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No comment: Bulgarians from gentle people to haters

After the shaved heads beat up two Roma again, it is natural to ask again: what is going on in Bulgaria? Why did a by definition meek people start spewing such hatred? Amy Baruch commented:

For decades Bulgarians have not tired of repeating how tolerant they are. This turned out to be one of the most valuable export characteristics that the political elite did not fail to highlight. The incomplete story of the rescue of the Jews usually served as an illustration. Naturally, the forced renaming of the Bulgarian Turks was not mentioned at all.

Drowned in hatred

In general, this was the retelling of recent Bulgarian history on the majority-minority issue, with which Bulgarian society left its communist past and began to build its democratic present. Tolerant and politically correct, if hypocritical, was the dominant official language.

Twenty years later, a much more diverse chorus of opinions is resounding in the public sphere; naturally, the voices of the nationalists, who have deftly appropriated the classic clichés of the far-right xenophobic formations, stand out the loudest.

When we talk about a problem in the majority-minority dialogue in Bulgaria, we are mainly talking about relations with the Turks and the Gypsies. These relations are overloaded with clichés and negative stereotypes, with which the majority stigmatises the other and distances the possibility of normal communication. It got to the point that many ordinary people, even the neighbours who sympathised with the victims of the so-called "Great Excursion", started to turn against the Turks and get nervous because of the loudspeakers of the Sofia mosque.

I am not commenting here on Dogan's role in the anti-Turkish sentiment. That is a separate and serious conversation. The issue that concerns me is the culture of dialogue. The topic can therefore be formulated as follows: what did we miss in the transition years to find ourselves today mired to the hilt among once unthinkable hatred forums and once unacceptable fascizoid excesses? What happened to an essentially meek people who never knew how to "hate hard"?

Politics with a brown tinge

The rise of the far right in Europe has a classic explanation. The economic crisis, fear for bread and the impoverishment of the population are at the heart of anti-immigrant rhetoric. But the Bulgarian case is different. Because there is not so much hatred in the ancestral destiny and historical memory of Bulgarians.

The main blame for the deterioration of relations with the Turks and Gypsies lies with politicians who not only failed to build schemes for integrating minorities, but also systematically sabotaged the Bulgarian model of coexistence. Georgi Parvanov, Ivan Kostov, Alexey Petrov, Boyko Borissov... Both the red and the blue elites are guilty of this political manipulation. I am not commenting on the brown ones.

It was the arrogant attitude of the majority that led to the radicalization of minorities. And all the circulation media became convenient mediators of this whole process.

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