The joke goes like this: A group of computer geniuses get together to build the world’s largest, most powerful thinking machine. They program it with the latest heuristic software so it can learn, then feed into it the total sum of mankind’s knowledge from every source-historical, scientific, technical, literary, mythical, religious, occult. Then, at the great unveiling, the group leader feeds the computer its first question:
“Is there a god?”
“There is now,” the computer replies.
Behold, mere subjects of age-old bureaucracy, slaves of combinations of names and numbers scratched on paper with machine-like precision and serfs of call centers! You have walked, without even knowing, on holy soil. That is, if you went to classes. But let us linger no longer and begin our first Mass.
We all know it too well. We walked past it without giving it the honor of our fleeting attention, laughed and shouted to our distracted friends as we stubbornly refused to acknowledge it although it occupied a decent portion of our landscape. Its rough edges extended their reach into our mortal world, slowing us down or stopping us right in our tracks on a daily basis, but our feet got used to its consequences long ago, now being able to skillfully avoid the traps it sets.
It is the deity of Greed, and its altar is the wall rising in our paths, the gaps in the paving on which we walk. Such is the form it took, molded by the will of faceless administrators and the hands of undisturbed workers. Millions have been engulfed in the endeavor to settle the god’s restless need for more and even Nature could not stand in the way of its will.
Started in early 2014 in the basis of a 2013 authorization, the works along Unirii blvd. between Unirii Square and Alba Iulia Square are directed by the city hall of Sector 3, which does not have legal jurisdiction of the area. Granite and indeed marble appeared beneath our feet and, toward the street, parking spaces boldly replaced the green space we did not get to know. General Councilor Mihai Voicu accused the cutting of nearly 200 trees.
Upon being asked by journalists of the purpose of the several meter-high wall in the middle of the walkway, even the said workers shrugged in confusion. Moreover, in an official reply, the mayor of Sector 3, the institution coordinating the works, stated that the wall and its twin construction several hundred meters down the boulevard are meant to attract people, “because Unirii Boulevard is the business card of the Capital”.
Local councilors of the parliamentary opposition have called the illegal works carried out as the mayor’s method of “getting the money to the right people”. The capital’s General Mayor initially allowed only the raising of sidewalks but Sector 3’s “chief architect”, as Sorin Oprescu put it, went much further. All fines issued by the Capital City Hall to the company directing the works have been paid, fact confirmed by General Mayor Sorin Oprescu, but the Sector 3 city hall continues unversed on the opposite side of the boulevard, despite lacking jurisdiction and thus working in illegality. “And I’ll continue to fine them”, notes the General Mayor, underlining a daunting failure of institutional communication and that of the administrational management of areas.
Such events take place in the framework of Sector 3’s “beautification” campaign started since the election into office of mayor Negoita and running amok since. The mayor, described as “hiding behind decisions of the local council which he controls”, as local councilman Honorius Circa commented, did not stop there. Circa states that “the city hall of Sector 3 hired security contractors to guard objectives that were built illegally on the jurisdiction of the General City Hall.”
A three weeks long state of journalistic siege drove the Sector 3 city hall into an isolationist stage until Vice Mayor Andrei Tudorache explained that what was intended to be the simple raising of the well-known curbs (borduri) turned into such a complex process due to the “accidental damaging of trees.” Such a process ended up taking from Sector 3’s public budget between 10 to 12 million euros, according to local councilmen.
There is a massive cult for the God of Unirii, though not many recognize it. Pieces of the dogma reside within each of us, feeding off of news and commercials, products and discounts, power and money. The complex orthodoxy it came to create implies a residual hate for the many mistakes a faceless, nameless authority makes, a behavioral habit passed down ever since the bulk of population could (even if not out loud) criticize the administration. No priest demands obedience in the name of Greed and it has no symbols. There are no temples dedicated to it and there are no followers that are aware of their membership to its cult. However, the God of Greed can be seen perched up in the middle of the capital, defiantly meeting the gaze of every passer-by, and accompanying us as we bravely take unsure steps onto our academic future every morning.
The God of Greed’s footsteps are grand, his followers legion, his voice ever-reaching and the dark deity chose us to bear witness to his deeds each morning. Rejoice, your eyes glare each day at the work of a God, one you might be inclined to later serve.