July 18, 2014Comments are off for this post.

Keep calm and love owls

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Finally did something with my little branded owls. Can you spy the "M"?

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July 13, 2014Comments are off for this post.

The perfect team

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The perfect team during this year's FIFA World Cup. #beerholiday

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July 4, 2014Comments are off for this post.

Cheers to freedom!

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What better way to celebrate our Independence and the freedom of today? #Murica #beerholiday

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March 17, 2014Comments are off for this post.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day

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May the luck o' the Irish bring you lots of tasty beer. #beerholiday

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February 17, 2014Comments are off for this post.

THINK AND WONDER. WONDER AND THINK.

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February 14, 2014Comments are off for this post.

I’m so hoppy you’re my Valentine.

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I'm so hoppy you're my Valentine.
#beerholiday

May 19, 2013Comments are off for this post.

Romania: A Reflection

[vc_row][vc_column width="1/1"][vc_column_text]We are creatures of habit. We are products of our experiences and the consequences of our choices, which are inadvertently led by our beliefs and histories. We are marked and influenced by our origins and shaped by our actions and reactions. My Romanian heritage and American upbringing have molded me into a hybrid of cultures, humbled by a worldly curiosity and blessed by rich history.

Much of what I know about my birthplace stems from stories from my father and my mother, both born and raised in the midst of 1960s Communist Romania. I was born in October of 1990, two hours from the capital Bucharest, ten months following the Revolution that brought an end to Nicolae Ceausescu’s Communist regime. I was born in a newly liberated country with a chance at rebirth – the chance to build anew and repair itself.

Despite this new hope, the transition toward better conditions was slow. For my parents, life was still testing and difficult. With the hopes of providing my sister and I with a better chance at a prosperous future, we came to the United States in March of 1999. Merely eight years old, I quickly adopted the culture of my new home. My family embraced the language, the customs, the structure, even the holidays, as we built the foundation of a new life and worked toward achieving the American dream that my parents and their parents had fantasized about since childhood. Like most immigrants settling into foreign territory, the transition was difficult and it continues to try us in various ways. Though it was indeed for the better, leaving Romania was a sacrifice my parents made for the promise of a new life of opportunity. They left behind what they knew to be home — family and friends and loved ones whom I can barely remember now and with whom I only have the rare chance to speak with over the phone. People that I know are dear to me and whom I keep close in my heart, but whom I’ve not seen since. And if that separation is hard for me, I can only try to understand what it means for my parents, who abandoned the comfort and familiarity of home in order to come a strange country with a new language and a foreign way of life.

From my parents, I’ve learned perseverance, strength, passion, humility, and love. I’ve learned what it means to strive for something wholeheartedly — to dream until it becomes reality, no matter the hardships.

 

Photo by Me

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width="1/1"][vc_column_text]This thesis is a personal journey of self-reflection and cultural exploration – a memoir of sorts. It is a dive into the mind of an immigrant child looking back at her origins and her understanding of her previous home — both free of and susceptible to the propaganda of parental bias and of her American upbringing.

I was a child, after all. What did I know or care about the politics of my first home? What I knew of home, I learned through experience, largely influenced by my parents. I learned to appreciate and find joy in anything that came my way, for my parents loved to spoil my little sister and I, even after migrating to America. As a child, my home belonged with my parents and the rest of my family – wherever that may be.

And now, having matured as an American, I often look back at my origins and ponder what life would have entailed for my family and I had we remained in Romania. What kind of person would I have grown into had I stayed there? What sorts of opportunities would I have available to me now that I am graduating university? What kind of education would have been available to me to begin with? Are the things I love now — the things that believe to be what define me as a person — the result of the culture I’ve been exposed to here or would I be the same person no matter where I would have grown up? Am I a creation of my surroundings, or not? I prefer to believe that the life I’ve built here — one that I love fully — is the life I was destined to live, and that this is the person I was fated to be. Perhaps fate and destiny indeed do exist and are not the mere fantasies of individuals seeking comfort and explanations for their present situations. Wholeheartedly, I want to believe that this new home I’ve gained was destined to be my real home all along.

Having been so young at the time of our departure, my short life there and the few memories that still linger feel strangely dream-like, coated in innocent child-like wonder, fascination, and optimism of what was. In the first ten years in the United States, I often dreamed of my former home — so often, actually, that the line between real memories and dream-induced fantasy memories has blurred and I’ve often been driven to confirm reality with my parents.

