[-empyre-] creative powerlessness/ creative power

Aristita I Albacan A.Albacan at hull.ac.uk
Wed Nov 26 09:52:51 EST 2014

Johannes asked me to post this paragraph below, a brief personal account
of the very recent presidential elections in Romania. It is an story of
e-volution, extraordinary in its own way.

Romania's newly elected president is from the German minority, which is
amazing. He has been for more than a decade a mayor of Sibiu (a
Transilvanian City) and has turned the city into a jewel. His name is
Klaus Iohannis. He is backed by centre right parties, but Romania has no
real left at this point. In fact, he has been appropriated in the past
weeks by the newly reborn/emancipated civil society I was talking about in
my previous post.

About the voting: it has been an e-volution. Sociologist and political
analysts say it is the first time Facebook has won the elections in a
state.  Iohannis had the 2nd chance and 2/3 of mass-media against it.The
favourite - as polls said - was the current prime minister Victor Ponta,
holding and using/ abusing all the state power and finances for his
presidential campaign. He even obstructed the right to vote for diaspora
through unusually bureaucratic procedures. On both rounds (2nd and 16th of
November). 300.000 Romanians (media accounts say) cued for 10-14 hours in
all major cities of Europe to vote. The presence on the 16th of November
was even greater than on the 2nd of November, as an act of peaceful revolt
against the obstructions in the first round. A great majority could not
vote and, at the end of the day, on the 16th of November, they were
teargased by local police (in Paris, Munchen, Turin, almost so in London)
at the request of Romanian government. This incredibly arrogant attitude
of the prime-minister reminded people far too well of communist times.
After the 1st round and on the day of the 2nd election round it produced a
decisive counter-effect for the favourite of the polls. From being 10%
below, Iohannis moved up 11% above the favourite and won the elections.
Those from diaspora who did not manage to vote asked their relatives in
the country to do that for them. In a country that seemed almost subdued
by political and economical corruption, an incredible movement of
solidarity happened between the two rounds and culminated on the 16th of
November with a result that was surprising even for those involved in the
fight. All accurate info went via FB. TV stations were either ignoring the
situation, or lying. It is a story that will make history. Political
analysts say that rarely such things happen in election processes and it
is a first time when FB, as a platform of communication, played such a
decisive role. At the moment, a state of joy and elation traverses the
Romanian society, it is an atmosphere that that I have not seen since
December 89. I was very happy to have been in the country for a this
crucial period right before and after the last round of elections. And I
have been there both live, on the streets, and on FB. It was the only time
I felt FB really could be my friend, without reservations :). And perhaps
the only time when the number of shares became considerably higher than
the number of likes for any postings that dealt with the elections. In
fact, funny dogs and cats, exotic holiday pictures and quirky videos
effectively dissapeared from FB timelines for two weeks, almost everybody
was actively posting about peaceful protests and proper voting.

As extraordinary as this story is, it did not take the attention of
international press.
Nevertheless, there are a few accounts for those interested. See below:

Apart from that plenty of videos on youtube, documenting the events.

And, as I said before, terror can take many forms. Romanians in diaspora
were denied a fundamental right and in fact terrorised by their own
government to the point to which they unwillingly re-enacted the history
of cueing of the 80s. Only this time with a hopeful ending in sight.This
was the signal for the entire society that the "reset" button has been it
and there is no return to communism and its corrupted ways. The civil
society has also received a boost from their own performance and they are
actively guarding the complicated political process that is to follow.

All best,

On 25/11/2014 17:29, "Johannes Birringer"
<Johannes.Birringer at brunel.ac.uk> wrote:

>----------empyre- soft-skinned space----------------------
>thank you Aristita for your beautiful and actually very encouraging post,
>detailing what you experienced growing up under "slow terror" and a
>regime  (and after it,  "the maze developed by the post-communist
>political system," as you say) that stifled mind and soul silencing the
>populace. Your description of the silencing ­ and forcing the people in
>Romania during Ceausescu¹s dictatorship. to develop survival mechanisms
>under precariousness ­  is harrowing, but you also you address the
>reaction to slow terror (and later mention the 'theatre of the oppressed'
> rehearsal principles)
><<I learned as a child and a teenager much too well that there is such a
>thing as negative imagination, that violence can come in many varied
>forms, all aiming to annihilate. That there is no dialogue possible with
>violence and terror. That confrontation, even if peaceful, is impossible.
>Yet, through isolated dissident examples that all of us knew well of
>through the grapevine, I learned that asserting one¹s beliefs and
>feelings, in spite of being apparently ³suicidal,² putting the body in
>danger and leading to social exclusion, was the only solution to keep the
>mind and the soul alive. And that such acts of dissidence and
>assertiveness had positive ripple effects for the rest of the silenced
>crowd. Other modes of asserting, used by more people, were indirect and
>based on humour>>
>Perhaps we can also look at the larger communal/societal process (e.g.
>during an election, versus during an uprising or a riot), and draw
>encouragement from modes of organization and collective action,
>rehearsals of communal will?  As not all of us here may know the
>occurrences during your recent voting in your mother country, could you
>kindly tell a little about the elections and what you refer to as a
>"reset" -
>>>the first president not connected to former structures of power, to hit
>>>the ³reset² button and thus stand a chance to break with its traumatic
>>>past. Even now the country is divided between those (usually older and
>>>from social strata with less access to information) who are still
>>>completely subdued to the effects of post-communist propaganda and
>>>terrorised by the thought of change and those who are strongly
>>>motivated to embrace and determine change.>>
>I suggest we can then, following Christina's admonishment, change again
>or modify the conversation on terror and trauma (even as events may be
>unfolding in Ferguson, but also in many other places that are not "hot"
>for the press and not "recruited", as J. Butler writes in "Frames of
>War"):   "How is the public sphere constituted by the visual technologies
>of war? and what counter-public emerges over and against that ideal
>postulate? we think of persons as reacting to war n various ways, but
>communicable reactions to war also variably constitute and de-constitute
>personhood within the field of war. is there some way to register war in
>a way that transforms the senses?"  And then she asks: " And what role do
>transformed senses have in the demand for the cessation of war?"  "Under
>what conditions can we refuse the recruitment effort" - namely to be
>embedded into publicly approved media reports?
> (thinking of Monika's work here, and of what Ana mentioned earlier in
>her references to the protesting Women in Black, or the Mothers &
>Grandmothers at Plaza de Mayo )
>Johannes Birringer
>[Aristita I Albacan schreiibt]
>Sent:Tuesday, November 25, 2014 12:55 PM
>To:  empyre at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au
>Many thanks for the opportunity to assist to such an inquisitive and
>stimulating debate about performance in relation to notions of terror and
>violence. Many threads to follow, I choose to start with the one closest
>to my heart, and pick up again the creative powerlessness, but from a
>slightly different angle....
>empyre forum
>empyre at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au
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