The First Art Newspaper on the Net   Established in 1996 United States Thursday, September 19, 2019

The writer inspiring Romania's protest movement at 101
The silhouette of Romanian philosopher Mihai Sora is pictured during a protest in front of the prime minister's office in Bucharest, Romania, on June 24, 2018. Amid the almost daily crowds of protestors outside government headquarters in the Romanian capital Bucharest, you might not immediately spot the 101-year-old man many of them see as their guiding light. Adrian CATU / AFP.

by Mihaela Rodina and Ionut Iordachescu

BUCHAREST (AFP).- Amid the almost daily crowds of anti-government protesters in the Romanian capital Bucharest, there's one name on the lips of many of those gathered outside government headquarters: the 101-year-old many of them see as their guiding light.

As he moves slowly through the crowd, philosopher Mihai Sora -- who counts 100,000 followers on Facebook -- quickly attracts appreciation from his many fans.

"You're an inspiration!" says one, while another shouts: "Thank you, maestro!"

Sora often retreats under his wide, dark-brimmed hat from the adoration and the glare of the TV cameras, but he's not reticent about stating his reasons for joining the wave of protests condemning the government's campaign against alleged abuses by the judiciary.

"I'm a citizen who is aware not only of his rights, but of his duties too, which I have to fulfil when the country is at a crossroads", Sora told AFP during one of the protests.

While previously better known for his numerous philosophical essays, Sora now sees his place among the demonstrators opposing what they say are the government's attempts to hobble the fight against corruption.

'Contagious' enthusiasm
The protesters say the government, led by the left-wing Social Democratic Party (PSD), is trying to protect some of its own high-ranking members from legal troubles.

Last week Romania's Supreme Court sentenced the head of the PSD, Liviu Dragnea, to three-and-a-half years in prison, a second conviction in two years for the man who's widely seen as the most powerful politician in the country.

Sora, who describes himself as "a man of justice", insists that political leaders "should see reality as it is,... not based on their own interests".

"What concerns me the most is the long-term fate of the country. Romania needs a clear trajectory. It cannot afford to make a wrong turn", he says.

Sora takes the metro to attend the protests almost daily, often accompanied by his wife, whom he married just four years ago at the age of 98.

"His enthusiasm is contagious", says fellow protestor and economist Tincuta, while 36-year-old Georgiana says his presence in Victory Square is "a lesson for the youth".

"He symbolises respect for truth and justice", says Laurentiu, 63, clearly touched after exchanging a few words with Sora.

"Move, old man!"
Sora, born in 1916, makes full use of new technology and social media.

His frequent Facebook posts include one in which he recounted the moment during one of the protests when a security officer told him: "Move, old man!"

He often brings a humorous touch to his posts lambasting the government.

After Dragnea caused outrage earlier this month by branding his opponents "rats", Sora used the Romanian word for "rat" to create the hashtag #JeSuisSobolan.

But the admiration of Sora is not universal.

His critics point to his work in the late 1940s for the communist-controlled foreign ministry, shortly after returning to Romania after a ten-year spell in France.

Sora says he was only planning to return to Romania for a few days but was stuck there by the descent of the Iron Curtain.

He found himself targeted by the secret police of the regime, now a Soviet satellite, and fired from several jobs.

"In the years that they spied on me, my phone was tapped and my letters were opened. The dossier that the Securitate (Romania's secret police) had on me was overwhelming", Sora said recently.

But his past doesn't faze those who gather round to hear him speak at the demonstrations, despite his shyness.

"I've come to be among my people who are suffering -- I want justice to prevail," Sora says.

© Agence France-Presse

Today's News

June 29, 2018

Rijksmuseum opens exhibition focusing on Dutch design in the age of Rembrandt

The Leopold Museum opens a comprehensive exhibition of Gustav Klimt's work

The Singh Twins' new artwork commission for the Royal Collection Trust

13th century cockatoo images spark Australia-Europe trade re-think

Bank Secrecy Act threatens art dealers

Rijksmuseum launches Escape Game

An important Régence silver-gilt toilette box achieves top price at Bonhams

Paul Kasmin Gallery opens a group exhibition curated by Yvonne Force

Brian Tolle presents his site-relevant 40-foot tall sculpture, EUREKA, at Federal Hall

Copenhagen Contemporary reopens its art center in a refurbished Welding Hall at Refshaleøen

Exhibition at Atlas Gallery brings together the work of five photographers

Berkshire Museum announces leadership changes

Georges Rousse creates an installation within Sous Les Etoiles Gallery's space

Romania asks UNESCO to delay decision on gold mining region

Kiowa warrior's drawings of captivity bring $396,500 at Heritage Auctions

Haus der Kunst dedicates exhibition to women artists and their works

Exhibition at The Guggenheim Museum Bilbao presents a selection of thirty works by Joana Vasconcelos

Tchoban Foundation - Museum for Architectural Drawing exhibits sketchbooks of ten modern architects

Banu Cennetoğlu's first solo exhibition in a UK institution opens at the Chisenhale Gallery

Fundació Joan Miró presents a video installation exploring the idea of verticality

Mayfair & St James's throws open its doors for a free weekend of art & events

Exhibition at Throckmorton Fine Art explores the landscape of Latin America

The writer inspiring Romania's protest movement at 101

Chicago celebrates its legacy of outsider art in 'Chicago Calling: Art Against the Flow'

Most Popular Last Seven Days

1.- Holocaust 'masterpiece' causes uproar at Venice film festival

2.- To be unveiled at Sotheby's: One of the greatest collections of Orientalist paintings ever assembled

3.- Bender Gallery features paintings by up and coming Chicago artist Michael Hedges

4.- Lévy Gorvy exhibits new and historic works by French master in his centenary year

5.- Artificial Intelligence as good as Mahler? Austrian orchestra performs symphony with twist

6.- Fascinating new exhibition explores enduring artistic bond between Scotland and Italy

7.- Exhibition explores the process of Japanese-style woodblock production

8.- Robert Frank, photographer of America's underbelly, dead at 94

9.- The truth behind the legend of patriot Paul Revere revealed in a new exhibition at New-York Historical Society

10.- Hitler bust found in cellar of French Senate

Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .


Ignacio Villarreal
(1941 - 2019)
Editor & Publisher: Jose Villarreal
Art Director: Juan José Sepúlveda Ramírez

Royalville Communications, Inc
Founder's Site. The most varied versions
of this beautiful prayer.
to a Mexican poet.

The First Art Newspaper on the Net. The Best Versions Of Ave Maria Song Junco de la Vega Site Ignacio Villarreal Site
Tell a Friend
Dear User, please complete the form below in order to recommend the Artdaily newsletter to someone you know.
Please complete all fields marked *.
Sending Mail
Sending Successful