What I see of Romania is entirely different from what my parents see. They see a world broken by a harsh past — a country that cannot escape its history and whose failure to repair itself continues to hurt its people. They interpret everything through the filter that is their own experiences and memories, both good and bad. Their view of the country is biased by their memories. With a sadness and disappointment so profound, they look back and see a country that wasted the hope it gained after it escaped the clutches of Communism and instead, however perverse it may sound, has fallen even further without its guidance.

I see hope — pure and simple and clean. I see a home that I left behind at too young an age, a culture that defines who I am, and a country that is still fixing itself. I understand the chaos that my parents see (to whatever degree I can, considering how disconnected I am from the country’s current state), but I choose optimism. I see the country through the eyes of a child remembering a precious childhood home; I see Romania through the memories of the people that I love who are still there and whom I rarely see. I latch on to the memory of the country because it makes me feel special and because it helps me define myself and my place in the world, no matter how separated I am from that world and despite the fact that I am more of an American than a Romanian now. I am stuck in the middle, belonging in both and neither places, all at once. And because I seek that wholeness, I hold on to both heritages, both my past and my future.

I want to explore the nature of this optimism by examining Romania’s recent past, current present, and potential future. In doing so, I will bring into light the history that defines the current state of the country, focusing primarily on the country’s recent relationship with Communism and the influence of that history on my family. In examining the social, political, cultural, and economic evolution of Romania after 1989 Revolution, I can better understand the Romania of the present and the potential Romania of the future. Despite the hardships still facing the country, its escape from Communism signaled a change – albeit a slow one.

As has been stated already, this is a personal memoir — a personal reflection on what I see of the country — and thus may be subject to a biased optimism. This written memoir is accompanied by a visual reflection consisting of poster illustrations divided into three themes — past, present, and future — and visually influenced by the graphic style of Russian propaganda poster art. Considering Russia’s significant role in introducing Communism to Romania, the employment of this graphic style is ironic, as it will be evident shortly.

Throughout the poster illustration series, varies motifs will appear for consistency of presentation and message. One of these will be a geometric pixel-styled pattern reminiscent of Romania folk costumes; this will function as patterning as well as background. Two prominent Romanian flowers will also appear throughout. The white edelweiss symbolizes courage, noble purity, and daring, and will appear alongside themes of the Revolution and cultural strength. The Romanian peony symbolizes prosperity and good fortune, and will appear alongside themes of hope and perseverance.

The Past

Very little is known — not only by the Western world, but also by the Romanian youth — about the magnitude of the horrors the Communist regime in Romania committed over the 40 years of its dictatorship. The root of Romania’s Communist history begins during World War II, when Romania initially sided with Germany. When Romania allied with the Soviet Union instead (partly due to Soviet pressure, partly due to popular desire to cut ties with Hitler and the Nazis), they jumped out of the pot and into the fire (Tismaneanu). In comparison to Russian treatment, the Nazis were civilized in their control of Romania. Russians raped, pillaged, and took advantage of the smaller country. Under Soviet occupation following the war, Romania was robbed of land and resources (the state treasure, weapons, etc.) and coerced into adopting Communism (Glenny, 2001). In 1947, Gheorghe Gheorghiu-Dej and the growing Communist party (backed up by orders of Joseph Stalin) forced King Mihai to abdicate, ending Romania’s monarchy and state of capitalism.

As leader of the newly formed Romanian Worker’s Party, Gheorghiu-Dej strengthened Romania’s foreign relations and economic ties with the West and other non-communist states, inspiring optimism for the country’s future (Country-data.com, 1989). At the beginning, my father confirms, the people (particularly the lower class) were satisfied with the necessities the government provided them. Even following the death of Gheorghiu-Dej and the coming-into-power of Ceausescu, the people were satisfied with the state of the country and its agenda in relation to the rest of the world. In the beginning, things weren’t so bad. Citizens were guaranteed jobs following their education; under Communism, every individual must contribute to the greater whole for the sake of a stronger economy. It was also common that companies arranged living situations for their employees (Crowther, 1988). Compared to the capitalist system under the monarchy, Communism promised equal opportunity to all, by creating a classless, moneyless, and stateless social order based on the common ownership of production. All individuals had a role to play in the larger system. Those unhappy with the lack of stability and equality provided by capitalism, in which only a minority thrived, quickly embraced Communism (Tismaneanu). And, throughout the 1970s particularly, the country’s people were happy.

