Leaving the fortress

by Carmen Paun

In the last few days, I’ve been leaving in the most secure place on Earth. Or so it is supposed to be. We have policemen all over the place and we are aware that the Security Services took all the security measures they could take. We’re also aware that on the roof of the buildings downtown really close to the House of People there are gunmen who are watching everything. I work in one of these buildings. I didn’t see any gunman, but my colleagues say they are there for sure.

But how come these days people living in Bucharest feel most insecure? They are aware the security measures are high, but they are also aware that the risks are higher than never before. In the same time, the security measures can become a danger for the people living downtown. The tabloids have been writing lately that those people from downtown aren’t supposed to open their windows because they can get shut by gunmen. And this is only one of the risks, they say.

I went to Cluj to take part in a student advertising festival. I missed my chance to stay the three days of the NATO summit in Bucharest. I missed the chance of living in the city history is getting written.

In the last few days, Bucharest suddenly became the most important place on Earth, the place everybody is heading to or everybody is paying attention to. The East European Capital, which was used to be outside Europe, feels important today. It is the what we, Romanians, use to call „buricul pamantului”, an expression I can’t actually translate completely, but I can say it’s similar to „the center of the Universe”.

The NATO Summit made many people from Bucharest happy. Because of the summit, they got some days off. And that’s because they wouldn’t make it to work with all the traffic and public transportation restrictions.

Others, especially those working for private companies, still have to go to work and they just hate the summit. They might have to walk to the office, no matter how far away that is. And all the security measures make them unhappy. They ask themselves: „why an event like this, no matter how big and how important, has to completely paralise a city?” Today my work colleague said something I’ve been thinking about too: they should have picked a place outside the city, a nice, awesome place where the world leaders would have been protected without having to give a lot of troubles to Bucharest citizens. I sometimes think NATO should build a place outside any big city where they could have all this important summits.

And I also ask myself where did the representative democracy got to nowadays, when the world leaders are so extremely protected, the leaders that are supposed to represent the citizens. Now they are protected against all the citizens. They seem untouchable. They seem gods. And we all know they aren’t. If we were to think about Rousseau’s theory, the power the world leaders have is the sum of all the power pieces each of us gave them. Nowadays, it seems that that power makes them targets for the so called terrorists, who are just some other people searching for power.

I came back when almost all this NATO summit craziness was over. But I felt like big NATO is watching us!