Iulian Ghergut, the Romanian security detail kidnapped eight years ago while protecting a mine in Burkina Faso, was released and brought back to Romania a few days ago. No other details are available regarding the operation or the health status of the former hostage; we only know that Iulian is free, at last.
Eight long years were necessary for the Romanian authorities, along with the local authorities, to solve this situation and to bring the Romanian back home.
At the moment of his kidnapping in 2015, Iulian was working as a security guard for the Pan African Minerals, a company controlled by Frank Timis, the Romanian who owns Timish Corporation. While patrolling the premises of the objective he was supposed to defend, his patrol was attacked by five armed men. Both his colleagues were shot while he was kidnapped.
A few videos were published after that moment, showing Iulian on his knees, begging for help from the director of the company and the Romanian Government. His prayers took eight years to be heard.
The issue here is that even though it took such a long time for the Romanian authorities to solve this, they all present it as a significant success, from the very Romanian President, Klaus Johannis, who congratulated on Twitter all the institutions involved in the case, to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Romanian Prime Minister, who posted similar messages.
The case should’ve been tough, no doubt about it. Each kidnapping case, especially in a foreign country, is complex. You cannot take action directly, and most time, you rely on the local authorities’ support. Local authorities might have tens or hundreds of similar cases, which offers them no reason to prioritize your case. This is clear.
What is not so clear is why the authorities in Romania present this release as a significant success. When it takes eight years to release one hostage, you cannot brag about it in front of your people.
Yes, it’s positive the Romanian has finally been released from captivity, but when it happens after such an extended period, one cannot praise it as a significant success.
However, Romania’s political class is used to doing this sort of thing. It’s never late to brag about anything; the rule is not to lose any opportunity to do that. Whether we talk about showing they have built 1 km of highway while the country hasn’t yet reached 1,000 km of highways in total or bragging about building a hospital, while, in 30 years of capitalism, no regional hospital has been built, the Romanian politicians find it appropriate to tell people is their merit, their effort and that people should applaud them.
Iulian Ghergut’s case proves that the Romanian authorities find reasons to brag even in failures. This ability is, no doubt about it, a success, after all, isn’t it?