communism in romania

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Yes, Romania is beautiful, but we can’t post images of our great castles or our breathtaking nature at this moment. Everything is in danger right now. The government of the PSD (the neo-communists) made corruption legal. It’s true, it’s great, would Trump say. But we’ve had our share of corruption. We’re done. We want transparency. We want to be a modern country. But now, those politicians want to legalize corruption and of course they are the ones who won’t end up in jail because of this new law. They steal our money and our lives. 

We, the people, can’t do anything about it, except this: protest and share our message with the world. We only want to live in this beautiful country with breathtaking nature and great cultural places, but without those corrupt and arrogant politicians. 

Please help us, and share. And Romanians: protest!

after the law that the romanian government passed 3 days ago (which as i said in my last post, would effectively make corruption legal (if under 45k euros, good joke) and would pardon everyone who previously got arrested for it) , thousands upon thousands of people went out in the streets to protest, making this the largest protest romania’s had since the 1989 revolution

it hasnt even been 30 years, i really hope we can stop it here and now

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It was 1989.

It was late December and the previous night I came back from a ski trip with friends. Up in the mountains, no radio, no mobile phones, no nothing, this was communist Romania so we only found out in the train back that our world started to move. That Romanians had enough of that so called “communist dream” and started to fill up the streets, marching and demanding to overthrow that monument of corruption called the Romanian Communist Party, starting with its dreaded leader Ceausescu…

After a few hours of worried sleep I woke up in the late morning in the sound of chants coming form the main street. My mother was looking stunned out the window. “Look at them, they are coming from the Bargaie. They must have gathered at the factories there to march into town. They must be crazy, poor blokes… Securitatea are shooting at people on the streets you know? And the army… There are already victims everywhere, in Cluj, in Timisoara…” I looked out the window and felt like hardening every second “…and what are we doing now, mom?” “We? We… just wait here…” “But we cannot wait, mom! We cannot wait here… we must go and see what’s going on! Waiting here is, is, is just wrong!” said defiantly the teenager I was at the time. My mother started to weep “But, but your father? He’s out to get the daily bread ratio, he will be worried as hell seeing we’re missing?” “He will know where we are. Let’s go.” And off we went, scared but with no regrets, because we had to go. We met dad in the main square by sheer chance later, chanting with the others, and the rest is already known.

27 years later, the followers of that communist party had time to slowly morph into a proper mafia. They abandoned any illusion of ideology and thus, freed by the burden of maintaining principles, finally managed to attain full political control of the country. This week they started to modify the laws to fit their corrupt ways, to pardon their already jailed mafiosi, to make abuse and malpractice legal and to restrict whistleblowing. I’m thousands of kilometers away from that country now, but I know I must get out on the streets again - with the same deep hatred but more prowess. We are hundreds of thousands on the streets, again.

And I’m going now with my kid.

(not my photos, I still have to find the authors)

How stupid, irresponsible, selfish and insensitive could you be to shit on an entire country and the 300,000 people who protested every day for three days in a row? How out of reality could you be to make fun of a country for over 20 years and steal more than the people gain through hard work? How incapable of feeling remorse could you be to make corruption legal and save your ass from the consequences of your crimes and thefts, to take our country back 27 years ago, back to dictatorship? How much toupee could you have to show up after so many people rebelled against you, stayed out in freezing cold, put themselves in danger; and say you won’t take down your stupid fucking irrelevant communist OUG, act like you did nothing wrong, lie AND blame others for the chaos YOU brought to this country? How could you ignore the thousands of people in the street who chanted for justice?

Are you going to ask for “alta intrebare” (another question)? Because that wouldn’t surprise me.

Dragnea, you and your fucking communist orgy are a disaster, a catastrophe, you are plague. With every freaking day you are killing Romania. You’ve sold Romania for a bag of flour to fossilized brainwashed elders. You’ve bought votes so you can be in power and save your sorry asses. At the same time you destroyed our future, you erased the sacrifice the citizens made at the revolution and pissed on the youth, the youth that’s supposed to be our last hope.

We, the kids of Romania have matured faster than we should have, and that is your fault. Because in your opinion we do not matter, we never did. We, along all people of this fucking country are just an obstacle you have to win over so you can reach your selfish goals.

You are cowards, you don’t want change, you want corruption and our voices silenced. You think you can trick us by the same manipulative methods over and over again, but you forget that we are humans too. You forget that we have our lives and families and friends and jobs and maybe we don’t want to lose them all to shitheads like you.

We had enough and we are mad. We are not blind anymore and we will be taking our country back.

