The life of a judge. Episode 11: I was not listening

Judging by some facts, I might think I was destined to be a practitioner of politics, a political activist.

I was in the early 11th grade at the High School ”Andrei Dej Mureşanu” in September 1958 when the school principal sent us word by secretary to come – me and my colleague P.S. (later a military doctor and died prematurely due to a lightning cancer) – at the UTM District Committee for activities that will be specified there. This committee was located in the same building as the District Party Committee, about 20 m from high school, the only street crossing the city. At UTM District Committee, an activist greeted us, with very few years older than us, and he explained that we are from that moment continuously activists in the District Committee of Dej and in the same day we must go to the village J. In this village, the work of the organization was non-existent and we had to give them a new impetus, organizing a general meeting for new members. Each one of us signed to collect per diem of five lei and pointed the way to the village, bought from market Dej a liter of wine, who had greatly thinned our allowances.

After completing a distance of two or three kilometers, in an homeless area, I noticed that because of the hectic movement of the body, the wine glass, placed in backpack, overflowed, but fortunately didn’t destroyed the writting paper that was in another compartment. We sat on the bank of a creek and finished the wine.

We continued on and by evening we reached our destination. The village was small and hard to naught. People were few and poor. School where were supposed to conduct the general meeting date from the time of Maria Theresa and had a single room. At the first desk there were students of class I, and at the other desks were pupils from classes II-VII. And there was only a substitute teacher, unqualified. He finished high school and missed admission to college. He was nominal and the secretary of UTM, but as we were told at the invest, he was shining through complete inactivity. The young was called M. and you will not believe, but I assure you that is rigorously exact, in the years after the Revolution he became a parliamentary. Immediately after arriving in the village we met the young teacher M., who gave us to understand to not count on him. In this case, we went from house to house and with the information received from the visit, we were able to reconstitute the membership of UTM which was about 10 people. However, we have identified and three-four candidates to be admitted among UTM.

The village was electrified, as for other utilities, they were missing and Dej, so do not even dream village. After dusk, gathered all concerned, mostly children, but imbued with the importance of our visit, announced like “some gentlemen companions came from Dej to tell you something important.” No joke, our arrival was an event for the village and had to take oral comments first page until spring. Lighting the whole school building was based on an oil lamp. My colleague claimed it to write the report, and I I took the role of the chair and after a very brief analysis of the organization we went to new members coming. The first one I got was a little boy so frail that I double checked the age from the IDs. Today is professor of philosophy at the University of Babes-Bolyai University in Cluj. I remember that I also congratulated him, myself being caught in the moment, forgetting to congratulate the other three or four. I lately made ​​a self-criticism.

Time was running fast​​, I was to sleep at a guesthouse, in fact a rented room for every need of the party activists and UTM’s. Suspect that we would be hungry, the host, an elderly peasant, gave us Tocala. I heard wrong stew(tocana) and accepted with gratitude. The truth was that the cold polenta, Tocala be understood, but given her soul warmth, because looking at us, the peasant saw some kids that could have been her grandchildren. I swallowed knotted part of the bid and that ended my first day of budgetary UTM activist.

The next episode of my work as a party activist was held in January of 1966 when I was a judge at the district People’s Court Dej, Cluj region. Tribunal President told us, the rest of the judges  that next Sunday we have a load party to move in the municipalities in the district court in an action to popularize the law. I mention that I was not a party member and signed adhesion as a result of military occupation of Czechoslovakia by Warsaw Pact troops. When Ceausescu refused to participate, the act of courage was rewarded not only by Romanians, but President Nixon and the Queen of England, to give just two examples.

