Routing Out the Rhinoceroses:
Romania's Revolution of Light

From Planet 226

by Emilia Ivancu

Emilia Ivancu gives an insight into how physical space, pop culture, literature, folk custom and the internet are being used in extraordinary ways in Romania to challenge the threat to democracy and peace from government corruption and Putin's Russia.

What would people do if they suddenly woke one morning, and found their country was not the democratic country they used to know, but a huge, monstrous insect just like in Franz Kafka’s novella? What would people do if that insect was preparing not to eat their bodies, but rather consume their daily lives, by restricting their democratic rights, by isolating them from other countries, by threatening to crush them with its huge body any moment? What if people woke up one day and saw that their lives had been invaded by rhinoceroses just like in Eugène Ionesco’s play? These scenarios sound as absurd as the literature that inspired them, but such anxieties have been triggered in many parts of Europe and in the US over the last couple of years, and this is definitely what many Romanians felt following ‘emergency’ measures enacted by the Government.

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