Salam cu soia/ Soya Salami

This will be a weird post for an art/painting blog. You can sense it from the title, aren’t you?

But then, the artist I am today is also the result of all my past experiences… and the soya salami is one of them… I also have to warn those who have sensible, tender hearts, that I will publish a very troubling image, a photo of a dead child. For me this is an anniversary and an homage. I cannot do otherwise… so, if you have a too tender a heart, don’t look at this…

Today, 22 of december 2008, they are celebrating (in a way) 19 years since the 1989 “revolution”, the turning point in Romania’s recent history. And in my private, modest history, too…

A week, more or less, in my peacefull, provicial town of Sibiu, Transylvania, Kalashnikov’s and bazookas, 16 mm machine guns and Carpatzi pistols, armoured cars and even tanks, transformed the city in a war zone. The army was “fighting” terrorist (very few or none of those were really seen…but lots of civilians and some miliatia men and even some soldiers lost their lives and got wounded; the numbers I remember are: about 92 dead and about 300 wounded…)

One of the victims was this young boy (5-6 years old) called, as far as I know ( a lot of confusion and lies circulated those days…) Radu. He was killed in a cross fire when his parents, his 8 months pregnant mother and his father (supposed to have worked at the continental Hotel, the most modern in town) tried to force, with their car, a check point in order to get out of Sibiu. I don’t know why they did such a stupid, irresponsable thing. The army and the “revolutionaries” were very very trigger happy those days. And they had a licence to kill (nobody gave them that actually but they had the Kalashnikovs so they did not need permission…) Radu ended with a bullet in his head and one in his little belly. His mother was also wounded (but survived). The father got away, running for his life.

I took this photo at the city morgue, the 26 or 27 th of December, when most of the “fighting” (shooting would be a better term, maybe, since the army didn’t know very well whom they were “fighting” if you don’t consider a boogey-man like “the terrorists” a fighting back partner…)

For me, that was the all powerful proof of the stupidity and total evilness of all wars and “revolutions” and, no wonder, marked me for life. It also started my “journalistic” career since I wrote a short piece to be published with this photo in the local newspaper (“Tribuna”, totally communist a few days back, totally “revolutionnary” once Ceausescu and his wife executed…) They published it all right even if censored… It was a very pathetic and poetical text, in fact, mostly a list of all the things the little boy Radu would not do any more, because of the stupidness of adults, playing with guns…

Then, of course, I did not understood the events like I am now, with the 19 years decanting the facts and impressions…

Paradoxically, the soya salami was very much the symbol of the hated communist regime, the trade mark of dictatorship… Years after 1989, Romanians from abroad, runaways of the communist regime were told with reproach: “Yes, but you didn’t eat soja salami!”

Now I know that the soya salami was better for Romanians health than the all meat salami. And that probably Ceausescu, imposing that kind of salami to people, had very good intentions (misunderstood, of course)…


Just like those soldiers and “revolutionnaries”, at the checkpoint, those who killed Radu and wounded his mother, had, they too, the best intentions in the world…
(Copyright for the text and photo,@Dan Iordache, 2008)


5 responses to “Salam cu soia/ Soya Salami

  1. In a world so disastrously misguided (uneori) and filled with hate and destruction (“ici si colo”), Danu, you are among those who add a bit of righteousness and love to this world. To face, and to record for posterity, the unpleasant truths of horrible events, this brings light into the world. As a witness, as a photojouralist, as an artist, Danu, you have done and continue do so much that is valuable. Even so, imo, this heart-wrenching photo of little Radu will stand as one of your most important works. It is hard to look at, and the context of the events and “the best intentions” (drumul spre la iadul este pavat cu bune intentii, nu?) is painful to read. Surely, even more painful to have experienced and to understand. I should add, here, that those events in Romania are not well-understood or even known in great detail to many Americans, like me, din pacate. Even in a “trivial” detail; I read, elswhere, the phrase “salam cu soia” and I thought it was just some “anti-vegetarian” wisecrack, I had no idea, until now, the real meaning. But you know it, you lived it, you recorded it. It needs to be told, to be seen, imo. Asadar, draga Danu, for this entry in this wonderful blog, iti multumesc din inima si sufletul meu. A misca mea pana la lamuri in ochii mei.

  2. Thanks, D! You are very generous, as usual!

  3. ovidiu stanomir

    o, tempora !…

    DaNu_le, ce tineri eram in ’89, si ce iluzii am avut in decembrie !

    au urmat, e drept, niste ani interesanti, insa acum, in 2008, iluziile noastre s-au spulberat, una cate doua-trei…

    nu-i bai ! nu aduce anul, ce (poate) aduce un ceas (la figurat) fast…

    La Multi Ani !

    si un 2009 mai prolific, in plan artistic si literar, pt. amandoi.

  4. La multzi ani si tie, Ovidiu!

    Ma intreb ce as schimba, ce as face altfel, daca as avea varsta de atunci? (si mintea de acum?)

    Da’, cum zici: nu-i bai! om gasi noi ceva de facut (something to fac, in pronuntia engleza) si acum…

  5. Mihail Medrea

    fac… totum !

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