BULGARIAN TRAGEDY

by Anthony Georgieff

Road accident illustrates plethora of social problems

At first sight, this looks like an improbable chain of events that ended in tragedy, such as could happen anywhere in the world. However, the details expose what many Bulgarians would see as a typically Bulgarian mixture of stupidity, negligence, poverty and criminal indifference that has come to characterise life in the EU's newest member state over the past few years.

At around 10 pm on a June evening a young woman was hit by two consecutive cars speeding on the Plovdiv-Sofia motorway. The woman, identified as Dobromira, was walking next to the fast lane of the motorway, in pitch darkness. She was pushing... a pram with her one-year-old son in it. Dobromira was killed instantly, but the baby miraculously was catapulted out of the pram, landed on some grass and was later treated for minor injuries in a Plovdiv hospital.

Neither of the two drivers who had hit the woman bothered to stop. A unrelated vehicle passing by afterwards saw a body on the tarmac, stopped, and called the traffic police.

According to a hypothesis promulgated in the media, Dobromira, from Saedinenie (a town about 20 kilometres north-west of Plovdiv), had been visiting relatives in Asenovgrad. She missed the 7.30 pm bus service from Plovdiv to her native town. She did have money with her because she had just collected the disability pension she was entitled to, owing to severe eyesight problems, but she must have decided to economise on the cab fare and opted to walk instead. She was probably killed on the motorway as she was trying to cross the central barrier. Besides the baby, Dobromira left behind a five-year-old son and a husband.

What the media failed to comment on was how this could have happened in the first place, as the following points illustrate.

Dobromira acted in an extremely irresponsible manner, breaking the traffic laws and jeopardising both her and her baby's life by trying to cross a motorway pushing a pram. Stupidity, irresponsibility and a somewhat characteristic Bulgarian penchant for circumventing the laws "because we know better," sadly, added up to the fatal ending.

The road agency should have taken much better care to prevent potential accidents like this by erecting proper fences and railings along all motorways and high-speed roads in Bulgaria. At the present time, few such barriers exist, and most are substandard.

Even though the Boyko Borisov government is very proud of having inaugurated new stretches of motorway, few of these are built to international standards. One very obvious deficiency is the lack of any lighting at junctions, roundabouts and exits. In this respect Bulgaria is unique in Europe, where even roads in relatively remote areas would have proper lighting installed, at least on the outskirts of towns. The road into Sofia, by contrast, is a nightmare experience in the dark, especially if you are coming from Plovdiv.

Poverty. Few citizens of other EU states would decide to economise on a cab ride and walk 20-plus kilometres instead, pushing a baby pram.

Criminal indifference. The hit-and-run drivers who killed Dobromira must have realised that she was clearly breaking the law. Notwithstanding their shock, they should have stopped and tried to help.

Gloating media. As usual, the media indulged in all the gory details, rather than focusing, analysing and commenting on the issues listed above. Could the tragedy have been prevented? Unfortunately, this road accident illustrated how intertwined things in Bulgaria are and how easy it is disrupt their precarious balance. It would not be far-fetched to presume that the situation is the same in the media, in politics, in the fight against organised crime and so on and so forth. One step in the wrong direction and all the deficiencies of the Bulgarian system may make themselves felt ‒ and with very severe consequences.

  • COMMENTING RULES

    Commenting on www.vagabond.bg

    Vagabond Media Ltd requires you to submit a valid email to comment on www.vagabond.bg to secure that you are not a bot or a spammer. Learn more on how the company manages your personal information on our Privacy Policy. By filling the comment form you declare that you will not use www.vagabond.bg for the purpose of violating the laws of the Republic of Bulgaria. When commenting on www.vagabond.bg please observe some simple rules. You must avoid sexually explicit language and racist, vulgar, religiously intolerant or obscene comments aiming to insult Vagabond Media Ltd, other companies, countries, nationalities, confessions or authors of postings and/or other comments. Do not post spam. Write in English. Unsolicited commercial messages, obscene postings and personal attacks will be removed without notice. The comments will be moderated and may take some time to appear on www.vagabond.bg.

Add new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.

Restricted HTML

  • Allowed HTML tags: <a href hreflang> <em> <strong> <cite> <blockquote cite> <code> <ul type> <ol start type> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd> <h2 id> <h3 id> <h4 id> <h5 id> <h6 id>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • Web page addresses and email addresses turn into links automatically.

Discover More

BORAT SUBSEQUENT MOVIEFILM AND ITS BULGARIAN CONNECTION
Where are the Bulgarian Oscars? For years this question – coupled with the notable lack of a Bulgarian Nobel Prize winner in anything – has troubled the Bulgarians, perhaps bespeaking a very deeply ingrained cultural inferiority complex.

ANGRY SOFIANITES
From job opportunities to entertainment options: living in Sofia, Bulgaria's largest city, has its perks. It also has its downsides.

IN THE EYE OF THE STORM
"Dimitrina?" I have not heard from her for more than a month, which is unusual. "Почина." "Po-chi-na?" I type the word phonetically in an online translation tool. "What?" "Почина. Me, Dimitrina sister. Bye."
ARRIVAL CITY
As an airplane is swooping over a field beside Sofia Airport, two horses and a donkey do not look up, but keep grazing among the rubbish. Shacks made of bricks, corrugated iron and wood encroach upon the field.

AMERICA FOR BULGARIA FOUNDATION CELEBRATES BULGARIAN SUPERHEROES
Everyday Superheroes was the main theme of the event, celebrating the efforts and the energy of ordinary Bulgarians who work in spite of the difficulties and the hardships to make Bulgaria a better place.

TRADITIONAL MUSIC AND DANCE
As you hold this book in your hands, a Bulgarian song travels in outer space. The song in question is "Izlel e Delyu Haidutin," a traditional Rhodope tune sung by Valya Balkanska.

WHEN A ROSE IS NOT EXACTLY A ROSE
Attar-bearing roses and beautiful girls in traditional attire picking them dominate the images that Bulgaria uses to sell itself to both Bulgarian and international tourists.

DECIPHERING BISHOP'S BASILICA OF PHILIPPOPOLIS
This May, for two days, historians, archaeologists, restorers and experts in other fields shared their findings and ideas about the Bishop's Basilica of Philippopolis at a scientific conference in Plovdiv.

VERY SUPERSTITIOUS
Once you start paying attention to Bulgarians, you will observe some inexplicable actions. Dozens of men and women wear red thread around their wrists. An old woman cuddles a baby, and then spits at it.

FOR A COUPLE OF LIONS' HIDES
Under GERB, Bulgaria's public has become accustomed to scandals of various magnitude that come and go about every second day, sometimes several times a day.
REMEMBERING 11/11/18
The eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month: 99 years ago, the moment when the Great War ended was perhaps chosen to be easy to remember.

LITTLE HEROES OF PIROGOV
Being laid up in hospital is never a particularly pleasant experience. Especially for children. Especially for children in Bulgaria.