My generation among generations
Maria Mateoniu
 

I remember the moment when I stood in the airport waiting for Queen Ana, without being a royalist and without believing in the monarchy as an alternative to the actual situation. But I went with a few colleagues who, with several exceptions, were not real royalists either. What really mattered was not to be a communist, you could have been anything else but communist. And for the majority of us, Iliescu was nothing but Ceauşescu?s prolongation, so you weren?t supposed to be with him.

Pretty much everything organised was in the ragamuffin spirit, since we were all students, right? The students who between 1991-1992 heavily protested against Iliescu?s regime were the models. They were the authentic revolutionaries (what is authentic is, by all means, an instance connected to the époque, to time), we pertained to the afterwards, we were the descendants. We used to be, at least during the ?90s, in the shadow of those 5-6 years older than us.

Coming back to the Queen Ann moment, some of us went, I ignore the number, to the airport. We were supposed to take, I can?t exactly tell what, the trolley to Eroilor station and I had no ticket. I just stepped in like that, with no ticket and I got caught and the ticket collector, a sturdy woman with funny accent started to pull my clothes.

I was trying to escape and she wouldn?t let me go and as there were several boys in the group determined to defend something, no matter what, things where kind of getting out of control. The lady ticket collector wanted me to pay the fine, the colleagues wouldn?t let me since we were heading to the airport to see Queen Ann.

Everybody was in touch with our aim in no time. That was the sparkle which triggered a scandal I shall never forget. It only took a few minutes, a few implicit words, for the trolley to be split into two, ones with us, the others with the lady ticket collector. I can?t even remember how many curses we had been hurled at back then, but at least we got out of it unharmed.

We finally reached the airport and saw the Queen. Yes, she seemed a quite reserved woman as I had already been told before. ?She has something distinguished in her, my colleagues told me, she is a real lady.? That meant, I reckon, the opposite of the proletarian, of the communist-type man. One was the blue blood king and the other the miners? hords.

Only after years did I manage to realize the big gap between workers and intellectuals that the ?90s envisaged. The communist propaganda had been effective. ?The bearded people?, ?the ragamuffins? were on one side, the miners, the women in Apaca on the other. I am afraid that the gap still exists and that it will take time for it to vanish because the revolution still carries on and the revolution means enthusiasm, hope but also disappointment, frustration, hatred.

Coming back to the ?90s, I remember that I had a colleague in the Union of Students? board. We had only one thing in common, we both wanted to become archaeologists. What a passion this archaeology was! Or had it been nothing but a subtle way to find refuge in the most remote time possible?

I guess she made her mark in the field. As she couldn?t work for the institute because the vacancies were soon gone, she went to Switzerland. I haven?t heard anything about her, but she was a tenacious girl. It was something tough in her attitude and, unfortunately, she wasn?t really letting you time for rebutting.

She used to speak quite a lot but she did it well. She was the one who would organize all types of protests, what you could still do after Universităţii Square had been evacuated, meetings with political prisoners?

The meetings were very well organized and Memoria journal was very common among us. The items present in the University library weren?t enough anymore so then our colleague who was part of the Union of Students, used to help us to get our hands on one of them. She saw it as a mission, since, as she herself had told us, one of her brothers had actively participated in the Revolution and then in the protest in Universităţii Square. For her, the model was embodied by that brother investigated by the Security forces and then beaten by the miners.

This girl really shared a terrible regret for not having been part of an older generation, eventually her brother?s and an impetuous desire to carry on with the protest. At the same time she was extremely haughty as if assuming her brother?s persecution.

Many folks would envy her for it while at the same time splitting hairs and analysing her behaviour. The boys were the ones who would usually take the mickey at her since from time to time they used to call her ?the man-woman?. It is only now that I have come to realize the meanness, the impotence and the number of cultural stereotypes behind this judgment.

One of the actions organized by my colleague was the one meant to set the Bassarabian Ilie Ilaşcu free .The protest started in front of the University and we knelt in the middle of the road, facing the roadside crucifix set up in the memory of those who died in the Revolution and we all said ?Our Father? while holding candles in our hands.

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