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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 17 2013: How do you think about problems in Angola or Laos?
    Do you care about your friends more than people you don't know?

    The same goes for any problem: the further away (percieved distance), the more ignorant I feel about it.
    On moments when it's drawn into my field of attention, suddenly my care spikes and I can't stay indifferent (at least as long as it's in my attention-field). When it comes to enacting upon it: that's another treshold.

    So as for Bulgaria within Europe: it's currently not in the field of attention of the majority of members of parliament (they have other problems I suppose)

    I think that any problem or agony is bad.
    The thing is: who is going to solve it? I can always look at other people or groups or nations to solve my or my shared problems...
    I cannot expect them to feel obliged to respond though.
    If I am ardent enough to strive for a given problem, then I will enact upon it.

    Don't be angry if the rest of the world doesn't see your problem. That's just the way it is. The real question is: what can you do to make the most progres in solving the problem.

    Self-organise, become politically active, and propose sollutions to influential people (or become influential yourself).
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      Apr 17 2013: I can not even imagine what it is like in the world`s poorest countries. Or the nations engaged in war... Every day I try to learn about the conflicts and try to imagine what it is like to lose someone close to you because of a bullet, explosive, hunger… It literally strangulates my brain. As I said to Chad - real human beings are dying because of a primitive malice all over the earth and there is so much suffering! Trust me – I feel horrible about it, I am definitely not indifferent and I try to outline it in my writing and through the conversations with colleagues and friends.

      It is very difficult for Bulgaria to exercise influence on the life in Angola or Laos. But it is not so difficult for the European Union to exercise influence on the life in Bulgaria because our country is actual part of the union. That is why I asked “Is Western Europe indifferent” instead of “Is Western Civilization indifferent”. And you are wrong – in our case EU is obliged to respond and has the means. Not by sending money or army but by sending clear message of compassion and anxiety.

      I believe that it is impossible to become politically active in Bulgaria unless you are part of or dependent on the corrupt political status quo. It is not only me - that was one of the main reasons for the protest! Some of the demands were: no immunity for the members of the Bulgarian Parliament, limit of their mandates, recall of all former deputies, different voting system. The people here want radical change of the political system because the elections push in alleged new parties made of worn out politics in disrepute and we do not have real choice – the same faces under different colors and platforms over and over again.

      You say: “The same goes for any problem: the further away, the more ignorant I feel about it.” Do you feel that this is right? I don’t. I know it is true but I don’t feel it is right! And I must be much more active no matter that I am poor. And I will try. Everyone must!

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