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Editorial from a Romanian newspaper (english)
10 Mar 2003
An Ode To America
Why are Americans so united? They don't resemble one another even if
you paint them! They speak all the languages of the world and form an
astonishing mixture of civilizations. Some of them are nearly extinct,
others are incompatible with one another, and in matters of religious
beliefs, not even God can count how many they are.
Still, the American tragedy turned three hundred million people into
a hand put on the heart. Nobody rushed to accuse the White House, the
army, the secret services that they are only a bunch of losers. Nobody
rushed to empty their bank accounts. Nobody rushed on the streets nearby to
gape about. The Americans volunteered to donate blood and to give a helping
hand. After the first moments of panic, they raised the flag on the smoking
ruins, putting on T-shirts, caps and ties in the colors of the national
They placed flags on buildings and cars as if in every place and on every
car a minister or the president was passing. On every occasion they started
singing their traditional song: "God Bless America!".
Silent as a rock, I watched the charity concert broadcast on Saturday
once, twice, three times, on different TV channels. There were Clint
Eastwood, Willie Nelson, Robert de Niro, Julia Roberts, Cassius Clay,
Jack Nicholson, Bruce Springsteen, Silvester Stalone, James Wood, and many
others whom no film or producers could ever bring together. The
American's solidarity spirit turned them into a choir. Actually, choir is
not the word.
What you could hear was the heavy artillery of the American soul. What
neither George W. Bush, nor Bill Clinton, nor Colin Powell could say
without facing the risk of stumbling over words and sounds, was being
heard in a great and unmistakable way in this charity concert.
I don't know how it happened that all this obsessive singing of
America didn't sound croaky, nationalist, or ostentatious! It made you green
with envy because you weren't able to sing for your country without running
the risk of being considered chauvinist, ridiculous, or suspected of
who-knows-what mean interests.
I watched the live broadcast and the rerun of its rerun for hours
listening to the story of the guy who went down one hundred floors with a
woman in a wheelchair without knowing who she was, or of the Californian
hockey player, who fought with the terrorists and prevented the plane from
hitting a target that would have killed other hundreds or thousands of
people. How on earth were they able to bow before a fellow human?
Imperceptibly, with every word and musical note, the memory of some
turned into a modern myth of tragic heroes. And with every phone call,
millions and millions of dollars were put in a collection aimed at rewarding
not a man or a family, but a spirit which nothing can buy.
What on earth can unite the Americans in such a way? Their land?
Their galloping history? Their economic power? Money? I tried for hours to
find an answer, humming songs and murmuring phrases which risk of sounding
like commonplaces. I thought things over, but I reached only one conclusion.
Only freedom can work such miracles!