The Archive of the Romanian Revolution of December 1989

A Catch-22 December 1989, Groundhog-Day Production. Presenting the Personal Research & Scholarship of Richard Andrew Hall, Ph.D.

Caryl Churchill’s “Mad Forest”

Revolutia din decembrie 1989 ascultata prin statie

The popular folklore–in this case, correct–about the use of highly destructive dum-dum bullets was apparently captured by Caryl Churchill and her associates during their visits to Bucharest in early 1990 for the writing and production of the play, Mad Forest.  The following is from page 43:

DOCTORAt the hospital no one knew what happened but there were 14 dead and 19 wounded.  There were two kinds of wounds, normal bullet wounds and bullets that explode when they strike something and break bones in little pieces, there’s no way of repairing them.

[in other words, this captures the reality of the exploding dum-dum bullets used by securitate forces both prior to and after 22 december]

“At Bucharest’s main emergency hospital, doctors said that Securitate snipers, apparently using infra-red telescopic sights and exploding dum-dum bullets, had been firing throughout Saturday night and they shot many civilians, with bullets striking foreheads and hearts.  The morgue at the hospital was stacked with 90 bodies at noon today, almost all of them civilians dead of gunshot wounds.”

Blaine Harden, “In Bucharest, Tears and Prayers for the Fallen,” The Washington Post, 25 December 1989, p. A1; A40.

Dr. Manuel Burzaco from “Doctors without Borders” was part of a team of doctors from that group who visited hospitals in Bucharest, Ploiesti, Brasov, Buzau and Braila in late December 1989 and early January 1990.  This report from the Madrid daily El Pais touches upon the women and children gravely injured by the exploding “dum dum bullets used by the Securitate.”

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