Tag Archives: Timisoara

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 not by tackling the enormous consumption at inefficient and outdated factories, but by stopping warm water delivery (both running water and for heaters) to people’s apartments.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