18. June 2012
Roşia Montană has hosted from June 15 to 17, 2012 the photo & video workshop aimed at documenting the cultural heritage of the site, the first phase of a project named “The Heritage of Roşia Montană in pictures”. The purpose of the project is to build a visual inventory of all significant elements which make the Roşia Montană mining cultural landscape. To the documentary purpose adds that of increasing the visibility of the cultural heritage of the site for the general public, leading to a greater awareness of its exceptional value.
The workshop was attended by 10 photo & video artists from Alba Iulia, Cluj-Napoca, Sibiu, Bucharest – photographers, video artists, documentarists – experienced professionals with noted achievements in the field.
The visual inventory which will result from the project will be presented through a dedicated website and a travelling exhibition to be circulated across the country and abroad. Moreover, the project seeks to stimulate public involvement in protecting and promoting the heritage of Roşia Montană. In this respect, in addition to the web archive and the exhibition which will be displayed in Bucharest, Cluj-Napoca, Vienna, Roşia Montană and other places (to be communicated), the project will generate cultural and artistic participatory activities and a fundraising campaign.
Notwithstanding its peaceful and positive nature, this cultural project was confronted with a deplorable, aggressive reaction from an organized group of employees of the Roşia Montană Gold Corporation (RMGC), acting during their working hours and most of them wearing the working clothes with the RMGC logo and company name. Thus, last Friday, June 15 (!)-  - around 2.30 PM, about 30 - 40 RMGC employees attacked the participants to the workshop, organizers and artists. Violent cries, hustling and threats – “we’ll break your neck” – were compellingly scattered by the RMGC employees to the artists attending the workshop and especially to the organizers, members of Alburnus Maior and ARA. The incident was eventually stopped more than half an hour later, after the arrival of the police and a crew of riot police, called by one of the organizers of the workshop. After the incident, the participants were watched by the riot police for a few hours more.
Consequently, on Monday, June 18, the organizers of the photo & video workshop filed complaints against the instigators and the aggressors for the violation of public order and safety, and criminal complaints for the crime of threat.
“I am glad that the participants to this event were not intimidated – Roşia Montană is so wonderful and needs to be discovered! I am glad they did come and, moreover, I am glad they will return! I know it is shocking to arrive in so nice a place and to be received with curse and violence. Threats and manipulation are methods by which this company forces its will in Roşia Montană! It’s even more offensive to see such behaviour being professed not only by the employees of Gold Corporation, but also by the mayor himself, in the complete tolerance of Romanian authorities” – declared Eugen David, resident of Roşia Montană and president of Alburnus Maior, making refference to threats made by Mayor Eugen Furdui against a member of ARA during a live TV show, earlyer this year.
“I went to Roşia Montană four times this year, voluntarily. When I learned that there is a call for photographers to document the heritage of Roşia Montană – historic buildings, Roman archaeological vestiges and the unique landscape there – I jumped up with joy. I was expecting my family – wife and child – to join me on Saturday in Roşia Montană. I had to cancel their arrival since I felt noone could have guaranteed their safety after the serious incident that occurred. I think that in Roşia Montană there are clear examples that one can make a living without mining. But one needs hard work, commitment and conscience. Finally I will take my family there, too. I hope to see my child romping about on the hills of Roşia Montană, unspoilt by the greedy steel jaws of excavators”, declared Edmond Kreibik, one of the participants.
Beyond the incidents caused by the employees of the mining company on Friday, we believe that the workshop organized this weekend in Roşia Montană was a first success of this project, reaching its goal. For this we wish to thank the participants, whose enthusiasm confirms once more: Roşia Montană is wonderful, no matter which lens one watches it through.
“The Heritage of Roşia Montană in pictures” is a project organized by Alburnus Maior in partnership with ARA – “Architecture. Restoration. Archaeology”, EXTRAART Foundation and FORMATEST Regional Centre, with the financial support of AFCN – The National Cultural Fund Administration.
June 15 is a day with a sad connotation in Romania’s recent history, recalling the bloodiest of the miners’ attacks on Bucharest, in 1990.