In the past few days, racism and Nazism have become popular subjects on the Bulgarian web. The actions of the French President Nicolas Sarkozy against the Roma people in France and their deportation to Bulgaria and Romania, were met with two opposing views in the Bulgarian society. On one side there were those who defended Sarkozy, and then there were those who believed the Roma people's basic rights as human beings had been violated.
Nationalist factions in Bulgaria organized an anti-Roma protest on Sept. 25, where they chanted Nazi slogans and praised Nazi actions. This evoked a response from human rights activists, who created a website and Facebook groups against the actions of neo-Nazi groups in Bulgaria.
This is one of those sites: http://stopnazi-bg.blogspot.com/.
Here's what people wrote on their Facebook group:
Svetoslav Panayotov: Nazism is an ideology of scoundrels, cowards and misanthropes. Nazis like to put on a mask of patriotism, but in reality they're exactly the opposite – parasites, muggers, drug dealers, pedophiles…
On this clip the great Bulgarian Georgi Dimitrov makes fools out of the Nazi frauds: from national-socialist M.P.s to thieves, murderers, etc…
Nikolay Peshterniakov: Please, let's not turn this initiative into a partisan quarrel. We've already seen such debates here, and there's simply no point to them. Being against racism is a universal value, it's not about dividing things into left and right. There are plenty of universal symbols that can unite people, instead of dividing them.
Members of another group – “The Bulgarian Anti-Racism Movement“ write:
Shifted Phase: The reasons behind the formation and the expansion of this movement, with all its peculiarities, are quite complex – starting with the inherited widespread ethno-national-statist tradition of defining “your own” identity and that of “others”, through the unrealized democratization of the public sphere in the past 20 years, the deplorable economic and social state of most of the population, caused by local and global economic processes, to narrow partisan and political interests. We can also add the influence of specific individual and group factors, like the need for social belonging, self-expression and personal realization. The inability to recognize the phenomenon of neo-Nazism in Bulgaria and the lack of a meaningful institutional, public and individual response, is a worrying consequence of these factors.
Madlen Madlens: The idea of race assumes that simple external
differences, rooted in biology, are linked to other more complex internal ones like athletic ability, musical aptitude, intelligence. This belief is based on the idea that race is biologically real.
Samuel Yosiphov: Does one start out as an aggressive freak and thug, and then become a “patriot”-skinhead, or vice versa – you shave your head first, and then become an aggressive sociopath?
Hunveibin Surreal: “They“ are people. That's a racist statement in itself, isn't it? Many Bulgarians may not seem like people to a Frenchman who has been brainwashed by such “values”, or to a middle-class New Yorker, but they are, in fact, people. Bulgarians have a lot of problems, they're discriminated against as immigrants, as destitute people from Eastern Europe, regarded as “second class”. That's the same artificial, dangerous problem that those who adhere to racism are trying to create here. It's absurd to claim that you're being discriminated against by the poor. This problem won't be solved by focusing on ethnicity. If people are given better living conditions, more time and opportunities to advance, through comprehensive social policy, things would be different, this new policy would also undoubtedly benefit those who may not necessarily be rummaging through dumpsters, but are still barely making ends meet, and grow more embittered towards each other for nothing. Poverty is being criminalized, in some places (here, for example) – linked to certain ethnicities. This only aggravates the problem, and serves as a temporary shelter from responsibility for politicians. The solution to the problems and the vision for change is shifted. We have to bear in mind that the situation where gypsies are the only wretches of society, is only temporary – with the advancement of this system based on inequality, the number of uneducated and marginalized Bulgarians will also grow, which isn't to say that number is small today. Will they become the new gypsies? Or will they still fight like animals on ethnic grounds, where the “other” is always to blame?
User Grazhdanin (“citizen”) writes about the nature of Bulgarian Nazi groups on the alternative site Indymedia:
There are close analogies and connections between the Bulgarian neo-Nazis and their “colleagues” in Europe – whether it's ideological imitation, or joint actions. Bulgarians from the “National Resistance” movement (a group that broke away from the BNA party, led by Boyan Rassate at the time) try to imitate the German “autonomous nationalists” both in rhetoric (by copying their slogans like “Free, Social, National) and in style – casual clothes, dressing in all-black when going to political events, etc. The “BNS Guard” group is a member of the “European National Front” – a pan-European union of neo-Nazi political movements like the Deutsches Kollegе (German college), NPD (National-Democratic party) and the Freier Widerstand (Free Resistance), the Belgian Vlaams Blok (Flemmish bloc), the Spanish La Falange (Phalanx), created by the dictator Franco, the French Guarde Franque (Frank Guard), the Romanian Noua Dreapta (New Right) and the Dutch Nationale Alliantie (National Alliance)(http://www.bghelsinki.org/index.php?module=pages&lg=bg&…12905). Guests from German, Romanian, Italian and Swiss fascist organizations often attend neo-Nazi gatherings.
On Oct. 2, bTV aired a documentary on nationalism in Bulgaria. It examined the groups, the young people who belong to those groups, as well as the possibility of ethnic conflict in Bulgaria if nothing is done about the current situation.