Award-winning journalist and author of Ocean’s End, The Lobster Coast, and The Republic of Pirates, Colin Woodard published today a longer piece on the Romanian Revolution in the prestigious Global Post.
On his blog, Colin writes: “Twenty years ago this morning, I was being interrogated by Vienna airport security, along with just about everyone else intending to fly to New York with TWA. I was grilled by a hawk eyed Austrian agent with a cold demeanor and a Mitteleuropean’s clipboard. My answers seemed to annoy him. Where are you traveling from? (Hungary.) How long were you there? (Four months.) Where else did you go? (the Romanian Socialist Republic, Czechoslovakia, East Germany, twice to the Polish People’s Republic, Yugoslavia three times.) What were you doing there? (Exchange student, Karl Marx University of Economics.) You entered Austria yesterday, where did you spend the night? (Sleeping on an airport ticket counter.) Why? (I can’t afford your hotels.) Are you carrying any weapons? (No.) Are you sure? (Yes.) And so on. Vienna had been the site of a horrific terrorist attack four years earlier engineered by Abu Nidal, that decade’s stand in for Osmama bin Laden. They weren’t taking any chances.” You can read the remained of his entry at http://colinwoodard.blogspot.com/2009/12/1989-2009-romanias-revolution-lifts-off.html.
His Global Post piece is titled Probing Romania’s Cryptic Revolution. As he writes, “Among Warsaw Bloc countries, Romania’s revolution was uniquely brutal. Twenty years later, scholars still debate whether the worst bloodshed was caused by revolutionaries fighting each other by mistake. While their neighbors tossed aside hard-line regimes with little or no bloodshed, 1,104 Romanians were killed and 3,352 injured in clashes between various combinations of protestors, soldiers, secret police, and groups of shadowy figures described as “terrorists” whose identity and existence has been debated ever since. Eastern Europe’s other communist leaders had either led their country’s revolutions or had been eased into retirement; Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceausescu and his wife Elena were executed in the courtyard of a rural military garrison. And while the Romanian Revolution put an end to Europe’s last Stalinist dictatorship – complete with acute food shortages, omnipotent secret police, and a cult of personality – it replaced it with a group of men who had been a part of the regime and were not eager to see its inner workings exposed to the public, scholars, or the courts.” The full article is available at: http://www.globalpost.com/passport/foreign-desk/091218/probing-romanias-cryptic-revolution.