“History, despite its wrenching pain, cannot be unlived, but if faced with courage, need not be lived again.” – Maya Angelou
A short three decades have passed since the momentous events that led to the collapse of communist regimes across Central and Eastern Europe. In this brief period of time, Romania has experienced incredible progress and change and its citizens who once dwelt under fear and tyranny now know freedom and opportunity.
In support of our “32 Years of Transatlantic Cooperation/Fall of Communism,” the Public Affairs Section invited Romanians to submit photographs capturing the Communist Era and juxtapose them with today. Our initiative was an effort to better preserve recent memory—a goal for which photography is particularly well suited. The resulting exhibit illuminates the benefits of freedom and democracy for all Romanians and serves to remind all, particularly the generations born after 1989, of how communism looked and the oppression, fear, and injustice that defined it.
PAS’ “Then and Now” competition called for contestants to submit one photo from the bleak pre-Revolution period and another photo that captured the changes wrought over thirty years. Winning submissions were announced during a ceremony at the Romanian Cultural Institute in Bucharest. This eclectic collection bears mute testimony to the progress of the last three decades. Each story captured herein inspires and each is a vignette of the boundless potential of free peoples the world over. We hope these creations will speak to those who view them and will encourage all to reflect on Romania’s remarkable transformation.
Thirty-two-years ago, Romanians reclaimed their unalienable freedoms from communist tyranny. We hope that these images will inspire to remember the Romanians who sacrificed their lives in order that their fellow citizens and descendants could know the blessings of freedom.
The Public Affairs Section welcomes you to this stirring and powerful collection.