Violeta “Macarena” Rosu

Children Underground

From the documentary Children Underground

Roanoke, Va.– It was six o’clock in the morning. I couldn’t sleep, so I put on a documentary. Still unable to sleep, I watched it.

It turns out after the fall of Communism, 20,000 Romanian children went homeless. Children Underground is a “hands-off” documentary focusing on about five of a larger group of children living in the subway system under Piata Victoriei.

As I watched the documentary, I fixated on one of the children, a teenager named Violeta Rosu, who was born in 1986, like me. She does not know her real name, and all her life has been called “Macarena” because it is her favorite song. All the children featured in the documentary were addicted to Aurolac paint, but Macarena was apparently the most addicted. She even replaced food with paint, because it made the hunger go away.

Macarena doesn’t know her name, and as of the making of this documentary, had not yet realized she, too, is born of a mother, like “normal” people.

As the sun came up, I stared out the window, reflecting on how tragically beautiful she is. Nobody will help her. No one will save her. I guess there are not enough rich horny men willing to scoop up the sob stories in Romania like there are here in America. So hey…I’ll take her. But, what can I do?

This documentary was shot in 2001. I assumed that because of her obvious weakness, subtle beauty, and exposure due to this documentary, someone must surely have helped her. In fact, someone did help a small boy from the same documentary. But the story is not as good for my dear friend Violeta “Macarena” Rosu since 2004. A social worker interviewed an incoherent Macarena in 2008, and reported she graduated to heroin and sleeps outdoors. [UPDATE: I GOT THE REPORTER TO ADMIT THIS IS A LIE - she met Macarena and reported she is addicted to heroin based only on her appearance and rumors] Regardless, at this stage to look in Violeta’s eyes is probably to confront a zombie – if her situation is that good. As of this year, she is presumed dead, or dying.

I am enraged by the filmmaker, Edet Belzberg, and even the social worker who found her two years ago and still did nothing for her, but instead for themselves, using this innocent girl to move up in their careers. I have been unable to shake Macarena from my memory. I think about her too often, and look at my own well-being with shame and guilt. I want to do something for her. I am disgusted that she may soon die.

It is against US Immigration laws to bring an addict into the country, especially just to help them survive. Should I have married her? Even if it meant she would die as my immigrant wife of a heroin overdose under my watch, at least she’d die in a warm bed, and not some cold, wet park bench.

I feel like there is nothing I can do. So I made this video, and now I sit here quietly, wondering if she is even alive.

I saw Piata Victoriei today. It’s cold and rainy.

77 comments to Violeta “Macarena” Rosu

    • Mihai, thanks for dropping by again. For those of you who don’t remember, Mihai is the small boy in the documentary. He just graduated from a university in Belgium. Congratulations man.

      ^Email him with your questions

  • Hello I read a message that asks the Macarena. Victoria Square is all I can say this because I was in romania country in December 2010. If you have questions you wait.

  • Jenna

    Does anyone know how Macarena is doing today, as of December 2011? I am also thinking about the others, of course. How is Cristina? Any information would be greatly appreciated.

  • juliette

    i watched the documentary recently and, like you, i was deeply moved by violeta. i am going to romania for three weeks in december and intend to try and search for her and help.
    if any of you have any information on how i could find her, please let me know.
    i am bilingual in romanian and english so there won’t be the language barrier at least.

  • I am the “social worker [who] interviewed an incoherent Macarena in 2008.” The author is mistaken in saying that I admitted to lying. I was accused of lying under a definition of saying something when one is unable to prove it as fact. I did admit to being unable to prove that Macarena was addicted to heroin. I was told by more than one person who knew her that she was addicted to heroin, which is the same as the author is using now to say she is not addicted to heroin. I hope she isn’t, and I hope that what I said was untrue. I did not state something that was simply based on appearance and “rumor.” When speaking to Macarena, I did not suspect she was on heroin–I am not experienced in behavior under the influence of drugs further than knowing when someone is high. Only later, when mentioning the conversation, did I hear from a few people who knew her that she was on heroin.

    The author has [unintentionally] stated several “facts” about me that are untrue. I am not a reporter and never claimed to be. I am not a social worker and never claimed to be. It was not an interview that I had with Macarena, and I never claimed it was. I am a person who lived in Romania and walked through Piata Victoriei almost every day. I saw Macarena often (including sleeping in the Piata Victoriei subway station and huffing aurolac), and had a long conversation with her once. It was certainly not an interview. We had a rambling conversation where we walked around Piata Victoriei above ground (what Macarena called a “canal tour”) and she described a series of events, some of which she claimed were in the past and some of which she claimed were happening right then. I asked if she wanted help from a social worker and she said yes, so I gave her the information she needed if she wanted help. I watched as she wrote it down.

