honor? From whom do you expect that? Are you crazy? Open your eyes. Honor has nothing to do with any of those people WE TOLERATED there.
Now if there is a fault somewhere, the habit of not caring enough to fight, to find solutions and not give up until you have it the way you know it’s right because it makes sense should be part of it. What to do about that? Be Le Maimutz de la Roumanie. Be obnoxious. Ask questions. Make them give you answers. Challenge them to make sense. Don’t give up. Be in their faces. Talk to the human being in that chair. Sue them. But most important DO IT YOURSELF. Take responsibility for your life, your safety, your protection. They are paid by you. It’s your right to ask every single day what are they doing with your money, to check if they are doing their job right. I think we all just have to accept they will not do it because we gave them those jobs. They have no consciousness they have a job to do, they think they are the jobs they have – mayors, senators etc. But we already know that and no matter how many times we march and cry and yell and…they will not do that. And the tragic truth is most of them don’t know how to. When you create a system based on murder, theft, blackmail, bribe, hypocrisy, ignorance and incompetence it’s hard and sometimes impossible to learn another way. It's also true some of them are too old for that.
The good news is that we don’t need to rely on the state anymore. The state does not control what you do with your business. At least that’s what the existent law tells us: the responsibility is private for a public place, they say. Well then, instead of waiting for a law to change or for a raid from whoever is responsible to check you’re following regulations, basically for someone else to care, do the Maimutz thing: you know the people hired and paid to clean the beach will not do it. And you want it done. What are you gonna do about that? You can complain for a while, you can sue them, or you can take responsibility, buy ashtrays and trashcans and be obnoxious about it.
It’s not a pleasant thing to do or to watch. It takes energy, patience and time. But I choose that. Because I read that list when it came out first. And I prayed to not know any name. I’m still praying. But I am fully aware that my name or your name could have been there. We were lucky all those years.
Personally i promised myself i will not enter another Romanian bar, pub or club unless it matches the safety regulations i know from the clubs in the States. And i will respect this promise no matter how good of a friend the owner is to me or how good i feel about that place.
And i have an idea: how about you ask the super/administrator of the building you bought or rent an apartment in or have your business in about emergency regulations, what is he prepared to do if there’s an earthquake or fire or flood or… If you ask often enough he will ask his superior. If his superior doesn’t know anything or doesn't exist you will know you have to find the answer somewhere else. Everywhere you can. Find time to do that. It’s the only way. And if the person you ask, even if it’s the mayor or the president, has no answers find a lawyer. I promise you, you’ll find a good one who’d work pro bono.
Remember you have rights, not only obligations. You pay bills and taxes. It’s your right to ask what is going on with your money. And to not leave without an answer. And a solution. Because it’s all connected. If the super of your building would have a plan, his superior would have a plan too and the mayor will have to provide help for our plans. Because we pay him for that. We pay him to do what we want. What do you want?
Now go out there and get it.
PS: Maimutz is a French-ish version of the Romanian word for monkey.