Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Romania Today

Here's an absolutely fascinating essay about a former communist country striving to reclaim its place in Europe and of its fondness for America. I did not know that Romanians are in fact Romans and consider themselves cousins to the Italians, for example. I had always assumed they were Slavs, just like most of their neighbours.

This piece explores what it was like to live in the dreary and repressive clutches of a communist dictatorship.
"I've always wondered what democrats who grew up in communist countries thought of communists who grew up in democratic countries. Hardly anyone in the West ever voted with their feet, so to speak, by moving to a communist country, but communist dictatorships created millions of refugees who fled their homelands for Western democracies. East Germans were willing to risk being shot to make a run over the wall, Cubans are still willing to risk drowning to reach Florida, yet once in a while I still meet Westerners who have a warm spot in their hearts for regimes like Castro's.

"What do you think," I asked her, "of people in the West who think communism is a good idea but haven't actually experienced it? There are quite a few people who admire the system in Cuba. You know the types I mean. The people who wear Che Guevara t-shirts....."
Read the whole thing.


Anonymous Barb said...

The Romanian language is one of the Romance languages (like French, Italian, Spanish), and is closer to its Latin roots than the others.

March 10, 2010 8:22 am  
Blogger SnoopyTheGoon said...

Oh boy... I mean oh, Louise - you should have just asked me... I can go on like that Energizer bunny about that commie paradise.

Re them Che T-shirts: I would apply some instant glue and make them stuck forever with these...


March 10, 2010 10:56 am  
Blogger erik.larsen said...

Barb, you beat me to it! I guess one thing I could add is that "Romance" has no amorous connotations - and refers rather to "Romanish", as you say, derived from Latin.

March 10, 2010 11:24 am  
Blogger Louise said...

Do tell! I'm very curious. Romania always struck me as a very backward country, but then again, for most of my life it was behind the Iron Curtain.

One of the saddest things in the article is a description, with photos, of what the commies did to the architecture in the old cities. Soviet style architecture, as you likely know, was an insult to the senses.

But then again, whenever I read about Transylvania, I think of Dracula.

March 10, 2010 11:38 am  
Blogger Louise said...

Oh. And the glue thing. Don't forget to glue the Mickey Mouse ears on, too. I don't think a picture of Che is complete without those.

March 10, 2010 11:41 am  
Blogger Louise said...

I had always assumed it referred to the Romani people from India.

March 10, 2010 7:25 pm  

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