Litera F

My cousin was the administrator of the Amzei market; whenever I would meet him, he would always wonder why I didn?t go to him when I needed anything, telling me that he couldn?t stand seeing me in a queue. That was my cousin Jorj, whom I knew since I had been I child. But I didn?t want to ask for his help because I thought it wasn?t nice to use the back door. All I ate with Radu was tinned scad, which I used to cook with white sauce, red sauce, just to make them taste better.

For a short while you could even find carrots in salt, tomato puree, champagne and Vietnamese shrimps at Leonida, a famous food store. I wanted to have a party with all those products, but I didn?t carry out my plan. Many would complain, but when it came down to it, had good food on their table; I wasn?t complaining, but Radu and I were eating vary badly. When my father was still alive, he would call and say: get me the doctor?s diploma, and I?ll wrap a piece of cottage cheese in it, ?cause otherwise you?ll starve. (111).


Western radio station, based in Frankfurt, which broadcast programs in Romanian and was probably listened to by most Romanians. The ?Free Europe? was one of the few sources of information on the Western world, the ?free world?. But mostly, it was the only instance of public commentary on the Romanian situation from the point of view of the free world. N. C. Munteanu and Emil Hurezeanu were editors of the news and political analysis programs. Monica Lovinescu and Virgil Ierunca ran a show of literary, and implicitly political, criticism, called ?Forgotten pages, arrested pages?. There were programs of recent history, feature reports on the dissidence in all socialist countries?

Many of us learned about the outburst of the revolution in Timisoara, on December 16th and 17th, 1989, from the ?Free Europe?. Some said, and maybe rightly, that without this radio station, the revolution would not have taken shape and eventually spread all over Romania, from Timisoara to Bucharest.

In his Declaratie de iubire (?Declaration of Love?), Gabriel Liiceanu writes of a friend, a physician from Brad, who had drawn radio wires throughout his flat so that he could listen to the ?Free Europe? in every room, at all times. (87)

The only genuine sources of information were the foreign radio stations that broadcast in Romanian: Free Europe and Voice of America. I remember father trying hard to tune in to these stations, and how scared he was that I might tell about it at school. Sometimes the Securitate messed with the frequencies, which was extremely disheartening. I first found out about the kings of Romania and the inter-war period not in school, but from my father. He used to define the Ceausescu regime by opposition to this period. The Free Europe programs were bearing fruit. When electric power was out, he used a battery-powered receiver. If the jamming was too powerful, he wouldn?t turn up the volume, for fear our neighbors might hear us. We lived in a block of flats. He preferred to stay closer to the receiver. Among other things, we thus learned about the protest movements in Brasov and the Tien An Men events in Beijing. (69)

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