According to the Romanian press, Nobel literature laureate Herta Muller, born in a Banat village, recently criticized the Romanian Victor Ponta government in an interview published in Der Spiegel. “It’s shameless what the so-called Social Democrat government does in Bucharest. In fact, it [the government] includes the remnants of the Communist Party who want to protect their cleptocrats,” Muller said. In her view, the government’s actions over the summer — which were designed to impeach President Traian Basescu two years before the end of his second mandate — amounted to “a play with scoundrells” who don’t care about the country.

A link to the original Der Spiegel article is available here. I read the many comments posted to the Evenimentul Zilei article and was shocked by their virulence. Muller visited Romania after being awarded the Nobel prize, and was given a very cold welcome by the local intellectuals. The Humanitas press has translated some of her works in Romanian. I guess many more Romanians know Muller indirectly from the newspaper articles critical of her posted by various Romanian journalists and intellectuals than from directly reading her books. The comments are funny, if they were not betraying serious logical flaws.

One commentator questioned Muller’s Romanianness and advised her to go “raise her grand-children and knit” and refrain from offering any opinion on Romanian politics. Another one dismissed Muller as a “third-rate writer” and a “wreck” who got the Nobel prize as a result of what amounted to a political decision. Still another was sure that Muller was pro-Basescu and that “certainly the members of the Nobel jury were pro-Basescu, perhaps Basescu phoned them before her nomination to threaten them with [opening their] secret files. In fact, Der Spiegel has been known for some time as the journal of the pro-Basescu people living in Germany.” Others saw Muller as “an imagined victim” of the communist regime, a “slogan-screamer as those [Romanian government members] she accuses,” a “bitch” who knows nothing of Romanian realities but got a prize “which everybody knows is an instrument of globalization,” a “mason’s brush and a corpse who voices an opinion on Romania.” Only a tiny fraction of all comments had something decent to say.

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