Change came with the death of Gheorghiu-Dej in 1965 and the renaming of the Romanian Worker’s Party to the Communist Party of Romania, headed by Nicolae Ceausescu. It was during Ceausescu’s regime and the 1980s that the state of the country and the living conditions of the common people began to sour. In order to liquidate the Romanian national debt, Ceausescu put into order an austerity program that drastically rationed many basic goods, including gas, heat and food (Roper, 2000). The Romanian standard of living plummeted; malnutrition and infant mortality skyrocketed; jobs and living arrangements were difficult to find (and those available proved unsanitary); free speech was limited and open dissent impossible (Roper, 2000).

The country was riddled with informants for the Securitate (the secret police) (Deletant, 1995). Romanian companies and institutions was supervised by highly ranked Securitate agents, whose mission was to extinguish signs of rebellion and to recruit informants, mostly targeting young families with promises of higher wages and benefits. It was all a strictly gridded network of informants and agents – tightly structured (Sebetsyen, 2009). Nobody had the courage to speak out, even in reply to someone else’s complaints, for fear of that person being an informant. An overthrow in such a system would be near impossible.

Ceausescu created a Mao-like personality cult, in which he manipulated mass media and propaganda to create an idealized, heroic, and often god-like public image of himself. Through unquestioning self-flattery and praise, the purpose of the cult was to make any public opposition of the ‘sultanistic regime’ of Ceausescu impossible by placing him above any criticism. This treatment was mirrored toward his wife, Elena, who was portrayed as the “Mother of the Nation” and whose vanity and want for honors exceeded her husband’s (Sebetsyen, 2009).

 

By 1985, Ceauşescu was being stigmatized as a communist pharaoh whose vanity seemed boundless. To Ceauşescu’s misfortune, this cult of personality proved bogus, concocted by the ideological nomenklatura and propped up by the ubiquitous Securitate. To achieve Ceauşescu’s irrational goals, including the complete payment of the country’s foreign debt, Romanians were forced to suffer cold and starvation. Ceauşescu bluntly rejected Mikhail Gorbachev’s reforms which he branded as “right-wing opportunism.” By the end of his rule, Ceauşescu had become an embarrassment for both East and West.

Romanian Exhibit at the Global Museum of Communism

 

The nation was on edge — particularly among the young generation who, unlike their seniors, had no memory of the better times of Communism and only knew the current degraded state of the country. People were fed up and long-ready for change. Around the same time (the late 1980s), movements of change were already evident across Europe – the Polish revolution, the fall of the Berlin wall. The Communist regime of Romania was the strongest arm in Europe. By the time the revolution train came around to Romania in December 1989, the people — inspired and eager — readily jumped on the train (Horvath, 2010). A series of protests (led primarily by the younger generation) broke out in Timisoara in response to an attempt by the government to evict a dissident, the Hungarian pastor Laszlo Tokes, who had spoken out against the regime about the treatment of Romanian-Hungarians (McNeil, 1999). These riots became the spark that inspired others to add to the fire that soon spread to the capital. Comfort and strength was found in numbers. The individual loses sense of self and becomes a force, a body with a purpose. The young especially is susceptible to this psychology. This was intimidating to the regime, which didn’t know whether to respond with violence and risk spreading the fire or to submit and risk government overthrow.

As the coup unfolded, most of what Romanians learned came from national television. The National Salvation Front, a committee that later splintered into parties and took political leadership in post-revolution Romania, reported more panic than fact (McNeil, 1999).

Much of these events are recounts of my parents’ memories. At the time of the revolution, my mother was a student at work at a water treatment plant. She remembers little other than watching the chaos unfold on the television in the break-room. My father, however, was only three weeks away from finishing his 16-month military draft. The military base he was stationed at immediately entered a lockdown until order was to be made of the confusion. Lack of communication left even the command uncertain of where the military stood; they assumed they were still under the command of the dictatorship faction. Initially told that the protesting civilians were working with terrorists in the revolution, my father and his fellow soldiers were told to use any force necessary to ensure citizen compliance. The biggest dilemma they faced, recounts my father, was that they were told to hurt innocent people very much like them – people who were fighting for their rights. My father was instructed that if they refused orders, they would be shot at the scene or subject to military court-martial.

Thus, bloodshed ensued among the chaos. Countless people lost their lives; depending on the source, the exact number varies. Unfortunately, change seldom comes easily and death is almost to be expected in the attempted (and in this case successful) overthrow of such a strict regime.

The turning point in the Revolution occurred when the Supreme Commander of the Army, General Milea, upon receiving orders to shoot more civilians in Ceausescu’s defense, refused and instead shot himself, inspiring rebellion in the rest of the army. Milea, as a result, has become a hero of legend among the Romania people. Without the military’s protection, Ceausescu fled to a private home, awaiting a plan for escape. With the Palace now under the control of the National Salvation Front and the disarming state of confusion among Ceausescu’s supporters, Ceausescu was delayed in his escape. After a brief manhunt, he was located, caught, and taken to the nearest major military base, where a court-martial board of high-ranking military officers was quickly assembled. Within a few days, Ceausescu and his wife Elena were judged and sentenced to death for the genocide against the very people they had sworn to protect and for their acts against the political dissidents his regime had jailed and executed. They were executed, together, on December 25, 1989.

A few years ago, having committed to asking my parent to recount the real nature of the reason we left Romania, I learned with a youthful awe and simultaneous horror that the execution had been televised. Considering the nature of the American justice system, such a thing struck me as almost barbaric – until I considered the circumstances. I don’t wish to claim that these two individuals, so solely responsible for such destruction and misfortune in a country they called home, had deserved to perish. If they had, I cannot say they deserved it in such a way. I don’t hold any personal anger towards, besides anger for the destruction of my home and the struggles they caused for my family. I was not there. It is not my place to make such claims.

However, looking into the eyes of my parents and seeing their anger and sadness helps me understand. The people, at that time especially, needed confirmation that change had come. They needed the closure that could only be accepted from seeing it with their own eyes. Having found the video on the Internet and watched it myself, I can only try to understand the relief that the Romanian people – my mother and father – must have felt watching it.

The events around the revolution itself are coated in ambiguity, inspiring conspiracies from all sources. Some theorize the reason behind Ceausescu’s abnormally speedy trial to be outside terrorist involvement (McNeil, 1999). My father’s military connection attests to this theory. There were, and continue to be, suspicions that dictators within the surrounding regime had formed a mutual agreement of protection that guaranteed they would come to one another’s aid in the event of a threat to power. It has been suspected that such forces came to Ceausescu’s rescue following this flee. The military found evidence of their presence among the protestors; some were even captured, but later released due to lack of evidence.

Strangely, hell broke loose after Ceausescu had already been caught (Horvath, 2010). Taking advantage of the confused state of the military, terrorist agents are suspected of using city-warfare technology and noise-amplifiers to produce chaos, disorganize, disorient, and divert long enough to allow for Ceausescu’s extraction. It is suspected that the agreement of aid within the terrorist faction of which Ceausescu was a member, remained valid only while Ceausescu was alive. The military knew that once he was killed, the terrorists had no reason to remain – the mandate was gone. Hence the speedy nature of the dictator’s trial.

It is also suspected that the revolution itself had the guiding hand of soon-to-be president Ion Iliescu (then-leader of the National Salvation Army) and other political figures with interests to overthrow the Communist regime (McNeil, 1999). No matter the conspiracies around the murkiness of the revolution and the reasons behind its spark, however, the merit is still with the people. The reality is, even if a larger force manipulated that initial spark, the end result benefited everyone — both the instigators and the people. My family included.

The Present

In spite of the passage of time, the past still hangs heavy throughout many regions of Romania. At the time of the revolution, the country was in good fitting – it was strongly well equipped; its people (particularly the eager youth) were well educated; the manufacturing sector was self-sufficient and capable of producing anything a healthy economy needed; it maintained status as a strong exporter. As a whole, it had the foundation to thrive independently of outside aid (Tismaneanu). Due to Ceausescu’s debt liquidation program, the country was free of debt by the time the revolution occurred. Though it had come at huge cost to its people and the health of the country, it put Romania in good standing; had he done this at a healthier rate, the people would have embraced him.

