It was very interesting to hear the story from someone who actually took part in the events. Dorel was involved in the first protest, which began
The square where it all happened (The Opera is at the far end of the square)
This sort of public gathering was unprecedented; under Ceauşescu even something as unassuming as 5 men gathering for a game of bridge was considered "subversive." So, needless to say, what happened in
Dorel vividly remembers the intensity of it all. He said it was almost too much to process at once. The daunting images still pierce his brain to this day: pools of blood on the groud, mutilated bodies, wounded people stacked in the trunks of cars with their feet dangling outside, soldiers shooting on the street, or pointing their guns at him. It was amidst this chaotic scene that something peculiar started to happen. Some of the soldiers stopped firing and started chant with the crowd. Apparently they too were fed up with the regime. This was a sign that the ground was truly crumbling under Ceauşescu's feet.
The video Dorel showed was very interesting. It was produced by an Irish news station (and, as far as I know, was never broadcast in
Word of the bloody events in
Why did the Revolution spark off when it did, and why in
All of this was too much to take; having to deal with these sorts of things on a daily basis caused popular discontent to well-up under the surface until it finally erupted on that December day in
Laszlo Tokes, an outspoken Hungarian priest, provided the pretext for the events of December 16th. He had been using his pulpit to criticize the Communist regime. A known dissident, the government had been watching him for a while. Frightened for his life, Tokes essentially went into hiding in his home. After a while, the church decided it would be best if Tokes was removed from Timişoara and relocated to another Parish. His parishoners, of course, protested the idea, petitioned the bishop, and even tried to spread word of his plight to Hungary and beyond. On December 15th, a bold group formed outside his home to show their support and willingness to protect him. As Dorel related, Tokes's home was nearby a trolley stop, so the people who were gathering there conveniently made the excuse that they were simply waiting to pick up the next trolley. And, being a conspicuous event in a high-traffic area, the group continued to draw in curious onlookers, who joined in the action or at least spread word of what was happening. Soon hundreds had gathered to 'wait for the trolley.' What began as a protest of the harassment of one man quickly became a vehicle for protesting general frustrations, and a spirit of riot quickly ensued. Chants of "Save Tokes" eventually evolved into "we want freedom" or "down with Ceauşescu, down with communism!" From there, the crowd spread to the main square, and continued to gain momentum. The following days were enveloped in sheer bedlam.
The situation with Laszlo Tokes just happened to be the pin that burst the bubble, releasing everyone's pent-up aggravations. Conceivably, these events could have happened anywhere. But, they happened on that day in
After hearing Dorel speak, and seeing the images from the video, walking through downtown
**I don't pretend to be an expert on the Romanian Revolution. Nearly everything I've heard has been second-hand, so please let me know if I have any of the facts confused.