Who was in the army, doesn’t laugh at the circus? ..

         There is reason to laugh – The Chisinau Circus has re-entered our lives for seven years, thanks to the desire, insistence and hard work of a group who developed these qualities during their compulsory military service. Among them is the ex-director of the institution – Sergeant Major (r) Igor Casap.

         The „weight of boots” was felt in the Eastern European country with the highest proportion of „organic farming” – Czechoslovakia: „In 1986 I was called to the Military Center in Chisinau, boarded the train and taken – no one knew where. One day I arrived in Chernivtsi, where the „buyers” came, as the corps of officers was called, who selected the recruits, who came from all corners of the Soviet Union. I stayed in this city for the next half year for the young soldier’s school. Then I was transferred to the central force group in Czechoslovakia. „

         A new country followed a new period, a new experience. For two years, he gathered a lot of memories in the Central Military Hospital. He would learn how to run on the battlefield with 25 kg (while ordinary soldiers care 15-17 kg each backpack), how to keep the „cold blood”, and that the medical instructor’s life has about 25-30 minutes in the war: „I remember that when I graduated from the medical instructor’s school, there were military conflicts in Afghanistan and Cuba. One of my good friends was deployed to Cuba and, unfortunately, never returned – he died during an attack on the USSR embassy in that country. This is one of the negative examples that I have lived with deep sadness and pain.

         Of course, I lived in the army for various moments: both negative and positive. I spent most of my time with my military hospital insurance platoon. We had 25 soldiers under our command, plus 320 women nurses hired willingly. Our task was to ensure the hospital’s functioning, the wounded’s immunity and, in case of a conflict, within 2.5 hours to install the camp hospital at the intended place. Or it contained several sections, such as the dressing and surgery; it had specialized cars and other objects that we also guarded. I keep alive the memory of when 25 wounded soldiers were brought to us for rehabilitation from Afghanistan. Virtually all the young people were without legs, on prostheses; instead, they left the hospital with aesthetic substitutes, very similar to the human foot.

         The Czech people also made a good impression on me. The natives were very kind and hospitable. I know they were less friendly areas, where the soldiers, lovers of fun, did not get along with those around them, but I was lucky. „

         After finishing the military service, the young Casap also completed the medicine chapter of his life. Subsequently, he dedicated himself only to public catering: from waiter to restaurant owner. The circus is another challenge, to which he devotes all his free time and puts great hopes: „I was probably invited to the circus to organize the activity of the institution effectively. I have rich experience as an administrator. I appreciate the work discipline like the one in the army, everyone must know their place and responsibilities, and they know the subtleties of the business environment. The beginning was quite difficult. The Ministry of Culture helped us, supported us, and in the first stage, we involved all my friends and the director of „Moldova-Concert”, Andrei Locoman, and, with joint efforts, we managed to set up the small circus hall. I emphasized more than once that the culture in Moldova stopped developing with the closing of the circus in 2004. Already two generations of children did not know what the circus is; the maximum they saw was the so-called mobile circus, which has no tangent with art; it is a commercial activity, nothing more. I’m not against trade, but this „whistle” kills the children’s desire to visit the circus itself – where the holiday dominates, as we have been accustomed to since childhood. „

         The circus and the army intersect not only through the compulsory military service performed by its collaborators. In the past, military life served as a source of inspiration for performances in the round arena. For example, presentations in the Wild West were practically reconstructions of the Indian wars. Hugo Zacchini (1898-1975) received his human cannonball act while serving in Italian artillery in World War I.

         During the battles, the circus maintained the excellent mood of the soldiers and colored the monotonous days when they were stuck in muddy trenches. Moreover, some circus animals, such as elephants, which had the power of several working horses, were recruited to help plow fields, transport ammunition and other necessities in both world wars.

         In peacetime, the theme of circus performances is far from the military. On April 21, when we celebrate World Circus Day, let’s make a wish – the Chisinau Circus to reopen its doors already with the big hall and have another reason to smile and hold almost only positive thoughts.

In Romanian: https://dragostinavicol.org/2021/04/21/cine-a-facut-armata-nu-rade-la-circ/

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