Paul Alin Would Have Been 27 Years Old…


This is a bit too personal for an art blog post and has little to do with art…

But art, as at least two big art historians put it, art doesn’t exist… just artists and their stories…their paintings…their drawings…and well, their photos…

24 years ago there where some weird, confusing times in my home town of Sibiu, Transylvania, Romania. The “revolution”, as they called later on these events, was about to start… And Sibiu (because the son of the Dictator, Nicu, was the first man in the county and because of the numerous military units there) was a very hot spot on the map, even if, later on, it wasn’t kind of past on and the big stars were Timisoara and Bucharest…

Still, 99 persons lost their lives in the 5-6 days of “civil war” there (and some big cheese voices were recorded saying it wasn’t yet enough… not enough dead people, not enough blood…) and 262 (if I remember well the numbers…for more precise numbers, see the excellent documentary “Sibiu – December 1989″ by my friend Octavian Repede at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sgkyNjxJEZE ) were injured

I was there, on the streets, taking pictures, since the afternoon of 21 of December. Which was quite a stupid thing to do, in retrospective, since I could have been killed and my 3 children orphaned… But still, I was there.

21 Dec 1989, near the Securitate and Militia headquarters, about 16 h.

21 Dec 1989, near the Securitate and Militia headquarters, about 16 h.

It was an intoxicated feeling of solidarity and hope, floating in the air. Solidarity, hope and flying bullets…bout 2.000.000 of them (yes, 2 millions! the Army accountants books are proving it) of 7,62 caliber bullets, flying around and hitting people. Very few “terrorists” visible (maybe they existed but I didn’t see but 2 of them, allegedly “terrorist”… One was a poor fat witless Ceausescu’s fan who picked a very bad moment to yell that “Ceusescu nu e mort! Traiasca Ceausescu!” (he’s the one muzzled and bloodied on the tank… General Milea, the Big Boss of the Army, was just got “suicided” by Ceausescu and the army was not in the mood… )

The "terrorist"

The “terrorist”

The other one was a grinning bastard, shown to the mob (from which I was a part, with some ohter photo reporters; the one in black cap is Kester Eddy, a free lance Guardian and The Economist colaborator that I knew a bit better later on…but that’s another story…)

The second "terrorist"...poor grinning bastard, pull out from the TAB by his hair...

The second “terrorist”…poor grinning bastard, pull out from the TAB by his hair…

There were many buildings partially or totally destroyed during those 5-6 days of “civil war” (by the Army: they used helicopters, tanks, bazookas, heavy machine guns etc in the downtown of a 150.000 people city). Here are some:

Totally destryed building, 5 min from the Militia and Securitate buildings (also burned - it happens when you shoot in the windows with bazookas...)

Totally destryed building, 5 min from the Militia and Securitate buildings (also burned – it happens when you shoot in the windows with bazookas…)

The badly burned one is Popa's family house, two retired people, the man killed when he was trying to put out the fire near the window, the woman burnt alive... They were as terrorist as the next retied person...An unpunished crime among many...

The badly burned one is Popa’s family house, two retired people, the man killed when he was trying to put out the fire near the window, the woman burnt alive… They were as terrorist as the next retied person… An unpunished crime among many…

I know their story because they were the parents of a colleague professor (and headmaster) of the Marsa Industrial High School where I was a teacher at the time…

But the most tragic of all these “civil war” stories (true stories) is the one of the youngest and most innocent of all the victims of the Sibiu “revolution” (I was forever disgusted and appalled by any kind of “civil war” and especially “revolution” after that…): Paul Alin, 3 and 1/2 years old. The sheer absurdity and stupidity of all this…

HE was in the car with his pregnant mother, Maria, and his father (I don’t know his name and never even tried to find out; he was an unspeakable coward; if I was him I will no doubt hanged myself in the next hour, like Judas…) trying to get out of the “war zone” to their grandmother’s place (I think). For a reason which will stay a mistery, the father tried to force (or accidentally stepped on the acceleration instead of the brakes; the mixed”revolutionary” and army patrol opened fire (everybody with a Kalashnikov – and they were many! –  was trigger happy and jumpy those days…);

