Bucharest is the future of the whole world. And I wish it weren’t so.

This morning, I went to church. And I nearly kicked in the face of a 12 year old.

There’s a homeless man that I sit behind. There’s a moment in the service where we clasp hands and exchange a sign of peace. This happens almost every day. I don’t cringe or delay when I clasp his blackened hand.

I’ll wash my hands when I get home.

The boy came in at the end of the church service, sat next to me, and asked me my name. I indicated to him to be quiet. We were in the midst of prayer.

I’m guessing he was 12- not more. He had big brown eyes. His face was brown with dirt. His hands, black. He was thin as a skeleton. He was a Gypsy. But he could have been a Romanian.

As the service finished, I actually prayed not to be tempted into an altercation with the boy. I knew it was coming. It was inevitable. And I put it in God’s hands.

He must have known I was a foreigner. He wouldn’t have tried with a Romanian. They would have beaten him without a second thought, without a regret, and without wasting time about it. They would have kept beating him as long as he stayed within arms reach.

I put it in God’s hands.

As I was exiting the church, he was waiting for me at the door. He said he was hungry, I gave him the equivalent of $3.50-ish (10 Lei) and hoped that would be the end of it. With that money, he could get a foot-long loaf of fresh baked bread, a coca-cola, and sandwich meat.

It wasn’t the end of it.

Not so many steps from the church, he walked alongside me – trying to tell me his problems. He was cold. He was hungry. He was sick.

I blessed him and told him to beat it. In Romanian.

He replied by trying to fake a hug and steal my mobile phone from my shirt pocket. I knew this trick. I pushed him away as he came in for a hug. His hand was already in my shirt pocket. I slapped his hand hard and told him to beat it.

I prayed again and put it in God’s hands.

He apologized and offered his hand in peace. We were still walking. With his other hand, he tried to grab my front pants pocket.

I slapped his hand near my pocket and pushed him hard with the other hand. With an open palm landing on his chest, I sent him flying about nine feet. He was agile enough not to fall down.

He came for more. He also said his big brother is going to beat me next time I come to church. I told him, I’ll be waiting for him and his brother.

I prayed again and put it in God’s hands.

This time, he didn’t intend to make a charade of friendliness. His hands danced in the air as he ran at me, hoping to land at least two fingers in any pocket. I slapped him in the head this time. He fell down. I was tempted to kick him in the face.

Full force, I suppose that my kick would do permanent cosmetic damage. A light kick would incite him further. And since I’m not Bruce Lee or a trained fighter, I suppose there’s only light and hard hitting or kicking from me – nothing in between. Re-targeting would give him a chance to maneuver away.

I didn’t kick him. I fully intended to. But I got lucky. Maybe, him too.

A police officer was coming our way just then. The boy took off, telling me I’ll see him and his big brother at church tomorrow.

I want to say that the world is becoming something I cannot recognize. But, in fact, I recognize it. It is evil. We are complicit to the rise of evil. It starts small and we easily ignore it. But it grows. It expands.

It is the future. It is inevitable. Bucharest is the future of the whole world. And I wish it weren’t so.

And, yeah, we’ll see what happens tomorrow. But I suppose the whole point of this morning’s altercation was for me to send out this message and warning to a world plunging into darkness.

Things have to get so bad that we’re actually making it better with our hands and hearts – not just talking about it. And getting to that turning point is going to be worse than anything you or I can ever imagine.

Think I’m wrong? That it will never happen in your home town or city? A consortium of Russian and Romanian mob-bosses own the Liberty Bank of Georgia – I learned today. With their investment money, comes foreclosures, corruption, prostitution, poverty, disease, and hunger. Other things too. Evil moves in great numbers. It works through little things- things you can easily ignore or not even see. But evil, like I mentioned, is always growing and expanding it’s reach and impact.

Stan Faryna
7 May 2011
Bucharest, Romania

If you’d like to connect with me, follow @Faryna and tweet me up on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/faryna

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About Stan Faryna

Mr. Faryna is the founder and co-founder of several technology, design and communication companies in the United States and Europe including Faryna & Associates, Inc., Halo Interactive, and others.

Stan Faryna served as a Global Voices author and translator. Global Voices is a non-profit global citizens’ media project founded at Harvard Law School’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society, a research think-tank focused on the Internet’s impact on society.

His political, scholarly, social and technical opinions have appeared in The Chicago DefenderJurnalul NationalThe Washington TimesSagarSaptamana FinanciaraSocial Justice Review, and other publications.

Mr. Faryna also served as editor-in-chief of Black and Right (Praeger Press, 1996), a landmark collection of socio-political essays by important American thinkers including U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.

Copyright

Copyright 1996 to 2012 by Stan Faryna.

Here’s my fair use policy for my content: If you want to share my content with your own audience, you may quote a brief excerpt, if and only if, you provide proper attribution (Source: The unofficial blog of Stan Faryna) with a direct link to the source. Generally speaking, as long as you are not acting as an agent or on behalf of a corporation or institution, I am not interested in any payment for the quotation or use of a complete article. Nevertheless, you may not republish or translate the entire article without my written permission. Send your request for permission via Facebook. Or tweet me up me on Twitter.

