Saturday 15 January 2022

Sunny Saturday in January

Sunny morning. Statue of the martyred democratic statesman Iuliu Maniu in front of Central Committee of the Communist Party building, now the Romanian Senate. Ceaușescu spoke from the balcony and his helicopter took off from the roof. 

Iuliu Maniu began his career in the Budapest Parliament. During the Second World War he tried to persuade the dictator Antonescu to save Jewish lives and acted as a means of communication with England and America. Had the 1946 election been conducted fairly his party, the National Peasant Party, would not have won, according to Petre Țurlea, but they and the other democratic parties could have won enough votes between them to form a coalition. Instead the Communists rigged the election and the left-wing parties won. He ended his life in prison. 

This is the București cinema. I love the ancient, haunted cinemas in this odd, delightful town, but never enter them. One of them, now the (awful) Casa Doina restaurant, belonged to a firm in which James Joyce was a partner.

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