Eric Koenig wondered, and wrote:
On December 17, 1989, Romanian security forces fired into a crowd in the city of Timişoara. Scarcely a week later, the Romanian revolution was over and Nicolae Ceaușescu and his wife had been toppled and tried and summarily executed. Now thousands of people are protesting in Romania and calling for the ouster of their President (who has been in some political hot water himself, being “suspended” briefly and narrowly escaping impeachment in 2007, during his first term) and many of the protests started in the same city.
Is history repeating itself? Stay tuned …
The story isn’t being followed by many US newspapers. Yet.
I think it’s not quite so simple, nor a repeat of 22 years ago. Romanians protest austerity cuts to their government-paid health plans, according to BBC:
Romanian Prime Minister Emil Boc has called for dialogue and an end to violence after four days of protests against austerity cuts.
Dozens of people were hurt on Sunday, as demonstrators and riot police clashed for a second day running in the capital Bucharest.
The rallies began in support of an official who quit in protest against health care reforms.
But they have grown into a broader hostility towards government policies.
The alliance of opposition parties has called for early elections.
I think the economic grievances are not of the same kind as those in Africa and Arabia, nor are they so deep as the extreme discontent with Ceaușescu’s communist government 22 years ago.
But, who can tell what’s really going on? We have to depend on reports from Lebanese newspapers, and rewrites of those stories from the Associated Press?
Government change poses astonishing opportunities in the past year, especially these home-grown, nationalist liberation movements. New resources, cut back from a century ago, leave us without eyes and ears on the ground in too many foreign capitals.
Why aren’t we hearing more about the Romanian crisis in U.S. news media? Well, there’s the war in Afghanistan, the ending war in Iraq, and trouble in Nigeria. Then there is the South Carolina circus. For all I know, American Idol is in the news today, too.
It’s not like either you are, or I am, Marie, the Queen of Roumania, right? What could go wrong that might affect us?
Watch. U.S. papers will pick up the story in small snippets over the next week or so.
Could you find Romania on an unlabeled map?