Why are there so many "haters" in Bulgaria? Because hatred is a mobilising condition, and shared hatred - even more so, argues Amy Baruch in her commentary.
Around the same time, two campaigns were launched on the social network Facebook - the first was looking for supporters to participate in the "National Protest against the Gypsyisation of Bulgaria". The second was to collect signatures for a declaration to reopen the case of the so-called Revival Process(Vazrozhdenski).
Hatred is stronger than humanism
The so-called "National Protest against Gypsyisation" was counted on to mobilise nationalists. The other campaign - their opponents, reminding the Internet society that twenty-two years ago it was the resistance of the Bulgarian Turks that mobilized part of the intelligentsia to fight against the repression and assimilationist policy of the communist regime in Bulgaria.
In spite of the real failure of the first campaign, nearly 15 thousand people signed in support of the so-called "National Protest against the Gypsyisation of Bulgaria" in the virtual space. Less than 400 people signed the declaration for the resumption of the Revival Trial. According to simple "apparent" arithmetic, it turns out that the outspoken haters are thirty-seven and a half times more than the people who would stand against populist-nationalist platforms.
This calculation is, of course, speculative. Yet hate as a driving force turns out to be a more powerful generator in today's Bulgaria than the need for a fair reading of the past and tolerant treatment of minorities.
Who forced the Bulgarian Turks to changed their names?
Let us remind those born after 1989 that the so-called Revival Process(Vazrozhdenski) was a remarkable man-hating campaign organised by the ruling caste before 89, during which hundreds of thousands of living and dead Bulgarian citizens were forcibly renamed and some 400,000 people were expelled, leaving their homelands with 'two bundles of clothes'; they left behind not just their houses and belongings, but their past, their friends and their dead.
In this disgraceful episode, played out in front of the eyes and partly with the participation of neighbours, colleagues, officials, masses, activists and other Bulgarians, it turns out that there are no guilty people! Moreover, it appears that there is no sensitivity to what is happening around us, no attempt to understand the behaviour of those involved in the expulsion of the Turks, to share the suffering and to make sense of the indifference of the silent witnesses.
Bulgaria is a country that prides itself on its "traditional tolerance", which does not forget to remind us that it saved "its Jews". But in Bulgaria, the enlightened part of society and those who dictate the agenda in the media forget that tolerance is not inherited. Tolerance is a norm that is cultivated.
The May protests of the Bulgarian Turks should be taught in school. Today, this model of behaviour is not only absent from school curricula - it is not in public attitudes, nor in the dominant public language.