#Ro-mania

ROMANIAN VOCABULARY

Considering what was happening in Romania (well..happens, because people are still protesting) I thought I will do a vocabulary post with words I’ve heard multiple times on the TV or on the Internet about this recently.

  • corruption - corupție
  • protest - protest (!) the pronunciation is different
  • protesters - protestatari
  • Government - Guvern
  • police - poliție
  • policeman - polițist
  • amnesty - amnistie
  • pardon - grațiere
  • Justice Minister- Ministrul Justiției
  • communism - comunism 
  • resignation - demisie
  • Parliament - Parlament
  • power - putere
  • fraud - fraudă
  • crowd - mulțime
  • law - lege
  • citizens - cetățeni
  • Bucharest - București
  • president - președinte
  • street - stradă
  • to vote - a vota 
  • confidence - încredere 
  • coalition - coaliție 
  • legislation - legislație
  • rally - adunare 
  • abuse - abuz 
  • attempt - încercare 
  • country - țară
  • elections - alegeri 
  • decree - decret
  • controversial - controversat 
  • bill - proiect de lege
  • Victory Square - Piața Victoriei
  • movement - mișcare
  • Prime minister - Prim-ministru
  • abuse of power - abuz de putere 
  • to surrender - a se preda
  • judiciary - judiciar
  • pressure - presiune 
  • fall of communism - căderea comunismului 
  • Constitutional Court - Curtea Constituțională
  • Constituion - Constituție 
  • to accuse - a acuza
  • public debate - dezbatere publică
  • decision - decizie 
  • to approve - a aproba
  • conference - conferință
  • official statement - declarație oficială
  • democracy - democrație
  • politics - politică
  • integrity - integritate
  • prison - închisoare
  • lie - minciună
  • flag - steag
  • anthem - imn
  • manipulation - manipulare
  • enemy - dușman 
  • heart - inimă 
  • love - iubire 
  • I care - îmi pasă
  • I do not give up - Eu nu renunț
  • Ne-am săturat - We’ve had enough
  • resist - rezist

ROMANIA. Bucharest. December 22, 1989. Bucharest’s residents protect themselves from the crossfire between an army tank and pro-Ceausescu troops during clashes in the Republican square.

On December 22, 1989, my mind was still full of memories of covering the fall of the Berlin Wall. I was ready to celebrate Christmas with my family, but the Romanian communist dictator Nicolae Ceausescu changed my plans.

My boss and I were watching Ceausescu leave Bucharest by helicopter live on TV. I rushed to the airport and was lucky to board a flight chartered by the Medecins du Monde humanitarian organisation.

We landed at in Bulgaria and took a taxi to the Romanian border. Luckily the border was not closed and I hitch-hiked a ride to the capital on a truck. At noon I simply took the metro to arrive in downtown Bucharest in the middle of heavy gunfire. No helmet, no bullet proof jacket, only the enthusiasm of youth and the joy of witnessing a historical event: a revolution.

With my 300 mm 2.8 and an extender, I shot residents protecting themselves in the crossfire between an army tank and pro-Ceausescu troops during clashes in Republican square. No time for more pictures, just enough time to process and send a lone colour print to reach Sunday newspaper deadlines.

There were only two phone lines at the hotel, and scores of reporters arriving to file their stories. I kept the phone line open and did not hang up for 10 days in order to transmit pictures and stories.

The picture made the front page of most international papers. It was not the best picture of the revolution but one of the first colour pictures to hit the media market. It reminds me how hard it was to get around with cases of heavy equipment (80 kg of gear including an enlarger, photo paper, a transmitter, a typewriter).

Photograph: Charles Platiau/Reuters

ROMANIA. Bucharest. 1989. In an example of acute historical irony, this anticommunist civilian uses an AK-47 to hunt down secret police during the overthrow of Nicolae Ceausescu, Romania’s oppressive communist dictator.

The Romanian Revolution was a period of violent civil unrest in December 1989 and part of the Revolutions of 1989 that occurred in several countries. The Romanian Revolution started in the city of Timișoara and soon spread throughout the country, ultimately culminating in the show trial and execution of longtime Communist leader Nicolae Ceaușescu, and the end of 42 years of Communist rule in Romania. It was also the last removal of a Communist regime in a Warsaw Pact country during the events of 1989, and the only one that violently overthrew a country’s government and executed its leader.

