FROM ROMANIA:  RECOGNITION (AND ENVY) OF THE AMERICAN
ETHOS AND ILAN!!
  
An ode to America 
 
Why are Americans so united? They don't resemble one
another even if you paint them! They speak all the
languages of the world and form an astonishing mixture
of civilizations. Some of them are nearly extinct,
others are incompatible with one another, and in
matters of religious beliefs, not even God can count
how many they are. 
 
Still, the American tragedy turned three hundred
million people into a hand put on the heart. Nobody
rushed to accuse the White House, the army, the secret
services that they are only a bunch of losers. Nobody
rushed to empty their bank accounts. Nobody rushed on
the streets nearby to gape about. The Americans
volunteered to donate blood and to give a helping
hand. After the first moments of panic, they raised
the flag on the smoking ruins, putting on T-shirts,
caps and ties in the colors of the national flag. They
placed flags on buildings and cars as if in every
place and on every car a minister or the president was
passing. On every occasion they started singing their
traditional song: "God Bless America!". 
 
Silent as a rock, I watched the charity concert
broadcast on Saturday once, twice, three times, on
different TV channels. There were Clint Eastwood,
Willie Nelson, Robert de Niro, Julia Roberts, Cassius
Clay, Jack Nicholson, Bruce Springsteen, Silvester
Stalone, James Wood, and many others whom no film or
producers could ever bring together. The American's
solidarity spirit turned them into a choir. Actually,
choir is not the word. What you could hear was the
heavy artillery of the American soul. What neither
George W. Bush, nor Bill Clinton, nor Colin Powell
could say without facing the risk of stumbling over
words and sounds, was being heard in a great and
unmistakable way in this charity concert. 
 
I don't know how it happened that all this obsessive
singing of America didn't sound croaky, nationalist,
or ostentatious! It made you green with envy because
you weren't able to sing for your country without
running the risk of being considered chauvinist,
ridiculous, or suspected of who-knows-what mean
interests. 
 
I watched the live broadcast and the rerun of its
rerun for hours listening to the story of the guy who
went down one hundred floors with a woman in a
wheelchair without knowing who she was, or of the
Californian
hockey player, who fought with the terrorists and
prevented the plane from hitting a target that would
have killed other hundreds or thousands of people.
How on earth were they able to bow before a fellow
human? 
 
Imperceptibly, with every word and musical note, the
memory of some turned into a modern myth of tragic
heroes. And with every phone call, millions and
millions of dollars were put in a collection aimed at
rewarding not a man or a family, but a spirit which
nothing can buy. 
 
What on earth can unite the Americans in such a way?
Their land? Their galloping history? Their economic
power? Money? I tried for hours to find an answer,
humming songs and murmuring phrases which risk of
sounding like commonplaces. I thought things over, but
I reached only one conclusion. 
 
Only freedom can work such miracles!