On the morning of Sunday, in the dark, I boarded a bus in one direction, down the river Somes. An activist of the District Party Committee said the driver when to stop and cry from a list of names of those who descends. I heard my name in village Bobâlna, whose name links to the serfs revolt of 1437. It was daylight and I noticed that my older judge colleague went down in the same place, but miraculously disappeared. Instead, I stayed with my former professor of Agricultural Sciences and Crafts, now the director of the Museum of History of the town Dej. We have taken steps diligently because it was a hard frost and snow up to the windows. After many expectations, frozen stiff, I heard church bells and the museum director explained me that at that time the priest says to old ladies with grandchildren “Now, my dear, go directly to the community center, as some gentlemen companions came from the District to tell you something important. “There was also my colleague, with the nose a little red and a little talkative, and with him was another man, a math teacher at a school in Dej. In this formation, we entered in the only room from a community center, built at a time when Prime Minister was Petru Groza. The hall had a stage, the stage a table and on the table was a red tablecloth. The peasant, almost frozen, who opened us, apologized that in the room is colder than outside, because the Municipality has never approved the enough wood to heat this room.

The good part was the rapidity with which they operate in winter.

My colleague, Judge M., aged approx. 60, assumed without democratic elections management prerogative “hostilities” and began by explaining the three to four grandmothers with their grandchildren that we are in that place as a result of receiving to the District Committee a list with the issues that bothers the locals. In reality, the list was the work of an activist of the district and had no real tangency with the problems of villagers. For the first problem, my colleague gave the word to the museum director who presented a tour horizon of the international situation. I remember that any gathering of party, trade union or whatever, invariably began with the international situation and perhaps realizing that the situation was complex, there was not enough time to analyze the internal situation. Followed Professor of Mathematics, a little tongue twisted, because begun to take effect the alcohol  consumed at the pub in the village, along with my colleague, pending commencement of work. He fought in phrases too confusing as it can pursue, religious obscurantism, striving to point out the mistakes committed by Church on the creation of the universe.

My turn came and I did not received forgiveness from the one who led the work. He presented me about the following terms: “And now come, outrageously young trainee judge, who will answer your questions in the legal field.” Questions made ​​to district maintenance related to pensions and other aspects of family law. After taking stock answers to questions, my colleague found that two questions were left unanswered and he is obliged to give answers because “we can not leave without solving our mission.”

The first question was: “Why should I put winter snow guard on the field?”. My colleague made ​​the following comment, all well tipsy “in my time was not yet heard of snow guard and that crops we had then, and what we see now.”

He passed on to the second question: “How to prevent influenza illness?”. The answer was firm: “Well, if you eat a pita with a glaje of Slane(local food) and drink brandy there will be no business with you any flu”. Fortunately, grandmothers evacuated the room at the blink of an eye.

History does not end here, because after a few months, inspectors from the District Court interrogated me, like the others, not only on the work of judges, but also on the work of “civic influence” and the “popularization of law.” They asked if it is true that Comrade Judge M. talked about snow guard and the flu. Then I realized how terrible was the stupid of this fellow. However, I made a positive assessment, telling inspectors: “If the written information is that he talked about these topics, I think he did because he is honest to the party.”

Subsequently, either before or after the revolution, I hadn’t any other tangency with the politics. However, someone else would have seen me better as a politician. Here are brief facts:

In the years following the Revolution, after the establishment of the Court of Appeal, Court of Appeal Cluj where I was president and then vice president of the Commercial Court has established relationships with the Court of Appeals in Besancon, France. After the agreement signing ceremony in the ceremony hall of the Palace of Justice in Besancon, I responded to the invitation to make a brief comment for the local TV station. After the cameramen left, from the opposite corner of the vast room came to me the general attorney of the French court, which said without preamble: “May you have 10 years. Enter politics.” For the moment, I was confused. I did not understand why he made me ​​this recommendation, because we did not know each other. Later I explained that I can handle seeing television and have the impression that this is all you need to know and make as a politician.

I was not obedient and I am still not involved in politics. I do not regret, because I know better that there are missing essential aspects of the specific character of politicians.

:: The source:

Univ. PhD Prof. Ion TURCU
retired magistrate

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