6-Week Series: Against All Odds

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Pride seems to be a characteristic of people who gain power.

Nicolae [nee-kaw-lahy] Ceausescu [chou-shes-koo] came to power in Romania in the early 60s. By 1967 contacts with foreigners were monitored, mail was screened, telephones tapped, and homes and offices broken into. Those suspected of disloyalty to the regime were arrested and interrogated. Prominent dissidents suffered more severe forms of harassment, including physical violence and imprisonment.

By 1982 most Romanians were needlessly starving, cold and living in the dark. However, the ruler Nicolae Ceausescu and his family continued to be surrounded by comfort and privilege. He had something like eleven residences scattered throughout the country. All were kept heated and provisioned so each would be ready if he decided to visit there.

The self-indulgence and self-aggrandizement of dictators make an old story, often repeated.

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