We have lost a great friend of freedom. Farewell, Nicolas!
On Friday morning, the 18th August 2023, our dear comrade and friend Nicolas Trifon left us after a long battle with an unforgiving illness.
Nicolas was born 29th May 1949 in Bucharest. He studied French linguistics and in 1977 he emigrated to Paris. There he published his PhD thesis, a critical analysis of the official Marxist-Leninist language of the communist regime titled “Des blagues: masses parlantes et rhétorique marxiste-léniniste de pouvoir” (Jokes: Talking Masses and Marxist-Leninist Power Rhetoric). In Paris, he joined the anarchist movement and the community of political refugees from the East. He became part of the multi-national editorial collective of the Iztok journal that covered events and developments in the Eastern Bloc from a libertarian point of view. The journal regularly published texts written by and interviews with dissidents and activists from the East. He stayed with Iztok until 1991, when the publication stopped.
Nicolas also contributed to the French anarchist press and had a broadcast at Radio Libertaire. During the same period he organized several solidarity actions with Vasile Paraschiv, a worker persecuted by state authorities because of his attempts to to set up free workers’ unions in Romania. Nicolas also participated at the anarchist congress in Venice, in 1984, and at the libertarian meeting in Triest, in 1991.
He was of Aromanian heritage, a minority group from the Balkans, mostly living in today’s Romania, Greece, Albania and Macedonia, speaking a Romance language. This is why the Balkan history and context has always been very important to him, especially after the fall of the Iron Courtain, when national conflicts in the region escalated to full-scale wars. He joined the association of Aromanians in France and wrote the go-to book about the history of the Aromanians, “Les Aroumains, un peuple qui s’en va”, initially published in 2005.
During the 2010s, a new generation of anarchists from Romania reached out to Nicolas. He was very happy to support them by giving interviews, visiting them, giving talks, staying in touch. In the 2012 issue of the Bucharest Anarhia journal, an interview with Nicolas was published. In 2020 the Romanian anarchist publishing collective Pagini Libere printed a whole book of interviews with Nicolas, who also donated magazines and other archival material to the anarchist library and archive in Cluj. He was also one of the older comrades that talked to the authors of the 2023 book about the history of the Balkan Anarchist Network and, thus, helped make the whole project possible. Some friends called him, affectionately, the grandfather of Romanian anarchists.
In the spring of 2022, we invited Nicolas to join us at the Balkan Anarchist Bookfair that took place in Cluj/Kolószvár. We renewed the invitation this year, hoping that he will joins us at the Ljubljana edition of the fair, but he declined for health reasons. One and a half weeks before his passing, we asked him for his postal address to send him the book about the network of the anarchists in the Balkans and also suggested he could come to the next Balkan Anarchist Bookfair that is going to be held in Prishtina, in 2024. Sadly, he could not reply.
We would have liked him to visit the Balkan Anarchist Bookfair, invite him in other places in the region, and have him talk about the history of the Aromanians, the communist regime in Romania and the Eastern Bloc, the community of political exiles in Paris, class struggle in France and his anarchist ideals. Now it’s too late. At least he left us with plenty of writings through which we can gain insights into all these worlds.
Whenever we managed to meet him, talk to him on the phone or exchange emails with him, his kindness, willingness to help and passion for the cause warmed our hearts. We will miss you, dear Nicolas.
We extend our sympathies and condolences to his widow, the whole family, all his friends and comrades from the anarchist movement, the broad left and the Aromanian community.
His friends and comrades from Romania and the Balkans.