20100924

Bucharest in photos


This is the tomb of Nicolae Ceauşescu, located in one of the cemeteries in Bucharest - the Ghencea cemetery, which is situated not far away from the football stadium. I do not have any photos of him alive (the only time I saw him face to face was in November 1989, one month before his fall, when he came in visit to Bistriţa. I was 9 years old at the time.), but if you are curious I guess you can find pictures of him on the internet.

Nicolae Ceauşescu was president of Romania from 1965 to 1989. He was not a democratic president, he was a dictator, and a really crazy one - very similar to Kim Ir Sen, of North Korea. He had the end of a dictator, as he was "judged" ("condemned" is the better word) and shot by his lieutenants - led by Ion Iliescu - on Christmas day, in 1989. They had him shot to secure their power.

Why do I put here a picture of his grave? Because, 21 years later - that meaning today - 61 % of the Romanians tend to believe that Communism was good, and there are more Romanians who have a good opinion of Ceauşescu than Romanians who believe he had done wrong. With a small effort, I think we could have got to the same level of nostalgia for Communism as the Hungarians some years ago, when 72 % of those Hungarians interviewed stated they believed it was better with the Iron Curtain.

The truth is that during the Communist period things were much, much worse. I remember - and I wonder how the others forgot - what an adventure was to buy bread and milk (as a child, I was the one who had to stand in lines), how it was impossible to buy any kind of meat (except, maybe, fish), the terrible view of the empty stores, and the complete and omnipresent misery. Everything was owned and controlled by the state; as an individual, you owned some clothes, a TV set and a car (if you were lucky). And if you owned a car, getting the gasoline for it was the daily adventure of your life.

But above all, the worst thing was the level of control and the complete lack of freedom. People regret that, back then, you had to have a job. It was just another mean of control of the state upon the individual. People regret stability (as compared to the anarchy of post-Communist Romania), but it was a stability of a paralyzed society. A society paralyzed by the state who controlled it.

For myself, I can tell you I was a child, but I hated what I saw back then: the absurd levels of control, the absurd levels of propaganda (two hours daily, on the national TV station - the only program available, and I had already enough of it long time before the fall of the regime) and the inner poorness of people, who were just surviving biologically, because spiritually they were dead.

Most of all, I hated Communism because one of my uncles - who tried to get to the free world (getting out of the country was strictly forbidden) - was caught one night on the Danube, on the border with Yugoslavia. They declared him mad, put him in a psychiatric hospital under appropriate "treatment", and completely destroyed his life. It was because of this that he had time to stay long hours with me when I was a small child, while my parents were working. So judge for yourself.

With love,

4 comments:

piticalb said...

How many MORE terrible things have you gone through and still manage to be sane?????? And nice and caring???

stranum53 said...

@piticalb:

thank you for your comment.

as I already told you, the things that happened to my (extended) family are not my merit. I just accepted their existence.

speaking about my uncle: he was, because of his trouble, a proscribed member of my family, a sort of persona non grata, if you like. I feel shame for that, now; these were the times back then.

I just knew that what happened to him was wrong.

Regina K said...

I enjoyed your comments. It is funny how our US Presidents are rarely popular during their term but later they are remembered fondly. I remember one President from over 30 years ago, during his term we had run away inflation, but now he is considered a success.

stranum53 said...

@Regina K:

thank you for your comment.

thank you, also, for the content of your comment.

I guess we just want to forget the worst things and remember the better ones, after all. but, while that seems normal in the case of a president of a democracy like the US, I believe we (and when I say "we" I refer to my compatriots) should not deliberately choose to ignore that in this case we speak about a dictator, guilty for the killing of many innocent people.

you are always welcome on this blog.

I enjoy your Kansas City pictures.