Monday, December 21, 2009

„They run off the window and returned as great revolutionists”


Stelian Maria - Noi de-aicia nu plecam


He fought against the communist system all his life. He was dreadfully beaten, forced to hard labor in jail, spent some years in communist prisons as a political convict, was verified by securists his entire life and doors had been closed in his face because he refused to become a member of the Communist Party. He stood up for his ideas and for his dream to change something. And now, after 20 years of „freedom”, he is very disappointed.
In December 1989 he was the first that entered by force the Security building in Brasov in order to see with „free eyes” those hidden places where years before he was carried with tight eyes, interrogated and beaten for his courage to say „NO”. He doesn’t consider himself as a big revolutionary. He doesn’t even have a revolutionary „certificate”.
Octav Bjoza, an engineer by profession and ex-political convict, he’s now, at his 71 years, the president of Ex-Political Convicts Association in Romania (AFDPR). He fought constantly after 1989 in order to reveal the communist crimes and the names of those security officers that became overnight „great revolutionists with certificates and complete merits”.
In spite of all his suffering, Bjoza did not loose one moment his humour and overflows with energy and optimism. Although 20 years gone away, he still recalls, like it was yesterday, the days of 21st and 22nd of December 1989 in Brasov.
„It was 21st December and it was great fuss at ICA Ghimbav factory (Romania’s first large airplane manufacturer). A small guy with a big head spoke to the workers about what was going on in Timisoara and then he convinced everyone to march to the center of Brasov to the Communist Party building”, he begins his story.

