I really tried to convince my proponents that a man?s muscles were requested to move ?history?s front? from the area of party propaganda into that of the honest research of the past, till a young and ardent colleague of mine looked me straight in the eyes and strenuously said: ?Please forgive me for not having the time to be polite, but you have to play Gorgona?s part there!? And he convinced me.
When I went to break the news of this unexpected promotion to my venerated teacher D.M. Pippidi- persecuted and humiliated for years in the faculty precisely for being the embodiment of the superiorly clever erudition and of the flawless intellectual elegance- he told me while sensing the thrill in his tone: ?I have never thought to live the time of such a retaliation.? Even only for this and it was worth it.
This is how I became a dean- dignity which, in the year of grace of 1990- cured me of many naiveties.
In the University, the atmosphere was feverish and quite affable, only that I found it difficult to understand why the rector, a well-known mathematician, was apparently bemused by the stubbornness which characterised the refusal of the students in the History section to work with some teachers and he kept on repeating me ad nauseam that even Călinescu or Barbilian had been previously boycotted by students, shutting his ear to me when hearing me telling him dozens of times that, compared to Ion Barbu and C?linescu, those contested then didn?t know the multiplication table and they used to place a comma between subject and predication.
Yet, I kept on progressively learning everyday that, beyond the narrow limits of a privileged minority ? to which those who became my university colleagues by the Party?s grace and by that of the socialist nation also belonged ? many common people had perceived the Revolution not as a miracle but rather like a punch in the nose: like an assault against their own identity.
On 29th January, while passing by the residence of the Peasant party in Rosetti Square, I saw some things which astonished me. Even if at dawn, the booze shop on the other side of the street was as opened as it could have been and also assailed by miners- what the hell are the authorities doing, I said to myself, full of a monumental and stupid naiveté- and the crowd buying gape seed at the residence of the party was receiving some mysterious white parcels. When I came closer, I saw that the parcels were actually photocopier reams. Not even today can I figure out why they needed them, but that pleased and slick attitude they had while marching down the boulevard, holding their pray, cleared my mind.
It became all the more obvious to me when, entering a neighbouring tobacco shop, I saw the shop assistant emphatically crossing herself up to her navel while saying: ?Praised be the Lord for finally getting rid of these, I was so afraid of living next to their bloody residence that you can?t imagine, it?s so good we?ve got rid of them!? So that in June, when I saw the people in Bucharest, both men and women, fervently applauding the miner cohorts, I was able to save my perplexities.
It may be that all these bits and pieces of unexpected and vexing experiences have concentrated somewhere, without me knowing it. On 11th March, in the morning- it was Sunday- I woke up as if from a nightmare, all in a very cold and extremely political sweat.
All of a sudden and on a national scale I realized my stupid naiveté while mocking ? sometimes, a long time ago, in January- minister Teoreanu?s good-bye speech. In the same evening, I was gathering the pieces of the Proclamation from Timişoara, despite the drunk TV announcer?s aggressively criticizing it. The age of innocence was over, and the age of confrontations about to begin.
Translated by Raluca Vîjîiac