    If you’re interested in more of what I wrote, here are some links (in the order I wrote them):

    http://bemis.wordpress.com/2008/08/07/deserving-responsibility/

    http://bemis.wordpress.com/2008/08/13/orphanages-in-romania/

    http://bemis.wordpress.com/2008/08/14/romanian-street-kids/

    Like I said, I truly hope what I said wasn’t true, and that Macarena isn’t addicted to heroin. Mihai’s stating that she isn’t has given me hope.

    • Sharon, welcome to the hate circle. We’ve been expecting you. Thanks for pointing us to links to your private blog which no one can access. No worries, I already saved it on a thumbdrive.

      But first things first: That’s right, you’re not a reporter, because reporters use facts to substantiate their claims. And you’re not a social worker, either. I get that too. Quite the opposite, before slinking off to produce children, you were a missionary for the Christian Reformed World Relief Committee whose goal was to start churches in Southeast Romania, profiting in God’s Glory, amen. So please I beg of you to excuse me for espousing an inaccurate, bald faced assumption that you are interested in making the world a better place.

      While in Romania, you volunteered at a Pro-Life Clinic – a “Christian crisis” pregnancy center whose beliefs around abortion fall mysteriously in line with those of Romanian Communist Nicolae Ceauşescu. Because abortions, among other things, were outlawed by his old Communist regime, that is why there are so many street children for you to haphazardly bump into in Romania and write about on your blog.

      So, not a reporter. Not a social worker. And now that you’re back in America, you’re a housewife – maybe looking for a part time job, maybe considering grad school but more likely to lay around on the internet googling yourself. That said, being a benign little housewife doesn’t make you any less of a liar, Sharon. And yes, you lied.

      How do I know this? Because I am the person to whom you admitted lying. Here, have a chatlog:

      Sharon: I hope you’re right. I hope she wasn’t on heroin. I truly hope I was mistaken when I said that.

      me: It is irresponsible to report without checking facts.

      Sharon: She’s definitely addicted to aurolac–that I’ve seen multiple times.

      me: Well, also her aurolac addiction was the main focus of the documentayr [sic] Children Underground

      Sharon: I don’t appreciate being called a liar when everything I wrote, I wrote after having checked statistics and researching and talking to people, including people who knew her. How do you suggest I should have checked further for proof?

      me: Statistics don’t indicate Macarena, the individual, was using heroin. As a journalist, when I can’t obtain proof of a fact, I don’t report it as fact.

      Sharon: But people who knew her did. People who know her tell you now she didn’t. One story is true, and I hope for Macarena’s sake that it’s yours.

      me: The only true story about Macarena is that we don’t know. But for a while, you claimed to. Reporting something that may or may not be true, that you can’t verify as true and you have no proof and then it turns out you don’t know it’s true – makes you a liar. If you don’t want to be called out on a lie, then don’t report something as fact when you don’t actually know whether it is or not.

      Sharon: You’ve called me a liar and a gossiping hen. Can’t say I’ve been called that before. It’s good to be knocked down a couple notches every once in awhile.

      From your website:

      “For Macarena, the situation hasn’t improved. It was almost ten years ago that Children Underground showed her as a fourteen-year-old addicted to dancing and Aurolac.

      She has graduated to heroin.”

      My heart wrenched as I read those five words. All the next day at work, I described the story of this person to my co-workers and that “she has graduated to heroin.” And fuck! It was just a lie you used to pepper importance on what might have otherwise been a bland, uninteresting blog post about a girl you met at the station. You’re another example of a random white opportunist out to exploit the weak for your own personal gain, just like Edet Belzberg. The truth, if you’re interested, would look more like: “I believe she’s on heroin,” or “Some dude who knows her said she was on heroin,” or “She was acting like she was on heroin!” Not that you even know what that looks like. You’ve probably seen it in a movie.

      Really, I am in the wrong here, Sharon. I should have never repeated the lies I found on your blog. Unless you consider guilting a teenager into having babies to be a good thing, I have to argue the best thing you’ve done for the world yet is making your whole blog private, because Macarena’s close friends have had to tell me I was wrong for repeating what I found there. Because your article was the most recent account anyone had to go by, and because you wrote Macarena is addicted to heroin without checking your facts, people believed it for a long time.

    • From the editor: I really don’t think the heart of the macarena story is whether or not she does heroin. It’s a distraction from a girl who has lived her life on the streets; she has a bigger story.