He told me how the workers from ICA - where he worked as an engineer - where all grouped for the march to Brasov. Then he saw a few trucks filled with “shield-bearers” – “the masked men of nowadays” and their superiors ordered them to open the fire…
“They been ordered to open the fire and they shot. But they shot in the air, about 45 degrees up, with war ammunition. There’s no doubt it was war ammunition as branches from the trees fell over our heads. There were a few more military barrages in town but nobody was shot. And I, as a big revolutionary as I was, kept walking with the workers to see what will happen“, he said.
He also remembers about another certificate-less revolutionary called Ioan Demi. He was the guy that mobilised the workers from all the factories in Brasov and convinced them to go and fight for freedom.
„But who jumped in front of them to stop them?Those that are now so-called great revolutionists, those that managed in these 20 years by now to gather fortunes that you can hardly embrace with your eyes. They became revolutionist after 6-7 years after the revolution and have now great fortunes. They run off the window and returned as great revolutionists”, said Bjoza with anger.
He stops for a moment in order to prepare himself somehow for the Big Day – 22nd December.
And the big day came. The minds of people were on fire and many of them where afraid to go to work. The rumors that the dictator Ceausescu fled by an helicopter created chaos.
But the courageous ones went out on the streets again. Among them, there was Bjoza, aged 51. He remembers about a lamp post in the center of Brasov where he saw a boot, a slice of bacon and a piece of old salami hanging, „but of those that you cannot eat, ‘coz otherwise it was big hunger”. “One can eat those days only pork legs and chicken claws. You could hardly found any flies in the shop windows as they were all dead by starvation. There was no need to use insecticide spray against flies”, said he with a bitter laugh.
On that morning floods of workers and students where rushing to the center of the town. And the magical words “the dictator run away” created an undescribable chaos. Some of the soldiers started to pact with the people. Fist thing that Bjoza did was to run like crazy to Security building. There he found some of the securists that didn’t manage to run away yet and decided to take the attitude of some great revolutionists instead.
“Knowing the road to Security so well, as I had previously been there, I was the first that reached at the gate. Two «civil karatists» where waiting for us there with «bread and salt», I mean with iron bars and force. Why I was there? To beat, to kill, to destroy, to set fire? No. I was there to see the bastards’ faces when they would see us there”, said he.
Bjoza enumerated all those securists he saw that day, some of the guys that beat him to almost to death years before. He saw there senior lieutenant Bucur – the boss of Security Brasov, his assistant Nitu (“by far the smartest amongst all”), a young securist Fodor, one called Mladin, another one called Vlad and Valentin Musat. “And these are only a few names. These security officers are unquestionable and they can only admit they’d been there” said Bjoza with so much anger and hatred in his voice.
Once he entered the building he started searching for those dark places and those people that tortured him.
„I entered and started searching for those places that I could only guess, because every time I’ve been there during the investigations I was with tight eyes or I wore some special glasses like those of a motorist, made of frosted glass or tin. I tried to identify, after tens of years, the dark places where those scoundrels tortured me in ’58. Some of them are still alive… I was not one of the greatest fighters against the communists that suffered the most, but because I was stubborn from home, I never wanted to admit in front of them that I was part of an anti-communist organization (Romanian Youth Guard) … and that’s the reason they beat me more …”, said the ex-political convict.
He found there many locked or barricaded doors. But he felt that there were some hearts beating behind those walls… He has a picture in his mind with a burning cigarette left on an ashtray …about a captain uniform abandoned under a desk in a hurry… While he was “haunting” the building and was being haunted by memories, he realized he could not go out. The officers locked themselves in the building along with the intruder.
Anyway, he thought he could not leave the building without some keepsakes: two pieces of a frame of a Ceausescu painting, a piece of a communist flag, a book of Ceausescu’s “masterpiece”…
“Then I said to myself that those things could not prove I really was there. I could have taken them from anywhere… Then I thought: I’ll take the sign from the door, an aluminum panel on which the words «Documentary point» laid”, said he.
Octav Bjoza lives now a great disappointment after 20 years of “freedom” and continues to revolt. He is revolted by the fact that even if we estranged from those events of December 89, the number of revolutionist multiplied “as mushrooms after the rain”.
“I remember when I was a kid, I used to search for mushrooms … and under every dry cow shit there were about 4 or 5 mushrooms. The revolutionist appeared exactly in the same way. Why? For shameless advantages given by another Parliament made of impostors, a Parliament where securists, militiamen, communist activists or teachers from the Security School found a good place. These are the people that studded the Parliament in ‘90-’92. The same guys we fought against … in the street” said Bjoza.
The youth from Brasov were the first that made their voices heard against the communist regime. They were the first that had the courage to say No with any risk.
“The patriotism of the youth from Brasov has written the history. And when I say this I am thinking of those young men that rose against communists in 15 November ’87, I am thinking of those young men that sacrificed their lives, that are invalid now and that fought day and night on December ’89. I am thinking of those young men that had no fear in the fight against communism for the last 45 years. Many times I see the image of my father that gave me before he died the map of the Big Romania – that map escaped from three security searches. I stare at that map many times, alone, in silence, and every time I have that feeling of shame and unfulfilled duty’ said Bjoza at the end of his story.
Octav Bjoza
Octav Bjoza was elected the president of Ex-Political Convicts Association in Romania (AFDPR) in 2008 after Constantin Ticu Dmitrescu’s death. Bjoza is one of the founders of AFDPR in 1990. Later, in 2003, he becomes vice president of AFDPR Brasov and president of the organization in 2006. He becomes vice president of the organization at national level since 2007.
He was arrested in July 1958 because he was a member of Romanian Youth Guard (anti-communist illegal organization) and was convicted to 15 years of hard labor and 10 years of “civic degradation”. He spent 4 years in many prisons in Romania - Codlea, Gherla, Vacaresti, Jilava, Galati, Braila – and in extermination camps in Stramba, Stoicesti, Salcia, Bacul 4, Grind-Periprava... He was released from prison in June 1962, but he has been continuously persecuted by Security till 1989.


kyungmee said...

Amazing story/commentary! Great images also. How incredible this story is and what Romania and the people have gone through..thank you for posting and enlightening others!

Mihaela.Cojocariu said...

kyungmee, thank you very much for reading it.
all the best for you!

Chris said...

an amazing man.
He had the courage to resist and
speak out against tyranny and
injustice, without such people, there would be no hope for humanity.
another such man was Oscar Schindler who managed to accomplish miracles in the midst of madness.

Mihaela.Cojocariu said...

Yes, I know Shindler's story. I saw the movie about him... very touching...
Mr. Bjoza here is one of the funniest and optimistic men I ever met. That kind of old little man everyone would love to have as a grandfather. And this is amazing considering how tough his life was.
Thank you for your visit.

Bianca Popa said...

La mulţi ani de sănătate, împlinire şi iubire! Să vă bucuraţi de tot ce vă doriţi în 2010!

Andrei Paul said...

Great collage on this story!