TEDxEroilor - Dragos Bucurenci - Alegerile care conteaza

Uploaded by TEDxTalks on 19.06.2011

Dragos Bucurenci: Choices that matter
I have to tell you that I am very excited, I had the whole day this feeling,
because I knew I was going to talk on this stage,
where so many artists and directors get on every year
with their extraordinary movies which compile the film festival TIFF.
I confess that I feel much more confortable, there, in the auditorium, acclaiming them,
than here, on the stage.
Before I begin, I would like to ask you to stand up for another moment
to keep a moment of silence for Alex Leo Serban.
(moment of silence)
Thank you.
I want to tell you that I am very happy to be here,
I accepted the invitation as soon as I received it,
because I have a great respect for the philosophy on which TED conferences built,
the one that ideas have to go around.
I remember that a few years ago, I carried out a TV show on TVR1
and I wanted to bring into focus an idea which I read in one of my sister's articles,
she is a historian, but it felt quite inappropriate to aduce my siste in a TV show,
so I asked her if I could present the idea without disclosing the source.
My sister, who is much more leftist than I am, told me : "Dragos, do you know my oppinion about property?
I assure you that the intellectual property is less important for me,
so present it without worries.
In addition to the hint that ideas have to get about,
I am very fond about coming to Cluj, especially during the summer as I come so often thanks to Tudor Giurgiu
and to Mihai Chirilov , the ones who create this wonderful festival.
I became to embosom Cluj, its perspectives, its colours, its beautiful people.
I want to begin today's presentation with a memory. Behold, already 20 years elapsed since the revolution
Even though I am from Bucharest, I spent the revolution in the country side, in Leresti,
a city at the Carpatian feet, near Câmpulung.
And after a few days, it was already January, the exalted images from the Studio 4 of TVR
were already blown over for me,
because I was only 8 years old by then and I easily came back to my childish activities.
I used to bring together all dry leaves from the yard and put them on fire.
I was occupied with this pyromaniac activity,
when my cousin Alexandru, the son of the priest, came into the yard
and gave us the news, they would call it nowadays "news directly from the source",
because by then we didn't know the concept of free media or "source-news",
that there was all decided, Ion Iliescu was the new president and he would begin building his Gouvern.
I repeat, we were in the beginning of January, it was all gossip.
What I remember from then is that the news didn't puzzle me at all.
I saw Ion iliescu on TV, he looked like a reasonable man.
I liked that he was less excited than the other people around him
and it didn't seem wrong for me that others decided who is the new head of the state.
I remind you that until then, I lived 8 years in communism, it seemed fair that
a such important bussiness as the choice of the state's leader
isn't adjudecated to the whole population.
Of course, years passed by, I was educated in the spirit of democratic values
by somehow I feel the we, as society , still remained in this political childhood
as we still think that we aren't the ones supposed to make the choice of what happens to our lives.
I don't mean the fact that Romanians kept on voting for Ion Iliescu even after the free elections,
but I mean that we have a great missconfidence in our capacity
to change our future, our destiny.
Now I am thinking at the scepticism that we bathed in before
Romania's accesion in NATO and in the European Union.
There was said by then several times that we won't access these organisations
whatever we did, and I emphasize this part: whatever we did.
As such, it doesn't depend on us, if we do good, if we do bad,
we won't enter, others decide for us.
But I think, the truth is a little different: we are nowadays in the EU, we are part of NATO,
because a number of Romanians, not many, but neither few,
did their job, fulfilled their tasks.
Some public servants, dignitaries, magistrates, militaries managed to retrain
the economic system, the public system, the army, the health system, the educational system
to some minimal standards, as much as it was possible,
but they managed to reform them to the limit to which these organizations accepted, ok, you fulfill the standards.
These people did their jobs, fulfilled their tasks,
in the contempt of others for their jobs, other people who made fun of their work.
They said : "You don't understand, unaware if you work or if you don't, we can't enter. Dice were already thrown."
I don't think that the games have already been played.
I think that what each of us makes, does have an impact. I remember Philip Weller,
who was by then the secretary of the Commission for the protection of the Danube,
told us during a conference in Tulcea, where we were trying to push further this project for ecological reconstruction
You , Romanian, don't have faith that you can change your future.
You lived to long under dictatorship, and it was obvious that whatever you did by then, couldn't have any effects
on your economical, political or social future. So you don't believe
anymore in having this power, but the truth is, you still own it.
