In June 1990, I was working at the Technical Engineering University in Bucharest while living relatively close to my job, so that on 14th June, in the morning, when the miners arrived in Bucharest, I wasn?t present in the city centre. Hardly had I reached the University when I received a phone call from a former student, a police officer, who warned me not get near the city centre, regardless of the situation. Why? Because I was bearded, bespectacled and I used to wear jeans. In other words, I fit the description of a ragamuffin from Universităţii Square perfectly. Which I actually was!
Completely disregarding what was happening in the city centre and planning to go to the Academy Library, I thought that my ex-student was overreacting. Calm, with a folio under my arm, I headed towards the Academy. But, down the stairs of the Faculty, I met a colleague of mine, an associated professor from one of the Departments who, with a deadly pallor, grabbed my shirt and asked me where I was going. He was extremely nervous. I told him that I was going to the Academy. He started yelling at me and calling me irresponsible for not knowing what was going on in the city. And he told me what he had seen around the University while coming to the faculty. It is more than obvious that I didn?t go anymore and thus I got rid of a potential conflict with the miners. And all that just for being bearded and bespectacled.
Then, I had the chance to see enough terrible images about the miner invasion, so easily authorised by our chosen ones. On the evening of 15th June, after our biased television had tried to explain how necessary that miner riot had been, after seeing how Ion Iliescu was thanking the miners for the ?high civic spirit? they employed in cleaning the capital city, after seeing the crime acknowledged by the state, I felt terribly ashamed for being Romanian.
For the first time in my life, I felt sorry for being Romanian and, looking at my wife, who experienced the same feeling, we asked ourselves what we were doing in Romania. I will never forgive Ion Iliescu for that feeling of not finding our place in our own country. I think that this is the reason why I can call 13th?14th ?15th June, ?days of national shame. Translated by Raluca Vîjîiac