Tag Archives: Revolution

Their names mean freedom

On December 18th, 1989, Romania was frozen. Not necessarily because of the weather – it was a much milder winter than in other years – but because of several other factors.

First, there was no house heating. Winter was mild, but it was still… winter, yet Communist authorities decided to save energy (what a “green” initiative!) not by tackling the enormous consumption at inefficient and outdated factories, but by stopping warm water delivery (both running water and for heaters) to people’s apartments. “People don’t spend much time in their appartments anyway”, they must have thought, “they’re outside most of the time, lined up in endless queues in front of empty stores in the attempt to buy sophisticated food items such as bread and milk. Who needs heat.”

Second, the atmosphere was frozen. On December 16th, a group of insanely brave people had gathered in front of the house of a Hungarian pastor in Timişoara, Laszlo Tökes, who was about to be removed abusively from office, and protested. “Protested” was such a strange-sounding word. Nobody would have thought of ever having to use it in a lifetime. There was no such thing as “protesting” in the official Romanian vocabulary of that time.

And still, the rumor was that some people did protest, in Timişoara. News spread Read more of this post

Memories from another world

There it is… Pascani… the city that always sleeps, the place were nothing happens or, if it does, it is not a good thing. Still, I came to love this small city where nothing can be kept secret for too long.

My first memory is a sunny summer day – I was 5 years old – and my parents prepared me and my sister for a visit to my grandparents. It was a 45 minutes trip by train, but my mom always transformed it into a great odyssey.

To go to any of my grandparents was about bulging luggage: bread, socks, medicines, oil, biscuits, detergent, anything my parents thought that the old guys needed or wished for. The truth is that they never asked for any of these things, they were happy just to see us, watch us play in the yard. From time to time I would find a lot of extra sugar or oil in my grandparents’ garrets.

And I do remember that it was hard to get those things: oil, bread, butter. We had to wait for hours in long queues, starting very early in the morning.

In fact this is how The Revolution found me: Read more of this post