The Walachian Law

by Tudor Arghezi

“A foreign commission was assigned the task of carrying out an original investigation in Transnistria during the war. Surprised that of all the provinces of Europe, that were under arms, only in the country beyond the Dniester, administered in a Romanian regime, there were no situations and incidents and that, indeed, it was characterised by a pacific temper, in black-to-white contrast to all the other countries, the administration of the state leading the continental war sent a series of specialists, of the most knowledgeable, to acquire information. The country by the Dniester also includes the former Moldavian republic, the Romanian mass being compact and the blend of two educations and several nations of people being quite favourable for all kinds of conflicts, which, during the fighting on the battle field, could hinder the military operations. If one takes into account the collision of the particular interests of one with those of the other, the regular canvas against which collective events may occur,the silence of the Wallachian territories was even more difficult to explain. In a country with a normal life the causes of conflict are analysed; it was all the more interesting that during a life of permanent conflict the cause of equal peace everywhere should be found out. The General Staff officer, who told me the details of the event, a distinguished engineer, an objective and subtle observer, in confusion, of the psychological point, followed at the scene of the place the investigation undertaken by the foreign commission in order to apply, if there was anything to apply, the Romanian methods to the rest of Europe too, where the bustle and turmoil were causes for concern. The orientation that led to establishing the cause of peace in war came from a high magistrate, a councillor or the president of an appellate court from Bucharest, in contact with the said commission. The answer from a superior magistrate stunned. The president of the councillor said, to the amazement of all those present, that the silence in Transnistria was due to the lack of Justice... Several reasons, one of which fortuitous and the other temperamental, contributed, in fact, to the state of calm in the country between the rivers. The Romanian state did not have magistrates ready to be deployed and tasked to divide justice between the heterogeneous populations of the new Province and perhaps it wanted to test the Romanian nature, the most devoid of chauvinism of all known nations... the Moldovans are, like the Muntenians, gentle, merciful and when they see a stranger they see the man in him and will gladly put up with his peculiarities. Intolerance is not a component of Romanian nature, because it never was a part of it. The Romanians from Transnistria take the law into their own hands. They improvise judges from amongst themselves,for disputes either between Romanians or between Romanians and people of other nations; they make peace and shake hands whole-heartedly. The Romanians are united here with their old tradition and return to the unwritten laws of heart and conscience. Not to boast, but this is what the Romanian civilisation is. In about 45 years, since we have been referring to it, from time to time, and toour people’s own unique sensibility, we have sometimes noticed the facile irony of those who mock the holy and purest naiveté, generating attitude and innocence. The commission, dumb founded, left the country with a sigh, saying that the Romanian methods are inapplicable in other parts - that much we knew... One can translate a kind of law, a kind of language; one cannot translate a kind of man.”

Ethnografical map of teritories over Nistru at 1915 after Alexis Nour

acasa-Texts and maps about Transnistria