European Crossroad: A Soviet Journalist in the Balkans

European Crossroad: A Soviet Journalist in the Balkans

European Crossroad: A Soviet Journalist in the Balkans

European Crossroad: A Soviet Journalist in the Balkans

Excerpt

RUMANIA jolts the visitor with its sharp contrasts. On the one hand, colorful Bucharest; on the other, not far away, the coal basin where miners live like animals. Inside Bucharest itself, contrasts also abound: fancy ladies with hats in the latest French fashion--and barefoot peasant girls in tattered homespun clothing; luxurious limousines--and ox carts; a boyar palace with birds of paradise, niches full of della Robbia ceramics, Louis Quatorze boudoirs-- and wretched hovels; choice French cuisine--and starving mountain regions; literary salons, where devotees of Mallarmé argue with fans of Tristan Corbière --and millions who can't sign their names except with a cross. I am not pointing out these picturesque contrasts from an aesthetic viewpoint but as the tragedy of a people degraded by the lowest standard of living.

Rumania has seven thousand doctors. Four thousand of them live in Bucharest. Most of the people do not even know the meaning of medicine; the sick he down and die just as they did five hundred years ago. So great is the accumulated illness of centuries that it can't be healed without first finding men who are healers in every sense of the word.

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