2009. december 17., csütörtök

Laszlo Tokes interview (The Times)

Priest who sparked Ceausescu's demise warns of 20 more hard years


London Times
December 17, 2009
Lucy Bannerman
Tirgu Mures

The priest who helped to spark the 1989 Romanian revolution has warned that political bickering and an economic crisis risk handicapping the Eastern European nation for another 20 years.

Father Laszlo Tokes, an ethnic Hungarian dissident, became a fulcrum for protests after he was hounded by the Communist regime for denouncing the policies of Nicolae Ceausescu, the country’s despotic leader.

Parishioners who defied the authorities to protest against the harassment of their pastor by the secret police inspired wider dissent, which culminated in the overthrow of the regime and the execution of Ceausescu and his wife, Elena, on Christmas Day, 1989.

As Romania prepares to mark the 20th anniversary of the end of Ceausescu’s rule Mr Tokes told The Times about the frustrations over the country’s economic predicament, and the difficulties Romania has in finding solutions. A recent dispute over a closely fought presidential election has stalled a long-awaited €20 billion (£18 billion) aid package from the International Monetary Fund.

Mr Tokes said: “What began 20 years ago has to be continued. People have been disappointed by the ‘stolen’ revolution. The situation is still very confused, which is why we can’t step forward in the process of real, radical and credible democracy.”

Referring to Silviu Brucan, a communist and the country’s former Ambassador to the US, who once sneered that it would take Romania 20 years to adjust to democracy, Mr Tokes said that full transition may take twice that time. “If you compare our period of transition with the wanderers of Israel, they needed 40 years. We are only half way to that promised land. That is not being pessimistic, that is being realistic.”

This month, in a ballot billed as one of the most important since the fall of Ceausescu, President Basescu was returned to power by a narrow margin. The election of the centre-right leader was challenged unsuccessfully by the opposition. Until this week, when the dispute was settled, the cash-strapped nation had been ruled by a caretaker Government.

Despite steady economic growth in recent years, ordinary Romanians are struggling with the economic crisis.

Mr Tokes, 57, who has been an MEP since 2007, blamed the failures of today’s politicians for some Romanians’ tendency to romanticise life under Ceausescu.

He said: “The situation has worsened so much that many people have in their minds, in my view, a mistaken nostalgia for the Communist era. Many feel there was at least stability, where they had their portion.”

foto: mediafax

Nincsenek megjegyzések: