"I am overcome with horror at the thought that we, Romanians, are facing 'eternity': the proverb. We enter other nations' proverbs like the Scotsman, the Irishman, the Jew, and – in the Balkan Peninsula – the Gypsy. We've brought shame upon ourselves, and before people abroad have learned about our masterpieces or our Romanianness, they will know about our internal debauchery and politics. I don't know if everyone realizes how bad is our disrepute. Only a few steps separate us from an irreversible condition, and no-one will ever be able to extricate us from it. The proverb will be our master; if, with or without reason, they say about Bulgarians that they are dull, about Poles that they are bumptious, and about Spaniards that they are good lovers, they'll say about Romanians that they are thieves. It has already started: not only among European political circles and in the press, but also in proverbs. Listen to one of them, published by Knickerbocker: When someone steals, it's called kleptomania. When a few people steal, it's called mania. When a whole nation steals, it's called Romania!" Romania in Eternity

by Mircea Eliade (1907-1986)