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Salon du livre: Romania's image emerged unblemished by hyped-up protest


Romania's image emerged unblemished by the protest staged at our country's stand at the Salon du livre book fair in Paris, consider several cultural personalities who witnessed the incident and who underscored it was just an unfortunate move and that the 'show' of Romanian literature should actually stay in the limelight at such a high-profile book fair.

'This doesn't mean too much for our image. The whole thing was a broil-up, but they had obviously been drinking,' Romania's Ambassador to UNESCO, Professor Nicolae Manolescu, told Agerpres on Friday. 'Most of them had toured Romania's stand and they had been drinking. It's good wine, from the Prahova estates,' Manolescu remarked humorously.In turn, Irene Arsene, director of the ‘Curtea Veche' Publishing House, said it was an opening as she has never seen before, although she has been at many fairs.

'It was an unfortunate incident, caused in my opinion by some young people, some of them so-called artists, others acting on behalf of the Romanian associations, some youngsters well-oiled into the mood, probably drunk, to put it bluntly,' Arsene said.

Academician Eugen Simion considers one should not make a case of this 'embarrassing' incident.'We must actually talk about the great show of Romanian literature that takes place at such a book fair. I was amazed to see that there is a whole Romanian literature translated into a world language so that keeping on talking about some - I say this again - very dubious individuals who just sought attention but failed, does not mean anything,' said Simon.

Olivia Horvath, head of the ICR Paris Public Relations Department said that it was her who called Salon du livre security to have the protesters removed. Serge Celibidache, son of famous conductor Sergiu Celibidache, also said the incident staged in front of Romania's stand was embarrassing and disturbing. 'I feel embarrassed and upset to see a protest exactly when the President of France gives attention to Romania,' the son of the legendary conductor on Thursday evening told Agerpres.


French ambassador: ‘By definition, those absent are wrong'


The invitation extended the Romanian authors to the Paris Book Fair - Salon du livre - 'came from France' and 'those absent are always wrong', French ambassador to Romania Philippe Gustin told the RFI radio on Friday.

'By definition, those absent are always wrong. I will say no more, I for one am glad that the vast majority of the authors have accepted. I remind you that the invitation for these authors came from France. So, it is all the worse for those who turned it down and I do not want to make publicity for them', Gustin told a special show of which Romanian ambassador in Paris Bogdan Mazuru was also a guest.

'It is normal that all opinions should be expressed in a democracy. But this should be done by respecting the others and mostly by respecting those representing the state', Gustin stressed and explained it is normal that a minimum security level should exist.

'But let us not spoil what should be a wonderful event for Romania, for the relations between Romania and France and for Romania's image in France', he added.

The ambassador said 'every year there are attempts to use the Book Fair for political ends'.

'The Romanian stand at the Book Fair measures up to the event. Romania is the guest of honour of this Salon, and the honour it is being done should be correctly appreciated. And particularly the exceptional opportunity and visibility that are given Romania by this Book Fair, an extremely important event in Paris, in Europe and in the whole world', Gustin underscored.