Romania’s gypsy witches forced to taxation-Guardian

January 18, 2011

Romanian witches to cast anti-government spell

Protests over plan to tax witches as part of drive to collect more revenue and crack down on tax evasion

Matthew Weaver and agencies

The Guardian: January 6, 2011


Romanian Bratara Buzea, 63, was imprisoned for witchcraft under Nicolae Ceausescu’s repressive regime. [Vadim Ghirda/AP]

Double double toil and trouble: witches in Romania are planning to cast a spell on the country’s rulers today over new rules forcing them to pay tax for the first time.


Into their cauldron will go cat excrement and dead dogs rather than eye of newt and toe of frog. But they are hoping to put a Macbeth-style hex on president Traian Basescu and his government after the imposition of a new tax regime aimed at tackling Romania’s recession.


Witches from the east and west of the country will gather on Romania’s southern plains and the banks of the Danube to protest against new laws and cast spells against the politicians who implemented them.


A dozen witches will hurl the poisonous mandrake plant into the Danube “so evil will befall them”, a witch named Alisia said.


The threatened curse is not being taken lightly in a country with a long tradition of superstition. Basescu and his aides have been known to wear purple on certain days in an attempt to ward of evil.


“This law is foolish. What is there to tax, when we hardly earn anything?” Alisia said.


The new law is part of the government’s drive to collect more revenue and crack down on tax evasion. It will force the likes of witches, astrologers and fortune tellers, among others, to register their professions making them liable for 16% tax in line with other self-employed Romanians.


Queen witch Bratara Buzea said she will lead a chorus of witches in casting a spell using a concoction of cat excrement and a dead dog.


“They want to take the country out of this crisis using us? They should get us out of the crisis because they brought us into it,” she said.


“My curses always work!” she cackled, according to AP.


Some argue the tax law will be hard to enforce, as the payments to witches and astrologers usually are made in cash and are relatively small at 20 to 30 lei (around £5) per consultation.


Such spiritualism has long been tolerated by the Orthodox Church in Romania. The late Communist dictator Nicolae Ceausescu and his wife, Elena, had their own personal witch.


Mircea Geoana, who lost the presidential race to Basescu in 2009, performed poorly during a crucial debate, and his camp blamed attacks of “negative energy” by their opponent’s aides.


Geoana aide Viorel Hrebenciuc alleged there was a “violet flame” conspiracy during the campaign, saying Basescu and other aides dressed in purple on Thursdays to increase his chance of victory.


They continue to be seen wearing purple clothing on important days, because the colour supposedly makes the wearer superior and wards off evil.


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