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Plamen Chetelyazov

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Is Western Europe indifferent to Bulgarian agony?

Bulgaria is officially the EU`s poorest member. The salaries rarely exceed 250e. The country is one of the most corrupted in the EU according to the Transparency International Index. The census data confirmed that over the twenty-year period, emigration represented a 6% loss in the total population. High emigration levels were accompanied by low fertility rates, which contributed a further 12% loss. Moreover – the country has unenviable Press Freedom Index. Reporters without borders rank Bulgaria 87 which is a great retreat because back in 2003 Bulgaria ranked 34.
On 24 February more than 300 000 Bulgarians went out into the streets to express their indignation against the political monopoly and its derivatives – the monopoly of the market, the corruption, the poverty, the unemployment, the criminality... The people shout „We want future” and want radical change of the political system because the elections push in alleged new parties made of worn out politics in disrepute. Some of the demands are: no immunity for the members of the Bulgarian Parliament, limit of their mandates, recall of all former deputies, majoritarian voting system.
So far there is no adequate response from the political elite only a cosmetic change of the government and ugly but successful attempts to mount the protest.
The spokeswoman of the European Commission Pia Hansen said: “There is a democracy in Bulgaria and we respect that” but It must be a lie because few days ago Europe blocked Schengen membership for Bulgaria due to the functionality of the judicial system.
At the same time there is a wave of desperate people who literally set themselves on fire. 4 people already died for a month and one is still fighting for his life. The most famous case is the death of Plamen Goranov and now his name stands for this dreadful and shocking epidemic. The 36 years old photographer and mountain climber set himself on fire in front of the municipality building in his hometown of Varna on Feb. 20.

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Closing Statement from Plamen Chetelyazov

Capitalism does not confer the same status as democracy! In this system the money is at the same time the capital potential, the ultimate goal and the greatest might. This basis contributes to the spreading of corruption, exploitation, manipulation, emotional degradation e.t.c. One of the ugliest defects is that people are learned to consider those who are poorer also less cultured, intelligent and capable.The real alternative to capitalism is a working democracy aiming at the progress of creative education and true freedom.

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  • Apr 3 2013: Man...as plain as it is, Western Europe, and any country for that matter is interested in their/her/his own well-being. Not a single deal/contract/union is made/done out of pure good will. The thing called "good will" no longer exists - we live in a world of interests and I am affraid this world and we as beings put the monetary/property/prosperity (as defined by Western civilizations) first. And as long as this is the case, everyone will be out for themselves.
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      Apr 3 2013: Absolutely! As I underlined: Capitalism does not confer the same status as democracy! In this system the money is at the same time the capital potential, the ultimate goal and the greatest might. This basis contributes to the spreading of corruption, exploitation, manipulation, emotional degradation e.t.c. One of the ugliest defects is that people are learned to consider those who are poorer also less cultured, intelligent and capable. I am a bachelor of economics and when I say that capitalism is something completely different from democracy I know what I'm talking about. The real alternative to capitalism is a working democracy aiming at the progress of creative education and true freedom.
    • Apr 4 2013: You're wrong! Capitalism in a society does not care for social issues, but that does not mean "a country" never cares. History is full of examples in which it was social issues that set a nations course. For example Afghanistan: when Clinton started his first term in office, the US was in support of the Taliban as they saw them the most probable to bring enough stability to the country to enable trade and the building of pipelines (thats your economic motivation right there). It was american feminist activists that started to put pressure on Clinton and lobbied strongly against the US American support for the patriarcial Taliban Government. They managed to put enough public pressure (with public I mean American people, who make the nation) that the "Country" changed its stance against its economic interests in favour of what its public thought was morally right.
      And history is filled with shining examples of enough people caring and deciding for a course of action that might not be the best economical choice. For Petes sake, we are discussing this on a TED forum... if nobody cared, there wouldn't be this website we are writing on right now!
      That said, mainstream Europe does currently not care a lot for Bulgaria. But that doesn't mean that with the right advocates, it can't change.
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        Apr 4 2013: I really want to share your belief that social issues can actually set a nations course, I really do...
        TED is a great phenomenon indeed. Some of the talks are so inspiring! You are right - even if the authorities are careless there are still people who care and I was unfair.

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