May is Biafra’s month. May is also the celebration of solidarity, unity, sacrifice, labour and workers’ rights, the remembering of the past and the celebration of new beginnings. Hence, let me continue my series of articles with a short introduction to Romania’s recent history, started with faith and shaped by workers and masses in the pursuit of freedom.
In 1989 Romania was still a communist country, with a history of 50 long years of oppression, restrictions, freedom limitations, human rights abuses. People were hungry, afraid, imprisoned in their own houses. Power was off 4-8 hours per day, families were missing light in their houses or on the streets. Hot water and heat were limited during cold Romanian winters.
Only few hours of TV show each day and the government controlled all the news, entertainment, movies, culture… everything.
No traveling allowed outside Romania with very few exceptions. People tried their luck trying to flee over the borders and often got killed by military border patrols.
Secret police undercover agents were everywhere and all around, from schools to factories, on the street, inside restaurants, buses. If anybody would say a joke, make a comment about the communist government, that person would end up in prison or in a hard Labour camp.
Everything was about to change in December, 1989. A catholic priest from Timisoara, one of the biggest and most cosmopolitan cities in Romania, was about to be evacuated from his position, his house, his church. On December 16, 1989, a small number of people gathered in front of the parish to protest against what they called an abusive decision. And this becomes the trigger of the Romanian Revolution.
It was not about religion or origin. In Romania 90% of us are Orthodox Christians but the priest was Catholic. Nevertheless, this didn’t have any importance in getting all of us together in the pursuit of freedom, uniting all in a human wall for protecting one person rights, similar as protecting collective rights, no matter the origin, believe, skin colour, social status.
I was in the army at that time. That’s right, I’m sergeant-major in Romanian army (if they will call me in active service), infantry arms or how we use to joke about, “field rabbits’ “. I know how to hold a gun and I am glad in the same time I didn’t had to use it.
The Romanian revolution started for me in a sunny December Sunday, in a pub, enjoying my army mates’ company as well as some visitors, good friends. After returning in the military camp, during the night, we heard the alarm. We got guns and ammunition, we were instructed a foreign power is invading our country, we were prepared and ready for war. But in fact,… Romanian people have started the revolution against the communist government. Romanian people have started the freedom march. Thousands died. Millions are free today. For me, the days and nights between 16 of December and New Year were like being at war. Sleeping with the gun under my head, patrolling on empty streets and feeling how terrified are families looked behind their doors and windows, guarding during long winter nights in shelters carved in the frozen earth or from behind forest trees covered in snow. No information about what was going on in the country, what war are we fighting in, no news from my family, only general rumors about invaders, no words about massive protests ongoing everywhere in the country.
Until finally, the communist dictator flu from the capital only to be captured by military short after. He was executed together with his wife after a basic trial – something I am not proud of as Romanian but at that time considered by many necessary to stop the killings and the fighting with the troops that remained loyal to previous regime.
Only at that time I understood what happens, what the Romanian people are doing, I felt happy, enthusiastic, free. My new life was about to begin.
In the meantime, hundreds and thousands of militaries and civilians were dead and rounded, more will continue to die and suffer until a new temporary government took the power and put an end to all hostilities.
You can find out details here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Romanian_Revolution.
After 30 years, Romania is now one of the European countries, member of EU, NATO, a strategic partner for US. We paid this right with blood, with sacrifices and we won our freedom, our right for a better live by being united.
I am not just ordinary oyibo. I am a Biafran by alliance. I know what means to fight for freedom. Therefore, I can say this: be united and never stop marching for your rights, for common goals, in solidarity. Be ready to sacrifice your own interest for the greater good, for the millions in need.
May is Biafra’s month. Also, this year, these days of May I am celebration with my lovely wife Orthodox Easter and we would like to wish you all:
Hristos a inviat! Paste Fericit!