Friday, 31 March 2023 to Sunday, 2 April 2023

Moving from Global North to Global South. Romania as Initiator and Beneficiary of Humanitarian Aid (1970-2007)

Fri31  Mar01:10pm(20 mins)
Gilbert Scott Room 253


Luciana Jinga1
1 NEC/IICCMER, Romania


The Romanian Revolution, a violent outbreak that led to the of the communist regime in December 1989, also gave the occasion for massive western humanitarian actions in Romania. Although the initial humanitarian campaign targeted a possible civil war situation, very quickly most of the humanitarian changed their main focus on children: abandoned children, children with disabilities, children with AIDS. A common element for all the humanitarian actions, and the one that struck me the most during this research, was the mutual lack of trust between western humanitarians and the local population. The volunteers had to face rumours and even public accusation of child abusing and even paedophilia, while the western NGOs gave countless reports on “the country that sends its children to death”. On the other hand, the Romanians felt deeply humiliated when the westerners simply ignored Romania`s tradition as initiator for humanitarian aid. In an interesting twist of the post socialist memory, even the massive humanitarian aid received by Romania in the 1970s’ was left out.

The main objective of my paper, having as support extended research in the archives, the press and oral interviews, is to deconstruct the main post socialist narrative concerning the position of Romania as recipient only for the humanitarian aid. In a first time, I will discuss the grassroots humanitarian activity before 1989.