We found 2 Reddit comments about Balkan Ghosts: A Journey Through History. Here are the top ones, ranked by their Reddit score.
If your interested in the Balkans, then "Balkan Ghosts" is a great read. The author pulls many quotes from the above mentioned book as well. It also was read by Bill Clinton, and apparently influenced his decisions surrounding the Balkan conflicts (to the authors dismay).
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Is the Anti-Romanyism confined to older generations? Are younger people just as racist as older ones?
Is this self-image baseless or is it a reflection of an underlying socio-economic reality? It seems to me, from a developmental perspective, with, perhaps, the exception of Bulgaria, Romania lags behing other Eastern European countries which recently got accession to EU, in fact these two deserve to be in a class of their own. From reading various works on Eastern Europe, I envisage Romania to look like what Russia would look like without a Sankt Petersburg or a Moscow, a place filled with vast amounts of peasantry and a poorly developed urban tradition, and from a historical context a perpetual periphery, a disputed no man's land used as a bargaining chip by the neighbouring great powers which manifested little interest in bringing the region to European standards. In fact, in accordance to some of the more notorious accounts of the region expressed by reputed Western correspondents like R. Kaplan, the author of "Balkan Ghosts" and " Eastward to Tartary", the border between Hungary and Romania, not the one between the former capitalist Austria and communist Hungary, constitutes the real line of demarcation between West and East in Central Europe. Although, there are some good examples of formerly less-developed nations which throughout history were dominated by more powerful neighbours that managed to overcome these historical adversities and became prosperous First World nations, Ireland, Finland or even South Korea are some of the names that instantly spring to my mind, I'm less confident in Romania's prospects in contrast to countries like Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Poland etc. Because of geopolitical factors like being "double landlocked" so to speak relatively to the countries West of the former Iron Curtain and most major transcontinental trade routes sidestepping it but also social ones like a relatively lack of human capital, there are less incentives to invest in Romania compared to ones that share a direct border like Poland and Czech Republic, thus the difussion of Western capital taking place at slower pace. In addition, it seems that some of the values instilled by the local Orthodox church into a deeply religious population aren't helping either. Taking all these aspects into account I wouldn't be too surprised if Romania will experience difficulties in bridging the gap that separate it from more prosperous former members of the Eastern Bloc in the near future. I assume you're Romanian, what's your perspective as a local? Do you consider my view to be too pessimistic?
> Because people think in terms of ethnicity, not citizenship. They may be Romanian citizens, but they are not ethnic Romanians.
That seems rather backwards, don't you think? I think the French have the right approach in this matter, if you're born there you're considered French no matter what. Anyway, put yourself in the shoes of someone who isn't familiarised with the ethnic groups inhabiting Romania, a passport reveals someone's citizenship not ethnic affiliation and it's verifiable information unlike membership in some nebulous ethnic group. Do you think it's reasonable to expect the average Joe to burden himself by learning to be aware of which particular ethnic group inhabits which particular countries and be able to distinguish between them? If, hypothetically speaking, you were to meet a Nigerian member of the Igbo ethnic group and he claimed they, Igbos, are good people and all those scams involving Nigerian princes are the work of those dastardly Hausa from the North who sullies their reputation how would you react?
> And yes, gypsies are pretty wildly disliked here, so a foreigner thinking that all Romanians are gypsies is something like a horible reputation. You have to understand that Roma are disproportionately poor, so most occupy the lowest strata of society.
I think this general dislike has the potential to greatly hinder Romania's ability to tackle these difficult issues.
> So it's like the the whole society is judged on the vocal misbehaving minority.
Personally, I don't think Romani people are the main factor tarnishing Romania's image to outside world. If your description is accurate, it seems to me that Romanians overrate this influence, a childish way of deflecting from their share of the blame, Romani people being nothing more than just a convenient scapegoat which allows Romanians to not acknowledge their contribution and to avoid some painful introspection. If that's case some soul searching is deeply needed.
> There was an interesting discussion on r/europe a few days ago. You might like it: http://www.reddit.com/r/europe/comments/rslmd/how_do_you_feel_about_rroma_persecution_in_europe/
Thanks, I appreciate it.