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Paler, Octavian

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Cotidianul - Romania | 08/05/2007

Octavian Paler on Romania's messianic president

Romanian writer Octavian Paler died yesterday in Bucharest at the age of 80. The paper prints his last column, in which he reflects on President Traian Basescu: "The communist dictatorship was not 'entertaining.' There was the same hypocrisy, the same cowardice, there were the same Potemkin villages, and most importantly, the same fear that is the psychological underpinning of every dictatorship. Today's dubious 'democracy' is anything but boring. But something worries me. It's the rhetoric that Traian Basescu serves up nowadays: The way he accuses the entire political class, the way he struts about as if he were the Messiah, his fascistic remarks – it reminds me of the rise of right-wing extremism between the wars, and the same goes for his ludicrous claim that he is different from other politicians, a missionary against corruption, having no part in the 'system of rogues.' I have one thing to say to this: Using populist demagogy in an inflammatory atmosphere is playing with fire."

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