Paul Alin was shot dead, twice, in the gut and head. His pregnant mother was wounded in the hip (I think). And the father, seeing his child shot dead and pregnant wife wounded, run away,  like a chicken with his head cut, abandoning them then and there, to save his dirty skin… The poor kid was taken to the city morgue (and some cleaning lady there had the decency to put him on a white sheet, inside, apart and far away from the other “terrorist” bodies, exposed to the excited low life, climbing on the fence like monkeys, spitting and cursing the bodies…some, but not all, were “corturary” (a gipsy tribe)… I got them on film, somewhere, but I never wanted to see them again… Needless to say I was growing a very Antigonian soul since then… Dead corpses, even of “terrorists” are dead people and need to be treated with a minimum of respect. ( By the way, I got the privilege to photograph in the city morgue, otherwise forbidden to locals like myself, only because I was following in Kester Eddy’s and his Hungarian colleague Peter foot steps; they had real press badges and the Romanian cleaning lady which was the only “boss” of the city morgue – the real “bosses” were probably hiding under their bed – thought I was myself a foreign correspondent…)

This photos are quite painful to watch and graphic (I cropped it a bit). One can  only TRY to imagine the pain of the mother and I hope Maria – Mary (a significant name, isn’t it?) will understand that if I do publish them on my blog only to pay my tribute to Paul Alin and to expose his killers, even if I don’t know them. One of these pictures and a text – kind of pathetic and censured by the local ex-communist Tribuna paper – was my first article as a “journalist” in the aftermath of the 1989 events… a career which I will pursue for some years after 1989…

Paul Alin, 3 and 1/2 years old, the absolute martyr of the bloody Sibiu "revolution". As always, the innocent are those paying the price for the ambition and stupidity of the grown ups...

Paul Alin, 3 and 1/2 years old, the absolute martyr of the bloody Sibiu “revolution”. As always, the innocent are those paying the price for the ambition and stupidity of the grown upsMaria…

As if killing him was not enough, he was labeled as “a terrorist’s child” and, if I was told the truth later on, his grandmother could claim the little body only a week later, fearful to be arrested herself. Maria was in the hospital at the time, pregnant and wounded. All this has the resonance of a Greek Tragedy and even now, with the risk of being considered a “pussy” by some tough ones, I cry my eyes out, looking at this image…

There were bizarre, weird times, those few days before Christmas 1989 (hell of a Christmas for Maria – Mary, the mother of Paul Alin)… An evil one could have done anything and everything… Some did…

Then Ceausescu and his dreadful wife got summarily executed and everything simmered down… It was Christmas and New Year time, a time for hope and feasting and most of us forgot about the dead martyrs, as human do to survive… They even transmited, for the first time, a video clip with Lambada, with almost naked beautiful tropical women, with strings as their only clothes…

A new era was beginning…

But I did not and will not forget Paul Alin (especially now that I am the grandfather of Gabi, 3 years old and Thomas, almost 2). Cursed be forever and ever his killers and may they all burn in hell, together with most of the politicians and “revolutionaries”, at least partly responsible for his tragic death. Not a very “christmassy” feeling, I know…

3 responses to “Paul Alin Would Have Been 27 Years Old…

  1. In time people will forget. And maybe is good to forget all the bad thinks, all the mistakes., the tragedies… Now I`m thinking about Syria, so sad for the population… War is not the answer, is just blind animalic rage

    • …Animalic blind rage…trigger happy, adrenaline full young men (makes you wish the world was conducted by women, even with the risk of “each 28 days severe negocitiations” as Robin Williams put it…) I think, Octavian, that is better to forgive but not forget…Sure, nobody can undo the past and all but don’t you see? it happens over and over again…men are falling for the same “revolutionary” bullshit…and kids everywhere got killed (when they don’t kill themselves as in the children-soldiers in Africa etc…) Bloody stupidity of men…and men (not mankind) especially…

  2. Reblogged this on Van Gogh and I and commented:

    It’s a very sad and even tragic event I describe but I think it’s worthwhile re-blogging…

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