Sevil Shhaideh. A name and a nominee that started up a nation-wide reality show last Christmas. All Romanians played a part in it, almost unwillingly.
Life beats fiction. This is undoubtedly true. And who can understand that better than someone who lives in Romania? I would call it the country of all unexpected possibilities. Both before and after the so-called revolution in 1989 Romanians have lived a surrealist kind of life. I’m sure that reading this dictionary definition of surrealism rings a bell with them:
a style of art and literature developed principally in the 20th century, stressing the subconscious significance of imagery arrived at by automatism or the exploitation of chance effects, unexpected juxtapositions, etc.
Random House Kernerman Webster’s College Dictionary, on http://www.thefreedictionary.com
The war of announcements
In the wake of the parliamentary elections, Liviu Dragnea, leader of the Social Democrat Party, announced his nominee for PM. Sevil Shhaideh. You could have thought he was a film director shouting ‘Action!’ Instantly the Romanian polis turned into a film set for a new national reality show. A surrealist one, of course. But this is too little to say. It was a battlefield for a new psychological war. Diatribes of leftist and rightist bulldogs were clashing over what President Iohannis was or wasn’t going to do. All this time the enraged crowds shouting from the margins. Sevil Shhaideh! Sevil Shhaideh!
Here was finally a valid motive for the President to keep quiet. How could you go out in the public square and address to a nation that was hurling threats? And in such a mighty clamor of triumphal trumpets for Shhaideh? Still, PSD had pressed the button of national alarm and the intervention of his conciliatory authority was needed. Therefore, compelled by his high rank, President Klaus Iohannis eventually stepped on a speaking platform.
His towering stature and dispassionate words would certainly pacify the people, you could think. So he offered Romanians a pre-announcement. He was going to think things over and come out with a definite answer immediately after Christmas. The tranquility of this magical holiday would be the best council for everyone. No way. He’d just brought a hornet’s nest about his presidential ears. And about the whole country again.
One Christmas with Sevil Shhaideh
You could almost hear the traditional ‘sarmale’ simmering in the people’s nervous stomachs. And see the jelly of the head cheese turning into hot lava on tables. Nobody had imagined the people to care with such consuming despair. But they did. And did it for good reason. The winners of the elections pretended to be under siege. Breaking news alerts were ceaselessly scrolling across the bottom of TV screens. The messages went from subliminal to menacingly supraliminal: terrifying, imminent danger, political warfare. Romanian democracy, original as it was, was breathing its last gasp under the stern heel of the republic’s president. Romanian people, stand up to this, get out in the street and fight!
Sevil Shhaideh, a person hardly anyone had even ever seen, had become the symbol of the people’s power.
After Christmas, the bomb died down with a fizzle, mastered with laconic calm by Klaus Iohannis. Those who, in the babel of voices, managed to understand, and those who wanted to, understood the essential. The President had seen what had to be seen. He had met Sevil Shhaideh. Therefore he rejected PSD leader’s nomination for prime minister based on informed ground.
However, the victors appeared to have another bomb up their sleeve. They detonated it the instant Iohannis concluded his communiqué. The people’s enemy would be suspended. The media campaign was launched immediately. Echelon after echelon of leftist politicians and commentators occupied the news studios, flaunting the same themes which had won them the parliamentary elections.
1. We will give you. We will give to left and right.
2. We and our families are being threatened by unidentified fiends. Protect us.
National Salvation Front
Between bellicose threats, tearful grievance, and unfettered indignation, the Romanians’ heart broke. This was a tableau vivant lamentable enough to make the angels cry. The Romanian people, so soft-hearted and God-fearing, reaffirmed their staunch support for the aggrieved victors. While women were weeping pious tears over pots on kitchen stoves, manhood was growing to rebellious potential in their husbands, in front of TV screens. It was all live. PSD members were constantly announcing that citizens all over the country were asking them to suspend the President and then remove him from office. Justice had to be done.
The nation’s voice was soaring to the skies in an eclectic chorus of wails and battle cries. A voice reunited last Christmas after so long a time under the symbol of the national salvation. Sevil Shhaideh. A name. Sevil Shhaideh. A nominee.