It is morning, it’s early. A cold and humid autumn morning. Bucharest shrivels under the hostile glassy blue skies and begs for a sunny consolation. Beyond the "Intercontinental", twenty people gathered on the sidewalk across the street.
They silently wait near an impromptu metal fence. They move from one foot to another and struggle with the growing impatience. One guy approaches the metal fence and starts reading a few names from a table.
Those who hear their names quickly handover their passports to the special representative of the world power. He opens them slowly, writes them down on a piece of paper and goes away in a strange manner. After a few minutes, he returns and those already listed are walked-by in a long enclosure, covered with plexiglass. A line of pairs appears in the thin air of the early morning. From the building in the nearby, a giant with a gun at the waist appears and orders shortly while chewing gum: "The next two!". These guys (I am one of them) do as told and had that way. To the U.S. Consulate that is. Another gunman welcomes us behind the door. He also has a “warm” and “welcoming” look. He makes a quick scan of the persons, like we have just told him something about his mother. He empties our pockets, takes the belts and watches, puts them on a tray and passes us through the preventative filter. "Sit down in the waiting room!", another member of the “hosting department” commands. They are all Romanians like us. A big-screen TV is hanging on a wall and it provides images of America.
"I am an American!", says every man happy that he is filmed intentionally, in all that ethnic blend that the Americans are so proud of. Wonderful!
The occasional actors say their patriotic lines and show big smiles as usual only in the New World. The mouth wide open and gums to expose. That fake and tasteless smile, like a hamburger. The guardian appears again and guides us to counter no. 8 for the fingerprints. We rounded up without protest on the corridors precisely defined and we leave our prints on an electronic device. Now we are universal citizens, some formulas in the fingerprint database of all mankind. Just like the gangsters. I am happy like in my first days of scarlet fever! "Sit down in the waiting room!", the voice of another frowned supervisor is heard. We sit on our chairs, but not for long, because we are told to form a line again, this time to the little window where we will be interviewed. The official behind the glass looks at us with the suspicion mentioned in the job description file, asks us about all kinds of things and that 's it! The professional morgue is untouchable for him and he has been practicing it for a long time. A young woman is forced to testify her love and the last trips outside the border. Her boyfriend is at the NASA, where he can hardly wait for her to come.
Involuntarily, I listen to the dialogue conducted two steps away from me and I totally dislike this involvement in the story of the beautiful Romanian woman.
What privacy? Bulshit! The U.S. visa stamp is important, and nothing else matters.
To get in the "heart of the world’s democracy" it seems that one must go through a humility and undeserved punishment, here at the East’s lip. Or, perhaps, the U.S. authorities have calculated that such a "procedure" will determine many to give up on the dream to cross the ocean. This way, we are punished for our boldness of dreaming of the milk and honey in the groceries of Uncle Sam. I wonder if the electors of Mr. Bush would get through such a humbling procedure in order to get their right to visit Romania. I guess not, and therefore I start laughing every time I hear them talking about the human rights, about the equal treatment or other tricks meant to send the children to bed. I am angry for nothing, because the rich and the poor, the masters and the servants will never take a seat at the same table. I am not able to blame my heart’s rebellion, although the reason part of me is much more aware of the inequality between the glow-worm nations and the double standards that separates them forever. As well as from the discretionary supremacy of the "Great Glow-worm”, regardless, here of the humility suffered by its Atlantic partners, who still have to get a visa to visit the U.S. In exchange with the abandonment of the individual and national dignity, an useless excrescent nowadays.