Monthly Archives: December 2013

Revoluția Română

Today is the 24th anniversary of the Romanian Revolution beggining. Everything started in Timişoara, very close to our city, Arad; and soon spread throughout the country. It ultimately resulted in the violent overthrow and execution of longtime President of Romania Nicolae Ceauşescu, and the end of the Socialist Republic of Romania. Romania was under a hard authoritarian regime headed by Ceauşescu for more than 24 years.

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In the first years, the  Ceauşescu´s government is constructed based on repression, austerity, and grandiloquent investment a systematic abuse of the laws. All of this balanced with well proportioned odds at truculent nationalism, and feeding an open challenge to the Soviet Union. In parallel, Romania enjoys a more favorable economic situation, given the growing demand for food that the country is able to provide. Rural areas have abundant cultivable space and an equally nurtured human resources to work with.

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The leader becomes extremely popular, but never leaves aside the prerogatives of his secret agenda: Party infiltration continues stoking in every social sphere, while giving way to what would become the most feared secret police of the Eastern bloc, the Securitate. This context presents him with the opportunity to paint his figure with the brush of the cult of personality. Official propaganda (focused exclusively on his desires) refers to him with high sounding epithets: ‘‘The Great Conductor,” ”The Genius of the Carpathians” and ”The Danube of Thought.” And the structures fall under his complete dominance: the armed forces the intelligence services, police, media and economic activity in all its dimensions.

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After his visit to North Korea and China, Ceauşescu wants to transform Romania into an industrial power. For this purpose, initially proposes two major objectives: to increase the birth rate in the country and pay all external debt of Romania. He gets the first goal but the austerity programs to pay the external debt sorted by Ceauşescu, in early 1980, will pass the bill to the quality of life of the population and the rationing of food and heating (from energy shortages, many people die from extreme cold) will do that  the unpopularity of the government and the Communist Party soar. However, major riots don´t occur and the rate of social conflict remains low due to the high discretion displaying repressive leader. The agrarian program designed by the president reconstitution (‘systematization’) exacerbates the problem of food availability. But Ceauşescu not see it that way: the leader has lost all sense of reality. Continue with his agenda, and even conducts public presentations on farms and stables that have been provided previously well-fed animals and plastic fruits and vegetables.

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It´s such a day like today 24 years ago when started the Timişoara uprising from the Timișoara Orthodox Cathedral (Catedrala Mitropolitană). The protest broke out to repudiate government persecution of a political opponent, embodied in the figure of the Hungarian Reformed church pastor László Tőkés whose had made critical comments against the regime’s Systematization policy and complained that the Romanians don´t even know their human rights to foreign media. State repression leads to the worsening of the social scene, and subsequent days are characterized by demonstrations staged by students, workers and ordinary citizens, who seem to have lost their fear. The Romanian flag with socialist shield ripped from its center becomes a symbol that runs throughout the country.To these reactions, the system responds with an increasingly brutal persecution and accusations of fascist coup and agitation‘.

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The last public speech of Nicolae Ceauşescu takes place the 21th on December in the central square of Bucharest. The president proposed to take advantage of what was called a public meeting to be tailor made ​​to condemn the events in Timisoara , and he did. Most citizens boos him and, in an attempt to calm down , advertises ridiculous increases in the minimum salary. But this is not enough: the masses react negatively and his security advisers recommend him that safeguards inside the building. The speech is broadcast live and direct around the country and although the air is removed and replaced with a still image, most of the population has realized that something strange is happening. Everyone naturally turns to the streets in major cities under the slogans of “Death to the dictator” and “Down with the government”. Communist Party committees are looted and set on fire documents.

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After that, Ceauşescu and his wife take a helicopter to run away but finally they were arrested by police just hours later. And have no doubt: in the streets, the army also failed to respond, whereas the main references of the state and its activists are executed on the spot. And the same forces which will lead to summary trial the president the 25th on December. After two hours they were executed by a firing squad.

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In the wake of the revolution, 1,104 people died, 162 of these occurring in the protests that took place from 16 to 22 December 1989 and brought an end to the Ceauşescu regime and the remaining 942 in the riots before the seizure of power by a new political structure, the National Salvation Front. Most deaths occurred in cities such as Timişoara, Bucharest, Sibiu and Arad. The number of injured reached 3,352, of which 1,107 are for the period in which Ceauşescu still held power, and the remaining 2,245 are for the period after the seizure of power by the National Salvation Front.