All changes depend on you.
I think that circumstances began to change in Romania and I will show you a chart in this respect.
What you see here, the big circle is the number of young Romanian people with ages between 15-35 years, living in big cities.
The grey circle is the 12% percent of them who volunteered in the last year,
and the little green spot, I will have to zoom the pie,
Is the number of those who volunteered for the environment.
There are the results of the surveyed opinions by GALUP for the British Council 2004.
And now I want to show you how a 2009 survey of JFK Romania for "More Green" (D. B's NGO) looks like.
We have the 2004 chart and look how the one in 2009 looks like.
We have the same grey circle, representing the number of those who volunteered during the last year in Romania.
There are about 29%, and we have the green spot. Of the first ones, 51% volunteered for the environment.
This number has doubled. Looking at these results, I remembered
about a conversation I had with the President of the County's Council Neamt,
who became a minister meanwhile,
as we were trying to complete an forestation in his county , having recourse to volunteers.
He told me: "Mr.Bucurenci.… we sit here and talk about the things with the volunteers,
but it's just talking. If you want to do something, you'll have to gather people, to pay them,
because we volunteered during communism as well, but of course, you don't know…you are young"
The truth is, I do know, because the next picture I want to show you is
taken by my father, 1988
he was a teaching assistant at the Faculty of Chemistry in the Bucharest University
and here he was during the field work in Jegãlia, gathering up bell peppers.
I know what my parents and my grandparents experienced,
I know about this disaster, which was the patriotic work in Romania,
but I also know that it doesn't have any influence on today's young people way of thinking.
We don't have this memory, and if we do, we know that it is nothing more than a bad memory.
Chris Abani, a writer I met thanks to the TED conferences,
who wrote a great book, "Songs for night",
said once on the TED scene, that the world can never be saved by big, messianic acts.
It will be saved by the accumulation of simple, easy, almost invisible gestures of compassion
which are repeated every day.
I think we can change our future if we manage to soak up these kind of gestures.
WE are ones who should start this change.
Romania is not a perfect country. But neither are we. Let's take a look at ourselves.
When we are irritated by the slowness of the authorities when implementing a project
or by the incapacity of politician to respect their promises,
Let's respect the commitments not to break our own promises.
Let us become punctual in a country that is always late.
Let us find another meaning, the true and native meaning
to the expression "the academic quarter", which should be
the quarter you get to a meeting before your partner
so you don't give him the opportunity to be more polite than you and arrive earlier.
When we are annoyed by the Romanian teaching system, by the results, by the quality of it ,
let's go to a hamlet of Romania or to a ghetto in its big cities
and to help a child to go to school, to make sure he gets school supplies,
that he has shoes to wear in school, that he has a meal when he comes back,
without looking at the color of his skin or at his parents' mistakes.
These are the changes, which I think, can lead to a better Romania.
I can't promise you anything, I don't know how Romania will look in 10 or 15 years.
I can only assure you, that if we stop doing these things,
if we stop being the drivers we point to in traffic,
if we stop being the rude man on the street,
if we stop being the intolerant people, who never compromise,
and who annoy us when they are in front of us, but never do when they are in our shoes,
then Romania has a chance.
It could be , that Romania doesn't become more beautiful or better in 25 or 30 years,
but I assure you that when our children will look around,
and then with a questioning look at us, we will be able to look them in the eyes
and tell them : I did my duty. I did the things that depended on me, as good as I could.
There is an interpretation I like very much,
of the miracle of the multiplication of fish and bread.
A theologist tried to laity this story , explaining that no miracle
took place there and that everybody had food.
But everyone was afraid to open his supply bag,
Fearing to remain without any while giving to the ones who have less.
So the miracle took place when Jesus told his apostles
Give you bread, your fish and your wine to others.
Encouraged by this gesture, everybody opened his bag with supplies
and everybody had enough food.
I like this story a lot, because even though it eliminated the divine part of it,
it says something very beautiful about human nature:
Namely that good deeds are contagious.
I think that this is the way we will change smoothly, because good deeds are contagious.
I would like to leave you with a section of text I like very much,
From the preach on the mountain and which you can find in Gospel of Matthew.
It says the following: You are the light of the world.
A city can't hide beyond a hill. A torch shouldn't be under a bushel, but in a candlestick to enlighten the others.
Your light should enlighten the others as well, so they can see your good deeds.
Thank you.