Rosia Montana, June 2015; Interview between Eugen David and R.
R.: First of all, I want to know what you’re doing. I mean we know some stories, we read, but you tell us, what you do?
E.D.: Well, I am a simple man. I have a farm, and I’m taking care of it. So it’s the simplest thing that a man can do here in the mountains. I have a farm with six cows, seven with milk, ten calves (until now), some chicken for my personal consumption, which doesn’t produce any extra hens … but they’re still hens after all, some hens, some pigs. I have a little vegetable garden, but my main activity is the cows. So that was it, that’s what I chose as a project of my life, and as a futuristic thing, I’m working a little bit, on an agroturistic accommodation house and to prove that you can eat well in Rosia Montana too, that is possible to see something nice. This is on the side. The main plan is the farm.
R.: That’s the first project.
E.D.: That is the first project which I consider the most feasible and the most stable and more, according to the eurepean principles, more sustainable, it complies with the core principle of sustainable development.
R.: Can you access funds?
E.D.: Yeah yeah yeah. No funds! No, you know, I didn’t. I don’t want to get involved; I haven’t been, and I didn’t want any non-refundable amounts of money, nor nothing. What I’m making I do it on my own and if today I earn a buck, I spend a buck. If I don’t earn, I don’t spend. But I’m not a supporter of those theories of getting loans, like eating something in advance and after that to pay for it my whole life, no, no. As long as I have, I consume. And I think that’s the most sustainable, it’s durable development, because you are self-sustainable. You have no debts, you’re cost-effective; you’re sustainable and so on. The credit is the stupidest thing that was ever created in this world.
R.: And Roșia Monană, as we know it, as a movement, how did it started? What happened?
E.D.: So, Rosia Montana began, again, I’ve said this many times, it began as a self-defense against something that doesn’t represent us. So there wasn’t, like “wow, what civic spirit”, the principle has developed afterwards. The first time when some imminent danger comes towards you, thing that hurts, it’s a normal reaction for many people to act. But, well, we didn’t even know what involves a campaign like this, we didn’t know how we’re developing. Everything came naturally, like step-by-step, 15 years. So, there are 15 years, nothing was programmed like ‘if we don’t succeed in a year or two, that’s it, we give up’, not at all. We accumulated every year, we lived our day to day live in Rosia Montana, that’s what strengthened us, what made us feel stronger, it made us understand that not everything that is suggested by someone is good, you have to think for yourself, to create your own projects. It’s not like in communism when we were all in the same thing, now it’s each one on his own, this capitalism has developed the individualism a bit, too.
R.: But what is Roșia Montană for you?
E.D.: The place where I live. It’s easy. It’s not a place to disown. It’s the place in which I live, with everything, with the good and the bad. It’s not always good; there are bad days as well.
R.: What do you wish for R.M. ?
E.D.: To exist. Not to disappear. To not be destroyed. And first of all, my life is Rosia Montana. I’m not dreaming of Las Vegas, I’m not dreaming of Rosia Montana to be Geneva, Bucharest, not even Cluj, and neither Abrud; No, Rosia Montana is Rosia Montana. I wish for Rosia to stay the same, exactly, just as it is, as wild as possible, without much development from this forced and chaotic development, in which I earn a buck and spend ten. No, I want it to develop naturally, unforced; even if the kick us out of UNESCO. For me UNESCO, it’s only from the point of view of the value and the recognition, but I will never say it like Rosia Montana Gold Corporation- that the only solution is to be in Unesco. It won’t ever be like that. If it can’t be in UNESCO heritage, it won’t be. Rosia will grow further. Not everyone is in UNESCO. But we can keep a durable perspective.
You know how it is, the higher your expectations are, the stronger are the disappointments. It depends on what standard you set up for yourself.
R.: And you were saying that you were not prepared at the beginning, or that you haven’t thought about it as campaign or to make activism.
E.D.: No. Well with this activism, you know that there is a tendency of some people to give a negative connotation to activism. But activism, for me, it’s not that one in which you knock from door to door, neither that. For me activism means to be active. That’s it. It’s really that simple, in any field, to be active.
R: Even at your home.
E.D.: At your home too. You’re still an activist. There are various trends created: activists, anarchists, propagandists, communists and capitalists, each with their own. But the one with whom I feel good is the good one. That’s the good system. In which me, with my set of values, is represented. Everything else is just empty words. Left, right, I look at these people, the politicians, you don’t know who’s on the left, on the right… Morons, both hands are equally important. Both left and right hand.
I don’t understand them. What’s their purpose, just to make disorder in the society, between people… There are various trends created just to divide.
R.: To have something to work on, right?
E.D.: To have something to work on, fake leads … Yes, I believe that. The more you look at it in a simple and a more pragmatic way, it’s obvious.
