Thu, 05/01/2008 - 14:05

Whenever they hear criticism, the Bulgarian politicians blame spiteful journalists or the evil West

Shooting at Pope John Paul II in 1981
Shooting at Pope John Paul II in 1981

Lately, there has been too much state blather regarding the “anti-Bulgarian campaigns carried out by certain circles in the West”. Since the BBC made a documentary about the abandoned, that is dying by the dozen, children in the Mogilino social care home this has been an incessant refrain of the high-ranking officials in this country.

The situation became intoxicating when the president, who is meant to be the exponent of the nation's conscience and morals, joined in.

“An anti-Bulgarian campaign,” he blurted out without having taken the trouble to go and see the situation for himself. This is completely intolerable. Had he asked me (I've known him for 25 years), I would have shown him around these “homes” and “special schools”. After all, as he is perfectly aware, I was the chairman of the board of trustees of such a school in the village where I've lived for 10 years. At least nobody died, many of the children went on to vocational schools, and are today independent artisans.

However, there is not a smidgen of such facts in the national debate. To the contrary, everything is replete with retro pathos worthy of Leonid Brezhnev's era. Remember him, the guy with the bushy eyebrows?

A young interpreter at the European Parliament asked me recently: “I don't remember the Cold War, but isn't this the kind of language they used back then?” I felt sorry for her - she has to interpret the Bulgarian MEPs' gibberish - but there was nothing optimistic I could tell her.

Yes, my dear, this is the kind of language they used - and still use to this day. The “Anti-Bulgarian campaign” soap opera comprises several major episodes.

In 1978 the State Security of the People's Republic of Bulgaria murdered émigré writer Georgi Markov in London as a present for Todor Zhivkov's birthday. For the purpose, it used a new weapon subsequently dubbed the “Bulgarian umbrella”. When Scotland Yard brought this to light, the government's resounding response was: “A vicious anti-Bulgarian campaign.”

Three years later, after a sumptuous sojourn in Bulgaria, notorious Turkish terrorist Mehmet Ali Ağca riddled the Pope with bullets in St Peter's Square in the Vatican. When Ağca's connections with the Bulgarian secret services became known, it was again “an unparalleled anti-Bulgarian campaign.”

A Bulgarian social care home

A Bulgarian social care home

In 1985-1986 the Communist government forced the Bulgarian Turks to change their names - not only their own, but also their ancestors' nine generations back. Thus, it turned out that Ahmed, who had been dead for 50 years, had always been known as Asen. To make this untruth a reality, his grandchildren were forced to go to the cemeteries with hammers and chisels - to erase “Ahmed” and write “Asen”. If you don't believe me, go and ask them. They were several hundred thousand people, aged between 40 and 50 now. They do remember. When the news of this almost surreal crime against humanity and common sense spilled out in the world, the Communist propaganda replied: “Anti-Bulgarian campaign.”

The same thing happened in the spring of 1989, when the Communists pushed hundreds of thousands of Bulgarian Turks into Turkey. In my village I had just got used to the friendly help my Turkish neighbours gave me when I was dealing with something I obviously knew nothing about, like fixing the chimney. Then I saw them packing. “Osman, where are you going?” I asked shortly before Easter 1989. “Well, we don't want to go anywhere, but they are driving us out,” Osman answered, deeply grieved. When Osman's Moskvich together with thousands of other cars loaded with household items clogged the Turkish border, the global media quickly realised what was happening. What did the foul “Red” regime reply? “Anti-Bulgarian campaign,” of course.

In democratic times, when the BBC caught the Bulgarian Olympic Committee red-handed in the act of greasing their palm, the authorities gave the same reply. They repeated it when the last EU report on Bulgaria before its accession stated that big-time criminals in Bulgaria were completely immune to punishment. The interior minister even told the EU experts that they were “laymen” and had no right to pass judgements about the state of his ministry. This is the same minister who has been holding documented meetings with well-known gangland leaders.

The situation continues. The BBC made a documentary about a home in Mogilino, where dozens of children had died over a couple of years. Those still alive were the spitting image of naked corpses piled in Nazi death camps found by the Allied troops. This was also an “anti-Bulgarian campaign”, as Iliyana Yotova, an MEP from the Bulgarian Socialist Party, explained in terrible French with a Dupnitsa accent to the European Parliament. After that, she marched out of the room to report to the prime minister by mobile phone how she had dealt with the “imperialist provocation”. Inside, the better-mannered members of the discussion panel had to answer the questions meant for her in her absence.

For the so-called former Communists, the clock stopped somewhere around 1986. This makes them pathetic but, on the other hand, predictable. Do you want me to tell you which “anti-Bulgarian campaign” will come next?

The red cabinet ministers are now lying that the SAPARD, PHARE and ISPA funds, which the EU froze, will be unblocked in a day or two. No, they won't. Neither in a day or two nor next week. Because the reason they were frozen, namely routine corruption and impudent embezzlement of public funds, has not been eliminated. When all deadlines are exceeded and the EU continues blocking the money, the authorities will again raise their voice: “Anti-Bulgarian campaign carried out by ‘certain circles' in the West.”

I have the following question to those who rule over me with the authority I have given them and buy themselves “sunflower seeds and sweets” (they buy their Ferraris in other ways) on my taxes.

Dear comrades, if you hate the West so much, why don't you go back to Russia?

Issue 20

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