22 is the day when Nicolae Ceausescu effectively abdicated by fleeing Bucharest on board of the famous helicopter. It is the day that marks the change from the communist regime of the illiterate dictator to something else, termed for lack of a better word “post-communism.” I quickly glanced Romanian newspapers for articles commemorating 22 December 1989. Romania libera and Evenimentul Zilei have nothing even remotely related to the topic. Through Google I came upon an article in Gandul, a newspaper I almost never read, which carries short interviews with former dissidents like poet Mircea Dinescu and post-communist intellectual luminaries like Horia Roman Patapievici. The mouthpiece of the Group for Social Dialogue in Bucharest, titled 22 in memory of 22 December 1989, is uninterested in the subject – we can read a plethora of articles on the recent parliamentary elections, the formation of the new cabinet, the undignified defeat of the “political right,” and Andrei Marga’s secret collaboration with the Securitate. When not even the “anticommunist” camp retains the memory of the regime change, should we expect a government drawn primarily from the ranks of the former Communist Party to do it? Is this a case of politics of memory without memory?
A wonderful movie that provides a unique interpretation of the 1989 Romanian revolution in a God forsaken town is 12:08 East of Bucharest, which I sometimes showed to my students.