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May 20 2014
By: Setzaroth Limit Breaker 18676 posts
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The Underworld of Easern Europe

5 replies 148 views Edited May 20, 2014

When Ceausescu fell there were tens of thousands of children in orphanages and in state 'care' in Romania. But in 1990 a series of reports revealed what a nightmarish misnomer that was. Scenes of neglect and cruelty on our televisions, reminiscent of the concentration camps. So what happened to those children? We've been told that some moved into the tunnels underneath Bucharest, drug addiction is rife, some had had children of their own.

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Beneath Bucharest's mansions and iconic squares lies a second city that no tourist gets to see - an underground kingdom of outcasts and drug addicts living in the city's vast network of sewers.

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Here, everyone is HIV-positive and a quarter have TB, yet they are left to rot in the darkness, huddling against heating pipes and sniffing glue to stay warm. The smell of a metallic paint called Aurolac, snorted by the addicts from small black bags, is overpowering

 

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The entrance to this underworld is a hole in the pavement on a traffic island in front of the station. By late afternoon they start to wake up, clambering up out of the ground like the undead. This underworld, we're told, has an overlord and you only get to go down by invitation.

 

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They're all on their way to 'the counter' to see Bruce Lee. Half naked, his arms and legs are covered in thick chains and padlocks. He doles out Aurolac for the equivalent of 50p a hit. The man behind the counter, Bruce Lee, runs the place and got this name from his street fighting days.

 

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Lee was abandoned by his mum three days after birth at the hospital. 'The staff took me. I was brought up in orphanages, and when Ceausescu was toppled so was I. I've been living in the sewers since I was a child, with many others that are now dead.' - Lee

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On the cabinet where Lee keeps the drugs, there's a photo of a little boy. Lee states - 'He's my child, I adopted him off the streets. He had many problems, drugs, you name it,' he says. 'I banned him from using syringes, only Aurolac. But I did that too late.' The little boy, Nico (pictured), who looks about twelve, is in fact seventeen but his development has been stunted by the drug abuse.

 

Last year Nico contracted full blown AIDS and nearly died in hospital. When Nico's parents separated, his father brought him to live on a rubbish tip outside Bucharest. He spent his days picking through the rubbish trying to find things to sell while his father drank. He eventually ran away, started taking drugs and living on the streets. Bruce Lee won't let him inject anymore but the silver streaks of Aurolac mark him out. Nico desperately needs anti-viral treatment but the state hospital can't treat him whilst he is still sniffing paint.

 

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Most of the people here are from the orphanages. Lee says "I tried to organise them. We want to prove that we are not like what they believe, the scum of society, rats or prisoners, or whatever. The system doesn't look after them. They come to me, for food, warmth, parental advice, understanding. We are a family, we want to be a family here, and that’s what we are."

 

Bruce Lee, his minder (a man called Alex), and about 15 dogs make the trip across Bucharest (Above ground) to meet a woman called Raluca who has set up an informal shelter for the people of the sewers. Above ground, Lee gets nervous, pumping hard on the Aurolac bag. Under the trees in her back yard Raluca is brutal when asked about Bruce Lee's drug dealing: 'I would like to kill him, to punish him. But for the sake of the street people, I can't. They depend on him'.

 

underground 15.jpg



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Fender Bender
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Re: The Underworld of Easern Europe

May 20, 2014

goodness...

KZMProductionsGT
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Re: The Underworld of Easern Europe

May 20, 2014

KZMProductionsGT wrote:

goodness...


 

Right? Pretty intense.


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Re: The Underworld of Easern Europe

May 20, 2014

There are places like this in every country, including the USA too setz!  It is a sad state of human affairs.  Ours look nicer in this video though

 

 

 

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Re: The Underworld of Easern Europe

May 20, 2014

PLYMCO_PILGRIM wrote:

There are places like this in every country, including the USA too setz!  It is a sad state of human affairs.  Ours look nicer in this video though

 

 

 


 

ya, it's sad regardless of location. Though the one in this video doesn't seem as bad.


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Re: The Underworld of Easern Europe

May 21, 2014

If you have travelled around the world at all you will come to realize that our "poor" in the USA would be considered wealthy in many other countries.  

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