Tuesday, March 09, 2010

After the Tyrant

Michael Totten has an excellent essay on the modern Romania, twenty years after the fall of Ceausescu.

It's a fascinating read.

A sample:

A few blocks from the old city is Romania's parliament—the second largest building in the world after the Pentagon.

When it was still under construction before he died, Ceausescu called it the "Palace of the People," though ordinary people would never have been allowed to set foot in it. The apartments lining the main boulevard in front belonged to high-level officers of the repressive Securitate. Even today that boulevard looks like an intimidating Champs-Elysees of a totalitarian state, and it's so monstrous in scale that it can only really be photographed from the air...

..."What do you think of this building?" Olivia asked me. She seemed to think I loved it since I took so many pictures. It was certainly more pleasant to look at on the inside than on the outside.

"It's impressive in some ways," I said, "but it's also—well, it's big."

"We hate it," she said. "So much of the city was destroyed to make room for it. And it constantly reminds us of him."