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When the pit gets dangerously dark and deep stop digging.
Far away in my long-gone youth I read S. Clemens (Mark Twain) tell of befuddling a reporter with rambling responses. For me it was an awakening moment to find my calling. I knew sure as day I could successfully ramble my way through most bull-twaddle competitions. This means I knew ‘nuff to label further digging as mining.
Let’s dig a place where most of us won’t have a strong preconception, Romania. President Carter (nice man) agreed to give Romania and its leader Favored Nation Status because of all the Bloc nations Romania balked the communist line.
We mostly cheered Most Favored (MF in the rest of this text) as constructive support for better government in Romania. We were wrong.
A warm reception in the Whiter House gave the MF great cover for continuing its grand plan pf building a new future (rather selectively turns out) for its people. New futures and grand designs are costly things, but the price others must pay should never get in the way of the better vision.
To pay for MF’s improvement it had a number of assets to develop and sell.
First was the Ploesti oil fields (easily researched) being more readily marketable as a MF nation. Oil income wasn’t enough, however, to fund the grandness of the new vision. Other sources of income were needed.
But fortune smiled on the people improving plan by providing additional and handy income areas in the form of kids, Germans, and Jews.
Impoverishing (for their own good) Romanians so they could not afford their children assured a steady crop of kids to sell. Well, not “sell” exactly except there were lots of costs to get a child out of Romania and lots of better off Westerners eager to generously pluck fruit from the tree conveniently leaning their way.
All the fees, permits, and other costs were a good source of income for the social good. By the time the MF Carter had warmly embraced fell the supply of marketable kids was (low estimate) 40,000. (We recently needed only months to attain similarly high numbers of unaccompanied (marketable) children, but that’s another story or we’re exceptionally skilled knowing what’s good for others.) Quibble we may over terms, but I think unaccompanied minor means exploited child and reflects conditions inside a country similar to where destitute parents handed their children to the government for redistribution and eventual resale. It’s unlikely that was Carter’s aim, though that was the result.
Children for resale to Western parents was a decent income provider, but still short of the cost for perfecting society. To fill the need MF had German and Jews to sell. Again, it’s not “sale” exactly but if you had to pay to do it you’d easily confuse it with selling people.
Some explanation is needed as to the source of Romania’s Germans and Jews. Both groups had been in that complex nation a long time.
After WWII Germans in Romania were a special class who needed to pay for past sins. Those between ages 18 and 50 (for females 18 to 45) were conscripted for special labor (the Soviets helped).
Between three quarters and two thirds of them never returned from their special assignments. In some cases a notice of death did not arrive from Siberia for decades. (“That’s why uncle stopped writing.”)
But there were enough who survived their contribution to perfecting society to form a group eager to find someplace else, anywhere else, to be.
Surprising as it may seem that citizens in a specifically Favored Nation would wish to flee, but these people would in fact pay whatever was asked in order to get the hell out. Being a Favored Nation made the sale of Exit Visas, other paperwork, and eventual travel by state rail, etc. an altogether lucrative arrangement.
German Romanians bought their way out of Romania, close enough to human trafficking to suit me.
Sale of Romanian Jews is also interesting. Carter had been much impressed with MF’s balk of the Soviet line by recognizing Israel. Did MF care about Israel? No, but how else do you get a good market if you don’t have ambassadorial contacts for Visas?
Recognizing Israel let MF sell Jews, profitable despite the reduced number of persons able to be sold.
As you know, WWII was not a good time to be a European Jew.
In Romania bad or worse than anyplace. A pro-Nazi Romanian group used a slaughterhouse (oddly one of a few places MF left intact as he built anew) to convince a large number of Romanian Jews of their crimes against the state. The number of Jews convinced in that manner wasn’t huge in the Auschwitz (Oswiciem) sense, but it made up for its smaller numbers with the creative barbarity of using an actual slaughterhousey.
Shooting Jews in the open or rounding them up to be machine gunned had none of the cruel instruction held hanging children on meat hooks to be gutted and dismembered while parents watched. Human butchery in other way worked too.
Miraculously, some Romanian Jews survived into the glory days of the MF when a Jew wanting to leave Romania for Israel was a cash commodity. By cash I mean (same applies to the Germans and kids) hard currency from the west. Western adoptees offered that.
If a Romanian German or Jew wanted to get their Exit Papers they’d better find a source of real money or forget it in favor and be content waiting for the next pogrom or nation improving work assignment.
Carter’s embrace of Most Favored Ceausescu enhanced his world stand-ing at the expense of uncountable Romanians made impoverished and unable to care for children who became produce for sale.
I’d ask Romanians is Habitat for Humanity is a just response. Let’s not blame Carter entirely.
Truman Doctrine helped fund many a grandiose project championed by other Ceausescu types. One jolly notion was the forced changing of Turkish names to erase their past history of slavery and privilege.
If it worked in China under Mao why not in Romania or other places?