Romanian communities in Western Europe mobilize over Bodnariu case.
Late last week, thousands of Romanians took to the streets, both in the country and abroad, to voice their solidarity with a mixed Romanian-Norwegian family whose children were taken two months ago by the Norwegian social services and placed in foster care. An international adoption procedure has also been started for the five children of Ruth and Marius Bodnariu, a nurse and an IT engineer respectively. Aged between four months and nine years, the children were taken from their parents after the principal of the school attended by the older daughters reported that the couple subjected their children to physical punishments. Moreover, as members of the Pentecostal faith, the Bodnarius are suspected of what Norway defines as religious indoctrination of children.
For Romanians, a mostly Orthodox nation with strong religious sensibilities and a firm commitment to traditional values, which include minor physical punishments as part of the common education methods, such accusations are absurd. And the idea of a new-born being taken from his mother and from a functional family to be placed in an institution, together with his siblings, is completely unacceptable. The participants in the support rallies held in Bucharest, Cluj, Timisoara and Constanta described the Norwegian legislation in this respect as ridiculous, outrageous, or even Nazi-like.
Soundbite: “This is unacceptable. No other state has legislation of this kind. The children belong in their families, they don’t belong to the state.”
Outside Romanian borders, in Rome, Madrid, Brussels or The Hague, thousands of people demanded the involvement of the Government and Presidency in the Bodnariu case. Here is the president of the Federation of Romanian Associations in Spain, Daniel Tecu:
Daniel Tecu: “I have a direct message for the President: we are the ones who get presidents elected, and we are also the ones who bring them down if they fail to protect our interests. And I also have a message for all politicians in Romania: the diaspora has awoken.”
This is an emotional response, and one that has no grounds, because the Romanian authorities have already reacted to the case. The Foreign Ministry and the Ambassador of Norway to Bucharest, Tove Bruvik Westberg, have agreed to work together to resolve the issue. Also at the initiative of the Romanian diplomacy, the Child Welfare Authority sent a proposal to the corresponding body in Norway regarding the integration of the five children in their uncle’s family in Romania, and an answer is expected within days. A delegation of Parliament’s Committee on Romanian communities abroad will travel to Norway next week. In turn, the Bodnariu family challenged in court the measures taken by the Norwegian authorities.
(translation by: Ana Maria Popescu)