On the morning of December 22, 1989, walking from my solicitor’s office, I turned from Bolyai Street into the main square of Târgu Mureş. There I came across several thousand demonstrators who had again found the courage to rally despite the murderous assaults mounted against them by Ceauşescu’s security forces the day before.
Romanians and Hungarians together, they chanted in unison (and only in Romanian): “Nu vă fie frică – Ceauşescu pică!” (Fear not at all, Ceauşescu will fall!) They thrilled at the solidarity of the moment existing between Transylvania’s Romanians and Hungarians.
They were prepared for anything, including death from the Securitate, and of course they prevailed that day.
Three months later – on March 19, 1990, and also in the main square of Târgu Mureş – Romanians armed with clubs and pitchforks were also ready for anything. At the end of their rampage the next day, five people were dead, hundreds were badly injured, and a prominent local Hungarian writer who had been cheered by the crowds three months earlier, lay battered and blinded in one eye.
I must try to evoke how I lived then, how we all lived then, and how this metamorphosis crept up upon us during those three months, I shall begin a little earlier – in the dying weeks of the Ceauşescu regime – and in the company of László Tőkés, the Hungarian priest who initiated the dictator’s downfall