This note was provoked by reading the article from Slavo Ingilizov — Dear Europe, please help…
I had my own experience visiting Bulgaria several times during this year and seeing protests first hand while having a chance to watch the news on Bulgarian TV and abroad. For me (myself being Czech) such long term public discontent with no visible results brings sad thoughts.
“What it means “democracy” in Eastern Europe?”
It always looks so clear and simple when you read about it, “democracy is rule by people” (translation of Greek — demokratia) or “A democracy is a system where people are able to decide how their country or community should be run” (Wikipedia). Well, IDEALLY but do they REALLY…?
I mean, shouldn’t something happen when people are clearly unhappy, showing their dissatisfaction by peaceful protests for over 3 months? While government takes vacation and continues on its ways…
The trick with “representative democracy” is the word “majority”. People elect their leaders (by elections). Whoever gets the most votes will end up with the most power, until the next election and can decide the laws. We could all leave the story here; Bulgarians decided during their elections who should rule them so let them live with their choices.
But life is not so simple as wiki might suggest; major trouble in the ways representative democracy functions especially in yet unconsolidated democracy comes from expectation that majority of your elected representatives actually have good intentions and want to listen to their voters. Clearly YES, I used to think. Maybe unrealistic, I’m thinking now.
Just think about it, what happens if majority does not really have your best interest in mind? And why should they? They got to the club (understand government position) and if everyone is on the same boat, it’s enough to agree with “majority” and rather protect the crew than poor wondering swimmers out at the sea.
Go further, what if previous governments were smart and changed voting laws in a way that certain groups and parties will always end up elected? What do you do in case that you see after elections you’ve been tricked once again. They showed you “new faces” in the campaign, they promised happiness and less corruption and then…by their first actions you see they are manoeuvred by your “old” political matadors?
I have to admit, I don’t know answer to “what should happen in Bulgaria”, heck I don’t know answers to much simpler questions. But I admire persistence in any context and that’s why I believe Bulgarians deserve support and all shout-outs they can get from all of us. They need to be heard. People should be heard outside of one’s little country borders so that changes could happen in peaceful way.
I believe we all ought to push for better political culture, for better democracy and better living everywhere — now seems to be Bulgaria’s turn. It’s an opportunity and obligation for all of us given by globalisation and technology.
So lets help Bulgarians be heard! I’m tweeting your crazy hashtag (#ДАНСwithme) today Slavo Ingilizov.
* Little personal disclaimer: I am Czech. We have the same problem(s) in the Czech Republic, we just don’t like demonstrating and coffee that much as Bulgarians. We like beer and our pubs so our disillusions are less visible outdoors but inside are discussed with the same enthusiasm and frequency.
We have just another early elections this month (October) and whom we are going to choose into our “representative democracy” is, I believe, still a mystery or scary question for majority of us.But we’ll see, at least there is a hope we can be heard…