We have just returned from Bucharest, where between 2-4 of april took place the biggest NATO summit in history.Some people, (between 50 and 100) wanted to express their opinions about this summit, about war and militarization and a space was rented in Bucharest as a place for discussion, workshops, projections (and, in the “worst”case and only in the opinion of some of the participants, as a starting point for peaceful, quiet march in the city,in the conditions in which any public manifestation, no matter as peacefull, was oficially forbidden during the summit ). On the 2nd of april, the first day of summit, the riot police entered this space, beaten up people and arrested everybody inside without any legal basis, just on the presumption that “something might happen”. Later on that day they had to release everybody, as a consequence of the interventions of human rights groups and of people piqueting the police stations. But even if the detained people were released, the surveillance and the threats from the part of police continued.
It would be quit a lot to say about what happened there, about the atmosphere of terror, about the mass-media campaign that started weeks before the summit to construct an image of the “dangerous anarchists” that will destroy the city and our image of nice, obeying country, about people denied entry at the border on the reason that they had on them flyers against NATO and against violence, about the harassment of the people involved and also of their families and friends, about the surveillance of phones and internet activity made official and legal, etc. If you are interested you can read about these on indymedia romania site (http://romania.indymedia.org/) and also in other independent media.
We wanted to tell you also about what is happening to us. In September 2007, we were part of a project called Spatiul Public Bucuresti | Public Art Bucharest 2007 (http://www.projectspacebucharest.blogspot.com/, www.spatiul-public.ro), project in the frame of which we conceived and organized the events of a Project Space. Some of the people with whom we worked at Project Space were also involved in organizing a program of cultural events in reaction to the NATO summit in Bucharest. During the anti NATO protests in Bucharest and now, after we have return to Timisoara we realized that we were under the observation of the secret police even since September when we were working at the Project Space. Our phones are listened to, we are followed on the street (and our followers don’t even hide) and we have just discovered some strange connections in our laptops which allow remote access to all the data inside to some persons that we don’t know (we used our laptops during Project Space events and many people had access to them).
Although it is definitely distressful to know that you are constantly watched, it is not the case that they could find the evidence of any illegal activity whatsoever from our part. The only thing that we did, and that we will continue doing, is to express our citizen right to the freedom of speech. And only because of this, our private lives are wide opened to the eyes of some people payed from our tax money to harass us. The only reaction we can think off is to make this harassment as visible as possible, to tell everyone about it. This is the reason of this email.
One of the main critiques of Romanian communism is in relation to the constant surveillance, to the fact that you could not trust anybody and that all your moves and all your words were constantly observed. Now, when in our country any idea of the Left is so righteously condemned as “totalitarian” and “communist” with the purpose to reinforce even more capitalism as the only possible alternative, the constant surveillance is still part of the everyday life. It is enough to state publicly your opinions and you will be subjected to the same sort of surveillance as before 1989, even if now we are living the “freedom” times of capitalism.
Best wishes from us!
Maria, Rodica, Anca