Photo taken a few days ago in March 2014 while on Constitution Avenue, in Washington, DC
Visiting the same place 29 years later — did it change, or did I?
We never know if or when we’ll return to the places we’ve been before.
Not only do places change, but people change, too — even though the changes aren’t readily apparent from day to day. The gradual lapse of time not only gives one a greater sense of perspective about things, but allows us to re-examine the deeds we’ve done in the past. Wisdom often comes with a mandatory preamble, “Looking back now….”
Romanian Army forces during the 1989 Romanian Revolution
The Romanian Revolution took place in December 1989. I lived in Romania at the time and was assigned to the American Embassy in Bucharest.
Few Americans or Westerners lived in Romania during that period. It was one of the East Bloc’s most repressive regimes. Media were not allowed into the country, and so there remains relatively little coverage of one of the most extraordinary political upheavals since World War II.
Romania was one of the final Eastern European Communist dictatorships to collapse, following a series of relatively peaceful revolutions in Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, and East Germany — which had taken place during the preceding months.
However, aside from the aftermath of Yugoslavia’s demise in the early 1990s, Romania’s “revolution” was by far the most violent. Thousands died in the bloody street battles between the dissidents aligned with the Romanian Army and dictator Nicolae Ceausescu’s private military forces known as “Securitate.” In fact, a series of demonstrations and riots plagued Romania over the next six months leading into the Summer of 1990.
I’ll be writing a series of narratives about these experiences in the weeks to come. In the meantime, here’s a glimpse of some photography (most of it mine, which is why it’s of lesser quality) which has not been seen before. Most of these photos have been kept in my garage. Keep in mind these photos were taken before digital cameras. Moreover, film was very difficult to obtain in Romania at the time, which makes photographs (and especially video) of the revolution somewhat rare.
Nolan (in white) with officers in the Romanian Army
This photo was taken in December 1989, just after the Romanian Revolution. I’m standing In front of Casa Republicii (House of the Republic) in Central Bucharest a short time after the fall of Nicolae Ceasescu. Casa Republicii, then under construction, was to be the new government center for the Romanian Communist Party. Ceausescu oversaw its construction personally, which essentially bankrupted the nation. It still stands as the world’s largest office building. But he never saw it completed. He was shot by a firing squad on Christmas Day in 1989.
Note to Readers: Thanks for coming and visiting my site. This week, I’m playing in several poker events here in Las Vegas (BARGE 2012). Accordingly, I’ll be posting an unpublished series of trip reports from earlier this year. Next week, I’ll begin a new series on the events that led up to the 1989 Romanian Revolution and the fall of Communism in Eastern Europe. This will be the first time I have shared my experiences of living in Romania during this period. I’ll also be posting many photographs, which have not been seen publicly. Over the next month, look for commentary on politics, religion, and just about any topic this happens to pop into my twisted mind that day.