The story we are about to tell you is not a pretty one. As you enter the exhibition in the University Passage (June 12th – 27th, 2010), be prepared to hear about lies, violence, hatred, and dead bodies.
Twenty years ago, Bucharest was the scene of inconceivable violence, which the post-communist power perpetrated against hundreds of Romanian and foreign citizens. On June 14th, 1990, thousands of miners from Jiu Valley arrived in the capital. Armed with hammers and iron rods, they were incited by the Romanian authorities to beat, to humiliate, to rob and to rape hundreds of students, teachers, open opponents of the regime, artists, pensioners, tourists, passers-by. Ethnic Romanians, Roma people, Hungarians and even foreign tourists were all abused. After the carnage, the officials acknowledged only six deaths. Only months later, some of the arrested people have been freed. They were not paid any physical and moral reparations.
As yet, the Department of Justice has not provided a comprehensive explanation for the terror that was unleashed in Bucharest from the 13th to the 15th of June 1990. No single person has been held accountable for the atrocities perpetrated by civilians against other civilians. The memory of those days is made of images and words, and by the aura of the dead ones. While it does not tell a coherent story, this exhibition provides you with a selective inventory of a collective memory marked by trauma.
Many a piece are missing from our puzzle. Some witnesses have chosen to remain silent. We lack the testimonies of policemen and soldiers, as well as the stories of those clean-shaven and neatly-haired ‘miners’, who knew which particular institutions of the free press had to be targeted. We also lack the images of detention in the Măgurele and Băneasa military camps, where hundreds of people were inquired, humiliated and beaten up. We also lack the images of the horrible scenes happening in Rahova and Ferentari districts, where over 600 Roma people were arrested, robbed and beaten up, being ultimately treated as scapegoats. Above all, we lack the impossible testimonies of the most silent witnesses: the dead.
If you wish to know more about the ‘mineriade’ phenomenon, or if you would like to improve our archive of testimonies and images, you may access the electronic portal hosted by the Institute for the Investigation of Communist Crimes and of the Memory of the Romanian Exile (http://mineriade.iiccr.ro/).
Organizers: Institute for the Investigation of Communist Crimes and of the Memory of the Romanian Exile (IICCMER), Konrad Adenauer Foundation.
Concept: IICCMER, Simina Bădică, Andrei Lascu.
Photographers: Ilie Bumbac, Sorin Vasilescu, Andrei Iliescu, Agerpres.
Acknolwedgements: Teodor Mărieş and The 21 December 1989 Association, Răzvan Suciu, Ioana Ciocan, Oana Felipov, Vlad Manoliu, Alin Rus, IICCMER staff.