Photograph: Christophe Simon/AFP/Getty

  • Romania: Guys! Guys, let's take a vote.
  • Greece: Secret vote. Everybody cover your eyes.
  • [They all cover their eyes.]
  • Bulgaria: We won't know the results.
  • Serbia: Well, say your vote out loud.
  • Herzegovina: We'll know each other's voices.
  • Bosnia: Montenegro's got a point.
Bucharest: Thousands protest decriminalising corruption

Hundreds of thousands of people have taken to the streets in the Romanian capital to protest against an emergency government decree decriminalising a string of corruption offences. Protesters on Wednesday evening in Bucharest shouted “Rats” and carried banners that read “The morning shift”, sending a message that the protests will continue until the government resigns.   The marches against the government’s move  followed similar protests a day earlier . At least 130,000 people marched in Bucharest, while more took to the streets elsewhere in the country, including  Timisoara, Cluj, Iasi and Sibiu. OPINION: Keep the corrupt in jail, where they belong Romania’s top judicial watchdog announced a court challenge on Wednesday against the government decree decriminalising a number of corruption offences in what critics say is the biggest retreat on reforms since the country joined the European Union a decade ago. The decree, unveiled by the Social Democrat-led government of Prime Minister Sorin Grindeanu after it took power earlier this month, has drawn sharp criticism and triggered the biggest street protests since the fall of communism in Romania in 1989. If enforced, the decree would, among other things, decriminalise abuse-of-power offences in which the sums involved were less than 200,000 lei ($48,000). That would put an end to an ongoing trial of Social Democrat party leader Liviu Dragnea, who is accused of using his political influence to secure state salaries for two people working at his party headquarters between 2006 and 2013. Dozens of MPs and mayors across all parties stand to benefit from the decree. “I don’t understand what protesters are upset about,” Dragnea told reporters on Tuesday. Two opposition parties, the opposition Liberals (PNL) and the Save Romania Union (USR), announced they would file a no-confidence motion on Wednesday against the government, which enjoys a comfortable majority in parliament. As parliament opened for its first regular session of the year, USR lawmakers paraded banners that read “Shame” while other opposition deputies shouted “Resignation” and “Thieves”.

Entrenched corruption

President Klaus Iohannis took part in an emergency meeting of Romania’s top magistrates’ body, the Superior Magistrates’ Council (CSM), telling reporters afterwards: “The problem is that one cannot act the way the government did in a country with the rule of law, which Romania is and wants to remain.” CSM president Mariana Ghena said she would file a challenge with the constitutional court by the end of the day. The European Commission, which has Romania’s justice system under special monitoring, warned against backtracking. “The fight against corruption needs to be advanced, not undone,” Commission head Jean-Claude Juncker, and his deputy, Frans Timmermans, said in a joint statement. “We are following the latest developments in Romania with great concern.” The embassies of Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, the Netherlands and the United States expressed deep concerns in a joint statement “over the government’s actions … which have undermined Romania’s progress over the last ten years with the rule of law and the fight against corruption.” “This decree … can only undermine Romania’s reputation in the international community and risks affecting partnerships based on common values, inherent to the guiding principles of the EU and NATO,” the statement said. Romania’s Social Democrats won back power in a December 2016 election a year after protesters drove them from office in an outpouring of anger over a deadly fire at a nightclub that lacked emergency exits and safety permits. Many saw the fire as emblematic of widespread corruption and impunity, but after 12 months of technocrat government, the Social Democrats returned on a promise to hike wages and pensions and cut taxes. Anti-corruption prosecutors are currently investigating over 2,000 abuse of power cases. They indicted over 1,000 over the last 3 years with damages worth up to 1 billion euros. The decree would apply to ongoing investigations and trials as well as new cases and it specifies it will come into effect within ten days. Criminal negligence is also no longer an offense and the definition of conflict of interest has narrowed. The government on Tuesday also approved a draft bill granting prison pardons that requires parliamentary approval. “These provisions aim to exonerate all top and medium ranking officials - parliament clerks, government members, all those able to approve laws, decrees, local decisions,” chief anti-corruption prosecutor Laura Codruta Kovesi told television station DIGI24. “Since last night, every day has become a major risk for the judicial system.”

Although Europe is one of the most modern places on earth, there are still communities here that keep their traditional celebrations. During these festivities, many people that normally dress modern, wear their traditional outfits, sometimes inherited from their ancestors.

What is interesting is that besides older generations, many young people attend this festivals and keep in touch with their traditions.

I visited such communities in Romania, Greece and a few days ago in Portugal.

She is Carolina, from Viana do Castelo, a town from Northern Portugal. I took this photo a few days ago during the festivities of Our Lady of Agony, a celebration that dates from the 18th century.