Club Colectiv fire: has Romania learned nothing?
Romania is also dealing with the aftermath of a major fire: October 30 marked the fourth anniversary of the blaze in Bucharest's Club Colectiv, which claimed 64 lives. Three thousand people gathered to commemorate the victims in the capital alone. The press is dismayed by how little the state has done to prevent such fires since then.
Testimony to a failed state
The case is symptomatic of Romanian politics, the weekly paper Revista 22 concludes:
“Because everything is 'arranged' on the basis of interests, very often within castes or even clans - whether in the judiciary, police, the healthcare system or the army - the Romanian state can't rely on neutral, independent procedures to control its activities. The way the state operates is what makes the difference between a society in a free country and servitude in a failed state. And cases such as Colectiv are clear examples of the lack of clear procedures. And if they do have such procedures, they are not respected or are ignored on the bosses' orders.”
Smouldering fires due to indifference
There are still many public locations that don't comply with fire safety regulations, journalist Anda Simion complains in the blog republica.ro:
“Four years after Colectiv, no matter how often I walk through the doors of the major shopping centre in central Bucharest, I'm greeted by signs at the entrance that read: 'This location does not have certified fire protection'. ... Such signs remind me of confession in church. You list your sins and receive absolution. You wash your hands in innocence. All those who enter this mall are informed that they are entering a place where no one takes responsibility for their safety. These pointless signs are a metaphor for Romania as a whole. ... The fire in the Colectiv club was put out long ago, but Romania smoulders on - because of everyone's indifference.”