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Romanian Academy's head: Day of National Culture comes with Eminescu

eugen simion

"This year, on January 15, we celebrate a sad day of national culture. First of all, because of this plague that brought us to our knees, closed our halls of performances, exhibitions, libraries, archives, libraries. Secondly, because of the attacks on culture on many meridians, these acts signifying the destruction and desecration of statues, the prohibition of literary works, the stopping of the playing of films, the blaming of composers, writers, plastic artists, etc., which would not have been 'politically correct' in bygone times, when the concept had not even been heard of. The sadness has had an impact, as expected, on Romanian culture, too, with our unmistakable specificity, on the one hand, because of the current restrictions, on the other hand, because of the 'political correctness' sui generis here, from the Danube and from the Carpathians, where the national poet is desecrated, where the word culture stirs contempt in the minds of some and where the nation is repudiated as a factor of evil," the president of the Romanian Academy, Ioan-Aurel Pop, told AGERPRES.

According to the Romanian Academy's head, "Eminescu, nation and culture - as identity values - have built our destiny as a collective being", adding that "Eminescu was not, however, a god, but a man, with all the features of a human being, including defects and sins", yet above all his weaknesses being "a huge beneficial energy, sublimated in the soul of this people", that made him become "a mark of the Romanian culture and Romanian nation".

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Academician Eugen Simion asserts that celebrating the Day of National Culture is, after all, what remains of us and our experience.

"Next to nothing is known about the Sumerian peoples today. They're gone from history. This will happen, perhaps, to the peoples, to the modern nations. However, we remembered these old cultures by reading the poem Gilgames, which is a splendor. Beware of what we leave behind and what it represents. Let us properly celebrate the Day of National Culture, even if we stay inside, let us keep off this misfortune which is the pandemic that we are going through today," the president of the Literature and Philology Section of the Romanian Academy told AGERPRES.

He points out that the Day of National Culture comes with the day of the poet Mihai Eminescu.

"I would never want to break up these two holidays. When we proposed to the Romanian Parliament to set up a Day of National Culture and to identify it with Eminescu's day, we did not do it at random," said Eugen Simion.

"We recently had parliamentary elections. There have been speeches, I've heard programs, utopias we hear every four years. The word culture was pronounced only perhaps in an enumeration there. That we should pay attention to our sports, our roads... Whatever... Not even in this category... Culture is a category that does not exist. Or, this has made and makes me wonder. Then, words such as national culture, nation or national spirit or specific character have become some terms that our speakers, 'speech-givers' avoid. Nation has become a suspect term. It's very serious. No, it's not, it can't be true. Nation is a culture's, it is the sign of a people, of a nation. We must not give up these notions," academic Eugen Simion points out.

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"Can we celebrate the Day of National Culture when functional illiteracy reached 44 pct of Romania's population?! When museums gather people once a year, when free entry is available?! When the culture budget of all governments has oscillated and oscillates between revolting and pitiful?! When we had ministers who hadn't discovered the secrets of the accusative preposition case?! When the value of the Romanian book market is three times lower than that of Hungary, which is two times smaller than our country?! When so many people declare - some, pompously - that they don't even read one book a year?!" the writer Radu Paraschivescu asks rhetorically, in a statement granted to AGERPRES, adding that as far as he is concerned, the Day of National Culture represents "a shell that dresses almost nothing".

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