A n   O d e   t o   A m e r i c a
Cintarea Americii

Cornel Nistorescu,
the managing editor of the Romanian newspaper "Evenimentul Zilei" ("News of the Day")
English version (translated by the author)
Original Romanian version

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 colours 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 sacrifice for their fellow humans? 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!


De ce sint americanii atit de solidari intre ei? Nu seamana unul cu celalalt nici daca ii vopsesti! Vorbesc toate limbile pamintului si alcatuiesc un amalgam ametitor de civilizatii. Unele sint aproape disparute, altele incompatibile intre ele, iar in materie de credinte religioase, nici Dumnezeu nu le mai tine socoteala. Si, totusi, tragedia americana a facut din trei sute de milioane de oameni o mina strinsa pe inima. N-a sarit nimeni sa acuze Casa Alba, armata si serviciile secrete ca reprezinta o adunatura de neispraviti. N-a fugit nimeni sa-si scoata banii din banci. Nu s-a inghesuit nimeni pe strazile vecine sa caste gura. Americanii au dat fuga sa doneze singe si s-au oferit ca voluntari. Dupa primele momente de panica, au ridicat steagul pe ruinele fumeginde, punindu-si tricouri, sepci si cravate in culorile drapelului national. Au fixat steaguri pe cladiri si pe autoturisme de ziceai ca in fiecare loc si in fiecare automobil trece un ministru sau presedintele. Si cu orice prilej au izbucnit in cintecul lor traditional: "God Bless America!".

Mut ca bolovanul, am urmarit concertul de binefacere, difuzat simbata. O data, de doua ori, de trei ori, pe tot felul de canale de televiziune. Cu Clint Eastwood, Willy Nelson, Robert de Niro, Julia Roberts, Cassius Clay, Jack Nicholson, Bruce Springsteen, Silvester Stallone, James Wood si citi au mai fost si pe care nici un film si nici o casa de productie nu i-a putut aduna vreodata la un loc. Spiritul americanilor, de solidaritate, i-a transformat intr-un cor. Cor e putin spus. Se auzea artileria grea a sufletului american. Ceea ce nu putea spune nici George W. Bush, nici Bill Clinton, nici Colin Powell fara riscul de a se impiedica in cuvinte si sunete, se auzea maret si inconfundabil in acest spectacol de binefacere. Nu stiu cum Dumnezeu toata aceasta cintare obsedanta a Americii nu suna nici dogit, nici nationalist, nici ostentativ! Te facea sa mori de ciuda ca nu esti in stare sa-ti cinti si tu tara, fara a risca sa fii socotit sovin, ridicol sau suspect de cine stie ce interese meschine. Ore intregi am urmarit transmisia in direct si reluarea reluarii, ascultind povestea celui care a coborit o suta de etaje cu o femeie intr-un scaun cu rotile, fara sa stie cine este, sau a hocheistului californian, cel care s-a batut cu teroristii si a impiedicat avionul cazut in Pennsylvania sa se pulverizeze intr-o tinta, omorind alte sute sau mii de oameni. Cum Dumnezeu reuseau ei sa se incline in fata unui semen? Pe nesimtite, cu fiecare cuvint si nota muzicala, amintirea unora se coagula intr-un mit modern al eroilor tragici. Si cu fiecare apel telefonic se adunau milioane si milioane de dolari intr-o colecta menita a recompensa nu un om sau o familie, ci un spirit ce nu poate fi cumparat cu nimic.

Ce Dumnezeu poate sa-i uneasca pe americani intr-un asemenea "hal"? Pamintul acela? Istoria lor galopanta? Puterea economica? Banul? Ore intregi am incercat sa gasesc un raspuns, fredonind melodii si inginind propozitii ce risca sa sune a locuri comune. Le-am intors pe toate fetele, dar n-am putut trece de o idee.

Numai libertatea poate face asemenea minuni!