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Entries Tagged as 'Ceausescu'

ETERNAL REST IN BUCHAREST (PART 2 OF 6)

March 28th, 2016 · No Comments · Books, Diary, Diaspora, International Media, PEOPLE, quotations, Short Stories & Cameos

The King? What King? I thought you were a republic and just shot one president to replace him with another, I said tartly
– This is His Majesty the King of Romania. He is the guest of His Beatitude the Archbishop of Argesh and is coming to visit the royal graves at the monastery in the Carpathians. The King and his family were specifically assigned these rooms and the hotel will be full with the Press from abroad and dignitaries.
The King of Romania! How very odd – he was turned away before by the new Communist President and marched off all the way to the airport under military escort to have him expelled from the country: only the year before! The old commies were still afraid that he might command some unwelcome popular support and overthrow the rascals who usurped the power after Ceausescu.

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ETERNAL REST IN BUCHAREST (part 3 OF 6)

March 27th, 2016 · No Comments · History, PEOPLE, quotations, Reviews, Short Stories & Cameos

Still, during the dictatorship years the Continental was no more than a gilded cage for tourists, a kind of ghetto, where all foreign visitors were huddled together, as they were easier to keep in check. A hub of Securitate operatives and professional prostitutes were at hand. A mall of hard-currency shops, where luxury goods could be bought only with dollars, were completing the landscape. Dollars were at the time a currency, which native Romanians were not allowed to obtain: if found out, or denounced, they could spend years in prison.

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ETERNAL REST IN BUCHAREST (PART FIVE OF SIX)

March 26th, 2016 · No Comments · Books, Diary, Diaspora, Genealogy, History, PEOPLE, Short Stories & Cameos

I remember grandfather was telling me that before the war there was a kind of popular bistro across the road from the Bellu Orthodox cemetery whose name was “Better here than Opposite’ (Mai bine aici decat vis-à-vis). This was very handy because the mourners, instead of going all the way to the home of the dearly departed, for the traditional post-funeral meal, they would instead have the drinks across the road from the cemetery, once the funeral was over and the alms given to the poor. And so there was so much merry-making at the bistro, with gypsy brass band and even dancing – all of course in memory of the deceased, that people started complaining for the lack of decorum, especially as the mourners were approaching the cemetery gate with the hearse and all and they were hearing were the fiddles and bassoons playing away drinking songs…
Eventually the police shut the establishment and now it is all history!

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Poetry in Translation (CCCLVIII), Nina CASSIAN (1925-2014), ROMANIA/USA: “Donna Miraculata”, “Donna Miraculata”

September 26th, 2015 · No Comments · Books, Diaspora, Famous People, OPINION, PEOPLE, Poetry, quotations, Translations

Since you betrayed me I am more becoming
A body’s carcass glowing in the dark
My fragile self, invisible, yet stark,
With frozen looks and body which is pining.

My wretched fingers can’t feel any more
My useless walk, is pining with desire…
My cruel stare invisible, yet sore –
The halo of my body still on fire.

Rendered in English by Constantin ROMAN,
© 2015 Copyright Constantin ROMAN, London

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What has President Nicolas Maduro got in common with the late (dearly departed) President Nicolae Ceausescu?

September 22nd, 2013 · No Comments · Books, Diaspora, International Media, OPINION, PEOPLE, Poetry, quotations, Translations

Christmas Carol, 1980 –
(A Parody sung by Romanian Gypsy Children)

Father Christmas we do beg
Bring us butter, bring us egg.
If you ever come on foot
Bring some cabbage, or beetroot
If your bag is large enough
Add some maize and garlic cloves.
Christmas Father don’t miss either
The potatoes and the flour.
Should you come, though, in a sleigh
Don’t forget for the New Year
Toilet paper that’s so sparse,
To wipe at least our arse.”

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Romanian Dictionary of Quotations, Selected & Translated by Constantin ROMAN: Letter ‘C’

July 19th, 2013 · No Comments · International Media, PEOPLE, quotations, Translations, Uncategorized

Chanel, Coco
“A woman who governs without parliament, for much longer than a minister. A woman who must take 400 decisions a year, whose jurisdiction enforces the law, beyond the frontiers of our country.”
Marthe Bibesco
“When we are no longer children, we are already dead.” Constantin BRANCUSI
“Take a circle and caress it – it will become vicious.”
Eugene Ionesco

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“Părintele Arsenie Boca şi Nae Ionescu – Vedere în duh şi viziune filozofică” de Isabela Vasiliu-Scraba

