Faith and Might / Medical History of Society / Purgation / Who Does the Past Belong To? / Suicide Directed by State Security

Dangerous Children


In the final sixth part of the original series of the RTVS (Radio and Television Slovakia), which is a co-production created in cooperation with Mandala Pictures, DogDocs and the Divadelná Nitra International Theatre Festival, we will take a journey back in time to 1980s Romania. In 1971, reforming leader Nicolae Ceauşescu, who condemned the Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968 and maintained brisk diplomatic and economic relations with the West, formulates his July Theses which fundamentally changed the country’s political track – he begins to build his own personality cult and spreads terror similarly to the way Stalin did. Ceauşescu was well aware that his security depended on the secret police Securitate, and thus he made every effort to earn the loyalty of its officers. Not only were their salaries twice as high as the average and considerably more generous than army salaries, Securitate officers also enjoyed many other benefits, such as the possibility to use a network of well-stocked stores meant for high-ranking Party officials ,or to spend their holidays at the luxury facilities of the Communist Party. Because of this policy, Romania became increasingly isolated internationally. The large loans that allowed massive industrialization and caused devastation of agricultural land could not be repaid. Toward the end of the 1970s, the rationing system that included not only food products which resulted in overall shortage led to massive protests that repeated throughout the whole next decade resulting in strict repressive measures. This is the situation in the middle of which in autumn 1981 various slogans began appearing on the walls in Botosani, a town of 100,000 in the North-East of Romania. They read: “We mustn’t tolerate poverty and injustice in this country anymore!”, or “Freedom! We want respect for human rights!”. The Securitate immediately started a long and thourough investigation which eventually revealed the culprit – 16 year old secondary school student Mugur Calinescu. Even more surprising was the fact that his deed was not merely an innocent teenage provocation, but partly a calculated revolutionary act that Mugur chose to reach wide audiences. However, faced with one of the most powerful secret police forces, he had no chance. Due to the Securitate, the dramatic story of the young hero had a tragic end. How did secret political police operate to maintain the autocratic regime of Nicolae Ceauşescu? How did they liquidate displays of different views? How did the Securitate programme for children and youth work? How does Romania deal with the heritage of our totalitarian past today? The answers to these questions is what creators of the TV documentary together with the author of the stage production Typography Mayuscule (Performing Archives) Gianina Cărbunariu, Rodica Uncescu – mother of Mugur Calinescu, and historiographers Marius Oprea and Mihai Burcea look for. The piece produced by the Odeon Theatre in Bucharest in cooperation with dramAcum is one of the outcomes of the project Parallel Lives – 20th Century Through the Eyes of Secret Police, whose initiator, main organiser and producer is the Divadelná Nitra Association.

To be aired on Saturday 15.11.2014 at 21.00 on channel Dvojka

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