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Dr. Melba Pattillo Beals, one of the Little Rock nine shared stories from her terrible  adolescence. She gracefully talked about how libraries helped her understand that there was another world outside the cage she was put in by the society.


Melba like young warriors are still around us. They are looking for help and this is one reason why  libraries are still needed.

For the first time in 5 years of living in USA I’ve  spent the 4th of July with a small group of Americans.  As natural as it is to say Our Father before dinner, God Bless America was sang before tonight’s dinner.  No unnecessary introductions, just the song, a few skipped words, goose bumps and small tears.

God Bless America,
Land that I love.
Stand beside her, and guide her
Thru the night with a light from above.
From the mountains, to the prairies,
To the oceans, white with foam
God bless America, My home sweet home.

In Romania a similar moment, even in a small crowd celebrating our First of December,  would be cataloged as right extremism. In USA you  don’t get a denigrating label (as far as I know) for this. Some say this is because you have freedom, some say because it is not politically correct. It may be also because people cannot really see you. As an Orthodox Christian(but not only),  you still have to wear a mask in the  society. Yes, you are free to worship whatever but why are you so different? …and at one point you get tired of explaining. (Nobody cares anyway).  Depending on the  community, you sometimes need to wear a mask in your own church.

We, who came to learn about freedom first from books and movies,   often don’t expect that, once established,  freedom is not free.  We have to continually give something in exchange for freedom for “our people” being them our community, our county, region, state, world.  Compared to other prices like someone’s life, dignity or identity,  a mask is a small one.  However, to get to this price,  many people paid much more along USA history.  (It’s market economy 101,  a friend of mine would say.)

Will the USA be able to allow maskless people to simply be? Don’t know. All I know is that, at the moment, in Romania, even though the Orthodox communities don’t have a mask they might, just might,  get used to the “right extremist” box they are put in and act accordingly.

Having a Communist past, we are just learning about how our face looks like. Some look in the mirror for this, some on the window heading West. In any case we don’t like masks. What we don’t know is that we are expected to wear one and figure very fast  how to wear it properly in the European society. You see, very few people (if any) are looking for God’s blessing of the European Union. And in Romania … we used to ask for God’s blessing even before cutting our bread at dinner.

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