4 Responses to Bucharest is the future of the whole world. And I wish it weren’t so.

  1. nisha360 says:

    Wow Stan I’m sorry you had to go through that I can relate because crime is also an issue here in Souh Africa. Are you okay?

    Yours truly,
    Nisha

  2. Four Sides says:

    I wish this problem was contained to only Bucharest, but it is not. It’s here in Canada, too, one of the “best places in the world to live.” Until people are confronted with the problem, like you were, they won’t want to deal with the issue.

    One of my girlfriend’s teenaged cousins is a wild girl herself – smoking, drinking, skipping school, etc. It’s happens when people live without fear and no consequences, I believe. People have shifted away from religion and fail to learn the true lessons of sin (and its equivalent in other non-Christian religions). And they don’t receive the same level of punishment as previous generations. My father received the belt or a wooden spoon, I was spanked at times, but I doubt any kids in the past 15 years have been spanked or received more punishment other than a time out or being grounded.

    I want to say the solution starts in the schools, but really it starts at home. And not just with parents either. The entire family unit of grandparents, uncles, aunts, etc.

    As a precaution for tomorrow, you may want to go to church with an empty wallet?

    • Stan Faryna says:

      I just returned from church. There was no boy. And NO big brother. Thank God!

      If I am to be honest, yesterday’s event shook me to the core. I was miserable, nauseous, and, yes, profoundly depressed. My big problem was me. Not the boy or the potential big brother. My big problem was my own willingness to reply with violence. To a child. Because I am a father…

      I seek a non-violent solution which seems impossible.

      The unfortunate fact is that there are currents in Gypsy (Roma) culture that structure the development of a criminal personality. This boy was an example, I believe. Yesterday’s event may have even been training.

      When I slapped his hand. I slapped it very hard. Just as hard as I would have slapped an adult’s hand. He winced with considerable pain, but he was fearless. And more, than fearless, his big brown eyes were full of opposition and contempt.

      I can only imagine that this boy has been beaten so hard and so often by his family, by police, and, perhaps, by strangers, that he has to take quite a beating before he retreats. Or fear that such a beating is forthcoming.

      The child is feral. And he was bred and raised to be feral by his family.

      Of course, Gypsy populations are a concern for all of Europe. Western Europeans, in fact, are so fed up that they do not distinguish between Romanians and Gypsies. They consider all Romanians to be Gypsy. And treat them with considerable contempt, fear and discrimination. But, again, with some reason. Gypsy populations, however, have roots in more countries than Romania. Or so I understand. Hitler and other Fascists, of course, almost eliminated Gypsy populations in much of Western Europe at one point in time.

      Beyond the Gypsy problem (which does not represent all of Gypsy culture), we see similar currents in Africa, Asia and South America. Children soldiers. Children can be easily programmed in violence. But it happens in the US too. In the poor neighborhoods. Drug dealers are programming children to embrace violence and crime.

      James:

      I got the belt often enough. Sometimes, a spanking. Sometimes, it was deserved. Sometimes, not. I took some punches too. I remain convinced the latter is inappropriate. Punching is war in my book – even if only a war between two wills. However, I was fortunate that my parents divorced when I was 10 and I had little interaction with my father after that.

      Anyway, the personality of the child, I believe, may determine the course of discipline. Myself, I was sensitive enough to be steered by emotional manipulations. My father’s mistake, perhaps, was to unthinkingly apply the farmer’s disciplines that he himself had received as a child. Likewise, timeout doesn’t fit some children. A friend of mine adopted children from Russia and had to put them into state custody because time out wasn’t working and some very bad things happened: sexual molestation of other children by the Russian children, harm to other children, and other terrible things.

      While I am a father, I have not been allowed the opportunity to parent. Divorce, etc. My ex-wife’s family taught my son to fight at age 3. And I have a big problem with that. I would have liked him to have been taught other options in conflict resolution before fighting. Fighting is easy and will create a potential for him not to consider those other options.

      Anyway, I agree with you, the family has to embrace the responsibility that a child must be educated to become a responsible, acting and virtuous adult. Community and culture must also encourage and hold the family responsible for its duties. But things are broken and breaking down. Including family, community and culture. And we are not willing to stand together and hold ourselves and each other accountable. More or less, we all look to the State whose solution can only result in a severe encroachment on our rights and dignity as persons.

      I have had dogs and I have one now. And I am conscious of my responsibility to raise a well-behaved and well-socialized dog. Perhaps, I am more conscientious of this because I used to have Brazilian filas. Filas are big and powerful dogs that have it in them (without training) to attack and/or kill human adults easily in certain situations. Specifically, situations in which their family (owners included) are attacked. My filas were well socialized, well behaved, and their perception of threat/attack was developed to not act forcibly on those low level threats that are as frequent as they are unexpected in human society.

      Of the hundred dog-owners I have observed at the local park every day, only a few take responsibility for developing their dog’s behavior. There are conflicts because of this. But since they aren’t children, I have no issue with kicking a feral dog (tagged or untagged) in the head.

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