I was 20 in June 1990. A wonderful age. I was pretty, young and full of hope. Universităţii Square had taught me a lesson of what freedom and lack of constraints really meant. It had taught me how to laugh, how to cry, how to sing and how to rejoice. How to live during days and nights next to familiar and more often unfamiliar people, a sublime exercise of freedom. Of a ?we cannot take it anymore?.
Even if I am not a whiner, I also cried back then when Universităţii Square was closed and I came to terms with the fact that the results of the May 1990 elections represented the wish of a people, which know what it wanted and which deserved its leaders. The only things left in the Square were the tents belonging to some ?opponents? some of them bohemian, some homeless. People who simply didn?t want to ?go home? yet.
Still, during the night of 12th to 13th June, the police forced its way in the tents and in the flesh of some people whose only fault had been that of ?having hanged around there? a little longer. They weren?t aggressive. It?s just that they were ruining ?Romania?s image in the world?. And for this, they had been arrested and savagely beaten. And during the next morning the Square was ?clean? (Even today I find myself astonished by that obsessive drive towards cleansing manifested by Iliescu?s regimes, even if, psychologically, I can explain it.)
Fevi, a colleague in the Philology section, a year elder than me, told me about the abominable acts which had taken place during the respective night and I decided to go and see with my own eyes. Universităţii Square was surrounded by policemen. One could hardly enter in the University.
I managed to get in making use of my student license and after endless rows with a braided officer. Inside, everybody was hustling and bustling. Marian Munteanu was at the Union of Students, trying to find out how many of our colleagues had been arrested the night before.
Other mates were writing a protest meant to be passed on to the newspapers. Other colleagues were peacefully sitting down in the library, diligently preparing for the exams as if Romania had been at least the USA and the things taking place in front of their eyes a grotesque street performance which, anyway, was none of their business.
Around noon, right in front of the policemen rows, there had appeared a furious crowd which started to step by step push the policemen to the back of the Square. Then, a real fighting with bats, fists, stones, bags and sticks had been unleashed. Even if exceeding the number of their opponents, the policemen had to withdraw and the buses they came with took fire. Then, some youngsters with incendiary bottles showed up, together with more and more people. Rain stared to fall down and Marian Munteanu opened the University balcony.
I know that his message back then had been one of non-violence, calm and tranquillity. I couldn?t believe that everything that was taking place at the moment was real. I found it difficult then as I do now to exactly remember their words. The only thing vibrating in my mind was this: this is a revolution! And I wanted to be part of it. I stayed with my friends at the University till late in the evening. We had no radio or TV. We had no idea of what was going on in the rest of Bucharest or in the country. We stayed at the University, helped to put out the fire on a burning bus, heard the people screaming down the streets and saw the helicopters watching over Bucharest.
During the night I went to the Ministry of Internal Affairs and I saw the first victims. They were people with broken heads, torn clothes, while the streets were full of pools of blood. One could sense a smell of smoke and tear-gas everywhere. Flames were coming out of the windows from the ground floor of the Ministry of Internal Affairs. And I was afraid. I decided to stay in the university till the next day. I had no idea that I was going to get home a lot later.
During the night we could hear gunshots. Towards three in the morning we heard people hooting and the noise made by the crowd running down Brătianu Boulevard.
At four in the morning the policemen surrounded the University and the Faculty of Architecture for a second time. It was quite. It was quite again.
The Working Class Goes Straight to Heaven
At four thirty almost five in the morning I was sitting together with Mihai, smoking a cigarette and watching outside the window towards the Square. All of a sudden, the policemen spread around the University and around the Faculty of Architecture started to withdraw and there had appeared trucks loaded with miners. I courageously watched outside the window.
A young man, probably heading to work, got out of the underground station. It was five in the morning. They jumped on him. The bats were going up and down. The miners resembled a crowd during a rugby game. When leaving, the young guy, disfigured and breathless, had his shirt completely covered in blood. I felt sick. One of the miners dragged the man?s inert body and stuffed his head in a garbage bin.
Mihai grabbed my hand and said: ?Let?s hide?. I started to run chaotically down the stairs inside the Faculty of Geology. We entered a lecture room. It was I, Mihai, a girl and another boy. The boys managed to break the lateral side of the lecture room and we practically submerged under the floor. We placed the wooden bits back and we waited. What for? I cannot tell. The only thing I remember is that it was dark and we were shivering and covered in dust. All our senses had been annihilated. We knew we were alive only because we were able to hear. I could hear the miners yelling, swearing and those beaten up screaming in pain, a voice pipe asking for an ambulance for Marian Munteanu.
They came to check the lecture room three times and I could feel their steps above my head thrice.
The third time, they hit the spot. They told us to get out. Two hulks grabbed me by the hands. First, I could feel the punch in the face (in the spirit of the good Romanian macho tradition), then the slapping when I tried to say something. Then the kicking down the stairs
1 The National Salvation Front.