A lot of people tell me: »What was your interest?” I have interests, people! How not to have? That’s why I fight. I’ve never said that I don’t. The word “interest” has a negative connotation to it, right? Why wouldn’t I recognize that I have an interest? Oh, my. Otherwise I would be a plant, isn’t it? Yes, I have an interest, but it depends on what’s the interest. And that’s when I explain them my interests, nicely..
R: And what would you want happen from here on?
E.D.: It’s simple. I told you. The commune to stay the same, whole, the people to feel good as much as possible, to get over these moments and this divide which was brought by the company in this community and a normal life.
R.: But besides what happened until now, what other things have to happen? What else needs to be changed?
E.D.: Yes, normally. It has to change. Things have to change. However, we must reorganize little bit, at the community level, at the perceptions’ level. Those who were pro-project, the so-called pro-project, although I felt that now, as these people are leaving, as long as there’s no more emotional bond … we must unite, to see what can we do together in Rosia, what can we do together with Rosia in relationship with the country, with the world, with those who likes it …
Yes, we live in a large community. We have large, general directions- agriculture, tourism, but after that, there are these private projects, more private ideas, these come with time, you can’t schedule all at once. You analyze them, you see what’s good, what’s bad … but it shouldn’t be like: I’ll do only this, I won’t change anything. No, you have to be open, meaning to see what is good and what is not good.
R.: So the people should unify in order to spread it?
E.D.: Yes, the people, and once again in the case of Rosia Montana’s campaign, again just like I said before, who wants to learn from it and to take the example of what has been done here, and if it was done well, to do it too, but if it was not done good, they shouldn’t do it like us, so they are free to choose. Therefore Rosia remains a case study. I’m not denying it. What can happen, what would happened if our campaign wasn’t good, than the others should not take it into consideration, and don’t do it like us. Maybe there are other communities who think differently. So I’m not a supporter of imposing. There were people who came to me and say: « Let’s go in Thailand, « let’s go in Greenland, « let’s go Germany, let’s go to America, etc, etc. “Guys”, I don’t want to take their model! Because maybe I don’t like it their model, I am in Rosia Montana. Why do I need other models? If I like them, I’ll take them, but not forced, not imposed. I have enough intelligence, I think, I see for myself, I look around me, I try to see if it’s good to me or not, but I have to go to see it for myself. Don’t they come and tell me that this is the answer, that’s what they’re doing. they remind me of Nicolae Ceausescu and the communism
R.: And from the politicians?
E.D.: No, I said it and I think that’s how it stays. I am open to certain things, but regarding the politicians, hoping that they will change sometime, or that a new political class, blabbering like this, I don’t. That’s what I know, that the politicians they only create pressure and they impose. The rest is juts blabbering, we change the politicians but with others. That’s what I told to lots of them… This is where they don’t agree with me, you know? But that’s their problem. So that’s it with the politicians. Politics is politics since the birth of humanity. Yes, in the meantime it was developed; it used PR, or marketed. The whole time it was politics and all the whole time they had their circle. And what have changed? Nothing, that was just the public opinion, when it had to, when it was too much. When they get to the limit then they have a tough reaction. It doesn’t have to be like this. I’ve never been populist, not with the people, nor with anything.
Being experienced, sometimes, really matters, you know? Regarding the leaders, there was this campaign about the forests, and at the beginning there was a nice march on the street, on the first day, and soon there was politicians on tv, some leaders and the protest died out. Because the people felt that it doesn’t belong to them anymore. And I have noticed this in the last 14 years. People must feel it, they have to feel that they are free, it’s important. Yes, they have made some masquerades on tv, they had fights. We, during the campaign, we managed to keep them away, you know?
R.: The TV?
E.D.: Not the TV, because it’s not the TV stations to blame, they are doing their job. It’s those who put themselves in the spotlights. They have their own functionality, to manipulate, to communicate, whatever you want, the ones to blame are those who’re following their agenda. They went to TV right away. It hasn’t even been a week and they’ve been on TV. There are, on comic books, the leaders of the movements… And when I went, when those protests started, I went to Bucharest and I told them: If one becomes a leader, “they” will destroy his public image! Well, we controlled the campaign, it was organized, we were different. Here, they found a disorganized territory and they immediately tried to control it (laughs) It bursted, it bursted out on them all their failures which couldn’t come out in the election campaign or at Rosia Montana.
R.: So how come that you gathered so many people around you?
