Cezar Ouatu, Romanian opera, pop-opera singer and pianist believes that building a Colectiv Memorial is a “noble initiative” and it would be an “all-important minimum” the Romanian society should do in memory of those who died in the October 30 tragedy.
AGERPRES : How do you see the building of a Colectiv Memorial as a symbol against forgetting?
Cezar Ouatu: It is an OK initiative, but the reality is that, unfortunately, these initiatives are arising all the time and all this solidarity that we show is actually post mortem. We had to lose 60 souls to realize we should be more united and to have such initiatives. It is a noble initiative and I believe it is the all-important minimum we can do, as a society.
AGERPRES: How do you imagine this Colectiv Memorial? Should it be built at the site of the tragedy or somewhere else?
Cezar Ouatu: I, for one, if you ask me, don’t know whether there is a point in taking more of the energy of that place. My opinion is that there, what happened … I would have liked it to disappear, meaning for that place to stop existing… and in effect to only have a bad memory, regrettably, and to realize, in fact, that we have a new beginning. It can be an interesting scenery, there, but I repeat, personally, I would not know what to do. I have been there only to light a candle and wouldn’t want to go back to that place. I believe very much in energies and in the vibrations that are still there. But, from the angle of a director, scenographer, why not?! Looking at other memorials built around the world, it could also be made here. Now, I, for one, do not fully support them, but this is just my opinion.
AGERPRES: Given the situation of the space where the Colectiv Club was situated, who and in what degree should take care of designing and constructing a Colectiv Memorial, including in this the finding of necessary financing: the Romanian state or the non-governmental organizations?
Cezar Ouatu: I believe there should be a balance. I tell you now, from an artist’s point of view that perhaps had and has concerts in halls where, unfortunately, such events cannot be carried out, partly because of the state and of malpractice, of documents, norms and authorizations. The state should, more than ever, contribute, because it has both a moral responsibility, as well as a financial one. The Romanian state should direct funds, from the taxes we are paying, also towards this, which I find a noble direction and initiative. The NGOs should also have a say, but I believe more than ever that the state should get involved.
AGERPRES: What motto do you believe should define this Memorial?
Cezar Ouatu: I don’t know what to say right now. Recently I had a concert in Bucharest and I got involved as directly as I could by donating all revenues from ticket sales. I started the concert precisely with “Ave Maria”, as a prayer, and finished it with “Who wants to live forever”. Following the suggestion and evoking this message with an emotional impact and suggestive message, if you ask about the meaning of Colectiv, there are mixed feelings — ranging from revolt, compassion, will and ambition to do something else and of finally waking up, and to have not only the smoke left after the war, and afterwards to leave everything in the same general state we have been swimming in and whose nature we do not understand. The point is that I hope that everything that happened will make us wake up once and for all to make us realize we have been living in an abnormal state and, if so many theaters have been closed down, cinemas, concert halls, the Old Centre, etc it will be for real and we won’t face the same phenomenon a second time. You asked me about a motto. I don’t know, there are a lot of things going through my mind. I believe the motto that should define this kind of Memorial is “Let’s be united, more united.” I believe unity is very important now, and not unity and solidarity that only last for a month, but for a longer period. I believe this issue also divided us a little.
AGERPRES: What do you believe should be the most important lesson remembered after visiting the Colectiv Memorial?
Cezar Ouatu: The most important teaching would be to prevent, to get on a higher level, to not be complacent in doing things in a superficial manner and to effectively obey the laws. Everything that happened was because we preferred cheap things, to by-pass the laws. I believe the authorities too have facilitated this in a way, to the tune “leave it like this, it’s fine.” One cannot allow 400 people in a venue that is only allowed to host a maximum of 80-90 people. We are living in a sort of chaotic state, with bureaucracy, papers. We should understand that the law must be obeyed, especially when it comes to the public space.
When I see such spaces, the first thing that comes to my mind is that I should avoid them. But, many times, to be able to avoid them, first the laws must be obeyed. We must pay more attention, to prevent and to obey the laws because, look, because of cheap foam and of authorizations that might have been missing, this tragedy happened. There was a small space and only one exit. This case can be extrapolated to many other venues in Bucharest and throughout the country. Although I am not much of a nightclub-goer, I can say I have been to this kind of spaces and I saw underground clubs where the situation is disastrous, where you can die without realizing it. And everything stems from the fact that we are being complacent with rules we should not accept. We have some laws we should obey in reality. My lesson regarding this event, this tragedy, is that we must respect ourselves in order to be able to respect those around us. More…