United States, Romania, East Germany discussed on Monocle 24: The Foreign Desk
Everybody wanted to be a cowboy and wanted to go to Dallas and then the other thing we knew about United States was was the all the News Voice of America. Washington DC Anti Communist Propaganda Radio Free Europe and Voice of America where United States was being presented as exactly opposite of what we were experiencing now. Everything was very confusing to us us when we arrived there. We've never seen skyscrapers. We've never seen mountains of food in supermarkets we've never seen so many appliances lighters for home in one place. It was a shocking thing WANNA landed in United States as for freedom we knew from radio a Free Europe that you can actually protest the United States without being killed and this was a very very traumatic thing for my father because he had suffered a lot for protesting in a very a peaceful way and he said you see there. People can actually express their opinion and be heard by people in power. And there's no need to go to prison. There's he's learning to be tortured for that one. We left Romania. We left in a situation at which we couldn't imagine even seeing cracks. We knew that there were there were movements around the country again from people whispering but there was no way. Okay we can we could have seen a revolution coming. We have said our goodbyes to our relatives fully aware that we will never ever see them again. We also left with death threats so we thought that maybe we'll get killed anyway by the secret police in United States states so it was sort of the leave taking was more like a funeral for our family. It was very very weird. Very strange. And Surreal in its own way and then we arrived in United States. We were in an apartment that was rented for us by Church a Protestant Church urge which sponsored us and that was strange too because we were not aware of Protestant religion. We were so so isolated where we were. We had no idea about the development of world religions for example the TV went on the DVD was donated to us by the people from the church Christmas Day. And then there's there's here's the face of Ceausescu being shot against the warm blood running from him. His wife was well. Revolution in Romania flags flowing everywhere people under streets streets banned. It was a shock. I mean it felt like we are being followed by everything and I remember. There was the church lady who came with When Setia with the flower for Christmas and she was standing in a doorway those we were shouting and crying and dancing dancing because there was a revolution crying because it was so violent and and we were very very confused about what would happen to everyone there but then at the same time it seemed seemed very ironic? Because my father had worked for this he spent twelve years in prison hoping that there would be an overthrow of the government that that things have changed. And then after all these years of prison after we've been thrown out with death threats. They were happening and we were already in the United States All the regime's behind the Iron Curtain snooped on their citizens none with greater determination the East Germany. By the time East Germany fell the Stasi had collected one hundred and eleven kilometers of files on East Germans much of of what they contained supplied by informers spying on their colleagues friends and families. Anna Funder is the author of Starchy Land True Stories. He's from behind the Berlin Wall in the home. You couldn't hide from your children for instance because in the schools you know the schoolteacher will would say to the children in the class. So did the news. Readers have a red jacket on blue decorate on last night and your house. That was a way of chicken with parents. In that household had been watching Western television which was illegal and then reporting back on them like that. So you weren't safe in your home in your school at your job in your church. Your Naptha. Everybody was being turned by fear really was regime a pyramid of fear to inform on other people but it was possibly people say the most Farah severence regime that has ever existed. I think there see I estimated that one in seven people was informing on their colleagues friends. It's families neighbors moment to come and for obvious targets deduction democratization of public festival in Berlin. You you have to imagine a place where there's no free press. There's no radio television anything and obviously long before the Internet. The only way the government's which it was a single party state could know what was going on would be to find out from it. Spies what are people thinking and doing. Is that disgruntlement anywhere and so on so it was information gathering and then it was blackmail so you could get people to inform for you and then you could control people by you know. The stories in my book are people who are excluded from education mysteriously wouldn't get into university and then even though you were straight a student and then after that equally equally mysteriously particular place of alleged full employment you wouldn't be able to get a job anywhere so lives were controlled and steered maliciously maliciously and people were punished for infractions. That they couldn't know that committed so everything and everyone was controlled. It was a paranoid state absolutely paranoid tonight..