E.D.: I didn’t gather them. The people gathered. And I think that happened because they are evolving. The Romanian society has evolved after the 1989 revolution, right? If we take a look at was the social-civil movement now, up till 2000, 2000-something, it was a mess. But the people now have many ways of communication, especially with the internet, they are feeling it every day, and they are accumulating all the trash from the politicians, from those around them and then, eventually, still, the man has that quality of uniting during the critical moments and they became solidarize. And that’s what I think. We had the task, I mean, just to keep and to inform about what happens in Rosia Montana. We consider that we have informed as much as possible correctly, otherwise you cannot do it. This way, the people cannot be tricked, even if it’s the simplest man from the street; even if that one is manipulated by a mayor with bribe for a vote. He won’t give his vote out of consciousness. He knows that he’s corrupt and so on. Therefore he is not stupid. That’s why I ‘m saying, if he gives it, it’s because he doesn’t have a choice. He has a need eventually. That’s why I’m saying that the people are not stupid. The fact that they are dependenting, that’s something else. But you can never accuse them of stupidity. Dependency, yes.
At one point, that’s how the society evolves, that you depend very much on your existence, on the next day, depend on X, or a Y or Z. So I’ve been very surprised and also all the guys from the campaign in September, when everyone went out on the streets. We were thinking that if a few thousands would go out, we’ll be happy … So once again I’m saying, that those who’re doing surveys and they’re to influence the public opinion, that’s how they are fooling themselves … because God gives them a surprise … So none, not the politicians or the politic analysts, no one has ever imagined such a thing. Because otherwise there wouldn’t have been revolutions, there wouldn’t be regime changes, everything would be controlled. No, there’s no such thing. It doesn’t exist. I’ve seen it.
R.: We still have hope
E.D.: Hope dies last. It dies last because, whether we like it or not, we love life. I told you, when it hurts enough, God have mercy on any politician, on any leader. Even Ceausescu, what do you think, that Ceausescu thought, that the communism, did anyone thought that it will fall? Did Ceausescu think he will be shot? No. He just tightened the noose and the others beside him were telling him: see how adored you are and the people in a low voice would say, « Yes, comrade Nicolae Ceausescu, yes, yes … Until they managed to gather in a large group, right? You cannot control them. And the politicians know this. But they believe that they do not have to take responsibility … And at one moment they go into a state of euphoria and they forget about the limit, you know? They know there is a limit, but they forget about it. They go in the system, and they forget about it.
R: Do young people often come to study Rosia Montana as case study?
E.D. : There have been many, many, too many… I do understand them, many times, but you know that inside the Community they are not very beneficial. Because a community it also has its own mechanisms and its uniqueness. Many times I didn’t accept many of the studies. One got upset with me … ok, I’ve chosen, as a person, I have chosen this risk, to protect some people from Alburnus Mayor as much as I could, when I felt it, you know? I’ve protected them and I didn’t put them in the studies and in the press, because you can feel them.
R.: And didn’t you get tired of it?
E.D.: It’s not about getting tired of, I’m just assuming a role and a sacrifice, sacrifice sounds bad. But that’s it. For Rosia I have done it because I realize that I have to. I was helped by others, me too I must send forward messages from others, if I want them to be noticed. For example, I will never go somewhere to protest if in that area there are not locals protesting, you understand
R.: Local have to act.
E.D.: Yes. So if that community doesn’t want it, there’s no way. And there were some cases when I didn’t go, even if they have considered me as a leader. I told them nicely: “no”. Because in some areas in which they were extracting the shale gas they didn’t manage to make a local association. And then, you’re seen exactly like a company. You perceived as a conqueror. Like someone who’s interfering. And us, here in Rosia, do you think that for example, Green Peace would have come, and all of us we were not associated, do you think that the campaign would have been successful?
E.D.: Would it be legitimate?
R.: When was it founded (the association)?
E.D.: In 2000
R.: In 2000, are you the president?
E.D.: Yes. I have more mandates than Basescu and Iliescu together (former presidents) [laughs]
R.: I think you even did more than them [laughs]
E.D.: You know that at volunteering no one gets involved that easily. No one wants to be mocked just like that. Where there are money and job titles, yes. But just to be on the street and to dedicate your farming time to go, no one really wants it. So, they shouldn’t have called the president of association like this, you know, because this word is somehos demonized, and you feel offended because you would be in the same league as Iliescu, Basescu, Constantinescu and all of them, you know? Like the word democracy so many of these words have been demonized and have been out of use and were stripped of their content… Also ‘patriotism’, because it got in the hands of some patriots painted in all sorts of things then you have to be careful on how you choose your words. But as a joke…
R.: We’re also presidents
E.D.: Yes, we are presidents as well. A president is also the building administrator… [laughs], or the floor administrator, or the CAP (former communist, abusive, way of working the land by stripping the owners of their rights and not allowing them to keep al their harvest). The same way as there are CEOs and managers.
R.: Thank you
E.D.: Thank you