A few centimeters of you

From the many tacit battles of the cold war, the weapons of imaginary destruction are the most visible. We all know the old story from James Bond and the like: an evil genius obtains absolute power over a nation which he subdues by constructing a meticulous system, brutally similar to that of communism, that administers enslavement.


Pictrues: Florin-Stefan Morar, Cluj

The “good guy”, empowered with the values of democracy and consumer society, with his good looks and charm, destroys the machine by attacking it in its vulnerable point, he confronts the evil doer face to face, and triumphs in open combat tough his courage and sense of justice, freeing the people from enslavement and making sure that the world is “again safe for democracy”.

The political wasteland

It will be futile to say that the democracies of the western world didn’t mimic their heroes. They never obtained victory in the war with communism. This simply collapsed under its own weight, proving that the construction of tyranny was never proficient enough to threaten all civilized life, as the American cold war imaginary would imply. Here, in the political wastelands of the east, evil was never proficient, and although present, it had no specific identity.

It was rather similar to the whisper you hear at a funeral, a whisper that provokes numerous head turns, but that has no precise emitter, permitting the guests to exercise their suspicion, if not on the dead man, on the first face they see or, sometimes, on their very own selves.

Enslavement, the lack of freedom, can never be thought here in the absolute, it was rather a ubiquitous discomfort generated by the monstrously simple and stubborn ideas belonging to a parvenu proletariat and filtered into making by the hopeless cowardice of many. From dogma to reality, the crane, the hammer and the sickle helped score the many all too visible victories of socialism.

From reality to dogma the united brotherhood of deceit, paranoiac suspicion and lies kept people in agreement with the bold causeway cut by the enlightened leaders of the party through the rough terrain of imperialism. Both visible and invisible conspired to help foster the sprawling of the red flowers in the gardens under the cover of the red curtain.

Some pages of Lenin: Call it philosophy

For this to occur it was made sure that those that were to continue the advancement of the edifice towards the golden age received a proper education. A few cuts from Marx and Engels, combined with some pages from Lenin and a book or two from complete works of Stalin would serve the purpose so well that this could be called philosophy.

Then, because doing to much philosophy could make you think so much that you might refrain from the praxis it was desirable that you be involved now and then, every week, in some agricultural or industrial work just to get a feel of what the proletariat is doing to increase the wealth of the nation. And of course, because thinking too much is of no use if you didn’t tell anyone what you think it was very important to have at all times someone around you. So that if you get some illuminating idea you could immediately share it with the others, as if it stayed only with you, it couldn’t have had the chance to be tested if it contributes to the general good or not.

Also, there is the fact that the highest standing socialist academics have noticed that usually young people, at the time they are still fostered by the state as students, tend to have so many ideas that it is almost vital that they should have at all times as many people as possible around them, so that among these there couldn’t appear anyone that would not conform to the truths of the party.

Student dormitory – a simple solution

Because of all this and perhaps from other good intentions as well arose the idea to build the students dormitories, at the time a major victory for the communism which could thus receive in the warmness of its open arms the future party members that would make it last forever.

Now we know that communism wasn’t meant to last forever but the dormitory, a veritable communist institution, were more durable. With some changes, due primarily to the change of context, they still function today as they did when they were built. They stood the test of time and the test of resistance of the cheap concrete and steal from which they are built.

They continue to defy the skies of common sense with the same subtlety as the thin wall that separates a room from the other. If then they were imposed to the students as an obligation, they are now almost a necessity. Still they function today as they used to function in the past. It wouldn’t be far fetched to say that the dormitories are one of those communist institutions that kept on functioning in the way they were meant to function in the first place.

Resistant like cockroaches

After the revolution all the organs of the former republic went in shock. Not the dormitories. Many people found themselves to be unemployed, but not in the dormitories. We still have the same number of cleaning ladies to clean the shadows of the dirt that miraculously remains in the same place even after their passage. We still have the same old tyranicall janitor, previously with strong connections to the network of informants working for everybody’s security, and still scraping a living from day to day by selling some places offhand for the most desperate students. It seems that around the dormitories a spell was cast, keeping everything outside the flux of time.

When they were built, they were the expression of the perfect scientific planning of human life. How much living space does a person need? How many meters does a young person’s life occupy? Eight meters by four divided by five. Five people living in an eight by four room. An eight by four room living in five people. Five people living in five people. Twenty rooms living on each of the ten floors. The equation reflects a harmonic balance. The hostel is a self sufficient universe. The five people in the twenty rooms on each of the ten floors need only one common kitchen with one common stove and one common sink. They need one common bathroom with ten common showers and ten common latrines.

Needless to say that after living in such a place even your smell is common to that of the others. Apparently, your sole possessions are the few centimeters that you measure quickly absorbed into the few millimeters of the upside-down image imprinted on the retina of the four other people that are constantly watching you watching them.

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