Despite it’s good standing at the time of the revolution, the new uncertainty undid that. The new economic structure had the resources and foundation, but nobody to lead it (Horvath, 2010). The Communists, which had earlier exercised all control over the economic market, were no longer there to keep the gears oiled. While certain markets were self-reliant and continued to function healthily, others were severed from all contacts and sense of direction. It was like a worker without a manager. Despite the trained workforce and abundance of equipment, the lack of direction hurt companies. Their potential value deteriorated, making them vulnerable to anyone willing to step in, take charge, and offer leadership. The people that arose out of the shadows to help the economy were government figures with Communist-era experience (Roper, 2000). No longer publicly tied to the former regime, but rich and having the knowledge of the management system, they portrayed themselves as saviors of the crumbling Romanian economy. The people readily embraced the offered direction, willing to take anything that may bring the prosperity the revolution promised. Theses figures, however, corrupted by greed and self-interest, took advantage of their new economic standing to manipulate the newly appointed government figures.

Larger countries and external companies, aware of Romania’s potential following the revolution, offered to invest in the country (Roper, 2000). Political and economic greed on the part of figures of influence within the country, however, blocked outside investors that would have strengthened the Romanian economy. Disguising their motivations with national pride, these communist-era political figures, now with a hand in the economy, acted on selfish interests, rather than for the betterment of the country. Often, this involved siding with unworthy investors or giving favor to undeserving parties.

This game of money has continued for the past twenty-three years since the revolution, leaving the country in the ashes and the interests of the people forgotten. There is a growing feeling that the democratic changes of 1989 have either been stifled or not carried through. Among the common people, there has even been an odd yearning for a return of the former regime — at the very least for the stability of the 1970s (Horvath, 2010). Perhaps the expectations of the people in the aftermath of Ceausescu’s downfall were overly optimistic. Many hoped and believed that the old guard would simply give up their status and privileges gained at the expense of the general public — that the key positions in the new government would no longer be tied to Ceausescu whatsoever.

Unfortunately, that was not the case. As my own parents noticed, whatever change came was slow and little noticeable. The old guard continued to occupy key positions in government and the Securitate restructured itself under a new name, though it continued many of its previous actions (Horvath, 2010). Initially, its activists, for fear of civilian retaliation at any semblance of the past, maintained a low profile. Eventually, many of them were reinstated into government positions, for they were the only ones with the training (Horvath, 2010).

While the old regime is gone in name, traces of its influence remains, found in the current economic and political crises. Take the recent October 2009 Parliament elections, in which President Traian Basescu narrowly won re-election via what has been considered a fraudulent vote (Horvath, 2010). It’s more than public opinion that everything in Romania is corrupt and fraudulent, especially politics. The common people continue to struggle for opportunities, jobs, housing, and basic needs – many of the same hardships endured under Ceausescu, all still present because of a lack of adequate guidance and direction on the part of the country’s leaders.

The Future

The ambiguities and turmoil of Romania’s past have continued to take their toll on the country and its people. With the accession into the European Union in 2007 and — until the recent global economic crisis — a growing economy, Romania seemed to be turning the page toward prosperity. The current economic state of Europe, however, has also affected Romania, even as the country and its people try to look to the future.

Perhaps it is a mere personal bias, rooted only in intrinsic pride in the origin of my birth. Perhaps it is an unwillingness to accept that a place so close to my heart and which has endured so many adversities already can fall subject to continued turmoil. Or perhaps it is a refusal to accept that the loved ones that my family and I left behind in the pursuit of our own happiness should have to endure hardship while we live happily in the land of the free. Perhaps it is a combination of all three motivations.

But I cannot believe that a country full of people so passionate and strong and so rich with history, should and will continue down this path of misfortune. The merit of the people speaks for itself; I’ve witnessed it firsthand in my parents and the Romanian community we’ve adopted as family here in the United States. We are a hard-working and passionate people, strongly oriented in values of family, integrity, and cultural pride. I have to believe that the strength of the people will prevail over the corruption that continues to exist among the government. I choose optimism over cynicism. I choose to believe that the disorder that exists now will eventually be corrected. Just as the revolution of 1989 first tried to do. Perhaps it was only the first step.

