A Memorial for the victims of the Colectiv Club tragic blaze should be set up at the Government’s headquarters as a symbol against “lacking potency,” while the Bucharest club where the fire broke out should be fitted out as an open space for artists, considers Cornel Ilie, Vunk band frontman.
AGERPRES: How do you see the building of a Colectiv Memorial as a symbol against forgetting? Is it important to create such a Memorial?
Cornel Ilie: Yes, it’s important because this episode has put its mark upon and impressed millions. It was a small present-day revolution. Having in view that people took to the street in such high numbers, this was impressive … and cultured people too.
AGERPRES: How do you imagine this Colectiv Memorial? Should it be built at the site of the tragedy or somewhere else?
Cornel Ilie: Given that in a certain way this is a Memorial to lacking potency, grief, to everything not necessarily … worst, but … saddest, it should be set up at the Government’s headquarters, and not [at the Colectiv location]. In a tribute to those who died in the Colectiv Club, to the spirit of the place and the revolt that followed … it would be much nicer and better if a facility was created at the site of the tragedy for artists to express in the freest way ever. It is a movement that was prompted by an artistic act. The genre is of no importance. Those were people living off their passion and the audience was consonant with their message. I think that site should accommodate the most important cultural spot, where any artist should be able to express himself. Whether you open an exhibition in a corner of the former club, or whether a band plays, or actors come to perform … I think that place should start reviving everything that means artistic movement, allowing it to tighter coalesce and us to become more united, because now we are not. It’s every man for himself, we judge one another, many raise obstacles to the others. After tragedy hit, many said “it could have been us.” I never felt in danger, although I performed everywhere in this country, although I had gigs in all possible venues. I can’t say now “I’ve been in danger for so many years.” I’ve been in danger because I couldn’t do my job, or for some other reason, or I didn’t get help to do my job. But I never felt in life-threatening danger in a club, because I was there following an assumed decision, we all knew where we are, aware of the unfit conditions, but what happened here was the worst possible and a slight paranoia now set in, but let’s turn it into something creative, because ultimately, that’s what an artist must do — take the negative emotions and transform them into positive energy.
That Memorial should be set up at the Government’s headquarters because that’s the place of all loafers who caused this to happen. That’s where impotence, ignorance, wickedness and stupidity reside together.
But as long as that place is not forgotten, any way of highlighting it on the map is important.
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 finding of necessary financing: the Romanian state or the non-governmental organizations?
Cornel Ilie: Anyone, but not the state. I don’t think the state should get involved because it would somehow place itself on the same side of the barricade with the visitors, with those who suffered. I don’t think the state sustained any suffering … and I think it shouldn’t step into the picture, it should have nothing to do with the symbol of what happened there and with the word “Colectiv.” The state does not belong to our collectivity … not yet.
AGERPRES: What motto do you believe should define this Memorial?
Cornel Ilie: I cannot nail the words carrying their message … I’ll attempt some words of ours, which somehow symbolize what happened there.We have a song called “Making ourselves heard.” It’s a manifesto we wrote a year before and I think the line “We never ever give up” could be the best suited from my point of view.
AGERPRES: What do you believe should be the most important lesson remembered after visiting the Colectiv Memorial?
Cornel Ilie: Years from now, I think I’ll go with my little girl to show her that place and I’ll tell her “people died here because they came to have some fun, because they came to forget their daily routine, their domestic issues, their issues at work, they came seeking a bit of entertainment. Others had come to sing about their problems and they were all burnt to death.” I assume that her first question will be “How come? Aren’t you a singer too?” That teaching about the “butterfly effect” is true. Trouble on [October 30] didn’t just spring up at 22:30, but is rooted several years before. It started from who knows what no-good idling in an office. I think the lesson is that a small mistake you make now, deliberately or not, a slip of attention, or your not doing your job properly down to the smallest detail could snowball into killing people. More…