The colours of transition
Şerban Anghelescu
 

healing capacity of nature, conquered by the pharmaceutical industry. Magic, homeopathy, naturism, occultism, initiating secrets, universal conspiracies all together form the desire for everything that opposes the visible, rational organized world and the hidden structures that saw daylight. Two naive notions coexist: that of extreme rationalism, which professes through adequate techniques health and prosperity, and invisible worlds, in which resides real power.

If in the 70?s Bucharest?s inhabitants bred minks for food and clothing, nowadays they surround themselves with ?un-useful? pets that conquered sensible hearts. A new industry is born from a changed attitude towards our Earth?s cotenants; you see birds, cats and exotic dogs, veterinary shops and ambulances, thousands of types of special food for delicate four legged pets, sophisticated cages and fake bones. We learned to love dinosaurs, mongooses, caimans. Due to television and cinematography we discover a fascinating alterity in our furry, scaly, winged neighbours. We make them human. On the opposite, you see packs of dogs that belong to nobody and in the same time to everybody, which attack or lick you and make city authorities to face serious moral issues. Should we kill them kindly, feed them, or adopt them? Fighting dogs are instruments of their master?s unrestrained aggression. Guardian dogs defend their masters possessions.

We do not live in a beleaguered society, but lattices protect ground floor windows, the number of metal doors equipped with advanced locking systems rises and security systems are widely abound. However, the fear is justified, as the thief or the burglar knows exactly the clues of the protected values. Windows of wood disappear. Window frames that close themselves hermetically and isolate sound and tiles and marble define new or renovated houses. The colours of the walls; red, orange or lemon yellow contrasts with the general grey which is applied on the outside of buildings.

The newly appeared huge shops, super or hypermarkets, are like everywhere in the world: cold, over-luminous and populated with a greedy magma. The individual disappears under the pressure of his bustling fellows and is under the threat of the thousands of objects that dominate his life. One supermarket is enough to find out almost everything about one human kind and its newly created civilization. Small neighbourhood shops with strange American names or names derived from abbreviations of their owners? names appear. The shops clients know personally the owner of the shop, and the owner, at his turn, knows the clients? families. In the shop you can buy things on credit and you can drink a beer on the sidewalk, even if law forbids this.

Bucharest citizens that live in this transition find out about their fortunes in the newspaper each morning through astrology articles, the weather report, the exchange rate, stock exchange news and the rapes and the arsons that happened the day before. At the same time, the citizen is prepared to navigate through the world, knowing his place under the stars, hostile clouds or the friendly sun and the atrocious bare facts, the anomaly that lights the monotony of the quotidian and gives him shivers.

Public memory modifies itself with each major social change. The first movement is destructive: the emblematic monuments of the communist époque fall down. Statues of Lenin and Petru Groza are lying together in the backyard of Mogoşoaia Palace. The second movement is self- recuperating: not only the history that was disfigured or forbidden by the communist regime recurs, but the real history of communism shows-up for the first time. The masters of memory are the masters of society.

Finally, let us reflect on 80 years old individuals who lived an exceptional experience. Their world overturned twice, not taking in account their personal lives. White turned to black and then back to white again. In the name of human dignity and democracy, the communists have suppressed private property and elementary human rights. In the name of this same human dignity, tens of year?s later, property has been restored, but the amazing cancellation of communism and the peaceful continuation of the broken history seem to be impossible.

Even if we would consider against all reasons that Romanian people lived a nightmare from which they awakened suddenly, they could not resume overnight their anterior state of being. They remain the masters of that long nightmare and, consequently, remain different from all those who did not live in it. The liberated victim does not lose immediately its deep distinction of victim. Probably, transition will end together with the disappearance of mentally composite human beings taught in the first place to live schizoid in the totalitarian regime and then to reconciliate a life of imprisonment with a life of freedom and astonishment.

Translated by Gabriela Cristea and Dennis Van Peppen

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