My generation among generations
Maria Mateoniu

The undeniable truth, that?s what communism had taught us, and that truth was at the time in the hands of one man, Ion Iliescu. He became the hero of the Revolution and my neighbours would worship him. He, the hero, with a waggish smile on his face and by means of the TV screen, was asking me to defend him from the ?ragamuffins? manifesting in Universităţi Square, as we had previously defended the planned economy during the inspection.

I didn?t do it out of fear and that was the beginning of my viewer position. I was very well acknowledging the situation and the climax was reached when the police tried to disperse the ,,ragamuffins??.

One of the neighbours took his TV in front of the block. Television was again getting all the attention. I remember one of the TV presenters, a certain Stark, who showed up with a bandage wrapped around his head and rattling away, saying that he got beaten up by the ,,ragamuffins??.

Once in a while images with the racked television would take turns with those down the street. The broadcast ?ragamuffins? were gypsies. I clearly remember that one was saying that he was innocent, that he only threw a petard.

But the atmosphere was still apocalyptical since the women around the TV wouldn?t stop saying: ,,Dear God, what would those people want now, since they wanted freedom and freedom they have got, now that we are swamped by work and they are howling down the street!??,,Hoodlums, says another, during Ceauşescu?s time they were forced to go to work and now they keep on screaming down the street, what is Iliescu supposed to do to them, can?t you see they are gypsies??? ?What would I do to them if they were in my hands!? says one of my neighbours, a brawny mechanic wearing a grease-stained T-shirt.

There I stood, with them, for days, because the TV was in front of the block, right next to my window, I couldn?t ignore it. I remember the notification according to which the miners were coming to Bucharest to bring order into the country, my neighbours? pride, many of them miners themselves, but in Rovinari and Motru coal fields not in Valea Jiului, where the ones bringing order were supposed to come from.

I don?t know any of my neighbours to have gone to Bucharest, but they all stood by their comrades and supporting their decision to make things right and fighting against the ,,ragamuffins?.

Even now I can see the images broadcast then, very few showing the miners? intervention, the majority displaying the moments when they were waiting in the train station, with some freak miners, dozing, since they were dozing most of the time down the streets or in train stations.

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