The passport
Petre Popovăţ

One of the first measures taken by CFSN1 was to reopen the borders and implicitly to grant each citizen of the ?New Romania? the right to own a passport. This meant that anybody (almost anybody) could own and store in their desk?s drawer a document that allowed them to (theoretically) travel at any moment to any destination in the world. I had been haunted by the strong desire to travel throughout the entire communist period, when I wasn?t at all allowed to leave Romania. I wasn?t trustworthy and the authorities were afraid that I might not come back. And they were so right in their suspicions! I had tried several times to cross the border as a ?tourist? to Switzerland, where I had been invited by some friends who at the same time had managed to get me a job which would have become available for me as soon as I had inevitably signed the request for political asylum.

So, in February of 1990 I rushed to the police precinct in Luigi Cazzavillan Street where passports were issued for the people. I wasn?t exactly hoping to go abroad soon ? my friends wouldn?t invite me now. ?You are free now, so it?s your business to find means to travel if you want to see the world ? ? - , but I couldn?t help the urge to hold in my drawer the long-awaited passport which turned me into an equal of any Western citizen. I knew that in order to go through the entire procedure you had to stand in line. A queue! ? That was a phenomenon characteristic of the years before the Revolution. We had queued for hours to buy meat, milk, gasoline and even cigarettes. One more queue (the last one, perhaps) would not make much difference.

1 The Council of the National Salvation Front.

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