References:

http://www.analitica.com/bitblio/ramonet/conflictos.asp

http://publicaciones.ua.es/filespubli/pdf/15793311RD35322090.pdf

http://www.elojodigital.com/contenido/11391-senor-presidente-hay-una-revolucion-aqui-afuera-usted-esta-solo-buena-suerte

http://modestine4.blogspot.ro/2010/09/transylvania-5.html

http://www.wikipedia.org/

Ne Vedem!

PR

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Categories: Art & Culture, Discovering Romania | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Like kids in a school trip

The last tuesday, we had the first “activity” with our new collegues from Zimbawe. It wasn’t an activity, it was kind of a trip, as I said already in the title; we went to the turnul de apa of Arad, our city!

The Water Tower it’s really beautiful and it’s a piece of history, a monument of Arad.

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It was built in 1896, located in Piață Pompierilor,  used to spread the drinking water to the citizens and it was able to provide it for all the city. Restored in 1927 , now hosts many art exhibitions and paintings.  The Tower is 38 meters high , built in the vicinity of the barracks fire,  and it was the tallest building in the city .

The project comes from the idea of the famous architect Miklós Ybl, who used as a model a dungeon of a medieval fortress . At the top was mounted a giant pool of water, which ensured supply to the entire city with drinking water.

The tower was in activity until 1956 and since 1990 it’s a private property.

When we arrived a kind man received us, he was our guide, an old man really passionate in his role as an “information giver”.

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In the entrance we can find a collection of city maps, some of them are really old, from the Austro-Hungarian empire, some are newer, for sure it’s really interesting to look at them to have an idea of the development of the city.

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It is possible to see a lot of curious and old objects in the different rooms of the tower, objects used in relation with the water, of course; we saw “strange” bottles and a lot of different pipes to pump the water into the houses, some old bidets (not everybody uses bidet, in Italy we do; for more infos click on it) and other small objects.

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In one of the floors it is possible to admire an art collection, there are paintings made from romanian artists and some great pictures as well.

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In another floor are exposed the different uniforms used by the fireman in different times.

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After climbing the small and narrow spiral staircases (some of you could have problems with vertigo), we arrived on the top floor of the building, a “giant pool” that can hold 400 tons of water. Before it was even possible to perform plays due to the perfect acoustic.

From this point of the tower we could admire a really nice Panorama, all Arad was under our sight, beautiful!

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The End…

Hey you, if you are reading this article and you are curious enough, just go there and take a look at the history.

Arrivederci!

Luca G.    

Categories: Art & Culture, Discovering Romania, EVS Activities, Our City | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Bella Ciao

We´ve lost a member of our family… Grazia Calapai finished her EVS project on November after 10 months and yesterday she came back to Italy. She was the first EVS volunteer I met in Arad, I still remember when I left my room and I could see, in the end of the corridor, to Grazia with Pitta and Nana (Marco came after) since the first moment I felt very comfortable clearing my doubts about this adventure, called EVS, which began for me. She took me to Kf for the first time, Kf is the meeting point for the most of the EVS volunteers in Arad, and I could met a lot of volunteers coming from several countries: Peru, Jordan, Georgia, Armenia, Turkey…

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I also remember the first weekend, my first hitch-hick… we went to Timisoara where we were with my roommate Luca and thanks to them I met her friend Pippo and his girlfriend whose gave us place to sleep. I discovered this great city with them, the nightlife as well as we took a walk by the downtown under an awesome sun… And I could keep telling stories about her, about the time that we spend togheter and all the experiences we lived togheter in these three busy months. Budapest, chocolat cakes, the surprise when we arrived from Predeal, tiramisú, a lot of words, sensations and emotions with a common nexus: Grazia

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But anyway, althought you aren´t here in a physical way you´ll be always here with us. Now this is our house ´cause you did that possible you made we felt like in our own homes and I´m sure our ways will meet again.

Pupici! Ne vedem!

PR

Categories: Volunteer´s life | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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EVS experiences in Arad