Seven reasons why Bulgarians keep protesting
and what you can do to help
Why are the Bulgarians still protesting (since June 14th)?
In case it seems a bit unclear, here are a few core reasons:
Because this is not about ДАНС or Delyan Peevski.
That case is well over, but the cause is bigger than ДАНС.
Bulgaria is currently in a situation of state capture.
this is a follow-up to “What’s happening in Bulgaria” in which I wrote:
“Today, the majority of voters are no longer represented in Bulgaria’s worse-than-hung parliament. One quarter of voted candidates did not make the cut to begin with, the party with the most votes (thirty per cent) no longer attend sessions; and another seven per cent of voters saw their party’s leader u-turn on all promises upon entering parliament.
Sum: 62% unrepresented.”
Because the prime minister won’t step down
Fact-checked seven times over seven days: this is what people want. Early elections too, but let’s not dwell… It has become clear that PM Plamen Oresharski is not the decision maker at the helm. He refuses to step down. He’s not deaf, merely not willing.
Because parliament and cabinet are wholesaling the country
I’ve dried out three facts for you, all from this first week of protests:
- Newly appointed Deputy Minister of Interior Affairs has documented ties to the criminal world. Fired 2 hours later.
- New chief of energy commission has a prior conviction (it’s unlawful to appoint him). Still in charge.
- The (nationalist) party leader who made big promises, and u-turned on them to make this government possible, was voted chief of the anti-corruption commission. Still in charge.
All parties in parliament have discredited themselves, no exceptions.
Because international media are reluctant to report in detail
This has something to do with media ethics, international relations, politics, economics, or some tin-foil-hat science I can’t claim to understand well. Here, on Medium, we asked you to take notice and spread the word. 18,000+ people read “What’s happening in Bulgaria” in just two days. Only then did Euronews pick up on it, Spiegel got the message that the PM didn’t, Le Figaro wrote about us, BBC looked at the larger picture. The reaction online has been fantastic. But many of the traditional media keep mum.
Edit: July 1st:
The Guardian have published a detailed analysis. Washington Post and New York Times too.
Reporting in Bulgarian broadcast media has been nearly halted after, in an address issued on state TV, the Speaker of Parliament asked the media to “act responsibly”, and warned that “there is no democratic exit from the situation”. We need international reporters on site.
Edit, July 12th: intermittent reports worldwide. Reporting remains light.
Because protesting peacefully takes longer than to set the parliament on fire
You won’t find a Wikipedia page on the events of 1997 in Sofia in any foreign language. (I know! I don’t know why. Here it is in Bulgarian). Long story short: same place, same kind of disagreement, poor anger management, all leading to a riot (did I mention the fire?).
Results then: dark times of deep national crisis, hyperinflation, people lost their savings.
Difference now: the crowd is more delicate, people are quick to spot troublemakers, internet helps communicate fast, and some lessons from history seem to have sunk in. So far.
Who needs more self-immolations!?
Edit July 12th: four Bulgarians are on hunger strike (one since June 26th) at the time of this edit.
Edit: July 12th Because EU parliament wouldn’t touch Bulgaria with a stick
Edit July 12th: I watched European Parliament’s debates on Bulgaria, of which many MEPs walked out. The remaining ones split in two: those who threw dirt at each other’s parties, and the ones who tried to lay a thick layer of diplomatic vagueness over the issue. Bulgaria was the hot potato nobody wants to touch. The next day EP dissolved for summer break.
Because over 24 years of abuse, this scheme got tired:
1: Get into Parliament with false promises, typically as an alternative to a failing leadership; 2: Amend policy, usually in a complicated trade-craft way; 3: … Profit as much as you can from the amends (to hell with morals!).“Extreme lobbying” just about starts to describe it, except the country has been bled dry of money, talent, and spirit.
Because another million young people leaving Bulgaria isn’t exactly optimal.
This doesn’t need explaining, does it?
What to do?
The MPs’ tactics are testing our will, and the crowd’s patience to maintain order. As I wrote before: Bulgarian MPs don’t act, unless the world is watching.
We grow stronger, knowing you share our beliefs. Tell us you’re there:
- Tweet with #ДАНСwithme , share links, help raise awareness.
- Blog about it. Foreign opinions are awesome! They keep us going.
- Please ask your country’s media to report on this.