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President’s Loneliness

30 Noi 2004 - 00:00

EDITORIAL - December 1st 2004
There’s no need to prove that the Presidents are also humans, since we have enough proof to say it isn’t so. The Presidents (of state) are some little machines maintained, oiled, disassembled, reassembled and even thrown away, at an exact moment in time, by the Great Anonymous People and their caprices.

The parties, the oligarchies, the mobs, the coteries, the freemasonry, the security services, the lobbies are the gears that see, target, select and impose the Presidents, mostly all over the world, transforming them from normal humans into political animals walked around in cages or portraits, through democracy’s itinerary fair. These people generally have their previous and interior lives, their lives before being Presidents. They have their own small or great complexes and reflexes, virtues and domestic vices that their wives, children or close friends not only that are unable to transform them into public expertise, but they also tend to forget them or to deform them using a favourable approach.

One of the certain facts regarding the behaviour of a President, I believe, are the moments of solitude where one can see the unstudied reactions, without necessarily being close to them. This is the time when one is able to see their behaviours, starting from a gesture, a line, from a glimpse towards the window. The sketches that follow up are probably able to open a little the secret doors from these people’s bowers in terms of after and before the elections feverishness. They are strong, lonely and unhappy, they are the Presidents that unlike us are very powerful.

During all these last years, I had the occasion of taking a closer look at Emil Constantinescu, Adrian Nastase and Traian Basescu. I want to say that, for certain periods of time, I was alone with each one of them and these periods of time might tell more about these people to more people. Don’t expect any betrays or any confidential breakings. I have never been in the position of assuming any formal agreement in this direction, since I don’t embrace the sensational revelations. Let’s take one at a time.

Emil Constantinescu, the President of the first alternation of power, after 1989. Always suspicious, aware of his responsibility, a tensed Scorpio. Many months before being elected, in a hotel in Munchen, before an interview, he was showing me a big and thick red-covered notebook. In it, some sort of table, having columns like "Crt. No.", Date, Name and Surname. "Here is where I write down all the important meetings with university rectors, Yaser Arafat and so on", says Constantinescu. Near each rubric there is the time in minutes of the supposed historical meeting. The President to be has a sparkling look in his eyes that already tells a thing about the victory he was feeling close.

At the end of his mandate, I see him again aboard the presidential plane. He had already announced his "exit" from the political stage. In a small group, he tells the story of his trip together with Corneliu Coposu in Barcelona in the summer of 1996. The two "economy" passengers of the TAROM flight are being invited by the pilots in the cockpit. More than that, the commander proposes Mr. Coposu to make one more tour above Barcelona’s golf, before landing. Mr. Constantinescu emotionally remembers the presidential exception he was offered once, when he was still a candidate and, especially, Corneliu Coposu’s attendant. Before being President this man felt more like a President than the times in which he was one.

Adrian Nastase. An intelligent man, as less arrogant as it can be in private. Affable and shaded. He blossoms abroad, where he feels like a fish in the water, between Scandinavians and sheiks that don’t speak English or French as well. Nastase improvises without having any problem, in an un-Romanian environment. At home he becomes serious, stays at distance, shows his lack of interest for the Romanian internal affairs. My sequence with Mr. Nastase takes place in Kuwait City, at a temperature of 50 Celsius degrees, in the shade. By chance, I am in a luxurious bazaar and I see through the shop window the Prime Minister buying some silky Persian carpets. Not far away, Mr. Mihailescu attentively watches his gestures and preferences. Two-three Arabians wait for the order. No cameramen, no journalists, no Romanian or local officials are there. Prime Minister’s look focuses on the wonderful carpets, he seems to know a lot about them. There, he seemed more of a master than anywhere else in the country, during the electoral campaign.

Traian Basescu is the one I know the least from all these effective or elective Presidents. A few months ago he agreed to accompany me in a Zeppelin, a few hundred meters above Bucharest, for a TV show. In the vehicle that was quickly going up, Traian Basescu was sweating and hesitating to look down. He had recently been re-elected as the general mayor of Bucharest, facing competitors and situations with humour and exact replies. Now he seems intimidated when high above the city which he controls very well at ground level. Before the interview itself, I tell him that it is something very natural for a sea lion to have height sickness, and he answers, in a low voice: "I am afraid of the things I am not used to". Well, well, but courage and even self-assurance are your public signs, I say back. "I have dealt with a lot of things such that there are times in which I have to look other than in real life", is his answer. Maybe it would have been better to write my memoirs at a certain time instead of making benign indiscretion during this campaign of shocking revelations and revolving. I am not trying to insinuate that these paragraphs recommend one candidate or the other, a man with more or less presidential qualities. Since free confrontations between people and political agendas’ debates didn’t appear, I concluded that a little indiscretion doesn’t do anything wrong.
Translation : SORIN BALAN
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