The Learning Brain: Memory and Brain Development in Children

By Torkel Klingberg; Neil Betteridge | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 7
The Early Environment and
Brain Development
The Importance of Stimulation and
Engaged Parents

On Christmas Eve in 1989, Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceausescu was in a tank trundling along narrow roads in the west of the country—in hiding. The day before he’d addressed the crowds outside his palace, but finding his words of reassurance drowned out by the catcalls and jeers, he curtailed his command performance and fled by helicopter from the roof. The helicopter landed some miles outside Bucharest, where the dictator and his wife climbed into the waiting vehicle. Two days later they were found, still inside the tank, and hauled in front of an impromptu court. They were executed in Târgovişte village square on Christmas Day.

Ceausescu had ruled over Romania for more than two decades. On his death, many of the hidden horrors of his dictatorship were revealed to the world, such as the orphanages and the notorious regimes of maltreatment that prevailed there. These institutions were the result of Ceausescu’s conscious efforts to increase the national population by fifty percent by proscribing contraceptives and abortions for women under the age of forty.

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