The Posters

A series of 10 posters accompany the written essay and are divided into three themes (Romania's past, present, and future), with three illustrations per “theme” and a tenth final illustration that functions as a summary. These 10 illustrations are graphically influenced by Russian propaganda poster art, as well as traditional Romanian patterns, motifs, and cultural cues. One such motif is a geometric pixel-styled pattern reminiscent of Romania folk costumes. Two prominent Romanian flowers also appear throughout. The white edelweiss symbolizes courage, noble purity, and daring, and accompanies themes of the Revolution and cultural strength. The Romanian peony symbolizes prosperity and good fortune, and appears alongside themes of hope and perseverance.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width="1/1" css=".vc_custom_1442690017184{border-top-width: 0px !important;border-right-width: 0px !important;border-bottom-width: 0px !important;border-left-width: 0px !important;padding-top: 0px !important;padding-right: 0px !important;padding-bottom: 0px !important;padding-left: 0px !important;}"][vc_single_image image="2100" img_link_large="" img_link_target="_self"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width="1/1" css=".vc_custom_1442691285668{padding-right: 60px !important;padding-left: 120px !important;}"][vc_column_text]

After World War II, Soviet occupation of Romania brought an end to the country’s monarchy and its capitalist system. Promising equal opportunity, the growing Romanian Worker’s Party was at first embraced by the people. Those unhappy with capitalism’s the lack of stability and equality, embraced Communism. The government provided on its promises and the people (particularly the lower class) were satisfied with the necessities that they were provided (i.e. education, employment, nutrition, living arrangements). Throughout the 1970s, Romania’s foreign relations and economic ties with the West strengthened, inspiring optimism for the future. Overall, people were happy and satisfied.

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When Nicolae Ceausescu became leader of the Party in 1965, the state of the country deteriorated, eventually leading to the Revolution of December 1989. The first spark to the fire that spread to the capital began with a series of protests in Timisoara in the defense of a dissident of the regime. Protestors ripped the socialist mark out of the center of the Romanian flag; the defaced flag with the holed center became a symbol of the revolution. “By 1985, Ceauşescu was being stigmatized as a communist pharaoh whose vanity seemed boundless. To Ceauşescu’s misfortune, this cult of personality proved bogus, concocted by the ideological nomenklatura and propped up by the ubiquitous Securitate. To achieve Ceauşescu’s irrational goals, including the complete payment of the country’s foreign debt, Romanians were forced to suffer cold and starvation … By the end of his rule, Ceauşescu had become an embarrassment for both East and West.” (Global Museum on Communism)

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Prior to the revolution, the nation was on edge — particularly among the young generation who, unlike their seniors, had no memory of the better parts of Communism and only knew the degraded state that the country had fallen to. People were fed up and long ready for change. With similar movements of change already evident across Europe (i.e. the Polish revolution, the fall of the Berlin wall), the people were inspired and eager for change. The Timisoara protests were led primarily by the younger generation – in response to a government attempt to evict the Hungarian pastor Laszlo Tokes, who had spoken out against the regime. The fire spread to the capital as protestors found comfort and strength in numbers, acting as one body with a purpose.

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The past still hangs heavy throughout many regions of Romania. At the time of the revolution, the country was in good fitting – it was well equipped as a manufacturer and exporter; its people were well educated and eager; the national debt had been cleared, though at a significant cost to its people. As a whole, Romania had the foundation to thrive independently of outside aid. However, corruption by old and newly appointed political and economic leaders continues to break the country and its spirit. In the poster, the hand (symbolic of old and new corruption) smothers Mihai Patrascu, an important Romanian figure known as Mihai the Brave. Under his rule, the principalities of Wallachia, Moldova, and Transylvania were united as one country for the first time. He represents the Romanian spirit.

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After the revolution, the new economic structure had the resources and foundation, but nobody to lead it and keep the gears oiled. While some self-reliant markets continued to function healthily, others were left without direction despite the trained workforce and abundance of equipment. Companies were vulnerable to anyone willing to step in and take charge. The people that arose out of the shadows to do so were Communist-era political figures, no longer publically tied to the former regime, but rich and knowledgeable in management. They portrayed themselves as saviors of the crumbling Romanian economy guided by national pride, but instead acted on selfish interests. Often, this involved siding with unworthy investors or giving favor to undeserving parties. As a result, Romania continues to face an economic crisis and political corruption.

