Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Cristian Paturca, Romanian Composer, Dies at 46


BUCHAREST, Romania (AP) — Cristian Paturca, the composer of a song that inspired Romanians in their struggle against vestiges of the Communist government, has died. He was 46.

Pro-TV in Romania reported that a friend said he found Mr. Paturca dead in his apartment Tuesday. Mr. Paturca had been suffering from tuberculosis and long-term liver problems.

Mr. Paturca became one of Romania’s most prominent democracy activists when he wrote “Imnul Golanilor” (“The Hooligans’ Hymn”) in 1990 for antigovernment protesters, who were being called “hooligans” by President Ion Iliescu. The Communist government of Nicolae Ceausescu had collapsed in 1989 in a revolution in which more than 1,300 people died. Romanians then protested for weeks in University Square against the continued presence of former Communists in the government.

The protest was broken up by club-wielding miners in June 1990; six people were killed and dozens injured.

One line from the song, “Better dead than a Communist,” became part of Romania’s post-1989 vocabulary. The word “golan” now means a pro-democracy activist as well as a hooligan.

Dan Voina, who investigated Romania’s revolution, compared “The Hooligans’ Hymn” to France’s national anthem, “La Marseillaise,” which was a rallying call for the French Revolution. “It had an important role that is necessary in popular revolts for the solidarity of protesters,” the newspaper Romania Libera quoted him as saying on Tuesday.

The president of Romania, Traian Basescu, awarded Mr. Paturca the National Cross in April for faithful service, 20 years after he composed the song.

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