January 18th, 2013 · 4 Comments · OPINION, PEOPLE

Patriarhului Justinian Marina îi reuşise în 1950 mutarea în cadrul Patriarhiei a Comisiei de pictură bisericească de la Ministerul Cultelor, numit de el “Securitatea popilor”. Probabil că fără această trecere n-am fi avut azi nici frescele religioase şi mozaicurile Olgăi Greceanu de la Manăstirea Antim, nici “predicile vii” (apud. Nichifor Crainic) pictate pe zidurile bisericii de la Drăgănescu de fostul stareţ al Mânăstirii Prislop (http://www.isabelavs.go.ro/Articole/IVSbisericaDraganescu4.htm ). În al doilea rând miraculoasă este însăşi supravieţuirea monumentului de artă pe care-l reprezintă micuţa biserică aflată la vreo 30 de km de Bucureşti. E suficient să ne gândim că ea se află pe malul lacului de la Mihăileşti, unde Ceauşescu vroia să construiască un port, neapărat în locul bisericii. Si cum Părintele Arsenie nu putea fi de acord cu aşa ceva, academiciana cu şcoala pe puncte (cum mai sînt si alţi academicieni chiar din ziua de azi) nu s-a sfiit să-l pălmuiască în mijlocul bisericii în sfânta zi de Paşte a anului 1989. Înverşunarea lor împotriva călugărului iconar nu s-a stins până nu l-au condamnat la o moarte martirică (v. Isabela Vasiliu-Scraba, Moartea martirică a Părintelui Arsenie Boca, un adevăr ascuns la Centenarul sărbătorit la Sâmbăta de Sus).

În al treilea rând, ca o minune apare chiar supravieţuirea picturii Bisericii executată de două ori de Părintele Arsenie Boca din 1968 şi până în 1989, în condiţiile în care fresca pictată de el în Biserica de la Bogata Olteană a fost îndepărtată nu prin văruire, ci prin lovituri de ciocan, după ce Părintele Arsenie Boca a fost (a cine ştie câta oară) arestat de Securitate în 1963.

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Ceausescu’s “Diplomats” in Britain (Extract from: “Defying the Idiocracy” – Cambridge Memoirs, 1969-1974)

June 29th, 2012 · No Comments · Books, Diary, Diaspora, PEOPLE, quotations, Uncategorized

The burly comrade came banging at the door. There was something terribly Romanian about his banging on my door: an Englishman would have rung once, perhaps twice and after a few moments, seeing that nobody answered he will have left. I had no need to find out who it was, in order not to open the door: the Comrade was banging solidly at my door… I thought:

– This was his visiting card, the physical muscle of the uneducated, the pressing need of the apparatchik, whose mission was, come what may, to bang at my door, regardless, until somebody would respond. He should be so lucky! But what if the door gave in, under his brute force, which he might have applied at Lubyanka? These modern doors were so flimsy…

I never felt so insecure. Still, I had enough courage to tiptoe upstairs and look down from a rooftop terrace, several floors above the door. It was early afternoon and hardly anybody about, who might put him off his rude behaviour:

– Not a very good PR, Comrade, doubtless this was a textbook behaviour aquired in Moscow, with very little currency in the West!

Eventually he left:

– God bless him! He gave up on me, for the time being!

I waited long enough to make certain he had left. I went straight to the Head Porter and related the story.

– Next time he comes, you should call the police!
– What a good idea! Why haven’t I thought of it?

It took time to absorb the new rights to which I was entitled, as a free citizen. It felt like an animal born in captivity, which lived in a cage, for most of its life and now that the cage door was open it did not understand the benefits of Freedom…

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Poetry in Translation (CII): Corneliu Vadim TUDOR (b. 1949) Season’s Greetings (“Urare de iarna”, “Saptamina”, 6 ianuarie 1984)

February 22nd, 2012 · No Comments · OPINION, PEOPLE, quotations, Translations

Season’s Greetings
By Corneliu Vadim TUDOR
(“Urare de iarna”, “Saptamina”, 6 ianuarie 1984)

Greatest woman seen so far
Of the whole of our nation
She’s the heavens brightest star
Clad in the Romanian fashion.

It’s Elena Ceausescu
Purest is her vibrant aim
The best mum to our rescue
Coming with a science brain.

Her accomplishments are greater
Aiming high as our guide
In supporting our Leader
Standing proudly by his side.

English version by Constantin ROMAN,

© copyright Constantin ROMAN, London 2012

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Patrick McGuinness’ first novel on Ceausescu’s Romania – on the Booker Prize Longlist for 1911

August 30th, 2011 · No Comments · Books, International Media, PEOPLE, quotations, Reviews

It takes an Irishman, like Patrick McGuinness, to write a fiction book on Romania, which is certainly one of the best on this subject to come out in the last one hundred years.
It is superbly crafted, gripping, witty and full of unexpected twists and turns as would befit the dark days of Ceausescu’s terminal dictatorship. The author’s acid style may not be one to be enjoyed by humourless Romanians, who, in spite of the last two decades of “freedom” remain shackled to the old mentality of the fallen dictator: it nevertheless caught the attention of the Booker Prize Jury which shortlisted it for the prize to be given later in 2011.

Ceausescu’s fall is not unlike the recent stories of other fallen dictators and the paranoia they imposed on their subjects yet the current political scene in the Middle East and North Africa makes this theme so much more compelling.
Despite the real pain and memories of suffering which this narrative brings to people cowered by fallen dictators, Patrick McG’s story deserves the highest accolade.
Watch out this space!

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