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Entries Tagged as '“post-communism”'


March 26th, 2016 · Comments Off on ETERNAL REST IN BUCHAREST (PART 4 OF 6) · Books, Genealogy, Genealogy, History, PEOPLE, Short Stories & Cameos

Mr Professor Sir, you are English, aren’t you? But you are also a little bit Romanian!
– No, I am British – I am not English, because I was not born in England and I am naturalised British. What’s all about?
That baffled Vlad, like most Continentals could not make the difference between English and British, so I enquired:
– But why are you asking this all of a sudden?
– Because, Mr Professor Sir, you are also a little Romanian and you criticise too much all these things, the potholes in the road and everything.
Now I got the gist: I offended Vlad’s national pride and he was going to teach me a lesson: he was going to give me a fright by the way of retribution.

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March 26th, 2016 · Comments Off on ETERNAL REST IN BUCHAREST (PART FIVE OF SIX) · 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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Constantin ROMAN’s Book Review: “Bread, Salt & Plum Brandy” by Lisa Fisher Cazacu

February 26th, 2016 · Comments Off on Constantin ROMAN’s Book Review: “Bread, Salt & Plum Brandy” by Lisa Fisher Cazacu · Books, Diaspora, OPINION, PEOPLE, Reviews

FIRSTLY she comes to realize the true blessing of being born in a country where public services function properly and are taken for granted:
– “what, no bus service to take children to school? What, no compulsion by RomTelecom the national telephone company to fix the fault on Lisa’s line at a weekend?”
– Who needs a phone, anyway?
The list of Ubuesque mishaps is endless and a great eye-opener both for the reader who could not imagine it and for the natives who got used to and put up with it for far too long!

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Letter from Germany – Scrisoare din Germania (I): the Tragedy of Romania

September 28th, 2012 · 5 Comments · Diary, OPINION, PEOPLE

Grandomania celor care « au ajuns », care s-au îmbogatit, este de neinchipuit. Sunt foarte multi cei care lucreaza dincolo de granitele tarii si care se intorc cu bani si cu dorinta de a avea ceva ce altii nu au. In felul acesta isi trintesc vile si case oribil de pompoase in afara Bucurestiului, case care arata ridicol intr-un sat unde bastinasii ramasi traiesc inca in casutele lor construite din lut si balegar, vopsite cu var si cu acoperisurile aplecate ca niste babute la taifas. Privelistea altadata atit de frumoasa este distrusa iar culmea este ca si in aceste curti unde casele se simt stinghere, vezi la gardul din fier forjat o caruta linga o vaca slaba care incearca sa pasca printre mormanele de caramizi sparte. Ce-ti pot spune mai mult, a fost un pelegrinaj in trecut trecind prin viitor, un ciudat amestec de stari sociale, o coloratura a unui popor care dupa parerea mea nu va avea niciodata sansa sa ajunga prea departe tocmai din cauza ca discrepantele sunt prea mari. Nu poti nicicind sa convertezi o babuta nevinovata la civilizatia secolului nostru, cind ea isi scuipa inca in sin cind ii faci o poza pe care imediat dupa aceea i-o arati pe celular. Si exact din acest motiv am mare mila si intelegere pentru cei care inca sunt cu o suta de ani inapoi si cea mai putina intelegere pentru cei care prin smecherii, minciuni si inselatorii incearca sa duca aceasta tara cit mai jos. Din pacate nu putem face nimic dar senzatia este dureroasa.
Sunt inca sub impresiile de acolo dupa cum observi, visez noaptea si ma scol cu senzatia ca mai sunt acolo, ma simt nefolositoare dar nu stiu ce as putea face… Sper ca nu te-am obosit cu povestile mele, in general întoarcerea mea scurta in Romania a fost interesanta si poate si o lectie pe care trebuia sa o iau dupa atitia ani…

