How We Survived Communism and Even Laughed

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How We Survived Communism and Even Laughed, written by Croatian author Slavenka Drakulic, details the daily lives of people living under communist rule. She recalls a multitude of personal experiences she has had growing up under a communist regime, and the transition from communism to democracy in the late 1980's. Drakulic seems to have a general dislike for the way the communist government treats its people, and strives to relate these feelings to the reader. She opens her book with a passage about a friend of hers who killed herself by asphyxiating on gas fumes from her oven. Shortly before that she had written an article comparing the ideology of the communist state to that of a pinball machine, "Her article, naïve as it seems today, speaking only about pinball machines, revealed the functioning and hypocrisy of the communist state. She mocked it, and she had to be punished for that." (Drakulic 5) This woman was unjustly punished for merely speaking her mind, and became a social pariah. She was shunned at the newspaper; she had become "invisible". The government could have cared less, since they implemented the system of self-management, which was supposed to make you believe that you are to blame for all your problems, not the government. (Drakulic 6) Day to day life was a struggle to meet basic needs, because no one ever knew what there would be a shortage of, but they knew there would always be a shortage of something. In Bulgaria, a woman had to feed her six-month child imported milk because there was a milk shortage, which caused the child to become extremely sick. The mother blames the government for poisoning her baby, but is powerless to do anything about it without being called an enemy of the state. The communists had such a stronghold on their people that it did not matter what they did, because they knew they could subdue any uprising. The government was so paranoid about having traitors living in their land they wiretapped anyone's phone that...
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