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Whatever change came after the revolution was slow and little noticeable. While the old regime is gone in name, traces of its influence remains, found in the current economic and political crises and the continuing hardships of the common people. It’s more than public opinion that everything in Romania is corrupt and fraudulent, especially politics. The common people continue to struggle for opportunities, jobs, housing, and basic needs – many of the same hardships endured under Ceausescu, all still present because of a lack of adequate guidance and direction on the part of the country’s leaders.

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The ambiguities and turmoil of Romania’s past have continued to take their toll on the country and its people. With the accession into the European Union in 2007 and — until the recent global economic crisis — a growing economy, Romania seemed to be turning the page toward prosperity. The current economic state of Europe, however, has also affected Romania, even as the country and its people try to look to the future. But there is hope in the eyes of the youth. Just as the young generation first brought change in the overthrow of the Communist regime, so too will they bring positive change again. The Revolution of 1989 was only the first step.

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Perhaps it is mere personal bias, but I cannot believe that a country full of people so passionate and strong and so rich with history, should and will continue down this path of misfortune and hardship. The merit of the people speaks for itself; I’ve witnessed it firsthand in my parents and the Romanian community we’ve adopted as family here in the United States. We are a hard-working and passionate people, strongly oriented in values of family, integrity, and cultural pride. I have to believe that the strength of the people will prevail over the corruption that continues to exist among the government. I choose optimism rather than cynicism. I choose to believe that the disorder that exists now will eventually be corrected.

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Despite the continued hardships facing the country, change has indeed come. The people are better off than they were twenty years ago during the Communist regime. Perhaps perseverance and cultural pride are the reasons behind the strength of the country. Romanian culture is rich in tradition and folklore, but the people are curious and eager for the new. Its youth is easily in tune with Western and worldly culture and trends. In the illustration, a pair of hands repairs the torn Romanian flag, symbolic of the country mending its wounds as it looks toward a prosperous future. The flowers in the background, the peony, represent prosperity and hope.

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Despite the continued hardships facing the country, change has indeed come. The people are better off than they were twenty years ago during the Communist regime. Perhaps perseverance and cultural pride are the reasons behind the strength of the country. Romanian culture is rich in tradition and folklore, but the people are curious and eager for the new. Its youth is easily in tune with Western and worldly culture and trends. In the illustration, a pair of hands repairs the torn Romanian flag, symbolic of the country mending its wounds as it looks toward a prosperous future. The flowers in the background, the peony, represent prosperity and hope.

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Resources

Romania: A Country Study (1989) by R.D. Bachman
Romania: Relations with communist states (1989, July) from the Federal research division, library of congress
The Political Economy of Romanian Socialism (1988) by William E. Crowther
Ceauşescu and the Securitate: Coercion and Dissent in Romania, 1965-1989 (1995) by Dennis Deletant
The balkans: Nationalism, war & the great powers, 1804-1999 (2001) by Misha Glenny
Ambiguities in romania’s past, present, future (2010) by John Harvath via OhmyNews
Creative industries in communist romania: 1978-1989 (Unpublished manuscript, 2010) by Oana Andreea Jinga
Romania’s revolution of 1989: An enduring enigma (1999) by Donald G. McNeil Jr.
Romania and Its Neighbors,” Making the History of 1989, Item #695 (accessed April 25 2013)
Romania: The Unfinished Revolution (2000) by Stephen D. Roper
Revolution 1989: The Fall of the Soviet Empire (2009) by Victor Sebestyen
Eastern europe struggles to purge security services (2008) by Craig S. Smith
Unflinching stalinism: Communism in romania by Vladimir Tismaneanu[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

May 10, 2013Comments are off for this post.

Body Image

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"Wanting to be someone else is a waste of the person you are."   –   Marilyn Monroe

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February 19, 2013Comments are off for this post.

The Robot Dance

An animate gif of an illustrated robot dancing a sequence of Michael Jackson's Thriller.

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May 25, 2012Comments are off for this post.

UNICORN Darts

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Packaging and identity redesign concept of unicorn brand recreational darts. The design is not affiliated with the UNICORN company – it is purely student work.

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