communist 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!

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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)
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For those of you who are interested in how the total ban on abortion and contraceptives in Communist Romania worked out, here is a great documentary on it. I linked to it in my last post. It tends to be glossed over in English language sources but this is the first real in-depth piece I’ve seen on the Decree of 1966.

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. Bucharest. 1989. Demonstrators and TAB-71 APCs on the street. Part of the photobook 1989 Libertate Roumanie by Denoel Paris and other photographers.

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: Denoel Paris

So, Romania is a relatively young state. Before the founding of Romania the Romanians lived approximately in three official principalities: Moldavia, Transylvania and Wallachia. But as throughout Europe borders were constantly changing. Just look at this fascinating gif-map.

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Close-ups of his face since I’m not getting to a scanner any time soon…

…and if you want to know what he talks about in the magazine, say the word.

EDIT:

He talks about leaving Romania when he was 8 and the cultural shock it was, seeing bananas for the first time in a supermarket in Vienna (that is understandable, since before the Revolution in 1989 not many people in Romania had seen real bananas), feeling like a stranger the first few years, trying to learn german and then again english when he moved to US; that was easier since his stepfather was american. He had an accent in highschool and he wanted so much to fit in.

He talks about some memories he has from the Revolution, students in a Dacia (that’s a romanian car) shouting and waving a flag with a hole in it (that was emblematic for the revolution, the hole was the place where the coat of arms of Communist Romania used to be).

His first role was of a homeless Romanian child in a small movie in Vienna -  his mother took him to a few castings there - but he didn’t like it very much, he found it boring to wait on the movie set. He started to like acting in highschool. The most important moment was meeting his manager at Stagedoor Manor 17 years ago and he started going to auditions in New York at 16.

 He then talks about being very lucky in his career, about how important is to remind yourself to have fun, not to take rejection personally, to rely on your instinct but to be open to the director’s vision, how useful it was to have the comic books for Captain America and how very exact Darren Aronofsky vision was.

In the end he talks about film and theater: how the theater gives you the possibility to do something new every evening and how special it is to communicate through one image in movies.

That is a summary, more or less exact, since I don’t have much time and my english I’m sure is not great! But I’ll post the pages with the interview. (italics are mine)