Romania under the communist dictator Nicolae Ceausescu was a country of food shortages, electricity rationing and Orwellian surveillance of ordinary people by the secret police. In 1983 Ion Bugan, a TV repairman, made a personal demonstration against the system. He was jailed immediately. From then, until the day they emigrated to America six years later, his family were followed by secret police wherever they went. Their friends and relatives were intimidated and interrogated. Now, almost a quarter of a century after they left, the Bugans are returning to Romania to retrace Ion’s steps: the jails he was held in, the Securitate HQ where the thousands of files about them are kept. But most importantly, they are returning to their home village. To meet the people who helped them, and those who informed on them.
The Man Who Went Looking for Freedom was aired on the BBC World News – in March 2014. Upon request login codes to watch the online version.
photograph by Catalin Bugan