I don’t usually talk politics – neither in real life nor in this blog and the other forms of online communication. Just as I avoid talking about religion. There’s no point in offending strangers by trying to impose your religious, political or let’s say sports views. You don’t think you are going to change someone that easy, do you? Sharing your opinion with close friends or relatives is another story.
But I went on writing this story because it’s not that much about politics as in one party vs another or why this president is worse than the previous one. It’s about crime, corruption, indifference and the lack of civil society in my country.
Almost 20 years after the so called democratic transition we still don’t have a properly working and credible juridical system. Around 150 assassinations have taken place on the streets of Bulgarian cities in the past 8 years. To date, only one organised crime boss has been arrested (afaik). No senior official has been convicted of corruption.
Bulgaria is a member of the EU since 2007 but even this doesn’t help much. Despite the pressure and the negative reports from various EU organs the situation doesn’t seem to improve. Criminal networks extend into government and effectively block all the (anyway weak) incentives on fighting crime.
I know corruption is to be found in almost every country out there – it is quite big problem in Greece and very serious one in Italy but it is particularly brutal in Bulgaria.
Add the people’s indifference and now I’m really scared that the mafia will prevail. That we’ll be kicked out of the EU and will ultimately and completely degrade to a mafia driven oligarchy. There are many Bulgarian citizens who believe that the later has already happened.
When the organised criminal networks are so deeply embedded in the state’s government maybe it is people’s duty to fight back. If the law fails to address the issue then people should do it. Usually civil society’s greatest successes come in the domains where the state is too weak or doing too little: ecology, social assistance, human rights. Unfortunately in our case I’m afraid this ain’t gonna work. I have this feeling that a large portion of the population perceive mafia members as a role models. They are trying to imitate, to copy them. On one hand the criminals have nice cars, houses, etc. and on the other hand it is extremely difficult to achieve higher status without being involved in bribing practices, without knowing and working with particular people, without getting your hands dirty. So it is the “normal” way to proceed – it is regarded as something to pursuit, something to strive for and not something to fight against. Very short sighted. That’s why I think that a large portion of our society is ill and our chance to escape from the octopus tentacles are diminishing.
I’m definitely not a big patriot. I felt comfortable anywhere in the world I’ve been so far. But although I agree with the saying that a people deserve their rulers there are many good people who will stay in Bulgaria regardless of the hopelessness of the situation. I have friends and relatives here. That’s why I still care.
So, what could people do to fight the octopus? What can I personally do? Mutter to oneself? Bleat out a protest? Involve in politics? Revolution?
The problem with revolutions is described very well by Mao Zedong:
Revolution is not a dinner party, nor an essay, nor a painting, nor a piece of embroidery; it cannot be advanced softly, gradually, carefully, considerately, respectfully, politely, plainly, and modestly. A revolution is an insurrection, an act of violence by which one class overthrows another.
Unfortunately it’s not enough to just obey the law, pay your taxes and vote in the elections. That’s what I’ve been doing for the past 15 years and it doesn’t seem to suffice. To quote Edmund Burke: All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.
By the way do you know which are the most desired countries to live in the world? Take a look at this map.