I have never ever seen so much misery in a place where, given the resources at hand, there ought to be good order. Wherever you look there are luxury goods mixed with paraphernalia of poor taste, miserable goods. I have seen bare-feet, unwashed peasant farmers, in their horse-drawn wooden carts, busy talking on their cell phone; I have seen rural folk, who were exhibiting to all and sundry their newly- acquired luxury car, displayed on the back of a rusty lorry, which they were conveying, just to show off to the rest of the world to marvel at… I have seen hundreds of stray dogs curled up, asleep in the middle of the highway… In downtown Bucharest, I had seen hovels whose windows were covered with hanging tee shirts, or pyjamas, for lack of curtains… I have seen top-notch luxury malls with their ubiquitous uniformed security guards, only to discover, round the corner, people begging in the street.
In the countryside, I walked the main streets of villages covered in thick dust and boulders… I have seen sanitary installations, which were at least seventy-years old… I sat at dining tables laden with foodstuff, yet covered in shoals of flies, which cut my appetite… I cried my eyes out seeing the destitute elderly villagers, seated in the doorways of their rural homes, looking forlorn as the world went bye… I would have liked so much to fathom out what thoughts were visiting their vacuous faces… as the darkness enveloped their cottage, I would have liked to find out what they were doing in the evening, what were they thinking of, the next morning, as immediate prospects were fading fast, biting the dust of their farmyard… I tried to help as much as I could, I bought washing machines, clothes for the children and sundry goods needed in every household, but, as I said, it felt like a bottomless pit.
By contrast, the grandomania of the nouveau-rich, of those who made it overnight, was quite unbelievable. There are so many Romanians who work abroad only to return home playing a game of one-upmanship. In the outskirts of Bucharest they build for themselves some horrible, if pompous villas, which are completely out of kilter with the traditional rural abodes of their neighbours, living in cottages built of clay mixed with horse manure and straw, with whitewashed walls under a tilted roof, not unlike some old people seated on a bench, for a natter. The once bucolic rural atmosphere is completely ruined, yet to cap it all, in some of these farmyards, where such villas look out of place, one could discover, by looking through the iron fence, a wooden cart next to a malnourished cow, trying to graze next to a pile of broken bricks.
The overall impression I got is one of a journey into the past, yet one intermingled with the future, an odd mixture of social scales, a motley palette of a nation, which, in my opinion, will never have a chance of getting very far, at all, just because the discrepancies are too great to smooth over.

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Romania Unadulterated: Book Review – “Bread, Salt & Plum Brandy”, by Lisa Fisher Cazacu

September 11th, 2010 · 2 Comments · Books, International Media, PEOPLE, Reviews

The list of Ubuesque mishaps is endless and a great eye-opener both for the reader who could not imagine it and for the natives who got used to and put up with it for far too long!

But, thankfully, not all natives – for Romania is experiencing a brain drain of unprecedented scale and not just brains but muscles too – Romanians emigrate in droves to get away from the quagmire of corrupt officialdom – in the last two decades more than two millions mostly young able-bodied people have voted with their feet and left their country , not in good hear, but in dispair …

One of the statistics is Lisa’s Romanian husband and this is the SECOND ‘plus’ I had in mind as a benefit of Lisa’s Romanian experience: for this rumbustious and unflappable young lady would not allow her unpleasant experiences tarnish her romance with a dashing Mr. Cazacu. They get married and beat the bureaucracy at its game (o yes, even the American bureaucracy because we learn that there is some…) to live “happy ever after” in Texas!

Who needs a better happy-ending than this? in fact, on reflection there are bits in this account to please each and all readers. I for one, after overcoming the initial shock, I enjoyed this brave story in spite of its stark comments, or perhaps because of it.

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Nobel prize Winner – Exorting Romania to be honest about its Communist Past

October 8th, 2009 · Comments Off on Nobel prize Winner – Exorting Romania to be honest about its Communist Past · Diaspora, PEOPLE

Herta MUELLER 2009 Nobel Prize for Literature (Romanian-born German from the Banat of Timisoara, living in Berlin) ——————————————————————————————— Herta Müller has a sharp sense of realities, as demonstrated in her article published in Tagesspeil of 17 July 2008, which is echoed by the Frankfurter Rundschau: “It is a scandal that Romania put forward as its […]

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Of Exorcism, Orthodox nuns and Ceausescu’s Children – Letter to an Italian Friend

June 20th, 2005 · Comments Off on Of Exorcism, Orthodox nuns and Ceausescu’s Children – Letter to an Italian Friend · Diary, International Media, PEOPLE

Carissima Principessa, You were kind enough to send me a link and I thank you for it: http://www.corriere.it/Primo_Piano/Cronache/2005/06_Giugno/19/suora.shtml Romania, giovane suora muore crocifissa Era stata legata per tre giorni a una croce di legno da quattro suore e da un abate per un rito di esorcismo [img align=right]http://www.romanianstudies.org/images/articles/exorcism/mad_priest.jpg[/img]BUCAREST – Una giovane suora di 23 anni, […]

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Theft of a Nation, Romania since Communism. (Furtul unei Natiunai)

November 11th, 2004 · Comments Off on Theft of a Nation, Romania since Communism. (Furtul unei Natiunai) · Books

http:www.hurstpub.co.uk/ THEFT OF A NATION, ROMANIA SINCE COMMUNISM TOM GALLAGHER Paperback 320 pages (November 1, 2003) £16-50 Publisher: C. Hurst & Co ISBN: 1850657165 Hardback: xxii, 424pp. (Jan. 2005),£45.00 Romanian Publication (in Translation ) Humanitas Publishing House, Bucharest November 2004 ‘This is a unique work on an important, but neglected, subject. It deals with the […]

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Vampirism of New and Old Ottomans

November 4th, 2004 · Comments Off on Vampirism of New and Old Ottomans · PEOPLE

Vampirism of the the New and Old Ottomans (Romanian Presidential elections) Editorial One unexpected surprise (and irritation) which the Romanian victors experienced since the Paris Peace Treaty, was the unwelcome association with vampires and vampirism, which came about as part and parcel of the union with Transylvania, after WWI. Ever since the demise of Nicolae […]

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