Right under our nose

“Where to Invade Next” is a documentary released in 2015 and made by Michael Moore who also plays the leading part. He puts himself in the position of a so-called contemporary American invader, who wants to steal away the best solutions he could find in different parts of the world and bring them back to his homeland.

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Michael Moore (screenshot from movie: Narcisa Daraban)

It is a tongue-in-cheek approach, as he obviously is leading no army, but in each case he leaves behind a flag which is thrust into the foreign soil or presented to the host he has been received by.

For a start, he went to France, where he learned that even the tiniest schools have  meals,  schoolchildren feast on four-course dinners and get a complete education in cuisine, turning their noses up in disgust when Moore shows them pictures of generic American canteen lunches and refuses to drink Coca-Cola.

Other countries to invade are Italy, Slovenia, Portugal, Norway, Germany, Finland, Tunisia, and Iceland. From each of them he picks up a lesson in some field. For instance, in Italy he found out about workers well-being – paid holiday, paid honeymoon, thirteenth salary, two-hour lunch breaks, paid parental leave, things that don’t exist in the USA.

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The German lesson is that the new generation of schoolchildren willingly take on board the legacy of the Holocaust without excusing themselves from their grandparents’ actions, being aware of the past, accepting their roots and their national identity and being confident in the future.

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Schools in Finland have gone through some reforms that included eliminating homework and standardized testing and giving students more autonomy and free time. The result: Finland is now number one in educational rankings.

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One my find is that humane prison system can look totally different from how we have it and Norway pretty appealing, due to the fact that the country now has one of the world’s lowest murder rates with a prison system where rehabilitation rather than punishment is the goal, even maximum security lock-ups are tailored to that end, and the maximum sentence is 23 years.

One of the most challenging ideas with respect to prompt questions of crime and punishment was the one he came across while invading Portugal. Three Portuguese cops say that “human dignity” is the most important part of their training. Here all penalties for drug use and treating it as a health-care issue instead has resulted in decreased use.

What shocked me most was to learn that in Iceland only financial company that escaped the country’s massive financial meltdown was one founded and run by women, which leads into a discussion of the transformative benefits that have come with women gaining positions of power in government and business. They say that the reasoning behind this is that women can act much more promptly, they are extremely intelligent and capable, find themselves less proud than men and more open to doing good things, thinking as a mother and wife, having the feelings involved in the business. I am of the opinion that it would be great if we could adopt such a decision in Romania too. Picture this, a society whose citizens have equal rights, regardless of sex and women are allowed to show their true power and to change something in the world, revealing all the qualities that they have.

There are some hilarious moments too, like the one in which the Joint Chiefs of Staff invited Michael Moore to Washington, DC, to confess that all their wars since “the big one” have been disastrous and ask his advice. He responds by offering himself up as a one-man army who will “invade countries populated by Caucasians whose names I can mostly pronounce, take the things we need from them, and bring them back home to the United States of America.”. He knows all of these countries have their own share of problems. But he’s come, he says, “to pick the flowers, not the weeds.”

Romania is not on Michael Moore’s list of countries to be invaded, and yet I suppose there are some nice examples here that deserve being highly regarded. An example of this sort would be the contact with the internal/external world, but also with the  virtual world. In this way, Romania ranks second in the world at the speed of the Internet, after Sweden, with 95 Mbps. We are also one of the countries with the most advantageous TV packages, cable providers in Romania offer over 100 channels at comparatively low prices compared to other markets in the world.

But our country has her own wounds that are waiting to be healed. Top of the list are educational system, medical system and the infrastructure.

All things considered, I would suggest anyone watch this documentary, mostly because gives you an interesting perspective on good things that exist in other countries, helps people see the world’s problems with new perspective and make them to notice that solving is very simple and even under our nose, we only have to accept it and make a compromise to do it happen.

NARCISA DĂRĂBAN

Narcisa si prmiul

NARCISA DĂRĂBAN

 

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