The "pigs" who "took" the light

If you lived in Romania during communism, you probably remember the beautiful evenings in which an entire family gathered together around the light of a candle or a gas-lamp. Ceausescu, the dictator of the country, planned to pay the entire external debt, so he imposed a harsh austerity on the population. Electricity was often taken in the evenings, so people had to manage however they could.


Mama-mare, my grandma, was always the most vocal. Whenever we lost electricity, she used to say, “the pigs took the light again!” They had taken the “light” many times before: they took people’s land,  their freedom, and even their lives. Mama-mare was old enough to feel free to say something bad about them from time to time, but she never explained to us, children, what she meant. When we had blackouts (at least a couple of times per week), we all just gathered in the kitchen and did whatever we could. My parents were working on their papers, mama-mare was cooking, and the children were doing their homework, if they were old enough, or playing.

One day, we visited someone in a village. Our host took us, kids, in the barn to see the animals. My brother was around three years old. When he saw the pigs, he got very excited, pointed to them and said: “They took the light last night!” Everyone smiled, but no one said anything. We all knew that mama-mare‘s “pigs” had ears everywhere.

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About Tavi's Corner

Blogging on ancient philosophy, communist persecution in Romania (including deportation to Siberia), and Orthodox Christianity. I've translated books from Romanian to English, and I also write about them from time to time.
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