The miners on the miner riots

1. The miner riot in January 1990

I still remember that we took part in the first riot, that during winter time and it was very cold. I even remember that it was very cold. As far as we could find out? the people in Bucharest were going to break and steal? and in front of the Parliament, or anyway I can?t tell exactly the place because I don?t know Bucharest very well, Iliescu showed up and thanked us. As a matter of fact we had been sent by the company. We had been told that we had to go to Bucharest.

Weren?t you surprised?

Of course that we were surprised and we kept on asking ourselves why but we could also watch on TV the events taking place in Bucharest. But everything had been set up by our leaders and not by the foremen because they had little interest in sending us to Bucharest. But, if we received an order, we said that we had to obey it. And I remember that we went to Petroşani by car and in Petroşani we stepped in the train and we went. The trains weren?t waiting for us in the train station but after half an hour they gave us a special train to go to Bucharest.

And didn?t that seem weird to you?

Yes, it did, since I was sitting there asking myself: what are we going to do there? Why do they take us there?

But hadn?t you been told that they were going to take you there for this or for the other?

Well, as I said before, the times were quite confusing? This is how I remember it, taking into account what we also saw on TV. And I know that shops were broken into in Bucharest, at least that?s what I heard and that democracy was in danger. And I also know that mister Iliescu summoned all the good men.

But do you consider yourself a good man?

I think so.

And when he summoned all the good men, would you have gone?

I wouldn?t have gone on my own account!

But what if you had been on leave?

If I had been on leave I would have carried on with my stuff?

Yet, as a good man, because the president appealed to the good men, wouldn?t you have gone?

I personally think that it would have made no sense and now I wonder why they asked us to go to Bucharest because they could have taken care of their problems alone. Still, I believe that they must have talked to the big bosses here in The Valley and this is how they organised the departure.

And what do you think, did they set up a real democracy back then?

No, no. Because afterwards things went worse than before and the situation was tougher, especially after the major redundancies.

But what do you think now: did the miners have anything to win or to lose after the riots?

I think they had more to lose.

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