The man who went looking for freedom Ceausescu’s Romania, Ion Bugan, was listening to Voice of America and Radio Free Europe while being closely watched by the Securitate, the communist government’s secret police.
“Fighting the system used to be dangerous anywhere in Eastern Europe. For one protester from a small Romanian village it was disastrous – and also for his family, whose every word was recorded by the secret police.” His daughter, Carmen Bugan, who found the transcript of her childhood, tells their story in an outstanding BBC documentary.
The BBC report includes references to the importance of Voice of America (VOA) and Radio Free Europe (RFE) radio broadcasts behind the Iron Curtain.
“The sounds of forbidden US radio stations – Voice of America and Radio Free Europe – woke us up and put us to bed every day, sending shivers up our spines as they merged with the noise from the kitchen. They gave my father hope that life could be better if only people stood up for themselves.”
“By 1981, however, there were not many groceries to sell. Hungry factory workers yelled at them: ‘What am I going to put in my bag for lunch?’ Evening bread cues often ended in fist fights. When the doors closed for the day, my father’s angry outbursts at the back of the shop mingled with blasts of Radio Free Europe. One day he told my mother: ‘I don’t want to spend my life just breathing air, and doing nothing.’
They bought two typewriters, one of which they did not register with the police, and began making anti-communist flyers protesting against shortages and human rights abuses. They spent the nights typing and driving all over the country to put them in people’s letterboxes, while my sister and I slept. The police kept coming to the house to check the prints of the legal typewriter, and to see whether they matched with the letters.”