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Yoga – the new offense against the State (23-07-2005)
By Staffan Heimerson

When they captured Jesus, the Romans accused him of being a religious instigator. When Alexander Solzjetsyn was compelled to “leave Central Asia for good”, that was due to his critics on Stalin.

The race and religion, politics and the ideological opposition have been reasons to throw people in jail, torture and send them to Gulag or in concentration camps. These have been grounds for them to ask for political asylum abroad.

In modern times, we may say people do not need to run away for political or religious persecution. But governments have a great industry built up for bureaucrats, security officers and “ejecting” staff. All this is meant to keep up a specific control.

Consider the Bivolaru case and you will get it. On Wednesday, the 53 years old Romanian will find out if his human rights make more importance in Sweden than the imagination of those who have invented a crime in his native country. As Gregorian Bivolaru saw his freedom was threatened he had himself taken out of the country in a long vehicle. Before he was judged, Romania had already asked for his extradition under the pretext of his being a dangerous social element. He was arrested by Malmo. He has been kept isolated in some jail cell for three months now. The immigration office is studying his situation in order not to take the high risks of sending him back against his will in a country where making up evidence is mere Justice routine. The methods are detailed in the Transparency International written reports and also those of Amnesty and Helsinki Committee.

However, Bivolaru must have committed some horrible law breakings, which are hidden in the background. Otherwise, Sweden would not consider Romania’s extradition request.

The accusation against Bivolaru is that he is a Yoga practitioner. That’s right. Bivolaru is practicing meditation, which provides a state of self-control, physical and spiritual purity. A little bit of hocus-pocus. Yes. But is he a threat against society then? Not at all. Still we identify a pattern here leading to power authority attacks. General Franco was drawn completely mad because of the freemasons. Nowadays Germany does not tolerate the scientologic church. The Chinese authorities hit against the Falun Gong organization that practices meditation and body harmonization.

Things used to be more direct, more obvious before. People used to run away from dictatorship, hunger and chaos. People in Iraq used to run away from Saddam in order to save their lives. People in Vietnam would escape in frail boats the socialist threat. People in Chile used to run away from the guerilla troupes of Pinochet not to be put in jail for belonging to some trade union. The Muslims in Bosnia would run away from the Serbs’ grenades.

Today, in a better world, the Assyrian stream in Eastern Syria goes lower (for most of them are now living in the Stockholm outskirts). Turkey, under the EU pressures has started to deal with the Kurds living there in a more human way. The anarchy in Somalia went down. Still people keep running away - but they are now running away for having a “wrong” hobby.

Romania is a democracy now knocking at the EU doors. But it still is a country in the third world, imbued with a totalitarian mentality and protected by the gendarmes trained as in the old communist times. Moreover, the Ceausescu frame is still there. It is a milieu where people see ghosts and feel threatened. The 35 000 yogis of Romania are MISA followers. They are victims of harassment and there are trials suited in Court against 17 of the yoga practitioners again.

Bivolaru was a founder and a teacher there. Last year in March, he was “swept” by a Police raid. Four days later he was released – but as the Police put it, “only temporarily”. Therefore, he ran away to Sweden. When Romania requested his extradition – the alleged crime being sexual intercourse with a 16-17 years old woman who was his student – he was backdoors arrested in Malmo.

Next week there will be the verdict whether he is released from prison and given political asylum or not. He personally would not dare any assumption. However, considering the paranoia Romania is suffering from and given the Swedish authorities respect for the international relationships, the bells might ring even for those groups that gather to practice their hobby or to work out.

I can imagine people will soon have to ask for asylum because they are spiritualist, philatelists, vegetarians, New Age fans or nudists and they want to be left alone.

This article appeared in AFTONBLADET

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